Slept in; I might swim anyway.

Update: walked 4 miles; 2 on the track (12:17, 11:29) 2 on the treadmill (hills), and did a few pull-ups (pathetic).
There were some slow people on the track and, internally, my “inner Republican” flared up and I thought “out of my way, slowpokes!” 🙂 But my “inner liberal” rescued me; I thought about how some were overweight but were doing something about it, how some were elderly and one guy (who was moving faster than most) was 1 year into his fight with pancreatic cancer. The doctors had said that he was to die about 6 months ago.

Yet there he was, walking his laps, and walking faster than most!

Politics: Some food for thought:

What is the truth here? From

Clinton said that Obama’s health care plan would leave 15 million Americans without insurance, while her plan provided universal coverage. Obama countered that his proposal would cover everyone in the country. Clinton’s plan will likely cover more people than Obama’s, but it’s doubtful the difference between their very similar proposals would be as high as the figure Clinton cites. […]

In the analysis part:

15 Million Left Out?

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded words about their health care plans, and we found both dabbled in exaggerations:

Clinton: His plan would leave 15 million Americans out. That’s about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. I have a universal health care plan that covers everyone.

Obama: Well, let’s talk about health care right now because the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. … [W]e’ve put forward a plan that makes sure that it is affordable to get health care that is as good as the health care that I have as a member of Congress.

Clinton uses a dubious statistic when she claims Obama’s plan would leave out 15 million of the uninsured. But Obama’s statement that his proposal provides “universal” health care is also suspect.

Clinton based her claim on a column by The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, who loosely estimated Obama’s plan would leave 15 million uninsured:

Cohn (The New Republic, June 3): The best studies out there — by Urban Institute researchers, the RAND Corporation, and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — suggest that, without a mandate, improving affordability will cover roughly one-third of the people who don’t have coverage. Mandating that kids (but not adults) have coverage bumps that up to about a half. Obama’s advisers think that, by really loading up on the subsidies … they can goose that up to two-thirds. But that’s getting optimistic — and, even then, you still have around 15 million people who are uninsured.

Cohn makes it clear here that he is offering an estimate based on the best information available, not a hard and fast calculation. And the best available information doesn’t always agree. One of the people Cohn cites, economist and influential health care expert Jonathan Gruber, has gone on record saying that without a mandate, Obama’s plan would still leave 6 percent of the nation – about 18 million people – uninsured. But it’s not clear whether he meant “without an individual mandate” or “without any kind of mandate.” The Obama plan does include limited mandates, including a requirement for employers to either provide health insurance or pay into a public fund. A Gruber study from 2006 estimates that a plan with generous subsidies and an employer mandate would lead to 82 percent of the uninsured gaining coverage, based on 2001 data. Applied to today’s figures, that would leave about 8.5 million without insurance. Gruber found that a proposal that included an individual mandate would lead to 100 percent coverage of the uninsured.

Other studies also find only a small discrepancy between the types of plans that Obama and Clinton are proposing. For instance, a 2003 Commonwealth Fund study found that a plan with mixed private-public options (as the leading Democratic candidates have put forth) that also included an individual mandate would reach near universal coverage, leaving just 1 percent of people uninsured. Not including a mandate would still reach most of the uninsured, leaving about 3 percent without coverage.

Similar Plans

It’s true that Clinton’s plan would likely lead to somewhat higher levels of coverage than Obama’s, according to the research we’ve seen. But the difference in outcomes may not amount to much. The main distinction: Clinton calls for a mandate that would require all individuals to have health insurance; Obama requires only that children have coverage and that dependents be covered under their parents’ insurance up to age 25. Of the estimated 46.5 million uninsured in the U.S., 9.4 million are children and 37 million are adults, according to an analysis of Census data by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute. But neither candidate has provided enough detail for analysts to predict confidently how many might be left uninsured under either plan.

* Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that calls for higher quality and accessibility in health care, says that the Obama and Clinton plans (as well as Edwards’) are “very, very similar in structure.” Studies show that mandates make a difference, but Collins says the “15 million” seems like too big a number based on past analyses.

* Kenneth E. Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University who worked in President Clinton’s administration and who has evaluated several presidential candidates’ health plans, also says that “it’s hard to come up with precise numbers” without knowing the details on the federal subsidies these plans would include. “Whether it’s 15, 20 or 10,” he says, that estimate makes “an assumption on the subsidies that the campaign hasn’t put out.”

* Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, estimates Obama’s plan would end up covering 5 percent to 10 percent fewer individuals than Clinton’s. But that’s assuming that it’s possible for Clinton to require everyone to purchase insurance. Blendon suspects that it isn’t. “At the end of the day,” he tells, “it’s not going to be everybody. We have no idea what the actual falloff would be.”

