Wednesday, November 30, 2005

War can be funny...

Well, OK, it makes our President funny?

A series of photos at Wonkette showing the President's evolving vision on the War in Iraq.

I wonder if he's embarassed? Probably not.

Hold them ALL responsible

Hilliary Clinton says she's responsible for her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq (even though at the time, idiots like me already knew it was the wrong thing to do.)

She didn't admit it was a mistake, though.

I hope voters remember that when she runs for President. She, and all the Senators and Representatives who voted to allow it are responsible.

One more example

Of the unbelievable abuse of power by this Administration.

This time? Well, they are paying Iraqi newspapers to run favorable stories. Some people might call that propaganda, but certainly those people are unpatriotic fools who don't support the troops and love terrorists.

And they know it's wrong!
The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.

All the while...
It comes as the State Department is training Iraqi reporters in basic journalism skills and Western media ethics, including one workshop titled "The Role of Press in a Democratic Society." Standards vary widely at Iraqi newspapers, many of which are shoestring operations.

Underscoring the importance U.S. officials place on development of a Western-style media, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday cited the proliferation of news organizations in Iraq as one of the country's great successes since the ouster of President Saddam Hussein. The hundreds of newspapers, television stations and other "free media" offer a "relief valve" for the Iraqi public to debate the issues of their burgeoning democracy, Rumsfeld said.

Of course, they ARE shoing them how we do it here..
The Bush administration has come under criticism for distributing video and news stories in the United States without identifying the federal government as their source and for paying American journalists to promote administration policies, practices the Government Accountability Office has labeled "covert propaganda."

And of course, the theme of the entire war:
"Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories," said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.

Read the whole thing. It's incredible.

I used to think nothing would be worse for this country than the 8 years with Bill Cinton as President - I was horribly, horribly wrong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm speechless

Which is probably a good thing, given this story. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin testified before Congress today, telling them we must do something about nasty stuff on cable

The quote:
"You can always turn the television off and, of course, block the channels you don't want," Martin said, "but why should you have to?"

I guess it's a good thing I'm speechless... this smaller government/more freedom Administration might decide that they shouldn't have to hear what I say.

Training: Prep Phase, Cycle 1, Day 2

Easing back into it, today again is a victory for just getting there, not what I did there.
5 mins elliptical, level 3
front side and rear shoulder raises, 2x15 w/ 5 pounds
Dynamic stretching

Bench press
2x15 @ 45
2x5 @ 185

Felt unstable, all reps paused.

HS row
2x15 @ 1pps

DB pullover (on bench, db in each hand)
3x15 @ 10

Treadmill: 15 mins, .7 miles, 100 cals.

Workout time: 1:00

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Training: Prep Phase, Cycle 1, Day 1

The best thing about this workout is that it's a workout. I'm doing a preparatory phase to get back into things, improve mobility, conditioning, and get my strength back to acceptable levels. That'll last 3-6 cycles, depending on how I progress, then I'll get into a specific conditioning phase that will get me back to the normal template. I assume that will last 3-6 weeks, then we'll go GFH. There is a meet in May in DC. The goal is to be there and lift.

Specific goals for this phase:
Improve mobility (able to perform lifts with proper form)
Improve conditioning (able to complete cardio and make it thru a workout)
Be consistent (make it to every workout)

Specific goals for this cycle:
Train Sun, Tues, Thurs, Sat
:45 treadmill
Do warmups every workout
5 mins elliptical level 3
Forward Step overs (rack hole 1) 1x10 each leg
Side Stepovers (rack hole 1) 1x10 each leg
Duck unders (hooks at 4 from top) 1x20


Very easy, a little winded, form a little off, hard to hit depth without rounding back, so need to work on flexibility and mobility

Hypers superset with bench situps

Lots of stretching

Workout time: :40

1000 Bars

Dan the Bar Man is almost there.

He'll hit 1000 on Dec 30.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

No link

Days after 9/11/2001, the CIA says there is no link between Saddam Hussien and Al Queda.

I mention this because driving home one day last week, I stumbled across the remarkable idiot Roger Hedgecock subbing for Rush Limbaugh (who Hitchcock makes sound like a savant). One of his discussion points: the proof that Iraq and Al Queda were linked. He didn't ever actually mention where the proof came from, but he claimed it.

The CIA couldn't find it. How did he?

I'm tired of the boondoggle in Iraq being called the 'War on Terror'. It isn't. It never was.

Friday, November 25, 2005

There's a reason they don't want you paying attention...

The Bush administration decided to charge Jose Padilla with a crime. Why? Because his laywers are getting close to having the Supreme Court hear his case regarding the indefinate incarceration of anyone deemed an 'enemy combatant'.

See, even though it appears the Bush administration is unable to comprehend the Constitution, they can. So they certainly don't want this in front of the Supreme Court (although their ability to read the Constitution is questionable).

