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Sunday, September 14, 2008
 Recall Mayor Palin? 
The Post today published an article Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin's time in office/ Sounds like it really wasn't rocket sience
Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.

With so many government services in the state subsidized by oil revenue, and with no need to provide for local schools, Wasilla has also made do with a very low property tax rate -- cut altogether by Palin's successor -- sparing it from the tax battles that localities elsewhere must deal with. Instead, the city collects a 2 percent sales tax, the bulk of which is paid by people who live outside town and shop at its big-box stores.

Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town's day-to-day management.

Although the town had a $4 million surplus, Palin cut the museum budget by $32,000, and the three older women who worked there quit instead of deciding which would have to go. But Palin dipped into the budget to create the deputy administrator slot, which some council members complained was at odds with her small-government stance. She told city officials not to talk to reporters.

A recall effort in early 1997 fizzled out, but hard feelings lingered.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008
 Tour of Missouri 
Mark Cavendish is continuing his winning ways with his third win in the Tour of Missouri. Christian Vande Velde is in first overall. Highlights of the race will be shown on Versus TV on September 28. The Vuelta highlights will be on October 11.

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 Contador takes Vuelta lead 
Alberto Contador took the lead in the Vuelta a Espana today, with Levi Leipheimer, his Astaa teammate, in second, 1:07 behind. Since Alberto is the team leader, Levi won't have much of a chance for a win.

Next year Lance plans to ride for Astana, which is coached by Johann Bruyneel. His former teammate Chechu Rubiera is also riding for Astan: "With Contador glued on his wheel, the Spanish veteran rode like it was his last Vuelta. And it was supposed to be, until Lance Armstrong announced his comeback this week and asked Rubiera to postpone his retirement for one more year." Wonder if George Hincapie will sign with Astana.

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Friday, September 12, 2008
I love Elbow's home page.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
 Tour de France posters 
Graham Watson is a great bicycle photographer who has been documenting the Tour de France and most other major tours for many years. He's just released some beautiful posters of this year's Tour. It seemed appropriate to mention this the day after Lance announced he would return to the pro tour:
The cycling journal VeloNews reported on its Web site that Armstrong will compete with the Astana team in the Tour de France and four other road races, including the Amgen Tour of California, which winds through the Bay Area in February. The other road races would be Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia and the Dauphine-Libere.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008
 Cycling is chic 
Cycling is officially chic is the title of an article in The Guardian:
The term was coined by blogger Mikael Colville-Andersen for his site, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, which collects and publishes his daily shots of the city's most stylish cyclists. He tells of girls in Louboutin heels who seem to stick with "beat-up old Raleigh granny bikes" and how the city's men are switching to "sit-up-and-begs" like the Velorbis Churchill, but really, he says, "We don't have cyclists in Copenhagen, we just have Copenhageners who get around on bikes."
"There are two major misconceptions," explains Caz Nicklin, founder of cyclechic.co.uk, an online store and blog for fashion-conscious women on bicycles. "One is that cycling is a geeky pursuit for which you have to be dressed from head to toe in Lycra. The other is that it's dangerous."

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Friday, September 05, 2008
 The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube 
The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube is an article in the Guardian. It includes John Coltrane performing My Favorite Things in Germany in 1961, The Beatles Rooftop Concert, 1969, and Francis Bacon interviewed, 1985. Hat tip to Kottke.

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 I feel your pain 
Last night McCain wanted to show support for those Americans who are suffering economic hardships. He mentioned Bill and Sue Nebe of Farmington Hills, Michigan: "I fight for Americans. I fight for you. I fight for Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market. Bill got a temporary job after he was out of work for seven months. Sue works three jobs to help pay the bills. "

According to wikipedia, Farmington Hills "is known for a center of business, great schools, and a trendy housing market. Farmington Hills benefits from its scenic views of rolling hills, various high points, and deep backwoods."

According to White Pages, the Nebe's live in a very nice neighborhood, in a house which I assume they haven't lost. They appear to have at least two businesses based in their home, Nebe & Associates, an information retrieval services company, and Baskerville Properties. According to the Baskerville website, "Looking for a home? Can't qualify for a conventional mortgage? We have a wide selection of creative financing options available." So we're supposed to feel sorry for the owner of a firm that is having problems because they offer "creative financing" options to people who can't qualify for a conventional mortgage? Isn't that how we got into the housing mess we're in? I don't feel their pain.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008
 Remember Spiro Agnew 
On page A18 of today's Post is a graphic that compares the experience of various former vice presidents. If she were to win, Sarah Palin's experience would be comparable to the only other vice president who was both a mayor and a governor: Spiro Agnew (Baltimore and Maryland respectively).

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 Population of Alaska 
So much is being made of Sarah Palin's "executive experience", mostly to make up for her lack of experience with most issues confronted by a potential vice presidential or presidential candidate. Well, she's been the governor of Alaska (not to mention mayor of Wasilla, population of 5469 in 2000, 9,780 in 2007, which in Virginia is comparable to the towns of Culpeper or Great Falls).

The population of the state was 683,478 in 2007. From the Census top 50 cities list, this is roughly comparable to the cities of Baltimore, MD, Memphis, TN, or Austin, TX, and less than Fairfax County (over 1,000,000). Being governor in that state is a bit like being mayor of the 16th largest city in the U.S. A big job I'm sure but let's not get carried away with experience argument.

Over 80% of Alaskan revenues come for the oil and gas industry. There are no sales taxes or individual income taxes. I guess it's pretty easy to be an anti-tax person when you receive so much money from the the oil industry.

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