Among the unknown factors is what sort of insurance would turn out to be available under either plan. Preliminary data from Massachusetts, which implemented a sweeping health insurance plan last year, is showing that many people would rather remain uninsured than purchase a stripped-down plan. “People always say having some insurance is better than no insurance,” Blendon says. “It turns out, in some of the focus groups in Massachusetts, people don’t believe that.”

So, why is Clinton attacking Obama? Because she is trailing in the Iowa polls!

In Iowa — where voters across the state have had a chance to see all of the candidates up close and learn about where they stand — Barack Obama continues to surge in support and is now leading the Democratic field, according to a just-released ABC News/Washington Post poll.

According to the poll, Obama leads among all likely caucus-goers with 30%, compared with Clinton at 26% and Edwards at 22%. Obama also leads among those who are “certain to attend” the January 3rd caucus, those who have previously caucused, and those who are planning to caucus for the first time.

Obama also showed that he’s the candidate who is resonating the most with women voters. 32% of women polled are supporting Obama, compared with 31% for Clinton and 19% for Edwards.

And by a 2 to 1 margin, Iowans find Obama more “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton.

Also of note: Obama doubled Clinton’s support among Independent voters (Obama 35% to Clinton 18%)– another indicator that he will be the strongest candidate going into the general election. For more on Obama’s general election strength, check out the diary I posted last week, which shows Obama leading among Iowa voters when matched up to Republican opponents.

Update Hat tip to Jed at Hillary Attacks.


November 30, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama | Leave a comment

Juicy Politics

Some interesting Political Developments

Did Hillary Clinton really win last night’s Republican Debate?


Hillary Wins the CNN/YouTube GOP Debate

Army Brigadier General Keith Kerr challenged the white male homophobes on the CNN/YouTube debate stage about their position on gays in the military. He phrased the question about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ beautifully (see the video below) and he elaborated from the audience.

While the gay veteran was pointing out that doctors, nurses and pilots are routinely discharged for the crime of being gay, members of the GOP audience actually booed. After he finished speaking, the straight white men on the stage said, too bad, we still support discrimination.
But rightwingers have been hard at work since the debate ended. It’s only 12:27 a.m., and already they’ve discovered that the gay veteran is a Hillary supporter! […]
Horrors! General Keith Kerr is a member of Hillary’s LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee!!!.


My goodness, the wingnuts are furious over this!

Hey, CNN didn’t make your candidates look like morons; they did that all on their own! Gee, if you can’t handle CNN, how are you going to handle Al Qeda? 🙂

The Tennessee Guerilla Women are on fire today; they have yet another excellent post that directs us here.

So, a good night for for the lowest denominator, a bad night for the GOP. America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes. My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Ahh, music to my ears.

To hear more about Bible thumping from wingnuts themselves:

Note to Rudy: We change for God, God and his word do not change for us.

Also, you’ve killed yourself on the abortion issue. I will not, cannot, shall not vote for you in the primary based on your abortion answer. Review Mitt or Fred’s answers and repeat until you believe.

Oh, and mock me if you will, but I do not question the account of Jonah and the Whale. You know, Mayor, Faith ain’t just a woman’s name.

(note: many religions, including the Roman Catholic Church, which Giulani belongs to, teach that the Jonah story was a deliberate fiction designed to make a point.)

Of course Giuliani has some more troubles; it seems that he used the New York Police Department as a taxi service for his mistress.

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on

“She used the PD as her personal taxi service,” said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.

Of course, we have to see if this is true or not. But even if it is true, my guess is that Giuliani backers will just shrug this off; after all, he appeals to the “play by your own rules” crowd.

I don’t think that this will be a major hit against him, though it might cost him some social conservative voters.

John Edwards made out pretty well too; watch as he slams Mitt Romney for being in denial about “Two Americas”:

The Edwards Campaign released a video response to Romney’s attempt to deny reality today. I have it after the fold.

Joe Trippi:

Mitt Romney can bury his head in the sand and pretend the problems will magically go away. But you and I know that there are two Americas — an America for Mitt Romney and his powerful, privileged friends — and an America for everyone else. And it’s time we had a president with the courage and the backbone to tell the truth.

In addition, the serial adulterer who bills the public for his trysts, aka Rudolph Giuliani, has a new attack ad out, and the Edwards Campaign quickly responded to Giuliani.

Come around after the fold to see how a fighting Democrat takes on Republican candidates. It’s a preview of next fall. Yes, this is a hit diary on Republican fools.[…]

The poor performance lead one undecided Republican voter to at least consider John Edwards

And this video lead me to this cool blog.

