Saving my feet…

It was rainy, and my right heel is slightly sore and I was just stiff all over.
So I took a treadmill day: (incline: 0.5 to account for a lack of air resistance)
20 minutes to go 1.8 miles (easy, 5.2 for 5 minutes, 5.3 for 5 minutes)
Then 27:54 to go 3.2 miles. The last 3 miles: 8:57, 8:46, 8:24 done by:
1.2 miles at 6.7 mph (8:57), .5 miles at 6.8, .5 miles at 6.9, then 7-7.1-7.2-7.3 (.25 mile segments)

walk jog to get to 6 miles in 1 hour.
then 2 mile walk on the track in 29:02. Total time: 1:29 for 8 miles (faster than Tuesday!) Ok…this was a much easier course.

We’ll see how this weekend goes. (long workouts)

Ironically, I felt better after running than I did prior to running; more energy?

March 31, 2016 Posted by | running, walking | Leave a comment

“Wrestling” and politics

Some fun…

Now this was before Mr. Trump was a candidate:


March 31, 2016 Posted by | political humor, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Political Tribalism: no high ground anywhere…

Yes, I was one of those who gleefully mocked the “Teabillies” and their misspelled protest signs. Now, evidently, even the more educated conservatives are joining in the mocking. Reason: Donald Trump’s success in rallying those who voted for social reforms, only to get wars and more tax cuts for the wealthy. 🙂

“Ha, we really are superior to the conservatives” I thought.

But then came the protests where anti-Trump people thought that they had a right to block traffic and to disrupt Trump rallies. And yes, the conservative counter point that Trump supporters didn’t attempt to disrupt Sanders rallies was well taken…but then again…why would they, given that he is not a credible threat to win the Democratic nomination?

And then came our primary and Bernie Sanders (who I do have respect for) won a few states.

There is nothing like a contested primary to bring out the stupidity.

Examples (though the second is technically…probably true albeit highly unlikely):



So when you point out the simple mathematics of the situation (that if Sanders has huge wins in the small caucus states and, say, wins 60 percent in Wisconsin, he is still likely to do no better than break-even the rest of the way and end up 200 pledged delegates short, they’ll just think that you are lying to them.

They turned on Rachel Maddow for remarking that the Sanders Campaign claim that “well, we really didn’t try in the states that we lost” was bogus. Note: On March 15, Clinton swept Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, and Sanders campaigned very hard in the first 3 of these states.

So, at least I can claim that Hillary Clinton supporters are superior? Well, maybe not. For example, I’ve checked out the memes here and, while a few are funny, well, many are flat out garbage and nonsense; even WORSE than the less-than-intellectual pro-Sanders memes that I show above.

The bottom line: no campaign has a chance of winning without attracting a lot of stupid voters. And sometimes, the dumbest ones are the loudest and the most visible.


There are a lot of smart Clinton supporters.
There are a lot of smart Sanders supporters.
There are a lot of smart Republicans.

And there are a hell of a lot of stupid people in all three camps.

One cannot have a claim of superiority based on who they support or based on the camp that they identify with.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Changing direction (workouts)

I am seriously considering trying my hand at the FANS 24 hour…again. I haven’t had a great deal of success at this race:

2006: 83 miles
2007: 66 miles
2008: 47 miles (retired half way)
2009: 66 miles
2011: 54 miles
2015: 59.9 miles (dang it…this one still burns me)

But I should be in better shape come race least in my best shape since 2006. We’ll see how it goes.

But that means I need to add a walk to my workout schedule, so I walked this morning (5 miles) and will add to that; I’ll also walk on Sunday and walk after my long Saturday run.
5K races: April 30, May 7 and perhaps Memorial Day Saturday. I have one professional trip as well; the rest of the weekends between now and then will be devoted to long walks and long runs. I’ll also “go long” the day after those 5K races, with exception of the Memorial Day one.

My walk went fine.

Later: I did lift weights over lunch, and did things in a different order:

bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 200, 4 x 185, 7 x 170
rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (not that easy)
rows; 3 sets of 10 x 110 (machine)
military presses: 2 sets of 10 x 200 (100 each arm, machine), 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
plank: 2 minutes (strict)

This was the first time I got 200 in a long time.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Watching live sports: makes me know less about them (in a way)

I filled out a NCAA men’s basketball bracket this year; and I ended up with exactly one team in the final four. My results were terrible!

What is going on: if you scroll through my blog you can see that I watched Bradley; I have season tickets for both the men’s and women’s teams and I make games faithfully. So I got interested in this team. When I did watch a game on television or on ESPN3, it was usually a Bradley road game OR another Missouri Valley Conference game. So I knew that Wichita State sometimes fades in the conference tournament and that Evansville and Northern Iowa were hot going into MVC play.

BUT: though the MVC did win its first round games (and the play-in game), the MVC is not a national powerhouse conference. So I knew next to nothing about the ACC, Pac-10, Big-12, and even the Big-10 (though I knew that Illinois was struggling). So when it came time to fill out a bracket, I mostly went by “higher seed”, with poor results.

The true basketball fan probably watched a variety of games from the power conferences and knew much more than I did.

Something similar happens with football: I have season tickets for the University of Illinois. But an Illinois game means a 90 minute drive there, game, 90 minute drive back. A real football fan watches two games during that stretch. Then when I watch a game on TV, it is usually the Illinois road game or another Big Ten game; again, I know very little about what is going on in the SEC, Pac 10 or other conference (I sometimes catch the Texas, Notre Dame and Navy game). So I might know a little more about NCAA football as there are fewer teams to keep track of, I know less about the game overall than I did before I started to watch football in person.

Something similar happened with me during my NFL game binge last year.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | basketball, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

A couple of “maybe Trump would be better than Clinton” thoughts …and one reason Trump is doing well…

Workout note: 8.1 mile “run” in 1:31:11 46:37/44:33. Perfect weather; legs were shot from the get go so I kept it easy and attempted to pick it up a bit at the end. Really couldn’t.

Could Trump be better than Clinton?
A couple of “famous” people said “maybe so”, but get a load of their reasoning:

James Webb (former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Navy):

Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton, but he hasn’t ruled out casting his ballot for Donald Trump.

Webb, who briefly flirted with an independent bid before deciding against it, said on Friday morning that the Democratic front-runner wasn’t inspirational.

“I would not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Webb said on MSBNC’s “Morning Joe.”

When asked whether he’d vote for Trump, Webb said he wasn’t closed to the idea. “I’m not sure yet. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for,” he said.

He said Clinton would simply continue President Barack Obama’s policies, but that with Trump, things would change — but he’s not convinced it would be for the better.

“If you’re voting for Donald Trump, you may get something very good or very bad,” Webb said. “If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to be getting the same thing.”

Emphasis mine. Note that I actually agree with Sen. Webb on one thing: Hillary Clinton would be close to a continuation of Barack Obama; it is just that I see that as a good thing. He does not.

Susan Sarandon (“activist”/actress):

The actress and activist has been a powerful surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail over the past few months, and during an interview with MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes Monday night, she said she doesn’t know if she can bring herself to vote for Clinton if it comes down to it.
“I think, in certain quarters, there’s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away,” Hayes said.
“That’s a legitimate concern,” Sarandon replied. “Because they’re very passionate and principled.”
“But isn’t that crazy?” the host asked. “If you believe in what he believes in?”
“Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

“All those people”? Ok, IF you are talking about “taking money from Wall Street” and you are talking about the official Clinton campaign, remember that individuals have a limit. Wall Street is in New York and Sec. Clinton represented New York. It would be like President Obama getting a lot of money from people who worked in industries that are based in Illinois.

But look at the two situations: one doesn’t like Clinton because of her being too close to being like Obama; the other doesn’t like her because she isn’t progressive enough.

Why is Trump doing so well anyway? Well, one reason is that he is appealing to the white working class, a group that even the National Review is attacking:

The National Review, a conservative magazine for the Republican elite, recently unleashed an attack on the “white working class”, who they see as the core of Trump’s support.

The first essay, Father Führer, was written by the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, who used his past reporting from places such as Appalachia and the Rust Belt to dissect what he calls “downscale communities”.

He describes them as filled with welfare dependency, drug and alcohol addiction, and family anarchy – and then proclaims:

“Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster, There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

A few days later, another columnist, David French, added:

“Simply put, [white working class] Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin.”