There is simply no argument that backs up what they are doing, and they don't want to have to make one. Couple that with the possibility of the use of questionable tactics when questioning the detainees. As usual, this administration isn't willing to stand up to a Constitutional challenge.

This is important stuff. Naturally, that's why I found it in the Financial Times instead of the Washington Times.

Edgy Earth Day?

Proving that idiots abound, there is a movement called 'Buy Nothing Day', which is apparently a protest against rampant consumerism.

Now, on the surface of it, I really do think this type of thing is fine - everyone has the right to protest as they see fit, if they think this really is important, good for them. The idiocy comes from some of the things they say.
Wired News: How are you using the internet to spread the word about BND?

Kalle Lasn: BND was a relatively insignificant event in its early days. It wasn't until we put the campaign on the internet that it took off worldwide.... That synergy that we created on the internet was what really launched BND into the worldwide event that it is today....

(Using a new message-board system) we've managed to basically create these BND headquarters in cities around the world.... We have 85,000 culture jammers around the world who have signed up for our culture-jammers network and who receive our listservs and who then decide if they want to go the extra step and join a JammerGroup.

WN: What about the use of blogs?

Lasn:: Buy Nothing Day has become this huge phenomenon around the world. It's sort of like an edgy Earth Day and people are doing all sorts of things including blogs. But I have to tell you that there is also a downside to blogs. There are a number of people who think they are activists if they start a blog and talk sustainability.

I think there is more to it than that. The downside of the internet is that it has spawned a generation of activists who are actually very passive, who basically forward an e-mail to a friend and they think they are being some kind of an activist, and to me that is not the sort of activism that is effective.

Yeah. It's huge. Edgy. Using blogs. Unfortunately, no one really noticed.
WN: You mentioned advertising culture on the internet is getting worse. Do you see yourselves having to engage with internet advertising culture, too?

Lasn: We are brainstorming all the time on ways to get people to unplug, ways to get people to stop living in the virtual world and start living in the real world.

People who grew up with the internet or iPods, that whole digital revolution, are the first generation that spend more time in the electronic environment than they do in the natural environment. So we are definitely going to try and launch social-marketing campaigns that encourage people to just unplug, just to pull out of the virtual electronic environment and try to live more than half their lives in the real world.

Huh? I thought the blogs made the movement edgy. Now the internets is bad?
WN: Some people criticize BND as teenage high jinks, or bad for the country considering we're at war and shopping is patriotic. How do you respond?

Lasn: Over-consumption in the so-called First World has ecological implications. It's one of the root causes of the ecological crisis we are in. I think it has psychological consequences because we have become consumer drones who live lives of consumption, suffering from mood disorders.
And since Sept. 11, many people have realized that over-consumption has political dimensions. Many people are angry at us because of how we control the global economy. So there is an ecological, psychological and political dimension to BND, and people who don't get it should look a little bit deeper.

Now, I do think the 'unpatriotic' tag is just as stupid as BND, but this is pretty unreal. They hate us because we go to the mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Now, I don't go shopping on Black Friday, mostly because I don't like crowds, I don't have fun fighting for parking spots, and I'm willing to forgo the potential savings of the sales for shopping enjoyment. That's the way the market works, something these folks don't seem to like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I just got a reason to root for Kurt.

And keep pulling for the Blue Deuce.

Busch was suspended by Rousch Racing for getting a reckless driving citation and having a bit of an altercation with a certainly fine member of the law enforcement community.

The aforementioned law officer suggested that Kurt smelled like he has alcohol on his breath. Bush was uncooperative about the breath test (as any person should be, given the gross violation of the Constitution breath tests are), and the equipment down at the station malfunctioned.

Without worrying about both sides of the story, Rousch racing suspended him, and Diego (the owners of Crown Royal, one of Busch's sponsors) agreed, what with their 'responsible drinking' message.

Lo and behold, his BAC has been released. A whopping .017. Approximately what it is after you use mouthwash.

So I can keep not liking Rousch, and keep rooting for the #2, because Kurt stood up for himself, and Rousch pretty much jumped on any chance to get him out of the car for spite. Kurt should wear Miller Lite patches at the points ceremony.

Stressed out and frustrated...

Boy, am I.

I mentioned below that we are buying a new house. New construction, which means we have selections to make, and some custom things we want to do. Of course, all of those choices need to be done right this minute, and they all rely on some other choice we haven't made yet...

Couple that with Mrs Stagg being the realtor representing the seller on the development where we are buying, so she's got to go thru this with 4 other people right now...

Add to that her normal hectic schedule, so she's a stressed out wreck who has time to eat (sometimes) and try to get some sleep...

