Is President Obama losing the Support of Liberal Democrats?

Ok, I’ll say it: at times I am frustrated at how things are going and I am really frustrated at the President insisting on a so-called “balanced approach” to fixing our economy. I much prefer what Paul Krugman or Robert Reich suggest.

We are in a demand crisis and austerity is the wrong focus at this time.

Nevertheless, I think that the President has done a fine job so far, getting at least some stimulus, getting an improvement to our health care availability system. At worst, he is far superior to what we see coming from the newly elected Republican governors.

But the question I am asking here is: is he losing the support of liberal Democrats?

If one goes by Daily Kos, one would think that he has lost the liberal democratic base. But what do the figures say?

I got the following data from the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

You can find all sorts of things here, including the overall approval ratings of past presidents, comparative graphs of approval ratings, etc.

So I decided to look at the available data on: Obama job approval ratings: Liberal Democrats (as opposed to just “liberals”) and I plotted the data:

Here is the link to my crude chart:

I didn’t calculate a mean, standard deviation, etc, but I can say that the data is from August 30, 2010 to July 3, 2011. The max was 91 percent and the minimum was 79 percent (once); it is fair to say that the vast majority of the points fall at 84 percent or above; only 7 of the 44 fall below 84 percent and only 1 is below 80.

So you can judge for yourself if the President is losing the support of liberal Democrats.

Again, I am not defending his policies one way or the other; I am merely talking about the support from liberal Democrats.

One might wonder why the difference between Liberal Democrats (as a whole) and Daily Kos types?

My conjecture: Daily Kos types follow the “sausage making” much more closely than most and saying that it is not pretty is a huge understatement. Also, many of us also follow policy wonks like Paul Krugman and can see the huge gap between optimal policy and what we are getting.


July 9, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, political/social, politics | Leave a comment

Bill Maher on Republicans

From here.

In last night’s closing New Rule, Bill Maher went to town on people who vote Republican, comparing them to the jurors that found Casey Anthony not guilty. Now, we may agree or disagree on whether they made the right legal call, but let’s set that aside, and look at how Maher taps into the wave of anger against the jury that spread across the country when the verdict was announced this week, to land a solid blow against idiots who vote against their own economic interests because they believe in demonstrably false things.

And finally, New Rule. If you can look at a crime where everything points to one answer and not see it, you’re a dumbass. And if you can look at the deficit and not see that the problem is that the rich stopped paying taxes, you’re a Republican. And before you accuse me of equating the Casey Anthony verdict with Republican thinking, save your breath. I am. I am. I’m equating them.

I’m saying if you’re a working-class American who still votes Republican, then you don’t get to bitch about that verdict.


Now here’s Obama’s thinking, and it’s a little counter-intuitive, but try to follow it. When Clinton was President, the rich paid a little more taxes, and the government had money. Then Bush cut all those taxes, and now we don’t. I know it’s hard to grasp, it involves subtracting. But in suggesting that in these desperate times, we slightly raise the tax on private jets, Obama was baiting the Republicans to look like extremists by defending private jets.

But the gambit failed, because half the people are not outraged. Half of them say, I’m with the party that cuts all these programs for real people, for the 99%: Planned Parenthood, environmental protection, college, health care, infrastructure; but holds the line on private jets. Voting for them is as stupid as voting not guilty for the mom who lost her baby for a month, and went looking at a wet t-shirt contest.

(wild audience applause)

Video and full transcript below the fold.

July 9, 2011 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics | Leave a comment

8 July 2011 Posts: Jobs, hearts, Mitt Romney’s Lies and Thongs

Weekly address

Jobs report response

More “bipartisan” rhetoric; calls for austerity and “confidence” stuff. Again…DEMAND is where it is at, I think.

Paul Krugman goes on to point out that we are in a situation similar to where we were in 1937: the stimulus is petering out and…well..the recovery is stalling. He then attacks the notion that our current unemployment is “structural” and there isn’t much that can be done about it:

Why is unemployment remaining high? Because growth is weak — period, full stop, end of story. Historically, low or negative growth has meant rising unemployment, fast growth falling unemployment (Okun’s Law). Here’s a scatterplot of quarterly data since 1948, with pre-Great Recession observations in blue and observations since 2008 in red:

Yes, this is noisy data but what we are seeing falls within the “noise” range of the model. More growth leads to less unemployment and right now growth is stalling. And:

And if we had a structural unemployment problem, we’d be seeing labor shortages and rising wages. We aren’t: wages actually fell last month.

He goes on to say that we could fix this if we had the political will to do so (tax the wealthy, add more stimulus) and what is left unsaid (in this column) is that the President’s “balanced” approach isn’t going to work.

As far as 2012 horserace, Nate Silver compares this bad jobs report to one “at bat”; certainly a strike out (for us, the team at bat) but not the whole story.

