Morning Links

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
  • All about self-flagellation.
  • Running barefoot may be better for your feet.
  • Gene Healy on the glorification of the State of the Union. Like much of what’s wrong with America, it began with Woodrow Wilson.
  • Cool concept using old and new photographs.
  • Holding Andrew Breitbart to the same standards he holds ACORN. It’s a fair point.
  • Alabama anti-gambling task force appointee wins gambling jackpot in Mississippi. And the story just gets better from there.
  • Time-lapse Vancouver.
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  • 43 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Barefoot Josh | 

      Re barefoot running: wow. It’s unsettling when worlds collide. Next thing I know, someone will post about a cop killing a puppy over on the barefoot running forums.

      PS Just ran my 500th barefoot mile.

    2. #2 |  Nando | 

      Hey, it’s Alabama. So long as he admits that every word in the Bible is true, he’ll be re-elected.

    3. #3 |  PaedragGaidin | 

      “Like much of what’s wrong with America, it began with Woodrow Wilson.”

      So very true, and yet so many still idolize him as one of America’s greatest presidents. I always say, you want a REAL frivolous war that America had no reason joining, look at the Great War.

    4. #4 |  MassHole | 

      The Breitbart piece totally exemplifies why political partisans are fools. They will eat up the most ridiculous crap put out by anyone with the right letter beside their name. What is it about politics that destroys peoples critical thinking skills?

    5. #5 |  Mojopin | 

      Barefoot running is where it’s at (I’ve got two turntables and a microphone).

      Seriously though. The science is there. I have been doing it myself since September. It gets you out of the heel strike method of running and back on your toes and balls of your feet. It forces you to utilize and strengthen the arch of your foot as a natural shock absorber rather than knees, hips and back.

      I have little to no cartilage in my left knee from previous sports injuries and mangled cartilage in my right knee that hasn’t been corrected. Regardless, I run 35 – 40 miles a week barefoot without pain.

      Granted, it takes some getting used to and some time to restrengthen the foot and achilles tendons, but it is a whole new experience — and a good one at that.

      Billions have been spent on the running shoe industry only to see injuries remain constant or get slightly worse.

    6. #6 |  Joss | 

      There is no clear scientific evidence that barefoot running is any better than running in shoes. To learn more take 15 minutes to listen to a podcast by a libertarian skeptic Brian Dunning:

      http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4185

    7. #7 |  Aresen | 

      Barefoot running is good.

      FIFY

    8. #8 |  Mark S. | 

      As much as I find the SOTU to be hedonistic and more like campaigning than governing, I find it more repugnant when I see people in the chamber acting like a bunch of high school kids trying to entertain themselves during math class.

    9. #9 |  whiskey | 

      I too am a barefoot fan. I also wear vibrams for weight-lifting, as their flat bottom gives you much better form when doing squats then pretty much all athletic shoes with their raised heel.

    10. #10 |  Aresen | 

      The only good thing about the SOTU address is that all the (self-) IMPORTANT PEOPLE are gathered in one spot so that a 100 meter meteor can get them all at once.

    11. #11 |  Pseudonymous Coward | 

      @#7 | Mark S.

      [...]I find it more repugnant when I see people in the chamber acting like a bunch of high school kids trying to entertain themselves during math class.

      Why? Is there some “dignity” to being in that cabal of venal, power-hungry jackanapes that you feel they should preserve?

      Frankly, I’d have been happier to see somebody break out and inflate a beach ball during the Speech from the Throne last night. Or maybe if they all joined Larry Summers in a well-deserved forty winks.

    12. #12 |  perlhaqr | 

      *contemplates barefoot running in, say, Manhattan*

      *goes and washes feet pre-emptively*

      Ew. Ew ew ew.

    13. #13 |  SusanK | 

      In the few brief moments I could stand to watch the address last night, I decided I would like the SOTU much better if the prez came out, said “it’s been like over 100 years since our last civil war, and no one has seriously tried to secede for a long time, so our union’s pretty good.” Maybe a rundown of the budget – what was taken in and what was spent.
      The prime time spectacle is grating and nothing more than political posturing.

    14. #14 |  Bill | 

      I was proud of my son last night. He was half-listening to the SOTU when he heard Obama say, “We will no longer reward failure. We will reward success.” My son perked up and said, “Does that mean no more bailouts?” Imagine his disappointment when he realized the president was talking about education.

    15. #15 |  Aresen | 

      Bill, you.ve raised that kid well.

    16. #16 |  Cynical in CA | 

      I sense a career for me in pointing out distinctions without difference. It seems inexhaustible.

      From the otherwise entertaining and worthwhile Alabama gambling story: “Southern politics are rife with corruption.”

