Obama, Putin, Republicans and Gohmert

President Obama landed a body blow to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates:

And no, being asked about your tax plan numbers not adding up is not an unfair debate question.

Louie Gohmert: he said that support to “impeach President Obama” was not widespread. The way to read this: remember the district that he represents (in East Texas) is a bit like this:


His constituents live in a bubble where they KNOW that “everyone” (save a few miscreants) wants President Obama to be impeached.

November 3, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Still recovering (and some cool Obama smackdowns…)

Workout notes: 2000 yard swim (500, 5 x 50 drill (fins), 50 free, 8 x 100: 4 on 2:05 (1:47-48 each), 4 on 2:10 (1:51-53, got tired), 200 strokes. T
Then a 5K walk (Lower Bradley Park) then light yoga; included headstand and some “low crow”.

I am not “quite” over my cold but getting there.

I’ve been busy with actuarial math (yuck). I have noticed that Canada put the Liberal Party back in power (here and here) though their Liberal party is really a “left of center” party by Canada standards. Then again, their “conservatives” would be “US Democrats”.

So, I’ll post some fluff: my favorite Obama highlights

Trump roast

Obama’s 2016 jokes

Smack down 1

Smack down 2

Smack down 3

October 21, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, swimming, walking | , | Leave a comment

Clinton and the TPP…meh..

Hmmm, so today Hillary Clinton said this:

In an interview Wednesday with PBS’s Judy Woodruff in Iowa, Clinton said, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.

The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner cited the “high bar” she set earlier in the year as the reason she was giving the deal a thumbs down.

“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” Clinton said.

She added: “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”

Emphasis mine. Note how artful this statement is; it has qualifications. However this TPP proposal is a bit different than it was at first, as even “lukewarm critic” Paul Krugman noted:

What I know so far: pharma is mad because the extension of property rights in biologics is much shorter than it wanted, tobacco is mad because it has been carved out of the dispute settlement deal, and Rs in general are mad because the labor protection stuff is stronger than expected. All of these are good things from my point of view. I’ll need to do much more homework once the details are clearer.

But it’s interesting that what we’re seeing so far is a harsh backlash from the right against these improvements. I find myself thinking of Grossman and Helpman’s work on the political economy of free trade agreements, in which they conclude, based on a highly stylized but nonetheless interesting model of special interest politics, that

An FTA is most likely to politically viable exactly when it would be socially harmful.

The TPP looks better than it did, which infuriates much of Congress.

So, I wonder…this woman chooses her words very carefully. Of course, Sanders supporters are declaring victory (“See, she’s feeling THE BURN”) but, well, as far as the deal goes, I am ambivalent. I suppose if I had to choose, I’d trust President Obama here, and yes, I know that means going against the knee jerk anti-trade woo-woos..though this deal really isn’t that much about trade.

So, on this issue, I am at odds with Sec. Clinton. Sort of. It really isn’t THAT important to me, either way.

October 8, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, economics, economy, hillary clinton, social/political | , | Leave a comment

On President Obama: Once people’s minds are made up…(left and right)

I was going to call this “Obama derangement syndrome” but I remember going through something like with with President Bush. Once he decided to invade Iraq, I turned against him. Sure, I DID vote for Al Gore in 2000 and was disappointed when the SCOTUS decided to go his way; this was a case of a statistical tie being resolved by a Republican Supreme Court.

But it turns out that President Bush did do a few good things toward the end of his second term and he did some good work combating disease in Africa. But it took a very long time for my ice to thaw.

And so it goes with President Obama.

From the left: many still see him as a corporate sellout and even praise from the liberal wing isn’t enough to change their mind. So when it comes out that the TPP might not be the horrible thing that some say (still figuring out all the details)…well, these critics remain unwilling to consider the new evidence.

But that is nothing compared to the “Obama is the antichrist” crowd. Listening to the media, one might conclude that President Obama is the most hated president ever. In fact, his approval numbers are tracking the historical average, almost perfectly.


