Monday, September 29, 2008

Crossing x 2

Second cross race of the year and I moved up one spot from the first to finish 9th. Not bad, but a little bummed out cause I think I could have done better on the course. After a recovery week, then fighting a cold this week training has been minimal so I lacked race speed but was running in 5-7 until something happened to the bike.

With 3 1/2 laps to go the chain kept jumping and shifting around in all gears but the 25. Went from having 18 gears to pick from down to 2 the 38x25 or the 46x25. Given the course the 38x25 was key on the big climb, but man I wanted a bigger gear on the flats and power sections. I dropped a few spots but hung in to race well and finish 9th. After the race I found a huge sagebrush weed wrapped in the cogs, pulled it out and the gears worked fine. Now I wonder if I should have gotten off the bike and looked during the race. I might have been able to get the gearing going, but may have lost more places then I did with a two-speed.

Oh well, there is always next weekend which promises to be more cross like, or at least cool since it is in Frisco instead of down in Denver. A little rain or snow would be fun, but doesn't look like that is going to happen yet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Trying to look at last night’s presidential debate from an objective perspective I think both McCain and Obama showed intelligence, perspective and concern. Neither looked bad, no mistakes and both proved themselves capable of defending their thoughts. I’m sure partisans on both sides will say one of the two clearly won/lost the debate but I didn’t see that. I saw two men who both very ably could handle the job of president.

So how or why make a choice? Well here is what I saw:

• McCain does clearly have more experience especially with foreign policy
• McCain has a world view that is very strict/rigid, things such as it is wrong of Obama to say he (or senior members of his administration) would meet without pre-conditions leaders of rogue nations
• McCain clearly feels our military strength and safety are critical at this time

• Obama was clearer in his plans, multiple times he laid at 3 and 4 point plans of what he would do. Did he give full details? No, but given the limited time to speak that is to be expected
• Obama was willing to admit when he was wrong (the outcome of the surge) and when McCain was right
• Obama talked about the future and how we need to change internally as a nation as well as externally (how others perceive the U.S.) in order to be successful

The most noticeable difference to me was how McCain addressed Obama, especially on Iraq and Georgia. McCain very much talked down to Obama, calling him naive and inexperienced. When Obama disagreed with McCain he attempted to do so in a more cordial manner, for example saying that 10 days ago McCain had said the economy was fundamentally sound, which was clearly wrong. Obama didn’t call McCain naive or inexperienced or lacking in knowledge because of this he just stated the facts.

This difference in how McCain and Obama handled themselves speaks very clearly to their styles of leadership and how they will proceed. We have had eight years of leadership with very clear black and white views on issues (Iraq is a rogue nation we must attack), “Mission Accomplished”, a lack of willingness to talk to Iran, North Korea etc. without first meeting our demands. Where has this style of leadership gotten us? A war in Iraq that was based on misinformation (outright lies about weapons of mass destruction), a standing in the international community that has fallen dramatically and internally a nation that is very split, everything is either blue or red (there is no middle ground).

After watching McCain last nigh it was very clear to me this is the same style of leadership he utilizes and will employ as president. Obama on the other hand was very open to looking at options and trying to resolve issues through digging into them. For example, McCain said he would consider a spending freeze due to the economic crisis. Obama said while he might consider one, a better method would be to look at programs and cut what can be cut in some, add to others, but really look at the budget and make changes where needed. When it comes to spending there are no clear cut answers (we can’t spend any more anywhere) there needs to be an understanding and issues addressed on a basis of what is critical.

McCain through out the campaign has said he has and will reach across party lines to improve the country, yet last night he at no times showed where or how he would do that. Obama through the course of the evening gave examples where he would work with many others (across party lines or international borders) to resolve problems. Seems to me I’d rather have a person willing to admit they need to work with others to make a better life then a person who is condescending and acts superior. A good leader knows how to motivate, negotiate, work with others and communicate to succeed. Obama displayed his abilities on those skills are more refined and natural.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Well as much as I hate to not vote on election day it isn't going to happen. I love the process of voting on election day, long lines, and cold November weather. I love making a pot of chili for dinner and watching results come in. This year though I have to vote early and eat dinner alone (or without anyone who I can bitch to about the election).

A trip to New York is always a few days of craziness and long hours. A trip the week of the election, given the current financial crisis could be entertaining at least.

Vote early is the option this year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It’s hard to compile my thoughts on the last seven days (or seven years) in the financial industry, trying to figure out what (if anything) these events mean to most people day to day. I’ve just started reading a book Hot, Flat and Crowded which deals with global warming, an economic environment that allows easy entry/exit to business no matter your location or background and the growing population on Earth.

To say that these three components have had an effect on the financial market recently might be a grasp, but in some ways not. More of us make a living the brings us to the middle class (or perceived middle class); we all want more (more Ipods, blackberry’s, access at our finger tips etc.). This has created a mass consumerism, not just in the US but globally and therefore has created a greed that has allowed for sub prime loans, business decisions based on keeping the customer happy (versus taking care of the customer). How many home loans shouldn’t have been made? How many were made to make someone a little richer, to make Bear/Lehman/AIG/Merrill/Countrywide/Who is next more money? Would we (the human race) been better off making a few less people homeowners, saying no to a few loans, doing a little less shopping after 9/11? Remember George W. Bush recommending to the American public to (this is a paraphrase) spend to show we weren’t afraid in the aftermath of 9/11.