      Ignoring the clumsy grammar (politics is a singular noun, i.e “politics IS”), it never fails to amuse me when I run across someone who thinks that there lurks some mysterious species of politics that is not corrupt. It must be unicorn politics in Rainbowland or something.

      Let’s get it straight — corruption is not a quality of politics, corruption is the IDENTITY of politics.

    17. #17 |  Barefoot Josh | 

      Joss -

      Are you saying there’s consensus? ;)

      The study is clearly a hypothesis. Prof Lieberman, author of this study, never says proof.

      On the other hand, there’s no proof that running shoes are better than barefoot.In fact, there’s not even a hypo If I’m going to spend $100 every 500 miles I run buying a new pair of shoes, I’ll need some evidence that it’s a good investment. As far as I can tell, all running shoes give you is weak, stinky feet and a boingy bouncy running gait.

      I have a peer-reviewed study on the subject. And by “study” I mean blog (barefootjosh.com) and by “peer reviewed” I mean it’s read by a bunch of drinkers with a running problem.

    18. #18 |  Barefoot Josh | 

      hypo = hypothesis. proofread. poorfread. proodreaf.

    19. #19 |  Mark S. | 

      I suppose a part of me still hopes to believe in something other than snarky pessimism.

    20. #20 |  El Scorcho | 

      Just noticing how often I read SOTU as STFU, must be subliminal.

    21. #21 |  MikeL | 

      A few questions for barefoot runners:

      Do barefoot runners use treadmills during the winter?

      How long does it generally take to build up the sort of calluses on the bottom of your feet I’m assuming are necessary to comfortably run without shoes?

      Is there a break in period for your joints to get used to the change in load distribution?

      What are some good resources for info on barefoot running?

    22. #22 |  davidstvz | 

      This article on running barefoot assumes that it’s impossible to run on the balls of your feet while wearing shoes. Personally, if I’m going to run, that’s exactly how I do it, shoes or no shoes.

    23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Let’s get it straight — corruption is not a quality of politics, corruption is the IDENTITY of politics.

      Just like every area of the country think THEY are hardy and adaptable can-do people, every area has corrupt politics.

      Boston? Yep.
      Illinois? Yep.
      NOLA? Oh god yes.
      And on and on.

      I run/walk barefoot on my treadmill. Had no idea others ran barefoot (besides Zola Bud).

    24. #24 |  Aresen | 

      El Scorcho | January 28th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
      Just noticing how often I read SOTU as STFU, must be subliminal.

      No, it is just an example of the brain’s normal ‘autocorrect’ function:

      Most people have seen the famous

      “Paris in the
      the spring.”

      illusion, where the reader misses the doubled “the”. Similiarly, your brain ‘autocorrects’ SOTU (which is not a word) to an acronym that it recognizes and understands and seems appropriate to the context.

      :)

    25. #25 |  El Scorcho | 

      Aresen, thanks for the help. I really was just trying to be funny, but I’ll go back into computer geek libertarian mode …. now. Done.

    26. #26 |  Aresen | 

      Unnh.

      So was I.

      *goes back to ‘geek libertarian mode’#

    27. #27 |  bbartlog | 

      ‘Just like every area of the country think THEY are hardy and adaptable can-do people, every area has corrupt politics.’

      But it’s stupid to claim that politics everywhere is equally, unimprovably corrupt. Worldwide there are large and well-documented differences in governmental corruption, and within the US there are likewise smaller differences between states, and cities, and probably even from one county to the next. It seems worthwhile to study this and try to figure out what the root causes are rather than just throw up our hands and say ‘everywhere it’s the same’.

    28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

      You know, when Alabama makes in into the news, it’s not going to be good.

    29. #29 |  Cynical in CA | 

      #27 | bbartlog — “But it’s stupid to claim that politics everywhere is equally, unimprovably corrupt.”

      It’s not actually.

      Here’s a thought experiment for you.

      Add a drop of wine to a barrel of excrement and what do you have?

      OK, now add a drop of excrement to a barrel of wine and what do you have?

      See the common thread?

      corrupt = corrupt

      QED.

    30. #30 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I can see how the Pope would feel the need for self-flagellation. Given that the Catholic Church is all about guilt, the Pope, who condemns birth control and condom use has plenty to feel guilty for. In fact, he should feel guilty for being a pussy and self-flagellating when there are probably countless people out there who would be more than happy to flagellate the living crap out of him.

    31. #31 |  Skeptic | 

      About Breitbart, After wading through all the garbage about it being the Republican’s fault that so many ACORN employees in so many different cities independently came up with the same idea that it was a good idea to submit false voter registrations, I still don’t see the equivalence. Is one occurrence of illegal behaviour on the part of a Breitbart employee supposed to indicate a pattern?

    32. #32 |  Barefoot Josh | 

      MikeL:
      http://runningbarefoot.org/?page_id=455

      It’s not what you think it is. Toughness is a liability. Calluses = bad form.

