Friday, July 8, 2011

Wait, did I just agree with the Huffington Post?

Check out this article. Can it be common sense from the Huffington Post? Why yes, it is!

"If You Love Peace, Become a "Blue Republican" (Just for a Year)" by Robin Koerner

Now I have to wonder whether they're just doing this to try to weaken other Republican candidates, by supporting Ron Paul. They don't really back Ron Paul, of course, they're not nearly that intelligent. Nonetheless, the article makes some great points. Namely, on many key issues Obama is no different than Bush. And that is not a compliment.

"After two years, however, we now see that Obama 1) conducts wars against countries that do not threaten us (e.g. Libya, Yemen etc.), 2) oversees large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Goldman Sachs), 3) supports the legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) is growing a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc.. )"

"But in 2012, if you vote for the Democratic nominee for president, you better have a moral justification that is SO good that it is a) worth killing innocent people who don't threaten you, b) transferring wealth to the rich and well connected, and c) the complete suspension of your right to privacy and such basic rights as protecting your child from being touched by a government official with the full force of the law behind him as he just follows his orders."

"If you are a Democrat, and you sit tight and vote Democrat again ... don't you dare pretend that you are motivated primarily by peace, civil rights or a government that treats people equally."

"That Ron Paul, who has been standing up for these principles quietly for half a lifetime, happens to be a member of the Republican party is a lot less important than the principles that we should be voting on. The fact that he is not a party guy should be obvious from his extensive differences in policy from his party and the fact that many think, given his views, he should not run as a Republican at all."

"As Dr. Paul often points out, however, we live in a country with a corrupt political party duopoly... and the system is stacked against anyone who would run outside the two party system. So he's doing what he has to do. And so should we as Americans who love piece and freedom. It really isn't complicated."

" don't have to like a party or even identify with it to sign up as a Republican for a year to help make sure that the Republican primaries are won by the one representative who has always been for peace, has always voted against bailouts, and has always opposed the reach of government into your bedroom, your relationships and your person."

They do have their differences with Paul, however:
"I am aware that the main objection to Ron Paul from the left concerns his belief that private charities and individuals are more effective in maintaining social welfare than the government. To this I ask one question. Do you believe so much in the effectiveness of our current centralized delivery of social welfare that it is worth the war making and the abrogation of civil rights supported by both Bush and Obama's administrations?"

"Again, this isn't an endorsement of the Republican party or a claim that the Republican record is better than the Democrat on any of the issues discussed in this article. ... Rather, it is to recognize simply that the one potential Presidential candidate who wishes to stop killing innocent people in foreign wars and stop transferring the wealth of poor and working Americans to the corporate elites happens to be -- this time around -- a Republican."

Amazing. Common sense and logic from the Huffington Post!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A strange July 4th tradition continues

Well, it's all Blake's fault. I think we can agree on that. It all started two years ago. Story here, if you don't recall, about two previous July 4th skates, 2009 and 2010:
A July 4th Tradition?, July 8, 2010

And another trip down the trail, later in 2010:
Oops, we did it again!, August 20, 2010

In this year's skate, I learned several things. I learned that Sam is an animal--but we already knew that. Recall what Sam was doing last year during one of my skates (with Blake and Elizabeth) down the Silver Comet:
Me Skate You Long Time!, August 18, 2010

Incidentally, Sam has plans to defend his title and break the solo record this year--but the defending record holder from France, who wasn't there last year, will be back. As Sam said, "It's on like chiffon!" This event, the 24 Hour Roller Montreal, is scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Consider Sam's schedule yesterday. Sam ran the Peachtree Road Race, then biked to my house (I think he said it was about 11 miles), and then we skated to Alabama. What did YOU do yesterday?

I learned that we should probably start earlier. Blake and Elizabeth started at 7a, or not long after that. Sam and I didn't get rolling until 10:30a, which meant that it was HOT during our whole skate. I think that if I were plan a long distance skating event here in the south it would be good to do in, say October. And start a lot earlier than 10:30a. Hmm... A2A anyone? Carolina Century?

And I learned the lesson of staying properly hydrated. More on that later.

When Sam and I started we had outside hopes of catching Blake and Elizabeth. I mean, surely we could maintain about 13 mph, like we do for A2A, right? Which would mean about a 7.5 hour skate. And if Blake and Elizabeth take their time and do, say, 9 mph, then they would take 10.5 hours or so. Well, it didn't quite work out that way. First of all, we didn't get rolling from my house (near the start of the trail) until 10:30.

And did I mention it was HOT??? I know, what a surprise. I held up pretty well at first. I led Sam through the hills between Rockmart and Cedartown and felt strong all the way to the state line. Sam looked like he was feeling it a bit at that point. But I promised Sam that once we hit the Alabama state line and the trail started decreasing in elevation he would be rejuvenated.

Well, I was right. Sam set a nice 15-16 mph pace at that point and we were cruising. But I was starting to struggle. This may sound silly, but I made a bad choice when I purchased some Nestle raspberry iced tea in Cedartown. The stuff was awful, I couldn't bear to drink it. And my water was warm and not very appealing, either. Long story short: I wasn't drinking enough.

I felt pretty bad by the time we rolled in to Piedmont, Alabama. Luckily there is a grocery store there where we were able to stop. Sam bought some orange juice (my request) for me--half a gallon of it. I knew I had to drink all or most of it to rehydrate. But it was it was a classic Catch 22 situation. I had to drink it, but I couldn't drink it quickly or my stomach simply wouldn't tolerate it. So I drank it slowly. REALLY slowly.

Incidentally, Sam also bought some ice cream sandwiches during this time. The smallest box came with six--and he could only two and I could only eat one. So he started asking people walking out of the store if they wanted an ice cream sandwich! I think he made one little girl's day when her parents said she could have one!

Funny story: We later found out that when Blake and Elizabeth stopped at this store earlier they bought a box of popsicles--and also had to try to give extras away!

When I was finally ready to roll, Sam asked me how long I thought we had been stopped. I said I wasn't sure, maybe half an hour, maybe even 40 minutes. Sam said, no, it was 57 minutes. 57 minutes and 30 seconds, actually. Not good, but better than pushing it too hard in the heat.

Sam did almost all of the pulling in the final 20 miles from Piedmont to Anniston, he was strong right up to the end. I had a little sprint left in me at the end, but only because I was drafting Sam for so long prior to the finish.

Our final time was a little short of 10 hours, I believe. Much slower than we had hoped for, largely due to the prolonged stop I needed in Piedmont. But we got it done, slowly but surely. Sam didn't seem keen on repeating the ordeal again next year. But that's what I've told myself several times before, too... :)