blueollie

Amateur Hour …

Yes, there are many reasons that Donald Trump pulled out the 2016 election in the Electoral College. But, overall, the Republican voters stuck with the Republican; that was far and away the biggest factor. What one identifies with means more than anything else.

Oh yes, his campaign (at least certain members of it) did attempt to collude with Russia; they admitted as much. And just a small change in a handful of states could well have made the difference.

But one way or another, he “won”.

And so far, it has been terrible. Donald Trump clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. And yet, the Republicans in Congress support him, though they might make a “this is troubling” statement once in a while.

Workout notes weights only; I am kind of tired.
hip hikes, toe raises, goblet squats: 25, 25, 50, 50, 60, 60, 70, pull ups (5 sets of 10) bench presses: 10 x 135, 1 x 190, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military: seated: 15 x 55 dumbbell, standing: 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 200. rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 110 machine. abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. Fell over on head stand.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2016, political/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Did Trump outsmart Obama?

I read this article about how the Obama administration handled the Russian meddling in our election issue. Here is the Washington Post article on the subject.

The upshot: Obama found out, told the Russians to “cut it out”, they didn’t and the Obama administration responded weakly. Reason: remember Trump babbling about the “election being rigged” and the threats that he might not accept the results if he lost?

That put Obama between a rock and a hard place. If he went public, the Republicans would accuse him of “rigging the election” for Hillary; remember that one of the things that the Russians did was to spread false stories. But if he responded weakly…well, you see what happened.

So, he figured that Clinton would win anyway..and she didn’t (sort of).

Now Trump is crowing.

Now, in public, Trump denied that Russia was behind the hacking. But what if he knew that Russia was behind it (or even actively colluded, though we don’t have solid evidence of that as yet) and he judged that Obama’s sense of fairness (not wanting to appear to tip the election toward Clinton, which could have backfired) would make Obama respond weakly?

It could be that we got played.

June 25, 2017 Posted by | 2016, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Sticky place for Democrats

This isn’t yet another postmortem on the stinging Democratic defeat in 2016. But this is more about “how do we go forward”?

Yes, there is a lot of protest about Trump, but where does this protest come from? My guess: not from Trump voters. 🙂

So, one goes to the rust belt to talk things over with Democrats in power there. And they say the same thing: what national Democrats appear to care about is not what the local people care about:

But worst of all, they said, the party hadn’t learned from what they saw as the biggest message from November’s election: Democrats have fallen completely out of touch with America’s blue-collar voters.

“It doesn’t matter how much we scream and holler about jobs and the economy at the local level. Our national leaders still don’t get it,” said David Betras, the county’s party chair. “While Trump is talking about trade and jobs, they’re still obsessing about which bathrooms people should be allowed to go into.”

Others around the restaurant table nodded.

Since the election, Democrats have been swallowed up in an unending cycle of outrage and issues that have little to do with the nation’s working class, they said, such as women’s marches, fighting Trump’s refugee ban and advocating for transgender bathroom rights. […]

He warned Clinton that she had lost all credibility with working-class voters by waffling on trade and offering tepid solutions. He urged in his memo that she talk about infrastructure instead.

“The workers we’re talking about don’t want to run computers, they want to run back hoes, dig ditches, sling concrete block,” he wrote. “They’re not embarrassed about the fact that they get their hands dirty. . . . They love it and they want to be respected and honored for it.”

He sent his memo to Clinton’s top campaign adviser in Ohio and other senior party officials. But Betras never heard back.

Months later, he said he thinks his party leaders still haven’t gotten the message.

Yes, we get it. Making sure that “Loretta” can use the bathroom that, well “she” wants to use is not what is on most people’s minds..nor are women in pussy hats.

But wait…don’t Democrats push for…Medicaid expansion and minimum wage hikes, stuff that helps out those at the bottom of the economic ladder? Well:

Manly dignity is a big deal for most men. So is breadwinner status: Many still measure masculinity by the size of a paycheck. White working-class men’s wages hit the skids in the 1970s and took another body blow during the Great Recession. Look, I wish manliness worked differently. But most men, like most women, seek to fulfill the ideals they’ve grown up with. For many blue-collar men, all they’re asking for is basic human dignity (male varietal). Trump promises to deliver it.

The Democrats’ solution? Last week the New York Times published an article advising men with high-school educations to take pink-collar jobs. Talk about insensitivity. Elite men, you will notice, are not flooding into traditionally feminine work. To recommend that for WWC men just fuels class anger. […]

The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”

“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.

