Back at it…in Peoria

First my workout: I didn’t dare weigh myself; though I ate 3 meals a day and ate within my foodplan, I didn’t eat the usual fruit and yogurt stuff I usually eat. So I felt as if I gained 30 pounds over the weekend.

2 mile jog outside (neighborhood)
2 miles on the track: 5 x 400 with 200 walk/jog, 200 run
runs: 1:54-1:52-1:54 (9:12)-1:52-1:53-55 (19:13)
rests: 1:43-1:47-1:47-1:47-1:44

quick breakfast, then 6 mile walk in Bradley Park: modified cornstalk 4.2 (lots of cars at the theater), lower 1.2 loop, lower .6 loop, then extra (Past Markin to Bradley Ave.)

total: 4 run 6 walk. I did have two “soft” knee spikes in my left knee (not the one with the 2010 surgery). This is looking as if …oh 3-6 years I’ll probably have to have this knee done as well.

Mano Singham: discusses a different kind of migrant worker. This is the older 60+ person who lives out of a RV and drives to seasonal jobs; they can’t afford to retire. I hope that isn’t me, of course. But if I CAN do this and don’t HAVE to….who knows?

But yeah, I imagine this is no fun for those who are trapped in this manner.

you might be hearing about one really low poll number for President Obama (37 percent). In fact, most of them have him in the low to mid 40’s. Personally, I am glad that we don’t have a President that is rushing to get us into new wars.

Still, the Senate: ugh…we’d be lucky to hold it to 50-50. The 95 percent confidence interval for Republican seats looks like 47-55 with perhaps 51 being the most likely outcome.

Right now, the polls for us in Georgia and Kentucky are probably fool’s gold.

Note: I was more confident about the 2012 Presidential election because we had a LOT more polls.

Locally: To the surprise of no one, Tea Party IL-17 candidate Bobby Schilling has the support of our “let’s send the police after someone who hasn’t broken the law Mayor Ardis”. I am shocked. I wonder what dirty tricks Mr. Schilling has up his sleeve this time?

July 21, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, 2014 midterm, Aaron Schock, political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political, walking | , , | Leave a comment

US Conservatives: many are exactly what we think that they are.

Aaron Schock is a Republican House member from IL-18; prior to redistricting he used to represent me. Several times, I campaigned for his opponent (when he ran for the State House seat and when I lived in IL-18); since then I’ve been redistricted into IL-17.

Mr. Schock flew to South Africa to attend the services for Nelson Mandela and posted photos on his Facebook page.


Pretty non-controversial, right?

Well…read some of the comments:

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 6.44.36 AM

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 6.42.32 AM

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 6.42.49 AM

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 6.43.01 AM

Note: one of these comment streams came from this photo:


Before you start bellowing “hey you ignorant lib, Mandela WAS a communist”:

Bill Keller of The New York Times says it’s important that we recognize that yes, Mandela was a Communist, and friend of villains. This needs qualification:

But Mandela’s Communist affiliation is not just a bit of history’s flotsam. It doesn’t justify the gleeful red baiting, and it certainly does not diminish a heroic legacy, but it is significant in a few respects.


In one of his several trials, Mandela was asked if he was a Communist. “If by Communist you mean a member of the Communist Party and a person who believes in the theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and who adheres strictly to the discipline of the party, I did not become a Communist,” he replied. The answer was both evasive and perfectly accurate.

Keller’s point is that the Communists, both in South Africa and abroad, were willing to help Mandela and his struggle when many others were not. Theirs was an alliance of convenience, though one that has had mixed results, as Keller, who used to cover South Africa, explains.

Here at TAC, Jim Antle draws the point out in a much more explicit way, addressing conservatives. Antle praises a statement Newt Gingrich released, chastising fellow conservatives for criticizing Mandela on this point. Newt asks, basically, “If you had been Mandela, what would you have done?”

Yes, this is from The American Conservative.

Kudos to the principled conservatives that are standing up to some of the kooks in their base.

ps: there are other things many didn’t know.

