Ugh…that course

Workout notes rainy 8 mile run/walk on the Cornstalk 8 course. I did the “walk the hills” to practice conserving energy. It was slow (13 mpm order, given all the stupid stops to tie the shoes, pull up the shorts, blah, blah, blah) but I finished feeling like I had done nothing, and that is the point. At least for now.

Marathon POSTURE!!!

This was about 2:06 into this video.

Well, I used to be a sort-of-fast walker…no longer.

Football This was taken from the Illinois student section:


Note: this was the “best crowd of the year” and there was an announced 45,000, which seems about right. At this game, students got free tickets.

Politics Primary polling has been volatile; wide swings between polls. I do know that in the betting lines, Sec. Clinton’s odds have improved to better than even money. The Republicans are a mess at the presidential level.


How will 2016 go? My guess: Democrats win the presidency and the Republicans keep Congress. Why?

This theory leads to at least a few major conclusions about American politics. The one Abramowitz and Webster emphasize is that it gives Republicans an enduring advantage in congressional elections. Republicans have long had a geographical advantage in both House and Senate elections because their voters are more spread out than Democratic voters. In the past, Democratic candidate could compete by distancing themselves from the national party and making the election about local issues. But as the country grows more partisan, that’s becoming harder, and the result is that Republicans are likely to be dominant at the congressional level for some time.

Jonathan Chait, meanwhile, pulls some good news for Democrats out of the data. Just as Republicans have a natural advantage at the congressional level, Chait believes Democrats have a natural advantage at the presidential level, where the voters skew younger and less white. And if fear of a Republican president means the Obama coalition persists after Obama, then it’s going to be a long time before Republicans win back the White House.

So, at these “internet candidate forums” I always ask “how will you work with a possibly hostile Congress?” No answer…ever.

October 27, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, marathons, politics, politics/social, running | , | Leave a comment

The Evil Dr. Ben Ghazi

Workout notes: sort of low energy today.
weights: rotator cuff, some yoga after which included 2 sets of yoga leg lifts and some vertical crunches. Abs are weak.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (decent)
incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 8 x 140 (1-2 reps off)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
rows: machine, 3 sets of 10 x 110

run: 10:58 warm up on the treadmill. Track: started to run a “tempoish” 2 miles..realized I had zip in the tank in the first 4 laps, relaxed to a 10:25 mile.
Ran another 10:2x mile on the treadmill prior to doing some yoga (included leg lifts, abs)

Marathon when one accounts for age, this was very similar to the marathons/50K that I walked from 2003-2005 and again in 2009. No, it wasn’t among my best 2-3 performances but it was with the “decent” performances.

Benghazi and Hillary Clinton So the Republicans…well, not sure what they did. But it was not productive at all. At times, they remind me of a high school student council. I am sick to death of those idiots. Evidently, even John Boehner was too.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Clinton, Sanders and Trump

Ok, I’ll talk about The Donald first. No, I really don’t have a good feel for whether he will flame out prior to the first primaries or not. At hone time I thought that he was a fad that would pass quickly and he is still a force. As to why people are taking him seriously: this makes as much sense as anything:

From a psychological perspective, though, the people backing Trump are perfectly normal. Interviews with psychologists and other experts suggest one explanation for the candidate’s success — and for the collective failure to anticipate it: The political elite hasn’t confronted a few fundamental, universal and uncomfortable facts about the human mind.

We like people who talk big.

We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren’t.

And we don’t like people who don’t look like us.

Most people share these characteristics to some degree, but they seem to be especially prevalent among Trump’s base. Trump’s appeal certainly has other sources, too, such as the nostalgia he so skillfully evokes, his financial independence from special interests, and the crucial fact that he had his own reality TV show. Some Republicans like Trump’s anti-establishment approach. And many support Trump because of his substantive positions — his views on immigration, his antipathy toward China, his defense of Social Security, or his opposition to tax deductions for wealthy bankers.

Surf to the article to read the rest. Bill Clinton has some ideas too, as well as some ideas as to why Bernie Sanders has the support that he has. And yes, there is a rebellion of sorts against the “political establishment”.

And here are some campaign ads; one from a group supporting Trump and one from his own campaign.

And he really let lose on Sanders and Clinton:

So, what about the Democrats?
Well, it is really a two person race. Ok, seriously, a one person race with Bernie Sanders being a foil of sorts.

The first thing to note is that the candidates are embracing President Obama instead of running away from him (the way the Republicans did from President Bush). Note Hillary Clinton’s comeback line:

But many of my friends like Bernie Sanders and some of them are under the impression that many of the liberals who are supporting Hillary Clinton are doing so because we believe that Sanders can’t win.

Now it is true that I think that she is a better politician than he is, it is also true that if I KNEW that the next president would be one of those two, I would still pick her.

Why? Well for one, she is a liberal, and more so than President Obama. Many of the scandals (e-mails, Benghazi) were simply made up. She is also realistic about the challenges ahead and about the Republicans being unwilling to work with her. (And to be fair, so is Sanders).

She understood this at a time when Barack Obama did not (from 2008):

But there are other key differences.

1. Sanders appears to be focused on a few pet issues and almost indifferent to many other important issues:

The debate showed why his fans are so passionate about him: Sanders is at his best when he’s going on the offensive—against the big banks, Wall Street, and the “millionaires and billionaires” who are funding elections. But the debate also forced him to go on the defensive, pushing him out of his comfort zone, and on those occasions, Sanders simply muddled through. Those responses spoke to his limitations as a candidate whose greatest strength and greatest weakness is his singular focus on anti-corporate economic populism.

A President has to deal with many things, and he can’t meet Sec. Clinton’s foreign policy knowledge.

2. Though I like many of Sen. Sanders’ stances, there is still a difference between him and Sec. Clinton:

But what Clinton suggested in place of a more expansive welfare state illuminates another difference between her politics and Sanders’. Where Sanders tended to focus on inequality and inequality-reducing policies, Clinton focused heavily on increasing opportunity, repeatedly expressing a desire that all Americans be able to realize their “God-given talents,” as she and her husband have. “I have spent a very long time—my entire adult life—looking for ways to even the odds to help people have a chance to get ahead, and, in particular, to find the ways for each child to live up to his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said in her opening remarks, revisiting the idea throughout the debate.

The difference between the two approaches has expansive implications for the American left. A pro-equality platform aims to universalize benefits, so that all people really do have the option to enjoy the same social goods, including education, gainful employment, and family life. An opportunity-focused approach neither intends to reduce inequality per se nor has a clear political apparatus with which to do so. Instead, opportunity-increasing politics aim to increase social mobility without necessarily altering how many people will end up on the top and bottom respectively. The individuals might change, in other words, but the absolute number of destitute versus fabulously wealthy can remain virtually the same.

And in this instance, Sec. Clinton appeals to me a great deal more. What I want is for those at the economic bottom to have an opportunity to raise themselves up; right now many don’t have a good shot at that. Like it or not, there will always be people who keep themselves on the bottom by repeatedly doing stupid things.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

First DNC Debate: parting shots

I wonder what Mitt Romney was thinking:


As far as who won: here is the one professional poll that I saw:

Clinton: 62-30. Sanders did get noticed though.

Bill Clinton explains the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump:

Note: Clinton’s performance was enough to bump her odds from 6/4 to 7/5.


October 15, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Debate: Clinton shines; Democrats openly embrace Obama

I chatted about the debate on Facebook and just a bit on Twitter. Here are my main takeaways:

1. The Democrats openly embraced President Obama. He had a video message to the audience and he was mentioned positively several times throughout the debates. Contrast this to 2007-2008 where the Republicans distanced themselves from President Bush.

2. There weren’t many big surprises there, though it would be expected that those polling lower get larger bumps in the polls, for statistical reasons. But by all accounts, Hillary Clinton had a good night.

3. Contrast this to the Republican debates, which were a combination reality show and professional wrestling event. The level of discourse was much higher here. Also notice that the Koch Brothers weren’t mentioned once, and Donald Trump was only mentioned by Gov. O’Malley, once. Bernie Sanders did mention that he didn’t have a Super PAC, but then again, candidates aren’t allowed to work with Super PACs.

As far as the candidates:

Lincoln Chafee He appears to be there to be able to say that he once “ran for President”. He is the only one that took direct shots at Hillary Clinton (“I never had a scandal”). Chafee was a life long Republican who got chased out of the party.

Jim Webb Another former Republican (Naval Academy graduate) who is there…not sure as to why. He is nuanced and knowledgeable but really isn’t going to fire up members of the public; he has no “show-biz” aspect to him. I see him as a great cabinet member (Secretary of Defense? Energy?)

Martin O’Malley One of the two life long Democrats on the stage (not counting Hillary Clinton’s youth days). He had nice things to say about contrasting everyone there vs. everyone on the Republican side. Is he angling to be a running mate?

Bernie Sanders Very passionate and those who like him REALLY like him. He did get hit on the gun control issue. Personally, he reminds me of an old rumpled activist college professor who can really fire up a very narrow audience. But he is too much of a “get people to get out the pitchforks” type..and he seems to not “get” that being a millionaire does not mean that much these-a-days.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Sen. Sanders (though I find some of his supporters to be like the old Paul-o-bots). But I see him as someone who can attain a cult-like following but not a broad, national coalition.

Hillary Clinton In terms of politics, she outclassed everyone there and everyone on the Republican side. Her political polish might turn some people off as it has, by design, a level of insincerity that turns off many of my friends. But I think being a national caliber politician means having a mastery of salesmanship. Personally: I like her intellect and her mastery of “realpolitik”; she understands that we aren’t going to get everything we want.

Some things I remember: Sheryl Crow wore VERY tight leather pants (sang the National Anthem)


Hillary Clinton responding to Lincoln Chafee that President Obama trusted her judgement:

Bernie Sanders saying that we are sick of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails:

Fact Check: there were some falsehoods, but nothing approaching what one saw in the Republican debate.

October 14, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Debate Tonight…

Frankly, I am just not that interested. I’ll force myself to watch, but there will be only one viable candidate there. Sen. Sanders has attracted a moonbeam following and as far as the others: why? Personally, I find the Republican debates to be much more fun and interesting.


Compared to the Obama vs. Clinton clashes of the 2007-2008 cycle, this will be a varsity vs. the JV scrimmage.

True, afterward the Berniebots and Sandfleas will be gushing about his performance but anyone can file bills that will go nowhere and deliver stuff that people want to hear.

Here is the one question that I would be interested in hearing the answer to: “How will you work with a hostile, dysfunctional Congress?”

Yes, President Obama was naive; he thought that his running with Republican ideas would get Republican support. But a huge part of the GOP has no interest in governing, at all, unless THEY are in power. Republicans who compromise are seen as being weak by their base and their donors.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, political/social, republicans | | 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

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


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