Ridicule of bad ideas…

Bad idea One: if a large majority of Americans support something we should do it! That’s right: 80 percent of Americans (or those surveyed in this poll anyway) support a mandatory label law for a food that contains …..DNA. “Warning: contains…”

Bad Idea Two: If you have an optional field trip to visit a religious worship center (in your study of world religions), you should expect to have to obey the center’s dress code, even if what you are visiting is a Muslim mosque. If you don’t want to do this, then don’t send your kid on the field trip.

Bad Idea Three: extrapolating on what you see locally to make a global inference. Yes, last year, it was very cold in the midwest part of the United States. You can just look my my “winter sucks” posts last winter. But it was a very warm year; the warmest on record…globally.

hot globe cold illinois

I live right where one of the blue patches are. 🙂

Bad Idea Four: Don’t trust a politician that tries to “change his spots”. Remember “Mr. 47 percent” Mitt Romney:

Now he is…well…worried about wealth inequality:

Of course, I’m not sure how reliable this thing is. After all, there must be some kind of technical glitch causing all the news sources I can access to report that Mitt Romney is effectively beginning his latest presidential run by declaring that

Under President Obama the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in American than ever before.

Bad Idea Five: When your men’s basketball team is going into a road game having not won on the road all year (often against ordinary opposition) and is 6-12 overall, 1-4 in conference, missing key players with the flu and are playing a team with a higher RPI on the road, don’t expect them to win. When your women’s basketball team is 1-14 going into the weekend with two games against teams with better records, don’t expect them to win either.

Neither did. Bless the student athletes: they did play hard. The coaches are doing their best. But an athletic hole can be a nightmare to climb out of.

Yeah, we made both women’s games (at home) and watched the men’s road game on television.

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, religion, science, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Politics: divided nation, divided people, and delusional neocons ….

Right now: the Democratic caucus is reasonably united. That tends to change when times are good.

But as a people, we are not united. Recently I wrote about how non-competitive Presidential elections are in most states. But this isn’t just true at the state level; it is true at the personal level.

Ok, for me, it isn’t quite this bad:

But increasingly, one can predict one’s views on topics of the day (e. g. science topics) once one knows the political affiliation. Personally, I am much more turned off by someone’s views on science issues than I am on, say, one’s views on economics issues. A creationist, climate change denier or a rabid “GMOs are FRANKENFOODS” and “VACCINES ARE EVIL” woo-woo is much more likely to turn me off than, say, a believe in supply side economics.

I can’t stand loud people who are clueless about their own cluelessness.

We are ALL clueless about many things and I get along with people who understand that.

And speaking of clueless idiots: here come the neocons. The same people who got us stuck in Iraq to begin with now want us back.

Mitt Romney is also making a “comeback” of sorts.

I’ll let Bill Maher take it from here (and yes, he holds some dumb views too)

This was from 2007. Still, it is relevant.

June 16, 2014 Posted by | Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, science | , | Leave a comment

This is going to take some getting used to…day 2 as a Republican…

Old habits die hard. When I woke up, it was my instinct to get a bagel, orange juice and a yogurt for breakfast (all paid for by my SNAP card) and then work out. But then I remembered my life change and I decided to skip the workout and have a real American breakfast instead:

American breakfast-1278891

Then I wanted to drive my Prius to the welfare office and get another welfare check and read a Richard Dawkins book while waiting. But I remembered and tuned the radio to Rush Limbaugh and went to WORK!!!! Oh yes, I need to trade in the Prius for some V-8 extended cab pickup truck.

I feel so patriotic already! Kind of like this guy:


I now know what to watch:


But who to vote for?

We have a GREAT candidate in IL-9:

All of the Republican incumbents in Illinois who supported marriage equality won their primaries Tuesday, but one particularly anti-LGBT candidate for Congress did beat her more liberal challenger. Susanne Atanus, who is challenging Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D) seat in Illinois’ 9th District (which includes much of Chicago), won her Republican primary against former Obama-supporter and Navy veteran David Earl Williams III.
Atanus received national attention in January when she told the Daily Herald that God sends devastating weather like tornadoes and diseases like autism as punishment for LGBT equality and abortion rights:

“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as in response to gay rights and legalized abortions.
“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

That’s wonderful! Now who are we running in 2016? Is Mitt Romney making a comeback?