December 10, 2013 Posted by | Aaron Schock, republicans, social/political | , | 1 Comment

Alien Life, facts and local…

Workout notes 10K run on the track; I was a bit meat-headed about it though.
9:05/8:39/8:23/8:23/(34:32) 1:05 (4 miles plus one lap): 35:38 Then a drink from the fountain.
8:55/8:34 (17:30) 1:06 (2 miles plus one lap). total time spent running: 54:13; make it 56:13 with a 2 minute penalty for stopping.
Still, last year, I couldn’t sustain this during races. I am improving, though my piriformis acted up a bit.
Yes, this pace WAS work for me.

I talked to Tracy a bit afterward and stretched, did back PT, etc.

Alien life: we have lots of red dwarf stars “nearby” (in astronomical terms) and some of these stars might have planets that sustain life. Reason: these stars live longer than our sun. But: the life is probably different from ours as the planets that orbit these stars might be locked into an orbit in which one side always faces the star, and the red dwarf plantes are subject to higher variation of stellar output:

The researchers said that a habitable planet circling a red dwarf would be markedly different from Earth: It would probably be locked into an orbit that kept one side of the planet perpetually facing its alien sun. Charbonneau said the heat could conceivably be transported around the globe via a thick atmosphere or ocean.

Also, red dwarfs are known to be quite variable in their emissions, with occasional strong flares of ultraviolet light. “If that were to happen on Earth, it would cause havoc,” Charbonneau told journalists.

But Dressing said alien life could conceivably adapt to such stresses. “You don’t need an Earth clone to have life,” she said.
Red-dwarf planets might have at least one edge over Earth in the habitability department: Astrobiologists have estimated that our planet could be rendered inhospitable to life in the next couple of billion years, due to a long-term increase in solar radiation. Red dwarfs are different in that regard. “They are incredibly long-lived,” Charbonneau told journalists. “They never show their age.”

World Events
Tensions mount between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands:

Japan’s Ministry of Defense is upset with the Chinese navy frigate that locked onto a Japanese navy ship with radar usually used to target and shoot missiles. No shots were fired, but this passive aggressive fighting over their simmering territorial dispute is getting pretty serious. The incident happened on January 30 near the chain of islands in the East China Sea that have been claimed by both nations and now Tokyo has filed a formal protest with Beijing, reports the BBC.

Again, there was no harm done this time, but apparently just turning on your weapon-targeting radar is a big no-no, especially between two neighbors in a near constant state of aggression. The disputed islands—known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China—were the reason for those massive anti-Japanese protests on mainland China this past August, the beginnings of a trade war this past September, and another game of chicken—this time involving Japanese fighter planes in December.

Locking your fire control radar onto another ship is “fighting words”.

Tidbit: back in 2006 when James Webb debated George Allen (for the US Senate Seat in Virginia), the candidates were allowed to ask each other a question. Webb asked Allen about the Senkaku Islands; Allen hadn’t a clue of what he was talking about.

The Allen-Webb debates ended much as they began, on an island.

This time Webb found one of his own: the Senkaku Islands, which are in Asia in the East China Sea north of Taiwan. They are critical to the future of the United States, Webb said, in part because China and Japan dispute ownership.

They aren’t Craney Island, he said, and that allowed Allen to remind voters of the moment in the first debate when Webb couldn’t answer a question about Craney Island in Portsmouth, where a new marine terminal is under construction.

Craney Island is critical, Allen said. But this time, he was stumped by the Senkaku Islands.

He shouldn’t have been, Webb said.

“If George Allen is on the Senate Foreign (Relations) Committee, this is an issue that’s come up several times,” Webb said. “It’s a foreign policy concern. I’ve known about the Senkaku Islands since I was 28 years old.” *

US Politics
John Boehner: seems to forget that the debt wasn’t a problem until Ronald Reagan, and was starting to get paid down under Bill Clinton.


Hmm — it sort of looks as if the US was sharply reducing its debt during the presidency of a guy named, I don’t know, Bill something or other.

OK, joking aside, this is important. Republicans have invented a history in which it has been fiscal irresponsibility all along — and far too many centrists have bought into the premise. The reality is that we had low debt and no fiscal problem before Reagan; then an unprecedented surge in peacetime, non-depression deficits under Reagan/Bush; then a major improvement under Clinton; then a squandering of the Clinton surplus via tax cuts and unfunded wars of choice under Bush. And yes, a surge in debt once the Great Recession hit, but that’s exactly when you should be running deficits.