      In the Winter I wear minimalist shoes ($6 aqua socks, or those gimmicky five fingers) for weather colder than 40 degrees.

      Being able to actually feel the ground permits me to react instantly to the ground. My distaste for pain keeps me light and smooth. With shoes on, I can maintain good form for a while, but once I start to get tired my feet land instead of lift.

    33. #33 |  Scott Wang | 

      Um, I can’t believe someone that is all for taping police would be against Breitbart and his gang taping lazy government workers, and that’s what this is about. Everybody knows he wasn’t tapping the phones. It also appears they didn’t pose as phone repairmen.

    34. #34 |  random guy | 

      ok skeptic, where did you hear about all these “many ACORN employees in so many different cities independently came up with the same idea that it was a good idea to submit false voter registrations”.

      I’ve never seen a source that demonstrates a systematic failure of their organization beyond pure speculation. There were instances of employees filling fraudulent registrations, but they were caught and fired by ACORN months before they were made the center ring attraction in the right-wing circus. Every registration gets vetted through local, state, and federal agencies, any that are questionable get flagged until they can be re-verified. So its not like they were given a carte blanche to game the system. Organized voter fraud would require a significant effort and leave a long paper trail, one that has yet to materialize in all the whining about ACORN.

      I have not seen any evidence that demonstrates ACORN is somehow displaying an organized attempt to undermine the electoral process. I have seen a lot of right-wing blowhards claim as much, but never deliver the evidence.

    35. #35 |  MikeL | 

      Thanks for the info BarefootJosh. I am definitely going to explore this further. A few years ago I read an article about the Stanford cross country team doing some sort of barefoot training, but I couldn’t really find any information on how to set up my own workout. I am really looking forward to giving this a try.

    36. #36 |  Joe | 

      I don’t blame Breitbart if O’Keefe did something wrong. I doubt O’Keefe told Breitbart in advance–hey we are going to go in Senator Landrieu’s offices and mess with her phones…I suspect Breitbart would have advised nixing that one. It looks like O’Keefe showed more of a lapse of judgment that real criminal intent. Did he commit any crimes?–perhaps, but that is what trials are for. Meanwhile, that hardly gets ACORN off the hook for its own corruption.

    37. #37 |  witless chum | 

      That’s not the claim, though, Joe.

      The claim is, and this what I think, is Breitbart isn’t responsible for the bad actions of his employees and neither is ACORN responsible for the bad acts of a few of its employees, or both are responsible for the bad acts of their employees, but it’s not one and not the other.

      Even if a small percentage of ACORN employees did something wrong, (which it looks like they did with regard to voter REGISTRATION fraud) no other organization gets held to the standard of ‘Some of your employees did something wrong’ you’re defunded from all federal programs. Certainly Blackwater/Xe isn’t.

      Their crime is having politics that Republicans and a lot of Democrats don’t like.

    38. #38 |  Phil Smith | 

      “OK, now add a drop of excrement to a barrel of wine and what do you have?”

      White Zinfandel.

    39. #39 |  Darja | 

      Unrelated but thought you’d be amused:
      http://volokh.com/2010/01/25/7th-circuit-upholds-prison-rule-forbidding-inmates-to-play-dungeons-and-dragons/

    40. #40 |  Peter | 

      The Breitbart item:

      First off, a drive by smearing by an obviously partisan writer has no “fair point” to offer.

      Secondly, O’Keefe is not an employee as the ACORN workers are/were. He’s being paid what are described as ‘life rights’ for the sting videos he made and are hosted on the various Breitbart sites. I have not found anything that even suggests he’s a paid staff member/writer/videographer for Breitbart.

      Lastly, in several people’s headlong rush to demonize folks whose political outlook differs from their own pretty much invalidates any cogent criticism that might be offered. Stick to the facts, let events play out, and then we can all chime in.

    41. #41 |  OGRE | 

      “Secondly, O’Keefe is not an employee as the ACORN workers are/were. He’s being paid what are described as ‘life rights’ for the sting videos he made and are hosted on the various Breitbart sites. I have not found anything that even suggests he’s a paid staff member/writer/videographer for Breitbart.”

      Exactly.

      He is an independent contractor. No way he could be classified as an employee.

    42. #42 |  Phelps | 

      The whole bradblog thing is weaksauce, and not up to the usual Agitator standards, not even for a throwaway Morning Link. Especially when I’ve seen several assertions of fact that were disproven on this blog.

    43. #43 |  Then and Now | InsideCatholic.com | 

      [...] Radley Balko links to an incredible Flickr set of images where modern-day scenes are overlapped with older photographs to give a seamless impression of different moments in time. Some have a great ghostly quality: [...]

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