Spring Break: task one done, one to go

Ok, I finally got done with this vexing task of writing a referee’s report. In this case, I had the worst possible article: there was enough there to be worth publishing, but the article was poorly enough written to be a time suck to review.

Now I have 30 percent of two classes or a remedial math class (“off semester of “not-quite-calculus””) to grade. Though I have a few good students in these sections, some aren’t trying. And as to those who are trying: steps such as moving from xy=100 to x = \frac{100}{y} just confuse the heck out of them.

When I finish grading, I’ll treat myself to a short hike (either tomorrow or the weekend).

March 20, 2014 Posted by | mathematics | , | Leave a comment

Running and walking and traffic follies

It was 26 F (about -3 C) when I woke up and I didn’t want to bundle up and run slowly. (ok, that is the only kind of running I can do 🙂 )

To the gym: 31:30 for 5K on the treadmill (5 minutes at 5.4, 5.5, then every 2 minutes from 5.6-6.7 until mile 3.1).

Then to the track: 8:38, 8:35, 8:22 (25:36), 1:02 (26:39 for 5K). The last mile was slightly harder than tempo pace.

Then 1 mile of walking, then 5K outside. As I walked outside, I notice that Parkside was blocked off between Main and Columbia Terrace; there were one set of barricades with an opening, then the “genuine block” (with heavy equipment). About a dozen cars, mostly one after the other, turned from Columbia Terrace, went past the fist barricades (had to go slowly to do so) drove to the block…and then turned around.

What was interesting is that people could see the road block in the distance, but when around the first barricade anyway!

This is where I live… welcome to Peoria, Il. 🙂

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Peoria, running, walking | Leave a comment

Politics for me in 2014 (the races I am most interested in)

At the national level, I am most interested in the US Senate race. We’ll be extremely fortunate to hold to a 50-50 tie. I honestly think that the Republicans will end up with a slight majority.

The House: forget it: Republicans pick up seats.

BUT, the above is really based on guessing; I haven’t studied the polls and betting lines all that much. I’ll know more this summer.

But as far as Illinois:

1. Senate: Senator Dick Durbin should be able to beat dairy owner Jim Oberweis. I’ll send him some monetary love, but in all honesty this will be because I want to be on the side of a winner.

2. Governor: Gov. Pat Quinn faces “businessman” (think: Donald Trump with a better educational pedigree) Bruce Rauner. Here is a REPUBLICAN attack ad against Rauner (primary race)

The only polls I’ve seen were very old (one favored Quinn, the other favored Rauner); there hasn’t been much polling lately. And in 2010, Quinn was way behind and ended up winning a close race though he was 7 points down. I predict a repeat performance; he is a very good politician.

If I were making a line, I’d call this one a toss-up. Why it is close: Rauner IS a smart man but I wonder if he will listen to reason from his campaign staff. He is also a political neophyte who openly says that his models of success is Wisconsin and Indiana. Hence in the Republican primary, he lost a 10 point lead in the polls and barely held off a dull challenger.

I’ll send Gov. Quinn some love.

3. IL-17. Cheri Bustos is in a rematch with Bobby Schilling. In 2012, she won by 6 points though President Obama carried her district by 17. This should NOT be a close race BUT it will be…if we are lucky. I’ve said this before and will say it again:

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

Her margin was about 18,000 votes.

She won the 3 urban areas by 23,700 votes and her winning margin was 18,000 votes. But evidently this means nothing to her; she has actively moved toward the Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats). Yes, I know, President Obama is only a 43 percent nationally, but he remains popular in the urban areas that she absolutely has to win and get a big turn out.

I’d have to make Schilling a favorite in this race. The only reason that she has a chance (IMHO) is that Gov. Quinn is good at getting good turn-outs and she might, again, might, be able to ride his coattails in these areas.

I sent her campaign a bit of love but I am debating…is this a waste of money?

My summary:

Least likely: getting shut out (all of my candidates losing)
Not likely but possible: a sweep. (if this happens, the bottled water is on me!)
Possible (what I predict): going 2-1.
Probable (not a huge surprise) : going 1-2

March 20, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, Dick Durbin, IL-17, politics, politics/social | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment