Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barefoot Running: It begins...

Check out my new clodhoppers! Today I started barefoot running. I used to run a fair amount, but I had to stop because it was killing my knees. Recently I heard about forefoot/barefoot running and how it helps a lot with knee problems. So... I got myself a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers, which are like gloves for feet. They are probably the nerdiest shoes in existence right now, which explains why I LOVE THEM.
I hear that it is easy to get injuries if I get into barefoot running too fast, so I am also doing the "Couch to 5K" program to ease myself into it. Today I ran for about 25 minutes, alternating between running and walking. For the last five minutes, I took off my Vibrams and ran with just my bare tootsies on our 20-grit sidewalks. Overall, it felt awesome to be running again, even though I am still shaking off a cold. My knees didn't give me a lick of trouble, but my feet felt a little strain, so I can see how a person needs to ease into it. I've been running stairs recently, so I think that helped with my calves, which people say is the first thing on your body to complain. The barefoot part at the end was uncomfortable, but not painful. I'm looking forward to building up callouses on my feet.
I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ron Paul: A old guy with some interesting ideas.

I recently visited Ron Paul’s web site(s) and did a deep dive on his platform.   Overall, I find him to be more interesting than all the other candidates out there, who have platforms that feel watered down and filled with slogans.    His ideas may or may not work, but at least he has some theories and some great experiments to try.  I also wish he weren’t so old, but I’ll take what I can get. 

Here’s the results of my inquiry based somewhat on my own political views, but also based on whether he’s addressing some identifiable problems in a proactive way.   



Ron Paul



(+)  Recognizes that fiat money is like an addictive drug

(+) Return to gold standard is an interesting and game-changing idea

(-) Doesn’t give clear steps on how to return to gold standard

(+) Recognizes that existence of the Fed creates negative incentives for good policy  and recommends another game-changing idea of eliminating the Fed.

(-) Doesn’t make clear what organizations will replace the Fed, nor talk about the perceived value of the Fed that should be preserved.

Foreign Policy


(+) Recognizes the “blowback” effect of US foreign policy of the last several decades.

(+) Calls our recent wars “illegal” and acts of “aggression”

(+) Recognizes that wars are huge sinkholes of American wealth.

(+) Recognizes the negative incentives created by our military industrial complex

(-) The call to hunt 9/11 planners sounds a little like pandering

(-) Proposed overhauling intelligence agencies, but gives no vision or plan

(-) Talks about the problems of entagling alliances, but does not illuminate or address the root causes of these alliances.

Health Care


(+) He’s a doctor, so has a first-hand opinion

(+) Recognizes negative incentives created by government-enforced monopolies.

(+) Recognizes primary issue: sub-standard health care mandated by inflexible policies

(+) Proposes greater support for natural medicine and recognizes that there is a disinsentive for this created by government health policy.

(+) Recognizes that government sponsored health care is likely to make the situation worse and is likely unconstitutional.

(+) Recognizes that the pharmaceutical industry is incented to expensive drugs that are not especially effective.

(+) Beginning the conversation about medicine and charity.

(-) Doesn’t address the cost of being a family practitioner.

(-) Doesn’t address tort reform and malpractice

(-) Doesn’t address a vision for FDA testing natural remedies.

Immigration Policy


(+)  Current policy is increasing class separation.

(-) says “No Amnesty”, but doesn’t make it clear what to do with 20 million illegal immigrants.  Deport them?

(+) Recognizes that Welfare creates an incentive for illegal immigration.

(-) Doesn’t articulate how much of our welfare money goes to illegals.

(+) Recognizes that birthright citizenship is an incentive for illegal immigration.

(-) Doesn’t give a vision for how to change/replace birthright citizenship.

(-) Doesn’t directly address the 800 pound Gorilla of illegal immigration:  Mexico.


Free Trade


(+)  Clarifies that NAFTA is not free trade

(+/-) Interesting definition of isolationism.

(-) Does not address corporations and humans rights issues in foreign countries

(+) Suggests true free trade as a means for achieving peace

(+) Advocates full free trade without government intervention

(-) Doesn’t talk about patent reform and IP protections

(-) Doesn’t talk about the realities of failure and collapse in a full free trade system



(+) Eliminate the IRS - A Seemingly radical idea which he de-radicalizes with some numbers and history.

(+) Outlines realistic steps to fill in the revenue with excise (consumption) taxes, tariffs (non protectionist?), and big spending cuts.

(+)  Connects income tax to loss of privacy and freedom

(+)  Identifies negative incentive for productive behavior

(+) Liberty Amendment.   A visionary piece of legislation demonstrating a long-term commitment to this policy on taxation.




(+) Recognition that many of the talking points around abortion are just secondary issues.

(-) Raises another secondary, un-provable issue as his talking point – when does life begin?    (The real issues is unwanted pregnancies, an issue around which pro-life and pro-choice groups have been able to cooperate in the past)

(+)  Raises an interesting connection between abortion and euthanasia

(+) Brings abortion providers under scrutiny

(-) Doesn’t reach for common ground on an extremely divisive issue.

(+) Appears to have a consistent view on this topic, informed by his significant medical experience.


Grade: D+

(-) No national vision for education.  

(-) Recommends dissolving national education system but doesn’t mention that our form of government depends heavily on an educated populace.

(+) wants to support home schooling


Gun Rights

Grade: C-

(+) Defends constitutional right to bear arms

(-) No innovation or vision around the gun-related problems we have in our country.



(-) Promotes excise taxes, but suggests repealing the gasoline tax, pandering to consumers.  

(-) Promotes unrestricted exploration of energy resources, bypassing important government function of regulation.

(-) Lift roadblocks for coal

(+) Lift roadblocks for nuclear power

(-) Proposes removing EPA and suggests a tort system, neglecting that the government is a huge property owner.

(+) Promote alternative fuel technologies

(-) No real vision for solving energy dependence problem.