Both suggested the answer to their problems is they need to move. “They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.”

Downscale communities are everywhere in America, not just limited to Appalachia and the Rust Belt – it’s where I have spent much of the past five years documenting poverty and addiction.

I have to laugh. People like William Julius Wilson and Paul Krugman said that this split would eventually happen:

Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.

So you knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly, conservatives are telling us that it’s not really about money; it’s about morals. Never mind wage stagnation and all that, the real problem is the collapse of working-class family values, which is somehow the fault of liberals.

But is it really all about morals? No, it’s mainly about money.

To be fair, the new book at the heart of the conservative pushback, Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” does highlight some striking trends. Among white Americans with a high school education or less, marriage rates and male labor force participation are down, while births out of wedlock are up. Clearly, white working-class society has changed in ways that don’t sound good.


One more thought: The real winner in this controversy is the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson.

Back in 1996, the same year Ms. Himmelfarb was lamenting our moral collapse, Mr. Wilson published “When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor,” in which he argued that much of the social disruption among African-Americans popularly attributed to collapsing values was actually caused by a lack of blue-collar jobs in urban areas. If he was right, you would expect something similar to happen if another social group — say, working-class whites — experienced a comparable loss of economic opportunity. And so it has.

So we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren’t as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America’s working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.

Gee, maybe the “moron” in this meme is finally catching on.


March 29, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Think that Sanders is going to win the nomination? Take my challenge.

Workout notes
weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (tough)
rotator cuff
incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150 (bad), 10 x 140
military: 2 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported), 7 x 85 (barbell)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 (single arm)
head stand (almost went over at first)
twist crunches: 2 sets of 12
yoga leg lifts: 2 sets of 10

swim: 500 (chased Jason at the end)
5 x (50 drill (fins), 50 free (no fins)
5 x (25 fly, 25 free, 25 back, 25 free)
100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull

I was just off.

Democratic Race The polls have done a good job (save Michigan) except for the caucus states. (via Sam Wang):

The most important quantity for prediction is the accuracy of all the polls aggregated. The delegate-weighted sum of polls is Clinton +17.9%. The delegate-weighted voting result is Clinton +14.8%. The difference, 3 percentage points in Sanders’s direction, is greater than the ~2% that one would expect from sampling error alone. However, it does not come anywhere close to the 22-point swing that I calculated is necessary for Sanders to get an overall majority of pledged delegates by June 7th.

But alas, there are those who “just know” that Sanders is on his way to winning the majority of pledged delegates.

Though I have no problem with people saying that they like him better than the alternative, I do get tired of the ill informed and the mathematically illiterate saying stupid things on my wall. So I issued a challenge:

Ok Sanders supporters, I’ve had enough of your trash talk. So it is time to put up or shut up.
If you are sure that Sanders is going to win the nomination, let’s make the following bet:
If Sanders wins the nomination, I’ll give his campaign 100 dollars. If Clinton wins, you give her campaign 25 dollars.
That is 4-1; how magnanimous can I be?
I’ll make that bet with the first 5 Sanders supporters who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Update: let me be clear. I have no beef with those who either like Sanders better or who don’t like Clinton. Here, my beef is with those who dispute the fact that Clinton has an all-but-insurmountable lead in pledged delegates; those who claim that the media (, Paul Krugman, etc.) are lying when they say that she basically has the nomination wrapped up.
THOSE are the people who I am calling out here.

Note: I had to add the update because the less-than-bright seemed to read this as a “how dare you say something positive about Sanders on my wall”. I was addressing those who deny the reality of the pledged delegate situation.

Of course, I had no takers; I didn’t expect any. All bluster…with nothing to back it up.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, swimming, weight training | , | Leave a comment

More on the Democratic race

Sanders has overperformed expectations in caucus states but mostly underperformed in primary states:

Sanders has outperformed his targets in 11 states. Just three of those states held primaries (Illinois, Oklahoma and Vermont), and one of those three (Vermont) is Sanders’s home state. The other eight were caucuses. Six of Sanders’s best states by this measure were in the West (all the caucuses this week and Colorado). In fact, Iowa and Nevada are the only caucuses so far in which Clinton beat our delegate targets by more than one delegate, which may have something to do with all the organizing effort the Clinton campaign put into those states. […]

Sanders has exceeded his delegate targets in just three stateside primaries. He’s matched them in three and underperformed in 15. Given that Sanders is still so far behind in the delegate count, he needs to outperform his delegate targets by a lot.

