Wednesday, May 24, 2006

When it's THEIR rights, the Constitution matters!

Unfortunately, they still don't seem to understand the document. Congressional leaders on both sides are all in a tizzy about the FBI serving a search warrant on Congressman William Jefferson's office. If you are not familiar with Jefferson, he's the jackass who used the National Guard to get him back to his house in New Orleans (while there were still people trapped, mind you) after the hurricane. He is now accused (mostly due to videotape) of taking bribes.

Thing is, the check to the executive branch power is there. That's why the warrant was required!

Here are some absolutely fantasitc quotes from these noble defenders of the Constitution:

"I clearly have serious concerns about what happened and whether people at the Justice Department have looked at the Constitution lately," said House Majority Leader John Boehner.

"I've got to believe that at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court," the Ohio Republican added.
Ahh, yes. And the two fellows you confirmed this year, how do you think they'll rule?
The House's No. 2 Democrat, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, said it was another example of the Bush administration's disregard for limits on its power.

"No member is above the law, but the institution has a right to protect itself against the executive department going into our offices," Hoyer said.

He and others were careful to say the Justice Department should investigate wrongdoing by members of Congress.
Perhaps Mr. Hoyer should be a little more concerned about the government coming into MY house.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist expressed concern about the search and Mississippi Republican Trent Lott said his Rules Committee was looking into the situation.

"There's a right way and a wrong way to do everything," Lott said. "We don't want a situation where the FBI just shows up at will and starts rummaging around here."
But they didn't just show up in SWAT gear like they do to enforce the draconian drug laws Mr Lott is such a fan of... they show up in suits with a WARRANT!

As usual, these folks are completely disconnected from reality. How can they not recognise how remarkably stupid their position is, and how hypocritical they are? Their offices are not sacred ground when it comes to criminal investigation. So long as the Executive branch follows the 4th amendment.

Speaking of the 4th amendment, I wonder if Messers Hoyer, Hastert, and Lott are going to vote for or against the confirmation of Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden. If they vote yes (which they will), they can shove thier 'don't understand the Constitution' whining.

I sure do hope someone somewhere reminds them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

President gets one right!

I was watching CNN this morning at the car dealership (R&H Mercedes, by the way, has a best in class service department) and saw part of the President's 'question and answer' session at some sort of foodservice convention.

As one would expect, the questions were, if not planted, quite well screened and rehearsed. After the obligatory 'we are gettin' those terrorists in Iraq' (even though that's not where Osama is), the President took a question on health care.

He discussed Medicare, and how wonderful it is that the government provides healthcare and (now) prescription meds for old people. Then he started talking about how the market is a good thing, and that he would like to see a system where you have catastrophic health care coverage, and a medical savings account (much like a 401k, but for health care costs) that is tax free.

Something we crazy Libertarians have been suggesting for years!

Good for you, Mr. President.

One other thing I noticed, he's been working on his delivery. He sounded much more polished, confident, and less 'smirky' than I've seen him.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Training: Week 1 RE Deadlift

Being out of shape sucks.
Wamup - 5 mins elliptical

Pretty easy.

45 degree hypers


Lots of stretching

Workout time 6:05 - 6:40


Seriously. 'Lavender' Graduations. Stupid.

Isn't the point to NOT have to wear a badge or stand out? I would think this a step in the wrong direction. Wearing a rainbow tassle just doesn't say, "I'm gay, but I should be treated the same as everyone else because my being gay has nothing to do with how good an employee or how good a person I am."

Instead it says, "Hire me, and I can guarantee I will make my coworkers uncomfortable, and I'll probably sue you."

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Training: Week 1, RE Bench

Way out of shape, but it felt good to get in the gym. Weights are currently pathetic, but I haven't trained for more than 3 months.
Warmup - 5 mins elliptical, lower back stretching

Bench press
2x20 @ 45
3x3 @ 225

Hammer Row
2x6 @ 180

Single arm pullovers
2x10 @ 15

Barbell cuban press
2x10 @ 45


Workout time: 5:45 - 6:20

Training notes: Felt pretty good, good pace. Winded at end.