Understand Working-Class Resentment of the Poor
Remember when President Obama sold Obamacare by pointing out that it delivered health care to 20 million people? Just another program that taxed the middle class to help the poor, said the WWC, and in some cases that’s proved true: The poor got health insurance while some Americans just a notch richer saw their premiums rise.

And those who are genuinely poor: THEY DON’T WANT TO REMAIN POOR…they don’t want a minimum wage job. They want the jobs that Trump promised.

And here is the dilemma: those jobs are not coming back. Neither are those towns. Automation is not going away, and that is what is killing many jobs.

Example: now-a-days it takes a grand total of 30-35 man hours to produce a complete car:

When Harbour adds up all the man-hours it takes to build a car or truck, including stamping, assembly, engine and transmission manufacture, Hyundai was seventh of seven majors, at 35.1 hours per vehicle in North America. Ford Motor Company was sixth, at 33.88 hours, a 3.7-percent improvement over last year, Nissan was fifth, at an estimated 32.96 hours, or 8.8 percent more time than the previous year, and GM was fourth, at 32.29 hours, a 0.2-percent improvement. Honda was third, at 31.33 hours, a 2.3-percent improvement.

In 1932, it was 92 man-hours.

We simply do not need as many workers to do the same tasks.

So…what to do? The awful truth is that many of those who have lost those good blue collar jobs will either have to retrain for the jobs of today (IF they are capable of doing so) or…be poor.

Trump’s solution was to lie to them and it…just barely…worked.

What will our solution be?

April 6, 2017 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, economy, social/political | | Leave a comment

The unpopularity of the Democratic Party

Yes, President Trump has historically low approval ratings (for it being this early in his administration).

That is undeniable. (this graph is via Gallup).

But ..the Democratic party...rates even LOWER

Of course, the Bernie Bros are claiming “see, you need to become more like Bernie” and they cite articles like this one:

But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.

Huge grassroots movements, made up of millions and millions of people, are fueling the fight for a $15 minimum wage, fighting back against fossil fuels and the Dakota Access Pipeline, fighting to end fracking, fighting to remove lobbyist money from politics, fighting to end senseless wars and international violence, fighting for universal healthcare, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, fighting for free college tuition, fighting against systems of mass incarceration, and so much more. But mainstream Democrats aren’t really a central part of any of those battles, and, to be clear, each of those issues have deep networks, energized volunteers, and serious donors, but corporate Democrats virtually ignore them.

In the past two months, I’ve spoken in a dozen states around the country and thousands of people show up. Wednesday night, in the freezing rain, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks to attend an event I was hosting at a local Seattle high school. We literally formed the event a few days ago on Facebook and didn’t spend a single penny putting it together.

This is a breath-taking amount of ignorance. Yes, “activists” really love those things and have energy. But a tiny percentage of people can be a lot of people in a country of 320 million. That, by no stretch of the imagination, translates into something the electorate will rally around.

Riddle me this: how did left wingers do in the past election? Example: Russ Feingold lost by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton did in Wisconsin.

While left wing populism might be very inspirational to a small percentage of the population, it really isn’t a winning political coalition:

On November 20, less than two weeks after Donald Trump’s upset win, Bernie Sanders strode onto a stage at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center to give the sold-out audience his thoughts on what had gone so disastrously wrong for the Democratic Party.

Sanders had a simple answer. Democrats, he said, needed to field candidates who would unapologetically promise that they would be willing “to stand up with the working class of this country and … take on big-money interests.”

Democrats, in other words, would only be able to defeat Trump and others like him if they adopted an anti-corporate, unabashedly left-wing policy agenda. The answer to Trump’s right-wing populism, Sanders argued, was for the left to develop a populism of its own.

That’s a belief widely shared among progressives around the world. A legion of commentators and politicians, most prominently in the United States but also in Europe, have argued that center-left parties must shift further to the left in order to fight off right-wing populists such as Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen. Supporters of these leaders, they argue, are motivated by a sense of economic insecurity in an increasingly unequal world; promise them a stronger welfare state, one better equipped to address their fundamental needs, and they will flock to the left.

“[It’s] a kind of liberal myth,” Pippa Norris, a Harvard political scientist who studies populism in the United States and Europe, says of the Sanders analysis. “[Liberals] want to have a reason why people are supporting populist parties when their values are so clearly against progressive values in terms of misogyny, sexism, racism.”

The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighborhoods or competing with them for jobs.

Yeah, left wing populism and a focus on the poor and economic injustice may have worked…in 1932 when unemployment was at 25 percent!