So onwards, policy was set that created a consumer society both in the US and global that has increased demand on energy resources and resources in general. Are we now seeing the effects? A global economic crisis, a situation where global energy demand increase 10% a year and there is no firm renewable energy source to meet these needs.

Is the world in crisis? Will our plague be that of energy and overcrowding? Can we do anything about the energy crisis? Does the next President care? I don’t know, but make sure you ask and press the issue.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And now for cycling news

Just when everyone thought all I was going to do is bitch about politics, bike racing resumes. The first cyclo-cross race of the year was last Saturday. After debating between cross and the final mountain bike race of the year I opted for cross, a shorter drive, and racing an untested bike.

After getting a new road bike earlier this year I had the chance to put some much nicer parts on my cross bike that use to adorn the old road bike. Switching out 12 year old mid range mountain bike parts for 8 year old high end (ultegra) road parts made a huge difference in bike weight. The only concern was, I finished putting the bike together Thursday, didn't ride Friday (great prep for a race) and race the bike Saturday. Surprise, surprise the bike rode pretty well. I wish the brakes would have had a little better action (cost me a little time in the corners) but overall was happy.

The race started fast but I settled into the top 10 and was feeling good. Moved between 5th and 13th through the race, but mostly 8-10. I had a lot of problems with getting back on and in the clips and that cost me a few seconds each lap and probably a few spots overall. The course was fast with a super steep and slick downhill section and some good climbs that you could run or ride. On the last run-up I made up about 10 seconds I passed a guy right at the top, but once again couldn't clip in and lost ground to him quickly. Ended up about 5 seconds down on him in 10th place. Not bad and felt good through the race. Considering I rode a new(ish) bike, hadn't practiced any cross skills, nor run at all I'm happy.

Today I did some cross practice after work. Amazing how 15-20 attempts to clip in quickly helps improve the skills. Couple more weeks and I may even feel comfortable on the cross course.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I will slightly retract my comments on Palin wanting to ban books as upon further research I can't confirm she requested specific books to be banned. There does seem to be agreement that she "asked librarian Mary Ellen Baker if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so. Baker's reply was that she would definitely not be all right with it. When questioned about this Palin called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head "about understanding and following administration agendas." for the entire article go to this no-partisian site

The heart of the question is does a politician (any elected official) have the right to censor what I think, read, write etc.? I think most of us agree they don't (with the possible exception of national security). Should an elected official even ask this rhetorically, I would venture they shouldn't for the perception might be one of unintended influence over the matter (which we have seen in other Palin cases). I am not saying Palin has used her position in either case to influence the situation; however, I am saying there is a clear perception by many people that she has and that is not acceptable (for her or any other elected official or person in power, dare we bring up Enron). Will she continue this type of action from a higher office? I don't know, but it is worth considering before voting.

Environmental Voting

So on to the facts, at least as I see them. If you don’t vote for the environment in this election you are more foolish then when you cast your first (or if really stupid second) vote for George W Bush. How can a single issue so define the election, well consider these facts: carbon output is at an all time high causing major changes to our environment; we are at war with a country that had no weapons, no terrorists only oil, our economy is tanking again and the VP candidate for one part has the oil industry wrapped around her finger as governor of Alaska.

If you take the time to vote to improve the environment (and not just at the presidential level but local and state as well) you may well help solve all these concerns. The easy view is voting for pro-environment candidates and the positive impact on global warming (human impact on the environment), I’ll save this topic until later. How will pro-environment candidates help national defense? How will pro-environment candidates help the economy? Well take a look.

How will pro-environment candidates help national defense? The less our need for oil, foreign or domestic, the less pressure we have to protect those interests. For the sake of argument assume for now we can’t live without our cars; however, if we demand (and quickly) higher fuel efficiency, and alternative fuel sources that are here today (hybrid, biodiesel, corn/plant based) we lessen our need for oil. We this reduced usage of oil for autos will allow a more self-sufficient production of heating oil as well. Other sources of power which are even more beneficial as they are renewable include wind, solar and hydro-electric. Currently all these sources of power are utilized in the US; however, the relatively minimal amount of use keeps costs high. With a pro-environmental government is place subsidies can be put in place to create more “alternative” power generation systems; thus reducing our need for foreign and domestic oil for heating. This creates the multiple benefits of a cleaner/healthier environment, a production system for energy that is more domestically focused (which creates sticky/non-transferable jobs) and deals with the cold hard fact that oil will be depleted at some point. Maybe not in our lifetime, or even our children’s lifetime but at some point.

I’ve purposely not touched on natural gas here, the primary reason being a knowledge level so low I can’t speak on it; however, any option that is clean burning energy and lessens our dependence on other nations to power us seems like an option worth looking into.