Nutrition: Not bad. I actually ate some vegatables, and I didn't buy lunch.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dear Left Wing: You got what you wanted, why are you complaining?

I am a real Libertarian. The folks over at Q and O call themselves 'neolibertarians', which from what I can tell, are pretty much libertarian leaning Republicans. There are a number of key issues where I do not share their views, but I can not deny they are a smart group of people.

Yesterday, they posted a very good article pointing out how we ended up giving up Liberty for security... and it isn't all W's fault (although he's still taking a dump all over the Constitution, he's not the only one doing it)

The well made point: If you can't target your security to a small subset of likely participants in a crime, you have to cast a wide net. The Left says it's mean to single out Islamic Arabs, so everyone has to be searched. The same logic gets the government with a list of all of our phone calls, instead of getting warrants for a few.

Of course, this also shows how well the current Administration lines up with the Left.

Your answer to this question shows where you line up:
So, would'ja rather have an open society, or more effective counter-terrorism security? If you choose the former, then you must accept that the risk of a major terrorist attack increases. If you choose the latter, then you are choosing to give up some liberty.

My answer is the former. There are risks associated with Liberty. I'll take them any day over the risk associated with the government taking my Liberty to protect me from mean people.

Another fitting analogy - are you better off with a loaded shotgun in your house when someone breaks in, or unarmed dialing 911.

Picking 'more effective counter terrorism security' is like giving your shotgun away and hoping the police show up before the intruder kills you.

The terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 were a direct result of the relinqueshment of Liberty for security.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Music Review

Tool. 10,000 days.

Get it.

On the NSA Phone records story...

A good roundup of stuff at Reason.

From my point of view, I just want to address one point. I hopped in my car today to go get my fill of soon to be illegal, regulated, and or taxed McDonalds food, I turned on WBAL, forgetting that it was after noon, and Rush would be on.

In about 30 seconds, he had me furious.

He suggested that there is nothing at all wrong with the government obtaining and reviewing 10 million phone records. Why? EZ Pass.

Apparently, he thinks that since the government can track your coming and going via EZ Pass, that means it's perfectly fine to review your phone records. Plus, Clinton did it, and no one cared then (the usual moronic Rush position). He went on to explain that people who surf the web have their activity tracked by a host of organizations.

Let me explain a little something to El Rushbo (as I'm sure he reads this humble blog):

I CHOOSE EZ PASS. I am not forced to use EZ Pass, I can freely not use EZ Pass if I wish the government not be able to track my movement (ignoring temporarily that the government should not use EZ pass to track my movement and that toll roads not owned by the government would be my preferred means of travel were it available). I did not know the government was looking at my phone records, and I do not have a choice if they decide they want to look at them after the fact.

There is a huge distinction here. It is a clear violation of the Constitution to, without a warrant and without probable cause, review the records held by a private company on my use of their product. It is not a violation of the Constitution to look at what toll booths I drove through, when I choose to use a government sponsored electronic device to pay the tolls. (It would be, however, if I did not know that was happening and I had no other choice.) Put another way - I am consenting to government search when I use EZ Pass. I was not when I called my friend Muhammed to ask how his flying lessons were going two weeks ago. (You deserve what you get if you are so stupid you assume Muhammed is a criminal based on our conversation, by the way. And yes, I know that just got me on yet another NSA list.)

It. Is. Not. OK.

Violating our rights doesn't make us safe. It makes us less safe.

Required Reading

Michael Rozeff on Public Opinion, Sovereignty, and Preemptive War. From Lew Rockwell, where else?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'll take people who shouldn't be in charge of spying for $600, Alex

The choices a President makes say a alot about the President. They also underline the importance of not electing another Bush, even if you like tax cuts and hate terrorists.

