blueollie

Mooning the Supreme Court for their “town prayer” decision ….

This is for you, Supreme Court…at least for the conservative justices…

(ok, I admit that when I was taking yoga class our teacher tried to lead us in this type of stretch. I was walking into class (several minutes before it started and the teacher was facing away, practicing this…she looked between her legs, saw me and said “hi” and I think I kind of giggled..)

Still, back to the decision, which was 5-4:

In a major decision on the role of religion in government, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Constitution allows town boards to start their sessions with sectarian prayers. The ruling, by a 5-to-4 vote, divided the court’s more conservative members from its liberal ones, and their combative opinions reflected very different views of the role of faith in public life, in contemporary society and in the founding of the Republic.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said that a town in upstate New York had not violated the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month” who was almost always Christian and who sometimes used distinctly sectarian language. The prayers were ceremonial, Justice Kennedy wrote, and served to signal the solemnity of the occasion.

The ruling cleared the way for sectarian prayers before meetings of local governments around the nation with only the lightest judicial supervision.

Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court speaking at an event in Washington in 2012.Sidebar: For Justices, Free Speech Often Means ‘Speech I Agree With’MAY 5, 2014
The decision built on one from 1983 that allowed prayers at the start of legislative sessions. The two sides on Monday disagreed about whether town board meetings, which include not only lawmakers and spectators but also citizens seeking to do business with the government, are meaningfully different from legislative sessions.

The issue wasn’t that there was a type of prayer of some sort, but that the prayers at this meeting were deeply sectarian. However the town council did say that they attempted to recruit a variety of chaplains.

I am not qualified to rule on constitutionality, of course.

Interestingly, though I don’t like this decision, I am probably not as upset as those of minority faiths. To me, one form of superstitious mumbo-jumbo is not much different than another. I treat public prayers with an eyeroll. But to other “believers”, one person’s prayer might be blasphemy or evil.

Example: check out this prayer said before a rally for then candidate McCain; when they said this I had to work to keep from laughing out loud.

May 6, 2014 Posted by | big butts, religion, Republican, SCOTUS, social/political, spandex | , | Leave a comment

Republicans …..you just can’t make this stuff up

seriously.

racistasshole

If you see this as “well, it was impolite to say in public and non-pc to say but largely true”, well, you are probably a Republican.

March 10, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, Republican | Leave a comment

Whatever and hos

Workout notes I was a little sleepy but blasted myself out of bed.
Weight workout: the usual; what was different:
pull ups: 5 sets of 10; not that bad.
incline: 10 x 140, 6 x 150, 6 x 150
pull downs; on a different machine (3 sets of 10 with 150; did this with the abs)
dumbbell super set: 3 sets of 10 of: seated military (sets of 12 with 50′s), curls (30′s), bent over rows (65′s), standing rows (25′s)

This took about an hour; then I did the “gluteal 1″ program for 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. It made my legs slightly heavy.

Winter
Some regions in the southern US got snow; they have neither snowplows, salt for the roads…and the drivers don’t have experience. This is the result.

State of the Union
Paul Krugman had the best take: it was a “whatever” speech. President Obama knows that the Republicans won’t work with him. Krugman also notes that the conservatives are…what else…blaming government workers for inequality. Seriously:

Let’s start by looking at the real winners in soaring inequality — the people who not only make incredible amounts of money, but get to pay very low taxes (and if you suggest closing their loopholes, you’re just like Hitler.) According to Forbes, in 2012 the top 40 hedge fund managers and traders took home a combined $16.7 trillion billion.

Now look at those supposedly overpaid government employees. According to the BLS, the median high school teacher earns $55,050 per year.

So, those 40 hedge fund guys made as much as 300,000, that’s three hundred thousand, school teachers — almost a third of all high school teachers in America.

OK, teachers get benefits, so their total compensation cost is higher than their wage, so maybe it’s only 200,000.

But you should keep numbers like these in mind whenever anyone tries to shift attention from the one percent (and the .001 percent) to Americans who aren’t even upper-middle class.

