Back at it…in Peoria

First my workout: I didn’t dare weigh myself; though I ate 3 meals a day and ate within my foodplan, I didn’t eat the usual fruit and yogurt stuff I usually eat. So I felt as if I gained 30 pounds over the weekend.

2 mile jog outside (neighborhood)
2 miles on the track: 5 x 400 with 200 walk/jog, 200 run
runs: 1:54-1:52-1:54 (9:12)-1:52-1:53-55 (19:13)
rests: 1:43-1:47-1:47-1:47-1:44

quick breakfast, then 6 mile walk in Bradley Park: modified cornstalk 4.2 (lots of cars at the theater), lower 1.2 loop, lower .6 loop, then extra (Past Markin to Bradley Ave.)

total: 4 run 6 walk. I did have two “soft” knee spikes in my left knee (not the one with the 2010 surgery). This is looking as if …oh 3-6 years I’ll probably have to have this knee done as well.

Mano Singham: discusses a different kind of migrant worker. This is the older 60+ person who lives out of a RV and drives to seasonal jobs; they can’t afford to retire. I hope that isn’t me, of course. But if I CAN do this and don’t HAVE to….who knows?

But yeah, I imagine this is no fun for those who are trapped in this manner.

you might be hearing about one really low poll number for President Obama (37 percent). In fact, most of them have him in the low to mid 40′s. Personally, I am glad that we don’t have a President that is rushing to get us into new wars.

Still, the Senate: ugh…we’d be lucky to hold it to 50-50. The 95 percent confidence interval for Republican seats looks like 47-55 with perhaps 51 being the most likely outcome.

Right now, the polls for us in Georgia and Kentucky are probably fool’s gold.

Note: I was more confident about the 2012 Presidential election because we had a LOT more polls.

Locally: To the surprise of no one, Tea Party IL-17 candidate Bobby Schilling has the support of our “let’s send the police after someone who hasn’t broken the law Mayor Ardis”. I am shocked. I wonder what dirty tricks Mr. Schilling has up his sleeve this time?

July 21, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, 2014 midterm, Aaron Schock, political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Conservative Cranks

Paul Krugman:

James Pethokoukis and Ramesh Ponnuru are frustrated. They’ve been trying to convert Republicans to market monetarism, but the right’s favorite intellectuals keep turning to cranks peddling conspiracy theories about inflation. Three years ago it was Niall Ferguson, citing a bogus source. Ferguson was widely ridiculed, by moderate conservatives as well as liberals — but here comes Amity Shlaes, making the same argument and citing the same source. The “reform conservatives” have made no headway at all.

Why this lack of progress?

The answer is that inflation paranoia isn’t a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected by pointing to evidence. It’s deeply embedded in the modern conservative psyche. Government action must, by definition, have disastrous results;

That’s pretty much it: conservatives have some core principles…sort of “nothing can shake my faith in…” types of things. Reams of evidence will not change their minds; they are extremely vulnerable to Type II error (failure to reject a false hypothesis).

The same holds for the Affordable Care Act; here Matthew Yglesias gives an “I told you so” …and he KNEW that he’d get ridiculed for his initial prediction.

Or there was the infamous 2012 election in which those conservatives weren’t going to BELIEVE that “scientific gobbledygook”: (30 seconds)


Note: the conservatives were getting taunted PRIOR to the election; this wasn’t mere hindsight:

Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message? Well, they certainly raised a lot of money, and ran a lot of ads. But in terms of actual number of ads the battle has been, if anything, an Obama advantage. And while we don’t know what will happen on Tuesday, state-level polls suggest both that Obama is a strong favorite and, much more surprising, that Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to hold the Senate in a year when the number of seats at risk was supposed to spell doom.

Some of this reflects the simple fact that money can’t help all that much when you have a lousy message. But it also looks as if the money was surprisingly badly spent. What happened?