On the other hand, we have THIS as the image of how out-of-touch the Republicans are:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.

It was the same night reports started trickling out about President Obama pressing Congressional leaders to consider changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for GOP support for targeted tax increases.

Yes, this means that rich people are rich. No surprise there, and no argument for a policy here. But when the wealthy whine about taxes….well…this is an image that we can use. Most political rhetoric (the effective rhetoric) is emotional (remember McCain’s houses?)

In all honesty, this was an effective ad, though it wasn’t effective with me; I knew that he had a rich wife and I didn’t care how many houses he had.

More politics concerning the economy

Mitt Romney pounced on a statement made by Presidential adviser David Plouffe:

Today, unemployment rose to 9.2%. Sign my petition calling on President Obama to reject White House adviser David Plouffe’s comments that ‘unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers’ do not matter to average Americans:

So what did David Plouffe really say? In effect, he said that the average American goes more by what he/she sees in their own lives (e. g., am I employed? Can I make ends meet? Are my family, friends and loved ones able to make ends meet?) than they do by published economic indicators. Here is the transcript:

But the White House has now supplied a full transcript of the exchange in question, which it obtained from Bloomberg. Here’s the relevant part, with the controversial parts and the question he was answering in bold:

QUESTION: Axelrod likes to say that every campaign has inherited [inaudible]. You know, an environment in which unemployment is [inaudible] percent when the president runs for re-election, what’s — what’s the Obama narrative about that?

PLOUFFE: Well, listen, I don’t — you know, we’re a long way from 2012. We’re a long way from knowing what’s going on in the world and exactly what the economy is and who are opponent is.

I would make a general statement, though, because there is a lot of attention focused on the unemployment rate. The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers.

In fact, those terms very rarely pass their lips. So it’s a very one-dimensional view. They view the economy through their own personal prism. You see, people’s — people’s attitude towards their own personal financial situation has actually improved over time. You know, they’re still concerned about the long-term economic future of the country, but it’s things like “My sister was unemployed for six months and was living in my basement and now she has a job.”

There’s a — a “help wanted” sign. You know, the local diner was a little busier this week. Home Depot was a little busier. These are the ways people talk about the economy. They don’t talk about it in the terms of Washington.

And so their decision next year will be based upon two things, okay, how do I feel about things right now, and then, ultimately, campaigns are always much more about the future, and who do I think has got the best idea, the best vision for where to take the country?

I would submit to you that a healthy percentage of Americans, far more than a majority, believe the president has a very sound vision for where the country needs to go.

So, you know, people won’t vote based on the unemployment rate. They’re gonna vote based on, “How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?”

It seems Plouffe was actually asked a question about whether and how the unemployment rate would impact the Presidential race. He replied by claiming that the number itself wouldn’t impact people’s votes. In other words, Plouffe himself didn’t initially establish the political context. Plouffe then launched into a discussion about how the anemic recovery is experienced by people on a personal level. It was in that context that Plouffe reiterated that people won’t vote based on the number alone.

But, though this is misleading, this is politics. We probably would have done the same thing to them.

What is Michelle Bachmann doing?
She is making a stance on social issues (banning porn, blasting gay marriages, signing right wing pledge sheets which include paragraphs that imply that blacks were better off, in terms of having two parent families, under slavery):

On Thursday, one of Iowa’s most influential social conservative organizations, The Family Leader, informed GOP presidential candidates that to win the group’s endorsement, they’ll have to sign a pledge. Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats, a former Mike Huckabee ally, wants GOP contenders to commit to a list of 14 red-meat items, including opposition to gay marriage, a ban on Islamic Sharia law, a rejection of pornography, and an affirmation that married couples have better sex.

The group, which spearheaded the successful campaign to unseat state supreme court judges who had voted to legalize gay marriage, has been courted by candidates like Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty as a way of tapping into the state’s huge bloc of conservative Christian caucusgoers. What’s in the pledge? Here’s a quick rundown:

Presidential candidates who sign The Marriage Vow will sign off on support of personal fidelity to his/her spouse, appointing faithful constitutionalists as judges, opposition to any redefinition of marriage, and prompt reform of uneconomic and anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy, and divorce law. The Marriage Vow also outlines support for the legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), humane efforts to protect women and children, rejection of anti-women Sharia Islam, safeguards for all married and unmarried U.S. military personnel, and commitment to downsizing government and the burden upon American families.

The document itself gets more specific. Point 5 begins with a “Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex…” Point 9 rejects “forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.”

As far as the African Americans part:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is standing firm behind a pledge she signed Thursday that promotes marriage and social conservative values, but includes a passage that suggests black families were in better shape during slavery.

The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative group led by Bob Vander Plaats, issued the pledge formally called, “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family.”

Bachmann Stands By Marriage Pact That Links Slavery to Black Family Values
By Stephen Clark

Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann R-Minn., speaks at a Tea Party Rally outside the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines Saturday afternoon.