But the reality is:

1. Most do not care all that much about the Dakota Access Pipeline
2. Most have little in common with those who are at risk of losing their Obamacare insurance (and many of these ignorant jackasses voted for Trump)
3. Most of us earn well above the minimum wage
4. Most are not Muslim and most do not have Muslim friends
5. Most of us do not care whether someone is offended by someone else using the “wrong” pronoun.
6. Most of us did not go out and have a bunch of kids that we could not afford to raise.

In fact, much of left wing populism appears to be a transfer of money from those who have achieved to “the unworthy”.

Oh, there are many good reasons for those programs; I happen to believe that wealth trickles up through the economy and NOT down; when the bottom of the economic ladder is better off, the rest of us are are better off. Personally, I want more people to be able to afford to send their kids to my university and to patronize the neighborhood businesses. There is evidence that poor kids that get SNAP do better than those who don’t.

But that is a difficult sell, especially to people like me, who have been raised on The Ant and the Grasshopper.

But there is more from the Vox article quoted above:

When Corbyn took control of Labour leadership last September, UKIP — Britain’s far-right, anti-EU party — had been in decline, netting around 10 percent in the Britain Elects poll aggregator. By the June 2016 Brexit vote over whether to leave the EU, UKIP’s numbers had risen to a little over 15 percent.

Corbyn and Labour publicly supported staying in the EU, but didn’t campaign for it particularly hard. It may not have mattered: Eric Kaufmann, a professor at the University of London who studies populism, looked at what Brexit voters said were the “most important” issues facing the UK. More than 40 percent said immigration; a scant 5 percent said “poverty and inequality.”

According to Kaufmann, this reflects an uncomfortable truth: The kind of voter who’s attracted to the far right just doesn’t care a whole lot about inequality and redistribution, Corbyn’s signature issues. Tacking left to win them over, as Corbyn has, is “a bad idea,” he told me in a phone conversation.

Yes, this is the United States, not the UK. But:

This, they hypothesized, was not an accident. People are only willing to support redistribution if they believe their tax dollars are going to people they can sympathize with. White voters, in other words, don’t want to spend their tax dollars on programs that they think will benefit black or Hispanic people.

The United States is marked by far more racial division than its European peers. Poverty, in the minds of many white Americans, is associated with blackness. Redistribution is seen through a racial lens as a result. The debate over welfare and taxes isn’t just about money, for these voters, but rather whether white money should be spent on nonwhites. “Hostility between races limits support for welfare,” Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote conclude flatly in the paper.

Now, it’s been a decade and a half since this paper was published, so it’s possible the evidence has shifted. I called up Sacerdote to ask him whether any subsequent research has caused him to change his mind. His answer was firmly negative. “It’s almost sad that it’s held up so well,” he told me.

And I see it as being grimmer than this.

Take public education. One would expect teachers to have to have a basic standard of literacy, right? Well, in New York, the public education establishment is about to do away with a literacy test for teachers because…too many minorities are not passing the test!

New York state is poised to scrap a literacy test for people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing.

The state Board of Regents on Monday is expected to adopt the recommendation of a task force to eliminate the exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test.

Critics of the exam said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms.

Just 46 percent of Hispanic and 41 percent of black test takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates.

The test was among four assessments for prospective teachers introduced in the 2013-2014 school year.

(note to conservatives who might be laughing: I hope you are equally outraged at attempts to give creationism “equal time” in science curricula).

And so it goes. It is bad enough that we have racism in our population, but then we go and lead with our chin with stupid stuff like this. Guess whose kids those illiterate teachers will be teaching?

Workout notes: home treadmill (snow outside): 10 minute jog, then 50 minutes of “quick walking”; 5 miles in just about 1 hour (maybe 1:00:20 or so).

March 13, 2017 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, political/social, politics, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

My 2016 in review, in pictures…

First, my review, in words (just a brief summary)

Athletics: swimming stopped at the end of April with a pop in the shoulder and I haven’t gotten back into the water.
Running/walking: running and walking miles: 2046. That is the most miles I’ve had in a year since 2008.
Performance: dismal. 38 miles in the “24 hour” at FANS (36 in the first 10 hours) 25:50, and one 25:59 for 5K. Marathon: one hot weather DNF at mile 20 and 5:52 on a very humid day.
Weights: got 205 on the bench press (at 197 bodyweight); missed at 210. Trying to add leg work.

Professional: no new publications, though I do have one in the process of getting written up. I got promoted.

Social: see the photos; I got to know some old friends better, and had one new friendship develop. Watched a ton of baseball games (Peoria Chiefs), football (mostly Illinois, but some Illinois State and one Western Illinois game), 2 Bears and 2 Colts games; with one more Colt game to go and I went to a bowl game.