Hos

You see, I’d be more focused if only those women would quit dressing in a way that shows their bodies. :-)

Note: if you think about it, the main difference between the beliefs of some of the religious fundamentalists here and in the Muslim world is the flavor of the preferred superstition. If the radical Muslims would embrace trickle down economics, they’d make great conservatives!

January 29, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, religion, Republican, weight training | 4 Comments

GOP governor’s debate, math and science

Workout notes
short version: weights plus elliptical: elliptical was 30 minutes, much of it on “butt” setting.
weights: did the rotator cuff series and McKenzie set afterward; hip hikes and Achilles during.
pull ups: 5 or 6 sets of 10; lost count.
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 180, 7 x 170 (more challenging than expected)
military press (dumbbell): 3 x (12 x 50)
upright row (dumbbell): 3 x (10 x 25)
dumbbell curl: 3 x (10 x 30)
pull downs: 3 x (10 x 160)
rows (Hammer): 3 x (10 x 220)
abs: 3 sets of 10: crunch, v. crunch, sit back, twist.

Posts
It is still cold (3 F, or -16 C) , and the neighborhood streets are still mostly the type of ice that comes from cars driving over snow. The city plows do just enough to bury the sidewalks in ice but not enough to really plow the streets to pavement. Peoria, IL is a nasty city during wintertime.

But while this is one of the two really bad recent winters, it isn’t out of the ordinary by HISTORICAL standards:

Based on preliminary data, the average temperature statewide is 20.0 degrees. That is 6.3 degrees below average and ranked as the 17th coldest January on record. Of course, if the forecast holds for the rest of January, we would end up colder. Here is a list of the 20 coldest monthly average temperatures in January. The column marked “Temperature” is for the January statewide temperature and the column marked “Departure” is for the departure from the 1981-2010 average of 26.3 degrees.

Surf to the link to see the rest; note that 1994, 2009, 2010 make the list.

And yes, we are hearing “global warming is a hoax”:

cold

(hat tip: Why Evolution is True)

More science
There is a type of shrimp that has eyes with more color receptors (12) than human eyes have (3). But:

It’s tempting to think that with 12 color receptors, mantis shrimp see a rainbow humans can’t even conceive. But Marshall and his colleagues found the opposite. They trained mantis shrimp to associate certain wavelengths of light with food. As the wavelength of light defines its color, this meant that the shrimp saw certain colors as harbingers of treats.

They then showed the shrimp two colored-lights and let them choose the one that would get them treats by grabbing or tapping at it with their claws. By altering the wavelength of the lights, the researchers could figure out how good the shrimp were at telling one hue from another.

As it turned out, the shrimp could differentiate wavelengths that were about 25 nanometers apart, essentially the difference that separates orange and yellow. In comparison, humans can discriminate shades that are as little as 1 nanometer to 4 nanometers apart.

“They’re definitely not seeing the world of color in as much detail as other animals,” Marshall said of the shrimp.

So why keep the 12-receptor system? Marshall and his colleagues aren’t sure how it works yet, but they suspect the shrimps process color very quickly by setting up patterns of receptor excitation that correspond to certain colors. Imagine, for example, that every receptor is an empty bucket. If a couple of buckets on one end of the spectrum appear full, the shrimp knows it’s seeing red. On the other end of the spectrum, the buckets represent blue.

In other words, mantis shrimp might not so much process colors in the brain as recognize them in the eye, a technique that could help the animals quickly pick out colors in their brilliant reef environment.

Note: some internet memes get this wrong. Surprised?

Speaking of coloring: this blog post discusses an aspect of knot theory and, by mathematics standards, is very readable. So if you want a glimpse of what I think about from time to time, surf there.

Now on the opposite end of the intellectual scale

The Republicans had a governor candidates debate last night; it was 90 minutes and I saw about 65 minutes of it.

