Expect to see more misspelled signs from liberals. And that is good!

Yes, I know…I laughed hysterically at the misspelled Tea Party protest signs. I wasn’t laughing so much after the 2010, 2014 and 2016 elections though.

Now we are seeing liberals taking to the protest in larger numbers. And as the number of people that join a group increases, the more that the statistics of that subgroup resemble the statistics of the larger group (i. e.: all Americans). And so we see things like this (at a protest in Peoria, this case “Darin” refers to Darin LaHood, IL-18.


So I suppose the Republicans can now laugh. But that is what happens when a movement grows.

February 4, 2017 Posted by | IL-18, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | Leave a comment

Math, abs and bench presses

Workout notes Weights first, then running.
Weights: pull ups: 10-10-10-10 (rotator cuff)
Bench: 10 x 135, 1 x 190, 1 x 180, 6 x 160 (got a spotter for 190) rotator cuff.
pull ups: 10
military (barbell); 10 x 85, 10 x 80, 10 x 80
superset with pull downs: 3 sets of 7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low
rows: 3 sets of 10 with 110 (different machines and grips)

Then to the treadmill: I used on treadmill to warm up 32 minutes for 3 miles
second treadmill (passed on trying a mile): I played around with hills 1 to 2 minute intervals, 0-.5-1-2-3, etc. 32 minutes for 3 more.
It was warm in Markin and I didn’t want to overexert today.

This whole workout took just under 2 hours.

My former Congressman (from 2008 to 2012, when I was in IL-18) works out a lot and now is in a heap of trouble. Aaron Schock resigned and now is being investigated by Federal Prosecutors; his case is in front of a Grand Jury. Note: it is the Republicans that went after him.

Mathematics I worked on some…and was anguished at the elementary mistakes I made. Now if you want to see some of what world class mathematicians work on, read this. This is a “Scientific American” caliber article which shows how some work in algebra and number theory relates to string theory. The article isn’t technical but gives a flavor of what is going on.

April 10, 2015 Posted by | Aaron Schock, IL-18, mathematics, Peoria/local, politics/social, weight training | Leave a comment

Schock, snowflakery, dishonesty on different levels.

Aaron Schock is stepping down from his US House seat (IL-18); he was my Congressman for 4 years (and Illinois State Representative for 4 years prior to that) until I got redistricted into IL-17.

Each time, I voted for his opponent.

Well, now he is under investigation by the FBI for a number of things; witnesses are being subpoenaed and a Grand Jury has been formed.

I admit that I never liked him and that was for reasons beyond his being a Republican.

But I did wonder to myself: “how much of this dislike is just simple envy?” After all, much of his resume was impressive: school board as a teenager (elected), school board president, winning the Illinois State House (close election the first time) and winning it again in a very blue district and then running for, and winning Ray LaHood’s old seat.

He finished his undergraduate degree in 2 years and made money in real estate, and, at least at first, much of it was above board.

Yes, he is fit, though my Steamboat 15K best (1998, 1999) is about 7 minutes faster than his. He is a heck of a lot faster than I am now though. 🙂

But..I wondered “how much of your dislike is that he is/was ambitious, attractive and successful?”

Still, in his debates, he was quick with statistics and data..but it was almost all cherry picked. He reminded me a bit of a young Paul Ryan.

Now I never cared one way or the other about his Instagram photos and the like; I know that when it comes to social media, I enjoy my friend’s vacation and adventure photos, especially those that show me what they are seeing.

So, as much as I’d love to tell you “I told you so”, I really don’t know if my dislike stemmed from tribalism (“other political party”), envy (his success and ambition) and from personality; there was something that seemed phony about him (as it does, to be fair, with Bill Clinton who I mostly liked). He just struck me as a frat boy who used slick power point slides to bluff through a presentation of stuff that he really didn’t understand that well.

So I really can’t crow “I told you so” and there is about 5-10 percent of me that is genuinely disappointed that he didn’t put his considerable talent to better use. And yes, there is about 50 percent of me that is gloating; I am not proud of that. 🙂

Speaking of entitled snowflakes Randazza has a laugh about this:

NH Lawmakers Crush Fourth Graders Bill. Good.
And I applaud them for it.

In the spirit of learning by doing, students drafted a bill to learn the process of how a bill becomes law. They proposed House Bill 373, an act establishing the Red Tail Hawk as the New Hampshire State Raptor. Even though it passed through the Environment and Agriculture committee with a majority vote, some representatives were far from receptive.


Cue the outrage.

In fact, the headline was “NH lawmakers brutally kill 4th-graders’ bill in front of them”

Rep. John Burt, a Republican from Goffstown said, “Bottom line, if we keep bringing more of these bills, and bills, and bills forward that really I think we shouldn’t have in front of us, we’ll be picking a state hot dog next.”


Yes. Just because you think your kids are “smart” and “cute” doesn’t mean that their ideas warrant being taken seriously. Really. I feel the same way when someone posts some video of some pre-teen or teenager “owning” someone on an issue.

Really. I teach college. I’ve seen the work of 60-70 undergraduates per semester for 24 years. The vast majority of them don’t know what they are doing, just as I didn’t when I was that age.

When it comes to laws, issues, etc., if you want me to take an idea seriously, give me someone who knows what they are talking about and who is respected by others in the field. I am not interested in what your little snowflake has to say.

Now of course helicopter parenting isn’t unique to the United States; check his out:

Cheating in school tests is an old Indian problem.

But the malpractice literally scaled new heights this week in the eastern state of Bihar when relatives of 10th-grade students climbed the wall of a school building and perched precariously from windows of classrooms as they handed cheat sheets to children writing the tests inside.

Videos also showed school inspectors slapping young girls as they pulled out cheat sheets from under their tables.

Cheating is common in schools in remote rural areas in India, where jobs and seats in college courses are few but competition is fierce. But the sight of parents risking their life and limbs to climb the walls shocked many Indians.

I’d like to think that we aren’t that bad.

Why your Republican friends sound so nutty
If your Republican friend watches Fox News, they are often only getting part of the story. The government issued two reports about Ferguson, one which showed that it was a very bad idea to use Michael Brown as some sort of innocent martyr and one that showed that there WAS systemic racism within the Ferguson city government and police department. Guess which one Fox News emphasized and which one was downplayed? (though NOT totally ignored)

Bonus Read Randazza’s CNN post on why the racists at the University of Oklahoma have free speech rights, which include their right to NOT be kicked out of school. Note: I have no problem with the Fraternity being kicked off of campus and their charter being revoked.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | Aaron Schock, education, IL-17, IL-18, racism, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Aaron Schock (R, IL-18) OUT….and perhaps some Karma ….

That’s right:

Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., announced Tuesday he will resign from Congress following weeks worth of questions about his use of taxpayer dollars.

“I do this with a heavy heart. Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington. I have given them my all over the last six years. I have traveled to all corners of the District to meet with the people I’ve been fortunate to be able to call my friends and neighbors,” Schock said in a statement.

Schock’s lavish spending first came to light in February after the second-term Congressman redecorated his Capitol Hill office in the style of the hit television show “Downton Abbey.” That opened the floodgates as members of the media began looking in to a number of other outlandish purchases that may have been made using taxpayer or campaigns funds.

“The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” he added.

Hmmm….who said “Haters gonna hate” when these allegations surfaced?

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), has had a rough couple days. First the Washington Post was set to reveal his “Downton Abbey”-inspired office decor. His office tried to kill the story and failed, and it quickly went viral. Then ethics groups suggested the decorating arrangement might violate House rules, leading Schock to pay back the decorator.

Schock’s response? “Haters are gonna hate,” he told ABC News’s Jeff Zeleny.

Being slick was nothing new for him:

And he isn’t the only one who is going to be leaving….I am reminded of this photo from March, 2012, taken at Bradley University. The guy in the jeans lost the election, and the other two are “resigning” from their current positions:


Note: in 2012, I was taken out of Mr. Schock’s district (IL-18) and put into IL-17. So I had the pleasure of voting against him 4 times: twice in the Illinois House elections and twice in the US Representative elections.

Now he deserves some credit; he got his college degree in 3 years and came from nowhere to serve on the school board and then get elected in a normally Democratic Illinois House district. There is nothing wrong with being energetic, ambitious and striving to achieve. But sadly, the quick success went to his head. What a waste of genuine talent and intelligence…then again he wasn’t beneath being blatantly dishonest and it caught up to him.

March 17, 2015 Posted by | Aaron Schock, IL-18, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

My life as a new IL-17 Republican: toward November 4

I got a couple of mailers; one was from Bobby Schilling and one was a letter signed by several “prominent” Republicans (Aaron Schock was one) saying how bad Cheri Bustos is and how great Bobby Schilling is.

It wasn’t as bad as the stuff I got in 2012.

But it was still bad.

This also reminded me of the stuff conservatives pulled in 2004 (I cannot say that the Republican party did this):


I find it interesting that they are trying to rely on deception and suppressing the vote.

I suppose they can justify the latter by saying that “it is better if only the “worthy” vote” and the former….trying to trick not-so-informed people into thinking that your candidate is a Democrat….hmmm…not sure as how I would justify that. Why wouldn’t you brag about how super-duper conservative your Tea Party nutjob is?

I am no fan of Cheri Bustos as she is a Blue Dog in what should be a more progressive district. But Bobby Schilling is a 14’th Century regressive and a dishonest campaigner.

She remains a modest favorite to win reelection.

IL-governor: toss up. Nate Silver has Quinn up by 1 but the election well within the “toss up” range. Same for Election Projection. Though Dick Durbin is comfortably ahead in his US Senate Race, the overall balance: Republicans will probably end up with 51-53 seats, depending on how the post November 4 run-offs go.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Election Recap: Part I: my experience, Koehler and Bustos (IL-17 US House, IL-46, State Senate)

Workout notes Easy 4 mile walk over lunch.

Election Recap, Part I
I’ll probably keep a stream of these coming.

Personal Experiences

This election, I broke down my activities as follows:
National: mostly money to the Obama campaign.
Local: I attended fund raisers for the Koehler and Bustos campaign (several) and attended the Bustos-Schilling debate, and I spent money on each. I wrote a letter to the editor for Mr. Koehler. On election day, I did an “almost complete” walk route (had to double back to get rain gear) and part of another route. The idea: make sure our people got to the polls. Basically, I knocked on doors (about 80 total) and hung “please vote” door hangers on the door knobs.

Here is one of my routes (the morning one, with the “double back” to get rain gear:

Note: I did NOT count this as “training mileage” :-), though I get in a 5 mile run prior to starting this.

I probably put in another mile in the late afternoon, quitting when it got too dark to read the house numbers easily.

In between routes, I hung out at the Peoria Democrats headquarters and got to say “hi” to Ms. Bustos and Ms. Gordon (uncontested race) and the other volunteers. I spent part of the evening at the Democratic victory party for Senator Koehler.

About the canvass What was very different this time is that I canvassed in a neighborhood that I was familiar with; I actually knew many of the people whose houses I visited. Also, many recognized me because several of my regular running or walking training routes goes through that neighborhood. They “know” me as the old man who is always running or walking in the neighborhood.

I got encouragement and in one of the other neighborhoods, I got the “way to go” fist pump.

How the Dave Koeher race went
Many were worried as Pat Sullivan was well known and, up to the start of the race, reasonably well liked. He had success in small business and he resurrected some properties along the riverfront. Those accomplishments are genuine. He also had a lot of money backing him: the Republican party establishment, Aaron Schock (US House, IL-18) and my City Council Person Barbara Van Auken (who I worked for when she first ran).

He then ran some very negative ads; Koehler responded and then the Sullivan campaign screamed bloody murder. There were Sullivan signs all over the place, but ultimately, not enough votes. Note: Sullivan’s debate performances were very poor.

It ended 54-46 Koehler.

