Idiots: useful and not

Workout notes I had to attend graduation exercises so I ran early; I did my 5.2-5.3 mile course in 51:07. It was breezy, clear and 29 F. The first mile (10:20) was the slowest. My last mile was 9:50 (ok, these “miles” are slightly long). Still, while this was hardly a race effort, it was an effort and that is probably because I am not quite recovered yet.

The President talks about the Iraq draw-down.

More on Hitchens

Some might find this tribute article to be a bit harsh as it is written in a “roast” style, but it has a “dang, I loved the mean old bastard” quality to it.

Idiots: useful and not
Ron Wyden
Paul Krugman doesn’t think much of Ron Wyden’s collusion with Paul Ryan to end Medicare as we know it:

Sen. Ron Wyden did indeed do a bad, bad thing in his joint proposal with Paul Ryan. Ezra Klein explains why; and the devil isn’t in the details.

What Wyden did was to give cover to the fundamental fallacy of right-wing attempts to dismantle Medicare: the claim that market competition is the key to reducing health care costs. We have overwhelming evidence on this — and it just isn’t true. Looking both within the United States and across countries, if you ask which systems are best at cost control, the ranking looks like this:

Government provision as well as financing (socialized medicine) > single payer > market competition.

Krugman points out that the health care reform bill that he backed passing was indeed a private insurance bill, but that was because that was the best we could get, given this political climate. So why retreat from the public plan we have in place now?

Not Useful: Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann got her feelings hurt that Newt Gingrich called her out for “getting her facts wrong”; see at about 2:20 or so:

So, does Poltifact back her up? Check out the screen shot:

As you can see, many of her public claims are false. Of course, this is nothing new; she was well known for getting even basic stuff wrong. Here she talks about the “Hoot-Smalley” act that was “signed into law by President Roosevelt” (it was the Smoot-Hawley act that was signed into law by President Hoover)

Here you can see more of her more famous ridiculous assertions.

She reminds me of the C or D student who thinks that you are being unfair when you assign them the grade that they earned. She is a living example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

December 17, 2011 Posted by | atheism, Barack Obama, economics, economy, michelle bachmann, politics, republicans, running, social/political | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney Debating Himself (thank you, Jon Huntsman!)

Workout notes 6 mile run after yoga (clear sky, mild wind, but subfreezing); I had to remind myself to lift my knees.


Hmmm. It is one thing to change your mind. It is another thing to lie about never changing your mind after you have changed it, many times.

Of course, we have Michelle Bachmann who said that when she said that “she’d close our Iranian embassy” (which hasn’t existed since 1980), she meant that if we had an embassy, we should close it.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, michelle bachmann, Mitt Romney, morons, politics, republicans, republicans politics, running, training | 1 Comment

Politics: Michelle Bachmann helps set the bar low for Newt Gingrich

Maureen Dowd has this hilarious column in the New York Times:

What does it say about the cuckoo G.O.P. primary that Gingrich is the hot new thing? Still, his moment is now. And therein lies the rub.

As one commentator astutely noted, Gingrich is a historian and a futurist who can’t seem to handle the present. He has more exploding cigars in his pocket than the president with whom he had the volatile bromance: Bill Clinton.

But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.

In presidential campaigns, it’s all relative.

She goes on to simply take him apart for all of the ridiculous things he has done. But right now, I’ll focus on the stupidity in the GOP field…and how they typify the typical Republican: they are too stupid to even recognize their own ignorance!

Today’s target with be Michelle Bachmann. Sure, she has little or no chance:

For the record, Obama is at 50.5, Romney at 22.0 and Gingrich is now at 20.0. But Bachmann trails people that aren’t even running!

Nevertheless, she is supposed to be a “serious” candidate.

So let’s see: she claims that she has never said “anything inaccurate” in the debates. This is laughably wrong.

Well, now she is saying that she would close the US Embassy in Iran. One problem: we don’t have one.

What is troubling is that being this ignorant is, well, normal for a Republican.

Remember that she isn’t some moron with an obscure blog; she is running for the top spot of her party, and evidently SOMEONE is backing her.

