Confederate Flag Rallies vs. 2008 voting shift

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a map of past and future Confederate flag rallies. Seeing this reminded me of the 2008 New York Times presidential election map; the map (under “shift”) tracks the shift to or from the Democratic candidate in 2004. That is, if a county is colored blue, Obama got a greater share than Kerry did in that county; if the county is colored red, McCain got a greater share in 2008 than Bush got in 2004.

So I took the liberty of comparing the two maps:


Interesting, no?

July 23, 2015 Posted by | 2008 Election, political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

A very silly video from me…

February 2, 2014 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama | | Leave a comment

Photo/Cartoon Saturday


Ironically, from this angle, this could be Barbara and me, though both of us are slightly wider than Secretary Clinton and President Obama respectively.

Yes, I am hearing “Hillary 2016” and I have mixed feelings. Yes, if I were appointing the next President, I’d probably pick her. But she ran a horrible 2008 primary campaign; she managed to squander a huge lead in the polls and in money and her husband did her no favors. My worry is that she’d get out-campaigned in the general election.


I find this interesting. There is a group of people that Paul Krugman calls “The Very Serious People”. To be one of these you need to:
1. go along with the conventional wisdom and
2. be completely wrong most of the time and
3. claim that the “smart people” would have also been wrong.

Think: Iraq (WMD?), the economy, the election (“razor tight”, they kept saying even though the nerds and hippies were right….AGAIN).


Yep…keep it up Republicans. :-)


I made 9 on this list. Talk about misusing the apostrophe! I admit that I still don’t understand what “fullutent” is….”falutin”, or someone who is…gassy? :-)


Even stone guys are…guys. :-)

February 2, 2013 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, big butts, bikinis, hillary clinton, human sexuality, political humor, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Barack Obama’s America: in the mold of fundamentalist “doomsday/second coming” type films

Since Mr. D’Souza spends much of his time interviewing talking heads who either provide little data or misleading data…I’ll go ahead and give my summary opinion on his movie. Then I’ll follow with detailed comments, with references.

Do you remember movies aimed at Evangelical Christians; remember the doomsday/second coming time films such as The Late, Great Planet Earth? The formula: take a smattering of facts out of context, build a “hey, it could be this way, you know” framework that is designed to appeal to an anti-intellectual evangelical Christian audience (“see, just like the Bible says!…It fits! Oh, I NOW UNDERSTAND things so much better!”).

Well, that is the formula for Dinesh D’Souza’s film 2016: Obama’s America. It has very little fact in it; it is mostly a stream of baseless conjectures and mangled factoids which seek to, well, not so much to critique what President Obama has actually done (the way that Fahrenheit 9-11 did with President Bush) nor to report what Obama aides said (the way that Game Change did for Sarah Palin). The idea is to “prove” that Obama is, well, unAmerican…..well, let me correct that: to reinforce the prejudices that the Fox News watchers already have of Obama. Note: right win delusions of Obama’s policies are taken as “facts” throughout; the rest is a collection of people giving their opinions followed by D’Souza proudly waving his prize overhead.

Ultimately, it reminds me a bit of this:

Playing chess with a pigeon

When you try to play chess with a pigeon, it gets on the board, knocks over the pieces, poops all over the board and then struts around with its chest out.

That is pretty much what D’Souza does here.

Details about the movie:

First 10 minutes: Mr. D’Souza spends time talking about himself; he describes why he found life in India (at that time) constraining and the opportunities he found in the United States; he also describes his own ascent into the Republican ranks.

He is setting up a contrast, I am sure.

Next, he talks about President Obama’s “strange” actions: returning a country’s property to them (routinely done; the bust of Churchill was scheduled for return prior to Obama taking office), helping rid the world of Gaddafi, not going to war (?), negotiating the rough waters of the Arab Spring, trying to get better relations with the Muslim world (oh noes, not that!) and not blindly siding with Israel on every issue at every time (something many Jews don’t do). This is the “straw man” part.

Now he says: “hey Obama wrote a book”, called Dreams From my Father. He did, and I read it. It is mostly about his journey to Harvard Law School; he does describe a visit to Kenya and he talks about the pain of growing up without his biological father. So, you see…the logical conclusion for Mr. D’Souza is, well….Obama got his world view from his dad…someone who was almost totally absent in his upbringing (save a visit and some correspondence). He didn’t grow up around him, and yet he is supposed to be his major influence? Seriously.

Oh, he talks to a psychologist and he hears: “oh he could have been a positive presence”. But nothing ties his father’s political ideas and world views with President Obama’s views.

Then D’Souza starts to “trace out” where Obama lived….to prove what I don’t know. He does talk about anti-colonialism that he felt while growing up in India and tried to make the connection with Obama growing up (partially) in Indonesia…as a US Citizen with a white American mother….ok…
He then claims that young Barack was sent from Indonesia to Hawaii by his mother to “escape (his stepfather’s) pro-western influence”. Huh??? Going to live with white Americans in America is “escaping a pro-western influence”? (Barack Obama was actually discussing his step-dad’s CORRUPTION and going along with it…not being “western”) He talks about his dad’s influence in that his dad was held up as an example of…wait for it…someone who was honest???? Oh noes, not that!

Then it mentions that young Barack was introduced to Frank Davis and spent time with him. How dangerous was Mr. Davis? He was put on a watch list by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI (like, say, M. L. King or any number of others?) (eyeroll)

He then quotes a snippet in which Barack talks about his undergraduate days at Occidental college; this wasn’t meant to be “look at how great I was” but rather a description of a growth phase (he also talks about smoking cigarettes and grinding them into the carpet, and a lot of stuff that wasn’t intended to paint him as being praiseworthy at that time).

But now Mr. D’Souza is going to try to “learn more about Obama Sr.”; it turs out that…..wait for it…young Barack had an idealized view of his dad? Wow..very unusual indeed.

(fortunately I am about half way through this dreary film…)

Now we have some Kenyan footage. D’Souza finds someone who lives there (and probably have far less access to daily US News) to say that Barack Obama’s views are similar to his father’s, and of course he talks to the obligatory ….ooooohhh….”leftist radical”. What this has to do with President Obama, I am unsure of.

He talks about President Obama’s tax policy and tells how his dad made a statement “theoretically….” (the government could tax 100 percent of income) and then goes on to say “is this what President Obama means when he talks about “fair share”?

Oh dear. Clinton tax rates for those making 250K and up is 100 percent? This is the classic “lying while not making a false statement” tactic.

1. We are two thirds of the way through this dreadfully bad film and
2. We now “know”, from….uh…I am not sure what…listening to what other people said?…that President Obama is an anti-American communist!!!!

Now we get to the “how did then candidate Obama win election” and we get well, first the data-free, fact-free opinion of a talking head who purports to know what Obama voters thought…based on…..well, nothing.

There is the scene in which Hillary Clinton (as a candidate) knock’s Obama’s naiveness ….but it was a naiveness based on…..Obama believing that Republicans would work with him! :-)

Then there is the focus on “white people voting for Obama” when in fact, he lost the white vote both times and was voted in largely on the strength of racial minorities. (43 percent of the white vote in 2008, and MUCH less in the deep south (surprise!)).

Now we get the “Obama’s terrorist pals”; you’ve heard these before. And yes, Reverend Wright. His “God damn America” was really part of a sermon in which he reminded people that, in the Bible, God’s blessings were conditional and based on whether Israel lived up to God’s standards. When it didn’t, God allowed for Israel to be defeated and occupied (that is much of what Jeremiah is about).

I think that President Obama addressed this rather well; he mentioned that Rev. Wright didn’t see America’s ability to change from what it once was. He said so in public. Oh well. He describes Wright saying that he was “offered 150K to shut up” (D’Souza did NOT say that Obama or the Obama campaign made the offer).

Now to policy: not go ahead with the pipeline? Well, maybe it is a bad idea? Not opening our coastline to new drilling? It would be years before any potential gas price benefit would be realized…and frankly I’d rather not have another BP fiasco here.

Health care bill? You mean the one that the Heritage Foundation came up with? (that is what Obamacare was modeled after; it was presented to President Clinton by Senator Dole as a compromise in 1993.).

And then he talks about Obama sympathizing with Muslim terrorists (Bin Laden? Drone strikes? Killing TOO MANY terrorists, according to some Republicans?)

And oh yes, Obama is taking down our capitalist society:

S&P500 Since December_0

(note: click on the link; it talks about how, while we are no longer shedding jobs the way we were under President Bush, are are barely above break even in terms of new jobs keeping up with new job seekers:


Jobs Since 2007 vs Population vs Labor Force_0

So my link does NOT see things through rose colored glasses; far from it. Back to the movie:

He shows some criticism of his “work”; he says “I’m a college president”. :-) Technically, true AT THAT TIME….of some outfit called “The King’s College”.


And his prediction about spending money “as if the deficit didn’t matter”….well, someone who knows something about economics says that is a bunch of BS. But hey, Paul Krugman only has a Nobel Prize in economics, so what does he know? :-)

Then he slams Obama for dreaming of a nuclear free world! Guess who else had such a dream and wanted it badly?

