blueollie

Senator Sanders and rhetoric vs. action

I know that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has officially decided to run for President. Some of the more outspoken liberals I know are backing him.

Yes, he says many of the “right” things in public, and Secretary Hillary Clinton has been derided as being too close to Wall Street, too much of a hawk in foreign affairs, etc.

But here is the question I’d love to get answered by someone who supports Senator Sanders: what actually has he done?

Saying the “right thing” is pretty easy one one comes from a small, “safe” state; in 2012 he won by 70 percent but still had about 2/3’rd the vote that the current Chicago Mayor got. But if “saying the right thing” is what we need, then why not draft, say, Paul Krugman? Krugman certainly knows more about economics than any political candidate and I mostly love what he says. :-)

I want someone who has demonstrated some political skill at actually getting legislation passed and getting hostile political opposition to at least give a little.

So, at least to me, Senator Sandars is something like a Democratic version of Senator Santorum or Senator Cruz; I really don’t take him that seriously even if I am in agreement with most of his positions.

Hey, I agree with myself 100 percent of the time, and I’d be horrible at that job.

May 3, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, political/social, politics | , , | 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.

Politics
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.

co2_data_mlo

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

Ok, Democrats: what about the 2016 Presidential election

Ok, it was February 10, 2007 when then Senator Barack Obama announced that he was running for President. I was there in Springfield.

It is about a month later than that and, to my knowledge, no serious Democrat has yet to make the official announcement though, of course, most of the buzz has been about Hillary Clinton.

So, IF YOU USUALLY VOTE DEMOCRAT (no Republicans, Greens, etc.), what do you think?

March 8, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

I was wrong about Cheri Bustos

Yes, I voted for Cheri Bustos and gave her campaign a token about of money. But I was not happy about her becoming a Blue Dog.

I am still not happy about that, in terms of policy.

But she did win reelection, and she won by a larger amount than she did in 2012. In 2012, she won 53-47. This time, she won 55-45, and this was in a hard year for Democrats and in an election where President Obama wasn’t on the ballot.

Yes, President Obama carried her district by 17 points in 2012.

Still, she pitched a “moderate” image and won with that.

November 5, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, Democrats, IL-17, political/social, politics | , | 3 Comments

I agree with John Boehner’s office about something….

We hear the talk of impeachment coming from well known Republicans

as well as from some Republicans in Congress.

I don’t know the grounds but hey, it is popular with rank and file Republicans (57 percent)

So, the Democrats have noticed and are raising money off of it:

obamimpeach

Of course, Republicans have noticed. John Boehner’s office weighed in (and yes, Rep. Boehner dismissed the notion):

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel noted in a statement that Boehner already ruled out impeachment and dismissed Pfeiffer’s remarks as a “fundraising exercise for Democrats.”

So who exactly among GOP leaders in the House — where an impeachment move could only start in the Judiciary Committee — is jumping on this bandwagon?

Earnest(White House Press Secretary), asked if anybody in the Republican leadership is seriously talking about impeachment, said, “Well, I think Sarah Palin considers herself to be a leader.”

“. . . . I think that there are some Republicans, including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can get into office so that they can impeach the president. That is apparently a view that they hold, because it’s one that they have repeatedly expressed publicly,” Earnest said.

Talking up Obama being impeached is certainly a way to try to whip up the Democratic base as Congress gets ready to leave at the end of next week and won’t be back until after Labor Day.

Seriously, this is one way to wake up the lazy Democrats. I hope that the Republicans keep on talking.

Note: President Obama’s approval rating continues in the low to mid 40’s, and is about 79 percent among all Democrats and 81 among liberal Democrats.
His tend line almost perfectly tracks the historical trend line (I’ve also included the trend for President Bush)

approvaljuly262014

click to see a larger version

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, political/social, politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

We are going to get creamed in 2014, and we deserve it.

Terrible news for Democrats:

Americans are angry at Congress — more so than basically ever before. So it’s time to throw the bums out, right?

Well, not really. In fact, Americans appear prepared to deal with their historic unhappiness using perhaps the least-productive response: Staying home.

A new study shows that Americans are on-track to set a new low for turnout in a midterm election, and a record number of states could set their own new records for lowest percentage of eligible citizens casting ballots.