The line up: treasurer (Rutherford) (won his race when Gov. Quinn got reelected), political novice BUT A BUSINESSMAN (Rauner) (and the leader in the polls ..), the state senator that Gov. Quinn beat last time (Brady, a creationist) and another double chinned state lawmaker (Dillard).

From my point of view, this was the quote of the day:

In one of the few barbs during the debate, Rutherford pledged he wouldn’t have need “training wheels” to start running the state — a veiled shot at Rauner, who has never run for political office.

“I’m a reasonable Republican. I’m not a Republican with a horn and a tail,” Rutherford said.

But Rauner didn’t back down, proudly portraying himself as a government outsider.

“I’m the only one who hasn’t been in Springfield for decades,” he said.

Since Rutherford stressed his reasonableness and openly said that diversity (racial, religious and cultural) is a good thing, and stressed that knowing what one is doing is a good thing, he has no chance in the GOP primary.

Most of the debate: “Chicago sucks, marijuana is bad, we need more educational funding but lower taxes”, etc.

Before too long, this race might devolve into “which candidate will execute more witches”.

If that remark seems too snarky, you might be underestimating how dumb the Republicans in Illinois are.

Susanne Atanus, one of two Republicans taking aim at U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s seat representing Illinois’ 9th congressional district covering Chicago’s Far North Side and the North Shore suburbs, spoke out about the incumbent’s liberal reputation during an interview with the Daily Herald this week.

“I am not in favor of abortions, I am not in favor of gay rights,” Atanus, who has staged two previous unsuccessful runs for Congress, said during a videotaped portion of the interview, before going into more detail with the paper.

“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she added, blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases including autism and dementia on recent advances in the LGBT movement. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

David Earl Williams III, Atanus’ primary opponent, can be seen smirking through much of Atanus’ statements in the Herald video and said he was offended by her comments, though he also does not support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Yes, these remarks have drawn rebukes from some Republican leaders, but they are not that far off what many of the GOP primary voters believe.

January 24, 2014 Posted by | biology, Illinois, mathematics, Republican, republican party, republicans, science, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s remark….. and the unhinged right wing

When discussing his approval ratings, President Obama said this:

“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”

How can any reasonable person take issue with this statement?

You can follow the link to read about some of the unhinged conservative reaction.

I really think that a significant subset of the conservative base is either emotionally or mentally ill.

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans politics | 1 Comment

Chris Christie’s apology

While I was waiting for my car, I saw most of a press conference called by Governor Chis Christie (R-NJ).

Evidently his aids directed some lane closures on a bridge that lead to a city whose Democratic mayor refused to endorse Gov. Christie.

So Gov. Christie gave an apology (not a “mistakes were made” and “I am sorry if that bothered you”) and ….ok, flame me….but I think that it came across well. Here is part of it:

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Christie said. “I am who I am, but I am not a bully.”

At the news conference, Christie referred to the lane closings as a “rogue political operation.”

“I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here,” Christie said. “This was handled in a callous and indifferent way, and this is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years.”

Christie took reporters’ questions at the packed news conference at his office that lasted just short of two hours.

He appeared contrite, describing himself repeatedly as heartbroken and apologizing to the public, and even to the media, several times.

I still think that he is too thin skinned to be a national caliber politician; part of being, say, a presidential candidate is controlling your temper around the idiots.

He fired those responsible.

January 9, 2014 Posted by | political/social, politics, Republican, republicans | | 3 Comments

I love being a Republican!

I am switching to being a Republican.

Background: Barbara can only go up our house steps with difficulty (by sliding on her rear and lifting with her arms) and needs a knee scooter to get around; I carry that up and down the stairs for her….at least I did.

She also uses an old wool sock to cover her toes on the foot that is casted (Jones Fracture; it is a non-weight bearing injury).

“Honey, when you come downstairs, will you bring my wool sock?”

Me: “No. My doing that would just encourage you to be forgetful and forget your sock again. So you’ll just have do to without” (it is well below freezing outside).

I LOVE being a Republican!