Nuclear weapons-free world: a vision of Kennedy, Reagan, Obama

Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, and now, Obama all envisioned a world free of nuclear weapons. The US-Russian START accord, announced Friday, is a next step in that direction, experts say.

Oh yes, the “reach out to the Islamic world”. He quotes Obama’s Cairo speech and shows the part where “all too often, Mulsim nations were treated by proxies…”. True enough, but they were mostly treated by the Russians that way; Obama was NOT specifically talking about the United States at that moment.

A weakened America now permits the rise of “The United States of Islam” (complete with map!) composed of countries who, well…often hate each other (Sunni and Shitte countries in the same “United States of Islam? Must be news to them…)

Then comes the oh-so-scary US debt graph…in absolute dollars instead of “percentage of GDP” (yes, our GDP is growing and therefore our capacity to handle debt…and yes, maintaining an unnecessarily large military and nuclear arsenal is expensive, no?)

Cure to a talking head complaining about the national debt (not putting it in percentage of GDP terms), children’s choir rehearsing for an Obama event and Obama’s Denver speech….and the usual “the future is in your hands”.

And thankfully, the film is over.

Update: here is a review that is spot on.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, Barack Obama, movies, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | 1 Comment

Engineering, Fake Math and Republican attempts to steal political power.

President Obama: fights for a couple of nominees:

Hey engineers: President Obama says “stay with it!”! (about 1 minute)

Fake math papers Yep, another gets published. I should compile a list of these journals. :-)

Robert Reich: warns us of bad arguments to come with respect to entitlement reform (5 minutes)

And no, the spending growth rate, if anything, is flat, not increasing. Sure, it is growing, AS IS OUR POPULATION.

They are going to try to rewrite election rules in order to try to win the 2016 Presidential election despite getting fewer votes. No, their plan wouldn’t have worked in 2008; even by Congressional District, President Obama won handily.

But that wouldn’t have been true in 2012.

What a crock. It is bad enough that Republicans are overrepresented in the Senate because the large, but sparsely populated rural states get the same number of senators as larger states. In the House, the Republicans got fewer votes than the Democrats but still control; part of it is gerrymandering and part of it is the “large rural areas” getting overrepresented (if one goes per capita) as opposed to the urban areas with higher population density.

This is ridiculous.

January 26, 2013 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, Barack Obama, economy, mathematics, politics, politics/social, republicans, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Intrade and Iowa Market Histories: 2004, 2008


Here you can watch the Intrade map change day by day up until election day.

Iowa Electronic Markets

This year’s election looks more like 2004 than 2008.

October 13, 2012 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election | Leave a comment

Two Books: Carter’s “Peace is Possible in the Holy Land” and McGinniss’ “The Rogue”

President Carter’s book
Here is an excerpt and here is a good review.

My take: the story was interesting; it gives a good synopsis of the problem and provides some of the details of the Camp David accord which lead to some Nobel Peace Prizes and peace between Egypt and Israel (who had fought several wars).

Also, Carter points out that the sides are not that far apart on the issues and gives a straight forward way forward…though this proposal is nothing new.

Alas, the irony here is that President Carter has “Holy Land” in his title and that is a big part of the problem. You have two populations of roughly the same size in one region…but unfortunately these people are hung up over the claim to the same set of ruins and rock piles…deemed to be “holy” by their texts of superstitions and myths.

I’ve never seen a better display of the toxicity of religion.

Joe McGinniss’s book on Sarah Palin
Ok, I picked this up at the used book store in the Lakeview Museum as I waited for the Venus transit.

Here is a good review.

What it is: basically, McGinniss interviewed a bunch of people about Sarah Palin and complied what they said. Sure, it was “fun” in a gossipy sort of way, but that is what it struck me as: gossip. Sure, there were some solid details on her service on the Alaska energy commission (it was a farce, but we already knew that), that she overreached in her trooper scandal (old news) and that she used her family as a prop (duh) and that she sunk her political career when she made the Gabriel Giffords assassination attempt about her.

But we knew all that. What is new: some say that she was a bad mother and uninterested in her kids, and he gave a long account about Trig’s birth…and wondered why the media didn’t examine that “story” more carefully.

