Friday, April 29, 2005

Training: Update

Took another week off - the week after a vacation is always crazy. I did have time to put together a little plan, and there's a meet that fits into my schedule nicely. August 20, in Charlottesville, VA.
Plan is to do 6 weeks of a conditioning phase, then a 10 week competition type phase.
Conditioning is a focus on mobility, endurance (running, ugh), flexibility, etc, as well as working to increase work capacity.
Be back in the gym on Monday.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

In case I haven't mentioned it...

The Family Guy is the best show on television.

In an era where there is simply nothing worth watching on TV other than reruns, two of the best shows on television are cartoons (South Park, while having lost some of the brilliance of the early seasons is still great stuff).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Required Reading

Take 15 mintues or so, and really read and digest this article by Lew Rockwell. It's time well spent, especially for those who find reading Hayek a chore (although some of the concepts Rockwell touches on are more evident to those familiar with Mises' and Hayek's work, and given the opportunity and reading comprehension, I strongly suggest reading anything and everything by both.)

Some nuggets:

Let me begin, then, with some background on the Austrian business cycle theory. At the start of the Great Depression in Europe, the Austrian School, then still centered in Vienna, was well positioned to explain the cause and offer a way out. Mises's first statement of the core of the theory had been widely circulated in his 1912 book, The Theory of Money and Credit. It was still considered the definitive work. In this book, he explains how interest rates are not arbitrary constructs or prices of money dictated by central banks, but rather an integral part of the market economy that coordinates productivity, investment, and savings.

When these signals are manipulated by the central bank, they convey bad information to producers about the availability of resources. Producers invest for a longer time horizon than exists in the real economy and their clusters of errors create what appears to be a sharp rise in productivity and growth. But the boom turns to bust in the passage of time, as consumers run out of resources and projects are left unfinished. The low-interest rate policy had a good run of it, but eventually reality returns and the bad investments are washed out of the system.

Now, in my ideal world, the US would take the path long recommended by the old liberal tradition. We would have free trade with the world, establish a gold standard that defined the dollar as gold and otherwise ending central banking, and bring about completely free domestic markets. This is the Austrian version of utopia, and it has two key advantages: it would bring about the most productive economy in the history of the world, and it would also serve as the best guard to freedom.

A few of the top 10 errors:
I here offer what I regard as Bush's top ten economic errors, which might be the very errors that will make the next depression far worse than it needs to be.

Number Eight: The Social Security Reform Hoax. Genuine privatization would be a grand idea. But that is not what the Bush administration proposes. Not anywhere close. They are proposing to partially convert the existing tax and spend system into a forced savings program. This is not choice but rather a species of socialism. The forced investments would be fed to approved funds with approved companies and be guaranteed a rate of return.

So in the end, Bush-style privatization would partially socialize the most important sector of the American capital markets, and we aren't talking about small change. And how would this transition be funded? Bush has suggested that he would be willing to lift the FICA cap, which would mean the worst tax increase in US history. Debt, taxes, inflation—take your pick. The costs are in the trillions.

Number Seven: Government Spending. You will notice that Bush has lately been talking like a budget cutter. He is going to rein in government spending, he says. Well, I suppose everyone has known about the great uncle who swears he is going to cut back on his drinking but somehow keeps ending up at the dry-out farm. He is the first president since John Quincy Adams not to veto a single bill during his first term in office. Total federal government spending is up by 30% in his first term, which is three times the rate of growth wrought by that bad old big spender Bill Clinton. Since 2001, the government has hired an additional 140,000 civilians for its ranks.

In an anomalous manner, government revenue has been falling for some six years. Now, the response in a household to this type of trend would be to cut back. But the government has the exact opposite response. It has become more profligate even as its revenue stream is not producing what it might have expected. But beware: the bills will be paid somehow someday. All we know for sure is who will be doing the paying.

Number Three: Signing and Enforcing SOX. At the end of the dot com bust, some people in Washington developed the idea that corporate America is run by crooks who spend all their time cooking the books. Now: imagine politicians in Washington complaining about anything run by crooks who cook the books! In any case, their answer was a series of show trials for CEOs and CFOs that completely overlooked how the business cycle had changed accounting standards.