In short: he has been pretty typical, in terms of approval. If you want low: look at President Bush.

Now some of the permanent Obama haters (left) pointed out that “approval” is not the same as “doing a good job” and I agree with that statement. Personally, I think that he has done a fine job: he has wound down some US involvement in wars, taxed the rich, stopped the job losses, gotten us at least a little economic stimulus, ended “don’t ask, don’t tell”, strengthened gay rights and gotten us health care.

But some of the left think that we shouldn’t have any war (I agree, but don’t see that as ever happening, under anyone) and we should have a more European socialist/capitalist economy. Those on the right: the elite Republicans are furious that the most wealthy have to pay more tax and the rank and file are angry that their version of America (straight, white, protestant, the rest of the world bowing to us) has been exposed as being unrealistic.

Ironically, President Obama’s conservative critics (I am talking about the sane ones; not the “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim” ones) have a more realistic appreciation of some of what President Obama has accomplished than many of the left wing critics.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

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

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


And of course:

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

But for the context:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So a bit of context will be helpful:

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

Clinton: But, Senator, again—

Johnson: Within hours, if not days?

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

Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.

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

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

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

Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

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

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

And yes, “both sides” do this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campaign season. Expect it.

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

Some political reality

If we listen to the detractors, EVERYONE hates President Obama.

But what is reality? If one looks at the cold, hard facts, President Obama’s approval ratings:

1. Track very well with the historical ratings of previous presidents (who have served two terms)

2. Are well above those of President Bush (at this point in his presidency) but below what President Clinton’s were. President Reagan had better ratings for much of his presidency but, at this point, his approval ratings were similar to President Obama’s (remember Iran-Contra)


Dotted line: average of all presidents. Light green: President Obama. Dark green: President Bush.

Screen shot 2015-05-24 at 5.13.45 PM

Again, light green is President Obama, darkest green is President Reagan (with the big dip); the middle green (and highest ratings) is President Clinton.

From here

Now the Republicans turn their sights on the 2016 elections. Yes, some are bloviating about the instability in Iraq (President Bush left a stable situation!) evidently forgetting that the Status of Forces agreement to get the US out of Iraq was negotiated with Iraq by President Bush. Yes, the region was more stable with us there, but were we to stay there in perpetuity?


May 24, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, world events | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama on Baltimore, warming, butt hurt, etc.

This lasts 14 minutes. Note that President Obama STARTS by condemning the criminal behavior of looting, burning, etc. He also points out that the peaceful protests didn’t get a lot of attention.

President Obama did have some fun at the expense of Michele Bachmann and her nuttiness.

Of course, the nut jobs are “offended”. Sorry: a nutty idea is a nutty idea, even if you believe it for “religious” reasons.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is going to “run for President”.
Yes, though he won his Senate race by a landslide (and then some), he still only got something like 208,00 votes, which is less than what the Mayor of Chicago got (319,000). But he excites some of the liberals and perhaps that excitement might carry over to the general if Hillary Clinton reaches out to them.

But his chances at the nomination are only slightly greater than my chances of making an NFL team.

Trolling I assume that this guy was serious. But instead of being outraged, I laughed out loud at him; he sounds like a caricature of a Fox News watcher.

Science and society

Yes, this is only one point on the earth. But look at the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.


Yes, GMO crops have a place. This is how one former “anti-GMO activist” saw the light.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Barack Obama, Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Woo woo, satire and some math

Last night, The President had some fun with his critics:

Mathematics gets a should out (yay!)

But woo-woo gets front page at the Peoria Journal Star:

OTTAWA — In an age when science explains many of the natural world’s mysteries, there still exist things not fully understood.
As a licensed clinical professional counselor and a priest, the Rev. Michael Driscoll, a Peoria native, believes both science and the spiritual world should be considered in the realm of mental illness.
Driscoll’s new book, “Demons, Deliverance, and Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction About The Spirit World,” employs modern thinking while addressing the age-old notion of demonic possession.
“We certainly don’t have everything figured out when it comes to mental health problems,” said Driscoll, during a telephone interview from Ottawa where he works as the chaplain and director of pastoral care at OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. While there is greater understanding today about brain chemistry and other factors that lead to mental illness, spiritual issues should still be considered in the treatment of patients.