And:

Turnout2

David Horsey has a point:

david-horsey-cartoon-2014-elections-squishy-Democrats

We are going to get creamed because we suck.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Walking and the politics of young people

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 12.11.37 PM

I took the car to north Peoria to get serviced; since I was close to the northern part of the Rock Island trail I decided to take advantage.

I walked south to the intersection of Knoxville and Giles (4.05 miles), back to the trail head; at mile 0 I clicked a split and walked to mile 1 on the trail and then back to 0, and then doubled back to the trailhead. The total: slightly over 10 miles (16 km) in 2:25:56.

Since I hadn’t specifically planned the walk, I walked in my cargo pants and t-shirt; sort of the “old foagie” look. I was somewhat sore this morning from yesterday’s intervals plus “hard hike on the trails” so I cruised at a steady 14:20-14:30 pace. I saw a couple of deer in the distance as I passed by farmlands.

Good news: when the walk ended, it was more of “aw, do I have to quit now?” rather than “thank goodness I am done”; that is a very good sign.

Politics
The title of this article is interesting:

Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense
That’s not a harsh assessment. It’s just a fair description.

I’d add: with one exception, they are like people of my generation. The exception:

3. Far less important, but entertaining nonetheless: Millennials don’t know what socialism is, but they think it sounds nice.

I think that “socialism” has a negative connotation with people of my generation because we grew up with the Cold War; that is something millennials only read about in books.

But here is why it makes no sense:

On spending:
Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
On taxes:
Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
On government’s role in our lives:
Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that “when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.”
Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
On government size:
Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word “taxes”).
Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don’t mention “taxes”).
Some of these positions suggest, rather than prove, utter incoherence. For example, you can technically support (a) reducing the overall tax burden and (b) raising taxes on the wealthy by raising the investment tax and absolving the bottom 50 percent of Social Security taxes. Somehow, I think what’s happening is simpler than young people doing the long math of effective tax rates. I think they’re just confused.

In short: they are like the rest of us; they want services (whether they admit it or not) but don’t want to pay for such services. :-)

But here is why this matters to politics: on one hand, they lean Democrat; the social conservatism of the Republicans really turns them off.

On the other hand: they have a libertarian streak when it comes to economics:

Although a majority of younger voters today are reliably Democratic, there are key issues on which they differ notably from their elders within the center-left coalition. The July Pew survey identifies two predominantly white core Democratic constituencies: the “solid liberals” of the traditional left, which is 69 percent white, with an average age of 46, who exhibit deep progressive commitments on both economic and social issues; and younger voters, 68 percent white, with an average age of 38, which Pew calls the “next generation left.”

The two groups were asked to choose whether “most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard” or whether “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.” A decisive majority of the older “solid liberal” group, 67 percent, responded that hard work is no guarantee of success, while an even larger majority, 77 percent, of the younger “next generation left” believes that you can get ahead if you are willing to work hard.

Part of me just chuckles; this goes hand in hand with studies that state Millennials vastly overestimate what they are going to accomplish in life. (see: the book Generation Me by Jean Twenge). Some things you have to learn the hard way, just as I did.

But the upshot is that economic populism, while popular with old hippies (e. g. my crowd) won’t be such a selling point with younger voters.
In other words, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich doesn’t really “speak to them” the way that they speak to me.

So there is your Warren/Sanders ticket right there.

Note on Elizabeth Warren: yes, she is very smart and she has some excellent ideas. But she simply isn’t a politician; I have deep skepticism of her chances on a national level even though the old hippies love her.

I present the following:

Massachusetts Senate race 2012:

Warren: 53.7 Brown: 46.2 difference: 7.5 points

Massachusetts Presidential race 2012:

Obama: 60.65. Romney: 37.51 Difference: 23.14 points.

This is a national level candidate?

Here is a sample of previous presidential winners in their “race before the presidency” races. One has to go back to 1970 to find a national candidate who won their “large race” by a narrow of a margin as Warren’s (and yes, Nixon lost the California race of 1962 and narrowly lost the presidential race of 1960).