Oh, some of the social stuff will take some getting used to:

Quite the charmer Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has hosting fundraisers for him. Dennis Prager is a talk radio host who thinks that one of the “mutual obligations” of marriage is for women to have sex with their husbands based on the husband’s wishes and not the wife’s “mood.”
Writing on in December of 2008, Prager compares a man’s obligation to go to work, regardless of his “mood,” to a woman’s obligation to have sex with her husband.

“Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?” he writes.

“What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work?”

He goes on to compare a wife’s commitment to meeting the needs of their children or parents or friends even when not in the mood to having sex with her husband, asking that, because the woman is doing what’s “right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates,” “Why not apply this attitude to sex with one’s husband?”

March 19, 2014 Posted by | Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, sarah palin | , | 1 Comment

Delusions, reality, etc.

Workout notes: morning: weights. afternoon: Cornstalk classic 4.2 mile walk over lunch (sunny) Untimed.

Weights: 5 x 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, incline: 10, 9, 7 x 135, bench: 4 x 170, 5 x 160. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60. military: 10 x 140, 10 x 160 machine (back grip), 15 x 45 dumbbell. Pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160, 7 x 160 + 3 x 150. curls: 2 sets of 10 with curl bar, 1 set of 10 machine. I also did ab crunches.

Notes: lower back is still sore and I worry about the outside of the left knee (IT?)

College football: Illinois makes the Bottom Ten!

Mitt Romney and the 2012 election
Well, the votes continue to be tallied and the count:

65.08 million to 60.57 million, or 50.9 to 47.4 percent.

Of course, some Republicans don’t quite understand this; they continue to compare President Obama’s preliminary numbers to his final numbers from last time:

Obama received 4.5 million fewer voters in 2012 than 2008,

Since the time of this article (yesterday), President Obama’s totals have gone up, so a day later it is now 4.4 million votes fewer…and that gap will continue to shrink. Stuart Stevens (Romney’s campaign strategist) goes on:

On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters.

Hmmm, so poor people won this election? Oh yes, Mr. Romney did better with younger white voters. I’d love to see a regional breakdown.

It gets better:

But having been involved in three presidential races, two of which we won closely and one that we lost fairly closely, I know enough to know that we weren’t brilliant because Florida went our way in 2000 or enough Ohioans stuck with us in 2004. Nor are we idiots because we came a little more than 320,000 votes short of winning the electoral college in 2012.

Uh, no. Look at the list of states: Colorado got Obama over 270; Romney would have to have won Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado to have won the Electoral college, which means winning 74 + 163 + 149 + 138 = 624K more votes. That is almost double his estimate, unless he meant flipping half of these votes from Obama to Romney in which case his estimate would be close.

But Joan Walsh from Salon has some things to say to Mr. Stevens, even if the title of her article was changed from “delusional jackass” to “buffoon”.

November 29, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, college football, football, Mitt Romney, politics, running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Now Isn’t this Ironic: the Romney team doesn’t like getting “the pink slip” either.

Poor Mitt and Poor Romney team: their own party has “turned on them”. And they don’t like it. Hey, isn’t that the Republican way: pink slip the underperformers? 🙂

What goes around, comes around:

The next time you have the misfortune of hearing a Wall Street titan or other one-percenter whine about how their trickle-down contributions are not appreciated by the masses remember this tidbit, courtesy of Garrett Haake at NBC:

From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.

Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.

In case you are wondering, this did not have to happen. The Mitt Romney for President entity does not end with Romney’s Tuesday night loss. […]

November 21, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | Leave a comment

A week later: he was what we thought he was…..they are what we thought they were…

Workout notes
I’ve been using Friday as a rest day so I can go harder on Saturday.


It appears that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are acting the way that Sen. McCain acted after losing; they are sore.

But the revealing part: evidently Mr. Romney really believed that 47 percent stuff he said; he made similar remarks on a conference call with big donors. Unfortunately, many “rank and file” Republicans really think this way; they see taxes as a way of taking from “the deserving” and giving to “the undeserving”; many of the @ssholes that I went to the Naval Academy are like that; never mind that they got their education funded by the taxpayer, drew government paychecks and many work for or own defense contractor businesses.

There was a brief discussion of this on The Cycle note that S. E. Cupp points out that it is usually not a good idea for the losing politician to blame the electorate for failing to realize his virtues. Yes, I know; the “rank and file” of the losing side often does that and many of us did it (myself included) after 2004. Funny, but my opinion of “the south” hasn’t changed that much since then (note: this isn’t my rant but I found it funny then).

Moving Forward
The Republican Political Leadership: continues to follow the lead of Fox News. In a hearing about Benghazi, they outright accuse President Obama of lying (rather than of merely being wrong); fortunately the Democrats on the committee stood their ground and hit back. Thank goodness.