Toss in my own work stress - normally I have a reasonably low stress job. I often end up with fires to put out, but they are manageble. For some reason the last couple of weeks have just been killing me. Part of that is my own doing, not effectively managing some projects that I'm working on that I now have to finish up, plus some additional planning stresss. I have to negotiate rates with service providers, and of course am under pressure from my leadership to keep costs under control, and under pressure from service providers to make sure rates are fair (and of course, the stress of negotiations).

Top that all off with the cycle of being too busy to get to the gym, which eliminates an outlet for stress relief, which stresses me out more!

You'll note it took me forever to get back, and then a gap after the first day back. I had hoped to go today, but it isn't going to happen - I have to finish up some work stuff, get to an appliance retailer (or two), get appliance choices to the builder, get the house cleaned up so our housekeeper can clean, try to keep both of us fed without spending too much money because our $30k upgrades budget is looking more like $60K, get the car in for a recall notice, wash the dog, do laundry, get to our current mortgage company's office to get insurance checks from months ago signed so we can pay a contractor, call my mom, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something.

It sure is going to be an awesome house, though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An example to give to your Left leaning friends

There has been a little looking into the FDA regarding the Plan B 'morning after' pill decision. It appears there may have been some politics at work when the FDA rejected making the drug available over the counter.

The important parts of the story are not the specifics. (While interesting, they more give you a look into the workings of the FDA.) The important thing to note is that the FDA operates exactly as the NHTSA, FTC, FAA, Homeland Security, Department of Education, etc.

What does that mean? Well, that means that having the goverment involved in the regulation of things that do not fit under the Constitution, and having the goverment regulate things that are best left to individuals to decide, is always bad.

Even when you agree with it. Because someday, the government will use that power for something you don't like.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Training: Max Effort Squat/Dead

Well, not really max effort. Finally got back in, I think we'll do a 3 week prep phase to get back into the swing of things, build work capacity, and build momentum.

Prep Phase, Cycle 1, Day 1

Pretty easy

Leg press


Pull down abs


workout time: :45

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What makes Palmiero a scumbag?

I'll tell you. It's not that he might have lied to congress - they don't seem to think so.

It's not that he used steroids. Professional athletes use a variety of performance enhancing drugs, and I have no trouble with it unless they are participating in a sport where there is a non-tested alternative. (Powerlifting, for example. Someone competing in the USAPL on gear is a jackass, because they have non-tested places to compete.)

It's because of this:
Palmeiro, 41, said yesterday he didn't intentionally take the substance and it may have entered his body through a vitamin B-12 shot he received from a teammate. He was tested for drugs May 4, seven weeks after his appearance before Congress.

How stupid do you think we are? 'Tainted'? How? Reusing a syringe? You used, you got caught, you even got to have your little day in the spotlight after you knew you had failed the test but before baseball suspended you, and now you take ZERO responsibility for it. You blame someone else, and make a claim that is pretty rediculous, hoping the public will buy it.

Crime Rate in Baltimore

Must be lower than ever... at least, that's what I must assume given the Baltimore Police Department's November 4 raid on a private club that netted 80 poker players.

What's funny about it is that the police were as effective at getting convictions against poker players as they are against rapists and murderers. Because they can't fill out the forms with the right code, everyone was let go.

There does seem to be a little sanity in the prosecutors' office:
Prosecutors said they're dropping the charges for a variety of reasons: Police used the wrong subsection of the law when they filled out the citations. It is not entirely clear that the right subsection would have been properly applied in this case. And recharging the players and taking them to court would tie up the city's already well-stretched resources.

"We don't believe there will be any new charges filed against the players," said Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Deros, chief attorney at the Eastside District Court, after reviewing the citations and obtaining final approval to dismiss them from city State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.

Deros said part of the decision has to do with "judicial economy," or the cost of processing the cases. If the poker players requested jury trials, as is their right, the court system could become even more overburdened, she said.

The guy in charge is running for Governor. And he'll probably win.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Sonos. The coolest thing. Ever.

It's always been (and probably always will be) my position that this blog will not be a commercial venture. I won't put ads up and I won't endorse products (like that would really do anyone any good, anyway) in return for compensation. I want to ensure this is always my honest opinion, never swayed by ad revenue. This is my personal space, and I've invited you to read along and comment, not to try to make a nickel for every google ad you click on.

Sonos, however, is the coolest thing ever

The Sonos system is a whole house music solution which incorporates the best of a traditional system, and does it using wireless technology. The bones of the system are Zone Players. One of them must be connected directly to your computer or network via ethernet, the others can be connected or they can run on the wireless network. They are small amps that can easily run a pair of peakers and a powered sub - they also have line in and out, so you can hook one up to a traditional reciever and run it through your high end sound system, as well as play traditional media via the line in. The boxes are about the size of two bricks, easily hidden, but also smartly designed as to look ok sitting out on a shelf or table.

