Friday, October 30, 2009

Behind yellow jersey #1 is...

A former TdF winner is glad he didn't take no juice in '08. Who could it be? Hint: there was only one former winner racing in the 2008 tour.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Those crazy Khazaks

There is something really odd about the Khazak Federation which apparently thinks that the rule allowing Contador to cancel his contract with Astana doesn't apply because they only missed the deadline due to a paperwork issue.

"Certain people, it is unclear who, have completely dreamed this up, but there has been no occasion on which he has made an official statement on this issue,” Proskurin said.

Proskurin added that the delays in the licence renewal were due only to technical problems, and that all documentation has now been submitted. “The issue is simply that we need to provide additional documents because we have changed our sponsors,” he said.

Ummm.. by "certain people" do you mean the UCI?

The governing body announced yesterday that five teams had missed the October 20th deadline for registration. While they have a further month to ensure the necessary paperwork is in order, a rule introduced this summer allows riders to seek another team once that initial deadline has been missed.

And what exactly are they dreaming up? The rule?

The UCI have now confirmed that riders from the five teams concerned may indeed look for other teams if they so wish. "If Alberto Contador leaves tomorrow, we can only say that this option would be complying with our rules," confirmed UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani to Cyclingnews on Friday evening.

The article in question, 2.15.139, article 8.1.f, was newly introduced in July. It states, "if, on 20 October of the year preceding a year of registration covered by the present contract, the UCI ProTeam has not submitted a registration file containing the essential documents," the rider may terminate the contract "without notice or liability for damages".

Or that Contador is thinking of leaving?

There has been much speculation in the press that Contador would leave the team after it failed to meet the UCI's deadline of October 20 to get its racing license application for 2010 in order. By the governing body's rules, Contador should be free to look for another team, but he said it's not so easy.

"I assure you it is not so simple," Contador said. "My future career is being decided right now and I think between this week and next we will clear up many of the doubts that confront us now and many of the unknowns will be clarified."

Contador's concern is if his future team will be able to fully support his goal of defending the Tour de France title. He wants to have his future decided as soon as possible so he can relax.

"That is why my advisers are looking at options, but from one meeting it is not that simple. The process could go on for more than a month, but I cannot face this through December."

Let me suggest that if Contador resigns with Astana he's an idiot.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talk to the hand

Personal to JustFiveGrins and Trish: You cannot defeat me because I have Leroy Smith on my side. Word.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Once Upon A Time

I rode Ramrod in 1998 at the request of Jan Hiene. I was actually fast back then and killed myself for him, sitting up around Paradise and riding in easy. Afterwards I found out I got 2nd in my age group. That hurt!

But what really hurts is finding out Saturday that Older Than Dirt, racing the Not Quite Old As Dirt age-group, beat me but about an hour. Ouch!

Of course, he had to drop his beloved wife to do it. Bastard!

The evidence of his cold hearted ways is here.

Superman / Batman: The Movie!

I just saw the Superman / Batman movie produced by DC's animation studio. It continues what I find to be an odd tick of DC's superhero world in general.

The core plot is that Lex Luthor frames Superman for the murder of Metallo. Of course, we know this is crazy. Superman doesn't kill people. It's just not in his nature.

Except he spends a crap load of time dropping cars on bad guys, using his heat vision to blow cars up and beating the crap out of them with his superstrength. As far as I can tell this is a bit like saying the A-Team couldn't kill anyone cause it's not in them. I suggest it's only cause they are horrible shots.

The only reason Superman hasn't left a swath of dead people in his super-powered wake is because of the stories inconsistent approach to what it takes to kill someone in the movie.


As krugman notes, the magic of the marketplace fails miserably in Health Care leading to higher costs and more inefficiency.

I would argue that you see a similar dynamic in the shadow banking system, especially with credit cards.

My econo-poseur analysis is that large corporation is general are not very efficient. The old aldage that a world class corporation is a C+ applies. So it's not surprising that you get inefficiencies and high-costs in network externality driven markets.

Maybe this is why the don't like you

Memo to Vino, maybe this is why the UCI doesn't want you around.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NPR can still go F*&^ itself

JustFiveGrins doesn't understand what I object to in NPRs use of a local handyman as the intro story to their multipart story on airline repairs. He also suggests I didn't listen closely enough and provided a helpful link to the written transcript.

Here's the intro:

ZWERDLING: We'll start our visit around the central plaza. There are hundreds of market stalls under flimsy awnings, and they give you a quick sense of why more and more American airlines are sending their planes to El Salvador to be fixed: labor is cheap. A haircut: a dollar. Avocados: two for 25 cents. My interpreter and I stop at a booth where the man's fixing appliances.

What is the typical income here?

Unidentified Man (Appliance repair man): (Through translator) I would say, between $200 to $250 a month.

ZWERDLING: Part of you might be wondering: Do I want mechanics in El Salvador to fix our planes? And these market stalls provide one possible answer; mechanics here can fix anything. This guy's taking the motor apart on a kitchen blender. He says a new blender would cost $20, but he's going to fix this one for 10.

You know, if I took a broken blender like that to a repair shop in the United States, they would say: We don't fix that; buy a new one.

Unidentified Man: (Through interpreter): Yes but here, we always find a way to repair it. All of us are poor.
emphasis mine

I object to the following:

1. The idea that repairing a toaster or other gadget is somehow indicative of the ability to repair or maintain a plane.

2. The implication that failing or damaged airplane parts or mechanisms should be repaired and not replaced (which, I will grant is a lot clearer in the audio than in the written version)

3. The fetishistic need of NPR to provide these stupid ass analogies/anecdotes at the start of their stories that don't prove anything but add flavor.