“I don’t want to say every mystery can be attributed to the devil, but some of us think, ‘Well, there’s a spirit world too, and maybe that explains some things.’”
Driscoll referenced a 2014 story in the Indianapolis Star about a Gary, Ind., woman who claimed she and her three children were possessed by demons. Several hospital workers and police officers witnessed extraordinary events — such as a 9-year-old boy walking backwards up a hospital wall — that made them believe. A series of exorcisms seemed to solve the problem.


The question became the subject of Driscoll’s dissertation several years later while he was working on his Ph.D. through Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. The book contains the same information, but it is written with the aim of educating priests and the public about the differences between mental illness and demonic possession. Published by Catholic Answers Press, the book will be available by month’s end.

Oh dear. This reminds me of the “genuine psychics” signs I’ve seen.
I’d like to think that I don’t live in a 3’rd world backwater but evidently, I do.

April 26, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, health, mathematics, Peoria, political humor, political/social, politics/social, religion, superstition | Leave a comment

President O dunks on the Republicans

Ok, ok, there is zero chance that the Republican Congress will do anything to work with the President. But please spare me about “the people”; the Senate is badly skewed toward the Republicans due to small states having 2 senators, just as the large states do and due to the House overrepresenting the population of rural America.

Still, it was nice to see.

Workout notes
I’ve had some pain on the lateral part of my foot (the outside, almost where the sole meets the instep, just ahead of the ankle…cuboid syndrome?; there is some slight swelling and tenderness and “light” burning; almost more of a minor nuisance than anything) but I felt it might be a good idea to reduce mileage.

I think it may have come from walking without my foot orthotics.

so today: I swam: 2200 yards

500 steady
10 x 100 on the 2:10 (1:50-1:53 mostly)
100 in 1:48
4 x 50 on the 1:10 (55 each)
100 back
100 side
100 fly practice
2 x 25 fly
50 fist/free

It was enough to start the semester.

January 21, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, injury, politics/social, swimming | | Leave a comment

What the hands up, don’t shoot is about (and the news isn’t all negative)

I’ve thought about racism lately and some of the “don’t shoot” events and the like. Some CNN anchors did the hands up thing:


And of course the some are infuriated as some were infuriated when President and First Lady Obama dared to talk about their direct experience with racism (which, by the way, wasn’t a “feel sorry for me” plea but rather to demonstrate that black people deal with racism no matter how high up the ladder they climb). This is curious, because many who are bellowing the loudest are the FIRST to claim the “victim” mantle for themselves. :-)

Well, if you want to know what the “hands up, don’t shoot” stuff is about, watch this video:

In the video, Jones can be seen getting out of his car when Groubert pulled up and asked for his license. Jones can be seen reaching into his car for his license, and as he does, Groubert begins yelling at Jones and fires several shots.

Jones was hit by one bullet in the hip. He is recovering at home after being hospitalized for the injury.

While shooting at Jones, Groubert can be heard yelling, “Get out of the car, get out of the car.”

Jones replied,”I just got my license, you said get my license.”

Groubert responded by telling Jones to get on the ground.

While on the ground Jones said, “I have my license right here, you said get my license.”

In the video Groubert can be heard asking Jones if he was hit by a bullet and went on to say, “Bro, you dove head first back into your car.”

Who in the heck gets a gun pulled on them for a seat belt violation?

The (sort of) good news is that at least the State of South Carolina is taking allegations of this type of misconduct seriously; the officer shown above was charged and is on his way to trial; two other officers got indicted for other incidents (which lead to seemingly needless deaths).

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment


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