Thursday, June 30, 2005

Oh yah..

And this post actually highlights the difference between the democrat and republican machines.

There is no hypocracy. And you know it. Republicans in washington are claiming fraud through innuendo. They have no factual basis for their accustaions.

The Democrats on the otherhand do have factual basis. The problem is that the tactics of Republican's in Ohio were (mostly) legal. The issue is whether they were fair; for example Ohio Republicans have gleefully admitted they shorted Democratic counties voting machines. They admit their operatives stood outside democratic leaning district's polling placing and implied that voters had to present to them legal documentation to vote. They admit their operatives went into Democratic precincts to gather voter registration paperwork then threw the paperwork away (this of course left many potential democrat voters under the impression they had alreayd registered and therefore unable to vote on election day).

Were these tactics illegal. No (although it is also worth noting that Republicans, unlike Democrats have lost several court cases in which similar tactics were found to be illegal). Were they fair? No.

The difference is that problems in Washington (and there were more than just King County) were the result of normal human error, not a concerted, organized effort (legal or not).

The difference is Republicans don't believe in fair play. They believe in winning at all costs. That is why I am not a Republican. Because I believe in Democracy and the rule of law.

Dori Monson: hypocrite or fool?

I can think of 2 talk show hosts that I actually find to be reliable: Dave Ross and Al Franken. Both are thoughtful and well informed about the subjects they talk about. Whiel I don't always agree with their conclussion I appreciate that they try to do serious research before blathering on.

Then there is Dori Monson. I'll be honest and say I don't know that he is worse than any other hosts out there but for some reason he really bugs me. First is his incessant insistance that he has some kind of statistical understanding when it's pretty clear he doesn't. He is a prime example of the "you can make statistics mean anything". No you can't. You can either lie about what statistics say or you can change the meaning of statistics to apply to a broader range of information that does not meet the scientific standard of validity.

Anyway, today's Dori moment for me is his raking on King County for being found guilty of producing a fraudulent report on traffic to justify some development. I don't know if Dori's representation of the case is accurate. My guess is that it is not based on his tendency not to do any real research. While he had a guest on who talked about it, that guest was not a neutral 3rd party. Neither Kiro, Seatte Times had any obvious coverage of the "verdict" to do any fact checking on. Just to be clear, I am questioning the accuracy of Dori's premise. My guess is that he is misrepresenting the situation (odds? 3-1).

Now if (and that's a big if) Dori is accurately representing the situation then yes it is horrible and corrupt. I have had no tolerance for "cooking of the books" by public servants and would have no tolerance in this case. But how can Dori possibly justify his indignation given his support for both Dino Rossi's election contest and the Bush Administration's war effort? Rossi repeatedly abused the court system to get publicity for accusations that proved to be knowingly false (like the list of fellon voters). How is that not corruption? And the Bush administration clearly ordered the doctoring of intelligence reports to justify the war in Iraq. How is that not corruption?

So which is it Dori? Are you a fool for reporting something incorrectly or are you a hypocrit for not applying your wrath equally?


With W's speech about the future of Iraq this week, I've heard a lot of Republican's pumping up the leadership qualities of W. Leadership, to them, appears to be a function of being able to state a vision and a willingness to follow through on the vision come hell or high water.

First off, I'd like to see some actual studies (real studies) of the qualities successful leaders have. And by that I don't mean the qualities that got a person like W into a position of power. I mean the qualities that led to some objective success.

It seems to me that Bush is like a lot of "leaders" I've met in my life; his skillset isn't actually leading. It's convincing people he is a leader and getting them invest personally into his leadership. That is definitely a skill, and W seems good at it. But, frankly, it doesn't strike me as leadership.

In my experience, good leaders are able to articulate visions, but also able to adapt to changing circumstance and learn from their failure. Successful leaders work to maximize what the can control, minimize what they can't all with the goal of navigating the choppy waters of whatever business/erndeavor they are in.

I can credit Bush for his vision, but the problem to me has never been one of resolve. It's been one of adaptability. In steadfastly refusing to learn from mistakes (which happen) or even accept the underlying reasons for those mistakes I see no reason to believe this administration won't make more.

In fact, the underlying philosophy of the administration seems to be that they will bend reality to their will through sheer doggedness.

In a lot of ways this is a very American trait; it's often been said that while American's refuse to accept defeat or nobility in failure..... but if you look at leadership as what approach (and I am sure there are more than one, and in fact different styles that work better in different dynamics) yields better outcomes it seems to me one that is based on adapting to reality, identifying strengths and minimizing weaknesses works better than just ignoring and plowing through.

Kermesse Championship

Well, it looks like I am going to go ahead with my idea of a kermesse championship. I even have the jersey design picked out. Should be a fun, if brutal, race. I also have a city course in mind for next year. Tacoma, off K. A 4 corner race that is longer than a crit and runs up the cobbles.