As far as bargains and what is going on, Robert Reich talks about the upcoming economic deal:

Here, the path of least resistance is for congressional Republicans and the President to agree to kick the can down the road – keeping everything as it is (current spending, the Bush tax cut) until a date in the not-too-distant future — say, March 15.

As a sweetener, Republicans will have to agree to lift the debt ceiling again when a vote is needed to do so, probably in late January.

This mini-deal will give the new Congress and the White House time to craft a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction without going over the fiscal cliff.

It also enables the White House and Democrats to retain their trump card: The Bush tax cuts will automatically expire at the end of the negotiation period (in my example, March 15) unless an agreement is reached. So the top marginal tax rate automatically rises to 39 percent.

The downside of the mini-deal: Financial markets will remain uncertain about the ultimate deal

As far as “entitlements” (Social Security, in particular), Paul Krugman reminds us that in some cases, life expectancy (from the age of 65 onward) has gone DOWN for some groups (non-college educated white men). This variance in “expected years of life after 65” is a real problem.

Here is an article about this that has a ton of graphs and figures.

The above map is about the changes in life expectancy; “red” means “life expectancy” went DOWN.

This map shows the change in voting tendencies (US Presidential election) from 2004 to 2008; “blue” means “higher percentage for the Democrat in 2008 than 2004” and read means “higher percentage for the Republican in 2008 than 2004”; it does NOT mean “the Democrat won in 2008”. Note the red area in both maps; interesting, no?

November 16, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Democrats, Mitt Romney, obesity, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social | Leave a comment

Republicans continue to talk; pot meet kettle!

Workout notes Morning: Cornstalk 4.2 mile walk in 54 minutes (just about a 13 minute pace; slightly faster).

PM: weight session: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (many different arm configurations), rotator cuff, bench: 10 x 135, 7, 6, 5 x 170 mixed with 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell row, incline: 2 sets of 7 x 135, pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160 (one with rotated arms), dumbbell military 2 sets of 15 x 45 lb., curls (machine: 3 sets of 10 with 70). I also did ab sets in between.

Stupid Republican Verbal Tricks

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said that the GOP should “stop being the stupid party. Well, old habits die hard as we shall see….

John McCain: says that Susan Rice isn’t qualified to be Secretary of State…because she repeated the information given to her concerning Benghazi. He said: “she is not very bright.”

This coming from someone who picked SARAH PALIN to be his Vice Presidential running mate? 🙂

He has no credibility here.

Mitt Romney He basically tells his big donors that President Obama won reelection by promising people lots of stuff. Gee Mr. Romney, how did you get so much in campaign contributions and in super PAC contributions? (psst: by offering the rich even more tax breaks).

About those secessionists

That is funny, but perhaps a better picture of the southerners that I am thinking of would be this:

November 15, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, John McCain, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans | Leave a comment

More Post Election Babble: Republicans unlikely to come out of their Bubble…

Election Metrics
There is a lot here for political junkies, including a county by county US map, a “change from 2008 map” (most of the country was more Republican than in 2008, mainly because 2008 was such a shift), a “size of the counties” map, etc. This is just one of the maps; click on it to surf to the New York Times website.

Look for the blue splotches in the sea of red. These represent cities, towns with large universities (example: the large rectangle in southeast central Illinois is Champaign county which contains the University of Illinois; you can also see the small blue patch in the middle of Missouri which is where the University of Missouri is), settlements with a lot of blacks (along the Mississippi River), Mexicans (southern part of Texas), and Indian reservations (e. g., the Dakotas). In the “purple” Midwest, it seems to be urban vs. rural; much of the urban Democratic support comes from organized labor.

I live in the edge of that light blue patch of blue in the nothern/western part of Illinois; here it is mostly African Americans and organized labor.
Which polls were the most accurate, and which were terrible? Go here to find out. Here were the worst:

The Romney campaign
Note: Dr. Andy told me about some of the stuff in this article a bit ago: The Republicans weren’t ready with technology. Also: the Romney campaign hit some of their goal metrics, one of which was to win independent voters. It is just that the Obama campaign had better metrics (turn out our own people):

