blueollie

Roundtable Part II: Default Impact | Video – ABC News

George Stephanopoulos, George Will, Paul Krugman, and Grover Norquist.

Roundtable Part II: Default Impact | Video – AB…, posted with vodpod

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, economics, economy, politics, republicans | Leave a comment

Roundtable Part I: Budget Endgame | Video – ABC News

George Stephanopoulos, George Will, Paul Krugman, and Grover Norquist.

Roundtable Part I: Budget Endgame | Video – ABC…, posted with vodpod

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, economics, economy, politics, republicans | Leave a comment

Farewell to July 2011


(yes, I bought a copy of this photo)

Imagine my surprise when I saw today’s paper; yes, that is me getting a high five from Theresa after “finishing” an ugly 3 mile (4.8 km) cross country run on Friday night.

More on the story:

PEORIA —

Same as a few special days each fall during cross country season, a 3-mile foot race was held at Detweiller Park on Friday.

But this was Detweiller at Dark, a first-time summer run that had the venerable Detweiller course lit up with 60,000 watts of portable construction lights.

“Any race held on the (high school) state cross country course, you’re going to have people from all over who want to run it,” race co-director Adam White said. “At night, with the course lit up, that kind of gives it a unique twist.”

All proceeds went to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

White and Mike Helgeson organized and coordinated what they hope will become an annual event.

Helgeson, a Dunlap cross country assistant coach, in previous years held an organized run to benefit the JDRF. White owns Running Central and created the Main Street Mile, another recent addition to Peoria’s running scene.

“Mike and I got to talking and we thought, with each of our resources, maybe we could put together something special for the runners and raise even more money for juvenile diabetes,” White said.

They hoped to have 500 participants. More than that signed up and ran.

The first of two events was a 2.1-mile race for boys and girls ages 13 and under, held just after sunset.[...]

So, what about today’s workout?
Well, it was 81 F with 82 percent humidity; I just about died during the first 4 miles (especially the first 2). That section took me 42:37 to do (jogging). Then I turned around and walked the last 4 miles at a steady but slow pace (1:01:48; just under 15:30 mpm). I went fast enough to not injure my hip but slow enough to enjoy it.

But when I finished, I was drenched. I mean, drenched; I couldn’t have been wetter had I jumped in a pond.

Posts
Michelle Bachmann:

GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann (R) has been in hot water in recent weeks for personally taking advantage of hundreds of thousands of dollars in government aid while denouncing the very programs she benefited from. Most recently, the Washington Post discovered that Bachmann and her husband signed for a $417,000 home loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac just weeks before she called for the two mortgage giants to be entirely dismantled.

Bachmann has been a consistently fierce critic of mortgage lending programs and has advocated abolishing the government sponsored mortgage enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet she took out the maximum possible loan from those programs to finance her family’s move to a lavish 5,200-square-foot home on a golf course.

During an appearance this afternoon at the National Press Club, Bachmann gave a highly ironic defense of her use of federal home loans:

MODERATOR: I got a lot of questions from people asking is it fair for you to call for dismantling federal programs you ultimately have been a beneficiary of? So in terms of guaranteeing home mortgages, do you think the federal government has a role in that…?

BACHMANN: Now unlike all of you, who I’m sure pay cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go to a bank and get a mortgage. And this is the problem. It’s almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved. Whether it is with the FHA, whether it’s with Fannie, whether it’s with Freddie, it’s almost impossible to buy a home…What’s important is that we do dismantle a number of these federal programs that everyone agrees are clearly out of control.

What she probably meant by her statement: if one tried to get any loan at all, it was all but impossible to find a loan that wasn’t touched in some way by a government program. She seems to think that if the government weren’t involved at all, then one could find a loan that was not touched by the government. :) (uh, probably NOT; that is why these programs were created…but…)

Even worse was her zombie-lie claim that Freddie and Fannie were the cause of the mortgage crisis. It wasn’t. What happens is that the lying conservatives try to bundle Freddie and Fannie with other non-regulated subprime loans and claim that the bad ones came from this pot:

As Konczal says, all of this stuff relies on a form of three-card monte: you talk about “subprime and other high-risk” loans, lumping subprime with other loans that are not, it turns out, anywhere near as risky as actual subprime; then use this essentially fake aggregate to make it seem as if Fannie/Freddie were actually at the core of the problem.

But was this self-conscious? Do these people know what they’re doing?

Yes.

More here.

July 31, 2011 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, training, walking | 1 Comment

CNN.com Video

Watch the latest breaking news, politics, entertainment and offbeat videos everyone is talking about at CNN.com. Get informed now!

CNN.com Video, posted with vodpod

July 31, 2011 Posted by | economics, economy, republicans | Leave a comment

30 July 2011 Politics

Non-debt limit stuff

Science
Our moon provides some stability to our orbit, therefore making life more likely. Perhaps this is rare?

Civil Liberties: green hair poses a threat to public education, or so says a Florida school board.

Debt Limit Stuff

Who is telling the truth?

Well, Fact Check does take issue with President Obama not noting that this debt limit raising is of higher magnitude than in the past, and someone else told me that the US has defaulted before (technically speaking; one time it was a minor issue with bonds (1979) and once was when we were still under the Articles of Confederation).

But, for the most part, President Obama is playing it straight and the Republicans are lying their asses off. No surprise there.

So, are the Democrats perfect in all of this fighting? Well, no; here is something that I got from Senator Dick Durbin (someone that I respect)
_______________
It’s time for Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor, and House Republicans to get real.

Instead of accepting the open hand that President Obama, Senator Reid, and I have extended to work out a bipartisan solution to the default crisis — a crisis that Republicans themselves have created — the House GOP has, yet again, batted it away.

Their latest move? Ramming an irresponsible bill through the House that would require us to have this very same debate again six months from now — and, unbelievably, require Congress to amend the Constitution before raising the debt ceiling again.

In short, House Republicans have decided to put the interests of the extreme right-wing fringe of their party ahead of the interests of the American people.

It’s reckless, it’s dangerous — and it’s wrong.
———
(emphasis mine).

Yes, I don’t like the bill. Yes, I think that it is stupid, reckless and wrong. But why is it “ramming through”? It is democracy in action. The tea party morons were voted in and they PLEDGED to vote the way that they did. This is representative democracy in action, and we have a ton of short sighted, ignorant and delusional people (thank you Fox News!) and the tea party types represent them.

Bottom line: when one side is out of power and the other side wins a vote, the other side frequently uses “rammed through”. Sorry; that is called “getting more votes”, and for better or worse, in the House, the retards Republicans are in power.

Yes, the tea party types are bad for our country, as Fareed Zakaria points out.

Yes, the Republicans are being enabled by people who are taken seriously but don’t know what they are talking about. Paul Krugman quotes Jonathan Chait and then goes on:

The failure to understand the crisis we were entering was widely shared among centrist types. When Republicans first proposed tying a debt ceiling hike to a measure to reduce the deficit, President Obama instead proposed a traditional, clean debt ceiling hike. He found this position politically untenable for many reasons, one of them being that deficit scolds insisted that using the debt ceiling to force a fiscal adjustment was a terrific idea, and that connecting the deficit debate to a potentially cataclysmic financial event was the mark of seriousness.

He then goes on to show how the usual suspects — the WaPo editorial page, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Concord Coalition, etc. welcomed a crisis over the debt ceiling in the belief that it would lead to fiscal goodness.

This was terrible policy, even if it had worked: now is not the time for fiscal austerity, and the way the VSPs have shifted the whole conversation away from jobs and toward deficits is a major reason we’re stuck in the Lesser Depression.

But it also showed awesome political naivete. As Chait says, the first thing you need to understand is that modern Republicans don’t care about deficits. They only pretend to care when they believe that deficit hawkery can be used to dismantle social programs; as soon as the conversation turns to taxes, or anything else that would require them and their friends to make even the smallest sacrifice, deficits don’t matter at all.

One of the worst examples of this (a Very Serious Person who doesn’t know what he is talking about) is Charles Krauthammer:

Obama faces two massive problems — jobs and debt. They’re both the result of his spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble: massive spending that left us a stagnant economy with high and chronic unemployment — and a staggering debt burden.

The first sentence is correct, though jobs is by far the biggest problem. But the second sentence is sheer…what…idiocy, incompetence or outright lying?

First of all, there WAS NO MASSIVE Keynesian gamble. This is from Paul Krugman, someone who actually has economic credentials (unlike Mr. Krauthammer):

Excuse No. 4: We tried to stimulate the economy, and it didn’t work.

Everybody knows that President Obama tried to stimulate the economy with a huge increase in government spending, and that it didn’t work. But what everyone knows is wrong.

Think about it: Where are the big public works projects? Where are the armies of government workers? There are actually half a million fewer government employees now than there were when Mr. Obama took office.

So what happened to the stimulus? Much of it consisted of tax cuts, not spending. Most of the rest consisted either of aid to distressed families or aid to hard-pressed state and local governments. This aid may have mitigated the slump, but it wasn’t the kind of job-creation program we could and should have had. This isn’t 20-20 hindsight: some of us warned from the beginning that tax cuts would be ineffective and that the proposed spending was woefully inadequate. And so it proved.

It’s also worth noting that in another area where government could make a big difference — help for troubled homeowners — almost nothing has been done. The Obama administration’s program of mortgage relief has gone nowhere: of $46 billion allotted to help families stay in their homes, less than $2 billion has actually been spent.

So let’s summarize: The economy isn’t fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits. And if stimulus seems to have failed, it’s because it was never actually tried.

Listening to what supposedly serious people say about the economy, you’d think the problem was “no, we can’t.” But the reality is “no, we won’t.” And every pundit who reinforces that destructive passivity is part of the problem.

And no, President Obama isn’t a big spender either:

So what’s the truth? I’ve written about this before, but here’s another take.

The fact is that federal spending rose from 19.6% of GDP in fiscal 2007 to 23.8% of GDP in fiscal 2010. So isn’t that a huge spending spree? Well, no.

First of all, the size of a ratio depends on the denominator as well as the numerator. GDP has fallen sharply relative to the economy’s potential; here’s the ratio of real GDP to the CBO’s estimate of potential GDP:

A 6 percent fall in GDP relative to trend, all by itself, would have raised the ratio of spending to GDP from 19.6 to 20.8, or about 30 percent of the actual rise.

That still leaves a rise in spending; but most of that is safety-net programs, which spend more in hard times because more people are in distress.

Krugman goes on to say that this spending was more about “maintaining (local) government, not expanding it.”

But the worst of Mr. Krauthammer’s dribble is saying that the jobs/debt crisis is THE RESULT of Mr. Obama’s policies.
That is just outright false.

Here is why:

deficits: much of the deficits that are in place were inherited from the Bush administration:

Speaking at a retreat for House Republicans in Baltimore on Jan. 29, 2010, Obama was particularly critical of a question from Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Hensarling asked Obama, “You are soon to submit a new budget, Mr. President. Will that new budget, like your old budget, triple the national debt and continue to take us down the path of increasing the cost of government to almost 25 percent of our economy?”

“The fact of the matter is,” Obama replied, “is that when we came into office, the deficit was $1.3 trillion — $1.3 trillion. So when you say that suddenly I’ve got a monthly deficit that’s higher than the annual deficit left by Republicans, that’s factually just not true, and you know it’s not true. And what is true is that we came in already with a $1.3 trillion deficit before I had passed any law. What is true is, we came in with $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade.”

We checked Hensarling’s claim in a separate item. Here, we’ll look at Obama’s claim that he came into office with a $1.3 trillion deficit and $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade. [...]

Economists we spoke with — Josh Gordon, policy director for the Concord Coalition, and Brian Riedl, lead budget analyst of the conservative Heritage Foundation — both said they believe the White House approach is more realistic because it assumes current policy will continue.

So the CBO’s estimate is $5 trillion lower than the White House numbers, though economists don’t quibble with the White House methodology. It does highlight, however, that when it comes to budget projections, people can have differences of opinion about what to include. In any budget projection there is room for interpretation, but it seems reasonable to assume for a baseline that the Bush tax cuts will continue. Obama’s numbers are fairly solid, so we rate his statement Mostly True.

Then if you want to look at the debt:

So President Obama created this problem? What about jobs?

Yes, job growth is, at this time, too slow to drive down unemployment; we need about 200K jobs a month to keep up with new job seekers. But look at it before President Obama had time to enact policies.

President Obama CAUSED this job crisis???

A commenter on Nate Silver’s blog said it best:

I read Krauthammer’s article earlier today. At first, I thought you were being sarcastic with that final note but I had to read both articles again to get the subtext.

Saying that a “spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble” explains the crisis is like a murderer framing a paramedic. Republicans seem to have gone even further – they’re trying to destroy the corpse to rule out any post mortem. Krauthammer seems to be saying that their “golden opportunity” lies in sitting back and watching a downgrade wreak havoc on the economy.

Maybe they’re bitter Obama had a well timed financial collapse during the last election.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | astronomy, Democrats, economics, economy, physics, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, science | Leave a comment

July 2011: College Visit Edition

My daughter is going to be starting her junior year in high school. I decided to make it college visit month.

We choose to visit three schools: (ACT range is lower 25 percent to upper 75 percent)

Bradley University (Peoria, IL) 5000 undergraduates, ACT range of 22-28, 72 percent admitted
University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) 31,500 undergraduates; ACT ranges of about 26-31, 67 percent admitted
Knox College (Galesburg, IL) 1400 undergraduates, ACT ranges of about 26-31, 74 percent admitted

Note: we attended Bradley and Knox’s formal open house; we attended a formal but ongoing “drop in visit” day (not a special visit day).

These were very different institutions with very different pitches.

Bradley: first we attended a short talk, then we took a tour, ate lunch and then visited with a faculty department (specific, not merely a college representative).

The pitch was “Bradley if more affordable than other places; we are a “just right” school in terms of size (not too big, not too small), and “our graduates get jobs”. Even the faculty visit was “our graduates get jobs” focused.

U of I: the first thing that was said was “ok, look at who our competitor institutions are”. They then showed the expected ACT range and they explained what a competitive application would look like. They then talked about how their faculty had tough research expectations and that they were still accessible, though the students would have to make the effort.

We had a campus tour (big campus) and had lunch on our own (not given by the university).
We then attended the liberal arts open house; they were very realistic. One example: “you’ll hear about undergraduate research. Let’s face it: at first, it is mostly washing out test tubes. Later, you’ll learn enough to contribute.”

Also the admissions person flat out said: “if you meet our GPA and college board scores, we won’t look at your essay”. They just said it flat out; they were blunt about the essay being a factor for marginal cases.

Knox College You had the most flexibility. There was the general welcome, followed by: tours, college life presentation, academic life presentation, visit to the admissions/financial aid office. You could take these in various orders; the idea was to spread it around.

The emphasis was on “developing as an individual” and “challenging yourself”. The tour guides did NOT have an official campus t-shirt as they did at U. of I and at Bradley. The academic part was with a panel with a couple of professors and students. At no time did they tout that they were difficult to get in to.

It was funny; when we did a poll in the car to see who would make a decision RIGHT NOW between the 3 schools, my wife chose Knox, I chose U. of I. and Olivia, the one actually going, chose Bradley! Olivia had positive and negative things to say about each place, and some of it wasn’t stuff that would have been important to me.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | education, family, Personal Issues, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

30 July Athletic Reflections

I spent yesterday visiting Knox College with my daughter and wife. I’ll write something up on the three colleges that we visited this July: Bradley University, University of Illinois and Knox College.

But when we got back, I had time to prepare for and do a 3 mile (4.8 km) cross country race Detweiller At Dark.

I admit that I often get more nervous before events like these (and track meets); there is no “accomplishment” in just finishing. It is either do well nor not do well, period. I’ve done this course before, running 27:08 for 5K in 2008, 24:43 in 2008 and 27:23 in 2009.

But this time, I came in all but wiped out from injuries, lay-offs, ultras and the dreaded double-red cell blood donation.

But I signed up and went. I saw who was there; mostly there was a ton of young, slender fit high school cross country runners.

I had nightmares about being dead last; these almost came true (357/431).

But what shocked me was that I didn’t feel that bad after mile 1 (9:19) and just prior to mile 2, I was moving up and making plans to kick it in at the finish. But then WHAM….a combination of the 79 F, 89 percent humidity got to me…and my lack of blood hemoglobin. I had to walk/jog it in and finished in an embarrassing 30:19. Theresa passed me right about where I was walking and told me not to quit. Then I passed her while she was walking and told her not to quit…we did that two more times until she finished about 30 seconds ahead of me. :)

Yep, this shot appeared in the paper the next day; and yes, I bought a copy so I feel ok about using it. :)

One good thing: my warm up plan (four 5 minute runs with stretch/walks in between) appeared to work.

This morning: I lifted weights and then walked 4.99 miles (by Google) I had estimated it to be 5 miles. :)

The walk was nothing special; just on the Riverfront. The weight lifting workout:

incline press: 10 x 115, 10 x 130, 5 x 135
bench press: 2 x 135, 5 x 135 (taking care of the shoulder; this just feels weird when I do these after inclines)
barbell military (seated) 3 sets of 12 x 40 lbs. (dumbbells)
rows: 3 sets of 12 ; first with 90, next two with 110
pull downs: 3 sets of 12 with 137.5
dumbbell curls: 12 with 25, 6 with 30, 7 with 30.
Assisted pull ups: 2 sets of 5, done slowly. almost minimum assistance.
sit ups: 35, 25, 20, 20
adductor: 3 sets of 10
abductor: 3 sets of 10
I also did hip hikes, lunges (4 sets of 10), rotator cuff stuff.

Note: my shoulder is limiting how much I can increase the weight; I am weary of pushing through a sticking point if it is at all painful; hence the light weight with curls and military presses.

Injury check in: piriformis/butt: ok; slight soreness when walking around the grocery store. Shoulder: slightly sore; no pain when sleeping. Right knee (the operated one): it did bother me just a bit in last night’s race; it wasn’t a major factor though.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | injury, running, shoulder rehabilitation, time trial/ race, training, Uncategorized, weight training | Leave a comment

28 July 2011 PM: Republicans continue to FAIL and other topics

First, non-political stuff
Computers:
consider the “share-me-not” application; it keeps some “what have you been browsing” cookies from being created when you visit certain applications.

Creationists
Attack the cars of some biology professors.

Here is the source article:

Letters, nails and vehicular sabotage haven’t kept two UF biology professors from expressing their belief in evolution.

In a string of events occurring over the past four months, the professors’ cars, which were parked in the Bartram-Carr Hall parking lot, were vandalized.

First, religious letters were left on the cars, and then pro-evolution bumper stickers and Darwin-fish emblems were scraped and torn from the vehicles. Most recently, nails were put into the tires.

One of the victims, Brian McNab, said he noticed a problem with his white Volkswagen when air continued to come out of the tires even after he had re-inflated them.

McNab took the car in for an inspection, and two two-inch nails were found and determined as the cause of the flat tires.

“I can’t prove who did it and I don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” McNab said. “But I think it’s obvious that it’s someone who has a strong opposition to evolution.”

The creationism movement, he said, has always stemmed controversy with evolution, and believers of the ideology assert that all humans were made as a part of “intelligent design” by a deity.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but where do you draw the line?” McNab said. “I think they ought to learn something about science.”

Religion
Some famous atheists give their reasons for not “believing in God”.

High Speed Rail yes, there have been corruption problems in China. That is NOT a reason not to pursue at least some version of it here. But there are arguments why we won’t get a national high speed rail system like China’s.

Politics
No, we don’t have a budget problem; we have an employment problem. Robert Reich explains:

In economic terms, we will not “run out of money” next week. We’re still the richest nation in the world, and the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to print money.

Nor is there any economic imperative to reach an agreement on how to fix the budget deficit by Tuesday. It’s not even clear the federal budget needs that much fixing anyway.

Yes, the ratio of the national debt to the total economy is high relative to what it’s been. But it’s not nearly as high as it was after World War II – when it reached 120 percent of the economy’s total output.

If and when the economy begins to grow faster – if more Americans get jobs, and we move toward a full recovery – the debt/GDP ratio will fall, as it did in the 1950s, and as it does in every solid recovery. Revenues will pour into the Treasury, and much of the current “budget crisis” will be evaporate.

Get it? We’re really in a “jobs and growth” crisis – not a budget crisis.

And the best way to get jobs and growth back is for the federal government to spend more right now, not less – for example, by exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes this year and next, recreating a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, creating an infrastructure bank, providing tax incentives for small businesses to hire, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and so on.

So what about the debt limit ceiling circus? Here are the key players.

So far, it is 26 Republicans voting no.

The Republicans have tried to get media on their side; they landed Dick Morris. They do NOT have Townhall, which sent me the letter at the bottom of this post that has this link to a petition to oppose Mr. Boehner’s bill.

The catfight among Republicans

John Mccain

The blow-back can be found here:

Angle hit back at McCain in “A statement from a ‘Tea Party hobbit’.”

One man in Washington, who chose Sarah Palin to be his VP running-mate and came to Nevada to campaign for me last year in the Senate race against Harry Reid, is now promoting attacks against Tea Party activists, ordinary American citizens, and fiscally conservative members of Congress — all of whom are adamantly opposed to continuing the deficit-spending strategies proposed by some congressional members and the president.

Ironically, this man campaigned for Tea Party support in his last re-election, but now throws Christine O’Donnell and I into the harbor with Sarah Palin. As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the Tea Party, not criticize it.

The Tea Party favorite added, “It is regrettable that a man seeking dialogue, action and cooperation for votes on the floor of the United States Senate has only one strategy to achieve that effort: name-calling. Nice.”

I love it. :)

Addendum
Here is the e-mail from Town Hall (via Ron Paul)

Dear Concerned American,

With the White House determined to tack on TRILLIONS more to our national debt, I need your IMMEDIATE help to send a critical message to the Republican congressional leadership.

“Lead – or get out of the way!”

The sad fact is, right now, Republican leaders can’t make up their minds as to whether they want to lead or cut a backroom deal with President Obama.

What you and I need is someone who stands for conviction over compromise.

I have spent my entire career standing up for what I believe in, even if it meant standing alone.

Conviction and leadership go hand in hand. If you don’t know where you want to end up, it’s virtually impossible to lead.

That’s the problem Republican leaders in Washington have right now.

But you and I can help them make up their minds.

The Republican congressional leadership is susceptible to our pressure – good old-fashioned grassroots pressure.

That’s why I need your help to DEMAND Republican leaders show some backbone and loudly say “No!” to any business as usual, status quo-empowering compromises to raise the debt ceiling.

Sign the Debt Ceiling Betrayal Petition by Clicking Here

The current debate is filled with talk of fake cuts, budget gimmicks, and political stunts that both parties use to try to lay blame on each other without solving the problem.

That’s why we need to act TODAY.

Without your help, I’m afraid you and I will get sold down the river – and President Obama could put the Tea Party on life support.

Even as I write you, rumors are swirling fast and furious.

News reports are that Speaker Boehner is trying to ram through a deal to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion with no real spending cuts.

This is NOT what the American people overwhelmingly elected Republicans to do in 2010.

So if the Republican leadership shrinks from this fight, they’ll pay the price for this BETRAYAL at the ballot box in 2010.

That’s why it’s vital you urge your representative and senators to pledge to stand up and oppose backroom, business as usual deals from Speaker Boehner to raise the debt ceiling.

The good news is, your IMMEDIATE action will make an enormous impact.

Sign the Debt Ceiling Betrayal Petition by Clicking Here

The establishment is in full crisis mode.

They see their gravy train of deficit spending and pork barrel politics in jeopardy.

They see Wall Street fat cats in a full-blown panic.

They’re bringing out the usual suspects to scare everyone – Geithner, Bernanke, and even Bush-era Treasury officials are being brought into secret congressional briefings to try to scare your representative and senators.

In fact, this is eerily reminiscent of something . . .

The 2008 bank bailouts.

The Republican establishment lining up to make a deal because they just don’t have the backbone to fight.

The White House promising certain doom if it doesn’t get its way.

Well, I fought the leadership of BOTH parties in 2008 when they bailed out Wall Street.

And I’m still fighting them today.

And I’m the only one who can stop this Washington machine because I’m not beholden to it.

But I can’t win this fight without you.

Sign the Debt Ceiling Betrayal Petition by Clicking Here

I know millions of Americans share my belief that it’s time to stop selling our children’s futures to finance more debt.

So Congress needs to hear from each of them that they are ready to fight for fiscal responsibility.

If you have not yet done so, please sign the No Debt Ceiling Deal PETITION today.

After you sign the petition, please follow up with your representative and senators by calling their offices today.

And be sure to spread it through email and your social networks.

Don’t let the Republican leadership cave in. Together, you and I can FORCE them to fight.

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

————-

————

July 29, 2011 Posted by | creationism, economics, economy, evolution, John McCain, political/social, politics, politics/social, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, technology | 1 Comment

Orange FAIL, for now…

Via TMP:

The House vote on Speaker Boehner’s plan scheduled for tonight has been postponed indefinitely. Read: He didn’t have the votes to pass it.

Late word from Cantor’s office is that they will still try for a vote this evening, possibly around 7 p.m. ET. But clearly they’re buying more time to whip up a few more votes to make sure they can pass it.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | politics, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics | 2 Comments

28 July 2011: pm

Workout notes: 4.2 mile run on my hilly course; 85 F with 65 percent humidity. It took me 41:49, though I didn’t put forth much of an effort until the last 1.03 miles (9:19).

Then swimming: 2200 yards; it was so-so but the water felt good. I was near the wall, but two MILF type women got in next to me. They were horrible swimmers, but still their presence cheered me up a bit.

My swim was so-so: 250 of 3g/swim, 250 of 25 front/25 fins, 500 of alternating: 25 fist/25 swim, 25 catch-up, 25 swim.
Then 4 x 250 with no rest: pull, fins, pull, fins; with equipment changes I was in the low 18’s. Then 200 of back/breast to cool down.

Note: yes, I am almost exclusively running, but the piriformis/gluteus medius is feeling better, and running is better than doing nothing at all. It stood up to the just moving around in the stores, museums, etc. I need to be more diligent with my lunges and hip-hikes though. I have NOT given up on distance walking but rather I am staying in (minimal) shape so I can do at least a few “semi-long” walks each week; I’d love to be able to walk a marathon and a 30 miler this fall.

I’ve got two new pair of walking shoes and I want to start using them!

Posts

Sports

I admit that this post made me laugh out loud. Sure, some people enjoy sports by pushing themselves to the limit, and others just like to participate. But leave it to a beta-male humanities major to make a political statement to take down that “evil patriarchy” with it.