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Republican, social/political | | Leave a comment

Slip of the tongue? Or is he really that stupid?

From the Tea Party branch of the Republican Party:

Rep. Markwayne Mullin made the case for cooperation among the branches of government in the debt ceiling and shutdown fight– all four of them.
“This country isn’t ran by just one individual it’s ran by four branches, but three branches that are in control of this,” Mullin said Tuesday. “As long as those three branches control it, then we all have to figure out how to negotiate. Not all of us is going to get 100% of what we want, but we should do what’s right.”

This is rabid representative populism at its worst…and what is even worse is that there is a large intellectually retarded subset of the public that is ok with this!

Or…is this a simple slip of the tongue… it is hard to tell.

October 11, 2013 Posted by | politics, Republican, republicans | | 1 Comment

Not the Republican Party I opposed in my youth…

Yes, I am a life long Democrat. But I remember the Republicans from my youth. They were people who I thought were too pro-business; they tended to focus only on the “wealth creation” side of the equation.

These were people who ran businesses (and yes, business leaders are still conservative) and they were the party of the educated. Some viewed them as being intellectual snobs….really. :-)

But something gradually changed…..

and now we see something different:

As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.

Their frustration has grown so intense in recent days that several trade association officials warned in interviews on Wednesday that they were considering helping wage primary campaigns against Republican lawmakers who had worked to engineer the political standoff in Washington.

Such an effort would thrust Washington’s traditionally cautious and pragmatic business lobby into open warfare with the Tea Party faction, which has grown in influence since the 2010 election and won a series of skirmishes with the Republican establishment in the last two years.

“We are looking at ways to counter the rise of an ideological brand of conservatism that, for lack of a better word, is more anti-establishment than it has been in the past,” said David French, the top lobbyist at the National Retail Federation. “We have come to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines is not good enough.”

[...]

Joe Echevarria, the chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, said, “I’m a Republican by definition and by registration, but the party seems to have split into two factions.”

While both parties have extreme elements, he suggested, only in the G.O.P. did the extreme element exercise real power. “The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” Mr. Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”

Moreover, business leaders and trade groups said, the tools that have served them in the past — campaign contributions, large memberships across the country, a multibillion-dollar lobbying apparatus — do not seem to be working.

“There clearly are people in the Republican Party at the moment for whom the business community and the interests of the business community — the jobs and members they represent — don’t seem to be their top priority,” said Dan Danner, the head of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which spearheaded opposition to President Obama’s health care law among small businesses. “They don’t really care what the N.F.I.B. thinks, and don’t care what the Chamber thinks, and probably don’t care what the Business Roundtable thinks.”

Yep. today’s Republicans are driven by anger over change rather than thirst for opportunity.

And please, just stop with this “both sides” bullsh*t. That just isn’t the case right now.

Update It seems strange that I’d be expressing concern about the LOSS of business influence over the Republican party. But I see it this way: the leaders of business might know everything that they think that they know. Their priories might be different than mine. But they didn’t get to where they are by being dumb; they ARE smart people.

On the other hand, the “rabid populist” that backs the current Republican radicals (still a subset of the Republican party; NOT the whole thing) sure as heck could have arrived at their status by being dumb! I’d like to see a little more “elitism” in the Republican party.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans | | 2 Comments

Channeling my inner Republican

Yes, I am a liberal because I accept science (and I strongly disagree with the rabid anti-GMO woos) and because I think that some social programs actually stimulate the economy (e. g. businesses hire more when they have more customers).

But I have some sympathy with those who say things like Don’t Have Kids if You Can’t Afford Them!

It is YOUR job to support your kids. Yes, I know; sometimes people ARE responsible and are then hit with illnesses, accidents, lay-offs, etc. THAT is what safety nets are for.

But all too many are indigent (or poor) prior to having kids, sometimes on purpose. And no, I am NOT just talking about “other people”, “them”, “people who look differently than I do”, etc.

September 14, 2013 Posted by | ranting, Republican, social/political | | Leave a comment

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