I’ll let David Corn say what was on my mind:

McGinniss also does a fine job dissecting Palin’s associations with extreme Christian fundamentalism—territory other authors have previously excavated. Palin ran for mayor of Wasilla with one public issue: more bike paths. But McGinniss shows how her real agenda was to transform her town into an enclave of evangelism. When she campaigned for governor, McGinnis writes, “the hardest job her staff had was to keep her quiet about her religious beliefs.” He reports that after being elected governor she fired a group of minority state employees who had worked on her campaign. An aide (named) says, “Sarah just isn’t comfortable in the presence of dark-skinned people.” But what about Glen Rice?

Virtually anything negative one can say about a person who is not a murderer or genocidal war criminal is said about Palin in this book. Of course, that doesn’t make it untrue. Yet as I trekked along on McGinniss’ unrelenting death march to the bowels of Palin’s supposedly dark soul, at times I almost felt sorry for her. How many backstabbing “friends” can one person have? (One “friend” told McGinniss of a snowmobile trip that included both Todd and Sarah and allegedly involved a cocaine binge.) And how much wrath does any biographic subject deserve? At times, I wanted to reach for the hand sanitizer.

McGinniss is a journalist with a long, storied, and controversial career. Dialing back on the Palin-slamming might have yielded a better book—especially considering his run-in (or feud) with the Palin clan. The Rogue is must-cringe reading. It’s a book that puzzles as much as it enlightens. There’s a fine line between “wow!” and “really?”—and McGinniss is working both sides of that divide.

Too many times, McGinniss wrote out the conclusion for the reader instead of letting the reader make his/her own. The book sure read like a hatchet job and I am no more enlightened after reading the book than prior to reading it.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | 2008 Election, books, politics, sarah palin, world events | Leave a comment

Those EMOTIONAL women…

I’m not sure, but while teaching class, I couldn’t wait for lunchtime to get here. I ate my normal lunch, but there are days when I am a total chow-hound.


I find it interesting that so many conservatives think that climate scientists (and life scientists for that matter) are involved in some grand conspiracy to “hide the truth”.


Ok this is supposed to be about politics. But I forgot that there were sexy women in the pre-spandex era too. :)

Rick Santorum: this is a nice piece on his religious delusions:

More than any major candidate in recent times, Mr. Santorum has derogated the federal government on religious grounds. On issue after issue, from education to the environment to health care, he has not only disagreed with decades of federal policy, but has accused those who implement it of a conscious and deliberate effort to destroy the foundations of faith.

After weeks of railing about the Obama administration’s mandate for free birth control as religious oppression, he upped the ante on Saturday and said the same thing about pre-natal testing, which has saved the lives of countless mothers and babies. For Mr. Santorum, of course, it’s all about abortion, limiting the rights of women, and the possibility that parents will abort a fetus if they discover a grave birth defect. But health experts know that testing can make a huge difference in safe deliveries and healthy infants.

To cite just one example, a test for sexually transmitted diseases in pregnant women can allow doctors to treat a fetus for syphilis in the womb before it is born. Many states require such tests, and the reasons the Obama administration has required insurance policies to cover it for free are almost too obvious to state.

But for Mr. Santorum it is just another example of what he dared to describe as Mr. Obama’s “phony theology.”

“It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” he said in Ohio, referring to what he called the president’s imposition of his ideas on churches. “Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”

Because Mr. Obama cares about public health, like most presidents and governors and mayors and lawmakers, he builds his public policy on the recommendations of scientists and medical experts. That infuriates those, like Mr. Santorum, who say that divine law should come first.

Those who say that religion is harmless are wrong. Yes, there are religious people (Catholics even) who strongly disagree with Mr. Santorum. But they disagree with him mostly because they’ve learned how to either disregard or rationalize away the more noxious elements of their “faith”.

OH, those EMOTIONAL women

A conservative woman says that most women vote Democratic because they can’t “think about the issues” and instead react emotionally.

Oh dear…where to begin to counter this nonsense….

First consider Rick Santorum’s religious ranting. Is this rational? (no, it isn’t).

Consider Pat Buchanan and his self-pity party for getting fired from MSNBC for his “apartheid like” vision for the United States. (side note: google Pat Buchanan lashes out…you’ll find links to Stormfront )

Consider these intellectual giants:

Jim Inhofe

Joe Shimkus

Oh, Paul Ryan is a serious person with serious economic ideas….and his economic plan….complicated…and has some interesting assumptions:

If Rep. Paul Ryan’s newly unveiled 2012 budget is signed into law, this is what Ryan’s economic forecasters say will happen: The unemployment rate will plunge by 2.5 percentage points. The still-sinking housing market will roar back in a brand new boom. The federal government will collect $100 billion more in income tax revenues than it otherwise would have.

And that’s just in the first year. By 2015, the forecasters say, unemployment will fall to 4 percent. By 2021, it will be a nearly unprecedented 2.8 percent.

The tax and spending roadmap put forth Tuesday morning by Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who heads the House Budget Committee, is backed by a set of extremely optimistic assumptions about how the budget would stimulate private investment, hiring, and broad economic growth.

Where would that spectacular growth come from? Based on an analysis provided to Ryan by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, it would come from the liberating effects of lower taxes and less government debt.

But the forecasted growth is so high that it falls on the outer edge of what most economists say is plausible—or even desirable—for the next decade.

And what about the Republicans overall?

These emotional women just can’t handle the intellectual ideas put forth by geniuses such as these. :)

Parting shot: too funny!

February 20, 2012 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, environment, political humor, political/social, politics, religion, republicans | 3 Comments

Some cartoons on atheism….

Workout notes
Low key lower body weights (3 sets of adduction, abduction, push backs), rotator cuff (pulley, dumbbells), 4 x 30 sit ups (varied the incline), 3 sets of hip hikes/lunges.

Then swimming: lazy 1000 to warm up (19:40), then 10 x 100 free on the 2: (1:44, 44, 44, 44, 44, 43, 42, 42, 42, 42) or 1:43.1 average. Then 100 back, 100 side to cool down.


This poster: yes, Bertrand Russell described himself as an agnostic, but the point of this is that, at times, I think that I have something important to say when in fact I am just entertaining myself on the internet. When I do my serious thinking, I am doing mathematics. Hence the two photos (“what I think I do” and “what I do” are funny).

This one is good because of the top row and the bottom left photos. The middle bottom and the right bottom: not so much. My atheism really hasn’t affected my social life at all; mostly I associate with people who share a common interest (endurance sports, politics, science/mathematics) and atheism is common in the latter category and not at all controversial.

Yeah, I roll my eyes when politicians (of ALL parties) keep referring to the Sky Daddy, but the following is acceptable to me:

In short, if you feel that the way to keep a bridge from falling is to design it properly and do the required upkeep, then you are ok with me. If you think that the way to keep it up is to pray to keep it from falling….THAT I have a problem with. :)

February 17, 2012 Posted by | 2008 Election, atheism, social/political, superstition, swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Don’t Worry: “Mitt’s got this”…

Workout notes 4 mile walk on the track: 13:38, 12:18 (alternate harder and easier 200 m laps), 10:04, 9:43 for 45:44. Then I did a few hip hikes and then swam 1800 yards.

Swim: 500 easy (free), 5 x 100 on the 2:10 (25 fly, 75 free), 5 x 100 on the 2:10 (25 free, 25 back, 50 free), 100 (25 fly), 100 (25 back), 100 free.

As far as the walk, I admit that the local ROTC unit was working out and I wanted to pass (and lap) some of their “runners”. I caught a couple of females but couldn’t quite close the deal with some of the slower males; I was close on that last mile though.

The young “military” types aren’t what they used to be.

Yesterday morning, I got the following from the Romney campaign:


Please see below a memo from our Political Director Rich Beeson, “The Road Ahead – A Reality Check.”

Some quick takeaways:

No delegates are being selected today. The delegate count tomorrow morning will remain the same as it is today. Gov. Romney has a significant delegate lead – he is the only candidate to have earned delegates in every available contest.

Missouri is strictly a beauty contest (see ABC News: “Why Missouri Is Holding a ‘Meaningless’ Primary”). The primary being held today is completely divorced from any delegate allocation, and Missouri will hold an entirely separate caucus next month. We plan to compete in the actual Missouri contest in March.

As our campaign has said from the outset, Mitt Romney is not going to win every contest. John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents will notch a few wins, too. But unlike the other candidates, our campaign has the resources and organization to keep winning over the long run. A winning conservative message, hard work, and old-fashioned delegate math will win this race for Governor Romney.

Matt Rhoades

The memo explains why Mr. Romney is better positioned to win most of the delegates.

Yes, I remember back in 2008 when some were questioning why Mr. Obama couldn’t “close the deal” after he lost some of the later primaries (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Dakota). But remember that he was losing to Hilary Clinton; this was someone who had high name recognition, was quite popular and hardly broke.

Mr. Romney got creamed in three states by Rick Santorum….a lunatic who is all but completely out of money and backed by virtually no one in power. He lost his bid for reelection in the US Senate (2006) by 17 points.

Yes, Mr. Santorum is not a serious threat to Mr. Romney for the nomination, but this has to be embarrassing….at least for the moment.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, racewalking, republicans, swimming, walking | Leave a comment


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