Pretty Much

Monday, October 19, 2009


I didn't read the blog but there is a picture of pie.

F*&^ you NPR

Lately NPRs coverage of issues has annoyed me. Today were two examples of a disservice NPR does in it's attempts to be pithy/edgy/whatever.

Airline Safety: NPR launched a lengthy segment on whether or not outsourcing airplane maintainance was a safe, cost-effective practice or a cheap assed attempt to save a dime that causes planes to fall from the sky. I don't know what the conclusion was because I had to take the kids in. But the intro featured an approving reporter using a local south-american handy-mans ability to overhaul a toaster as 1. proof that 3rd world handy-men were fully qualified to overhaul planes and 2. evidence that we Americans are too quick to toss old toasters/airplanes and buy new.

Athiest Convention: The next segment was on the recent Athiest Convention. The intro gave a snapshot of the event including trading porn for the bible. Seriously? I understand that the word porn is good for rating (hell Brian may even read this post because of it) but a) this wasn't a convention sanctioned activity and b) how many people were seriously doing that? 1 or 2 people outside the hall? That's a pretty misleading thing to say. And it's easy because it plays into a stereotype of Athiests as people who reject god so they can pahhttay! In the real world, Not So Much. Especially when the biggest consumers of online porn are Red states.

Blaming the victim

One of the objections I hear most from people interested in riding their bikes more is that it's dangerous. And when you read articles like the case of Dr. Thompson you can understand why people think that.

But, as Matt Yglesias rightly pointed out several months ago (can't find the link but here are some other interesting posts), this is not a particular accurate way to think about it. When a car hits a bicycle, it's very rarely because the cyclist did something wrong or acted in an unsafe manner*. It's usually because the driver was driving to fast, misjudged the cyclists speed, didn't see the cyclist, etc. I am not saying drivers are evil perse. But the reality is it's *driving* that's dangerous. And it's dangerous even with the best of intentions. As we all know, a moment of inattention driving can lead to horrific results. But that underscores my basic point: I can make a mistake riding my bike and it's unlikely the result will be serious injury to anyone but me and very unlikely to result in death.

When we think about transportation I think it's important to understand that solving these problems isn't likely to come from lecturing cyclists to be more safe. Rather, it needs to be driven by incentives to ride more and policies to reduce the potential impact of weoponized personal transportation units.

*that's not to say cyclists always behave in a safe manner either. There are plenty of asshole riders (and you know who you are). Everyone make errors too, but as I said above the stakes are a bit higher when piloting motorized steel.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just add cobbles

Riding from Chocolati at 9am Saturday. 3 hours, maybe more for the guys who race. Looks like a decent sized group. Join if interested. Rules are the always the same. Don't attack the group and make sure you bike works.

Now were can I find some cobbles to conveniently add in...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween means dressing up

Keeping with the creepy themes from the Bang Bus post... it's Halloween which always reminds me that I don't have any weird fetishes. This article should help me start one, but right now it's @PruDogFetishFail.

Susan Hutchinson

Speaking of people with a track record of being lying weasils... I can't believe anyone is going to vote for Susan Hutchinson.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Just Entertaiment

Rush Limbaugh wanted to buy a 2% ownership interest in the Rams. This met with a lot of sound & fury about whether he should be allowed to.

I actually could care less. But I did hear several talking heads, some who know him, make the point that he's just an entertainer. He says controversial things to create controversy. The argument goes that you can't hold him to the same standard as a journalist because his job is to get ratings, not report facts. He's just spouting off controversial opinions to get ratings.

A similar argument is deployed to defend Hannity and O'Rielly as well.

I call Bullshit. The problem isn't that these guys spout off controvesial opinions. It's that they make shit up and claim them as facts. For example, claiming that only 5 million people are without healthcare isn't true. It's a made up statistic.

Now the response to that is you can get statistics to say anything you want. Actually, no you can't. You can, of course, make shit up and call it a statistic (I am looking at you APC!) but that's called lying.

Looking at it another way.. if other talk show hosts, like say sports guys, started claiming that all the Rams were socialists pedophiles who cheated on their taxes I am pretty sure they would get fired. Cause that's not an opinion. That's... wait for it... making shit up. And it would be a lie.

Just saying.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Bryant Ravenna Bang Bus

While Mayor Nichols is busy trying to ram the tunnel through the City Council and shut down Ricks before his term expires I can't help but wonder what the hell are they doing about the jack ass driving around Ravenna / Bryant asking Mom's if they want to join him for some video-taped in his janky van?

I don't know what to think of a guy who for the the 2nd time in 3 years is indulging the delusion that the Bang Bus is both real and an effective way to meet women.

A local version of the Helpful Bus, on the otherhand, would be awesome.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


It looks like the UCI and the AFLD are at it again. As many know, policing the police gets me more passionate than the catching the cheats.

As many of these type of controversies have popped up I've generally found you can draw conclussions as to who is in the right by how logically tight the various statements, accusations and defences are. This can be a challenge since the media tends to report the polemic more prominently. Nevertheless you can usually unpack the charges and response.

From what I can tell AFLD is charging that the UCI doesn't not have a consistent testing protocol and is not transparent in its collection procedures. This undermines the validity of the testing.

The UCI responded that the AFLD is a media whore, that they have already answered these accusations, that they won't have the debate in public, etc.

From a scientific method and logic POV AFLD has valid points. And the UCI's response doesn't address and even confirms them (albiet unintentionally). If I was a betting man I would bet on the AFLD.