August 09, 2007


Once again, pardon the irregular posts (and the absence of the usual gratuitous animal picture). That's life on the road.

As is the case with many interested people all over the world, I'm finding it hard not to think about the trapped miners in Utah and about the larger issues of worker safety.

Recently in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, there's been a lot of talk about "unleashing capitalism." Two things that some people are calling for are reducing regulation of industries like mining and so-called "tort reform."

Here's the reality. Workers in dangerous occupations like mining depend for their very lives on vigorous enforcement and improvement of safety regulations. And when that fails, the only recourse for injured workers and their families--or for survivors if fatalities are involved--is legal action against negligent companies.

Take away both and you have the perfect recipe for death on the job.


August 08, 2007


El Cabrero apologizes once again for irregular postings. I’ve been hit by several weeks of phone/internet problems at home followed by connection issues on the road in Vermont. Goat Rope will run when possible over the next few days and will resume its regular 6 day schedule (Verizon willing) on Monday.

Thanks also for all the messages and emails about the triathlon. Let me know if you hear of any good deals on new hamstring muscles. I'm in the market for one...

COMPARE AND CONTRAST. Every time I travel to Vermont, I’m struck by the similarities and differences between that state and West Virginia. Both states are rural and mountainous, but Vermont had the good fortune not to have been dominated for over 100 years by a colonial economy based on mineral extraction.

As a result (aside from summer and winter people), Vermont is pretty much owned and controlled by Vermonters. And Vermont really is "open for business," especially for locally owned small businesses and farms. It's pretty much sprawl-free too.

To borrow from Tolkien, whenever I come here, I feel like I'm visiting the Shire, home of happy hobbits. West Virginia feels more like an embattled outpost threatened by one Dark Lord or another. But we have managed to win a few.

UTAH. My thoughts this week have been focused on the trapped miners and their families in Utah. That's an all-too-familiar story. The AP reports that safety reforms enacted in the wake of the Sago disaster were too late in coming to have helped in that situation.


August 06, 2007


Caption: My legs hurt.

Pardon the late post--I'm on the road this week and it looks like internet access will be a problem. Please excuse any possible "interruptions in service."

Also, thanks to all who wished me well on the triathlon Sunday. I am pleased to say I survived and even managed to finish it before everybody went home.

I think the swimming was the hardest part, but none of it was exactly a picnic. The swim was 1/2 mile. The distance looked pretty easy from the shore but it was another thing in the late. Goggles or not, it's hard to see in a lake and hard to swim in a crowd. I think I zigged and zagged a lot.

The 24.8 mile bike ride gave me a chance to think about important things, like how much my legs and butt hurt.

The transition from the bike to the 3.1 mile run was another jolt. It is my experience that legs that have been biking a while don't like to be told to jog.

Did I mention it was uphill both ways? Even the swim?

All of which goes to show that having a seriously messed up heart is not an obstacle to endurance sports provided one is stupid enough.

KRUGMAN ON KIDS' HEALTH CARE. Here's a good one by Paul Krugman that attempts to answer the question "What kind of philosophy says that it's O.K. to subsidize insurance companies, but not to provide health care to children?"