Local I am no longer in IL-18, but Aaron Schock is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee:

The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it will continue an investigation of Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock over allegations he solicited donations of more than $5,000 per donor to a super political action committee. The committee also said it’s continuing a probe of whether a trip New York Democrat Bill Owens took to Taiwan was arranged by lobbyists for the country’s government.

Both cases had been referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate, outside ethics office. The House committee announced its decision to continue looking into each case on Wednesday, while releasing OCE’s report on both cases.

In a statement, the ethics committee said that in both cases merely “conducting further review … does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.” The committee also said it would refrain from further comment pending completion of initial reviews.

Both Schock and Owens said they expect to be exonerated by the House committee.

Schock’s case involves an allegation he asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to contribute $25,000 from his leadership PAC to a super PAC that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a House primary against Rep. Don Manzullo. Kinzinger won the March 2012 primary. Redistricting following the 2010 census put the two congressmen in the same and the primary.

According to the OCE report, the Super PAC backing Kinzinger, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, received a minimum of $115,000 that came from “efforts of Rep. Schock and his campaign committee.” The report says that Cantor told investigators that Schock had asked him if he would give the $25,000 donation to back Kinzinger. Cantor said he then gave money from his committee to the super PAC backing Kinziger in the primary.

Yes, this is just an investigation. But I can’t help but wonder if some of Mr. Schock’s potential Republican opponents in the next Illinois governor’s race are putting bugs in the ears of people higher up. Note that the Republicans are running anti-Schock ads:

Note: the ad is nonsense; however it is designed to smear him in the eyes of Republican primary voters: note the ominous image of President Obama in the background at one point. Since Mr. Schock is popular in his district and especially popular among Republicans in his district, this ad isn’t being run with the 2014 US House primary in mind (in my opinion).

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Aaron Schock, astronomy, economy, Political Ad, political/social, politics, running, science, space, world events | , , , | 1 Comment

OMG: conservative attack ad blasts Aaron Schock (ad is nonsense but…)

First of all, I am now in IL-17 instead of IL-18 so Mr. Schock no longer represents me in the House. But he is a Bradley U. grad and I’ve seen him in person a few times and have written to him; I’ve always gotten a polite, detailed response.


Note: whereas the ad is technically correct, uh…you could probably say the same thing about ANY member of Congress; the ad gives you no useful information about Mr. Schock. And yes, it is an “attack” from the right.

What is going on???

My guess: Republican groups are probably trying to make him unelectable in a statewide Republican primary (say for Senate or Governor); call this a “shot across the bow”. Perhaps there is something else that they don’t like about him?


Anyway, if you want to be a Republican politician these days and stay anywhere near sanity…good luck in the primary.

January 20, 2013 Posted by | Aaron Schock, Political Ad, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

IL-46 State Senate: My Dave Koehler Yardsign was stolen.

Yep, I got home after a Democratic GOTV rally and my Dave Koehler sign was missing.


I seriously doubt that the official Sullivan campaign had anything to do with it. And to be fair, some years ago, some moron went around stealing Aaron Schock signs (she was caught and had to make restitution).

It baffles me how juvenile some people are.

(for those unfamiliar, Dave Koehler is the Democrat…and Aaron Schock is a Republican.)

Update I was returned the next day…on my porch. Probably kids or a drunk. Other Koehler signs were not stolen.

November 2, 2012 Posted by | Aaron Schock, Peoria, Peoria/local, political/social, politics | Leave a comment

Republican candidate Governor Mitt Romney rally – Peoria, IL –, your source for the latest breaking local news, sports, weather, business, jobs, real estate, shopping, health, travel, and entertainment.

Republican candidate Governor Mitt Romney rally…, posted with vodpod

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Aaron Schock, Mitt Romney, Peoria, politics, republicans | Leave a comment

Willard Mitt Romney is coming to Bradley University

E-mail sent out

From: Office of the President
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 6:02:07 PM
Subject: Mitt Romney to visit Bradley Campus on Monday
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Campus Community,

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be on campus Monday afternoon to speak to faculty, students, staff and community members. Governor Romney’s remarks will be at 5 p.m. in front of Bradley Hall on Founder’s Circle.

