It was a mantra in my public administration program. “The dichotomy between politics and administration.” The line between the civil service and elected officials is blurry, but what is the correct ratio? The laws and programs bureaucrats implement are created by politicians, but they need room to work without outside interference; government workers receive tax money for their salaries, so there needs to be some sort of oversight. Continue reading
It’s obvious that Robin Wright’s character in House of Cards, Claire Underwood, needs a nonprofit management class. In the show, she runs the Clean Water Initiative, a pro-environment nonprofit organization with such a bland and ominous title, it is like it’s a front for nefarious doing. I know, it’s a stretch to think nonprofit organizations in DC can be up to no good, but bear with me. Continue reading
Since I started following state government politics the last two years as part of my job, one thing I, and a lot of others, have noticed is how the Republican majority in Georgia and the supermajority in Tennessee have targeted Democratic enclaves in their decidedly conservative states, particularly Atlanta/Fulton County and Nashville/Davidson County. Continue reading
April Health Care Reform Update! Loopholes, delays, non approvals! We’re living in exciting times.
Small businesses with healthy employees are using a loophole to get around Affordable Care Act taxes and regulations. Companies of any size can purchase self-insurance, a type of insurance I hadn’t heard of before, for their employees. If I understand it correctly, companies will pay an employee’s medical bills up to a certain amount, which shields the company from high cost treatments. Usually big corporations do this because they have a larger risk pool (larger the risk pool = lower the risk in a “normal” population). Continue reading
Ah, podcasts. So popular, but still relegated to the red squiggly line noting a misspelled word.
It’s been a while since I released my first favorite podcast list (27 months ago, aka One Peace Corps), so I decided it’s time to kick the tires and give it an update. My podcast listening routine hasn’t really changed: in the car, working out, in my cube when I’m doing a task where I can zone out, washing the dishes. EXCITING.
In general, my favorite shows have co-hosts with good chemistry or a single host who asks insightful questions who can rise above their formats. Also, I listen to A LOT of podcasts. Don’t judge too much. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the Comments. Here we go! Continue reading
Come on, guys. Slow. Down. I am trying to do a monthly health care reform update here, but by the time I write something in my “edit post” box, that something changes into something else. I am only one man here, health reformers. I work a full-time job trying to finish House of Cards, plus I have a full-time job that allows me to pay for Internet and Netflix so I can watch House of Cards. Let’s keep things static until at least a week before and after I publish this so it doesn’t fall into irrelevancy faster than <insert pop culture reference here>. (Note: that reference is Smash. Stefon basically put the nail in the coffin.) Continue reading
I haven’t exactly been finishing up this latest half marathon training with much gusto. I signed up for the Tom King Classic this Saturday on New Year’s Day, a resolution-like move that has more to do with the lower entry fees and fewer people than the Country Music Half Marathon in April than changing up my life in any way.
Now that I’m post-marathon, this training for the half is different than my previous experiences:
- No Training Partner. Now I’m just battling with my own head, an ongoing conflict that would bring shame upon my family and friends if waged in public, instead of bitching about this and that with someone.
- Injury Screening. My right knee has been bothering me for awhile, and in the early stages of training for this race my hip began hurting, too. (“The knee bone’s connected to the hip bone…”) A local running store in Nashville sometimes has free injury screenings, so I finally went to one in early February. The physical therapist who temporarily set up shop had me do some squats and stand on one leg, and she noticed that my left leg was fine, but my right leg would turn in/buckle. She gave me a few exercises to do, so hopefully they will eventually help stabilize it.
- Elliptical. As a result of the pounding my right leg has endured over the last 18 months of serious running, I’ve been using the elliptical machine twice a week this time around. It’s replaced two out of the three mid-week short runs (3-4 miles each), and it has been nice to switch up my workouts. I was worried that it would affect my endurance, but it hasn’t so far.
- Training Inside. With winter and early sunsets, I’m working out inside frequently, which I don’t necessarily like. I don’t mind the elliptical, but the treadmill has a special place in the Hellish Invention Hall of Fame. In the tiny gym I use at my apartment complex, the treadmill is right up against a huge mirror and you can’t see the TV. I just stare at myself for miles at a time not going anywhere, which causes the trench warfare in my mind to escalate to France 1916 levels.
- Sick/Out of Town/Can’t Add and Subtract. Long runs are the most important, but these last few weeks have not gone my way. First, I had to change my route on the fly before a 10-miler because a huge 5k race was taking place where I had planned to start. I went 11.2 miles instead of 10. I run with a watch, so it was just plain bad math on my part going the extra 1.2 miles. Presidents Day weekend I went out of town, leaving me to have a slapdash five-mile long run. Finally, last weekend I was sick, so there was no long run at all. Not a good way to wrap things up in the final weeks.
- Faster Times. Notwithstanding the uneven training, I’m actually running faster than I have before. I don’t know if this is because the training is less intense, I’m in good shape after the two halfs and one full, or if it is some combination of both. Mentally I’m freer knowing I can do this distance without much of an issue. I’m now competing against the clock rather than the length of the race. The only hurdles I face are cold viruses, getting up early on Saturdays, and physiology. My short legs can only go so fast.
Sorry for the pun, but I had to do it. I did get back on track for my last long run before the half next week. I ran 11 miles in the snow at Shelby Bottoms, one of my favorite places in Nashville, yesterday. These pictures are from the first mile or so before I put the camera back in the car and forged ahead for the final 10. Click on one to start the gallery.