That was followed by the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which gave the federal government complete supervisory authority over the accounting of every publicly listed company and enforced criminal penalties against CEOs and CFOs that sign off on audits that government disputes.

The costs have been unthinkably large: in the hundreds of billions. Accountants report spending nearly all their time complying with it, and some critiques have compared this bill with FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act, given how much it empowers government to manage affairs that were once left to the discretion of the private sector.

And don't you just love the theory behind these regulations, which supposes that large publicly listed companies have no strong incentive to keep good books. It only takes a moment's thought to realize that the investor class is the most sophisticated watcher of business, and business has every incentive to provide whatever information is needed or wanted by investors. It was the markets, not government, that discovered the anomalies at Enron and the high-profile cases. All government regulations end up doing is forcing companies to waste resources complying with edicts rather than serving stockholders and consumers.

Number Two: Markets By Force. As a lover of free markets, I'm embarrassed that the Bush administration has said that part of its goal in invading Iraq and bringing total chaos and massive death to that country was to give them a capitalistic economy. In fact, the Bush administration still enforces price controls on gasoline in Iraq, still forbids free trade, still excludes free enterprise communication and airline companies from setting up shop, and still refuses to allow Iraqis control over their own oil. However, even had the US really brought about free enterprise in Iraq, militarism and war is not the right way to do it. The way to bring markets to the world is not by war and force, but by trade and example.

I suggest we take with a grain of salt all claims by the Bush administration that it is seeking to expand markets around the world. If it really sought to expand markets, the place to begin is right at home. Instead, we've seen the opposite. It is closing markets, harassing successful entrepreneurs, and hobbling enterprise through high regulations.

Finally, the best one:
The beauty and glory of economic science is that it consists in a series of laws and principles that do not change according to time and place. The prescription for prosperity and stability and human economic flourishing is always and everywhere the same: freedom of association, freedom of contract, freedom of enterprise, freedom to trade across borders without penalty, sound money that is redeemable in something besides paper, private property rights, wages and prices that adjust by market conditions, and a legal structure that shores up these institutions rather than undermines them.

Seriously, read it all.

Private weather.

Santorum suggests limits on government competition with private firms.

I don't know if it's because he understands why someone without a profit motive can unfairly compete (and ultimately do the market and the consumer a disservice), or because he gets lots of money from private weather services, but at least it's a move in the right direction.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has criticized the bill, saying the NWS received nine million hits on its Web site during the four hurricanes that hit his state last year, and the information they were seeking went beyond that of the warnings issued.

Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, said it is a dangerous precedent to begin shutting down government services because the private sector offers it.

"It ... could have a domino effect," McLaughlin said.

Yes. Yes it could. Wouldn't that be wonderful

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On supporting the troops

More evidence the Administration doesn't.

Is this an administration you want sending your kids to war?

A couple of years too late

Maybe we could have done this research before we invaded, huh?

The thing that kills me is lots of people questioned the WMD location prior to invasion, and we were chided as being unpatriotic.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm Back!

We were on a cruise last week. I'll probably post a training cycle for the next couple of weeks, and maybe have a chance to post some other stuff... but I have to get caught up at work, first.

BTW, airport security is still a joke.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Training: Update

Took the week off. Was beat down a little from gardening and getting a grill purchased, home, and assembled, plus had lots to do this week.

No training or internet for the next week.

Starting the following week, I'll have a couple of cycles planned out to improve conditioning and really get going so I'll have some good results for a meet or two later in the year. Pretty happy with how the last three weeks went after having been off for so long.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Happy Tax Day!!

We sent ours this afternoon. Checks (not our total liability, mind you, just what we had to write checks for today) totalling more than the median household income in the US.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

FDA ban on ephedra overturned

Wow. I'm pretty suprised by this... but pleased.

Today, you are just a little safer when you fly.

Cigarette lighters are banned from all flights in the US.

Clearly, this has been an ongoing security issue, what with all the mid air cigarette lighter attacks. Oh, wait. There's only been that one guy wiht the bomb in his shoe. Oh, wait. He tried to use matches.

