Saturday, 21 June 2008


Michelle Obama is being picked on by males and whites, and those rotten feminists aren’t coming to her defense! Don’t you love identity politics?


Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger stomped all over the competition in today’s stage of the Tour of Switzerland. He is now the overall leader with one stage to go. Here is tomorrow’s ultimate stage.

Lifeboat Ethics

This 34-year-old essay by biologist Garrett Hardin is as timely as ever, in this age of globalization.

Addendum: You may want to read this before reading Hardin’s essay.


This morning, in Italy (pronounced IT-lee), Texas, I did my 11th bike rally of the year and my 432d overall. I’ve been doing rallies in Italy since 1990, when I was 33 years old. (Now I’m 51.) I had to miss three of them in the early 1990s when I was on vacation, so today’s rally was my 16th in 19 years. The course has changed a bit over the years because of road construction, but it’s always in the same general area. Today’s rally was my third-fastest of 16. I have no idea why I’m going so fast this year. I’m 20 pounds lighter than I was three years ago (153.5 versus 173.5), but I don’t see why that would make much of a difference. Then again, I have 20 fewer pounds to haul up every hill, so maybe that’s it.

Several of my friends showed up, which was nice. I didn’t see anyone a week ago, except Julius and Mark as I was leaving in my car. The weather was typical for Italy: hot and humid. I rode out at a leisurely pace with Phil, Randy, Bryce, and Mark (a different Mark), but soon we got separated. I fell in with a fast-moving pack that included my friends Don and David and stayed there for two hours. My plan was to wait for the others at a rest stop and ride in with them. I covered 20.6 miles the first hour and 21.8 the second, for an average speed of 21.2 miles per hour at the two-hour mark. I did more than my share of pulling, which is essential to my self-respect. I stopped in Irene with a couple of riders from my pack. This is the rally where we get ice-cold plums. The plum I ate was almost the size of a baseball! It hit the spot.

I didn’t want to spend half an hour at the rest stop waiting for the others, so, after 10 minutes, I rolled out, figuring I’d see them at the finish. This is when the proverbial shit hit the fan. Not only was the road rough, but there were rolling hills and a headwind. Add fatigue to the mix and you get a slow pace. I rode alone for about 13 miles. I knew it was going to be hard to sustain a 20-mile-per-hour average speed for the day. When I reached Frost, with eight miles to go, I saw my longtime friend David getting on his bike. (He was in my pack earlier.) I asked whether he was leaving and he said yes. We took turns fighting the wind to the finish. David is an old Marine and tough as nails.

By the time I finished, I was fried. The heat, humidity, wind, and early effort had taken a toll on me. I rode only 15.5 miles the third hour and averaged 15.67 miles per hour for the final 19:54. That gave me an overall average speed of 18.93 miles per hour for 63.1 miles. I worked hard with David to stay above 19, but it was not to be. Still, I’ve done only two Italy rides at a faster pace (in 1990 and 1995), so I’m pleased. I saw Randy, Bryce, and Mark at the finish. They had ridden 50 miles. Phil was still on the course. I hope he made it in all right.

Statistically, I burned 2,150 calories during the ride. My maximum heart rate was 157 and my average heart rate 130. My maximum speed was 30.5 miles per hour. One of the riders in my pack was a girl. If you knew how dangerous it is to be riding in a pack at 20 to 25 miles per hour and saw how effortlessly and confidently this girl rode, you’d have been impressed. At the rest stop, I asked how old she is. “Fifteen.” I don’t think I had a bike at 15, and I certainly couldn’t have ridden it as well as she did. Her jersey said “State Champion” on it, so she must have won her age group at the state road race.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

The failure of the Lisbon Treaty is hardly the fault of the more than 862,000 Irish voters who exercised their democratic right in rejecting the treaty through a popular referendum.

European Union leaders are trending down a path where national sovereignty becomes subservient to a hyperstate that has the potential to create laws that run counter to the legal and constitutional traditions of a significant number of member states.

The “no” vote in Ireland should not be any more of a surprise than the rejection of a European constitution by Dutch and French voters in 2005 or the Czech Senate’s postponement of a vote on the Lisbon Treaty pending an opinion from the Czech Constitutional Court.

Given these trends, I wonder how many European Union member states would “ratify” the treaty if they allowed it to be put to a popular referendum.

Frank Costello
Washington, June 19, 2008

A Year Ago