Richard Dawkins...

Is not the writter I had hoped. I've read a lot of his stuff online and have begun reading his books. I think he makes excellent points. But his writting is pretty obtruse. It's too bad because a lot of people could really benefit from his thoughts on religion vs. science.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Now this is cool

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Sometimes, it's hard to get motivated. It's been that way all week.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Riding and Racing

Saturday was the Flying Wheels Century and like the nucklehead I am, Randy, Craig & I road out to the start, road the century and then road home. 140 miles. Of course the kicker was that I had the State Crit Championship lined up the next day.

I put in 1 good dig at the State Crit, stayed off for about 1 lap and spent the rest in the middle. I could have done more, maybe gone for a flyer later. I kept expecting the pace to ratchet up and my legs to implode. I am sure about half the field can say the same thing. It was a very cool crit, 8 corners. I don't know if I am just way stronger than at Walla Walla or if it was just lower (probablt a combination) but I enjoyed it a lot. The corners were too close to go super fast so the speed stayed lower than I expected. It was a bumpy ride with elbows smackin and wheels overlappin'.

The dude who caused the first and only crash chopped my line with about 7 to go and after I got done yelling at him I think Rob Campbell proceeded to berate him followed by someone else as well.

I can see why the other fields kept falling off.

Flying Wheels was fun. I really enjoy that ride. Having a group was nice, and I felt very strong on the climbs.

I will say this for the 2 jackasses we passed on the ride.

To Super-Go jackass: 1st off, I didn't show up to toe your sorry ass around the course. I am sorry you are slower than us. Randy's wheel is not your wheel. If you want to keep up learn to ride faster. And that National Championship jersey you were wearing? It's a Womens National Championship, and usually it's considered bad form to wear it if you didn't win it. The stripes on my sleeves? Those are from the 3 I actually one. So f-off.

To Microsoft Jackass: I am sorry if you felt it was a tight squeeze when we came by. But, if you hadn't accelerated and tried to drag race us when we were passing you then we wouldn't have come by were we did. So maybe you should consider you actions before verbally assaulting me.

To anyone who gets bent on these rides: If I wanted to yell at or be yelled at I'd race my bike. This is a Rec. ride. Chill out. 99% of the people are there to have fun.

To the Smoking Guy: That cracked me up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

On being Right

One of the things I pride myself on is identifying patterns in people. For example, I've noticed that Paul Krugman is usually correct in his predictions. Donald Luskin, is usually wrong. I use this skill (which I would argue is simply looking at someone's track record) to great affect in deciding whether to trust people when there is a derth of information available to me to do my own research.

Similarly, I wonder why people in general have a hard time following a similar approach. Which made me smile when my girlfriend was defending me in a debate I was having. Basically she said "I don't always understand his (i.e. mine) reasoning and it drives me crazy but I have to admit he usually ends up being right." I will tell you if I am taking a position based on knowledge or if I am just specualting in an area I know little about. The 2 aren't the same. I am rarely wrong in the first case.

Umm.. are you dumb?

This article is interesting. According to the article Mugabe claims to be alive. But no where in the article is Mugabe actually quoted. A state newspaper and spokesman both quote him, but these are secondary sources. Isn't this poor reporting?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My Crystal Ball was Right

For those who were incapable of actually reading the the various transcripts of court ruling or researching the actual evidence presented (and yes I am talking about you Dori Monson) this may have been a surprise. But since I maintained all along that there was no evidence of fraud or even greater then normal errors (cause, see, I can read and actually know what source material is) I feel justified in paraphrasing that old SNL line "suck it, Rossi".

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Why aren't comics Faux-Luxuries

For the maybe 1 person who reads this blog (and sadly that may be me...) here's a "freakonomics" question. Why don't comic sales go up in depressed economies? Shouldn't they be faux-luxuries like comics and Pizza?

From The Writters Own Ass

Is this really true: I ask myself because so much of what is conventional wisdom seems to me to turn out wrong. Obviously, society tells us a guy who would fall for another woman while attached is an ass. But, if as science indicates, love has a lot to do with phermones then isn't it just nature telling him that the new girl is better? And I've never actually seen the supposed studies that supposedly say a guy who leaves a wife/girlfriend once, is likely to do so again. It seems to me (without studies to back it up) that it is just natural selection.

I am in a committed relationship myself, but I wonder how much of this expectation that we love forever is just society? I've often heard the statement that studies show heterosexual couples raise children better. But I've also never seen the supposed studies. (And by that I mean study in the technical term, not bogus studies that don't adhere to scientific methodolgy).

Back to my point, why is the guy a jerk?