The heart of the system is the remote. Simply the best designed, most intutive thing I've ever touched. With a touch of a finger, you have access to the entire network, music on your PC, internet radio, and individual components (although they must be individually controlled with their own remotes).

The system allows 32 ZPs to be run on the network, and allows different music in each zone, or allows the ZPs to be linked so they play the same thing. Fantastic! I can't wait to get all my music ripped to my PC, and put my CDs in my new garage! I'll have access to all of my music, anywhere in the house, with the ability to create playlists!!! The system comes preprogrammed wiht about 70 interent radio stations, you can add your favorites.

I purchased the introductory bundle, which consists of two Zone Players and a remote. One of the Zone Players is connected via ethernet cable to my home network, the other is located in my living room. 30 minutes out of the box, I had it working. I have yet to read the manual.

Far less expensive than the alternative, well designed, and excellent execution. I haven't been this in to music since I got out of college.

Congratulations Tony Stewart

On clinching the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series points championship. As long as he starts both races remaining, Greg Biffle can only make up 302 points, and currently, Stewart has a 303 point lead.

But wait, you say - according to NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson is 38 points back, and Carl Edwards is 3rd 77 points back. Balderdash, I say. I refuse to recognize the silly 'chase'. If you count the points scored through the year, the guy who scores the most is the champ. What NASCAR does is give more points to the people in the top ten (but not the same number to each - the ones further behind get more points to make the 'chase' artificially close), points they didn't actually earn in races.

Last year, Jeff Gordon won his 5th points championship, and they gave the trophy and the money to Kurt Busch. I had hoped that would teach NASCAR a lesson, given Busch's inability to carry himself as a champ. This year, it looks like the right guy might get what he deserves.

By the way - Carl Edwards is the real deal. We may never see another 50 race winner, but if we do, he'll be it.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Congress does something right!!

In the interest of fairness, I thought it important to note that occasionally, Congress gets something right.

They did when they passed the Private Property Protection Act of 2005, which would make the rediculous New London ruling earlier this year moot.

Interesting how property rights can bring everyone together. I wonder why more people don't see that, and recognize that taking property rights to their logical end is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Lets spread some democracy and Liberty, shall we...

The best way to do that? Take 13,000 people, and put them in prisons (where some of them are tortured) without any due process.

That's what the United States government is doing.

Proud? Then read your Constitution again.

Yesterday, the United States government released 500 prisoners from Abu Ghraib. 500. In. One. Day. A goodwill gesture for the end of Ramadan. This is in addition to 1000 released at the beginning of Ramadan.

The detainees were presented with a Koran and $25 on their release which marked Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Their release was in addition to 1,000 prisoners set free in October at the start of the month of fasting.

All 1,500, who also received traditional white shirts, were released after their cases went before an Iraqi-led review board and were found not to have committed serious or violent crimes, the U.S. military said in a statement.

"These detainees have confessed to their crimes, renounced violence and pledged to be good citizens of Iraq," it said.

Now, I'm not an expert on the criminal justice system in Iraq, but I'm going to take a wild guess that they didn't hold 500 hearings the day before yesterday to determine these 500 people should not be imprisoned... so the United States government not only holds people prisoner with no due process, but holds them even after they have determined they don't need to hold them, and sets them free en masse to make a gesture. A political gesture.

I'm disgusted and outraged.

You aren't? Then explain to me how this is in any way 'spreading Liberty'.

There is a reason the power of government is limited

And there is a reason it must stay that way.

Read this story. Everywhere you see the word 'bag' substitute 'house'. Everywhere you see the words 'war on terror', substitute the words 'war on drugs'.

If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about, right. Untill, of course, they take your right to political speech away. Then they can search your house for books they don't like.

The 'smaller government, personal responsiblity' Administration? Well, they support NYC's efforts to further erode your right to be secure in your person and papers.

You are not safer when they search my bag, you are less safe from them. And they are grabbing more and more power every chance they get.

One step at a time.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

20-19 loss against the Steelers in Pittsburgh on MNF.

The frustrating part isn't the loss. It's that if the Ravens played like that every game this year, they would be 5-2, not 2-5. Save for a couple of bonehead moves by a quarterback who seems intent on showing every game why he's a backup, they played with heart, intensity, and did the things that winning teams do.

I just don't understand why they can't do that all the time. Every other game I've seen this year, it looks like they simply don't care if they win or lose. I still think there is a severe coaching issue... but I'll change my tune if they win out and make it to the playoffs.

Yes, I think it will take 11-5 to get to the playoffs from the AFC North. While 10-6 might get it done, I think there will be too many teams that beat the Ravens in tiebreakers at 10-6.

What do I really think will happen? They might go on a run, but I'd be shocked if they finish any better than 6-10.