Perceptions, getting caught in traps and urban renewal

I think it is clear that, on the average, we tend to hang around those who are a bit like us. Hence it is easy for the wealthier (or merely comfortable) among us to get a false sense of what things are like for most people.

And here is an example of that: a person becomes disabled in a crash..and the only way to qualify for Medicare treatment and facilities is…for the family to remain poor. This is one problem with means-tested programs; if your income level is in the “wrong” area and you don’t have the right types of insurance, it can be devastating to a family.

I’ve also seen cases in which a couple in which one person was more elderly than the other have to get divorced; nursing home care can be outrageously expensive and if one person’s assets get exhausted, they go after the other person’s assets (house, everything).

Urban renewal: politically, this puts a lot of liberals in a concentrated area. Hence, urban congressional districts are often won by massive margins; the rural ones are won by Republicans with lesser margins. Gerrymandering makes this effect worse.

Bottom line: we can have situations in which the Democrats in Congress get many more votes than the Republicans, and yet the Republicans come away with a large majority. But the numbers hold up in Presidential elections.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, social/political | | 2 Comments

Why I have turned into such a head case (sports)

Workout notes: got an early start; lifted then ran on the track/treadmill.

Lifting: pull ups (4 sets of 10; went really well), with rotator cuff recoveries.
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185, 7 x 170
pull ups: another set of 10
super set of military, row, pull downs:
military: 2 sets of 10 x 45 dumbbell, standing, 1 set of 12 x 40 dumbbell, standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 (machine)
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 150 (two different machines).

As I neared the end of my weight routine, I almost dreaded my planned run. I think that I know why.

What I did: 11 minute treadmill mile
2 miles (middle lane, track) 17:51 (8:57/8:53, some slow down on the last 800 m)
10:45 treadmill run.

Then 10 minutes on the bike to cool down and make my knees feel good.

Yes, my first half mile was 4:34

What is going on (re: head case): well, it is no secret that I am slowing down; this spring saw my worst 5K running performances since the fall of 2011. Part of it might well be my shift to marathon walk training (which IS going reasonably well, so it seems). But part of it is that I am 4 years older.

And, well, it appears as if I am approaching the “9 minute miles becoming reasonably difficult” stage; that is one landmark that I’d never thought that I’d reach. My current 9 minute mile is what my old 7 minute mile used to be. That doesn’t feel good, at least emotionally.

But, at the gym, there was an old retired physics professor who is approaching 80 and…yes, I remember when he was as I am now. He is still working out, doing things right. And…well…that is a preview for me (IF I am LUCKY) so I may as well enjoy doing what I can do.

So, before I run, I find myself saying “let me be accepting of what I can do today”; when I do that I am more relaxed and I run better.

Head case: politics The Fox News Republican debate: there is a JV and a varsity debate, with the “top 10″ being invited to the latter.

July 29, 2015 Posted by | 2016, running, weight training | | 2 Comments

Obama’s “Third Term” remark: supporters, detractors and media miss the point!

I admit that flinched a bit when I saw this article being passed around:


And of course:

supporters: “I’d vote for him again; he is doing well”. (disclaimer: this was me at first, until I watched the remarks for myself)
detractors: “what an arrogant SOB, ….”

But for the context:

As he wrapped up what may be his final trip to Africa while in office, Mr. Obama took aim at some of the continent’s gerontocracy and called on long-entrenched leaders to step down, declaring that “nobody should be president for life.” But it led to an off-the-cuff riff about his own improved political standing and his future.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” Mr. Obama said, departing from his prepared text in a speech at the African Union. “I think if I ran, I could win.”

“There’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving,” he added. “But the law is the law,” he said, “and no person is above the law, not even the president.”

The comments reflect a bitter issue in Africa: the attempts by some leaders to hold onto power well beyond their terms expire. Just this month, the president of Burundi pushed through with elections that gave him a third term in office, throwing his nation into upheaval in a move widely regarded as violating the country’s constitution and a peace agreement that ended a devastating civil war.

The part in bold text is the point of this speech! Really! Watch for yourself:

People, supporters and detractors alike, are missing the point, and much of this stems from the headlines in the media.

