Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Just The Facts?

Could help but notice the contradictions between the headline and the facts in the Democratic primaries news.

Headline in today's Indy Star: Democratic Race Down to Kerry, Edwards

This Star headline led me to believe that Dean, Kucinich, and Rev. Sharpton all made concession speeches. The lede in the AP story reinforced the headline:

The Democratic presidential campaign is spreading out to 10 crucial "Super Tuesday" states, and it's down to a two-man race between front-runner John Kerry and a plucky challenger, John Edwards.

I thought it was ultimately a bit surprising. It wouldn't be surprising to me if Dean dropped out now. He's said that he's out and he's in until the end, so anything goes for him. But it surprised me that Kucinich would be dropping out. He's such an idealist that I can see him taking that 1% to the bitter end.

Turns out, I'm right. At least, I'm not wrong. Nobody dropped out of the race yesterday. The headline did not convey the news. It conveyed an analysis. The lede did the same thing. In news items, THE NEWS is supposed to be REPORTED. Instead, the Star and the AP opined. Reading to the bottom of the story, to paragraph 17, gives you the news:

The Democratic race once had 10 candidates, but the field is now down to five, including Dean, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton, who haven't won a single contest.

Nice work, AP & Star. I'm sure the Dean, Kucinich, and Sharpton campaings will be thrilled with your "reporting" efforts.

Monday, February 16, 2004

No Child Left Un-Warehoused

Indiana's Governor Joe Kernan favors an all-day kindergarten, citing the need to begin the education of the state's children as early as possible.

This is an interesting take. It suggests that children are not educated anywhere but in a public school house. Tut tut, Mr. Kernan. I recall my own kindergarten experience, bored out of my tiny mind as the teacher taught kids the ABC's. I was bored because my parents had taught me to READ at age four. A half-day with the children of parents who share Kernan's take was torment a-plenty. A full day of it would have driven me to Bedlam.

Why this proposal? Is there a shortage of public education that has caused the poulace to rise up and call for this 'solution'? I have not heard such complaints from parents, and yet, a solution. Sheri Conover Sharlow's article is excellent in assailing this typical, expensive, one-size-fits-all approach to a problem that doesn't exist.

What I want for my son is recess, so he can run around and blow off some of that great store of energy he has, prior to returning to study. He's 12, though. What I want for the children I am going to have is actually no kindergarten at all. I want my child to have lots of time to daydream, to play, to stare at the sky in wonder. I will teach my child to read and write long before the formal classes will be scheduled, just like my parents did with me. I will see to it that the socialization occurs. All parents should do this, not the state. Why have children if you aren't cabable of handling these things on your own?

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The Correct Way to Look at McCain-Feingold

Although he didn't mean to, George Will today showed us how to properly look at the results of McCain-Feingold. Will was intent on taking John Kerry to task on a number of Kerry's double standards, which he did, including the one on campaing money:

Praising McCain-Feingold restrictions on political contributions, you said: ``This bill reduces the power of the checkbook and I will therefore support it." In December you saved your sagging campaign by writing it a $6.4 million check. Why is your checkbook's unfettered freedom wholesome? You deny that restricting campaign contributions restricts speech. How much of the $6.4 million did you spend on speech -- broadcast messages?

It isn't more wholesome, and Kerry isn't the only one with enough money to self-fund, or spouse-fund, a campaign. It must be understood that the real plan behind McCain-Feingold was not to level the playing field, but to eliminate new voices from entering the stadium, and to keep the game in the hands it is currently in.
Running Notes

It has been rather an uphill battle to get back into the training for the 500 mini-marathon in Indy.

The trip to Spain was not so much a factor as the return and the weather here. Back in Spain, I was running every other day on the beaches of Rota, and walking a great deal in the towns. The jet lag and a 2 inch thick sheet of ice covering central Indiana left me with little opportunity to capitalize on my Spanish gains.

No matter. I ran the 5k training run last Saturday, despite an eight day run-free period. I learned a lot from the experience.

This was the first 'race' I had ever run in. I allowed myself to be caught up in the excitement of that, and kept a pretty swift pace for the first half mile. At that point, I recognized what I was doing, and backed off considerably. I finished the first mile in 8:25, with my legs becoming very tight already. The second mile was a grind against the increasing tightness, and I reached the two-mile mark at 18:35. The tightness began giving way to cramps in the shins of both legs and the right calf, so at about the 2.25 mile mark I brought it down to a brisk walk. I realized that in the winding down of my run, I was not extending in my stride, and walking felt very different than my overexerted job. I walked to about the 2.75 mile mark, and with the finish line in sight, I resumed the run. My finish time was 32:23, which was a pace of 10:27. Results.

I think that if I really had kept a pace of 10:27, I would not have experienced the cramping and tightening that I had. At the finish, my lungs felt really great, which was a pleasant surprise. This was easily the longest run I have achieved in about 20 years, so there is some satisfaction there.

Finally, the ice has largely melted from the streets, so I can run more regularly. One run per week is not going to cut it. There are only 82 days until the mini, and the next training run- a 10k- is just 20 days away!