blueollie

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

The end game of a losing candidate is often not pretty

Workout note: 8.1 mile run (hilly) in 1:26:46 (43:43, 43:03). I was stiff going out. The improvement on the second half was basically the difference on my last mile. It was a pretty day and long sleeves was too much.

Jumble though this is 5 seconds slower than my PB, this was my first “perfect score”.

jumblewin

Main Focus

Yes, tempers are flaring among the Democrats. One might wonder why Sanders is still in the race. This article gives a conjecture: yes, Sanders is more pragmatic than one realizes (e. g. he has been good about getting amendments added to bills he initially didn’t support) but his life has been a case of succeeding as a long shot. So, though the odds against him getting the nomination are slight (18-1 underdog in the sports books as of today), he still has a mathematical chance (say, winning 80 percent of the pledged delegates in California and flipping a ton of the super delegates). So he’ll keep fighting.

However, while many Sanders supporters ARE bright people (and I enjoy the company of several of these people), others have been mislead by articles like this one. Yes, *even* when you factor in the caucus state votes, Hillary Clinton still has about a 3 million vote lead.

Sadly, a significant minority of Sanders supporters either don’t know that or haven’t accepted that. A minority of these supporters have behaved very badly.

Yes, I know; some of the violent reaction has probably been exaggerated by the press; one Sanders supporter pointed out that there was no video showing chairs thrown in the Nevada Convention (though this had been reported in some articles.).

And yes, Hillary Clinton made some cringe worthy statements toward the end of the 2008 campaign, when she was being asked to drop out (and yes, she was much closer to Obama in delegates than Sanders is to her).

So, hopefully, we can come together after this, though I am sure that a few of the “Bernie or Bust” people will sit this one out.

May 19, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Clinton and Trump: getting it on!

Hillary Clinton: This Los Angeles Times editorial said it well. She isn’t perfect and there are a few things that I wish were different. But:

Clinton may seem inauthentic to some or to lack that drink-a-beer-with-me quality that voters often look for in a candidate. But she has a grasp of the complexities of government and policy that is unmatched by any of the other candidates who ran for president this year — or by most candidates in most years. She is sober and thoughtful, in possession not just of the facts she needs to make her arguments but of a depth of experience that undergirds her decisions. These qualities are reassuring in juxtaposition to a primary opponent who does not offer, at the end of the day, a serious alternative and, and a likely opponent in the general election who is unprepared, unsuited for the job and dangerous.

[…]

Compared to the intoxicating altruism of the Sanders’ campaign, Clinton’s candidacy might seem unexciting. But nominating a candidate for president is, or ought to be, serious business. As Obama himself likely would admit after almost eight years in the White House, there is more to being president than grand promises, whether they are about “hope and change” or a political revolution. We admire Bernie Sanders’ passion for progress and equality, but our endorsement goes to the candidate who is more likely to translate ideals into action.

The whole editorial is worth reading. It does give a fair airing to her faults, and she does have them.

And like it or not, real change, the type of change that might actually make it through a Democratically controlled Congress (which we will NOT get, sans a lot of Blue Dog Democrats from conservative districts) will likely be small and incremental.

Of course, much of what is thrown at her is nonsense, as this article cheerfully lampoons:

Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?

Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money? […]

So today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposés” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter-century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Here they are: […]

9. When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, she was a partner in the state’s top law firm, and it sometimes did work involving the state government.

10. She once invested in commodities futures on the advice of a friend and made $100,000, proving she’s a crook.

11. She once invested in real estate on the advice of another friend and lost $100,000, also proving she’s a crook.

12. Unnamed and unverifiable sources have told Peggy Noonan things about the Clintons that are simply too terrible to repeat.

13. The personnel murdered at Benghazi make her the first secretary of state to lose overseas personnel to terrorism — apart from Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Schultz, Dean Rusk and some others.

[…]

15. She illegally sent classified emails from her personal server, except that apparently they weren’t classified at the time.

16. She may have cynically wriggled around the email law by “technically” complying with it.

17. She once signed a lucrative book contract when she was a private citizen.

[…]

44. She’s really ambitious and calculating, unlike all the other people running for president.

[…]

Read the rest, and think about these the next time your favorite conservative recites her alleged “sins”.

Donald Trump

What more is there to say that, while he is entertaining, he really doesn’t know what he is doing and really does NOT know who the “great people” are:

Meanwhile, however, we can look at the candidate’s policy proposals. And what has been going on there is just as revealing, in its own way, as his attempt to dodge scrutiny of his personal finances.

The story so far: Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to nonpartisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.

Now, the inconsistency between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his specific proposals didn’t seem to hurt him in the Republican primaries. Neither did the wild irresponsibility of those specifics, perhaps because all the major contenders for the G.O.P. nomination were proposing huge, budget-busting tax cuts for the rich. True, none of them were quite as off the charts as the Trump plan, but such distinctions were probably lost on primary voters — $4 trillion, $10 trillion, who cares?

Having secured the nomination, however, Mr. Trump apparently feels the need to seem more respectable. The goal, I suspect, is to bring the headline numbers down enough to let the media’s propensity for false equivalence kick in. Hillary Clinton has a plan that actually adds up, while Donald Trump has a plan that will cost $4 trillion, but which he claims is deficit-neutral? Hey, it’s the same thing!

Oh, and meanwhile he suggested once again that he might raise taxes on the rich, then walked it back, with credulous media eating it all up.

But what’s really interesting is whom, according to Politico, Mr. Trump has brought in to revise his plans: Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. That news had economic analysts spitting out their morning coffee all across America.

For those who don’t follow such things, Mr. Kudlow has a record of being wrong about, well, everything. In 2005 he ridiculed “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes in Las Vegas or Naples, Florida, to bring down the consumer, the rest of the economy, and the entire stock market” — which was exactly what happened. In 2007 he predicted three years of “Goldilocks” prosperity. And on and on.

Mr. Moore has a comparable forecasting record, but he also has a remarkable inability to get facts straight. Perhaps most famously, he once attempted to rebut, well, me with an article detailing the supposed benefits of state tax cuts; incredibly, not one of the many numbers in that article was right.

So why would Mr. Trump turn to these of all people to, ahem, fix his numbers? […]

But my guess is that the explanation is simpler: The candidate has no idea who is and isn’t competent. I mean, it’s not as if he has any independent knowledge of economics, or even knows what he doesn’t know. For example, he keeps asserting that America has the world’s highest taxes, when we’re actually at the bottom among advanced nations.

Now this will NOT hurt him with conservative voters. After all, they don’t really care what is actually true; they judge a policy as to how closely it conforms to what they think *should* be true.

And now there is the Trump tax returns, which he won’t release. He noisily said that his tax rate is “no one else’s business”. Paul Krugman gleefully suggested that he is afraid to show that he isn’t as wealthy as he boasts that he is.

trumptax

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has a different take:

With the battle continuing to rage over Donald Trump’s ongoing suggestion that he may not release his tax returns before the November election, this exchange with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulous, which took place a few moments ago, provides a glimpse into what Trump really thinks about all this:

TRUMP: I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?

TRUMP: It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

Trump’s claim that his tax rate is “none of your business” is generating buzz this morning. But the more important quote is his boast that he “fights very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” He deliberately repeated this, as if to make sure we would not miss it.

In one sense, this is dream fodder for Democratic ads, particularly since Dems are hoping to continue pressuring Trump to release his returns, and to portray his refusal to do so as evidence he’s trying to hide shady or immoral business practices, a line of attack that was probably effective against Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Trump plainly sees this as a positive for him, and that goes to the heart of his whole case for the presidency. In the interview, Trump said that he fights to keep his tax burden low because government “wastes” our tax dollars. Trump’s immediate goal is to undercut the potency of the attack on him over taxes: By openly boasting that he works to keep his tax burden low, he hopes to dispel the notion that he’s hiding something.

There’s more to this, though. With Dems likely to grow more aggressive in unearthing and targeting Trump’s business past, his pushback on whatever revelations pop up will basically be this: You’re damn right I’ve been a scummy businessman. Now I want to be a scummy businessman on your behalf and on America’s behalf. It cannot be overstated how important this idea is to his candidacy, and indeed, to his entire self-created mystique. The idea is that, having long been a member of the elite that has milked the corrupt system for decades, he is very well positioned to end their scam — he knows how it works from the inside — and reform that corrupt system.

That is an interesting angle: if you want to keep yourself safe from sharks, hire some sharks to protect you.

May 13, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Onward to the general….

Yeah, I know; the Sanders campaign is a bit like:

He might have to be dragged off of the stage as his fundraising is going very well:

Clinton’s lead has shrunk from the 290’s to the 280’s and there are now fewer delegates in play. This is a bit like a football team being down 38-10 in the 4’th quarter and then going on a 5 minute drive..to end up with a field goal. They are closer, but they have a lesser chance of winning after the drive than they did prior to the drive starting.

Now Trump is now the face of the Republican party, at least at the top of the ticket.

So it is probably time to focus on the general and Clinton leads in most of the polls.

Odds: Clinton has gone from 1/3 to 5/12 (ever so slightly worse odds, but still a heavy favorite)

odds4may

And Obama’s job approval is above 50 percent and is roughly where Ronald Reagan’s was at this time in their respective administrations. That will help Clinton, I think.

approvalcenter

May 5, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

2016 Democratic Dust up: Hillary-Bernie and Krugman-Reich

When people who are usually allies start arguing politics, it is *probably* primary season.

Bernie Sanders has made some headway in the polls and is a bona-fide threat to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire (I predict a split) and so his positions are getting some scrutiny.

And yes, the numbers do not add up, as Paul Krugman points out (re: health care):

On health care: leave on one side the virtual impossibility of achieving single-payer. Beyond the politics, the Sanders “plan” isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein notes, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or for that matter single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Sanders claim that he could make it work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.

To be harsh but accurate: the Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up. Only a little bit: after all, this is a plan seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich — and single-payer really does save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling the Sanders campaign pitch might have led you to expect.

And look: if the political theory behind supporting Sanders is that the American people will vote for radical change if you’re honest about what’s involved, the campaign’s evident unwillingness to fully confront the issues, its reliance on magic asterisks, very much weakens that claim.

I think it fails on both counts: political feasibility (from where WE are right now) and on the technical details. You might say “tax the rich” and that IS a good thing, but the arithmetic doesn’t add up.

Now people like Krugman are catching heat from some:

One of the differences between right and left in America is that the progressive infrastructure includes a contingent of genuine wonks — commentators on policy who really do make models and crunch numbers, and sometimes come up with answers that aren’t fully predictable from their politics. The list includes Ezra Klein, Jonathan Cohn, Jonathan Chait, Mike Konczal, myself some of the time, and others. Right now the wonk brigade has been weighing in on Bernie Sanders, and is in general not too impressed on either financial reform or health care.

And the response of some — only some — Sanders supporters is disappointing, although I guess predictable given that somewhat similar things happened during the 2008 primary. There will, I guess, always be some people who, having made an emotional commitment to a candidate, can’t accept the proposition that someone might share their values but honestly disagree with the candidate’s approach.

Emphasis mine. I’ve seen some of that in my private life too (NOT from my wife; she supports Hillary Clinton).

And now you have people like Robert Reich claiming that Paul Krugman doesn’t “get it”.

Krugman doesn’t get it. I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen.

Political “pragmatism” may require accepting “half loaves” – but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. That’s why the movement must aim high – toward a single-payer universal health, free public higher education, and busting up the biggest banks, for example.

Uh, you can “aim high” but THE NUMBERS HAVE TO ADD UP AND THE PROPOSALS MUST BE HONEST AS TO THE COST. The positions of Sen. Sanders fails on both counts and admitting that is just simple honesty.

January 24, 2016 Posted by | 2016, health care, political/social, politics | , , | Leave a comment