Of course, she isn’t alone. Republican candidate Rick Santorum is whining about public schools not teaching creationism as an alternative theory to evolution:

During a meeting with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph, Rick Santorum urged public schools to begin teaching claims that undermine evolution, no matter their scientific veracity. He blamed “the left and the scientific community, so to speak,” for the inability of schools to teach about the role of God or a Creator, and said that “maybe the science points to the fact that maybe science doesn’t explain all these things.”

Note: if he were on the left, he’d be (rightly) dismissed as a crackpot. But he is completely in the mainstream among Republicans, at least on this issue.

On another note
This New York Times article discusses why presidential primaries are much harder to predict than general elections. Upshot: the candidates are rarely at a great funding disadvantage by the time they win their party’s nominations and they have the time to get well known and to get their message out. That isn’t always the case in primaries, though, perhaps, we might be seeing a change in that in this new internet age.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, creationism, evolution, michelle bachmann, moron, politics, politics/social, religion, republican party, republicans | Leave a comment

What is going on with Modern Conservatives

It seems as if modern conservatives are getting exponentially crazier with time.

Paul Krugman explains what is going on:

My first thought was that OWS must have the right really rattled. And there’s probably something to that. But actually, this is the way the right goes after everyone who stands in their way: accuse them of everything, no matter how implausible or contradictory the accusations are. Progressives are atheistic socialists who want to impose Sharia law. Class warfare is evil; also, John Kerry is too rich. And so on.

The key to understanding this, I’d suggest, is that movement conservatism has become a closed, inward-looking universe in which you get points not by sounding reasonable to uncommitted outsiders — although there are a few designated pundits who play that role professionally — but by outdoing your fellow movement members in zeal. […]

Many members of the commentariat don’t want to face up to the fact that this is what American politics has become; they cling to the notion that there are gentlemanly elder statesmen on the right who would come to the fore if only Obama said the right words. But the fact is that nobody on that side of the political spectrum wants to or can make deals with the Islamic atheist anti-military warmonger in the White House.

Yes, I know; liberals pounced on some misspelled Tea Party signs and a few with Nazi and other racist symbols. But what we should remember is that Republican craziness extends to their “serious” presidential candidates; witness the candidates stand on religion, Mr. Obama’s birth place, etc.

October 25, 2011 Posted by | michelle bachmann, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry | 2 Comments

I’m Melting…er Dissolving…

I know; the line is from the Wizard of Oz. Melt…dissolve…her time as “flavor of the month” is all but over. Though Mr. Romney and Mr. Cain appear to be trading the lead in the polls, Mr. Romney is attacking Mr. Perry so we know where the real competition is.

October 25, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Herman Cain, michelle bachmann, Mitt Romney, political humor, politics, republicans, republicans politics, rick perry | Leave a comment

29 August 2011 PM

Workout notes
Weights then 2200 yards of swimming. The reason for the order: the university pool opens at 7 am and the gym at 6.

Rotator cuff, lunges
Rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200
pull-downs: 3 sets of 10 x 140
bench press: 10 x 135, 9 x 150, 6 x 150
military press (dumbbell) 2 sets of 12 x 40 seated, 6 x 45 standing.
incline press: 2 sets of 10 x 115
curls: 3 sets of 12 x 25 (dumbbell)
adduction: 3 sets of 10 x 175
abduction: 3 sets of 10 x 175
push-backs: 3 sets of 10 x 115
sit ups (4 sets of 25, various)

Then to swimming:
10 x (25 fist, 25 free)
10 x 25 drill, 25 free (fins)
5 x (100 free, 100 pull) just under 20
4 x 50 back (fins, pull) cool down.

Overall, this was a medium effort workout.


Dick Cheney’s book:

What a vile human being Dick Cheney is. I think that he is the perfect representative for the money wing of the Republican party.

Speaking of vile: yes a commissioned Naval Officer scammed 9-11 money:

A retired naval officer honored for his valor during the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon was found guilty Monday of defrauding the victims’ compensation fund by exaggerating his injuries.

