Thursday, March 29, 2007
Tuesday night I ran with the Trail Nerds out at SMP and was looking forward to doing two slow loops of 4.5 miles each. Around 2 miles into the first loop, I felt a little familiar twinge in the left knee. Not really painful at first, but familiar enough to cause me to take notice with concern. I stayed with the group at a leisurely pace as the discomfort increased. By the end of that first loop, the discomfort had become moderate pain in the left LCL. I've taken almost two and a half months off to let this heal. I respect my doctor's knowledge and skill, but his lack of personal attention may force me to find another. This has gone on too long already in my opinion.
It felt so good to be running through the woods again. I'm not ready to give that up.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
"Friday, Mar. 16, 2007
Limousine Liberal Hypocrisy
Goldman Sachs has been one of the most aggressive firms on Wall Street about taking action on climate change; the company sends its bankers home at night in hybrid limousines.
--The New York Times, Feb. 25
Written without a hint of irony--if only your neighborhood dry cleaner sent his employees home by hybrid limousine--this front-page dispatch captured perfectly the eco-pretensions of the rich and the stupefying gullibility with which they are received.
Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was "Ride mass transit." This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.
Leo and Al then portentously announced that for the first time ever, the Academy Awards ceremony had gone green. What did that mean? Solar panels in the designer gowns? It turns out that the Academy neutralized the evening's "carbon footprint" by buying carbon credits. That means it sent money to a "carbon broker," who promised, after taking his cut, to reduce carbon emissions somewhere on the planet equivalent to what the stars spewed into the atmosphere while flying in on their private planes.
In other words, the rich reduce their carbon output by not one ounce. But drawing on the hundreds of millions of net worth in the Kodak Theatre, they pull out lunch money to buy ecological indulgences. The last time the selling of pardons was prevalent--in a predecessor religion to environmentalism called Christianity--Martin Luther lost his temper and launched the Reformation.
A very few of the very rich have some awareness of the emptiness--if not the medieval corruption--of ransoming one's sins. Sergey Brin, zillionaire founder of Google, buys carbon credits to offset the ghastly amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Google's private Boeing 767 but confesses he's not sure if it really does anything.
Which puts him one step ahead of most other eco-preeners who actually pretend that it does--the Goracle himself, for example. His Tennessee mansion consumes 20 times the electricity used by the average American home. Last August alone it consumed twice as much power as the average home consumes in a year. Gore buys absolution, however. He spends pocket change on carbon credits, which then allow him to pollute conscience-free.
What is wrong with this scam? First, purchasing carbon credits is an incentive to burn even more fossil fuels, since now it is done under the illusion that it's really cost-free to the atmosphere.
Second, it is a way for the rich to export the real costs and sacrifices of pollution control to the poorer segments of humanity in the Third World. (Apparently, Hollywood's plan is to make up for that by adopting every last one of their children.) For example, GreenSeat, a Dutch carbon-trading outfit, buys offsets from a foundation that plants trees in Uganda's Mount Elgon National Park to soak up the carbon emissions of its rich Western patrons. Small problem: expanding the park encroaches on land traditionally used by local farmers. As a result, reports the New York Times, "villagers living along the boundary of the park have been beaten and shot at, and their livestock has been confiscated by armed park rangers." All this so that swimming pools can be heated and Maseratis driven with a clear conscience in the fattest parts of the world.
The other form of carbon trading is to get Third World companies to cut their emissions to offset Western pollution. The reason this doesn't work--and why the carbon racket is a farce--is that you need a cap for cap-and-trade to work. Sulfur dioxide emissions in the U.S. were capped, and the trading system succeeded in reducing acid rain by half. But even the Kyoto treaty doesn't put any cap on greenhouse gases in China and India, where billions of these carbon credits are traded. Sure, you can pretend you're offsetting Western greenhouse pollution by supposedly cleaning up a dirty coal plant in China. But China is adding a new coal plant every week. You could build a particularly dirty "uncapped" power plant, then sell hundreds of millions in carbon credits to reduce it to a normal rate of pollution. The result? The polluter gets very rich. The planet continues to cook. And the Gores of the world can feel virtuous as they burn up the local power grid.
If Gore really wants to save the planet, he can try this: Turn off the lights. Ditch the heated pool. Ride the subway. And spare us the carbon-trading piety."(original article here)
On a personal note, do you think that the celebs purchase their "carbon credits" with a credit card with a rewards program? Certainly not! That might negate any true benevolence. I mean, wouldn't true "green" intentions not be seeking any benefit other than that of the environment?
Monday, March 19, 2007
I have another visit with the Dr in about a week or so. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a final decision on whether or not to do any invasive procedures. I'm hoping that it's a definite no and I can resume training full on! This year, I'm hoping to do the Leadville Marathon again, a few Adventure Races, and several other trail races.
Helping out with events has been fun and somewhat rewarding, but I'm looking forward to fueling the competitive side again soon. I think I have some more good races left in me before fatherhood becomes my main focus.
On a side ( and somewhat related) note, I quit drinking a month ago and started seeing results right away. I dropped 3 lbs in the first week. Since then, I've regained it due to traveling for work and other setbacks, but overall, I think it's a good thing. It's probably not a permanent thing, but I wanted to see how much of a difference cutting out the few beers per week I was having. Time will tell. Perhaps I'll end up going to Bad Ben's diet of one beer earned for every 6 miles I run.