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

Consistently being wrong seems to bother them not at all:

So, there was a fun moment on CNBC: Rick Santelli went on a rant about inflation and the Fed, and CNBC analyst Steve Liesman went medieval on him:

It’s impossible for you to have been more wrong, Rick. Your call for inflation, the destruction of the dollar, the failure of the US economy to rebound. Rick, it’s impossible for you to have been more wrong. Every single bit of advice you gave would have lost people money, Rick. Lost people money, Rick. Every single bit of advice. There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. Not a single one. Not a single one, Rick. The higher interest rates never came, the inability of the U.S. to sell bonds never happened, the dollar never crashed, Rick. There isn’t a single one that’s worked for you.

Yet this screaming tea party type got applause.

Accuracy means NOTHING to these people. Nothing.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

Walking and the politics of young people

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 12.11.37 PM

I took the car to north Peoria to get serviced; since I was close to the northern part of the Rock Island trail I decided to take advantage.

I walked south to the intersection of Knoxville and Giles (4.05 miles), back to the trail head; at mile 0 I clicked a split and walked to mile 1 on the trail and then back to 0, and then doubled back to the trailhead. The total: slightly over 10 miles (16 km) in 2:25:56.

Since I hadn’t specifically planned the walk, I walked in my cargo pants and t-shirt; sort of the “old foagie” look. I was somewhat sore this morning from yesterday’s intervals plus “hard hike on the trails” so I cruised at a steady 14:20-14:30 pace. I saw a couple of deer in the distance as I passed by farmlands.

Good news: when the walk ended, it was more of “aw, do I have to quit now?” rather than “thank goodness I am done”; that is a very good sign.

The title of this article is interesting:

Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense
That’s not a harsh assessment. It’s just a fair description.

I’d add: with one exception, they are like people of my generation. The exception:

3. Far less important, but entertaining nonetheless: Millennials don’t know what socialism is, but they think it sounds nice.

I think that “socialism” has a negative connotation with people of my generation because we grew up with the Cold War; that is something millennials only read about in books.

But here is why it makes no sense:

On spending:
Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
On taxes:
Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
On government’s role in our lives:
Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that “when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.”
Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
On government size:
Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word “taxes”).
Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don’t mention “taxes”).
Some of these positions suggest, rather than prove, utter incoherence. For example, you can technically support (a) reducing the overall tax burden and (b) raising taxes on the wealthy by raising the investment tax and absolving the bottom 50 percent of Social Security taxes. Somehow, I think what’s happening is simpler than young people doing the long math of effective tax rates. I think they’re just confused.

In short: they are like the rest of us; they want services (whether they admit it or not) but don’t want to pay for such services. :-)

But here is why this matters to politics: on one hand, they lean Democrat; the social conservatism of the Republicans really turns them off.

On the other hand: they have a libertarian streak when it comes to economics:

Although a majority of younger voters today are reliably Democratic, there are key issues on which they differ notably from their elders within the center-left coalition. The July Pew survey identifies two predominantly white core Democratic constituencies: the “solid liberals” of the traditional left, which is 69 percent white, with an average age of 46, who exhibit deep progressive commitments on both economic and social issues; and younger voters, 68 percent white, with an average age of 38, which Pew calls the “next generation left.”

The two groups were asked to choose whether “most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard” or whether “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.” A decisive majority of the older “solid liberal” group, 67 percent, responded that hard work is no guarantee of success, while an even larger majority, 77 percent, of the younger “next generation left” believes that you can get ahead if you are willing to work hard.

Part of me just chuckles; this goes hand in hand with studies that state Millennials vastly overestimate what they are going to accomplish in life. (see: the book Generation Me by Jean Twenge). Some things you have to learn the hard way, just as I did.

But the upshot is that economic populism, while popular with old hippies (e. g. my crowd) won’t be such a selling point with younger voters.
In other words, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich doesn’t really “speak to them” the way that they speak to me.

So there is your Warren/Sanders ticket right there.

Note on Elizabeth Warren: yes, she is very smart and she has some excellent ideas. But she simply isn’t a politician; I have deep skepticism of her chances on a national level even though the old hippies love her.