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is standing firm behind a pledge she signed Thursday that promotes marriage and social conservative values, but includes a passage that suggests black families were in better shape during slavery.

The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative group led by Bob Vander Plaats, issued the pledge formally called, “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family.”

The two page document condemns gay marriage, abortion, pornography and infidelity. But perhaps the most controversial part is found in the preamble where the state of the black family in the slave era is compared to today.

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President,” the document reads

Surf to the Fox News link to link to the document itself.

Needless to say, defenders of the First Amendment are less than happy. (Randazza is one of my favorite ranters! He combines awesome ranting with deep knowledge and brains).

Science and Medicine…and evolution

Mano Singham writes about a new artificial heart that provides a continuous blood supply rather that “beat” (which provides pulses of blood) He notes that there are no ill effects to supplying blood in this manner which suggests that perhaps a beating heart is a case in which evolution provided a non-optimal but adequate solution to a problem.


Not that well done, but funny anyway. Yes, I know; many athletes use prayer as some sort of sports psychology (getting focused, etc.)

Someone at a department store has a sense of humor

fashion fail - A Plastic Itch
see more funny videos, and check out our Yo Dawg lols!

July 9, 2011 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, Barack Obama, bikinis, civil liberties, Democrats, economics, economy, evolution, human sexuality, humor, Mitt Romney, Political Ad, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republican senate minority leader, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, science, superstition | Leave a comment

9 July 2011 swim/lift/run

I am repeating my recent patterns; bad, discouraging run on one day, encouraging swim on the next.

Today: swim: 2200 yards:
500 of 25 3g, 25 swim, 25 fist, 25 swim. Time: just under 11 minutes
500 of kick/swim with fins: 2 were front/swim, 4 were side/swim, then I alternated front/swim, side/swim, side/swim to make 500.

1000: 17:21. 4:25, (4:19) 8:44, 13:02 (4:18), 17:21 (4:19).
Then I cooled down with 200 alternating back and breast.

The 1000: compare with 24 May 18:25 17 June 17:54 and 24 June 17:43.

I like the recent progress though this is a long way from 15:53 (September 14 2008); then again I was trained up for Big Shoulders at that time.

I did rotator cuff stuff first and mixed in lunges and hip hikes.
I started with 3 sets of 10 on the adductor and abductor machines; the lunges were done with the body-pump bar. (10 each); 3 sets of 20 on the hip hikes (each side)

Incline press: 115 x 10, 135 x 6, 135 x 4, 135 x 4
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 25 lb. dumbbells
rows: 3 sets: 15 x 90 lb., 10 x 110, 10 x 110 (less leverage on this machine than on the Hammer)
pull downs: 3 sets of 12 x 137.5
sit ups: 35 (highest), 35 (second highest), 30 (3’rd highest)
military: 10 x 40 lb. dumbbell (one set)

Running: though the day was pretty I ran 2 miles on the treadmill (soft surface) to just get it over with: 10:35, 9:33 for 20:08. Ok; no piriformis pain.

July 9, 2011 Posted by | running, swimming, training, weight training | Leave a comment

Main Street Mile 2011: Ugh

Note: if you are searching for the overall and age group results:

Update: overall results here, age group results here.

Now for my personal stuff (of interest mostly to me and close friends)

The Main Street mile is a net downhill mile from the top of a bluff to near the Illinois River. I wasn’t in shape for this; 9 runs TOTAL since April 30 of this year, plus the double red cell donation less than 3 weeks ago. In fact, I was winded during warm ups.

Still, many of my friends were there and I wanted to give it a shot; I was assigned the 6-8:30 heat.
Background: PB is 5:30 in 1980, ran 5:41 (1600) in 1998, last broke 6 in 1999. Two years ago: 6:43.

How it went: I thought that I was starting slow but felt winded in the first 1/4 mile; that is NOT a good sign. I was at 1:50. The next 1/4 mile was a big drop and took 1:45; but I was toast. The next 1/4 was 2:00 and I was talking myself out of stopping. During this stage Theresa passed me…her shiny spandex shorts just glittered in the sunlight…and I could do nothing as she said “hi” to me. 🙂 I trudged the last 1/4 in 2:08 and got passed all over the place; I swear that there were buzzards circling overhead.

7:45 was the final time though they screwed up the clock (showed 30 seconds faster…I wish). 🙂

Oh, the photos: they were taken by my daughter just before I drove downtown to take the bus to the start line (point to point course); one has to have a sense of humor about these things.

Dang it, I still look as if I am walking.

I was thinking: “just shoot me now”.

Update: overall results here, age group results here. Ironically my 2009 results would have placed me in the same position in my age group that this year’s results did. Go figure.

July 9, 2011 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, running, time trial/ race, training | 3 Comments