Goals for 2017: finish my professional project and submit it for publication. Read a book on “advanced differential equations”. Run a sub 25:30 5K and then sub 25. Break 8 minutes for the mile run. Finish a marathon.

Photos
I started this practice in 2015. I will not caption these photos; I want to see what I can remember. Note: though it is clear what are the most important things in my life: daughter, wife, job, health, much of what I think about and have feelings about might not be “that important” as far as being essential to my survival or to the health and well being of my closest loved ones. But I am human…and I suppose that our memories are not always about the most *important* aspects of our lives.

Not every photo (or meme) is from the exact time of the event, but rather might be representative of the said event.

January

tracyandme

siuhalftime

whatglobalwarming

coldrun

ourventjan20162

oureventjan2016

February

cherrycokefortracy

heishotterthani

entrance

books

lindaoffice

annsoffice

lunchdate

babsbeach

bernieevent

mewithbernie

southcarolina

odds16february

valentinesdaybahhumbug

barbara and linda

riverplexsheridannorthmoreviatowerandgooseloop

lessonlearned

11110179_1647276128842363_5902012784986726494_n

decjimangel

sickthanksobama

lynnandmeone

lynnwithlou

catarina

fullprofapplication

March

kynnandne

thewholegang

oliviamemarch2016

oliviamemarch20162

cidna20164

mach19win5k

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-16-28-pm

matbigdatalecture

April

bubaseball2

bubaseball3

houseriverboredomplusloop16.3

chiefsapril2016

runtoremember2016

runtoremember20167

runtorem20166

justabitfurther

May
bubaseballapril30

schoolday1

amithaold

21may2016chiefsgame

bazu-8364122

bazu-8364559

June

twinsgame1

earlymilesfans2016

fasterwalkingfans2016

fansscroingcrewjune2016

chiefs10june

chiefsgamesteamboat2016
babs4milejune2016

youcantbeserious

PENTAX Image

cassieandme

135446-598-001h

wheredideveryonego

bazu-8625850

tinwhiteshorts

July
babspathyams

BUCKY

olivialbj

austinnewboardwalk

july8pearce

carmenbaseballgamenotwithyou

tracymegamejuly2016

18julychiefs2

barbarasuit1

barbarasuit2

bunchpool

August

metheoldgoat

oldgrouchselfie

chiefsrainbow

poll bounce

horribletraffic

clippersgame

columbus

mathfest2

goodcrowd

ohiostadium1

huntingtonpark2

tandme

annbabsoliviaaug2016

buckynomnom

oliviahouse

officeone

august2016start

zoorun2016

ZOORUN2016WOMENBACK

doubleheaderhomer

babstracyaugust2016

greeteventaugust2016

stillmadbroaugust23

September

homerandme

insideout

babsmeilmurraystate

illmurraystatesecondquarter

babsplayoffshirt

playoffface

picnic20161

picnic20162

picnic20163

downbobmichaelbridgetobridge

illinoisuncbandview

babsbuttsep11

patriot1

wmuil2016

wmuillinoisme

wmuillme2

ruchionamspreadsept

upshotlistofmodels26sep2016

patrietingreen

septemberseminar

molineweather

October

Octoberbearslionsbarbaraandme

bearslionsbarbarasteps

bearslionsgoalline

trumppostgaffeodds

purdueil20163

purdueil2016lastminute

purdueil2016pregamefightsong

babslynnoct10buffet

oct11voted

premarathonmedtcryst

tandmeoct2016

puntisusouthern

mile-7

mile8

finish

2016pncresults

nastywomen

cassiegoat18oct

windsufans

windsunight

octmexrestraunt

illinoisminnesotagame

minnesotaillinois20162

strippergirlbestie

lindababs1

lindababs2

November

natesilvertweet

samwangbug

ilmsucubstribute

illinimsuwin

landslide

worstcase

7novemberodds

officenov8

cassiewickednov7

trump_talk_dirty_shirt

nastywomenlove

2016results

bugamenov11

bunov13

carmenmemenov11

isunov12

slow10knov14

cassiejennov14

cassiemammatnov14

comeondefenseiowa

illinoiscampusiowa

illinibandiowa

barbaratitanscolts

mytitanscolts

lucaswindownov20

nov20coltswithboys

lostbetnov22

justunder27barely

ruchitgiving

trolladorable

bradleywomeneureka2016

babsfoelipibutt

babsfolepifront

mejenbabs

babsmamat

givebloodnov30

buwomennov30gb

buwomennov30stomped

December

budec32

budec31

bears491

bearsenterdec4

bears494fieldgoal

bears495touchdown

hokkaidodec9

coltscrewdec11

carmenletterdec12

bradleyutarlington2016

buckyandme

oliviaandbucky

benchpressresult

tracybuckyolivia

triptobwandback

redsky

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-10-15-24-pm

babsshirley

istambulgrill

oldgolfcourseacross

babsjacobdavyobryan

babsmeselfie

brigadecontingent

navyentersthefield

highdramaattheend

purpleandsilvertreestcudec2016

mexicanfoodafter

