Thursday, January 26, 2017

It's Not the End of the World

It's been a while, so sorry for the absence. 

First things first - the new president has issued a slew of executive orders this week.  The irony is that the same party who excoriated the previous president for his use of executive orders (done so in the wake of historic obstructionism by his opposing party congressional members) to facilitate the actual governance of the country has done very little besides applaud the actions of the new CINC.  To be fair, I have heard at least one Senator state that bringing back torture is not going to happen, but that's about all I've heard/seen so far.

Here's the thing about executive orders.  They don't mean much.  Generally speaking, the hierarchy goes something like this: The Constitution is what controls.  The end.  If it's in the Constitution, that is what counts.  Then, the Amendments to the Constitution, which actually supersede what's written in the Constitution itself, and by act of ratification become a part of the Constitution.  After that we have statutes and treaties.  Statutes and treaties generally apply on an even level of authority with the "last in time" rule - the last statute executed or treaty ratified on an issue is the controlling statute or treaty (see Constitution Art. VI).

You'll notice that at no point yet have I mentioned executive orders.  That's because executive orders have no general effect of law.  Congress passes laws.  The Senate advises and consents on treaties.  In other words, in order for those to be effective, they must touch both the executive and legislative branches.

Executive orders are a different animal.  They are signed by the executive and control the areas that fall under his purview.  There are two areas that I want to touch on regarding the president's authority with respect to executive orders.

The first is the implementation of the laws when necessary.  The prime example of this would be immigration and deportation.  Congress passes a budget each year allocating funding for immigration control.  Congress dictates how much gets spent on immigration control, but it's up the the executive branch to determine where to focus.  So, if there are (for example) 500,000 individuals awaiting deportation hearings, but there is only enough funding allocation to handle 250,000 cases, Congress does not get to decide which individuals get deported.  That's up to the executive branch (i. e. the president).  The president can choose, for example, to direct ICE to focus on deporting violent offenders over someone who is working a full time job who happened to be brought here by his or her parents 20 years ago and had no control over his or her situation.  Coincidentally, that was what the Republican party was ignoring while criticizing Obama as being "soft" on immigration during his administration.

The second area where the executive orders apply are areas where the laws of the land haven't touched.  In Constitutional Law, we had this described to us as the place where congress has not "occupied the field."  In other words, Congress could act and give direction, but for whatever reason, Congress hasn't (the clearest example would have been the War Powers act, where Congress attempted to rein in the President's warmaking authority).

To my knowledge, none of the executive orders that the new president has issued have actually touched on anything that hasn't already been addressed either by the Constitution, statutes or treaties (e.g. NAFTA, Geneva Conventions, etc.).  Any edicts that he throws out via executive order is worth exactly as much as the paper on which it is written and the ink with which it was signed.

I believe the new president is unclear on what his actual job entails, and I think that bodes ill for the next four years, but that's why we have blogs - so we can complain about it and keep a journal of just what's going on.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Out of Shape

I've gained about 15 pounds since we moved back up to the Seattle area.  This is despite my having run more than I did the year before we left.  I am not eating as well, I know that, and I've been awful about any weight training, so my muscular fitness is taking a hit. 

I ran on Saturday, did a cardio workout video (les mills combat studio), and today I ran again.  This marks the first time in months that I have worked out three straight days.  I can definitely tell I'm out of sorts. 

One more run before the end of the year - need to get it done.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I did not run today.  I did not run yesterday.  It's been just over a month since I ran the Portland Marathon.  I did run on Thursday, and I am happy to say that I got a 10K in.  My time is slower than I like, but I did pretty well. 

I need to find a way to keep a better log of my running.  I think that helps me keep motivated.  I need to do at least one more marathon.  I'm displeased with my time. 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

New York City Marathon

It's been some time since I started running, but I surprisingly have found myself now watching distance runners... I don't know why this interests me, but here I am for the second time this year, watching people run a marathon.

My Portland time was about 5:35.  These elites will finish in less than half the time I did Portland.  That astounds me. 

I will run at least one more marathon, but I'm picky and don't want one with too many hills. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

I've already voted

But I can say with all sincerity that nothing that has happened since I cast my ballot has changed my opinion.  We have an odious, contemptible asshat running against an untrustworthy opportunist.  Given the choice, I'd take the one who actually knows a bit about running a campaign, something about achieving compromise, and something about politics. 

What a year of running

Okay, so I spent last year running.  I really started training for distance running about 2 years ago now - approximately October in 2014, but didn't get into the real commitment phase until the Run Through the Woods in Thanksgiving that year, which led to my running the Galveston Half Marathon, being my first half marathon, and the start of my love/hate relationship with distance running. 

Last year I completed 5 half marathons, which means I paid money 5 times for the right to run 13.1 miles each time, for a total of 65.5 miles and 5 medals. 

This year, my goal was to finish 5 races as well, and I've gotten most of the way to my goal.  I have run as many miles as last year, but in fewer races.  I completed the Rain Run in Redmond in January, which was as advertised.  I then ran the Tacoma City Half Marathon in May, which, due to an error at the start had me run about 13.4 miles instead of 13.1.  In July, I completed my second consecutive Rock and Roll Seattle half marathon, which was a great run and about 30 minutes faster than the previous year. 

To put a cap to the progress so far this year, last month I completed the Portland Marathon - a full marathon!  26.7 miles of pure unadulterated running (and walking, because my training was for garbage, what with mom dying, my plantar fasciitis, and my muscle strain on my calf).  Notice I said 26.7 miles - the Portland Marathon this year had an error that affected the route for several marathon runners.  This means that I've actually run almost a full mile farther than I did last year, and I did so in one fewer race!  Rock it!