Illinois Senate 2004:
Obama: 70.0 Keys: 27.0

Texas Governor 1998
Bush: 68.2 Mauro: 31.2

Arkansas Governor 1990
Clinton: 57.49 Nelson: 42.49

General election 1984
Bush (VP with Reagan)
Reagan-Bush: 58.8 Mondale: 40.6

California Governor 1970
Reagan: 52.83 Unruh: 45.14

California Governor 1962
Brown: 51.94 Nixon: 46.87

But Nixon was VP to Eisenhower and had lost a very narrow Presidential election in 1960 (narrow in popular vote: 49.7-49.6)

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Liberal bubbles: Democratic Governor’s association won’t throw money away

Surprise: liberal Democrat has little chance of winning the governor’s race in Texas. Some liberals are crying “foul” and many tried to tell me how wrong I was in saying that this was “head in the clouds” type “thinking”.

Being delusional is a bipartisan thing, at least among the base.

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

No Difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Check this out:

Charlene Dill didn’t have to die.

On March 21, Dill was supposed to bring her three children over to the South Orlando home of her best friend, Kathleen Voss Woolrich. The two had cultivated a close friendship since 2008; they shared all the resources that they had, from debit-card PINs to transportation to baby-sitting and house keys. They helped one another out, forming a safety net where there wasn’t one already. They “hustled,” as Woolrich describes it, picking up short-term work, going out to any event they could get free tickets to, living the high life on the low-down, cleaning houses for friends to afford tampons and shampoo. They were the working poor, and they existed in the shadows of the economic recovery that has yet to reach many average people.

So on March 21, when Dill never showed up with her three kids (who often came over to play with her 9-year-old daughter, Zahra), Woolrich was surprised she didn’t even get a phone call from Dill. She shot her a text message – something along the lines of “Thanks for ditching me, LOL” – not knowing what had actually happened. Dill, who was estranged from her husband and raising three children aged 3, 7 and 9 by herself, had picked up yet another odd job. She was selling vacuums on a commission basis for Rainbow Vacuums. On that day, in order to make enough money to survive, she made two last-minute appointments. At one of those appointments, in Kissimmee, she collapsed and died on a stranger’s floor.

Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act’s intention to make health care available to everyone. In the ensuing two years, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid, including Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government over the period of a decade to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people like Dill and Woolrich – people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies. They, like many, are victims of a political war – one that puts the lives and health of up to 17,000 U.S. residents and 2,000 Floridians annually in jeopardy, all in the name of rebelling against President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

To my fellow liberals: the Republicans know that there is a big difference. And you should too. Our Democrats aren’t as liberal as we’d like them to be and they too are often in the clutches of Big Money. The same holds true for President Obama.

But there are differences and they are significant. Shame on you if you can’t see them or won’t admit that they are there.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, health care, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | 2 Comments

Ok, something other than whining…:-)

Humor: I don’t know if I’d call these “intellectual” but they are funny:

jokes

(Click for larger)

unintentional humor
A former Bradley basketball star and coach is now coaching the UC-Davis basketball team. It has been a rough year for them:

caldavisbball

They finished 9’th out of 9 teams in their conference. Now of course, a basketball coach inherits a situation and only so much can change over a period of time.
So, this coach decided to post this on his Twitter account:

Biek-hiCYAAWywD

Hmmm, though I can appreciate the message (e. g., sometimes it is beneficial to be pushed beyond your self-perceived limits), I’d say that a college oriented message ought to be, well, better written? Isn’t being able to write beyond a grade school level part of being…employable? (at least for a college graduate) :-)

Issues of the day
This isn’t good: a US Senator claims that the CIA is hacking into Congressional computers. IF true, this is very troubling.

Politics
A Republican won an open Republican seat in a special election (FL-13). The seat was open due to the death of the incumbent Bill Young, who was a Republican. But President Obama carried this Congressional district twice: 50.1 to 48.6 in 2012 and 51.3 to 47.5 in 2008. So the Democrats tried to flip it and came up short 48.5 to 46.7. The Democrats did make a special effort for this prize.

Now what to make of it? I’ll say this: I sure hope that my fellow liberals who just “know” that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would just SWEEP the country realize that neither would win districts that President Obama carried. Too many of us live in a bubble and think that the rest of the country is ….well….JUST LIKE US.

Nuclear safety (weapons)
Though this article is about thermonuclear weapon incidents from the 1950’s, it is still worth reading.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, technology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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