terrichristmasdinner2016

babsjacobmechirstmasdinner2016

louie

postchristmas

christmas1

christmas2

christmas3

christmas4

decemberdogpark

decemberfinalhill

wind29decwalk

buconferenceopener2016

buwinsdec29

lastselfiedec29

babsmarkevdec30

dec30headshaved

hokkaidodec30

yearlytotalsrunning

December 31, 2016 Posted by | 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Day one of the RNC and my Facebook wall gets snippy…

And I mean snippy. My wall is set so that the public can see and comment and, well, a client of someone saw a comment on my wall and threatened to take their business elsewhere.

My thoughts: I’ve had heated discussions with people..only to do yoga with them and go cycling with them too.

It is politics. And my friends include professors (from very different fields), mathematicians, scientists, engineers of various kinds, lawyers, medical doctors, truck drivers, airline pilots, homeless, blue collar workers, corporate executives, homemakers, athletes (real ones, not like me). They come from traditional families, broken families, military families (with lots of moving). They’ve experienced diseases, family violence, strife, family rifts, and good marriages as well. They included religious people, outspoken atheists and those who don’t care one way or the other. They include people who have made the Olympic trials, won boxing matches (and fought for the world title), 100 mile foot races, some even slower than I am (really!) and others who don’t like to play any sort of sport or even work out.

And yes, I have Democrats, Republicans, liberals who are disgusted by the Democrats, and conservatives who are disgusted by the Republicans. And yes, we have the “know-it-alls” who just know that THEY have the insights that the main stream media won’t tell you, but THEY have figured out…

I have people I’ve known for 40 years or more, some I’ve never met in person, some who I know “in person” and keep up with on the internet, and others who I met on the internet and attempted to have a IRL friendship with, with varying results (some good, some not-so-good).

Upshot: lots of passion, lots of different backgrounds, lots of opposing viewpoints AND different “base assumptions”. And while I welcome opposing points of view when they are well presented and backed up with demonstrable facts, well, that isn’t what I always get. 🙂

And it pains me when I see two people that I like fighting each other.

Now about the news Frankly I don’t care about the “Pat Buchanan” type politics that I am seeing; that has been standard Republican stuff for some time now. But I was amused by this:

This lead to some funny memes:

michellememe1

michellememe2

And it turns out that the Trump campaign lied (or got it wrong) about Melania Trump graduating from college.

Let’s see: the Republicans are applauding someone who is a college dropout, a nude model and whose English, while pretty good for a second language, is imperfect…and who plagiarizes the speech of someone that they absolutely hate?

Well, perhaps it is unfair to compare her to an American born, Princeton educated attorney. 🙂

But hey, I pledge to be as gracious to her as conservatives were to Michelle Obama!

Yes, I know, this is an Eastwood yells at an empty chair distraction, but it doesn’t speak well of the Trump campaign.

As far as where the election sits, it is estimated that Clinton has between a 61.3 percent (fivethirtyeight.com) and a 76 percent chance(New York Times Upshot) of winning. The bookies have it between 7/20 and 5/11 (British bookies)

According to Benchmark Politics, the two “within reason” extremes are these:

alltossupstotrump

alltossupstoclinton

My opinion (based on, well, not much) is that the 2016 map will look a LOT like the 2012 map with perhaps a couple of states changed (maybe Arizona to Clinton, Ohio to Trump?) But Trump will have to win almost all of the toss ups to have any chance, and that is a bad position to be in.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | 2 Comments

A political post to offend everyone

Part one: my offensive thoughts.
Part two: political articles I found interesting.

My offensive thoughts

1. This is the election where “everyone sucks”. I don’t believe that. I actually think that President Obama is doing a decent job and I think that Hillary Clinton is a highly qualified candidate who will be able to run with the better policies and perhaps improve on them. Yes, I LIKE Hillary Clinton. Perhaps I am not alone?

