Sunday, July 25, 2004

The sweet taste of victory on the Champs-Elysees
In Paris today, cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong rode into history as the first person ever to win six consecutive Tour de France titles.

Only four riders in history have won five Tours — Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil. (Only Indurain won 5 straight victories.) To call this feat Herculean would both minimize the difficulty of the tour, and give Hercules too much credit. Lance's victory today can be described as nothing less than superhuman — a reminder that supermen do walk among us mere mortals. In my book, Lance earned his place today among the most elite athletes of modern history — men and women like Jim Thorpe, Mark Spitz and 23-time Ironman triathlon winner Paula Newby-Fraser.

Of course, Lance's victory today cannot be remembered as simply a victory over the other riders in the Tour. To get here, Lance Armstrong fought a terribly difficult personal battle with testicular cancer that nearly took his life. He fought back from that deadly disease, and then fought back into the top ranks of cycling to win 6 consecutive tours. No person has ever accomplished this athletic feat, let alone a man who has stood at death's doorstep. Lance's victory today should serve as inspiration to all of us that there is no such word as impossible — that hope is a method.

In our daily lives, I believe we can all learn something from Lance's victory today. It should inspire us to see opportunity in adversity, and to challenge ourselves to ever higher aspirations even when the odds seem stacked up against us. Of course, we are not all supermen like Lance. But by emulating his will to live and his passion for excellence, we can all become super in our own ways.

(Photo Credit: The Associated Press)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Around the 'net
I'll be on "bar exam blogging sabbatical" until the end of next week, so I wanted to recommend a few other sites to check out in my absence.

- Thanks to Laura Rozen for pointing out the weblog run by journalist and author Douglas Farah. Doug authored the book Blood From Stones, which is a brilliant look at the financial systems which have fueled global terror networks in the past decade. I'm adding this site to my list of 'blogs to read.

- The July/August issue of The Washington Monthly has a few great articles that I recommend checking out:
Christina Larson on the insanity of relocating the Olympics every four years

Tony Mauro on how a young lawyer became Washington's best Supreme Court litigator (discussing the ascendancy of Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog and Goldstein & Howe)

Gordon Silverstein on Lawrence Lessig's big mistake
- An extremely interesting discussion of the conspiracy charge against Ken Lay which appears over at the Crime & Federalism blog

- For an excellent analysis of the Iraqi court system, check out this note by Dagger JAG -- an active-duty Army JAG officer now serving with the 1st Infantry Division (M) in Iraq.

- Patrick Belton's rebuttal of an asinine critique of weblogs that ran last week on the Los Angeles Times' op-ed page.

- Dan Drezner and Henry Farrell have a new draft paper titled "The Power and Politics of Blogs" that's available for reading and comment.

- James Joyner's comments over at Outside the Beltway are always worth a read, but I liked his note on the Anniston Star (which I read while stationed at Fort McClellan, AL) and the decision by some newspapers to drop the Doonesbury comic strip.

- Lance Armstrong dominated the L'Alpe d'Huez time trial today, and many observers think he has sealed his 6th consecutive Tour De France victory. Stay tuned to the coverage of this amazing athletic event between now and its finish in Paris next week.

And last but certainly not least...

- The definitive source for all things relating to the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory has been Noah Shachtman's DefenseTech for some time. But in the last week, he has done a great job of staying on top of the classified leak story which has led to that lab's temporary shutdown. (Start here and scroll down) Continue to check out Noah's site for more developments on this front, and other areas at the intersection of defense policy and technology.

Post Script: I highly recommend a trip to your local bookstore to purchase the The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The report, which was released today, was simultaneously published in paperback and distributed to bookstores around the country. (At least, it's available here in Manhattan.) If you can't get a copy near you, Amazon.Com has copies too. For what it's worth, this is the first thing I plan to read after the bar exam on the plane ride home, whether I'm hungover or not.

Welcome ploggers! Amazon.Com has listed this weblog as one of its 15 "best and most popular blogs" to go along with its new "Plog" (personalized weblog) service for Amazon.Com users. I've been a devoted Amazon.Com customer since my year in Korea with the Army, and I remain a devoted customer of their site today. I think the Plog is a great use of the weblog concept to keep customers informed of new books and products, and am thrilled to be one of the sites chosen to represent what blogging (or plogging) is all about.