I present the following:

Massachusetts Senate race 2012:

Warren: 53.7 Brown: 46.2 difference: 7.5 points

Massachusetts Presidential race 2012:

Obama: 60.65. Romney: 37.51 Difference: 23.14 points.

This is a national level candidate?

Here is a sample of previous presidential winners in their “race before the presidency” races. One has to go back to 1970 to find a national candidate who won their “large race” by a narrow of a margin as Warren’s (and yes, Nixon lost the California race of 1962 and narrowly lost the presidential race of 1960).

Illinois Senate 2004:
Obama: 70.0 Keys: 27.0

Texas Governor 1998
Bush: 68.2 Mauro: 31.2

Arkansas Governor 1990
Clinton: 57.49 Nelson: 42.49

General election 1984
Bush (VP with Reagan)
Reagan-Bush: 58.8 Mondale: 40.6

California Governor 1970
Reagan: 52.83 Unruh: 45.14

California Governor 1962
Brown: 51.94 Nixon: 46.87

But Nixon was VP to Eisenhower and had lost a very narrow Presidential election in 1960 (narrow in popular vote: 49.7-49.6)

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | , , | Leave a comment

I don’t need feminism, those who came before us and “what we (think) that we know”

I remember the 2008 campaign and the Barack Obama and Rev. Wright issue. I remember then Senator Obama saying that people like Rev. Wright grew up in a different era and made the mistake of not understanding that things could indeed change…and have.

I still remember working on the campaign and hearing some elderly African Americans saying that “this country wasn’t going to vote for a black person”. Even some of my (slightly older) friends said stuff like that to me. That may have well been true…20-30 years ago. But time passes and some of us who only associate with our age peers might miss the change.

Of course, racism still exists and it still hurts. But it isn’t the factor that it once was; things HAVE gotten better.

I think that similar things might apply to feminism.

There are some articles about women posting “we don’t need feminism” photos.

Now some of this might have resulted from the fact that modern women don’t have the same obstacles that the older women faced. That does NOT mean that all is fair right now; it isn’t. But things have changed for the better and some feminists who came before deserve some credit.

As far as the hostility toward feminism: some of it might result from feminism having some crackpot ideas associated with it…some of which are true (e. g. that a prominent feminist said this: “In that case, why is it not as illuminating and honest to refer to Newton’s laws as “Newton’s rape manual” as it is to call them “Newton’s mechanics”?”) and some of which are NOT true (e. g. the “all heterosexual sex is rape” claim; this claim was an inference that someone else said came from the work of a prominent feminist; the feminist herself did NOT say that)

Yes, crackpot feminists exist (I’ve talked to a few of them) but any large movement will have some crackpots; that is just statistics.

Nevertheless the anti-feminists raise some interesting points:



Yes, too many claim positive attributes for themselves without having actually displayed such attributes.   But this really is more of a social point than an anti-feminist one.




I’ve seen some of this. Many years ago one Woman studies professor was describing some situation and made anti-male jokes; (anti-testosterone) and when I came back with an anti-estrogen joke, she tried to claim “it is ok for me because I am a member of an oppressed class” defense; I blew her off.

You can also see some of this at sites like Daily Kos; there is little that is more unpleasant than trying to have a conversation with a zealot who just KNOWS that they are both informed and intelligent when they are actually neither.


It does appear at times that some feminists (male and female) try to deny human nature and deny how our species propagates. I find it amusing when some accused me for objectifying some woman who posted a “spandex butt selfie” to a “yoga pants blog”. I don’t think that she was forced.


This is sticky. Say a male and a female BOTH get very drunk and then have sex. Aren’t they equally responsible for what happens? Some feminists don’t think so…and legally speaking…well, the sexes are not treated equally. I suppose that some of this is due to biological asymmetry but it is interesting that, practically speaking, it is the male that is held accountable.