Psst: President Obama’s late term approval ratings are in line with those of President Reagan and are actually slightly HIGHER at this point in his administration than President Reagan’s were.

obamareaganjune1

2. Yes, I think that Bernie Sanders is acting like a bit of a jackass toward the end of his campaign. But..sorry, I do NOT hate him. I think that he is a politician who is pulling out all of the stops to try to snatch an extremely improbable win.

sanderspolitician

And yes, he has a sweet basketball shot for someone his age:

And, well, I was actually glad to see him attending a recent NBA playoff game, though some complained about that. Sorry, but I rarely get to this “I hate everything about candidate X” mode.

sandersbasketballgame

And yes, if, say, a tree falls on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him against Donald Trump. That would be one of the easiest decisions of my life. A quick question: who would you trust more with the nuclear codes?

3. No, I don’t hate Donald Trump either; all of those “Trump is Hitler” memes just make me roll my eyes. No, I don’t like Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US (though one Turkish friend told me that “other countries do similar things”) and I’ve spoken out against that proposed policy. True, I do not see Donald Trump as being qualified to be president. Yes, he made a lot of money (but HOW?) but that isn’t a qualifying factor. He knows very little about actual policy and he gains popularity by going around and telling people what they want to hear (e. g. “there is no drought in California“).

And I hate to say this, but I really get a kick out of his shenanigans, as “unpresidential” as they may be.

trumplosertweet

And no, I don’t buy all of this “NeverTrump” stuff coming from conservatives. Yes, Republicans are rallying around him just like they did with MItt Romney. Paul Krugman predicted this would happen a couple of months ago:

By the way, I predict that even if Mr. Trump is the nominee, pundits and others who claim to be thoughtful conservatives will stroke their chins and declare, after a great show of careful deliberation, that he’s the better choice given Hillary’s character flaws, or something. And self-proclaimed centrists will still find a way to claim that the sides are equally bad. But both acts will look especially strained.

And all of these sanctimonious “only a truly evil, stupid person will vote for Trump” arguments, memes and the like will accomplish nothing, except to make the poster feel more self righteous. The bottom line: no one likes or respects a self-righteous scold; even I find them tiresome even when we are on the same side! Thomas Edsall puts it this way:

Trump’s anger at being policed or fenced in apparently speaks to the resentment of many American men and their resistance to being instructed, particularly by a female candidate, on how they should think, speak or behave.

On April 26, Trump wheeled out a spectacularly offensive attack on Clinton, perhaps designed to provoke the response it got. He accused her of playing “the women’s card” when “she has got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she would get five percent of the vote.”

Hillary rose to the bait. Three days later, appearing on Jake Tapper’s CNN show The Lead, she countered:

I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak…. I am not going to deal with their temper tantrums, or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to say about me, I could really care less.

Trump responded on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on May 2. What Clinton said “was a very derogatory statement to men,” Trump declared. “It was almost as though she’s going to tell us what to do, tell men what to do.” He continued, “It was a real put-down.”

The kind of messages that provoke reactance and a defiant or oppositional response, according to one study, include “imperatives, such as ‘must’ or ‘need;’ absolute allegations, such as ‘cannot deny that…’ and ‘any reasonable person would agree’.”

This is not to say that attacks on Trump won’t work; my guess is that they will. What I am saying is that “only evil, stupid people vote for Trump” won’t change any minds. But saying “his proposed policies are unfair, evil, etc.” might help us with turnout; think of it as invoking “counter anger” (e. g. “Trump’s policies are aimed at denigrating people like you and me”); here is an example of a 2008 ad which might work:

Part II: Articles
This Stanford article discusses the Democratic primary in California. Yes, Clinton leads and yes, there are some racial and generational differences.

Now what about running mates; who are Trump and Clinton going to pick and why? Here is an article about recent history and the “geographical, ideological and demographic” factors that the various candidates used.

My guess is the Trump will pick Christie (New Jersey governor); I haven’t a clue as to who Clinton will pick.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, political/social, politics, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

Versus Trump (and the Democratic platform committee)

Donald Trump He keeps saying that he’ll get “great people” to do the job. But is senior press representative basically …knows nothing? The interview I saw reminded me of a Chico Escuela interview that I saw on Saturday night live:

Now, we’d like to welcome a new member to our Update team, the former All-Star second baseman for the New York Mets, Chico Escuela. Welcome, Chico. [Chico clears his throat, photo of smiling Chico Escuela in baseball uniform and holding a bat] Chico will be covering the sports scene for Weekend Update. [applause for Chico, a Dominican ballplayer who sits opposite Jane – he has a thick Dominican accent and speaks very little English]

Chico Escuela: Thank you. Thank you, berry, berry much. … Base-ball … been berry, berry good to me. … Thank you, Hane. … [Photo of major league ballplayer Pete Rose] Pete-ee Rose … Base-ball been berry, berry good to Pete Rose. … Three – point – two – million – dollar para Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle, you bet. … Thank you very, very much. [National Football League schedule is shown] In – foot-ball … I don’t know – football. … In Dominican Republic, foot-ball is — how you say, Hane? Um – Oh! — soccer! Your football– [pause] I don’t know. … [Hockey graphic] In National Hockey League … [shakes his head] I don’t know hockey … [applause, photo of smiling Chico again] In base-ball– Base-ball been berry, berry good to me! … Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. [applause] Hane? Thank you, Hane.