I’ll have to spend some time this weekend updating my blog roll. 🙂

I’ve been meaning to link to this blog post for some time; it concerns health care. This blogger talks about our tendency to focus on cases for isolated individuals while ignoring the larger, often associated problems closer to home.

oussif is the five year old Iraqi boy who was allegedly doused with gasoline and burned by unidentified masked men while he was just outside his home back in Baghdad back in January 2007. Featured in a CNN story Youssif’s plight became global news. His family was unable to come up with the funds for the surgeries to repair Youssif’s scarring. But, ever since his story was aired there has been an outpouring of support for Youssif. CNN and the California based Children’s Burn Foundation have established a fund that has raised three hundred thousand dollars to make Youssif whole again. The Children’s Burn Foundation has agreed to pay for transportation to fly Youssif and his family to the United States, pay for housing for the family while they are here, and pay for the medical cost to repair the damage to the boy’s skin. Dr. Peter Grossman of the Sherman Oaks Grossman Burn Center has volunteered to perform the surgery without charge. […]

If the public’s response to Youssif is any indication it seems that a lot of people enjoy helping children in need. A lot of people have an understanding of the positive energy that can be generated from doing something positive to help someone who is unable to help themselves in our midst. Helping each other out is what community is all about. But the problem is our community is designed to help someone and not designed to help everyone. Helping only one child in our midst is enough for many people. But trying to set up a program that helps as many children as possible is something that many of us are vehemently opposed to.

The healthcare program known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is designed to help low income families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. A recent study by the Vimo Research Group found that nearly seventy percent of newly uninsured children were from families that earned as much as twice the federal poverty level. Since its inception in 1997 SCHIP has cost the federal government about forty billion dollars. Sounds like a lot of money, but the program is facing financial shortages. A recent proposal by Congress was to expand the funding for this program to nearly twelve billion dollars per year to increase the number of children eligible to be covered. But the idea of expanding the number of children eligible for coverage of a program already in motion reeks too much of social medicine and would be the first step towards federalizing healthcare. Somebody’s got to protect the insurance industry’s profits. […]

Nicely done!

November 29, 2007 Posted by | edwards, hillary clinton, obama, politics/social | 6 Comments

Republican Youtube CNN debate part II

Workout notes 3 mile run, (to the Riverplex; about 3.3 miles) plus a 1 mile cooldown walk. It was chilly (22 F) but I had the wind at my back on the way down; I darn near froze going against the wind. Then yoga with Ms. Vickie.

Evidently I made an error on my previous post; I shall attempt to correct it here.

My “favorite” moments from the CNN Youtube debate (Republicans)
(see the whole thing here)

Giulani and Romney go at it over illegal immigration

Waterboarding/Torture. McCain shines here.

Human Space Exploration: I love Tancredo’s answer. Huckabee is a complete smartass, which is interesting since this woo doesn’t accept evolution.

Commitment to Iraq

What programs would you reduce?

National Debt?

Infrastructure Repair? Note: McCain and Giuliani go at it a bit over the line item veto.

Gay General asks a question!

What gun do you own? I like Thompson and McCain’s answer.

Death Penalty: What would Jesus do?

Do you believe every word of the Bible? Giuliani makes sense here.

November 29, 2007 Posted by | politics/social, running | 7 Comments

Republican Youtube Debate: first impressions

I’ll be very blunt: these are first impressions, which are completely undigested. I am writing this post mostly so I can compile a report which consists of accurate transcripts and/or videos.

But here goes with my first impressions:

Winners: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee
Loser: Mitt Romney
Mixed: Fred Thompson
Entertaining: Ron Paul
Were they even there, and if so, why?: Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo.

McCain: spoke forcefully on the waterboarding issue, Iraq (though I disagree with his position). He admitted that he no longer owns a gun. He did come across as being tired though.
Giuliani: came across as the most intellectual of the candidates; explained about the constitutional issues surrounding the line item veto, talked about the Bible in a reasonably intelligent manner.
Huckabee: came across as if he really does like people. His commercial just talked about himself and what he would do; no attacks on others. Too bad he is a friggin woo.

Romney: he was terrible, in my opinion. He seemed befuddled by simple questions; it wasn’t so much as he didn’t know the answer but rather that he didn’t know what answer would be popular. Update: Huckabee said this, not Romney: His remark about sending Hillary Clinton to Mars was downright awful.

Thompson Showed some charm; his commercial (which attacked Huckabee(?) and Romney) kind of fell flat. He had that reassuring demeanor and perhaps a bit more pep than normal. I chuckled at his “none of your business” type of response to what sort of guns that he had. His responses were shallow though.

Paul Right about Iraq, but little else.

Interesting moments: a retired Army General brought up the fact that he was gay and asked the candidates why they won’t allow gays to serve openly. They ended up supporting Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Hunter’s answer to the question was basically: “we can let you be open because most of our service people are bigots”. No, he didn’t use those words, but that was exactly the message he gave.

Another good moment (Tancredo) is when someone asked about our going to Mars; he basically said that “we are in debt because of people all clamoring for projects like this one”. In short, he gave a non-pandering answer.