Of course, this is typical. President Obama can’t run for a third term. But Secretary Clinton is running, and expect to hear “What difference does it make” (on Benghazi) again and again.

So a bit of context will be helpful:

Johnson: But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?

Clinton: But, Senator, again—

Johnson: Within hours, if not days?

Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—

Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.

Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown —

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

So you see, she made this statement in the context of “at that time, we had other concerns”. The important fact, at that time, was that there was an attack and that we had to find a way to get help; the cause of the attack was something to deal with AFTER the initial emergency was over.

But don’t expect her detractors to admit that, even though it is as clear as day. Remember: politics “makes us stupid”; we seek isolated quips and factoids that confirm what we already think that we “know”.

And yes, “both sides” do this:

President Bush ignited a Democratic inferno of criticism on Monday by suggesting the war on terrorism could not be won, forcing his aides to scramble to defend his remarks just as he had hoped to bask in convention accolades.

On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Mr. Bush sought to emphasize the economy, but his comments on terrorism dominated national attention.

In an interview on NBC-TV’s “Today” show, Mr. Bush vowed to stay the course in the war on terror, saying perseverance in the battle would make the world safer for future generations. But he suggested an all-out victory against terrorism might not be possible.

The sad thing is that President Bush was correct and said pretty much what then Senator Kerry said:

President George W Bush launched another offensive against Senator John Kerry’s credentials as commander-in-chief yesterday for saying he wanted to get to a point at which terrorism was merely a “nuisance”.
Mr Bush’s campaign staff seized on remarks Mr Kerry made to the New York Times magazine to accuse him of gravely underestimating the terrorist threat.
Asked what it would it take for Americans to feel safe again, the Democratic candidate drew on his experiences as a prosecutor in the 1970s to give a far less stark view of the threat than Mr Bush.
‘We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,” he said.
“I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling.
“But we’re going to reduce it, organised crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day.”
Bush supporters saw the remarks as a gift as the president rams home his message that Mr Kerry is not tough enough to lead the fight against terrorism.

Don’t you love it: each side attacked the other side for saying…well, pretty much the same thing. :-)

Campaign season. Expect it.

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Warm walk..but better this time

It was humid: 79 F, 82 percent at the start, 85 F, 69 percent at the end. But I walked my Cornstalk 8.1 plus 2 more (extra double back from Main/Parkside down to lower Bradley Park and one non-cornstalk loop) in 2:15:48 (roughly 10.1-10.2 miles); my 8.1 segment was 1:48:42 (54:57/53:54), 2 miler was 27:06 and the finishing 1.03 was 12:39. My knees: probably not 100 percent legal, but they were not terrible either.

Weight: 188.5 prior (after really drinking a lot), 182.0 after. That is about right for me; 2 hours of moderate aerobic activity sweats off about 6.5 pounds. Hard activity: 9 pounds (as I did at Steamboat).

July 28, 2015 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Can you spot it? (fun)


Click the photo for the solution if you give up. It is fun.

July 28, 2015 Posted by | humor | , , | Leave a comment

The ridiculous and the serious

Remember the “catcall video”? Well the woman who did it was only paid 200 dollars for it…and now she is angry and so is suing. Evidently she thinks that walking around in painted on jeans is worth 500K. :-)

FAIL Straight pride. Yes, there was a “straight pride” rally. ONE person showed up.

I don’t know the full story here, but evidently some people in pick up trucks with confederate flags went past a kid’s birthday party and yelled racial slurs. What came before that is in dispute; those in the trucks said that those in the party threw rocks at them…and in the process of swerving, one truck got a flat tire and they had to stop.

The more serious
Mike Huckabee jumped the shark with his “Israel to the doors of the oven” comment (re: Iran deal)

So, is he toast, or will he surge in the Republican polls the way that Donald Trump did?