After a three-week trial, a federal court jury found retired Cmdr. Charles Coughlin of Severna Park, Md., guilty of making a false claim and stealing public money after he got $331,034 from the fund set up by Congress after the 2001 attacks. The charges carry maximum penalties of up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors say they expect to argue for three to four years based on his lack of a criminal record and the nature of the offense when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentences Coughlin on Nov. 21.

Coughlin’s claim said he was in constant pain after being injured twice on Sept. 11, 2001 — first when objects fell on him when a hijacked plane struck the building and later when he went back inside to rescue others and hit his head. But prosecutors said Coughlin, now 52, continued playing lacrosse and ran a marathon after the attacks and lied when he claimed he needed surgery.

The case was not a slam dunk for prosecutors: It took three trials to convict him.

Yes, I know that people can recover after injuries. But remember that he claimed 9-11 injuries in, well, September 11 and then:

But prosecutor Susan Menzer said Coughlin ran another marathon in November 2001 and showed the jury a picture of him running on the lacrosse field gripping a stick, taken after the attacks. She also showed jurors copies of check carbons she said he gave to the fund, falsely claiming they were for services he could no longer perform around the house. For example, she said he claimed a check for his lacrosse league dues was actually for someone to lay mulch in his yard. Coughlin said they were not fraudulent but mistakes due to sloppy accounting by his wife.

And, you guessed it:

Coughlin is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Business School who spent most of his 21-year naval career in the submarine service. He had a top-secret security clearance and commanded nuclear submarines.

Gee, this fits right in with my other Class of 1981 classmates, like the ones that sank another ship out of negligence and then attempted to cash in on it by writing a very self-serving book, or one that voted against Pell grants and unions, while being on disability…via a union.

And to think, I used to be proud of that place. Now I avoid mentioning it.

Politics Here are some handy graphs; they show that the Obama administration INCREASED private sector jobs (albeit not at a rate to make a dent in unemployment) and has lower (projected) deficits.

Rick Perry

Well, if by electing Rick Perry we will get rid of Texas and the rest of the south…well, count me in!!!! 🙂

Honestly, I admit that I am a bit disgusted by all of the religious BS that he and Ms. Bachmann are spewing, even if some of it is just pandering to the nut-job base. What is even funnier is that the right wing doesn’t appreciate the scrutiny that they are getting.

But well, they didn’t make Barack Obama’s religion an issue, right? Oh wait..they did. 🙂 Hypocrites.

Speaking of religious pandering, Michelle Bachmann was quoted as saying that the earthquake and the hurricane were a sign from her sky-daddy for Washington to, well, do what she thinks should be done. But she says that she was only kidding.

Don’t fall over, but after seeing the clip for myself, she WAS only kidding. So why did I believe that she said something that stupid? Well, because she DOES say things that stupid.

Republicans: anti science is good!

Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory,” one that has “got some gaps in it” — an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got peoples’ attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”

The second part of Mr. Perry’s statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming — which includes 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences — is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.

In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.

But never mind that, Mr. Perry suggests; those scientists are just in it for the money, “manipulating data” to create a fake threat. In his book “Fed Up,” he dismissed climate science as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart.”

I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, […]

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

And the deepening anti-intellectualism of the political right, both within and beyond the G.O.P., extends far beyond the issue of climate change.

Lately, for example, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has gone beyond its long-term preference for the economic ideas of “charlatans and cranks” — as one of former President George W. Bush’s chief economic advisers famously put it — to a general denigration of hard thinking about matters economic. Pay no attention to “fancy theories” that conflict with “common sense,” the Journal tells us. Because why should anyone imagine that you need more than gut feelings to analyze things like financial crises and recessions?

Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.


August 30, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, creationism, evolution, michelle bachmann, Personal Issues, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, science, swimming, training, weight training | 1 Comment

Because the 2000 and 2010 elections turned out soooo well….