The genesis for the ban was Richard Reid, who tried unsuccessfully to light explosives hidden in his shoes on a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001. He used matches.
The sponsors of the ban, Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon, worried that a lighter might have worked.
"This is a commonsense step to protect passengers in the face of a proven threat," Wyden said.

Of course, had they located the bomb in his shoe the means to light it wouldn't be an issue. Boy I sure am glad congress is protecting me from lighters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Great stuff from the President

In the face of pretty much everyone knowing that there was no link between Iraq and terrorists, and that Iraq wasn't a threat to the US, the President continues the farce addressing the troops.

Some tasty little tidbits:
In his second visit to the huge Army base in little more than two weeks, Bush said terrorists made Iraq "a central front in the war on terror" and that by attacking them where they live "we do not have to face them where we live."

Yes, yes. It's the terrorists' fault we invaded Iraq. The terrorists funded by the Saudis, supported by Afganistan. Certainly Iraq had something to do with it.
"Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer live in fear of being executed and left in mass graves," Bush told the assembled military personnel, who responded with "hoo-ah" when the commander in chief made a point. "Because of you, freedom is taking root in Iraq. Our successes in Iraq will make America safer, for us and for future generations."

Interesting, I thought the goal was to kill terrorists. Apparently, we also want to spread democracy by force. Further, killing oh, 50,000 to 100,000 people certainly won't create a group of people who hate the US who didn't before we started.
"Freedom still faces dangerous adversaries," Bush said. "Terrorists still want to attack our people. But they're losing. These terrorists are losing the struggle because they're under constant pressure from our armed forces and they will remain under constant pressure from our armed forces."

And maybe we would have actually captured the leader of the terrorist group that attaced the US if we had focused the resources we have in Iraq on finding him in Afganistan.

Finally, my favorite quote, which is in this story:
"The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad will be recorded, alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall, as one of the great moments in the history of liberty," Bush said.

I think the President could stand a lesson in history and the significance of the Berlin Wall, as well as a quick vocabulary lesson focusing on the definition of 'Liberty'.

Morons in the media..

Bill O'Reilly is certainly one of them.

I certainly don't agree with every issue with the ACLU, but when the Feds try to shut down Mr O'Reilly's show, the ACLU will be there to support him.

Facists? I don't think so.

Hat tip: The Agitator

Friday, April 8, 2005

Training: Dynamic Effort Squat/Dead

Felt pretty good going in. The squats wore me out, and I took a little extra time getting setup and in and out of equipment.
Box Squat
8 sets of 2 @ 265

Rack pulls
3x3 @ 405

Pull thru superset with pull down abs
3x12 @ 120 (plus light band for pulldown abs)

Workout time: 1:10

Bar Blogging Update

373 as of April 7

Thats 3.84 bars a day. He's on a good pace.

TSA going away?

Sounds like we are going down that road.

Thank goodness. We can get back to private screeners, which worked just as well or better prior to the government taking over in a fit of we Must Do Something.

Now if they would just get out of the business altogether, and let the owners of the airplanes and passengers agree on appropriate levels of security... Wait, sorry... these are the same passengers who want the feds to continue the ban on cell phone use on airplanes.

Well, a guy can dream can't he.

Good read on the minimum wage

Written by someone who pays it.

Case Studies on the Minimum Wage

Via Catallarchy

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Airplanes and cell phones

68% of people surveyed don't want the FAA to lift the ban on in flight cell phone use.

At first, I was suprised at how many people understand how cell phones work and how they may or may not interfere with navigation and communication equipment.

But no. They don't want the ban lifted because it would be annoying. Yes, 68% of people think the government should ban annoying behavior. I would think farting a much bigger issue on flights, personally. I can see the regulation now.

No wonder the courts choose to ignore the constitution, I guess.

How is it people don't realize that the airlines can ban whatever they want on flights, and you can choose to fly on those that do or don't allow cell phone use (or provide quiet sections, maybe at a premium price) at will? Did no one take microeconomics?

More on Daylight Savings Time

Congress is thinking about extending daylight savings time.

"The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use," said Markey, who cited Transportation Department estimates that showed the two-month extension would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

But, daylight savings time doesn't actually add daylight. Maybe we should just get up earlier or go to bed later. Maybe, if we really need to conserve resources, those resources will be more expensive during nighttime hours? Of course, these mental giants forget that open businesses use lots and lots of energy during those daylight hours.