How likely is that? Well, he’s behind by about 6 percentage points in Wisconsin, according to FiveThirtyEight’s weighted polling average. That’s not a huge deficit, and it wouldn’t shock me if Sanders won Wisconsin given that the black population there is below 10 percent. (To match his delegate target in Wisconsin, he needs a net gain of 10 delegates there.) Sanders, though, will likely have more difficulty in later primaries in April, such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, where African Americans make up more than 10 percent of the state’s population.

So, for Sanders to catch up, national opinion would have to make a 25 point a hurry: (via Sam Wang)

For national opinion to come into line with what Sanders needs, there would have to be a change from Clinton +9.5% to Sanders +16%. That’s a 25-point swing. To put that into perspective, that is about how much the Clinton-Sanders margin has moved over the last seven months, since the start of August. Going forward, opinion would have to start moving about three times faster. And for this to happen, Sanders would have to start to cut into Clinton’s support, which has stayed in the 50-55% range this whole season. Basically, her support would have to drop to 40%. That simply isn’t going to happen.

Delegate calculator: someone on facebook alerted me to a handy delegate calculator where you can predict how many delegates Clinton and Sanders ends up with based on how you think that the primary elections will go (in terms of percentage)

March 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Why Sanders path to the nomination is so narrow…

Workout notes: walked my Cornstalk 8.1 + 2.05 in 2:40; legs were sore and achy at the start so I made it an easy Easter Walk to take advantage of the great weather.

I used figures from the New York Times and and Nate Silver’s analysis of the demographics of the remaining states.

Basic Assumptions:

1. Hillary Clinton has 1267 pledged delegates and Bernie Sanders has 1037. I came up with this number by using the New York Times figures which included the Alaska and Hawaii primaries but NOT the Washington results and I assumed that, from Washington, the delegate split was Sanders 74-27 (based on 101 delegates and the percentage of the vote).

2. There are 4051 pledged delegates available and it takes 2026 to get a majority of these.

Model Assumptions
1. Sanders wins 60 percent of the delegates in Wisconsin. Note: Hillary Clinton is actually forecast to WIN Wisconsin with a probability of 85 percent, though the demographics are friendly to Sanders.

2. Sanders wins 75 percent of the 204 delegates in the following states: Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. This model assumption is based on the Hawaii-Alaska-Washington results in terms of demographics.

3. There are 1527 delegates left from New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Guam, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, New Jersey, New Mexico and D. C.

Model assumptions 1 and 2 has that, after the Sanders friendly states, Sanders with 1037 + 138 = 1175 pledged delegates and Clinton with 1267 + 66 = 1333 pledged delegates.

Sanders would need 851 of the remaining 1527 delegates, or 55.7 percent. Clinton would need 693 of the remaining 1527 delegates, or about 45.3 percent (numbers add up to more than 100 percent due to rounding).

Note that Clinton is expected to win California, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania; these states have 1016 of the remaining delegates. Remember that if Sanders loses any one of these, or does no better than “break even”, he falls further into the delegate hole.

Below is a screenshot of my spreadsheet with the relevant data.


March 27, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Sanders trims Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates

Sanders won impressively last night (as expected) sweeping Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state. Though the New York Times is still tabulating the allocation of delegates in Washington state (101 up for grabs), my estimates are:

Alaska: 13-3 Sanders (NYT has this count)
Hawaii 17-8 Sanders (NYT has this count)
Washington: 74-27 Sanders (NYT still tabulating)
Total 104-38 Sanders, which means that the lead in pledged delegates is 234 for Clinton down from about 300. We’ll have more precise numbers over the next few days.

The delegate math for Sanders is still tough though, and Clinton is heavily favored to win delegate rich states such as Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. She is even forecast to win in Wisconsin as well though that state should be very competitive.

Republicans: Donald Trump is doing well among “blue state” Republicans. The Nate Cohen article I linked to contains some interesting conjectures and ideas.

March 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment