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Archive for 2013

No, I will not shave my legs.

Definitely not now.  I am being hassled by several people I ride with during the week to “get with it”.  Apparently I will miss the benefits of embrocation.  Until recently I didn’t even know what that is.  It’s muscle warming gel.  Hmmm.   Sounds like glorified Icy Hot.  Here are the main reasons I will not shave my legs to ride a bike:

1. My legs are still skinny.  They must be proportionally stronger than most other riders because I’m laying waste to many guys in their 20’s and 30’s during 18-20 mile FSR rides but they are still skinny.  I’m still having a hard time adjusting to Lycra after a decade without it.  I couldn’t imagine shaving yet.  I’ve actually been told I should shave if for no other reason than “it’s sexy”.  You mean scary?  I have small calves and 40 year old, scared knees.

2. It’s mostly vanity.  Unless you need that extra few seconds in a road race (I don’t ride on the road) then there are absolutely no performance advantages.  If I learn that I could drop a few minutes off 10 miles off road then I might be more receptive.

3. I want to be the underdog.  I want a podium finish to prove fur can blur.  Go ahead.  Size me up.  Look at my skinny, hairy legs and get confident.  Then try to figure out why you are losing sight of my ass while I put a 1/4 mile between us.

It’s easier to get away with unshaven legs at a mountain bike race than a cyclocross race.   There is no where near the level of roadie saturation in MTB.  If I learn that this mysterious “embrocation” holds value during the CX season, September to January, I might consider it.  Of course, that would also be during the months that I wear jeans to work so I can pull it off without shock and awe.

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1-2 = Unsustainable. Why do we ignore the math?

The US government and large corporations are counting on Americans growing ignorance in mathematics.  The US economy is on an unsustainable path and despite Republican hopes that it is all a “spending problem”, sorry, it is not a spending problem alone.  There are revenue and trade deficit problems as well.  Let’s look at some simpler numbers to understand the real effects of Free Trade Agreements and their effects on the US trade deficit:

When NAFTA was passed and signed by Bill Clinton in 1993, with applause and love from big business, the US had a trade SURPLUS with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  We now have a trade deficit of 16.3 billion with Mexico because many companies, including Ford, sent their US manufacturing jobs to the land of cheap labor.

In 1985 we had a trade deficit with China of just over $2 million, yes million with a small m, and as of 2010 this deficit had boomed to a world history high of $283 billion.  Ya, that worked.

Free Trade Agreements have been sold by both political parties since the 90’s as “good for America”.  Yes, even Barack Obama used those words.  So he lied to because the math shows that these agreements have been horribly bad for most working Americans while enriching large corporations, the wealthy and other nations.  We handed them jobs.  How many?  Since 2001 53,000 US manufacturing facilities have closed.  It is estimated that over 20 million US jobs left the country thanks to Free Trade Agreements.  All touted by the “job creators” as good for America.

The growing trade deficit can’t be explained away by blaming the US government for too much spending.  This trade deficit is overwhelmingly the result of US consumer spending on foreign goods, not government spending.  Sorry Tea Party, no smoking gun or ammunition here for a misguided rant.  You can however blame both political parties for looking out for the corporations touting themselves as “job creators”.  Yep, they are creating jobs alright.  In Mexico, India, Bangladesh, China and even Pakistan, a country where the majority would like to go full Jihad on America and where textile exports are huge.

So the next time you here any politician talk about “brining jobs back to America” and then give another speech touting the positive virtues of “free trade” please recognize the blatant hypocrisy.   Also recognize they are no more than funded mouthpieces for those with the real control in America, large corporations.

It is sad we now live in a country where a candidate can never again run on a platform for a sustainable America.  A country where we could again produce for ourselves, staff call centers with Americans who speak English as a first language and focus on educational initiatives.  The numbers don’t add up on Free Trade.  Are we going to continue to ignore the math and listen idly while politicians continue to champion off shoring?  Or are we going to wake up and call bullshit on their corporate masters and repeal these laws that are exporting US jobs and US dollars out of the country?

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Want to really rewrite some history?

Edison invented the light bulb.
Marconi invented the radio.
Apple invented the smart phone.

Name three historically documented credits for invention that are completely inaccurate bullshit.

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The real 800 pound gorilla in mobile competition: Apps

The new Blackberry Q10, Z10 and Windows Phones might, argumentatively, have as many hardware features as new Android handsets and the iPhone 5.  Personally I would argue that some Nokia Lumia handsets running Windows Phone might be superior to many Android handsets and any iPhone ever designed.   Yet equal or superior hardware will not help Blackberry or Microsoft wedge their way into the hand held market dominated by Samsung and Apple today.  There is only one real deciding factor that will push consumers to an Android or iPhone.  Very simply: Apps.

On Oct. 30, 2012 Google Play set a milestone.  They reached the same number of apps that Apple had in iTunes on that day: over 700,000.  As of that date Google reported just over 25 million app downloads to Apples 35 million.  Windows Phone is making slow progress in the number of mobile apps available.  To date Instagram, NetFlix, Pandora, and Spotify are still not available for Blackberry.  For many people, including myself, the absence of at least one of those is a show stopper.

As solid as the platform might be, as dependable as the hardware might be, if I can’t run IpBike to track my rides I will be missing an important part of why I carry a smart phone.   Such niche apps will be a long time coming for Windows and BB.  Many major apps have no plan in place to develop for Blackberry, despite several development platform choices, including Java Android Runtime.  Why would they?  The handsets do not have enough market saturation to warrant the expense.  Sure, it’s a chicken/egg thing but why spend money speculating that the new Blackberry handsets might begin to emerge in numbers they’ve not seen since 2004?  The Windows Phone development environment is quite a bit more limited requiring knowledge of Visual Studio, Silverlight and XNA.  Not at all suited for many developers who are used to working with mobile code supported by Android and Apple, including rapid development solutions like AppsBar and iBuildApps among others.

 

 

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The Right to Bear Arms

Where in the 2nd amendment does it suggest that the right to bear arms also includes the right to anonymously bear arms?

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The True Legacy of Margret Thatcher

I shook hands with Margret Thatcher on my second visit to Williamsburg, VA in 1997 while she was Chancellor at William and Mary.  She spoke at a commencement and I took pictures.  A few years earlier I met Dan Quayle while attending Liberty University.  That’s as much as I have to say about either encounter except that not long ago I went back to Williamsburg with Amy and we got drunk at a bar near the William and Mary campus.  It was a much more rewarding experience.

I forced myself to watch The Iron Lady when it debuted on HBO.  I was pleasantly surprised it didn’t paint Thatcher as the grand savior of England.  Champion of individual responsibility, she even proclaimed “There is no such thing as society, only self”.   Well, to me that’s just about as arrogant, short sighted and pretentious as it can get.   It also fully qualifies her to be the champion of Teabilly’s globally (which is now a concentrated minority in the southern United States.  England has grown up and moved on).  Here’s a list of Thatcher the Milk Snatcher’s achievements.   I would like to hear the conservative response to each since their admiration of self-centered evil is unwavering.  I would be willing to bet most of her US supporters know very little about her antics and comments or they might loath her as much as most Britons.