Note: I am NOT talking about the cases (which actually occur) of a male thinking it is ok to have sex with a passed out drunk woman; THAT is rape, for sure. I suppose it could work the other way, but realistically, it probably doesn’t occur very often, though it does happen.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Our analogue to the “Repeal Obamacare” bills

The Senate is crafting a “Hobby Lobby decision” bill:

Congressional Democrats unveiled legislation Wednesday that would override the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case by requiring most employers to provide federally-required contraception and other health services even if they have religious objections.

The legislation, being introduced by Democrats in both the Senate and the House, would require all employers to abide by the contraception mandate included in the Affordable Care Act — even if they claim to have religious objections.

The bill is being “fast tracked” in that it didn’t go to committee first.

I am not sure what the purpose is; it is all but certain to be filibustered by the Republicans and even if it weren’t and somehow passed the Senate, it is DOA in the House.

I suppose this could be a fundraising tactic and perhaps a way to win women’s votes in the tight toss up Senate races (Kentucky and Georgia).

Via Realclearpolitics:

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 8.57.05 AM

This might be of use in fundraising too.

July 10, 2014 Posted by | political/social, politics | | Leave a comment

I’d never make it in political opposition research

Via Huffington Post: a video about those who do political opposition research.

I’d be terrible at it. For example, I might see that a Republican candidate once wrote \int e^x dx = \frac{e^{x+1}}{x+1} + C and start laughing and saying “WHAT AN IDIOT”….but I doubt that anyone else would care. :-)

July 9, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Politics: the silly and the serious

I admit to (all too often) engaging in political pie fights.

Morons will do something like this and, at times, my friends (or I) will do something like this.

This has even affected my diction. I find myself seeing things like:



and saying “PATRIOT” as a type of slur. Even some of my virtual friends do this.

But none of that is serious.

What is serious is this:
(via Paul Krugman)

You might wonder why monetary theory gets treated like evolution or climate change. Isn’t the question of how to manage the money supply a technical issue, not a matter of theological doctrine?

Well, it turns out that money is indeed a kind of theological issue. Many on the right are hostile to any kind of government activism, seeing it as the thin edge of the wedge — if you concede that the Fed can sometimes help the economy by creating “fiat money,” the next thing you know liberals will confiscate your wealth and give it to the 47 percent. Also, let’s not forget that quite a few influential conservatives, including Mr. Ryan, draw their inspiration from Ayn Rand novels in which the gold standard takes on essentially sacred status.

And if you look at the internal dynamics of the Republican Party, it’s obvious that the currency-debasement, return-to-gold faction has been gaining strength even as its predictions keep failing.

Can anything reverse this descent into dogma? A few conservative intellectuals have been trying to persuade their movement to embrace monetary activism, but they’re ever more marginalized. And that’s just what Mr. Nyhan’s article would lead us to expect. When faith — including faith-based economics — meets evidence, evidence doesn’t stand a chance.

Krugman says:

The problem, in other words, isn’t ignorance; it’s wishful thinking. Confronted with a conflict between evidence and what they want to believe for political and/or religious reasons, many people reject the evidence. And knowing more about the issues widens the divide, because the well informed have a clearer view of which evidence they need to reject to sustain their belief system.

In other words, don’t expect the educated conservatives to learn ANYTHING from being wrong.

July 8, 2014 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 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

Political Quips

Well, the economy added jobs again: 288K. Unemployment fell to 6.1 percent as well.

Still, we could do better if we had some infrastructure investment.

It appears that it has finally sunk in that the Republicans will not work with the President, AT ALL. So, he’ll do what he is able to do via executive actions. Sure, even our stupid little hometown hick paper editorial board doesn’t like it (though they blame Congress as well), but this isn’t a “both sides” type of thing.

What I think has happened: Republicans are over represented in Congress, and Republicans in Congress are out to please their bat-sh*t crazy base.

Example: a conservative webpage made this comment:



See that? The conservatives are saying that American freedom bothers the Muslims or that they are bothered by not having Sharia Law.