To his credit, Romney did too when he was asked about the Confederate flag.

Overall impression: Giuliani, Huckabee and McCain were the only ones that didn’t have me running for the barf bag. And the audience was downright scary; let’s just say that those folks and I won’t be exchanging dinner invitations, to our mutual relief. 🙂

November 29, 2007 Posted by | politics/social | 4 Comments

Gray November Part III

Workout Notes 5 miles; 2 miles of running on the treadmill (at home), three outside walking. The walking outside felt very fast, until I realized that I had a wind at my back. 🙂

I need to do some yoga tonight; either on my own or at a class.

Local Paper: today’s editorial page was all about Barack Obama. Eugene Robinson writes about Oprah endorsing him.

[…]The Obama campaign’s announcement Monday that Oprah Winfrey will barnstorm the early primary states with the candidate she has called “my favorite guy” was big news in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Theoretically, the active support of a popular talk-show host shouldn’t have much impact on Obama’s prospects. But we’re talking Oprah here.

The Pew Research Center polled on the subject in September, shortly after Winfrey hosted a star-studded fundraiser that netted an estimated $3 million for Obama’s campaign. According to the Pew survey, 15 percent of Americans said Winfrey’s endorsement would make them more likely to vote for Obama, 15 percent said less likely, and 69 percent said it would make no difference.

But 60 percent of respondents predicted that Winfrey’s support would help Obama’s candidacy, against only 3 percent who said it would hurt. Among Democrats, 23 percent said they would be more likely to vote for Obama because of Winfrey’s support, while just 13 percent said they’d be less likely.

The Pew survey found that Winfrey’s endorsement also gives Obama a boost among women (17 percent more likely to vote for him, 12 percent less likely) and African-Americans (28 percent more likely, 16 percent less likely) – groups now leaning toward front-runner Hillary Clinton.

No one expects Winfrey’s appearances with Obama next month to have the astonishing impact of Oprah’s Book Club, which has made Winfrey one of the most powerful individuals in book publishing. Perhaps the best example of the “Oprah effect” came three years ago when she picked Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” as a monthly selection, and the epic tome shot to the top of the best-seller list. […]

Oprah’s endorsement does have an effect on me: it makes me like Oprah better! 🙂

Broder has an article as well where he talks about the Sydney Poiter model (aka “magic negro“):

[Shelby] Steele writes that “the Sixties stigmatized white Americans with the racial sins of the past – with the bigotry and hypocrisy that countenanced slavery, segregation and white supremacy. Now, to win back moral authority, whites – and especially American institutions – must prove they are not racist.”

Steele likens Obama’s success to the fame and fortune won by Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. But the earliest of the crossover heroes he calls “Iconic Negroes” was Sidney Poitier.

It reminded me of the political biography of Obama by author David Mendell, who reported the reaction of a focus group of Chicago North Shore female voters, middle-aged and elderly, when shown a videotape of Obama speaking in his 2004 Senate campaign. Asked who Obama reminded them of, the answer was “Sidney Poitier.”

While all of the others mentioned by Steele were entertainers of one kind or another, Obama is the first to carry the “masking” technique of the “Iconic Negro” into the realm of politics. Steele contrasts Obama with “challenger” types such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. […]

I consulted an old and close friend of Obama’s and this was her response: It is true that Obama approaches whites with the expectation of a “core of decency.” But he is not exploiting any racial guilt feelings.

Second, she noted that Obama has said repeatedly that while blacks face real issues of discrimination, they also have responsibility for their own lives. Parents must turn off the TV, he says, and read to their children. Fathers must take responsibility for the children they bring into the world. As to whether that message will separate Obama from the black voters he needs, his friend made a point supported by the Pew research: The black community is really two societies now, with a middle class whose values are closer to those of middle-class whites than of the black underclass.

Obama, whose constituency is skewed to the middle class, may reflect those values better than Shelby Steele thinks.

There was a cartoon as well:

But the author also wrote a more recent one:

(you can see more of David Granlund’s work here.)

Sidenote (humor) While looking for a photo of Oprah doing a marathon, I stumbled upon a site which had a post called “Why I hate White Pants“. I just about died laughing; there are some photos there too.

Sample of some of the photos:

November 28, 2007 Posted by | edwards, hillary clinton, humor, obama, running, walking | 2 Comments

Grey November Part II

I just got through grading my applied mathematics exams. I included a short problem that most calculus students would get (mostly) right:


f(z) = 1/(z^3 +1), find f'(z) and state where f'(z) does not exist.
Of course, many of them tried to write f(z) = f(x+iy) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) and to use the Cauchy-Riemann equations to determine differentiability and, of course, missed excluding the points where z^3 = -1 There are three of them, of course, -1, e^(-pi/3)i, e^(pi/3)i.

