Tag: President Donald Trump

EXERCISE SHMEXERCISE

We in the running world contain variants of every political persuasion, making the sport the true Big Tent, an open flap for everyone. One reason the sport is so inclusive is because it is so honest and pure (at least in heart, if not always in practice).  Anybody can do it, yes, but you can’t talk your way into a good performance, it’s all there in the training log, hard work and perseverance, the most basic lesson of the sport, you get out what you put in. And based on that metric alone I think we can see a new way to evaluate the Big Bopper in Washington D.C.

Those of a certain vintage will remember the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, a prophetic program that encouraged kids to get out and exercise at a time when there was a near universal introduction of television sets into American homes.  Though begun by President Eisenhower in 1956, the council was re-invigorated by President Kennedy in 1963.  The Presidential Champions Award was given to students who achieved the top fifteenth percentile across a series of events: 50-yard dash, 600-yard dash, Standing broad jump, Pull-ups (boys), Flexed-arm hang (girls), Sit-ups in 60-seconds, and the shuttle run.

Now if you ever wondered how to tell if times really do change… (more…)

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PUTIN V. TRUMP: WHO’S PLAYING WHOM?

Former FBI agent Clint Watts testifies before Senate Intelligence Committee

In yesterday’s first Senate Intelligence Committee hearings into Russian meddling during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Senator James Langford (R-Okla.) asked former FBI agent Clint Watts, “Why did he (Putin) think he could get away with it this time?  This isn’t new for the Russians, they’ve done this for a long time across Europe. But it was much more engaging this time in our election. Why now?”

Why now?  Because it worked!  Why else?  That’s essentially what the ex-FBI guy said. Trump and his people actually picked up Russian conspiracy stories like ‘the election was rigged’ and passed it along to the American public during the campaign like it was a relay baton.

Now, that may cause some to think Mr. Trump to be an unwitting stooge, or even Putin’s puppet. But let’s gives our president more benefit than doubt.  Perhaps there is another way to see it, nothing any less unsavory, mind you, just different.

All we have to do is go back and look at patterns.  We all fall into them, racers do, and we rely on them as long as they keep working to our advantage. And just as election meddling falls into a Putin pattern, so does ‘the false promise’ indicate to Trump. The examples are legion, especially among tradesmen working his building sites, but you might remember this story from before the election as well. (more…)

RETURNS FOR PEACE

WARNING: POLITICS

The long knives are out, of that there is no doubt. Which is why for President Trump to have any chance at all to fulfill his campaign promises and deliver on his upset election win, he will need to get in front of the nagging Russian election hacking scandal that continues to hobble his administration’s early agenda.

As we know, President Trump is a man sensitive to bad press. But simply complaining about the criticism his administration is receiving – “total witch hunt!” – won’t scabbard the blades he faces. For him there is only one way to put this behind him, and it is that most awful of solutions from his standpoint, the full release of his tax returns.

It has been the pebble in his shoe since that first ‘Rude Descending Escalator’ moment in June 2015 when he announced his candidacy.  Yes, he won the Republican nomination and the general election without tax transparency, but as he is finding out running is one thing,  governing in a tripartite system quite another – think three-legged race.

Questions of a Russian connection linger due in part to the opacity of his business dealings in conjunction with the rather genteel nature of his Putin pronouncements in the face of the Russian election meddling.  And his stubborn non-disclosure will only increase the drag on his administrative goals, even with both houses of congress in hand. (more…)

RUNNING IN OFFICE

While most people take up running to improve their physical well being, perhaps shed a few pounds, the real revelation comes when their mental and psychological state also improves markedly as running releases its warm bath of brain chemicals bringing a deep sense of calm and equanimity.

“The Runners High is one of my favorite parts of this sport,” tweeted U.S. Olympic steeplechase medalist Evan Jager. “Cruising at the end of a long run but feeling effortless…”

The feeling running engenders is another reason runners tend to bond across a wide spectrum of age and speed. It’s not just the camaraderie of effort, but the fact that the sport seems to be about 99% a-hole free. Not sure if that is chicken or egg, whether such people are drawn to the activity, or the activity itself helps create that quality in its practitioners over time.

But for anyone who has gone through the long struggle from first training days to final exultant step of a goal achieved – like the thousands who completed yesterday’s Austin Marathon and Half-Marathon – there is an attendant grace and humility from champion to final finisher, because they know it could have gone off the rails any number of times along the way.

So when we think RUNNER we may think self-control, or self-possession, but we don’t generally think self-centered, much less narcissist, because at its core narcissism reflects a very low self-esteem, and running has been shown to contribute to a healthy, balanced psyche. (more…)