Monday, February 25, 2013

Megan Guarnier's Rabobank Debut A Success

US escape artist Megan Guarnier got away from the peloton in her first race for the Rabobank team in the wintry 125 km Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at Ghent, Belgium  on Feb. 23.  Accompanied by Tiffany Cromwell, Guarnier was outsprinted to the finish by the Aussie.  Emma Johannson won the field sprint for third.

megan guarnier escape photo meganguarnierescape.jpg Megan Guarnier, on a warmer day, in a different kit, but in a familiar spot, in the lead.

Sarah Hammer Wins A Second Gold Medal

On the final day of competition in the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Minsk, Belarus, the only US competitor, Sarah Hammer, won her second gold medal with a victory in the Women's Omnium, a series of six races.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sarah Hammer World Champion Again

On day number one of the UCI world track cycling championships in Minsk, Belarus, world champion and world record holder in the women's 3000 meter individual pursuit, 29-year old Sarah Hammer of Temecula, California zipped around the track in 3:32.050, besting Aussie silver-medalist Amy Cure by almost nine seconds and nearly 10 seconds slower than her 2010 world record effort.

Sarah Hammer, World Champion

We know all about the dominating Sarah Hammer but the second -place finisher is a 20 year-old Tasmanian that has developed from an enthusiastic school girl cyclist  to a national junior champion to an Olympic competitor to the runner-up to the world champion in the individual pursuit.  The future looks bright for Amy Cure.

Amy Cure, Silver Medalist

The bronze medalist was another Australian, Olympian Annette Edmonson, who also won the bronze in the women's scratch race at the 2012 London games.

Annette Edmonson, Aussie track star and bronze medalist. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thought For The Day From Ludwig von Mises

Omnipotent Government, The Rise of the Total State and Total War, by Ludwig von Mises, was originally published by the Yale University Press in 1944.  It can now be found on-line at the von Mises Institute.  Here is a pertinent quote from the preface to that work.

Most people are intolerant
of any criticism of their social and economic tenets. they do not
understand that the objections raised refer only to unsuitable meth-
ods and do not dispute the ultimate ends of their efforts. they
are not prepared to admit the possibility that they might attain
their ends more easily by following the economists’ advice than by
disregarding it. they call an enemy of their nation, race, or group
anyone who ventures to criticize their cherished policies.
This stubborn dogmatism is pernicious and one of the root
causes of the present state of world affairs. An economist who
asserts that minimum wage rates are not the appropriate means
of raising the wage earners’ standard of living is neither a “labor
baiter” nor an enemy of the workers. On the contrary, in suggesting
more suitable methods for the improvement of the wage earners’
material well-being, he contributes as much as he can to a genuine
promotion of their prosperity.
To point out the advantages which everybody derives from the
working of capitalism is not tantamount to defending the vested
interests of the capitalists. An economist who forty or fifty years
ago advocated the preservation of the system of private property
and free enterprise did not fight for the selfish class interests of the
then rich. He wanted a free hand left to those unknown among
his penniless contemporaries who had the ingenuity to develop all
those new industries which today render the life of the common
man more pleasant. Many pioneers of these industrial changes, it
is true, became rich. But they acquired their wealth by supplying
the public with motor cars, airplanes, radio sets, refrigerators, mov-
ing and talking pictures, and a variety of less spectacular but no
less useful innovations. These new products were certainly not
an achievement of offices and bureaucrats. Not a single techni-
cal improvement can be credited to the Soviets. The best that the
Russians have achieved was to copy some of the improvements of
the capitalists whom they continue to disparage. Mankind has not
reached the stage of ultimate technological perfection. There is
ample room for further progress and for further improvement of
the standards of living. The creative and inventive spirit subsists
notwithstanding all assertions to the contrary. But it flourishes
only where there is economic freedom.
Neither is an economist who demonstrates that a nation (let
us call it Thule) hurts its own essential interests in its conduct of
foreign-trade policies and in its dealing with domestic minority
groups, a foe of Thule and its people.
It is futile to call the critics of inappropriate policies names and
to cast suspicion upon their motives. That might silence the voice
of truth, but it cannot render inappropriate policies appropriate.The advocates of totalitarian control call the attitudes of their
opponents negativism. They pretend that while they themselves
are demanding the improvement of unsatisfactory conditions, the
others are intent upon letting the evils endure. This is to judge all
social questions from the viewpoint of narrow-minded bureaucrats.
Only to bureaucrats can the idea occur that establishing new offices,
promulgating new decrees, and increasing the number of govern-
ment employees alone can be described as positive and beneficial
measures, whereas everything else is passivity and quietism.The program of economic freedom is not negativistic. It aims
positively at the establishment and preservation of the system of
market economy based on private ownership of the means of pro-
duction and free enterprise. It aims at free competition and at the
sovereignty of the consumers. As the logical outcome of these
demands the true liberals are opposed to all endeavors to substitute
government control for the operation of an unhampered market
economy. Laissez faire, laissez passer does not mean: let the evils
last. On the contrary, it means: do not interfere with the operation
of the market because such interference must necessarily restrict
output and make people poorer. It means furthermore: do not
abolish or cripple the capitalist system which, in spite of all ob-
stacles put in its way by governments and politicians, has raised
the standard of living of the masses in an unprecedented way.
Liberty is not, as the German precursors of Nazism asserted, a
negative ideal. Whether a concept is presented in an affirmative
or in a negative form is merely a question of idiom. Freedom from
want is tantamount to the expression striving after a state of affairs
under which people are better supplied with necessities. Freedom of
speech is tantamount to a state of affairs under which everybody cansay what he wants to say.At the bottom of all totalitarian doctrines lies the belief that the
rulers are wiser and loftier than their subjects and that they there-
fore know better what benefits those ruled than they themselves.
Werner Sombart, for many years a fanatical champion of Marxism
and later a no less fanatical advocate of Nazism, was bold enough to
assert frankly that the Führer gets his orders from God, the supreme
Führer of the universe, and that Führertum is a permanent revela-
tion.  Whoever admits this, must, of course, stop questioning the
expediency of government omnipotence.Those disagreeing with this theocratical justification of dictatorship claim for themselves the right to discuss freely the problems involved. They do not write state with a capital S. They do not
shrink from analyzing the metaphysical notions of Hegelianism
and Marxism. They reduce all this high-sounding oratory to the
simple question: are the means suggested suitable to attain the ends
sought? In answering this question, they hope to render a service
to the great majority of their fellow men.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Federal Extortion

Jay Carney, press secretary for the Obama White House, announced Thursday that the "sequester" scheduled for March 1 will mean furloughs for federal employees that have the most consequential effects on the average citizen.   According to Carney a lack of Dept. of Agriculture inspectors will mean that meat processing plants won't be able to open, taking 2 billion pounds of beef and 3 billion pounds of poultry off the market.  It's now gotten to the point where a US citizen can't buy meat without the permission of the federal government.  Furloughs will also be given to air traffic controllers and TSA personnel, making travel even more of a hassle than it already is.  As usual, when the government gets into an intramural wrestling match, it makes sure that the most uninterested parties are sucked into the struggle and used as pawns.

 Mr. Obama blessed the plan Thursday evening, saying through press secretary Jay Carney that Republicans now face a choice: “Do they protect investments in education, health care and national defense or do they continue to prioritize and protect tax loopholes that benefit the very few.”

There's a lot of content in that statement.  But the most important content is the reference to "the very few".  What Obama is saying through Carney is that confiscation of personal property is OK as long as it's limited to a certain number.
This happened a couple of years ago when the Minnesota legislature was in a budget impasse and lack of racing commission personnel meant that horse racing had to be suspended, although they don't feed, saddle, inspect, ride or do anything else with the horses or the money bet on them.

You can rest assured, however, if National Beef operates its plant in Liberal, KS without inspectors there WILL be legal authorities on the payroll to shut them down.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Christopher Dorner and the LAPD

Evidently, the saga of Christopher Dorner has come to an end in a fire-gutted cabin in the Big Bear Mountains east of San Bernardino, California.  The cashiered LA cop and recently honorably discharged Navy Reserve officer captured headlines all over the world when he published a rambling on-line manifesto justifying a vendetta against Southern California law enforcement.  The details of his fatal actions have been well-documented in the media.  What's been virtually ignored are the responses of the coercion community.

First of all, Dorner's problems began when he filed a report accusing his training officer and partner Teresa Evans of using excessive force on one Christopher Gettler in 2008, kicking him in the face as he lie handcuffed on the ground.

Christopher Gettler, whose assault by cop Teresa Evans set in motion a sequence of events that led to the deaths of four people.

The review process established that Dorner had lied about the actions of Evans and, having committed the unforgiveable sin of testifying against another cop, Dorner was fired.  A photograph of Evans can't be found on Google.

Photos of Dorner's first victims are available, along with the circumstances of their deaths.

Dorner's behavior, while perhaps insane, is secondary here to that of southern California law enforcement, which is certifiably nuts.  Seven unnamed, now on paid administrative leave, LAPD detectives opened fire on a pickup in Torrance during the early morning hours of Feb. 7.  The truck was occupied by the newspaper delivery team of 71 year-old Emma Hernandez and her 47 year old daughter Margie Carranza.  Both were wounded and their vehicle riddled with bullet holes.  Magnanimous LAPD chief Charlie Beck has announced that a donor will replace the punctured pickup, which would apparently make up for what is attempted first degree murder by any definition. About 25 minutes later Torrance cops shot at and rammed a vehicle driven by David Perdue, who was on his way to the beach, a white guy in a car bearing no resemblance to the one Dorner was supposed to be driving.  We won't comment on the marksmanship of these agents of coercion.

Adding further irony to the sad situation, dim bulb LAPD chief Charlie Beck says, "Of course, he knows what he's doing.  We trained him."

Naturally, there's no shortage of talking head analysis of the whole affair.  An ivory tower resident back east wanted to drag in the issue of "police terrorism" but that's not a socially acceptable process as this short essay in Human Events illustrates.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stage 4, Ladies Tour of Qatar, Preview and Last Lap

Argos-Shimano delivered their Dutch star Kirsten Wild to the bunch sprint and she delivered, winning 3 of the 4 stages and the general classification of the Ladies Tour of Qatar in Doha.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Spectacular Ana Popovic

Serbia gives us another musical phenomenon, Ana Popovic.