The Bustos race Bustos took on Tea Party Incumbent Bobby Schilling. Given that the IL-17 district was gerrymandered to make it more Democratic friendly, this was a tough sell for Mr. Schilling. He couldn’t be too antagonistic toward President Obama (who lead by 15 points in this district) but he could ill afford to lose what conservative support that he had.

Tactics: the NRCC ran some deceptive ads for him and he came out with a flier called The Illinois Democrat which featured him.

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, dave koehler, Democrats, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment

Thursday Night Koehler “GOTV” rally

Thursday Night Barbara and I went to the Dave Koehler “Get out the Vote” rally.

Dave Koehler at the podium (incumbent IL-46 State Senator)

Cheri Bustos: D challenger for the US House IL-17

I am in this shot; I am talking to Lynn. I am wearing a blue and gold Navy jacket and a red Bradley sweatshirt. Yes, I have a very gray beard.

Another crowd shot; I am in it.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Friends, IL-17, IL-18, Peoria, Peoria/local, photos, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment

Changing Neighborhoods, Static Presidential Race

Workout notes Part II 1800 yard swim; 600 free, 5 x (free/back/free/side/free/side/free/fly), 100 of free/fly, 100 of front/free.

Changing neighborhoods: no trick-or-treaters today. We used to have a lot of them but we have no families with small kids anymore. We have empty-nesters and college students.

Local Politics The Peoria Journal Star ran my letter today:

I am writing this letter in support of state Sen. Dave Koehler, who is running for reelection.

Sen. Koehler has built a well-deserved reputation for high integrity and for boldly tackling the tough issues. He has consistently fought for the long-term interests of his constituents.

Pat Sullivan is running against him with little more than a “trust me, I was successful in business” message. Nothing in his ads or in the debates indicates that he either understands or is interested in understanding the complexity of the challenges facing our state. Instead he offers simplistic slogans and vague promises to “fix it.”

Even worse, one of his later ads complains of Sen. Koehler attacking him, even after running very negative ads of his own from the very start! Sullivan’s ads are straight from the Karl Rove playbook.

I also notice that one of Sullivan’s ads has Aaron Schock supporting him. Schock has consistently fought for the interests of the wealthiest among us and has been taken to task for boasting of delivering money projects that he voted against!

Some tea party types didn’t like my letter too much; you can see the comments at the link.

IL-17 Aaron Schock (the incumbent who is in total command of the IL-18 race) is hosting a rally for Bobby Schilling. Note: the south side of Peoria (where I live) is in IL-17; Schock represents IL-18. I am currently in IL_18 but will be in IL-18 in the next Congress.

This is interesting, since Schilling appears to be trying to sell himself as a “moderate” and even a “Democrat” (by his mailings); now he is campaigning with a well know right-wing House member.

Note: Obama has a 15 point lead in IL-17; though the race is close in the polls (they go both ways) and the race is a toss up at this point, I am not sure that getting close to this right winger will help him. Evidently his campaign thinks that it will.

Presidential Race

I’ve learned some things from following this race:

1. Not all “close” states are created equal. You have some close states (e. g., North Carolina) where the race is close, but there are almost no persuadable voters. You have mostly white evangelicals (pro-Republican) and a mixture of research triangle types and blacks (pro-Democrat) and little else. In these states, it is almost all about turn-out; the candidates play to their respective bases here in order to get them excited. In the North Carolina example, though the polls are close, Mitt Romney will probably carry it.

On the other hand, there are some close states where there is some hope of peeling off “soft support” or persuading an undecided voter.

2. Not all “close” states are “tipping point states”. Example: North Carolina or Florida. If Obama wins either of these, it probably reflects the fact that he is in command elsewhere by larger margins. Hence these will probably NOT be the states to “put him over the top” should he win them (unlikely in both cases).

3. National versus state polling: sometimes state polling can give a clearer picture than national polling, even in terms of the final popular vote margin. If that sounds counter intuitive, read Nate Silver’s article.