I need to buy an island. We'll never have to reset our watches.

$200 billion; 100,000 dead

Ron Paul asks 'Who's better off?

My answer? A very small group of politicians and companies.

The ends sure didn't justify the means when Clinton was in office? Why do they now?

Nanny State

Insists your car tell you when you have a flat.

I think it's more about this:
Tire monitoring systems are already installed on between 2 million and 4 million vehicles, mainly luxury vehicles.

Just one more added benefit that if we want, we can buy on our own.

(By the way, my POS company car, a Pontiac, has this feature. My Jaguar and Mercedes? Nope.)

What about the Constitution...

Court weighs application of Geneva Convention to gitmo detainee

The discussion seems to hinge on the Geneva Convention being reciprocal, which certainly it is not with terrorists.

But they ignore the larger issue. The Constitution applies to the actions of the Federal Government, and the government isn't playing by those rules.

The 'Free' State

Plans to force Wal-Mart to pay emplyees helath benefits, or steal the money for the state.

The Governor says he'll veto but there are apparently enough people in the legislature who are socialists to override his veto.

Low prices, lots of jobs... well, that's bad. Why isn't it OK to be a successful company, and why doesn't anyone understand that CONSUMERS seem to think Wal Mart is just fine?

Just what Maryland needs to attract successful companies, huh?

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Training: Max Effort Bench

Been a while. Decent session. I really need to work on getting into better shape.
2 Board press
285x3 (I think this is a PR, believe it or not)

Incline DB press


Side Cable laterals
2x10@ 30

hammer curls
2x5 @ 50

Organized Injustice

1040 Plunder.

I love the quotes from his children.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Not intrusive enough?

SCOTUS refuses to hear drug dog case, allowing a lower court ruling that it's perfectly OK to have a drug dog sniff your door without a warrant.

Screw the 4th Amendment, I guess. Although you have nothing to worry about if you aren't doing something wrong, right? At least until the dog gets it wrong, the police break down your door, and you pull a gun thinking someone is breaking in. Think it doesn't happen? Think again.

So, now, it's OK for the police to search the outside of your home, just not inside.

A Texas state court ruled last year that the dog sniff outside his garage was not intrusive enough to invoke constitutional protection. It also said police did not unlawfully trespass because the garage was along a sidewalk that visitors must walk to reach the front door. (Emphasis mine)

Not intrusive enough. Perfect.

Patriot Act debate

Provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire, starting debate.

We can only hope lawmakers refer to the Constitution. The entire thing should be scrapped, in my view. That won't happen, of course, because we Must Do Something. I guess our best hope is that some limitations are placed on the government.

Call your Representative or Senator, and let them know we don't need to sacrifice freedom for security.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Training: Max Effort Squat/Deadlift

A little slow tonight, but got in there.
Warmup - 5 mins elliptical, dynamic stretching

Good morning

PR for a triple is 280, I think.


Lying leg raises

Reverse side bends


Workout time: :40

Very funny

A little humor from Michael Paul Tuuri

Typical government solution.

I agree with the slow timers

Amish disagree on dalylight savings time.

I generally understand why we used to do it, but why do we still?

Anyone know?

Friday, April 1, 2005

Training: Dynamic Effort Squat/Dead

Felt really good today.
Warmup- 5 mins elliptical, dynamic stretching

Box squat
8 sets of 2 @ 245
Speed was good.

Rack pulls

2x3 @ 135

Pull thru 3x10 @ 120
superset with
pull down abs 3x12 @120 plus light band


Workout time: 1:20

Fool me once...

More required reading from Harry Browne.

An awful lot of dead people because of an 'imminent threat' who didn't have anything to use as a weapon (except perhaps a little of the stuff we gave them left over).

Government sex sites

Activists are upset about the content of federal government web sites that promote abstinance. Of course, they want the govenrment to also have information regarding contraception on the sites.

How about we take a step back for a second, and figure out why our tax money is being spent on government websites that tell parents how to talk to their kids about sex. And then put a stop to it.