August 26, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Democrats, michelle bachmann, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social | 2 Comments

23 August 2011 noon: Obama Derangement Syndrome, Rick Perry’s stimulus and other topics

Workout notes yoga with Ms. Vickie. (easy class)
Then 5 mile run (5.3 actually) in 55 minutes; I ran 1.05 miles to the gooseloop, did 9 laps (3.24 miles) in 31:45 and then ran 1.05 back. So far so good; the knee started to “feel it” late. No biggie. Then I walked 3.2 miles, and that was 1 mile too much. The knee (behind the knee) squawked at me toward the end. Total time: 1:41.

But it rained pretty hard (stormed) and my knees ALWAYS hurt during quick weather changes.

If Obama did it, it must be wrong! No, I am not talking about Republicans this time.
Yes, Obama decided to get rid of some useless business regulations. Surely, liberals are not the group of people who are pro-useless regulations, right? Right?

Really, these days, the conversation goes something like this:
1. Obama does something.
2. Some conservative group says “I like this aspect of it, but it doesn’t go far enough.”
3. Know it all liberal activist picks up on the part in bold and claims that once again, Obama is either
a. A closet Republican in bed with the oligarchy
b. Pandering to the moderates
c. Being pushed around by those meanie Republicans

In this case, the liberal activist in question is NOT a drooling idiot, but her “self perception of knowledge and IQ” to “actual knowledge and IQ” ratio is well above unity.

The idea: “if Obama did it, it must be bad”…from the left.

Oh well…at least I am not a Republican…:

Yes, I know, Jon Huntsman took shots at President Obama too. I decided to post his correct criticisms and leave off where he is wrong. 🙂

Seriously, this was great politics by the DNC to pounce on this.

Rick Perry
I suppose that Mr. Perry isn’t against ALL types of stimulus:

Leading Republican contender and prominent Christian candidate Rick Perry has been accused of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he invested thousands of dollars in the country’s largest pornography distributor.

Just a week after he launched his presidential campaign, the Texas governor has come under fire for his investment in Movie Gallery, a company that rented pornographic movies.

In 1995, while serving as Texas’ agriculture commissioner, financial disclosures reveal that Mr Perry bought between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of the company’s stock.

Can I get an AMEN??? 🙂

Richard Dawkins: weighs in on Mr. Perry’s evolution comments:

A. There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.

Any other organization — a big corporation, say, or a university, or a learned society – -when seeking a new leader, will go to immense trouble over the choice. The CVs of candidates and their portfolios of relevant experience are meticulously scrutinized, their publications are read by a learned committee, references are taken up and scrupulously discussed, the candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and vetting procedures. Mistakes are still made, but not through lack of serious effort.

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities. […]

Dr. Dawkins goes on to address evolution and to explain why current evolutionary theory is not a mere conjecture like, say, string theory.

August 23, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, creationism, evolution, knee rehabilitation, michelle bachmann, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republican party, rick perry, running, sarah palin | Leave a comment

22 August 2011 pm

Workout notes We had a teaching seminar at the University so I was up early; I lifted then did 10 minutes on the stationary bike (knees)

rotator cuff, lunges
Bench press: 10 x 45, 10 x 135, 8 x 150
Incline press: 10 x 115, 8 x 130
Dumbbell military: seated 2 sets of 12 x 40 lb. dumbbells, standing 12 x 40 lb.
Pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 137.5
rows: 3 sets of 12 x 110 (Riverplex machine)
Curls: 3 sets of 10: one with dumbbells, one with curl bar, one machine pulley.
Sit ups: 4 sets of 25
adductors: 3 sets of 10 (70)
abductors: 3 sets of 10 (70)

Note: though I don’t rest much between sets, the routine takes about an hour.


Humor: this is a forklift training video from Germany; they have quite the sense of humor!

2012 Elections: Dick Morris thinks that there is room for more candidates:

Three new candidates are slowly circling above the GOP presidential race. Will they land or fly on by? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former VP candidate Sarah Palin, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan are in various stages of contemplating possible candidacies.

Start with Palin. A good Iowa source tells me that she is preparing a massive event in his state on September 3rd, very possibly to announce her presidential candidacy. It would be a huge mistake…but it would help the Republicans defeat Obama!

A mistake because she’d get slaughtered. Michele Bachmann – more credentialed, accomplished, and informed – has breathed all the oxygen she’d need for her candidacy. Before she could compete in the primaries, she would need to defeat Bachmann in the “woman’s primary.” But the Congressman is vastly better equipped to discuss budget, deficit, foreign affairs, and virtually any other issue. She has stirred the same kind of enthusiasm as the former Alaska Governor, but with much more substance behind it. If she ran, it would end up trivializing her and showing feet of clay.

…But it wouldn’t be bad for the Party. Sarah Palin is the same kind of lightening rod in the Republican Party that Hillary Clinton is in the Democratic. (Doesn’t that reflect the sexism of our politics?). If she entered the race, the entire political establishment would descend on her in a chorus of criticism and undeserved mockery. She would deflect attention – and therefore negative attacks – from the likely front runners.

He is also high on Gov. Christ Christie and not so much on Paul Ryan. But he is good for some comedy:

In the meantime, we have a field of very good candidates. Romney, Perry, or Bachmann could all beat Obama and, as noted before, don’t count out Cain, Santorum, or even Newt.

So how does President Obama match against the individual candidates?

The race with Mr. Romney is competitive. I’ll give him that.

Nate Silver has a more thoughtful analysis which concludes that, well, there is a possible “niche” for someone new.

Legend: the size of the disk represents how well they poll. The center of the disk is plotted on an “establishment/conservatism” axis, with the left being “moderately conservative”. The color represents the regions where the candidates poll well:

The third dimension is reflected by the colors in the chart, which represent the region of each candidate — red for candidates from the South, blue for candidates from the Northeast, green for candidates from the Midwest and yellow for candidates from the West. Remember when there was a conspicuous absence of southern candidates for the Republican nomination? Not any more. There’s now quite a bit of red on the chart, with Mr. Perry, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich collectively holding about 35 percent of the vote in the polls.

This is the Intrade number today:

50-50, more or less. The odds of the Democratic party winning the presidency is just over 50 percent.

What I find troubling
In the race for Anthony Weiner’s seat, some “Democrats” have bought into the austerity arguments:

But it was there that Dale Weiss, a 64-year-old Democrat, approached the Republican running for Congress in a special election and, without provocation, blasted the president for failing to tame runaway federal spending. “We need to cut Medicaid,” she declared, “but he won’t do that.” She shook her head in disgust. “He is a moron.”

After nodding approvingly for a time, the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, signaled for an assistant to cut off Ms. Weiss. Frustration with Mr. Obama is so widespread, he explained later, that he tries to limit such rants to about 30 seconds, or else they will consume most of his day.

“It’s endemic in the district,” Mr. Turner said. “You can’t stop them once they get started.”

The Sept. 13 election was expected to be a sleepy sideshow — a mere formality that would put David I. Weprin, a Democratic state assemblyman and heir to a Queens political dynasty, into a Congressional seat that became vacant this summer when Mr. Weiner quit over an online sex scandal.

Instead, the race has become something far more unsettling to Democrats: a referendum on the president and his party that is highlighting the surprisingly raw emotions of the electorate.

National Democrats, alarmed by a poll that showed the contest far closer than anticipated, are privately fretting that even a close outcome in a working-class swath of Brooklyn and Queens may foreshadow broader troubles for the party in 2012.

You see, in liberal circles, you hear that President Obama is cutting too much. Here you hear concerns about the debt. He may well end up in a Hoover like box: damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

Here is the only reason I am not depressed: we are running against the Republicans and they may well nominate a whack job like Mr. Perry or Ms. Bachmann; they might Christine O’Donnell themselves once again.

August 23, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, humor, michelle bachmann, Mitt Romney, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, social/political, training, weight training | 2 Comments

18 August 2011: Typical Republicans ……

It really is a pity that Jon Huntsman doesn’t have a chance…

My goodness doesn’t Michelle Bachman lie…and Rick Perry….gheeze.

August 19, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, creationism, michelle bachmann, rick perry, science | Leave a comment