Jane Curtin: [genuinely enthusiastic] Great job, Chico. I’m glad that we haven’t hired just another stupid ex-jock sportscaster. …

Perhaps the fictional Mr. Escuela can get a job with the Trump campaign as a press secretary?

So how will Hillary Clinton run against Donald Trump? One conjecture is that she might use a little game theory.
Here is the idea: getting into a twitter battle of insults won’t work. However she can get surrogates to attack him, and choose the surrogates to be classes of people that Trump loves to insult (e. g. Mexicans, women, etc.). Trump can’t resist hitting back when attacked, and in so attacking, he can turn off people from those respective groups.

Democratic Primary Yes, the Democratic primary is still going on, but Clinton is all but certain to be the nominee. And no, the system isn’t rigged against Sanders; in fact the evidence suggests that having so many caucus contests actually helped him (example: consider Washington: Sanders won the caucuses handily and collected the lion’s share of the delegates; however Clinton beat him comfortably in the “beauty contest” primary and the primary had a MUCH higher turnout.

And yes, Clinton is the favorite in California. Sure, a couple of polls that showed a close race made the news. (from here)

californiapolls

The polls suggest about a 10 point Clinton lead; demographic regression models predict a larger win.

Nevertheless, the elections continue on. Sanders has picked his platform committee: 6 appointed by Clinton, 5 by Sanders, 4 from the DNC. One Sanders committee member is Cornel West: yes, he was (is?) a well respected religion and philosophy scholar but has some problems when he delves into other areas:

But West also has a particular critique of the sitting Democratic president that goes well beyond Sanders’s expressions of disappointment. West’s position is not merely that Obama has not gone far enough, but that he has made life worse for African-Americans:

On the empirical or lived level of Black experience, Black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality. How do we account for this irony? It goes far beyond the individual figure of President Obama himself, though he is complicit; he is a symptom, not a primary cause. Although he is a symbol for some of either a postracial condition or incredible Black progress, his presidency conceals the escalating levels of social misery in poor and Black America.
This is actually not empirical. African-American infant mortality has declined, not increased, during Obama’s presidency [..]

The African-American unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. The African-American uninsured rate has fallen by more than half, and the administration has undertaken a wide range of liberalizing reforms to the criminal-justice system. The notion that Obama has made life worse for African-Americans rests entirely on affixing the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on him, without giving him any credit for the wide-ranging measures to alleviate it, or the recovery that has ensued. This is, in other words, the Republican Party’s method of measuring Obama’s record, and it’s the sort of grossly unfair cherry-picking that no good faith critic would use.

And the man has no political savvy at all.

I focus on him because I liked the man; heck I still do. I watched him speak at Bradley University in the early 1990’s and got to shake his hand. But..he is so….closed minded about what a President does and can do.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

About that “Hillary lying for 13 minute straight” video:

This “Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight” video has been making the rounds, and has even found its way into a Kathleen Parker column:

I watched it. I recommend that Clinton supporters watch it and think about it.

My opinion: yes, the Bosnia trip thing is embarrassing. And yes, it is true; at the time Hillary Clinton told that made up story, she was trying to embellish her “I’ve seen the world and visited tough places” credentials. But she has had a long life and made many, many official trips. And yes, our minds sometimes embellish our memories with made up stuff. She screwed up here, plain and simple and apologized for it.

Now as far as the rest: the NPR “Fresh Air” interview was selectively edited to make her look bad. In that interview, she admitted that she did not back gay marriage at first, but she eventually changed her mind. Listen to that segment for yourself. The dispute shown in the video was whether she backed gay marriage all along but didn’t back it as a politician or whether she simply changed her mind on that issue.

NAFTA: yes, her public rhetoric on this did change. But this is what is probably going on: when one makes up their mind to support something as complicated as NAFTA, one probably has doubts on certain aspects of it. But when it comes time to “sell” such a treaty, one becomes an advocate and argues the case to get on board. Then when one sees how it is working out, one sometimes revisits one’s doubts and adjusts to the new information.