Now about the race:

Electoral Vote

The Bookies

How to read this: Obama 1/4 means that one must bet 4 dollars to win 1 dollar (e. g., if Obama wins you get your 4 back plus one extra); this is roughly equivalent to Obama having a 4 in 5 chance (5 = 4+1) of winning (80 percent). Romney: 9/4 means you bet 4 to win 9 (you get 4 back plus an extra 9); this means that Romney has a 4 in 13 chance (4 + 9 = 13) of winning (30.8 percent). Note: the odds add up to more than 1 because the house always makes money; the bookies set the odds to get the same amount of money on each candidate.

Nate Silver


There are others that give Obama more favorable odds; I’d rather not look at those right now.

Here is Election Projection (Electoral Vote is from a Democrat; Election Projection is from a Republican)

Note: Election Projection has a LOT of good data on House races.

All signs point to a narrow but static Obama lead. In football terms, Romeny is going to have to force a fumble, block a punt or run back a kick for a score, etc. I’d call Romney’s situation “tough” but NOT “desperate”.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, IL-17, IL-18, Peoria/local, political/social, politics, swimming | 2 Comments

Republican Dirty Tricks in IL-17, with video (and yes, I voted today!)

Workout notes Weights plus an untimed 5 mile walk. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, 3 super sets of (rows: 10 x 200 Hammer machine, 10 x 160 pull downs, 10 x 52.5 curls (pulley)), bench press: 10 x 135, 8 x 165, 6 x 165, 5 x 165, incline: 2 sets of 7 x 135, 2 sets of 15 x 45 (dumbbell) military press (seated). I did vertical ab crunches as rest between sets.

IL-17 is a redistricted Congressional District in Illinois; it was redrawn after Illinois went from having 19 Congressional Districts to 18.

Historically: Lane Evans won it in 1982 and represented it until Phil Hare won it in 2006. But in 2010, Phil Hare was upset by a Tea Party Republican named Bobby Schilling.

However the district has been redrawn to be even more Democratic; currently Barack Obama leads by 15 points.

The Bustos-Schilling race has been close; by Election Projection:

10/25/12 Stuart Rothenberg Pundit Change: Tilt DEM to Toss-up
10/15/12 Public Opinion (R) Schilling 51% – Bustos 44%
10/18/12 GBA Strategies (D) Bustos 49% – Schilling 45%
10/13/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Schilling to Weak Bustos
10/09/12 WeAskAmerica Bustos 46% – Schilling 46%
10/10/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Bustos to Weak Schilling
10/04/12 Anzalone Liszt Research (D) Bustos 45% – Schilling 44%

So, the Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to hold this seat. So watch out for the dirty tricks!

We have this ad from the NRCC:

Wow! There are some problems here though. For one, Ms. Bustos isn’t a member of that country club and never was. Also, this improvement was for water main repair, and had started BEFORE she took her seat.

More here.

Now there is this:

What you are seeing is a newspaper tabloid style mailer called “The Illinois Democrat” which is an extended ad for Bobby Schilling. You have to dig deep into the ad to find a mention that Mr. Schilling is the Republican candidate.

That isn’t a surprise; at the last Schilling-Bustos debate, Mr. Schilling failed to mention Mitt Romney once, but did have a few good words to say about President Obama.

Here is my (7 minute) video commentary.

October 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking, weight training | 3 Comments

Political Saturday (May 2012): Peoria, Training and Senator Durbin

This is Barbara getting a greeting from Senator Dick Durbin at an event at Bradley University.

Weekly address

Political Training
We attended some political training this weekend; this was “Precinct Committeeman” training. Though I am not one of these, I was allowed to attend anyway.

There were some interesting tidbits on how to establish contact with voters in small areas; much of it involved getting to know people who live in the areas and in establishing a relationship with them. I’d be terrible at it. 🙂

There was some training in voter software; this stuff is sophisticated! Basically, the political operations know much more about you than you think that they do.


One thing that makes arguments tough: we tend to not trust what comes from the other side. What hurts is that political parties tend to “spin” the truth in a way that helps them rather than just attempt to explain what is going on. Understanding isn’t the goal of political communication; getting the vote is.

No: the arena that President Obama spoke at in Ohio wasn’t empty.

It wasn’t capacity either (14,000 in an 18,000 seat arena).

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, family, IL-17, IL-18, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment