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

Intellectual and Emotional Potpourri

Workout notes
First weights (7:10 am):

pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10 (the set of 15 was tough)
rotator cuff exercises
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (good set)
incline press: 10 x 135 (easy at the start, challenging at the end)
military press: 2 of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing, 10 x 100 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

That took about 45 minutes. Then running:
11:06 treadmill mile
track: 17:09 2 mile (lane 2: 8:41/8:28) Not all out, but it wasn’t easy either. Was it really 14 years ago this was my marathon pace?

stationary cycle: 16 minutes (4 miles) to help the knees.

I left the workout feeling pretty good. This took me to 8:45

Other topics
Jerry Coyne: is retiring. I found this post interesting as it describes the life of a research professor. He also gives advice to the next generation of research scientists.

He also has some things to say about the attitude of always trying to keep the students comfortable; evidently the current generation of students are more easily traumatized.

I can say this: yes, when I was their age, we whined about similar things. The difference is that administration (and professors) merely told us to “grow up and quit whining”. I admit that, at times, it is easy to take the “easy way out” and not challenge the students to find the best in themselves.

Capitalism and morality Jonathan Haidt suggests that capitalism has contributed positively to our morality in that we now have the luxury of considering certain moral issues. I think that this fits in well with some of the stuff that Jared Diamond wrote about (society reaching a stage where people have time to think)

But yes, capitalism (especially, lightly regulated capitalism) has its dark side too.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Here are some interesting tidbits about that show. Note: one episode helped someone (correctly) beat an unjust murder charge!

Hillary Clinton when a politician has had a long career, they will make mistakes and change their mind on some issues. Now the Iraq war: I wanted my Senator to vote no, and Senator Durbin did.

But on gay marriage: many of us changed our minds; remember in 2004, both President Bush and Senator Kerry were for civil unions. I came to marriage equality long before then, but there was a time in my early adulthood where I was “anti-gay” just, well, that is what “good people were.” But as I grew up and learned more..I found that my heart was never in it. This became clear to me when I saw some gay men kissing and sitting on each other’s lap; I just couldn’t get upset about it though I felt I was “supposed to”. In fact, I thought “well, they won’t compete for my female date” and that was that. So the gay rights thing switched for me in my early 20’s (1980’s).

Keystone pipeline: I was ambivalent at first; after all, oil has to be transported somehow, and the potential for accidents was always there. Reading the science and engineering articles on it turned me against it, but I needed to see the evidence.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton, while a better politician than Bernie Sanders, isn’t the politician that Bill Clinton was or that Barack Obama is. But she is thoughtful and that sometimes confuses people.

Here is a video of her discussing the problems with a program that gives public money vouchers for private religious schools. Of course, her points flew right over the heads of the dimwitted wingnuts who posted the video, but excellent points they remain.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Clinton ad on the debate

Defund Planned Parenthood, repeal Obamacare, send the military to fight more wars. Oh, cut the taxes for rich people. That’ll do it. :-)

September 17, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics | | Leave a comment

Day two: survived

Admin projects loom large and I need to get more conversant in life contingencies class.

I did “run” 6 miles this morning and did some yoga on my own. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be long days for me.

Election: we are hearing lots of things (Trump leads! Sanders had a rally and has filed a “free college tuition” bill!) but right now, Hillary Clinton is leading.

But a lot can happen between now and next June and yes, I expect her to lose a few states.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, running | | Leave a comment

Trump scares some (not me)

I was just checking out the article in Rolling Stone called Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny:

His signature moment in a campaign full of them was his exchange in the first debate with Fox’s Kelly. She asked him how anyone with a history of calling women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” could win a general election against a female candidate like Hillary Clinton.

“I’ve been challenged by so many people,” Trump answered. “I frankly don’t have time for political correctness. And to be honest with you, the country doesn’t have time either….We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico….We lose to everybody.”

On the surface, Kelly was just doing her job as a journalist, throwing Trump’s most outrageous comments back at him and demanding an explanation.

But on another level, she was trying to bring Trump to heel. The extraction of the humiliating public apology is one of the media’s most powerful weapons. Someone becomes famous, we dig up dirt on the person, we rub it in his or her nose, and then we demand that the person get down on bended knee and beg forgiveness.

Oh noes! Someone told the press to “bugger off”!

People are tired of rules and tired of having to pay lip service to decorum. They want to stop having to watch what they say and think and just get “crazy,” as Thomas Friedman would put it.

Trump’s campaign is giving people permission to do just that. It’s hard to say this word in conjunction with such a sexually unappealing person, but his message is a powerful aphrodisiac. Fuck everything, fuck everyone. Fuck immigrants and fuck their filthy lice-ridden kids. And fuck you if you don’t like me saying so.

Perhaps it isn’t quite as extreme as that. I see it more this way: too many on the PC crowd have set scripts written up for everyone else with set penalties for those who deviate from those scripts.

No, I don’t think it is a good idea to call other people “fat and ugly” in public and I am not going to do that. But while this is a boorish thing to do, its harm is only so large. That he did that really doesn’t concern me; at a political debate I want him to tell me about his plans and how he expects to reach his goals (and yes, he scares Republicans because he doesn’t want to dismantle Social Security and Medicare and he is interested in fixing our horrible infrastructure.

The Rolling Stone article goes on to talk about the xenophobia and Trump making incorrect claims. Yes and yes, but that is really no different than the other Republicans.

Hillary Clinton had other thing to say along those lines.

And yes, she remains the front runner.

But back to Trump and tone: we may have gone too far. Relatively recently, a scientist helped land a probe on a comment, but was “attacked” by shrill social justice warriors for his comic book like shirt (which was given to him by a female friend). Perhaps such trolls need to hear “STFU, I don’t care what you think” more often.

Of course, most politicians are more subtle than that; here I think that Hillary Clinton gets it right:

(especially 1 minute into it)

August 23, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

More interesting than I’d thought.

I’m getting ready to go lift weights (I slept in) and I read a few more articles about the 2016 campaign. I admit that I am far more interested than I though that I would be. The reason: the insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Jonah Goldberg wrote an interesting editorial as did Robert Riech. And yes, these campaigns constitute a bit of a revolt.

Both campaigns take the gloves off when it comes to saying what their respective bases want to hear. (in the case of Sanders, I wonder just HOW he’ll accomplish his goals, but that is for another post)

Donald Trump, while running a hyper “American exceptionalism”, xenophobic campaign, is against dismantling the welfare state. Look at one of his commercials; he rails against our crumbling infrastructure.

I can even relate to some of what he says! (seriously…)

And Trump dismisses those who thinks that “a candidate should never say this or that”; he just flippantly refuses to follow “approved scripts”:

I actually like that too.

Bernie Sanders gets on the press for failing to address the important issues:

Now why am I a Clinton supporter? Well, I think that she has a sober analysis of HOW one gets from “here to there” and she has the smarts to actually do it. And yes, change is frustrating and incremental. And as far as the election: sure, Sanders won his last election with 208 K votes.

Side note
As far as people going on about President O’s approval ratings: they are tracking the historical trend very well. (from here)


I included President Bush’s numbers so you can see what “low numbers look like”.

August 21, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Colors, running, campaign and hops…

Workout notes 10K run from the House to Markin; on the way our the women’s track team was doing a “side hopping” drill…and still moving at my “running” pace. Sigh.
Glorious day for the run though; afterward I did 10 minutes on the bike for my knees.

Colors: for some reason, I like the way that the old football uniforms were colored. I can’t put the finger on why I like them better than today’s:


Baseball Last night the Chiefs bombed the Snappers 15-2; they got 18 hits and 3 home runs. The Snappers got 2 runs in the 6’th when the Chiefs reliever struck out 3 batters, but allowed 2 solo home runs. Go figure.
The Snapper starting pitcher looked like a tall, skinny junior high kid (from a distance), though he is 6′ 1″ and 180..but he still made the glove pop with 90-94 mph fast balls. But the Chiefs hit him.

Climate Change: it was the hottest July ever recorded (world wide), though it wasn’t unusually hot here.

Bernie Sanders has the support of Cornel West. While Professor West does have a sterling track record in academics (as a scholar), well, I think that he jumped the shark as an activist

Here is what I like about Hillary Clinton: I like her straight forward approach with allies.

Donald Trump: is he filling a void? Note that he isn’t against dismantling the welfare state.


August 20, 2015 Posted by | football, hillary clinton, politics, running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is real and my slacking has to stop

Workout notes: 5 mile walk outside (14:20’ish pace), 3 inside (middle lane, 12:20 each for 37:00). My goal pace for the marathon is 12:30 so this was an adequate workout, given the tough weekend.
I followed with 10 minute of cycling and some yoga, and another “so-so” headstand.

The University Conference starts in about 50 minutes, so the start of the school year is really here; tomorrow I write up syllabi for my courses (engineering/science calculus II, numerical analysis, theory of interest), make up review sheets, etc. Classes start a week from tomorrow. And yes, unless I am seriously injured or sick, I don’t miss opening day.

Baseball game tonight and tomorrow night; football season opens (for me) on the first Friday in September.

So, it is time to come off of the summer sleep/wake up schedule and finalize my “semester workout” routines…while hopefully fitting in some research time. Of course, administration will try to pile on BS as, well, administrators have resumes to build! So, I’ll practice:

No. No. No. No. No.

Election time
I know that primaries are still a long way away (a football regular season away!) and I seriously thought that I’d be uninterested in this election.
So far: Hillary Clinton is laying groundwork and catching flak for stupid things (she is a flak magnet)
Bernie Sanders is providing fool’s gold our purity trolls.
And Donald Trump is shaking things up on the GOP side. Suck it, Charles Krauthammer!

I just love it that Donald Trump can tell “activists” to just go f**k themselves, whereas the Democrats are oh-so-gentle with them.

No, there is no danger in my voting Republican, unless the Democrats nominate David Duke or some other wacko.

But, I am much more entertained that I thought that I would be.


August 18, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, walking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, what shape is Hillary Clinton in? She might lose some states but…

Though the purity trolls rage, Hillary Clinton is still in good shape. I’m not saying that she is a “lock” and I believe that she will lose a few states to Bernie Sanders.

If you look back on Democratic primary races from 1988 to now, in 2000 Gore made a clean sweep. But in the other primaries where there was no incumbent, the winner did NOT sweep:

1988: Jackson: 9 states plus DC, Gore: 7 states, Gephart: 3 states, Simon: 1 state.
1992: Tsongas: 7 states, Brown: 6 states, Kerrey: 1 state, Harkin: 1 state.
2004: Edwards: 2 states, Clark: 1 state, Dean: 1 state.
2008: Clinton: 21 states.


So, expect Sanders to win a few states.

August 16, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , | 1 Comment

Clinton and Sanders and political money…

Workout notes: weights then an easy, social 2.7 mile walk with Barbra (Cornstalk classic route with a shorter path to the start of the route)

weight: 189.

pull ups: 5 sets of 10 with rotator cuff recoveries.
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185, 7 x 170
military: standing, dumbbell, 2 sets of 10 x 45, 12 x 40
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 (dumbbell, each arm), 10 x 110.
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

It seemed like more than that, but it wasn’t.

When one tries to compare money and the amount that Bernie Sanders spent compared to Hillary Clinton:

2006, Hillary Clinton won 3.008 million to 1.392 million margin; that is a race with about 4.4 million voters.
2012, Bernie Sanders won 208 thousand to 73 thousand; that is a race with about 281 thousand voters.

So, Clinton’s race was 15.66 times larger than Sanders’ race, and she won 14.4 times more votes than he did.

The point: of course she would spend a lot more and have to raise a lot more money.

This isn’t a put down of Sen. Sanders; I actually like the Senator. But when one wants to talk about political fundraising and spending, one should consider their respective positions and their states.

August 14, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment


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