The guy President Bush wants to put in charge of the CIA doesn't understand the Fourth Amendment.

That's probably the important one, eh?

Note my suprise that someone this administration nominates to a post doesn't understand the Constitution. Quite shocking.

Fair housing?

Via Liberty Belles comes this post linking to a story in the NY Times about a lawsuit against Craigslist because they allow posts that limit potential roomates and renters.

What the Belles miss is the application of that to Fair Housing laws in general. If you can recognise it's stupid in the Craigslist context, how can you not realise it's stupid in any context?

My wife is the Rockstar Realtor (I am known as 'Jamie Mason's Husband' in Baltimore). She can not answer questions like the following because of fair housing:

Do lots of gay people live in the neighborhood?
Will my children have other kids to play with?
Is this a racially diverse area?
Are there any other Jewish families nearby?
Are many of the people who live here single?

None of those questions should raise any issue, especially when put in context. For example, the gay people question was asked by a gay couple. They were trying to find out how comfortable they might be in an area, and wanted to be able to make an informed descision about where they choose to live. If they ask that question about a neighborhood where all of the residents are married couples with little kids, the gay couple might not be comfortable living there. Who does answering that question hurt?

Frankly, if you don't want to sell your house to a black person, I don't care. You're an idiot racist, but it's your house. If you don't want to live near black people, or gay people, or whomever, who cares? It's not like they'll miss you. I sure as hell don't want any little kids living in my neighborhood (which is why we live near the gay people), why can't I find this out before I move in?

If you can see the folly in the Craigslist issue, go ahead and take the leap and see the folly everywhere.

(By the way, I CAN answer those questions, so feel free to ask me.)

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Immigration Plan

Here's a plan you'll never see enacted, but is pretty close to right in the current environment.

Ron Paul on gas prices

It may not fit in a sound bite, but it's right.

Paul points out correctly that gas prices are a function of supply and demand, the market at work. They are always trying to reach a 'market clearing' price, the price at which the gas station's tanks are empty just as a truck pulls up to refill them. (It's a little more complicated than that because of the ancillary items people buy when they stop to get gas, as well as competition and government meddling, but it's good enough for now.)

Most people understand that federal restrictions on exploring, drilling, and refining domestic oil have made us dependent on various questionable Middle East governments. We should expand this into a greater understanding of how American foreign policy increases gas prices here at home. Before the war in Iraq, oil was about $28 per barrel. Today it is over $70. Iraq was a significant source of worldwide oil, but its production has dropped 50% since 2002. Pipeline sabotage and fires are routine; we have been unable to prevent them. Furthermore, the general instability in the Middle East created by the war causes oil prices to rise everywhere.

This is another one of those 'I told you so' moments for those of us who were against the invasion of Iraq from the get go. The invasion isn't the only reason for the increase, and we don't know what may have happened without the invasion, but I'd bet what it costs to fill up my tank that prices would be lower now had there been no invasion.

If we want to do something about gas prices, we should demand greatly reduced welfare and military spending, a balanced budget, and fewer regulations that interfere with the market development of alternative fuels. All subsidies and special benefits to energy companies should be ended. We also should demand a return to a sound commodity monetary system.

Quite a sound argument can be made that the government regulation of the market is the reason there are not alternative fuel sources for transportation, or other means of transportation than the internal combustion engined automobile. It is also very important to note the need for a sound monetary system. Basic Economics - print more dollars with nothing but faith and credit to back them up, and each of those dollars buy less stuff.
And in the meantime, let’s eliminate federal gas taxes at the pump. That alone would save Americans 18.4 cents per gallon. By contrast, oil companies only make about 10 cents per gallon. So maybe it’s government that’s being greedy.

You should be offended any time some moron refers to what gas companies do as 'profit taking'. No profit = no gas. And they don't take their cut by force like the government does. Who's the criminal?

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Power Surge

Gene healy and Timothy Lynch from the Cato Institute (you know, that right wing think tank), have published "Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush."