We were contacted over the weekend by Congressman Aaron Schock about having Governor Romney on campus Monday for a public event for students, faculty, staff and the community. Governor Romney’s appearance is sponsored by the College Republicans.

A visit by a presidential candidate is a wonderful educational opportunity for our students. I want to emphasize that having this event on campus is not an endorsement of any individual or party — indeed we would try to accommodate any serious presidential candidate — but rather it is an opportunity to bring a national political figure to the Bradley community and promote the University to a national audience. Costs associated with this event will not be incurred by Bradley.

Warm regards,

Joanne Glasser

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Aaron Schock, Mitt Romney, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment

Mr. Romney comes to Peoria! (and other topics…)

Workout notes Yoga, followed by a painfully slow run; my attempt to throw in some goose loop “pick ups” failed miserably. I was just sluggish…even though yoga had loosened by legs.

I didn’t start to feel good until 50 minutes or so into the run and even then, I didn’t exactly pick it up. I started at the end of the parking lot, ran through the Gateway building, ran to where the path runs out and then back to the start of the goose loop (playground) (19 minutes). Then I started my goose loop laps..and quit about 1/3 into the first lap…I walked and then started to run again (slowly) to the end of the dam, then finished the lap. So I did 4 “goose loop plus out and back along the dam” loops and then ran back to the car; I ran IN FRONT of the Riverplex (parking lot).

Here is an interesting article about Galois. This young man (at 20 years of age) came up with mathematical theory that still inspires research even today. He is best known for showing that there IS no formula that will produce the roots for an arbitrary degree 5 polynomial (we have the quadratic formula for 2 degree polynomial roots, and more obnoxious formulas for polynomials of degree 3 and 4). His work ties together the theory of groups and the theory of fields.

Local Politics Willard “Mitt” Romney is coming to Peoria to help Aaron Schock out at a fundraiser. Hey, only 250 dollars per ticket (cheapest!).


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will headline a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock the night before Illinois’ primary election – a rare move by the former Massachusetts governor and a distinct honor for the second-term Peoria Republican.

“I want to give my constituents in central Illinois the opportunity to hear from the person that I believe is best qualified to be president of the United States so they can get to know him like I have and appreciate his candor, his intellect and his passion for America,” Schock said by phone Tuesday night.

The fundraiser will take place the evening of March 19 at Finish Line Ford, 2100 W. Pioneer Parkway. Tickets will be available at a cost of $250 or $500 per person, or $5,000 for a table of 10 and a guarantee of a photograph with Schock and Romney.

The presidential candidate has not held a similar fundraiser for any other congressional candidates, Schock said. And bringing him to town the day before Illinoisans vote in the March 20 primary election offers them a chance to get an up-close look at the candidate whom many have tagged the GOP’s frontrunner for the presidential nomination.

I might not go. :)

Birds of a Feather

I keep telling you that radical Muslims would make great Republicans! ;)

Ok, ok, I know that Mr. Santorum wouldn’t approve of executing those who leave Christianity or of executing atheists (I think :) ) so even our worst fundies really don’t compare to the Muslim mullahs in Islamic republics. But that is a nice reminder that a secular government is a good thing, no? ;)

Of course, we are hearing about riots because some Qurans (ones that were scribbled in) were burned and some take issue with President Obama issuing an apology:

President Barack Obama apologized Thursday for the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book at a U.S. military base this week, as violent protests raging nationwide led a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform to kill two U.S. troops.

The Afghans’ furious response to the Quran burning — three days of riots in several cities nationwide — reflected the anger at what they perceive as foreign forces disrespect for Afghan laws and culture.

In a letter sent to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama expressed his administration’s “regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled,” White House national security council spokesman Tommy Vietor said. He added that the letter was delivered by Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Thursday afternoon.

Karzai’s office said Obama called the Quran burnings “inadvertent,” adding that the U.S. “will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

U.S. apologies for the desecration — and an appeal from Karzai for calm — have failed to temper the anger of Afghans, who staged rallies in seven provinces Thursday, sparking clashes with Afghan police and security forces that left at least five demonstrators dead. Seven protesters were killed in clashes on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, this is the political reality because we are involved in this region; we are in their country after all. Yeah, their reaction is absurd but…….human beings can react very badly if put in the wrong circumstances. And no, there is nothing rational about having such superstition. President Obama has to bow to that reality…though I wonder why we are still there to begin with.

Tiresome arguments

NOTE I am too lazy to properly change one of the words; I would replace “Christians” with “Creationists” or some other person who sees evidence for supernatural influence in today’s world. Someone sent this to me privately; she didn’t want to post this to her facebook wall as she was afraid that this would offend some people.

I suppose that I might not understand why someone insists on “having faith” but I am ok with it so long as they don’t claim it “unreasonable” that others won’t make such a leap. And again, I am not talking about “metaphors for life” type beliefs or “I feel better if I do X, Y and Z”; I am talking about “deity X DID A, B and C” type of beliefs.

This fits in well with two recent discussions on Jerry Coyne’s blog. The first is a discussion on a response given by Astronomer (and agnostic)
Neil Degrasse Tyson. In this discussion I wish to comment on this:

7) Most of the (American) public does indeed embrace science as a way of knowing. Science is more than evolution, of course. It’s engineering, it’s medicine, it’s chemistry, it’s physics. It’s the R&D for every tech company. The percent of total funded science that ruffles the feathers of non-fundamentalist religious people is small.

(emphasis mine)

Here is my beef: it is one thing to say “hey, we can find out some things by science”. It is quite another to admit that one can learn NOTHING about how the world works from reading a holy text or by “faith”/revelation. The problem is that for too many in the American public:

1. A conflict between a science finding and a “claim by a holy text” is seen as a genuine conflict
2. Claims made without evidence are given weight; that is, while science might be “one way of knowing” to some, so are revelations by holy texts, readings by tarot cards, astrological charts, dousing rods, etc. Science is put on the same level as woo and superstition.

Accepting science on the level with, say, astrology, really isn’t accepting science.

Now we have the “sophisticated theologians”; those who point out that mathematics is very useful (e. g., the mathematical formalism for quantum mechanics doesn’t explain, but it does predict!) That may be so, but that ZERO to do with Jesus. :)

If there is some creative force “behind it all”, well, that’s nice. But what does that have to do with any god conjured up by human beings? I really think that some people have trouble wrapping their heads around the Copernican concept that HUMANS ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE; we are merely a small part of it.

But there is hope; there was a recent time in human history in which the current western world was just as backwards (or perhaps even more so) than the current Muslim one:


February 23, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Aaron Schock, Barack Obama, mathematics, politics, religion, republicans, rick santorum, running, science, superstition | Leave a comment

Aaron Schock’s Conservative Boilerplate…


There is some truth in this…though one might see me scrolling through Paul Krugman articles trying to come up with data to refute ridiculous argumenst such as this one made by Aaron Schock:

This week, President Obama introduced his budget blueprint for the next 10 years. It’s a budget that isn’t serious but carries serious consequences.

Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the federal government’s deficit will exceed $1 trillion for 2012, the fourth year in a row. Since January 2009, when President Obama took office, the accumulated debt has risen from $10.63 trillion to $15.4 trillion. Should our country choose to follow the president’s new spending plan, by 2022 the debt will reach $25.9 trillion. By that point, we would be paying nearly $1 trillion in annual interest alone. The U.S. already is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Since taking office, he has advocated for the same policies: more increased taxes, more spending, more borrowing and more deficits. If consistency were currency, the president just might have a chance at wiping out our debt. The president continues to claim that the debt problem could be solved if the wealthy would pay more taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if we taxed all household income over $250,000 at 100 percent, the revenue would not cover this year’s deficit.

Despite these facts, the president’s budget contains $1.9 trillion in new taxes and $47 trillion in government spending over the next decade. He takes credit for more than $2 trillion in savings that were the result of a debt-limit deal passed last year by Congress over his objections. In addition, he claims to “cut” spending by $850 billion by not having wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hardly honest budgeting.

Consider the facts:

Last year, the House was the only chamber to pass a budget. We have been waiting on the Senate to do the same for more than 1,000 days. Our plan would have put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path, encouraging private sector investment and growth in the U.S. economy. We need a willing partner in the Senate. Their inaction is a dereliction of their duty to the American people.

Next month, House Republicans will release our own budget. It will again offer bold solutions to curb short-term deficits and address the long-term drivers of our debt – entitlement programs. Medicare is on track to run out of money in 2024, Social Security the same by 2036. By choosing the strategy of the ostrich, the president is signaling that he isn’t serious about ensuring these programs for retiring baby boomers and future generations. That will hurt the very people he claims to protect: the middle class. The reality is that if we do nothing, every dollar we collect in tax revenue will go towards these programs in 2045.

At the behest of House Republicans, the government cut spending last year. For the first time since World War II, we spent less than the previous year. We have enacted legislation that cuts spending even further for 2012.

Our work is just beginning. These problems can be fixed. It will take leadership and tough decisions. The House will show again that it can be done. President Obama and the Senate need to join us.

Congressman Aaron Schock represents the 18th District, which encompasses Peoria.

Well, he gets a few things wrong, though I agree that Medicare needs to be fixed. As far as what he gets wrong: President Obama calls for a balanced approach. And his argument that “taxing the wealthy won’t completely solve our problems therefore we shouldn’t do it” is crazy. From someone who actually knows something about economics (Paul Krugman):

Let me suggest two areas in which it would make a lot of sense to raise taxes in earnest, not just return them to pre-Bush levels: taxes on very high incomes and taxes on financial transactions.

About those high incomes: In my last column I suggested that the very rich, who have had huge income gains over the last 30 years, should pay more in taxes. I got many responses from readers, with a common theme being that this was silly, that even confiscatory taxes on the wealthy couldn’t possibly raise enough money to matter.

Folks, you’re living in the past. Once upon a time America was a middle-class nation, in which the super-elite’s income was no big deal. But that was another country.

The I.R.S. reports that in 2007, that is, before the economic crisis, the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers — roughly speaking, people with annual incomes over $2 million — had a combined income of more than a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money, and it wouldn’t be hard to devise taxes that would raise a significant amount of revenue from those super-high-income individuals.

For example, a recent report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out that before 1980 very-high-income individuals fell into tax brackets well above the 35 percent top rate that applies today. According to the center’s analysis, restoring those high-income brackets would have raised $78 billion in 2007, or more than half a percent of G.D.P. I’ve extrapolated that number using Congressional Budget Office projections, and what I get for the next decade is that high-income taxation could shave more than $1 trillion off the deficit.

If you use Mr. Schock’s logic: we should never cut any program because cutting any one program won’t balance the budget.
Also, this growth in spending is, in part, due to a poor economy that Mr. Obama inherited. We haven’t made it easier to qualify for safety nets; it is just that so many lost jobs that more are needing to use them.

Punish the slackers: A Republican fetish
Paul Krugman again:

And what these severe conservatives hate, above all, is reliance on government programs. Rick Santorum declares that President Obama is getting America hooked on “the narcotic of dependency.” Mr. Romney warns that government programs “foster passivity and sloth.” Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, requires that staffers read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” in which heroic capitalists struggle against the “moochers” trying to steal their totally deserved wealth, a struggle the heroes win by withdrawing their productive effort and giving interminable speeches.

Many readers of The Times were, therefore, surprised to learn, from an excellent article published last weekend, that the regions of America most hooked on Mr. Santorum’s narcotic — the regions in which government programs account for the largest share of personal income — are precisely the regions electing those severe conservatives. Wasn’t Red America supposed to be the land of traditional values, where people don’t eat Thai food and don’t rely on handouts?

The article made its case with maps showing the distribution of dependency, but you get the same story from a more formal comparison. Aaron Carroll of Indiana University tells us that in 2010, residents of the 10 states Gallup ranks as “most conservative” received 21.2 percent of their income in government transfers, while the number for the 10 most liberal states was only 17.1 percent.

You might say: well, people who live around these slackers are the ones who are against all of this free handouts. But from personal experience: I’ve heard the very recipients of such aid…complaining about people on the same aid!!! You see: THEY are different, it is all of those “others” who are undeserving.

Yes, I know that there are some no-good-for-nothings on public aid. Yes, I get a bit irritated when those on aid complain about the high price of cigarettes (if they can afford cigarettes…why can’t they afford food?)

Nevertheless, people will never behave optimally all of the time; I certainly don’t! It is unrealistic to make perfect optimal behavior a condition for aid. And yes, most people who get aid of some sort use it correctly….and many of us who claim to have never used the government HAVE.

Me: my college education was directly paid for by the tax payer; I served in the military, drew veterans benefits, got federal fellowships and grants to help with my graduate education (at a state subsidized school), had a teaching assistantship, got grants for research, etc.

And even now, my students get some state and federal aid for their studies…and for me, “no students” means “no job”.

I would be profoundly ignorant to claim that I get no help from the government.

And…some of those who scream about government spending too much money??? They went to the same school I did, drew a government paycheck…and many now work for….wait for it…DEFENSE CONTRACTORS. Their hypocrisy is unbelievable.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Aaron Schock, Barack Obama, economy, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans | Leave a comment

Romney vs. Santorum, Frogs and Hilarity…

Workout notes yoga, then a slowish 6.25 (10k) run along the water; I started at the lot, ran to Hooters, back through the gateway and out to the dam; then I went to the factory entrance, back and twice around the gooseloop; back to the I-74 bridge and back to the car. It took 1:05; when I was headed out to Hooters my doctor (did my colonoscopy) blew past me as if I were standing still; he is in his early 60’s and can still turn over a 3:3x marathon.

I’ll NEVER be like him. :)

At yoga, my teacher gave me a nice correction to “down dog” (my arms were bent).

As far as running: I might have to add a 2-4 mile run to get to 4 runs a week; my body isn’t adapting on 3 runs a week.

Atelopus coynei, a small “harlequin frog” which lived in Ecuador, was thought to be extinct. It isn’t!!!! That is always good news…

Click on the thumbnail too see this handsome creature in a full size photo. Yes, this frog is named after biology professor Jerry Coyne.

Right now there is “this is how others see us, this is how WE see us and this is how we really are”. I passed along the professor one. Here is a Unitarian Universalist one; note that I was a member of the local UU church for a long time.

So, this is how I will address the photo: the social one (the protest signs) is pretty close; also many UUs work in organizations that care for the poor or for those who have AIDS, battered women, etc. So there is no denying that aspect of UUs. But as far as the “how New Atheists view UUs”: no, not really. I see them more like this, or this:

Just throw in a few science words and some Eastern religion words, mix in a word salad, and you’ll have a whole congregation of UU’s nodding in agreement..or at least in approval. Just leave out “Jesus” and “God the FATHER” (“Mother Goddess” is ok).

Is Rick Santorum really less electable than Mitt Romney? Well, probably a little; then again Mr. Santorum runs stronger in key areas in key demographics (working class whites in the Midwest) so….still I find Mr. Silver’s “possible Santorum map” to be farfetched. But yes, his point is that there is more to electability than national poll numbers. The point is that whereas Mr. Romney would do better in many states, many of these are those that Mr. Obama isn’t going to win anyway, and Mr. Santorum does better than Mr. Romney in some Midwestern states.

And, no I do NOT approve of the Daily Kos “operation hilarity” which is supposed to have us spending money and voting for Mr. Santorum in open Republican primary states. Evidently, I am not alone in objecting (here, here, and here)

I want to make this clear: I can understand voting in a Republican primary if it is legal to do so in some circumstances; in fact I considered it in 2008. Here is why: I live in IL-18 (I will be shifted to IL-17 in the upcoming cycle due to redistricting). The Republicans have a lock on IL-18; only once in 100 years has a Democrat won. Hence the winner of the 3-way Republican primary for US Representative was a shoo-in for the general election. Hence if I wanted a chance to elect our Representative (currently Aaron Schock), I had to vote in the Republican primary. The rules allowed for you to register as a Republican or as a Democrat on the day you voted.

I ended up NOT doing that as then Senator Obama was in a close contest with then Senator Clinton and we had a contested race for the Illinois House seat (IL-92). So I voted in the Democratic primary, as always.

By the way, I’ll be voting in the Democratic primary again; this time it will be for Cheri Bustos for the IL-17 nomination.

February 16, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Aaron Schock, Barack Obama, frogs, humor, IL-17, IL-18, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, religion, running, yoga | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 666 other followers