In fact, if you follow the link to the Asian Times article you see:

Nearly a year after the events of 9/11, the Attorney General announced the introduction of the National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS). The “special registration” program applied to men aged 16 to 45 who were predominantly from Arab/Muslim countries residing in the United States on temporary visas. The men were required to report to Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) offices for multi-phase registration that included fingerprinting, photographing, and questioning. It has been found that this program failed in two very distinct ways. Firstly, the department failed to put out clear information regarding the requirements of the program, which led to many unnecessary deportations. Secondly, the program reportedly used harsh detention methods on participants. It is clear that this program resulted in mistreatment and rights violations. While this program is no longer active, the U.S. Patriot Act and the CLEAR Act have both been reauthorized and are used by law enforcement.

The national media very rightly noted that the results of these policies devastate the relationship between the Muslim community and the U.S. Government. Civil liberties groups had already declared that the U.S. Patriot Act and the CLEAR Act negatively impact the civil liberties of Muslim minority groups, particularly Arab minorities and Muslim immigrants. Muslim organizations maintain that these governmental programs and policies create feelings of anxiety, ostracism, and isolation that detach Muslims from the American mainstream. In addition, the government’s use of racial profiling encouraged media and organizational stereotyping.

Racial profiling was once widespread in the New York area.

Now, to widespread attacks, arson, killings and other harassments against the Muslims living in the United States not forgetting the most recently (June 2014) dropped surveillance program carried out by the New York City police department that severely harassed the Muslims in the area.

Anti-mosque incidents have escalated in recent years. In 2012 summer, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, burned to the ground. In 2011, a man was arrested with explosives outside the Islamic Center in Dearborn, Michigan. An arson fire seriously damaged a mosque in Wichita, Kansas, in May 2011. And incidents of mosque vandalism have become more common.

Hate groups have been on the rise, too; one of the most horrific hate crimes was the murder of Shaima Alawadi, a young mother who had received anonymous notes calling her a terrorist.

In other words, the use of “free” is intended as irony; they are complaining of profiling, discrimination, campaigns to stop the building of mosques, etc.

If the conservative base is so stupid that they can’t even understand a short newspaper article, or if they are so sure of themselves that they can’t be bothered to read the article that they linked to, is it any wonder that it is impossible to get along with such people?

July 3, 2014 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans | | Leave a comment

Celebrity endorsements and not being a mirror image

I’ve had some interesting interaction on Facebook lately. I have a couple of friends who I remember from high school, and they have friends from the same high school who, well, have views that are different than mine.

That’s fine; I enjoy conversation with educated, informed conservatives. Sometimes they teach me something.

But these conversations were, well, let’s say…of a different type. This was more like fans of two different sports teams talking trash rather than discussing ideas.

But I ended up learning something anyway:

One of my liberal friends posted how some conservatives consistently “cried wolf” with regards to monetary policy.

One of his tea party type friends compared this “crying wolf” to global warming.

I mentioned that sciences posits global warming and that science works pretty darned well.

His response: he took a shot at Al Gore and Al Gore’s claim of “inventing the internet”.

Clearly, Mr. Gore was talking about taking the legislative initiative; he did NOT claim “invention.” But I digress.

What does Al Gore have to do with the climate science? Sure, he produced a movie that, while not a science level presentation, was judged to be reasonably accurate for a popular film.

But what does my acceptance of climate science have to do with Al Gore?

I am not a climate scientist but I find things like this to be convincing.

So what did that wingnut think he was doing when he tried to argue in this manner?

I don’t know, but after dealing with people of this type, it appears to me that they have chosen sides and since THEY are convinced by…oh, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh or some other non-credentialed pundit, I must be just like them, but on the “opposing team”.

Yes, I sometimes post a Jon Stewart or Bill Maher clip, but only when what they are saying is backed up by credible experts. And yes, Bill Maher has some wacky beliefs too. Yes, in this case, the Republican is right. Jon Stewart has been wrong a few times too.

I like discussing views, but just chanting slogans at each other is a waste of time and energy.

July 1, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment


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