From the Executive Summary:
Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power. In its official legal briefs and public actions, the Bush administration has advanced a view of federal power that is astonishingly broad, a view that includes

- A federal government empowered to regulate core political speech—and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
- A president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
- A president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as "enemy combatants," strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror— in other words, perhaps forever; and
- A federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.

President Bush's constitutional vision is, in short, sharply at odds with the text, history, and structure of our Constitution, which authorizes a government of limited powers.
I'll say. Read the whole thing, it's fantastic.

Required Reading

I've said for some time the biggest postitive of immigration from Mexico to the US will be the exposure of the weaknesses of the welfare state. For a true free society, the borders should be free... you don't have to be a citizen to have the freedom to travel, work, or live here.

This is a fantastic piece on immigration at Lew Rockwell. Read it.

Monday, May 1, 2006

May Day

Again this year, Catallarchy reminds us of those harmed by states promising a workers' paradise.

Read all of them.

Training: Cycle 1, Day 1

Boy. I am out of shape.
Warmup: 5 mins elliptical, duck unders, prisoner squats


Felt OK, my hamstrings are really tight.


Bench situps

Lots of stretching

Worklout time: <30 minutes

Ovarall, I didn't feel like I was in the groove... but I didn't eat well today. I think the last time I did this it took a couple of cycles to really get back into it.

I also came up with the goal to move on to meet training - Squat and deadlift 5x315x5. The deadlift will probably get there first.

As far as nutrition goes, I didn't hit most of the daily goals. I need to get shopping to get more mobile food. Lifestyle, well, I dipped and bought lunch.


Some say it's all in the planning, others in the execution.

I'm living proof that execution is a requirement. If it were all planning, I'd squat 750.

That said, I'm getting back to it. The old house is on the market, the new house is slowly coming together. The next big hurdle is to get 2 pieces of furniture in - they won't fit up the stairs, so one has to be hoisted to the third floor (bedroom) on to a small balcony and through French (or shoudl that be 'freedom') doors. The second is an entertainment center that has to be walked around the end of the row of houses, hoisted up a level to the back decks, then walked over 3 decks to get to our back door, then in. We have a referral for a moving company that may be able to do this... I'm waiting to hear back.

Once that's done, we have one more Ikea thing to put to gether in the loft, and I need to get a temporary desk for our home PC. Then we can pretty much unpack.

I'm starting back to the gym, though, as it's been long enough, and I need to get back on track for my mental and physical well being. As usual, I have a plan. I've included some basic nutrition stuff, as well as some lifestyle things I need to get under control. I'm also going to get back to posting updates daily, including training sessions. The board is a neat feature, but I just don't have time to promote it or use it. I'll keep it up and running for now.

I'll do my best to use the blog as an accountability tool, and report back on everything. Long term, I'd like to get in a meet by the end of the year.

[RE = Repetitive Effort]

Training (Weeks 1-3)
Cardio 4 times a week (use treadmill at home)
Train @ gym 4 days/week
2 Lower
Monday – RE Squat (Squat, front squat, SLDL, low back, abs, calves)
Friday – RE Dead (Deadlift, Good Morning, Traps, low back, abs, grip)
2 Upper
Wednesday – RE Bench (Bench, OH Press, Row, pressdowns, curls)
Sunday – RE DB Bench (Db Bench, Close grips, Chin, lat raise, cuff stuff)
Dynamic warmup each workout
Stretch after each workout, and after any extra workout

Use RE work – reps 8-12
3-5 sets
Shoot for short rests.

Bench, squat, dead each week.

Training (Weeks 3-6)
Cardio 4x per week
Increase volume

Go back to standard conjugated periodization template (ME/DE)
Train 4x every week

See Above

Stop eating out
5 veggies per day
2 fruits per day
250g protein per day
STOP ice cream, sugar sodas, pizza, chips, etc.

NO Tobacco.
Limit alcohol
Get 7 hours sleep each night
Stop spending money like an idiot.