July 28, 2015 Posted by | huckabee | , , | Leave a comment

Not used to a big lunch

I filled in to teach a class today..and then went to swim:

500 free, 250 of back/fly, 150 of side, 100 IM, 4 x (100 free, 100 pull, 100 fins)
Then weights:

pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (stronger than I had anticipated), super sets with
military (machine, 10 x 100 each arm)
rows( machine, 10 x 110)
rotator cuff

Then incline presses: 10 x 135, 10 x 135, 5 x 135 (quit as I was getting tight)

But when I went home, Barbara’s cleaning woman was still there (she had started late), so I walked to the Vietnamese place for a buffet lunch.
It was good, but it was also more food than I was used to.
So when I tried to concentrate on a work topic…..zzzzzzz……and I ended up checking Facebook about 50 times…

There is a reason I eat a light lunch on most days.

FAIL I was looking at a math book (for a class that I am teaching) and read the phrase “…. i(t) = a(t) -a(t-1) for integral t \geq 0 ” and I didn’t quite get the word “integral” (I had just taught calculus…) until my colleague patiently reminded me of the phrase “for integral multiples of \pi

“slow brain + heavy lunch” = “embarrassing fails”.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | mathematics, swimming, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Primary Season is coming up…

Yes, I know; it is still a few months off. Voters are gradually starting to pay attention. Yes, despite a “Sanders surge”, Clinton still leads by a wide margin with her biggest favorable ratings coming among liberal Democrats (81 percent) and non-white Democrats (80 percent). It will be tough for her to crack 50 percent nationally as we are so polarized. BUT President Obama won with similar approval ratings in 2012. Yes, he was the incumbent

The schedule is a bit later than it was in 2008.

Ironically, I see more opposition to Hillary Clinton coming from the left than from the right! Now of course, that reflects my friends list; those who are really into politics ..the most passionate tend to be a bit more extremist ideologically pure and would therefore see her as being too “corporate friendly” and too “hawkish”. I do have a few Facebook friends who are politically conservative but not nearly as many.

As far as the other candidates: I do like James Webb, though I wouldn’t mind him on the ticket as a VP. He is too conservative for my tastes so I wouldn’t want him driving the agenda at the top of the ticket. But he appears to be knowledgeable and level headed.

Now it is too early to start betting, but here are what the betting lines say:


At the party level, you have to bet 11 dollars to win 8 if you bet on the Democrats, and you have to bet 4 dollars to win 5 if you bet on the Republicans (that is, the Democrats are a modest favorite). Individually, Hillary Clinton is even money; Jeb Bush is “bet 2 to win 7″ and is the highest rated Republican. Rubio is a 10-1 long shot, Walker 16 to 1 and Sanders 18 to 1.

From here.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

KO’ed by heat…

Bottom line: I slept in too late and started too late. My plan was to get 3:30 outside and 1:30 inside (air conditioning).

I did the first part; 13.7 miles in roughly 3:30 (walking); 1:02 for the first 4 miles then on the track (8.4 miles, 2.1 per section): 30:38, 30:32, 30:28, 31:34 (dying), then I limped home with my tail between my legs. BUT, there is no reason I can’t try again on Tuesday..this time GET UP EARLY and go at a medium pace. My “track” miles, while not fast, were too tough for me given that these were 2.1 mile segments.

I did see Tracy and Larry while I was out there and I also saw a big red tailed hawk and smelled a skunk (could have done without that).

Temperature: started off at 81 F, 72 percent humidity and ended at 82 F, 69 percent. Gag.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

It takes 3 outs to end an inning…

Great Peoria Chiefs game tonight!

Chiefs are down 2-1 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9’th inning and no one on base; the relief pitcher got the first batter to ground out and struck out the second batter.

Then a double…and a pinch runner for the hulking first baseman who doubled.
Double! The runner scores and it is now 2-2, but still 2 outs.
Walk. Now runners on 1’st and second.
LONG SINGLE (double really) to win the game 3-2!!!

Since the Cougars were leading the Midwest league, the Chiefs go crazy; that is their second win in a row against this team.

Awkward: I was with my running buddy Tracy (with Barbara’s blessing) and we got featured on the “Kiss Cam”. So, a slight turn of the head for a respectable “peck” on the cheek saved the situation.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | baseball | , | Leave a comment


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