Note: the alpha males (AND females) in the hard sciences actually have to prove our results. ;)

So, yes, I subscribe to The Nation, but I do a major “eye-roll” at some of the articles.

Science Yes, I love frogs (as an animal) and wince when I hear of someone eating frog legs. Yes, I know that this is illogical; I just like these ancient creatures; I always have. When I see them, I am seeing ancient life. But in all honesty, there are problems that irresponsible, over consumption of frog legs is causing.

Spot the error From Sandwalk:

(note: if Dr. A is reading this, YOU ARE DISQUALIFIED from the “spot the error”. :) )

Politics

Economics
Yes, I am sure that my regular blog readers already know this. But many people don’t, so here is a nice, handy reference to send to your perplexed friends and family members who don’t understand how tax brackets work.

Basically, tax brackets work the following way:
Taxable Income / Tax Rate
$0 – $10,000 / 10%
$10,000 – $30,000 / 15%
$30,000 – $80,000 / 25%
$80,000 – $200,000 / 28%
$200,000 – $400,000 / 33%
More than $400,000 / 35%
(rounded for ease of explanation). The first 10,000 of income is taxed the same FOR EVERYONE. Then the next 20,000 dollars is taxed the same for everyone. Example: if you make 100,000 a year, you pay 10 percent on the first 10,000 of your income, then 15 percent on the next 20,000, then 25 percent on the next 50,000, and then 28 percent on the next 20,000. You don’t pay 28 percent on ALL of your 100K.

Anyway, the link explains all that.

Barack Obama

Yes, President Obama sometimes frustrates me; there are times when appears too compromising and too, well, timid. I am not alone in this:

Robert Reich:

How did we get into this mess?

I thought I’d seen Washington at its worst. I was there just after Watergate. I was there when Jimmy Carter imploded. I was there during the government shut-down of 1995.

But I hadn’t seen the worst. This is the worst.[...]

But another part of the answer lies with the President — and his inability or unwillingness to use the bully pulpit to tell Americans the truth, and mobilize them for what must be done.

Barack Obama is one of the most eloquent and intelligent people ever to grace the White House, which makes his failure to tell the story of our era all the more disappointing and puzzling. Many who were drawn to him in 2008 (including me) were dazzled by the power of his words and insights — his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, his autobiography and subsequent policy book, his talks about race and other divisive issues during the campaign.

We were excited by the prospect of a leader who could educate — an “educator in chief” who would use the bully pulpit to explaini what has happened to the United States in recent decades, where we must go, and why.

But the man who has occupied the Oval Office since January, 2009 is someone entirely different — a man seemingly without a compass, a tactician who veers rightward one day and leftward the next, an inside-the Beltway dealmaker who doesn’t explain his comprises in light of larger goals.[...]

Paul Krugman:

Obama the Moderate Conservative

No time to do any original posting tonight. But for those who missed the first time I linked to it, here’s Bruce Bartlett — an economic adviser to Ronald Reagan — explaining why Obama is indeed a moderate conservative in practical terms.

Here is the article that Krugman is referring to. Basically it points out that Richard Nixon did some moderately liberal things and that Barack Obama is pushing for some (formerly) conservative policies:

[...]Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.

Here are a few examples of Obama’s effective conservatism:

* His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
* He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;
* He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;
* He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;
* And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.

Further evidence can be found in the writings of outspoken liberals such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has condemned Obama’s conservatism ever since he took office.[...]

As far as the bullet points: yes, many of these would have been conservative policies, back in the 1990’s. But I see many of them as the best that we can do at the moment; just how in the world was he supposed to get a Krugman type stimulus package through a Senate which was held hostage to the filibuster and the blue dog Democrats from red states? The House health care bill had a public option in it; but things changed when the Democrats lost that 60’th vote; doesn’t ANYONE remember that? As far as the tax cuts: we got an extension of the unemployment benefits, no? Weren’t those held hostage? Remember that Mr. Obama has always put governing first; he campaigned that way.

But on Daily Kos, a courageous diary author attempted to set the record straight:

Finally, I saw an article by someone who does get it. James Warren, writing for the Atlantic, explains Obama in context of his background in the Illinois State Senate and as a “deal-making community organizer.” I’ve always viewed Obama through the same lens and I suspect that’s why I’m very rarely surprised by anything he does.

And, as you watch him, be reminded of his informative pre-law school days as a community organizer in Chicago. Recall how they inspired both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin to openly mock the term “community organizer” at the 2008 Republican National Convention, with the former New York mayor unable to contain derisive giggling as he openly wondered what the term stood for.