How will pro-environment candidates help national defense? As mentioned above the more energy we create on our own domestically the less the impact of unstable governments, coups, and other international events will have on our energy costs and needs to protect our “sources”. The US imports 70% of its oil, that means we have a substantial stake any time one (or multiple) of our suppliers is feuding, mad at us or dealing with a man-made or natural disaster. Do I feel the US has a duty to help protect the world from injustice? Yes, of course we do and should. We should protect those being invaded or forced into another way of life without choice; however, we should do this not because of our personal interests (oil) but because it is the right thing to do. This is no different than providing health care to all Americans; we should do it because it is the right thing to do. With less reliance on foreign oil through a sound environmental policy and creation of alternative and renewable energy sources we can truly act on behalf of the oppressed, not on behalf of our oil suppliers.

Finally an environmentally friendly president will help what is clearly a weak economy. Jobs created to find alternative and renewable energy sources will need the brains of American works to find the sources and develop the best way to harness the power. Then we will need to build facilities that harness that power (wind turbines for example) and perform on-going maintenance. All of these new “Green” jobs will be created in America and will stick in America because the natural sources are abundant and available for use here. The person that builds and maintains a wind turbine in Wyoming will spend the money in Wyoming creating a more stable domestic economy.

A sound environmental policy will protect our global environment, protect our national defense and create a sound economy. Visit sites such as T Boone Pickens to find out more and vote for a candidate who will look at alternative solutions (

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Keep em coming

Well after a period of no posts, the election may get me rolling, I just read this:

Obama also took on McCain’s inner circle Saturday, saying the presence of former lobbyists at the highest tier of his campaign makes him incapable of meeting his pledge to shut down special interest influence.

“Suddenly, he’s the change agent,” Obama said of McCain. “He says, ‘I’m going to tell those lobbyists that their days in Washington are over.’ Who’s he going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman who’s one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he going to tell all the folks who are running his campaign who are the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington?

“Who is it that he’s going to tell that change is coming?” Obama asked. “I mean, come on, they must think you’re stupid!”

Read the full article at

I've got to say I guy who has been in congress 20+ years, voted with the president 90% + of the time and selects a VP who loves congressional funds doesn't really seem to be as independent as he makes himself out to be.

It's Time

Alright it is time. I’ve been away from blogging for longer than I wanted, but so be it. I’ve been planning and thinking about what to say here, watching both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. While it would be false to say I was an undecided voter, I felt it important to listen to both parties before discussing the election. After watching way too many hours of TV it is time to express some thoughts here.

First, why the hell would McCain select Palin? This is a woman who has tried to ban books, force the termination of a former brother in law, hired consultants to bring more money per capita into her hometown and now Alaska then any other state, supports an abstinence policy for teens (that one really worked for her personally) and worked to reduce special education funding in Alaska (prior to the birth of her newest child). Well I’ve got to say if McCain is a man of change how can he rightly select a person who works as well with the lobbyists as Palin, I really don’t know. Anyway read more about her at: and

Now on to the reality of the election, people vote for the President not the Vice-President, so the strange choice of Palin aside what is going on in this process. McCain has wanted to and will keep us in a war until there is “victory”. My first question is what is victory, I haven’t heard this defined. At my job when we have a project we clearly define how that will be measured, i.e. software will be developed and deployed by x date, save x amount of time and improve quality by x. If we meet these goals we have victory. How exactly do we define victory in Iraq? One of his goals is to get Al Qaeda out of Iraq; however, many reports indicate that Al Qaeda was not in Iraq until the US invasion, which brings us to the real question I have: Is this a war we should have ever started? My stance is since there were no weapons of mass destruction, no threat from Iraq on America and nothing but manufactured reasons to go into Iraq in the first place we probably should not be there in the first place. So let’s get out as quick as possible and focus on real issues.

It is the economy stupid as Bill Clinton was found of saying. Obama wants to raise taxes; McCain believes the economy is sound. Well looking at the credit crisis, unemployment (now over 6% and at a 5 year high) seems to me the economy isn’t sound (I won’t mention the budget deficit the current administration has created to help make the economy sound). Do I want my taxes increased? Hell no, and it seems like under Obama’s plans my direct taxes wouldn’t (yea I’ll see increased costs in goods because of corporate taxes) but that may not be true. In either case, government isn’t about the good of an individual (me) it is about the good of the nation, so if some tax increases help the nation balance the budget, improve job prospects, improve education etc. I’m all for it.

After watching the conventions it seems that the primary choices are a self-centric no taxes view versus a common good for all tax increases aren’t all bad and a choice on is the nation in need of military protection from (insert the nation here) or not? I believe Obama can clearly address the economic needs better than McCain (for he mentioned the economy which was barely a blip in the RNC) and as for protecting the nation, isn’t communication our first line of defense? Talk to our enemies and figure out the common ground. As Obama said in his acceptance speech:

"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common efforts."

Barack Obama

We may not agree on everything, but we can and should try to find where we agree and move forward from there. Please think about these issues when voting, please vote, and please encourage your friends to vote.