Monthly Archives: September 2010

Today was a little different. For each exercise pair, I did 5 sets to max reps, with as little rest between as possible:

Chinups: 13, 11, 8, 8, 7 – 47 Total

Charles Bennett, winner in track & field 1500m...
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Pushups: 40, 28, 23, 20, 20 – 131

1500m rowed

DB Shoulder Press #25: 28, 22, 15,12,11 – 88

Front &Back Curls w/ Band: 26, 18, 15, 12, 12 – 83 (these are essentially 2 curls per rep)

1500m rowed

Chair Dip: 30, 21, 16, 17, 12 – 96

Delt Fly w/ Band: 27, 21, 17, 18, 16 – 99

Elapsed time 1:09:19 – upper body might be a little sore tomorrow.

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Thomas Friedman, American journalist, columnis...

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Thomas Friedman wrote an excellent article for the NY Times yesterday, in which he examines the Tea Party movement and ponders its ultimate impact on not just the coming election, but the future of America. He asserts there are really two Tea Party movements:

  • The Tea Kettle movement – the one everybody’s seeing on TV and in new coverage of rallies all over America. Friedman says this one can’t have a positive, lasting impact on America, because all it’s doing is “letting off steam”:

The Tea Kettle movement can’t have a positive impact on the country because it has both misdiagnosed America’s main problem and hasn’t even offered a credible solution for the problem it has identified. How can you take a movement seriously that says it wants to cut government spending by billions of dollars but won’t identify the specific defense programs, Social Security, Medicare or other services it’s ready to cut — let alone explain how this will make us more competitive and grow the economy?

  • The Tea Party movement -which he calls the important one- the one that will clearly identify the problem, and offers a plan to put America back on track:

To me, that is a plan that starts by asking: what is America’s core competency and strategic advantage, and how do we nurture it? Answer: It is our ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent. That means men and women who invent, build and sell more goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, secure and entertained than any other country.

I agree with this assessment completely. This is precisely the kind of activity that the current administration’s policies is strangling. The creative genius of Americans, free from the shackles of intrusive and overbearing government intervention, is what propelled our nation to the preeminent position among nations of the world. To accomplish this, says Friedman, the “real” Tea Party movement needs to find a leader: one with three important characteristics:

The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats, understands this at a gut level and is looking for a leader with three characteristics. First, a patriot: a leader who is more interested in fighting for his country than his party. Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again. And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are — a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls.

Friedman goes on to offer his ideas on the sorts of things this Tea Party leader would need to accomplish in order to “grow our way out of debt with American workers who are more empowered and educated to compete.” I can’t say I agree with all his prescriptions – but there’s not really enough detailed information to make an educated assessment. I’m also not sure that there is a leader in the current political landscape – at least, one known to enough of the population to make a difference- that fits his description. A man (or woman) who’s more interested in fighting for his country than his party might encounter significant resistance in unshackling America’s creative talent. It seems a lot of politicians these days are more interested in getting re-elected than working to fix our country’s problems. Yes, finding such a leader would be a tall order indeed.

Read the whole thing here

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Patrick Barron has a piece at (That’s the website for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which is mainly concerned with matters economic) that examines the true cost of the all-electric Prius driven by David Sandalow, a US Department of Energy assistant secretary and an avid advocate for the all-electric car.  He spends some time talking about the problem of rent-seeking, and the government-worker to lobbyist merry-go-round that perpetuates much of the poor policy decisions in our country (like subsidizing the production of very expensive electric batteries).  This stuff is interesting, but the best part of the article is his calculation of the payback period for Mr. Sandalow’s all-electric car:

First of all, the cost of anything is that which is foregone by the purchase. In other words, when

Maker Faire 2008, San Mateo - A plug-in Prius
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we buy something, we cannot spend this money on other things. That is what our cost is. In the case of Mr. Sandalow, his $9,000 investment cost him 3,000 gallons of gasoline at the current price of roughly $3 per gallon. Assuming Mr. Sandalow’s Toyota Prius gets only 20 miles per gallon, he could have driven his car for 60,000 miles. Since his commute is 10 miles per day, Mr. Sandalow’s conversion cost is the amount of gasoline he could have purchased to drive to work for 22.7 years.

But that is not the only cost; the cost of electricity, which Mr. Sandalow estimates to be the equivalent of 75¢ per gallon gasoline, has yet to be considered. This expense adds an additional $2,250 to his commute — 60,000 miles divided by 20 miles per gallon times .75 = $2,250. Stated another way, he could have purchased another 750 gallons of gasoline and commuted to work for another 5.7 years, or 28.4 years total.

Now let’s move on to the $33,000 battery. Hold onto your hats! At $3 per gallon, Mr. Sandalow could have purchased 11,000 gallons of gasoline and driven his Toyota Prius for 220,000 miles. But, again, he would have had to buy electricity at the equivalence of 75¢ per gallon, which would have cost him another $8,250. With this additional money he could have driven another 55,000 miles, or 275,000 miles total. This would allow our intrepid energy saver to drive to work for 104 years. (Of course, this cost assumes that one $33,000 battery will last for that many miles. If two batteries are required, you can double the cost and the years required to break even.)

So, by converting his car to a plug-in hybrid for $9,000, buying a yet-to-be produced 100-mile range battery for $33,000, and buying electricity for the equivalence of 75¢ per gallon of gasoline, Mr. Sandalow could have purchased enough $3 per gallon gasoline to enable him to drive to work for 132 years!

I love the way economists think. Read the rest of this article at

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