Mitt Romney says he is a numbers guy, but in the end he got the numbers wrong. His campaign was adamant that public polls in the swing states were mistaken. They claimed the pollsters were over-estimating the number of Democrats who would turn out on Election Day. Romney’s campaign was certain that minorities would not show up for Obama in 2012 the way they did in 2008. “It just defied logic,” said a top aide of the idea that Obama could match, let alone exceed, his performance with minorities from the last election. When anyone raised the idea that public polls were showing a close race, the campaign’s pollster said the poll modeling was flawed and everyone moved on. Internally, the campaign’s own polling–tweaked to represent their view of the electorate, with fewer Democrats–showed a steady uptick for Romney since the first debate. Even on the morning of the election, Romney’s senior advisers weren’t close to hedging. They said he was going to win “decisively.” It seemed like spin, but the Boston Globe reports that a fireworks display was already ordered for the victory. Romney and Ryan thought they were going to win, say aides. “We were optimistic. More than just cautiously optimistic,” says one campaign staffer. When Romney lost, “it was like a death in the family.” […]

It’s not that the Romney camp failed to meet its targets. They say they actually met their voter outreach goals in Ohio. During the summer, they targeted more than 2 million voters who had not voted in party primaries. Those were the independents they believed would be the key to the race. Since the strategy seemed to be paying off with internal and external polls showing Romney leading among independents, the Romney team felt like they were working their plan. “We did everything we set out to do,” says a top strategist about the Ohio effort. “We just didn’t expect the African-American vote to be so high.” African-American participation in Ohio jumped from 11 percent of the electorate to 15 percent between the 2008 and 2012 elections. “We could never see that coming. We thought they’d gotten a lot last time.” But that wasn’t the only problem. Romney underperformed George Bush’s results from 2004 in the vast majority of Ohio’s counties, not just the ones with big African-American populations.

In the post-election analysis, the Romney ticket’s problems with Hispanic voters are well-known. During the primaries, Romney ran so far to the right on immigration he lost a platform to even woo Hispanic votes. But African-Americans are treated as if they are in a category altogether unaffected by the campaign. They were going to vote for Obama no matter what. There’s a little John Sununu-like thinking in this.

Paul Krugman rubs it in a bit:

Yet there are some skills that do apply to both campaigning and governing — above all, an ability to face up to reality. And this, we’re now learning, was a skill that the Romney campaign utterly lacked. At least if postmortems are to be believed, they drank their own Kool-Aid, “unskewing” the polls and thus failing to understand what anyone reading Sam Wang, Drew Linzer, or Nate Silver knew.

Now, it’s one thing to do this and misjudge the prospects of rival American candidates. But suppose Romney had somehow ended up winning, and made the same kind of misjudgement of, say, Iran or al Qaeda — or of the economic outlook. Living in a bubble of conservative denial can lose much more than an election if it becomes a style of governing.

And look, we’ve already seen that play. Remember the Bush administration’s state of denial over the failing occupation of Iraq? (We were supposed to be welcomed as liberators, and the Bushies were the last to realize that it wasn’t happening). Remember how Bush’s aides ended up making a DVD of Katrina coverage to get his attention and convince him that Brownie wasn’t actually doing a heckuva job?

So this time the campaign was indeed an indicator of fitness to govern. Romney wasn’t ready, and neither was his party.

Ironically, at least some of the rank and file Republicans are still in denial; they seem to be upset that the Republicans used data at all rather than not believing the actual data:

It’s an interesting story — apparently they were drinking their own Kool-Aid, “unskewing” not just public polling but their own internal polls. But what struck me were some of the comments, this one in particular:

THANK YOU for bringing this to light. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but : DATA IS KILLING US.

We ARE the party of reason, and logic. We are the ones that actually know what we’re talking about, and stand firm. We need to run these charlatans out of town on a rail, and start over NOW. No more listening to wishful thinking polls ( *cough* Karl Rove, Scott Rassmussen *cough*). No more trusting the “elites”!

This has been a persistent delusion in certain parts of the right. Brad likes to tell the (second-hand) tale of Larry Lindsey arriving at the Council of Economic Advisers in 2001 and declaring that the people who really understood economics had arrived. A lot of 1-percent Romney supporters believed that only the unwashed masses could actually believe that Obama was making more sense on economic policy. And so on.

What’s so strange about this is that everything — everything — that has happened for the past decade has demonstrated the opposite. Modern Republicans are devotees of faith-based analysis on every front. On economics, in particular, they are devoted to supply-side fantasies that keep being refuted by evidence — and their reaction is to try to suppress the evidence. They’ve spent pretty much the whole past four years issuing dire warnings about inflation and soaring interest rates that keep not coming true; they cling to the belief that if only a Republican were in office we’d have a 1982-style recovery even though economists who actually studied past financial crises predicted the slow recovery in advance.