Of course, f'(z)=-3z^2/(z^3 +1)^2 🙂

This is a case where they lacked the confidence to use the basic calculus formula; this type of thing happens more than you’d think in advanced math courses.

Other topics:

Obama: point:

counter point:

Check out Peoria Pundit.

Video is here.


But one of the Prairie State Blue posters thinks that Richardson is the one, and that he isn’t out of it yet.

Intelligent Design: Stubborn Old Curmudgeon has an idea for some ID gifts! 🙂
Here is a sample:

1. The Behara

Want to impress your neighbors with an irreducibly complex SUV? Consider this unreliable masterpiece brought to you by Michael Behe of the Discovery Institute. Buy one for your partner and you’ll never see them leave the driveway again. […]

Good Math/Bad Math: blogger has a bad headache, and therefore is amusing himself slapping around Id(iots):

But, today, I’m sitting in the hospital while my mother has knee surgery; I’m bored; and I have a throbbing headache. So I’m not up to doing much that requires any serious exercise of my brain. So mocking a moron seems right up my alley this afternoon.

To refresh your memory, Mr. Brookfield was cited by William Dembski as evidence that Intelligent Design is really catching on as serious science. Mr Brookfield is a “non-religious ID scientist” – otherwise known as “a sex-toy shop owner who self-publishes crackpot articles”. (Actually, Brookfield describes himself as a “Trans-cultural, trans-paradigmatic, cognitive monistic infodynamicist”. He’s very into self-promotion, giving himself grandiose titles. His self-published work is attributed to the “The Brookfield Institute of Transparadigmatic Science”, for which he and a friend have written a complete charter. (Scroll down; Mr. Brookfield is apparently unable to write multiple web-pages, and just mashes everything together into one hideous mess on his personal website.) […]

Brookfield’s response? Pure weasel:

There is no information contained in a random string of letters. “Randomness” is by definition the absence of order/information. The word “information” is based on the root word “form” and is synonymous with the word “order” the opposite of “randomness.”

Right. First, assert that even though you were making an information theoretic argument, that when you say “information”, it doesn’t mean what information theorists say it means. So all of those information theoretic criticisms can’t possibly apply, because they aren’t talking about the same thing that you’re talking about. Sorry, Brookfield, but I don’t care what the etymology of “information” is: information theorists have a clear definition of it, and a random string most certainly does contain information: in fact, a truly completely random string, by definition, has the maximum information content for its length: truly random string is completely non-compressible.

Emphasis mine. Hearing a few “neat words” can make the ignorant person dangerous, especially if they don’t know that they are ignorant. 🙂

Right Wingers: religious wingnuts are forming the old circular firing squad! I love it.

Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery gave a wide ranging interview to The Denver Post’s PoliticsWest where, among other things, he dismissed the notion that the Religious Right was on the verge of a meltdown:

It’s typical of what we see during election cycles. I remember as far back as 1988 when Pat Robertson ran for president and failed. There were wide predictions of a crackup; of the Moral Majority back then, of evangelicals. Then, of course, the Christian Coalition immediately rose up and became very strong. When that organization faded, there were another spate of stories about the crackup of evangelical Christians as an influence in the public square … [O]bviously, there was a big stick swung by social conservatives in the 2004 election. The fact that George Bush won in Ohio, that very key state, because a lot of people turned out for the marriage amendment in that particular state, was deemed to be significant. Now, we’re into another cycle and the normal predictions of the crackup of evangelicalism is occurring. One of the phenomenon that gives rise to that, of course, is the fact that there is no single conservative candidate who has enough marbles for everybody in the conservative movement to want to play with. Everybody’s lacking in something. Partially, this is just the way it is. People will have to figure it out, who to support. So there’s some unsettledness. But I’d hardly call that a crack-up.

As for the possibility that James Dobson might end up endorsing Mitt Romney, Minnery called it “doubtful,” citing “the tremendous difference in theological views.”

But just because Dobson isn’t happy with any of the current GOP candidates doesn’t mean he has any plans to launch his own presidential campaign:

[Dobson] likes to be in charge … He’s a leader of an organization here. He’s been in charge of it and developed it. A president is in charge of one-third of the federal government and has to deal with so many different people. I think it would be a very frustrating job for someone, who’s an organization leader, to deal with. Besides, Dr. Dobson represents evangelical Christians. I don’t think that constituency is enough to elect somebody president, although it’s an important constituency within one of the two major parties.

Oh, we liberals are the haters, right? 🙂

Ms. LaHaye just happens to believe that “Christian values should dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” Which probably explains why they are backing Huckabee who, with his most recent ad, portrays himself as a “Christian Leader” who says his “Faith doesn’t just influence me; it really defines me”:

More Science Native Americans did originate from a migration from Siberia!

