The impression I am getting from reading political opposition on social media…

I have no doubt that liberals and conservatives differ on policy. This difference is probably largely genetic in nature; this is one of the best explanations I’ve seen:

However, when it comes to discussing politicians of the other party, while policy is sometimes discussed, much of the time the venom is more about what they think the other person is (or isn’t) rather than about the policy:


See: President Bush loves American and President Obama doesn’t! Never mind:


Now I know that sometimes we can “like but disagree” with a president until they do something that makes us angry; with President Bush it was the State of the Union address when he said he was going to attack Iraq. I actually liked him (but disagreed with him) prior to that. I knew AT THE TIME that some of the claims he was making were false (e. g., the aluminum tubes claim by reading Scientific American) and I thought “this guy just wants to go to war”. Then again, no one denies that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who needed to go, and there is a school of thought (non partisan) that thinks that the US was in the position to do that.

On the other hand, many condemn President Obama for drone strikes; personally, I see the problem as war, not drones. Drones actually kill fewer non-combatants than conventional air strikes and firefights, but one is one too many…but then again, if you let a terrorist off the hook and they kill again?

Bottom line: ANY President of the United States will have to make decisions that will lead to the deaths of at least some people; yes, even President Carter who had a sterling record for peace.

But I am digressing.

My main point: we tend to direct venom toward presidents that we do not have an affinity for; in my case it is no surprise that I like the “professorial”, “modern” and “thoughtful” President Obama rather than the more “instinctive”, “traditional” President Bush.

Ironically, when it comes to policy, some of what President Obama gets blamed for are successful programs that President Bush started! (TARP, auto bailouts, some of the war on terror). The packaging is different, and how we Americans love our packaging!!!

I can’t put emotions in the heads of others. But at least in my case, though I realize that most of President Bush’s “man of the people” image is manufactured (the man is an aristocrat!), what I really dislike are those who he represents:

Taxpayer Rally


The respective presidents are really just proxies for our internal culture wars.

Yes, I know, I’ve been to Obama rallies as well as to Romney, Santorum and McCain rallies. The real difference isn’t the obesity (Americans of all stripes are fat, period). The difference is really diversity; the Republican rallies tend to be monochrome and people tended to dress alike. Democrat rallies were all over the map in terms of age, dress, race, culture, etc.

What I find repulsive is the idea of “being a good American means that you fit into this one box” when, in fact, our country is extremely diverse; I’ve lived in Connecticut, rural Texas, Austin, Texas, South Dakota and currently live in a rust belt town in the midwest. The cultures vary from place to place.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

Now I like this photo…


From some time ago (2008?)


July 10, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama | | Leave a comment

July 6 Politics

Well, I’ve been reading about how Americans view President Obama as being terrible. You probably won’t see news on the recent uptick in approval ratings though this rates as a “meh” when you look at the trendlines that Presidents have had historically:

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 4.52.55 PM

(from here)

Love him or hate him: the worst ever: he isn’t.

I admit that back in 2012, I really thought that the country would learn something from failing to trust basic facts and statistics:

and here but I guess not. SFBs who trust “their gut” over science and math aren’t going to change. And this will cripple the next Republican Presidential nominee like it did the last one:

July 6, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Do you miss President Bush?

Evidently some do:


Hmmm, this is what I see:



Oh sure, there are the usual caveats: “what sort of jobs are those; what about discouraged workers”, etc. I am not crazy enough to say “all is peachy” because it isn’t.

But who wants the Bush disaster back?

July 6, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, social/political | | Leave a comment

President Obama Approval Ratings

If you are on social media platforms and have conservative friends, you might be reading about how President Obama has the worst approval ratings or something like that. You can generate this graph here.


AS you can see President Obama’s approval ratings trends track the historical ones but are below them but are still above where President Bush’s were.

In his hyper partisan era, approvals of 50 percent plus will probably be rare. Basically, conservatives (which include the so-called independents who are really conservatives but don’t want to be associated with the current Republican party) are going to dislike his policies, and among the Democrats, 80 percent will like him (myself included) and 20 percent will be upset that he isn’t liberal enough.

And yes, such effects contributed to President Bush’s low approval ratings too.

July 2, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Obama’s Truman moment: “the won’t do Congress won’t do”

Thank you, Mr. President.

June 28, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Trying to pick up speed….

Workout notes: 5 mile run, 3 mile walk.
Run: 20:45 2 mile run on the ‘mill: mile 1 I did 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 5 in elevation, then dropped to 0.5 and picked up the speed.

Then to the track for 8 x 200 in lane 2 of the University track: 56, 55, 54, 54, 53, 53, 54, 53 (20:09 via 20:08/20:01) Then a walking lap, then 9:02 for a mile in lane 2.
Then a 3 mile walk outside to get used to the heat (Bradley Park).

