blueollie

The National Review “disses” Differential Equations

(hat tip: Vox)

The National Review excerpt:

[...]One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world. Prominent examples include [...]

(emphasis mine).

Oh noes! I love differential equations! :-)

Yeah, I am just having fun with the quote; what really sticks in the craw of people like this is that many of us reject the idea that humans are the focal point of some deity and claim that “supernatural” explanations are really no explanation at all. :-)

Keep in mind that the National Review is supposed to be their “intellectual” magazine; in fact, it probably ranks alongside Salon.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | mathematics, media, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Obama’s so called “Muslims built the very fabric of our Nation” remarks contrasted with Bush’s remarks

Yes, the White House released this statement (shown in full) on the 27’th of July:

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.

Emphasis mine.

Of course right wing “sources” such as Breitbart (shown in this screen shot) played this statement in this manner:

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 3.46.04 PM

And of course, we see the spreading of outrage from the morons conservatives all over the internet.

For comparison, this is what President George W. Bush said:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, sir. It’s good to be with you again. And it is my honor to visit the Islamic Center of Washington once again.

For half a century, this beautiful mosque has served as a place of worship for Muslims and has helped to advance understanding between people of different faiths. Millions of our fellow Americans practice the Muslim faith. They lead lives of honesty and justice and compassion.

President George W. Bush marks Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with an address at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., Thursday, Dec. 5. White House photo by Paul Morse I am pleased to join you today in the celebration of Eid, the culmination of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I appreciate so very much Dr. Khouj, and I want to thank the other distinguished imam from the Washington, D.C. area. Thank you all for being here. And I enjoyed our visit. I also appreciate the Muslim schoolchildren who are here, telling me stories and reading poems and showing the art work. Please tell them thanks again for their hospitality.

Islam traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. And Ramadan commemorates the revelation of God’s word in the Holy Koran to the prophet Mohammad — a word that is read and recited with special attention and reverence by Muslims during this season.

Over the past month, Muslims have fasted, taking no food or water during daylight hours, in order to refocus their minds on faith and redirect their hearts to charity. Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy to those in need. Charity tables at which the poor can break their fast line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food and clothing and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God’s abundance. Muslims often invite members of other families to their evening iftar meals, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance.

During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate the completion of their fast and the blessings of renewed faith that have come with it. Customs vary between countries — from illuminating lanterns in Egypt to lighting firecrackers in Pakistan, to inviting elders to traditional feasts in Niger. Around the world, families and neighbors and friends gather to share traditional foods, and congratulate each other on meeting the test of Ramadan.

The spirit behind this holiday is a reminder that Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide. Islam affirms God’s justice and insists on man’s moral responsibility. This holiday is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefitted mankind.

Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces and of my administration are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our nation’s ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace. And in our Nation’s Capital, this center contributes greatly to our spiritual and cultural life.

On behalf of Laura and our family and the American people, I bring our best wishes to all who worship here, and to Muslims throughout the world for a joyous Eid, and for health and happiness and prosperity in the year to come.

Eid Mubarak. God bless.

The Bush statement is longer but, if anything, is a bit more specific with respect to the contributions made by American Muslims.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

GOP irritation over impeachment talk

John Boehner appears irritated that President Obama’s staff is using “impeachment” as a fundraising and “get out the vote” tool for 2014. Yes, he said that impeachment is NOT being planned.

But

1) Several in his own caucus have openly talked about it.
2) Republican leaders have talked about it, openly.
3) The rank and file Republicans favor it.
4) Boehner has not been able to control his caucus.

More here.

Yes, it takes 67 votes in the Senate to actually remove the President and that isn’t going to happen, even if the Republicans throw themselves on the floor and turn blue.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin Channel: it might work….here is why

This is pure uninformed speculation based on no data and no studies.

Sarah Palin is offering a 100 dollar a year subscription to her own channel:

Here is why I think that it has a chance of success (maybe 15-20 percent?)

But wait! There’s more! The marquee original content thus far is a collection of short videos in which–as she’s been doing via Facebook–Palin weighs in on current events hitting longtime talking points. The trouble in Ukraine, for instance, is evidence that we need to “unlock” our natural energy resources, or Drill, Baby, Drill. Another publicizes her book from last year re-fighting the “war on Christmas.” In others, she answers questions from supporters, such as, “How many things can you name that Obama has failed at?”

Many of SPC’s short videos recall Palin’s hits for Fox News, placing her in a home-office setting backed symbolically by a carven eagle, a flag and a globe, speaking in a single take, YouTube-style; others have her speaking at an angle to the camera, as if addressing an unseen interviewer. The tone is on-brand: the folksy, familiar speech (after last year’s Phil Robertson controversy, she tells fans, “You guys rose up and said, ‘Oh my gosh, enough is enough!’”), her knack for digs that will rouse fans and aggravate detractors (Obama is “addicted to OPM”–say it out loud–”other people’s money”), the Alaskan-mountain imagery on the homepage.

Ok, that might not convince many people. BUT:

Beyond that, what SPC is trying to sell is community and connection. The site’s videos are shareable on social media–so depending on your friends-and-family list, you’ll be seeing them free on Facebook soon enough–but you can only see or post comments if you subscribe. The idea, an FAQ says, is that “the community would feel more secure”–secure enough, for instance, for one commenter to post on the Putin video that “Like most people who have been paying attention, I would trade our little Kenyan collectivist for Vladimir Putin any day.”

People might have a platform to reach like minded people without being laughed at. Given that Tea Party types are actually wealthier than average, well, who knows?

My wild guess is that she might sell this service to places like NewsMax and DickMorris.com so they could make “give x dollars to candidate X or to PAC Y and get a Sarah Palin subscription, a 100 dollar value, ABSOLUTELY FREE” or the like.

Who knows; there are a lot of lonely people out there and some of them have money.

I think that it is more likely than not that this flops (she might quit as soon as she finds out that it is work!) but there is a bona fide chance that it works out.

No, I won’t be subscribing. :-)

Then again, there were Republicans complaining about the cost of a 27 dollar t-shirt, which really made me think: “if 27 dollars is a big political contribution for these people, why in the world are they Republicans?”

July 28, 2014 Posted by | republicans, sarah palin, social/political | | Leave a comment

Republicans: overly wedded to what they want to believe

This first thing from Bill Maher caught my eye. He was interviewing Neil Degrasse Tyson and mentioned that there was a National Review article about him. There were the usual “they don’t like you because you are a smart black guy” comments (strictly speaking, not true; Ben Carson and Professor Thomas Sowell are smart, black and are popular with conservatives). But later he gets to the real issue of what disturbs them about Dr. Tyson (about 1:10 to 2:00): fundamentally, they can’t stomach that humans aren’t “special” in a way that the rest of the universe isn’t; the idea that this universe was NOT created with US in mind (or FOR us) just disturbs the hell out of them.

This is an old clip, but this would make many a Bible Believer’s head explode:

Conservatives aren’t above just making stuff up either. The Republican supply side experiment in Kansas just blew up in their faces. So, the Republicans point to Texas and try to compare it to California…and the latter has rebounded quite nicely. That is too much for Republicans to bear, so their economists just make stuff up. This time, they got caught.

They also love to grab a headline which maybe misrepresents a program and then claim: “we KNEW what those liberals were up to!”

This is from an article about higher education in The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller references a right wing blog which references a concern from a professor at the University of Wisconsin. Here is what is going on: the Board of Regents signed off on a plan that has a goal of equalizing minority representation in the more desirable majors as well as grade distribution: one could read that as “we want minority students to do as well as anyone else.” A professor expressed a concern that professors would be under pressure to inflate the grades of minority students in these fields.

I can understand the concern that the professor has; stuff like this has happened in grade schools.

But that is only a concern; there is nothing in this plan that tells people to give any student a grade that they didn’t earn.

Think of it this way: suppose one was concerned with the physical fitness of, say, urban students. So one comes up with a plan that says, say, that male urban 9’th grade students be brought up to the same standards met by, say, male 9’th grade suburban students. Suppose the metrics used is, say, the 2 mile run and the number of pull ups that can be done in 1 minute.

The goal would be clear, right? No one would expect the urban students to get a 1 minute handicap or, say, a 2 pull up handicap. The idea would be, say to introduce physical fitness activities that are more physically demanding and the like.

Yes, I know, there have been times, at SOME schools, where professors were required to weight, say, participation to a certain percentage so as to encourage student effort. And no, I don’t approve of that type of program.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | economics, economy, education, religion, Republican, republicans, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

I agree with John Boehner’s office about something….

We hear the talk of impeachment coming from well known Republicans

as well as from some Republicans in Congress.

I don’t know the grounds but hey, it is popular with rank and file Republicans (57 percent)

So, the Democrats have noticed and are raising money off of it:

obamimpeach

Of course, Republicans have noticed. John Boehner’s office weighed in (and yes, Rep. Boehner dismissed the notion):

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel noted in a statement that Boehner already ruled out impeachment and dismissed Pfeiffer’s remarks as a “fundraising exercise for Democrats.”

So who exactly among GOP leaders in the House — where an impeachment move could only start in the Judiciary Committee — is jumping on this bandwagon?

Earnest(White House Press Secretary), asked if anybody in the Republican leadership is seriously talking about impeachment, said, “Well, I think Sarah Palin considers herself to be a leader.”

“. . . . I think that there are some Republicans, including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can get into office so that they can impeach the president. That is apparently a view that they hold, because it’s one that they have repeatedly expressed publicly,” Earnest said.

Talking up Obama being impeached is certainly a way to try to whip up the Democratic base as Congress gets ready to leave at the end of next week and won’t be back until after Labor Day.

Seriously, this is one way to wake up the lazy Democrats. I hope that the Republicans keep on talking.

Note: President Obama’s approval rating continues in the low to mid 40’s, and is about 79 percent among all Democrats and 81 among liberal Democrats.
His tend line almost perfectly tracks the historical trend line (I’ve also included the trend for President Bush)

approvaljuly262014

click to see a larger version

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, political/social, politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

A great metaphor: Republican Congressman mistakes US government officials for Indian government officials …

That’s perfect for a Republican, isn’t it? All “real Americans” look a certain way.

Workout notes: weights plus swimming.

Weights: pull ups (weak, 5 sets of 10) with hip hikes and Achilles
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 180, 6 x 170 (rotator cuff)
incline bench: 7 x 140, 10 x 135 (rotator cuff)
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)

10 minutes: bike (for the knee)

Swimming: 500 free, 5 x 100, 5 x (50 kick fins, 50 swim (no fins)), 10 x 50 (25 fist, 25 free), 4 x 25 back, 4 x 25 fly.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | politics/social, republicans, swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

We are going to get creamed in 2014, and we deserve it.

Terrible news for Democrats:

Americans are angry at Congress — more so than basically ever before. So it’s time to throw the bums out, right?

Well, not really. In fact, Americans appear prepared to deal with their historic unhappiness using perhaps the least-productive response: Staying home.

A new study shows that Americans are on-track to set a new low for turnout in a midterm election, and a record number of states could set their own new records for lowest percentage of eligible citizens casting ballots.

And:

Turnout2

David Horsey has a point:

david-horsey-cartoon-2014-elections-squishy-Democrats

We are going to get creamed because we suck.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Conservatives are not all crazy….

First, we have the Detroit Water and Sewage company shutting off water to deadbeat accounts. This statement sounds reasonable to me:

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr said Friday that said no residents who are unable to afford afford water are going without it.

The city said more than 50% percent of its 170,000 residential accounts are 60 days or $150 delinquent. In March, officials at the water department began notifying delinquent customers that service would be shut off unless arrangements were made to settle overdue bills.

Of the 15,266 accounts where water service was suspended, more than half were made current and had the water restored within 24 hours, the city said. The remaining accounts with suspended water service represent less than 4 percent of the water department’s residential customer base.

In other words, many of the shut offs were to people who simply NOT PAYING THEIR BILLS.

Yes, I agree that it is good to help those in genuine need, but many of these (not all) were simply not paying.

Unfortunately, too many have a knee jerk reaction to such stories; they are either unaware or unwilling to admit that lots of deadbeats exist.

We also hear about “war on the poor”; here is an article with that title from perhaps my favorite public intellectual.

There is no “War on the Poor”; no one is attacking the poor to take something from them. What we have is a debate on how much to give (or not give) the poor. My deciding to NOT give you something that I don’t owe you is NOT a “war on you.”

It just so happens that assisting the poor is part of my value system and I think that it is good for society in the long run (aid to kids makes them less likely to need it later in life) and it provides some stimulus to the economy.

Speaking of aid to kids: I’ve thought that feeding the kids is the responsibility of the parents. Why are people on public aid having kids? Yes, my attitude here puts me at odds with some who are close to me.

THIS is where the phrase “entitlement mentality” comes from, at least when it is addressed to liberals.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | poverty, republicans, social/political | | 1 Comment

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.

Social
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.

Politics
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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 656 other followers