Well, it stands for giving power to the powerless. But, for Obama, it also meant a strategic set of notions about finding mutual agreement among people with the most divergent of motivations, according to Obama mentors whom I know from back then and David Maraniss, the journalist-author now working on an Obama biography.

He describes Obama as taking a pragmatic, non-ideological approach to making progress, which incidentally, is how Saul Alinsky describes his own approach in the community organizing favorite, “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.”

The column gives several examples of Obama’s work as an Illinois State Senator. The Illinois Senate drives me up the wall. The pace of progress always feels slow. And anything positive is often lumped in with something negative to appease lobbyists from the other side. But, over time they’ve done some impressive things like ending the death penalty, passing same sex civil unions, and creating a renewable energy portfolio standard. So, it doesn’t surprise me when I see Obama attempt a similar approach at the national level.

He comes from a background which assumes that taking what you can get and fighting for more next year isn’t considered a failure. Neither is getting people together for a solution that most can be happy with as long as progress is being made.

I talked about this some time ago.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I am as far left on policy as anyone that is still in shouting distance of the mainstream. For example, I want single payer health care and I want the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone. I want more money for education and less for wars.

And yes, while I like some Republicans on a personal level (ok, I like most of those that I actually know on a personal level) I don’t like the way that Republicans think; to me they are a collection of the ignorant, the deluded, the short sighted, the simple minded and the amoral greedy. Many are very smart but can’t move beyond their instinct to punish the lazy, or they adhere to discredited economic ideas which have failed repeatedly in the past. And too many Republicans think that compromise is a bad thing. We have some liberals that are like that (visit Daily Kos sometime) but the percentage of Republicans who think that way is far greater:

But I like President Obama because he is NOT like me; he is smarter, more level headed, wiser..and he can see the better angles in people. And he is willing to endure wrath from his base in order to govern; the man is mature.
To be fair, I started to see some signs of the latter in President Bush in the last year or so of his term; pity I didn’t see much of that during the first 6 years or so.

So, what is up at the moment?
The vote should happen soon; evidently Mr. Boehner has enough votes to pass it through the House:

On the House floor, there were some Democrats who continued to call for including some kind of tax increase, like letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans lapse, but no matter how events unfold in the days ahead, that seems the unlikeliest of outcomes.

After the Republican caucus broke up, more than a dozen freshmen Republicans held a news conference Thursday morning outside the Capitol to voice support for Mr. Boehner’s plan. Several members interviewed said they would support the bill in an effort to avoid a possible federal default after the government’s borrowing power runs out next week.

“This is heartbreak, for a lot of us,” said Representative Sean P. Duffy, a freshman from Wisconsin. “We didn’t come here for this. But you know what? We’re going to swallow it and get the job done.”

Representative Nan Hayworth, Republican of New York, said the bill had been tweaked enough to gain her support, and she felt the mood in the party’s caucus to be moving in Mr. Boehner’s direction.

“This is what you’d expect thoughtful people to do,” Ms. Hayworth said. “People with passionately held beliefs can evaluate the evidence, and there has been a coalescence that is developing around the idea that the speaker has presented and an appropriately amended bill that represents a very productive and constructive approach to the challenge we face.”

As their leaders got a sense of exactly how many Republicans they could count on — they need at least 217 — there would be interesting decisions in the cloakroom about which members would be given a pass to go against the leadership, and which would have their arms twisted, despite the political consequences back home, where some freshmen may have a weak grip on their seats and some members may face intense primary challenges.

Where do we go from here? Well, I actually think that Mr. Rush Limbaugh might be right (for a change):

Rush Limbaugh, rallying opposition to John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt limit:

If the Democrats get their way, the Republicans will pass the Boehner bill. It will go to the Senate, where it will immediately be announced dead on arrival. And then, dingy Harry will announce, “But, there’s enough here. We can work with this. We didn’t really realize all that was in this. There’s stuff in here — yeah, yeah. … Maybe I can get some Democratic votes on it after all.”

And then miraculously — miraculously — the prince of compromise, Harry Reid, steals the day, by compromising with just an outrageous dead on arrival bill. He gets all kinds of credit for hard work, rolling up sleeves and that magic compromise, and sends that back to the house. Okay Republicans, ball’s back in your court. Here’s your bill with a few modifications.

My guess is that it will pass. We might all win because this teaches the new tea-baggers in office that, at times, one actually has to govern.

The fact that such a routine process was turned into this circus does not speak well for us, as Fareed Zakaria points out.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, biology, economics, economy, evolution, frogs, injury, political/social, politics, politics/social, quackery, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, running, Rush Limbaugh, science, sports, training, Uncategorized, walking | Leave a comment

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