  1. She publicly described Nelson Mandela as the leader of a “terrorist organization”.
  2. In 1990 Thatcher was denounced by her own conservative party and ultimately forced to resign her office because she implemented a poll tax that caused rioting in the streets.
  3. She embraced censorship, collusion and the documented killing of her citizens through covert operations (Sandbaggers).
  4. She wrote off (killed) England’s manufacturing industry and decided she could live with 2-3 million newly unemployed, causing the highest rate of unemployment in England’s history .  I know, it will be hard to find a sympathetic conservative response to the negative effects of unemployment verses any immediate revenue gains for the private sector, benefiting very few.
  5. She embraced banking and business deregulation with Reagan, coupled with Clinton’s ignorant repeal of Glass-Steagall, setting the ground work for the 2008 mortgage industry meltdown (Please, tell another lie about Barney Frank twisting the arms of bankers to make sketchy loans to unqualified borrowers.  We haven’t heard this hollow farce enough.  The Banksters made billions so even if it was true they need to send Barney some thank you letters).
  6. She chose to embrace draconian military policies in Ireland, never entering negotiations with “terrorists”.  After she left office tensions between Northern Ireland and the British diminished as serious political negotiations proceeded and by 1997 the IRA cease fire became permanent.
  7. Her son was found guilty of financing a military coup in New Guinea.  He was given a suspended sentence and a plane ticket home.  A sentence reserved for a select few with connections to the political aristocracy.
  8. She never won an election by more than 48% of the popular vote.  This has been called a “landslide” in England but only because they are not a two party system.   So at any point at least half the population did not support her policies.  In the first election she won to become Prime Minister more than 60% of all votes went to other candidates.  Could you imagine the backlash if a US Presidential candidate won office with less than 40% of the popular vote?
  9. The woman who despised social services and championed privatization was to have the 5th state sponsored funeral in England during the 20-21st centuries.  The last was Winston Churchill.  This was pre-negotiated by Thatchers representatives and the Queen.   She may even lay in state at Westminster Hall on the Briton’s Euro.  This is actually perfectly fitting because it personifies the blatant hypocrisy always on display by staunch conservatives.
  10. She supported the NHS.  Yes, even a woman as conservative as Thatcher could see the benefits and necessity of national health care.  You can’t praise the woman and simultaneously denounce her policy positions.

Want to see how good England’s model of austerity under Thatcher works?  Look no further than Spain or Greece which adopted her model so their aristocracy (sorry…”job creators”) could continue to avoid paying taxes.  Millions are suffering, a tiny few are thriving.  Just the way conservatives seem to like it.

 

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North Carolina’s got some highly informed rural voters.

This story below made me chuckle because of the irony. The very reason the GOP holds sway in NC is the rural voters. Look at any 2012 election map you will see the urban areas of NC went overwhelmingly blue.

What rural voters think they did: cast a vote for Jesus, guns, some hollow propaganda about “personal responsibility” and found the check box that didn’t include the name of a black man.

What rural voters really did: cast a vote for a direct funnel of public money to big business better known as corporate welfare. Caught ’em like a fish! Now these rural areas get to reap the rewards of their well informed voting. No monies for you! Gotta pay for the pet projects of the banksters in Charlotte and developers in Raleigh.

http://www.wral.com/some-say-mccrory-budget-shortchanges-rural-areas/12257858/

 

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Excellent post from the CNN comment forums..

This is a quote from the comments section in the article “The Republican Reality Show”. Excellent summation of what the GOP needs to recognize…

I consider myself socially “liberal” and fiscally “conservative”. Maybe I’m a libertarian without the overriding fear and a persecution complex, but since I have been of age to vote, I have only voted Democrat simply because I feel that individual human rights are more important than economic policy.

To be brief, this is what the GOP would need to do to earn my vote:

1) Stop trying to lead the country toward Theocracy. As a form of government, it barely functions when nearly an entire nation is of one religion, it certainly won’t work in a country as diverse as the US.

2) Stop rejecting science. The world is not 6000 years old, the earth is not flat, and the moon is not made of cheese. We need leadership that can move us forward, and you can’t do that without a firm grasp on reality.

3) Approach the budget honestly, admit the defense budget is bloated and propose actual workable solutions. If your selling yourselves as the party of fiscal responsibility, you need to be honest about this one and pay attention to the “responsible” part.

4) Stop using “socialized” as a derogatory term. Some things are better done by a society, many hands make light work after all. Education, infrastructure, health care, and catastrophic insurance are crucial to both society and the economy.

5) Stop using fear to motivate your base, and stop scapegoating minorities. Immigrants, atheists and homosexuals will not be the downfall of the US, it will be ignorance and fear.

6) Put people before capital. If you preach freedom while simultaneously enabling the financial enslavement of the population, it will only end one way.

– noncentric

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No Guns vs. Arm Everyone

Do those calling for no guns under any circumstances, including the use of unarmed security guards, realize they sound as crazy as those wanting to arm everyone? It’s hard to reach any common sense agreements in modern political discourse when the discussion is dominated by the raised voices of those with extreme opinions on both sides.

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