Both of these papers use microsattelites or SNPs in genes from native American populations to answer the question, did a small populatio from Siberia who trek across a Bering Strait land bridge some 12,000 years ago and give rise to the native peoples of North and South America? Or did people come from other parts of Asia or Polynesia, arriving multiple times at several places on the two continents, by sea as well as by land, in successive migrations that began as early as 30,000 years ago?

To answer this question, the authors picked out 678 markers in the DNA of present-day members of 29 Native American populations across North, Central and South America. They also analyzed data from two Siberian groups. The figure to your right is from the publication, which illustrates who and where the populations sampled are from.

They figured out that a unique genetic variant, which is part of a noncoding region, is widespread in Native Americans across both American continents and it originated in Siberia. This implies that the first populations came into the Americas came from a single migration or multiple waves from a single source. This rules out the possibility that people came in waves of migrations from different sources.

The blog where this came from is one of my favorite science blogs!

November 28, 2007 Posted by | bill richardson, creationism, mathematics, obama, politics/social, religion, science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Grey November 2007

Workout Notes 1 mile jog, 1 mile of 200 walk, 200 run, , 1 mile: 200 walk, 400 run, 200 walk, 400 run, 400 run, then 1 mile walk (13:XX)

Then yoga with Ms. Vickie.

I am feeling slightly run down; that time of year, plus the recent ultra plus travel. This too shall pass, I think.

As far as my strange run/walk workout, the idea was to run no more than I could run “with dignity”; I wanted to actually “run” my running segments, and give my body time to adjust to the motion. I need to bring some intensity back into my training, and my left hip whines when I walk fast (distance is ok).

I haven’t decided on whether or not to do the Jingle Bell 5K this weekend. On one hand, I can use the high intensity workout, and it is spandex season. 🙂

Note to women: yeah, you get looked at, even if you don’t have that mythical “perfect body”. Heck, I am not exactly Michael Johnson!

On the other hand, the Jingle Bell is yet another “stupid little 5K” and one that is not particularly well organized.

Social comment Ron Paul videos are circulating on the internet.

This video: ok, there is a cute young woman in it. Here is another.

Anyway, back to the bees. Why do the worker bees really do what they do? It is to spread their genes; they have a vested interest in making sure that the queen propagates.

But what about that health care for all: bad idea? Well, I don’t think so.

I think of it this way: businesses exist to make money, period. They seek to maximize revenue and minimize cost; that is, to deliver as little as possible for as much as possible. In many areas, this works fine; businesses compete for customer business, and everyone benefits.

But when it comes to health care: let’s face it, those who have one time catastrophic health emergencies might be ok with conventional insurance. But, what about those who have incurable, long term chronic conditions that are expensive to live with? No business is going to make a profit off such a customer; the free market isn’t going to help them.

What about those who are weak in physical constitution and are therefore more likely to get sick or injured? Such people are also poor business risks.

That is why our society shouldn’t leave everyone to the mercy of the free market when it comes to health care and/or health insurance.

My point: we work and pay more (say, in tax) even though each of us, as individuals, probably won’t realize a return for the money, because we think it is worth our while to take care of those who WILL get sick and become uninsurable via a strict free market.

November 27, 2007 Posted by | politics/social, running, walking | Leave a comment


I am not sure as to what is going on, but I am waking up at strange hours only to get sleepy early. This tends to happen in the weeks after a long race where I’ve cut back training.

I am behind on work and will need to try to catch up this week. Yuck. That is one of the things I don’t like about the Thanksgiving holiday.

Irrelevant note My university just hired a new president. She is a lady who wears pooffed up hair, sort of like Elvira:

She doesn’t wear tops like that though. I wonder if Fred Thompson knows about Elvira? 🙂

I suppose that this is an improvement as the previous president reminded me a bit of Dick Cheney.

Hate: Chickens coming home to roost.

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is nationally notorious for vitriolic broadsides, but she has been unnerved by invective she received at her Palm Beach home. So much so that she got the county property appraiser to remove her name from public records identifying where she lives.

In doing so, she won an exemption from public disclosure of her address, allowed by law for victims of stalkers or harassment.

Coulter, 45, has called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a ”faggot” and said she wished he would be killed by terrorists. She once said President Clinton ”could be a lunatic” and wrote of a group of widows of men killed in the World Trade Center that she had ‘never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

So maybe it came as no surprise when somebody delivered a greeting card to her home in March with this salutation: “You self-aggrandizing — sociopath!! The only thing left after a nuclear war are you and cockroaches.”

Her house is one of 2,674 properties in Palm Beach County whose owners are confidential in property appraiser records. Homeowners must complete an affidavit stating why they should be exempt from the state’s public records law.

Florida law allows people in occupations where harm could come to them — judges, prosecutors, police officers, firefighters and child abuse investigators, for example — to remain anonymous in those records.

Also allowed an exemption from public disclosure are victims of domestic violence, aggravated stalking, harassment and aggravated battery. Coulter cited that proviso to get an exemption, but her application is not public record. Unlike the occupational exemption, this one expires after five years.

A person who receives an exemption must submit another affidavit requesting confidentiality every time he or she relocates.

Coulter, a lawyer and author, paid $1.8 million for her two-story home on a quiet street between the Breakers Hotel and Worth Avenue in March 2005. Police have received a trickle of phone calls from or regarding her home since. Two of them generated police reports. […]

In June 2006, Coulter received several nonthreatening but antagonistic phone messages from an Alameda, Calif., man whom she did not know.

”Hey, Ann, now that you’ve moved to Florida and you’re in your 40s, did you know that you can join the Florida National Guard?” the man, later identified as Brian Hatoff, 58, said in one message.

“Oh, I forgot, you and your rotund buddy down the street [an apparent allusion to radio commentator Rush Limbaugh] and the vice president, you’re all registered chicken hawks. You love war until you have to put your own ass on the line. I don’t call that patriotism. I call it cowardice.”

Coulter told police the calls were made to an unpublished phone number that only a few people knew.

After subpoenaing phone records, Palm Beach police traced the calls to Hatoff. […]

November 27, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cool Designs and other topics

Cool Designs: hat tip to Shalini.

Liberals Must Die:

Sets us Straight.

Of course, George Lackoff has a nice response (hat tip to Crooks and Liars):

“Aw you liberals just hate America.”

No. We love democracy and we want to return it to America.
You want a presidential dictator.
We love liberty and we want to return it to America.
You want to tap our phones.
We love equality and we want to return it to America.
You think some people are better than others.
We love honesty and we want to return it to America.
You love lobbyists and corruption.
We love fairness and we want to return it to America.
You want to oppress the powerless.
We love openness and we want to return it to America.
You love secrecy and hiding the facts.
We love nature’s glory and we want to return it to America.
You love the profit that comes from destroying nature.
We love community and we want to return it to America.
You want everyone to fend for himself.
We love public education and we want to return it to America.
You want to destroy public education.
We love civilian control of the military and we want to return it to America.
You want to militarize America.

Barack Obama: Peoria Pundit has an interesting comment here.

n Althouse has this quote from Barack Obama:

“Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn’t work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it,” said Barack Obama.

“There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues. On the other had, I don’t think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I’ve done.”

Amen, brother. Sen. Clinton constantly mentions her experience. What experience? She entered the Senate at the exact same time as Barack Obama. Before that day Obama was a legislator concerned with the business of governing. Senator Clinton, on the other hand, had never served in any elected office previously. Her political work basically involved setting the cause of universal health care back 20 years […]

Ok, I don’t really agree with the last claim; my take is that we, as a country, didn’t have the political will to get it done at that time.

True, she entered the U.S. Senate at the same time that Obama entered the Illinois Senate. So, she has more U. S. Senate experience. But, one can point out that he was elected under his own steam.

Obama on education:

Fred Thompson: says that Fox News is biased against him.

In a somewhat contentious interview with Chris Wallace on FNS this morning (similar in tone to the Wallace/Clinton interview some months ago), Fred Thompson accused Chris and Fox News of skewing polling information and highlighting his negatives in their promo for the spot. Money quote from the clip:

THOMPSON: (snip)…So I understand the game of build-up and I understand the game of take-down. And we all go through it. And I’m perfectly willing for you to do that with regard to me as you do the other candidates.

WALLACE: I was going to say, Senator…

THOMPSON: But you have the right to put in your one side, and put in the Fox side, and I have the right to respond to it. And thankfully, you’ve given me that opportunity.

I had mentioned in an earlier post here, it’s becoming almost conventional wisdom now that Fox News is all about Rudy. Previously Romney and McCain had bitched that Fox would not allow them to use debate footage for their campaign ads and now Freddy takes issue with the Rudy bias as well. Good on ’em all! Fox can’t go around calling itself a legitimate news organization while continuing to promote the agendas of hand-picked politicians and issues.


Note: Mitt Romney is evidently no fan of Fox News, as he effectively torpedoed the planned Fox News debate.

A senior GOP official in Iowa tells us that Mitt Romney has decided not to attend the Fox News GOP debate in the state that was set for December 4 — effectively killing the debate, according to this official.

Chuck Laudner, the executive director of the Iowa GOP, says that he got word of Romney’s decision two hours ago. He claims that other leading GOP contenders were waiting to see what Romney was going to do — and now that Romney won’t be attending, the others will pull out too.

“With no frontrunner, there’s no debate,” Laudner said, adding that many Iowa GOPers would be upset with Romney’s decision — a potential blow in a state where Romney is facing an aggressive insurgent challenge from Mike Huckabee. The Iowa GOP had been heavily promoting the debate, the first one to be broadcast by Fox News in the state.

“It’s disappointing,” Laudner said, adding that Huckabee, John McCain and Fred Thompson had said they’d be showing up and that Rudy was waiting to see what Romney did. “We’re losing a statewide 2000-person event. It’s a huge, huge event. We had county chairs raising money off of it. They’re not gonna be too happy.”

There is another GOP debate scheduled for Dec. 12 in Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed the campaign’s decision. “We have received invitations to a number of debates in the month of December,” he emailed me. […]

Fluff: when are extra-marital fantasies bad? I’ve stumbled upon this blog and will check it out for a while.

November 27, 2007 Posted by | creationism, hillary clinton, obama, Peoria/local, politics/social, religion | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving hangover 2007

Workout notes 2000 yard “welcome back” swim, yoga on my own.

I am getting back into it, and well, I almost wish that we didn’t have this holiday at all. Sure, I like the time with my daughter, my mother, my sister, and I enjoyed watching football on TV with my brother in law. But the travel I can do without. 🙂

I suppose that I am like most Americans in this regard; I’d enjoy the holiday a bit more if we had Star Trek “beam me there Scotty” technology! 🙂

I have to catch up on work so this will be short and brief:

An update on the Obama campaign:

[…]Electability is Key Among Iowa Democrats
Well, it is shaping up to be a key of the argument. Not the total argument, but a great key. We have great candidates this cycle. But which one will emerge is the key.

Nearly half the Iowa Democrats in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll – and nearly seven in 10 New Hampshire Democrats – said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the party’s most electable candidate.

Yes, that is in the CBS Poll. But, when you talk to Democrats, they are stating things vastly different. I wrote a diary called, “The Experience Game. Though, electability is a key, it is not the total winning key for this nomination. Especially, since Democrats are shifting to a new direction, with new ideas.

The top three candidates are electable. For me, Clinton is the most vulnerable. Yes, with baggage and all. The Clinton decision will be made by Democrats, knowing and accepting, that she is the most vulnerable candidate, and willing to fight for her, with baggage and all. John Edwards is very electable. His main problem is beyond Iowa. He of the top three has raised the least amount of money, but the one Democrat with fantastic plans. Many are wondering how he will fight February 5th and beyond, with possible limited resources. The Edwards decision will be made by Democrats knowing and accepting, that he is the one Democrat who accepted public financing, and that he will not be able to use any funds until September. Meaning he will beholden to whatever 527’s will step in and free publicity. Barack Obama is very electable. Out of all the Democrats he has a huge likeability factor and crosses over well with Independents and Republicans. His problem is the perceived lack of experience. The Obama decision will be made by Democrats, knowing and accepting that he is the one Democrat that will bring change to the ticket, and White House. And experience?

Hillary Clinton declared the other day — apropos of whom, she didn’t say, or need to — “We can’t afford on-the-job training for our next president.” Barack Obama immediately retorted, “My understanding is that she wasn’t Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. I don’t know exactly what experience she’s claiming.” As wit, that round goes to Obama. Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2000, her first experience of public office. Obama was an Illinois state senator for seven years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. In terms of experience in elective office, this seems to be a wash.

But since she brought it up, how important is experience in a candidate for president? If experience were a matter of offices held, however briefly, the best candidate running would be Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and former so many different things that you can hardly believe this is the same person popping up again. But that is ticket-punching, not experience.

This is correct. The only one with vast experience on paper, along with life, is Bill Richardson, period. So, experience has been used very loosely here. Just because one was in the White House does not mean anything, unless he/she was president. As I stated before, only former presidents and that present sitting one, are qualified to step into the role of President of the United States.

Clinton touts experience, but we ask “What experience?” We are still, waiting for that question to be answered, because she won’t answer it. Though she continuously provides it in speeches of what she did as First Lady. Her senate record is that of a junior senator, not used much. Especially, with these disastrous war votes, but if you are going to talk experience, provide the information so we, can examine it. Edwards was a one-term senator from North Carolina, whose record mirrors that of a conservative moderate, not like the populist campaign he is running now. Obama has been in the Illinois State Senate, along with his almost three years as a U.S. Senator. If anyone has more legislative experience, it is Barack Obama. But, the naysayers want Washington, D.C. experience, and I say, that is the problem.

In the end, all three candidates have the experience to walk into the White House and lead. Now, it is up to Democrats, what type of leadership they want. […]

The whole update is worth a read, if you are interested in the Democratic Presidential race.

Social: it is no secret that I don’t care for the more vocal, zealous feminists. Much of the time I see them more or less as fundies who prefer a different brand of kool-aid. But on occasion they are right about things, and this is one such occasion:

No, I don’t see this as some sign that those horrible men are conspiring to keep womyn down or anything like that. I see this as simple ignorance: spouse killing simply isn’t funny. Of course, I don’t find stuff like the play Arsenic and Old Lace. funny either.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama, yoga | 2 Comments