My legs were still a bit heavy from this weekend’s festivities. And yes, there IS a difference in using lane 2 vs. lane 1; it is, surprisingly, about a 1.8 second per lap difference.

This weekend: I want to get it into my head the mantra of “doing the best that I can on THAT day instead of “X or bust”.”

This is useful to remember: “red” states are not ALL red. Then again, “blue states” are FAR from all blue. I should know. For example, Austin, Texas, is far “bluer” than where I live, even though I live in Illinois and Austin is in red Texas.


Yeah, I know, another GOVERNMENT INTRUSION ON THE FREE MARKET, blah, blah, blah.
Seriously: though we have a basically capitalist system, there is really no such thing as completely free capitalism and, IMHO, nor should there be. The battle will be over HOW MUCH government regulation and intrusion there should be. We fought such battles during President Theodore Roosevelt’s day. And yes, good people can disagree.

I am with the President on this one, though on this issue, I can understand the counter argument. This is one of those issues where I have just a bit of ambivalence.

The brain

Our brains learn to interpret signals.

optical illusion

optical illusion

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, mind, political/social, politics, running, social/political | Leave a comment

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Conservatives continue to fail to give President Obama credit for doing anything right.
There are objective metrics which show that he has done at least SOMETHING right:



And yes, the deficit is falling under President Obama (though a positive deficit of any magnitude means the national debt is growing), and I am one of those who doesn’t see this as a totally good thing.

At times, it appears as if this is the case:


So now we turn to Iraq.

The neocons are outraged that, well, there is still civil war and “how dare that President Obama didn’t twist the arm of Iraqi leadership to get a status of forces agreement.”

Well, the facts are these:

1. The situation is far more complicated than can be explained in some op-ed written by a non-specialist:

Thanks to the Cheney op-ed, we can see how Obama’s hawkish critics are out to create a double standard. Whenever they are called out for how mistaken they were about Iraq in the first place, they piously lecture against “relitigating the past” and say we must instead look forward. At the same time, many of them feel perfectly free to trash the president in extreme and even vile terms.

I am all for looking forward and trying to find an approach that squares the many contradictions we face: of needing to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria while also pushing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stop pursuing anti-Sunni policies that are empowering the forces we need to turn back; of being on the same side as Iran in Iraq’s current emergency but on opposite sides over Syria; of wanting to avoid steps that will make things worse while not being paralyzed; and of not plunging into the middle of a Shiite-Sunni civil war while trying to stop the region’s descent into chaos.

Obama sees these contradictions and says he won’t act rashly. You don’t have to agree with Obama’s every move to prefer his prudence to the utter certainty that “we will be greeted as liberators” and to a habit of underestimating the costs of military action.

2. The Neocons have been completely wrong so far. They and those who listen to them can go to hell as far as I am concerned.

June 20, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, social/political, world events | , , | Leave a comment

Why your crazy uncle despises President Obama

Get a load of this clip:

This was a clip from this speech:

Here is the context, where President Obama discusses a clash over ideas over political power:

And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle, through war and enlightenment, repression and revolution, that a particular set of ideals began to emerge, the belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose, the belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding.

And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal.

But those ideals have also been tested, here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others and that individual identity must be defined by us versus them, or that national greatness must flow not by what people stand for, but what they are against.

In so many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations. The advance of industry and technology outpaced our ability to resolve our differences peacefully. And even — even among the most civilized of societies on the surface, we saw a descent into barbarism.

I really wonder if current US conservatives are really this stupid…or does their blind, white hot hatred of our President cause them to appear to be this stupid.

June 19, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why I like Obama more than most others do

Workout notes 2 mile warm up on the treadmill (10:15, 19:11, then to 2.07 miles)
8 x 200 with 200 w/j (21:00 total time): 54-54-53-52-52-52-51-49 (slightly faster average than last time)
then after a quick breakfast, 4 miles of easy walking outside.

The hay is in the barn, so to speak. The next two weeks is my running season.


I like his style: find out what is true and then don’t mince words. His opponents (in this case, the climate change skeptics) all him “arrogant”. Frankly, I am indifferent to their “opinion”.

And yes, he has been far more effective than liberals give him credit for. Sure his approval ratings are low, but that mostly reflects how partisan the public has become.

Neocons: STFU.

Fareed Zakaria: Iraq and President Bush is to blame for the current mess.

So, when you’ve been consistently wrong about …well…everything….you aren’t entitled to be treated as if you know what you are talking about.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Middle East, politics/social, running, social/political, walking | , , | 3 Comments


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