Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free Speech

PBS Frontline has a pretty good show on money in politics post-Citizens United, specifically in the state of Montana, that everyone should watch: Big Sky, Big Money. You should especially watch it if you don't know what a 501(c)4 is, or if you think SuperPACs aren't coordinating directly with campaigns. I have to say that I was hoping for a bit more dirt, or something more explosive, but honestly, Stephen Colbert pretty much nailed it months ago with his SuperPAC shenanigans. They obviously coordinate with campaigns. At least they have to name their donors. Non-profit non-campaign "issue advocacy" 501(c)4s  don't, however. Except in Montana they not only coordinate with campaigns, they straight up run them.

As far as I know, only one supreme court justice (Thomas) believes that even anonymous corporate and individual speech is protected by the first amendment. So this is something we could actually win. But it's not like the Supreme Court is going to up and say "hey we screwed up, everyone has to disclose where the money comes from"--the legislature has to do that, specifically by passing the DISCLOSE act. Then Jim Bopp can challenge it and lose.

Also, given the current situation, where money wins elections, until we get public funding of campaigns, small donors are the only thing we've got. So donate to Jon Tester.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Does everyone hit their thumb on the spokes or hub taking a bike pump off the tire, or is it just me?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bad Dog

Apparently George does not have the same qualms about the quality of bread machine bread as I do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bread Machine Bread Is Mediocre

I haven't found a decent bakery anywhere near my house. I miss Acme something fierce. So I started using the landlord's bread machine from the basement. The results are mediocre when compared to virtually the same recipe when done by hand. It does save four hours and it's great to be able to use the timer to wake up to fresh bread, but still, would it kill someone to make a decent cranberry walnut around here, and is this just a function of bread machines?  I'm an economist, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's no such thing as a free lunch (magically saving four hours), but does anyone have suggestions (preferably of the mult-grain variety) to diminish the problem?

Bike Lights

I'm tired of bike lights breaking every year or so. I liked my Portland Design Works set, but now the rear one won't turn off. Plus I feel like around here where drivers aren't looking for cyclists and there aren't many streetlights, I need an especially bright front light. (Just yesterday oncoming young idiots made a left turn and I barely stopped in time to avoid broadsiding them.) Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I found some reasonably priced Continental Grand Prix 4000's in red. 700x23, so I may also look for some wider ones for a softer ride. But I put Mr. Tuffys in these Conti's so hopefully I'm done with flats for a good long while.

Also, if anyone wants my 700x23 Michelin Speedium 2's, I'll send them to you for the cost of shipping ($5?). They're cheap tires ($20 each new), it just seems sort of wasteful to throw them away. They've probably been ridden ~1200 miles.


What's the over/under on when these are all dead?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Econ Advice: Eat More Vegetables

I've only read the abstract, but this paper says eating fruits and veggies makes you happier. Actually, to be clear, they do the rare honest thing and don't claim it's causal, they just identify an interesting and apparently robust partial correlation.

So, clearly, it's causal. Be vegan, be happier. I'm sold.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bike Tires

I got three flats on my touring bike today. I've been rocking Continental Gatorskins on my crappy commuter for quite a while, with no flats that I can remember. And I rode 700 miles on the Michelin Speedium 2's that are on my nicer Lemond touring bike just fine, but they seem to have fulfilled their lifespan. Gatorskins are around $55. (Are these better than Continental Touring Plus? They're more expensive.) Bontrager Hardcase, Serfa, Specialized...everybody makes tires that are supposed to be puncture resistant. Does anyone make them in red, and sell them for less than $75? Because in all seriousness, these ones look cool, and despite the fact that my current red and black tires get punctured, and my red and black seat is not comfortable on long rides, I kind of want to keep the color scheme going.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


There's not much new to me in this NYT article about the relationship between the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts of America. But their bigotry is still loathsome. Next week I'll be interviewing to volunteer again with a more inclusive youth organization.

UPDATE: And today there's this.

Back in Swarthmore

Long Lake, Adirondacks

Lean-to on Long Lake

On the Northville Placid Trail, Adirondacks
On the Fort Ticonderoga ferry from NY to VT

George facing his fears at Clarendon Gorge

Pretty much
George's first snow

George's coldest night at Skyline Lodge, a GMC shelter

Vermont was too cold and the leaves had already fallen, so we headed south to the Catskills, though it rained there too.


Long Lake, Adirondacks

Well, after getting rained out in the Catskills, I stopped in NYC and Philly, and now I'm home. Hopefully I'll get out to a couple nearby state parks that I've been wanting to visit, and I may go camping on the AT near Harrisburg this weekend. I'm off to print out my Hardrock 100 application.

A Good Day's Mail Haul

Also two issues of the New Yorker and a new pair of running shoes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

nnect it to Escarpment?
So much warmer here in the Catskills. Makes me ashamed of myself. More colors on the trees by far, but not much red. Devil's Path from the west. Maybe co

Adirondacks, Long Trail

I got my car back. My buddy got it registered for me in California--their DMV admitted they'd made a mistake and should have already done that, or given me the title, or something. It's weird. Anyway, I'm out $700 and my insurance will be more expensive for the next 7 years, but I got my car back.  I went to a family thing near Buffalo, then drove east to the Adirondacks. George and I camped a night there, then we continued east to Rutland, Vermont, where I stayed a few days with a friend and worked from the public library. Then I walked out of her place and headed north on the AT/LT. (Yes, my friend lives basically on the trail--mile 84 of the trail in Vermont.) I managed 3.5 days before the rain, snow, overnight lows of 20 degrees, and lack of foliage got to me. North was the wrong direction to be headed for leaves, so I'm headed south to the Catskills today.