In another post (about the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff), Krugman taunts the Republicans over yet more “evidence free” analysis:

Meanwhile, the CRFB features on its home page an op-ed by Jim Jones declaring that

We are perilously close to trillion-dollar yearly interest payments, 7 percent yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds, 10 percent home mortgage rates and 13 percent rates on car loans. For the good of the country, the parties must come together and not let this happen.

How does he know that we are “perilously close” to this outcome? Not from the markets; not from any kind of economic model. My guess is that Peggy Noonan told him.

Here is where the Peggy Noonan quip came from: on the day prior to the election, she predicted a Romney victory based on….well…

But to the election. Who knows what to make of the weighting of the polls and the assumptions as to who will vote? Who knows the depth and breadth of each party’s turnout efforts? Among the wisest words spoken this cycle were by John Dickerson of CBS News and Slate, who said, in a conversation the night before the last presidential debate, that he thought maybe the American people were quietly cooking something up, something we don’t know about.

I think they are and I think it’s this: a Romney win.

Romney’s crowds are building—28,000 in Morrisville, Pa., last night; 30,000 in West Chester, Ohio, Friday It isn’t only a triumph of advance planning: People came, they got through security and waited for hours in the cold. His rallies look like rallies now, not enactments. In some new way he’s caught his stride. He looks happy and grateful. His closing speech has been positive, future-looking, sweetly patriotic. His closing ads are sharp—the one about what’s going on at the rallies is moving.

All the vibrations are right.

Ok. But the telling paragraph from Ms. Noonan is this one:

We begin with the three words everyone writing about the election must say: Nobody knows anything. Everyone’s guessing.

That is completely wrong. We didn’t know with 100 percent accuracy what would happen but we had some decent confidence intervals and some predictive evidence. But this is modern day Republicanism in a nutshell. If you don’t have metaphysical certainty, well, you don’t “really” know anything! Climate change? Junk science! Evolution? Just a theory! Supply side economics? Evidence, who needs that? We think it will work and the demand side theories must be BS because they don’t make sense to us!

This reminds me of the time when I had a heated exchange with some self-confident old idiot at a Walgreens. This guy was certain (back in May, 2010) that Obama had no chance of being reelected. Why? Well, the stuff he read in some magazines made sense to him, so it must be true.

You see this attitude a lot among the folks in small towns. They do a decent enough job of running their small town but somehow they think that this “wisdom” allows for them to accurately see things that lie outside of their little bubbles. People who successfully run small businesses (a difficult thing to do) think that they are qualified to say what will be successful for the economy at a national level. I see them as “smart idiots”; they aren’t stupid but they have no perspective at all; if something doesn’t make sense to them it must be BS.

Don’t expect these attitudes to change. In fact this article argues that the Democrats should focus more on our message rather than trying to fight the Republicans.

November 12, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, statistics | Leave a comment

I’m Loving This…so far….

Workout notes 5.1 mile run (Cornstalk course) in 52:25.
Then I ate breakfast and walked a couple of routes for my candidates (IL-46: Dave Koehler, US IL-17 Cheri Bustos) who are ahead. Yeah, it rained for most of the time and my feet got cold. But lunch with Lynn and her friend helped. I also got to see Cheri Bustos and Jehan Gordon.

The Presidential race:

I like what I see in the Senate Race: Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Donnelly.

So far, so good.

November 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Cheri Bustos, Claire McCaskill, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | Leave a comment

Romney’s Campaign Staff makes PR blunder…

Evidently Mitt Romney was late showing up to some planned rallies in Pennsylvania. I know; that can happen. So people wanted to leave as…well, it gets cold at this time of the year and a few just had to use the bathroom (cold air does that to you).

But people are tweeting that Romney campaign staffers were trying to stop them from leaving!

So you see the headlines: “Romney Campaign Staff tries to stop angry people from leaving his rally” though though they weren’t really leaving because they disliked the candidate. 🙂

Tisk, tisk…that is poor training, especially in the day and age of twitter, cell phone cameras, etc.

Then I saw a political ad. It was in a restaurant and it showed President Obama’s image on a computer screen. You couldn’t hear the sound because I was too far away from the television. At the end, and ONLY at the end, you could see it was an anti-Obama ad run by a Republican PAC. But the images were flattering to Obama…you had to wait until the end to see visual evidence that this was anti Obama. That is a poor ad; visuals often count for more than the audio.

November 5, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment