Archive for April 2011
I learned this morning during physical therapy that I’m making some big strides in my recovery. I think I surprised Lee with how far I’ve come since our first session about a month ago. Let’s just say that when he met me I was “one stage above rigor mortis.” Since then, my pelvis has straightened out quite a bit, my muscles have loosened up, and I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been. Therefore, I got the okay to really give a go on the bike after our session ended. He suggested I ride for two hours and give it some gas up Lookout to test my knee. It was a little frightening to think about pushing hard for the first time in over a month, but I was really curious. Besides, we need some sort of indication of where I stand at this point. Am I just marginally better than before? Or am I way ahead of schedule? There’s no way to know without testing my limits.
With that in mind, I headed out to Lookout to ride some zone 3.
A couple thoughts. Man does my position feel strange now that I’m tons more flexible. I feel so loose on the bike. I also feel like I want to be a bit more stretched out. I’m hoping in the coming month or two I can get re-fit by George to take advantage of my new found looseness and range of motion. I also noticed, having not ridden much at all in close to 5 weeks, that I have no lungs anymore. I am severely winded from any sort of sustained marginal effort. It’s quite pathetic. And finally, I noticed that I CAN RIDE 2 HOURS WITH NO PAIN! Hells yeah.
Lee said that if my ride went well this morning that we could probably enter “phase 2″ next week. I’m not sure what that entails, but it sure sounds like progress! I’m excited to continue progressing in my recovery and come back stronger than ever.
Sometimes critical thinking about a certain institution is muddied or difficult because the institution is so ingrained in our culture. The institution enjoys massive support by elites and the common man. I imagine contemplating a world without slavery in the 19th century would be a good example of this. At the time, virtually every country on the planet had slavery and a well-functioning, well-oiled slave trade in place. Slavery enjoyed both the practical arguments of the day and many moral ones. The abolitionists who called for the end of slavery were largely mocked and portrayed as impractical – or worse – as insane. It was nigh impossible for the average person to imagine a world without the incredibly immoral institution of slavery.
I believe this is how many view a debate about the public school system today. The real reasons behind the start of the public school system have been forgotten. What exists now is a highly benevolent narrative about poor people needing a good education and of course, education’s large positive externalities. Whatever moral and practical reasons people may give to justify public education, they don’t address how schools collect money, how they administer education, nor do they address the incentives the institution produces (exogenous effects) and suffers from (endogenous effects). At best we kind of all agree on public schooling’s awful outcomes. Further, the idea that education in general is the same idea as the specific institution of public education as it exists today is pervasive – and flat wrong. It is in blurring those two distinct concepts that leads people to vilify those who criticize the public school system as wanting to end education in general.
No. Ending public education doesn’t end education any more than ending public transportation would end transportation.
This is why a good analogy can be such a great thought experiment. This classic “grocery school” analogy was written by Don Boudreux, the former Chair of the George Mason University Economics Department. The analogy is crucial to thinking clearly about the public school system because it addresses the specific institution of public schooling – not education in general.
***Addendum*** This story does a good job in refuting the idea that we have public school to educate poor children. And this particular incident comes on the heels of the recent story about the poor woman convicted of a felony for registering her two daughters to a relative’s address so that they could go to a better school than the poverty stricken one they were forced to go to.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a few bucks in taxes.
From the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
As illuminated by the great Glenn Greenwald, “how can any politicians be taken seriously when they claim that Terrorism is some sort of grave threat meriting multiple wars and civil liberties abridgments — homegrown Terrorism and sleeper cells and all that — while they simultaneously demand that scarce FBI and DOJ resources be devoted to adult porn and online poker?“
To believe that the corporate warfare state is needed to protect us from terrorism – the same terrorism that poses less danger to us than our own police – is laughable. Proving the point is our DOJ and FBI cases against porn and online gambling. When right wing do-gooders get together with nanny-state leftists, the result is a horrible concoction of authoritarianism that should make any free person cringe.
Today I was finally able to get out there and give my knee a test spin. It was the first time I had ridden in 3 full weeks. I was forced to stay off the bike completely after I started experiencing pain sooner and sooner on rides. It got to the point where I couldn’t train for 20 minutes without my knee flaring up. Devolving like that over the course of a couple weeks was enough for me to throw my hands up and say, “Fine. I’ll stop.” Now, after 3 solid weeks off and lots of chiropractic care, stretching, PT work, ice, and lying around, I was ready to give it a go again with a test spin. The plan was to spin high cadence, low force for 60 minutes. And that I did.
I ended up doing 63 minutes of pain free spinning today. Granted, that doesn’t really prove much. I still can’t go out and train yet. But it’s a step in the right direction and shows some progress. And frankly, it felt good just to throw some spandex on and rock our team colors. I think I’ll head out tomorrow for another 45 minutes to an hour and see what happens.
Part 2 – Sunday: I went out again today for another 60 minutes of spinning. Thankfully, I experienced exactly no pain at all. Just to be on the safe side however, I iced my knee when I got home. So I guess that proves that I can do 60 minutes of light spinning… TWO DAYS IN A ROW! Wow. That’s almost like training right??
My friends Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman from CopBlock.org asked me to write a guest post for their site. The topic in question begged a response from myself – an avid, competitive cyclist and big time cheerleader of riding bikes. They asked me to write a little something on the growing amount of cyclist – cop incidents we’ve been seeing. Much of the rise in reports could be attributed to a growing popularity in riding a bike. Let’s be honest, can we get through an entire day now without seeing “be green” type advertisements and PSA’s? Additionally, we’ve got cameras on virtually everything we carry on our person nowadays. If a cop or aggressive driver starts harassing a bike rider, there’s bound to be someone in proximity to film it. Regardless of the reason, there’s no denying the rise in reported incidents involving bike riders and cops the past several years.
That being said, here is my guest post for CopBlock.org titled, “Public Ownership Means Chaos.”
Slow-mo black and white footage with epic music in the background makes for a fantastic video showcasing the “Hell of the North.”
This Sunday is the world famous hardman race, Paris-Roubaix. I can’t wait to see the cobbles rip the legs off the riders.
LAST YEAR: Cancellara was untouchable, as seen here –
While the chasers chased in vain…
There is no doubt Cancellara will be the strongest rider at the starting line on Sunday, but unlike last year when he rode away from everyone, will he blow his strength with bad strategy and lose like he did at this year’s Flanders?
As libertarians, our philosophy falls several standard deviations away from the typical mainstream talking points. We find major fault with both the left and the right. Neither side makes much sense in terms of a coherent philosophy. This makes talking about liberty – the real kind – very difficult. We’ve all been there before. We’re talking libertarianism with someone — working through first principles, emphasizing property rights, pointing out economic fallacies, and quite frankly, communicating ideas the person may have never heard ever before — and we run into blank stares and furrowed brows. Tell tale signs of confusion, maybe even resistance. It’s difficult stuff. We can all stand to be better communicators, especially to people we don’t know well. Especially to people we may have first met. And especially to people we might not see again. We’ve got one chance to make an impression and plant a seed. How do we do it right?
Well, I had to ask a friend of mine who’s done this more than anyone else I know. Pete Eyre has been around the country a couple times, met thousands of people from cities he’d never been to before, and spread the ideas of liberty in nearly every state in the lower 48. In some way, Pete spent two years as a professional communicator while working on the Motorhome Diaries project and Liberty on Tour. There is no way of knowing how many lives he’s touched, but I’d imagine the number is quite large and quite impressive.
Knowing all of this, I decided to get Pete on my show to talk about best practices in communicating the ideas of complete liberty. We chatted for about an hour on many topics, including:
1. His journey to voluntaryism
2. Argument from morality or efficiency (utilitarianism)?
3. Most difficult areas to tackle when talking liberty
4. How to approach a first talk
5. How to deal with tough topics, scare stories
6. Form alliances with groups that might not fully agree with us?
7. How important is knowing economics?
8. Gauging the movement – is it growing?
Take a listen to Pete and I talk communication on the Justin Longo show.
April is perhaps the greatest month for professional cycling outside of July. This coming Sunday is a big reason for that. The Tour of Flanders is my favorite race of the year by a long shot. It has all the passion, aggression, and luck of any one day race, but what separates Flanders are the cobbles and 20% grades. There is almost nothing more enjoyable than seeing your favorite hard men wincing with pain as they try to turn their gears over — with a cadence of around 42 — on a 22% cobbled climb. It’s pure magic.
With that in mind, I’m going to attempt to make some predictions about Sunday’s race:
First and very obvious prediction – Cancellara is the man to beat. ‘Nuff said.
Second: Phillipe Gilbert is my runner up.
Third: Tom Boonen will not be the clear cut second best. I predict he won’t even finish in this year’s top 10. Bold? Yes, I know.
Fourth: Peter Sagan is my darkhorse pick for a solid top 5 finish.
Fifth: Only 1 Garmin rider will crack the top 10 (and I’m not even sure about that).
Sixth: Pippo, several riders from BMC, and Stuey O’Grady will animate the race. Pippo because he’s sick and tired of being called a wheel sucker, BMC because they are super strong this year, and Stuey because he will be let off his leash due to Cancellara’s dominance.
Will this year’s Ronde feature another long escape? I hope not. The only person capable of that is Cancellara, and as much as I love the guy, I want the last 10 K’s to be a war among several hard men. I want to see men with dirty faces on the verge of tears riding side by side, looking one another over, assessing the damage they’ve done. Who looks like they want to quit? Who looks determined? Who looks willing to die for this win? With less than 10K’s to go, the rider with the biggest heart will attack in desperation. Not because they think they are the strongest, but because they are daring the others to follow. Calling their bluff. Who will have the biggest heart on Sunday?