Perhaps the same thing can be said about Bill Clinton’s crime bill, which did some good (made the violence rate go down) but had some bad consequences (unnecessary incarceration which had a disproportional negative effect on black people)

E-mails: not much here; this is a balanced treatment of this issue. She could have handled the issue better and spun things a bit. But this was hardly “lying”. And the demonstration of the number of e-mails about Libya to somehow demonstrate interest is absurd; there are many other means of communication.

Bottom line: there isn’t much here; basically it is the collection of one honest embarrassing flub and a lot of snippets which show mostly that Hillary Clinton doesn’t answer in bumper sticker slogans. She is thoughtful, nuanced and speaks that way.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Jeb Bush: Trump Supporters Aren’t ‘A Bunch Of Idiots’ (he is right)

Jeb Bush said the following:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said Saturday that supporters for GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump aren’t “a bunch of idiots” and should be respected, CNN reported.

“What I fear is that people, kind of looking down their nose, will say the people that are supporting Donald Trump are a bunch of idiots. They’re not. They’re legitimately scared. They’re fearful,” Bush reportedly said at an event in Amsterdam. “They’re not as optimistic for legitimate reasons and there should be respect for that. And on the other side, a similar respect needs to be shown.”

Now of course, this statement (which I think should be obvious) has met with ridicule. Yes, I know, I know, we’ve all seen the cherry picked photos of Trump supporters and of Trump rallies:

trumptruck

blackgunsmatter

So, yes, there are some dumb people supporting Donald Trump. And yes, there are some evil ones too.

But when are talking about a national candidate with millions of supporters, a tiny selection of supporters tells you very little about the whole.

Here is an example of what I mean: think of 2008, when i was a proud Obama supporter. Well, some of then Senator Obama’s support came from the..well, less than informed people

and some came from morally questionable people too.

Again, this is just statistics in action; the larger the population, the more the population resembles the larger population.

So, what can say about Trump supporters, “in general”?

For one thing, on the average, they tend to have a higher household income than either Sanders supporters or Clinton supporters.: (the data I report measures median household income; “median” means “that income that is in the middle range of supporters; half of incomes are above, half are below”; this is done to mitigate the effects of a few very large incomes)

72K per year as compared to 61k per year for both Clinton and Sanders supporters. Now this isn’t true in every state: in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Virginia the median household income of a Clinton supporter exceeds that of a Trump supporter. Trump supporters earn more than Sanders supporters in all of the surveyed states.

Secondly, there is a positive correlation between income and IQ; on the average those with higher IQs tend to earn more money than those with lower ones. NOTE: the New Scientist article I linked to also deals with wealth too and there isn’t much of a correlation with IQ and household wealth (example: those with higher incomes might well spend more):

The work reveals that while exceptionally smart individuals typically earn more, they are also more likely to spend to their credit card limit, compared with people of average intelligence.

Jay Zagorsky at Ohio State University in Columbus, US, analysed personal financial information collected from 7500 people between the ages of 33 to 41. Subjects provided details about their cash flow – including wages, welfare payments, alimony, and stock dividends – and their overall net worth. They also answered questions about whether they had “maxed out” any of their credit cards, missed bill payments or filed for bankruptcy.

[…]

On the surface, Zagorsky’s analysis confirms the findings of previous studies linking higher intelligence with higher income. “Each point increase in IQ test scores is associated with $202 to $616 more income per year,” he says. For example, a person with a score of 130 (in the top 2%, in terms of IQ) might earn about $12,000 more per year than someone with an average IQ score of about 100.

On the surface, people with higher intelligence scores also had greater wealth. The median net worth for people with an IQ of 120 was almost $128,000 compared with $58,000 for those with an IQ of 100.

But when Zagorsky controlled for other factors – such as divorce, years spent in school, type of work and inheritance – he found no link between IQ and net worth. In fact, people with a slightly above-average IQ of 105 , had an average net worth higher than those who were just a bit smarter, with a score of 110.

Again, there is the correlation between INCOME (not net worth) and IQ.

So, if anything, the data might suggest that Trump supporters might be somewhat brighter than the Sanders and Clinton supporters, on the average. I say “might” because I don’t know the “n” for these income samples. It might be that the Clinton and Sanders groups are larger groups, and therefore subject to “regression to the mean” effects whereas the early Trump supporters might be a more selective sample of people (fewer people).

But I think that there is no evidence that Trump supporters are dumber than either Sanders or Clinton supporters.

May 22, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, politics, politics/social, social/political, statistics | , , | Leave a comment