I still endeavor to get one more run in before the end of the year, but I'm not sure which one.  I'm looking at the Donner and Blitzen 21k again, but after last year's hypothermia experience, I'm not as keen on that.  Still, I know the route, and I should be better situated than last time...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

At this time last year, I was doing GE's Run Through the Woods in the Woodlands, finishing my first ever timed/medal-receiving run. 

Since then I've completed four half-marathons and have a fifth in 3 weeks. 

It's been a busy year. 

Hope all is well with everybody out there.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Starting Already

So, do you really love the religious aspect of Christmas so much, or do you love hating every possible nuance that you can - however tenuously - attribute to an assault on Christmas/Christianity?  It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I'm already seeing posts related to the war.  While I wouldn't dare speak for Jesus, I have a hard time believing he'd spend a whole lot of time worrying about what people call a tree during a December holiday co-opted from a pagan religion as a marketing tool. 
In my opinion (not that you asked, but if you're not interested, then you can stop reading now), if you want to say Merry Christmas, say it.  If someone doesn't say it to you, that's not an assault on your faith.  At worst, it's an acknowledgment that not everybody in this country celebrates Christmas and it's presumptuous to assume that everybody does.  If you want to call it a Christmas Tree, then call it a Christmas Tree.  How does it harm you in even the slightest to have anybody else call it anything else? 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

4 Halves does not equal 2 wholes

So, I did my fourth half marathon of the year last week.  I don't know why I keep doing this to myself, as I really don't like running.  That's not quite accurate, as I know why I do it - I might not like running, but I like not being as overweight as I had been. 

The Vancouver Rock and Roll half marathon was on a very nice day with a beautiful run through a really nice city.  I'd recommend it, though I'm disappointed in my time (leg cramps at km 15 slowed me a whole bunch). 

I notice I enjoy running the races more when I have someone running with me.  We aren't on the same pace, but sharing the experience with someone else makes the whole thing that much more enjoyable. 

The Donner and Blitzen 21k is next month - I think I'm going to sign up for it, because apparently I never learn.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

It's Not You, it's Your Position

For the unclear - Kim Davis is not being punished for her religious beliefs. She's allowed to hold whatever beliefs she wants, whether it's in line with the law or not. The Office of the County Clerk of Rowan County is NOT allowed to act on those beliefs; its function is to perform the job tasked to it. If the person holding that position refuses to do his or her job, then the holder of the office is liable for any punishment that might come his or her way.

The County Clerk of Rowan County refused to follow a judicial order and the County Clerk of Rowan County is being held in contempt for refusing to follow the judicial order. Kim Davis and her supporters believe this is about her - the individual. They are wrong. This is about the position, which happens to be held by her.

If Kim Davis wants to get out of jail, then she can do one of two things. She can issue the marriage licenses the holder of the Office of the County Clerk is obliged to issue, or she can resign, and allow another person hold that office and be bound by the obligations attached thereto. She doesn't get to have both, and this is where she's stuck.

8 Mile(s)

Running the hills, even the small ones around our new house, is a different animal than the flat running I did back in Texas. 

I'm excited that I am back up to 8 mile runs after about 6 weeks of return to training, but that's still 5 miles short of a half marathon.  I'm going to try to kick my distance up another mile next week for my long run, but more importantly, I need to find a way to get a fourth run in during the week.  I don't know why I'm struggling with that, but I have a hunch it's because I'm no longer running in the morning before work.  The change in run time affects my motivation, as I'm less interested in getting out there after a long day at work.

Still, the views are nicer here than in my old neighborhood (I can see the Cascades and the Olympics from various points in my run), so that helps out a lot. 

Vancouver is coming up soon!  I'll try to get some pictures to share.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Running Along

As the one person who still reads this noticed, I completed two half marathons whilst still living in Texas.  Both were flat courses in that there were very few hills, which was helpful.  I finished Galveston in 2:02:14 and I finished the Woodlands in 1:58:50.

Then, upon relocation up to the PNW, I immediately took part in the Rock n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon, which was decidedly NOT a flat course.  I noticed the leg cramps were palpable.  I did finish the race, but it was SLOW.  I don't even know for sure what my finish time was, but it was somewhere around 2:41. 

After struggling with the Seattle half marathon, I did the only sensible thing, which was to sign up for another half marathon - this one being the Rock n' Roll Vancouver half marathon in October.  While not nearly as hilly as Seattle from what I've seen, it's definitely not flat like we had in Texas.  This means that I've had to get back to training (which I needed to do regardless, as I was falling out of shape). 

Running in this area is a bigger challenge than down in the Houston area, in part because there are not exactly any flat areas on which to run where we live.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as training on hills uses a bit more energy and in theory should help me be more prepared for upcoming half marathons, but it does mean that my training has taken even more of a step back than it had by taking the better part of two months off (relocation, new job, new home, etc. meant less time for running, which in turn meant losing fitness).

Today I did my first eight mile run since moving up here.  I technically did 13.1 here, as I did complete the RNR Seattle half, but honestly, after 6.2 miles, I had to walk a lot (those hills were killer on my flatland-trained legs).  So, I'm getting back up there, and I'm confident I'll be good come October, and might even be able to challenge my PR, though, I'm mostly in it for the medals.

And, because this is what I do, I'm eyeballing a couple more half marathons, so that I can have 6 by the end of the year.