Who thought that Trump won the first debate?





But they don’t make up that much of the United States anymore…thank goodness.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | 1 Comment

My take on the Presidential Election (with my favorite sources and models)

Ok, at this time in 2008, Barack Obama had just taken a razor thin lead in the polls. I wasn’t worried though, as I was in the “Obama loop” and I knew what Obama’s ground game was up to and I knew that we were hitting our targets.

This year, I am out of the loop; I sent money to Hillary Clinton and probably will do so again. But I am not on conference calls or anything like that. So I am following the election as an “outsider”.

I am not paying attention to the “talking heads”. But I am paying attention to the following:

1. Models Each model weighs the poll data a bit differently, and some use economic data and other factors.

New York Times Upshot

This is the New York Times model. They have an interesting “pathways to victory” model for both candidates. They also link to the current forecasts of the other models.

Five Thirty Eight (Nate Silver)

This site offers three different models: “polls plus” (factors in other factors), “polls only” and “if the election were held today” forecasts. They do a decent job on being flexible to changing conditions while not being overresponsive to noise.

Princeton Election Consortium (Sam Wang)

This is another good model; this one is not as responsive to changing conditions but won’t overreact to noise either.

2. Betting Lines (odds)

US political odds (betting lines)

People with money to bet aren’t that sentimental. Now this might reflect “conventional wisdom”. But I use these as a hedge against my “wishful thinking”.

3. Poll Aggregators These just say “here are the polls in each state”. There is some crunching (don’t throw out a week old poll, but weigh the newer ones more heavily, etc.) And yes, they were pretty accurate since 2004.

Election Projection

This is run by a conservative but is competent.

Electoral Vote

This is run by a liberal but is also competent.

4. Poll Data

Real Clear Politics

This lists the various polls. Warning: state polls are included, so if several “blue state” polls come in, the “look” is too pro-Clinton; the reverse is true if many red states are polled. But you can see the polls for yourself here.

5. President Obama’s approval ratings (Gallup)

Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center

I like to compare President Obama’a approval ratings to President Reagan’s (The first Bush won) and to President George W. Bush’s (McCain lost). And remember that Al Gore won the popular vote (very narrowly) but “lost” (sort of) the Electoral College.

So what do these say?

1. President Obama’s approval ratings are above average for a 2 term incumbent and is tracking well with those of President Reagan.
2. Betting wise: Hillary Clinton is slightly less than a 2-1 favorite. This is down from 4-1 some time ago.
3. Polls: she retains a narrow lead both in the national polls (1-2 points on average) and in the Electoral College. It IS very close right now.
4. Models: the “robust against noise” models give her a 75-85 percent chance of winning; the “more responsive” models give her about a 60 percent (plus/minus 2-3 points) chance of winning.

This tells me: this race is NOT a toss up; Clinton has an edge but it is a narrow one, at least right now. Trump could very well win. But I wouldn’t want to trade places.
I am reminded of “Kerry vs. Bush” where Clinton is in the position that Bush was.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Leaving, Staying and photos

Workout notesMarkin scale weight: 189 after the workout. I concluded the workout with an easy 2 mile walk.
Weights: rotator cuff
squats: 2 sets of 10 weightless, 4 sets of 5-6 with weights (45 and 65…I am not kidding) (*)
pull ups: 15-15-10-10
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 190, 4 x 185, 9 x 170 (no spotter anywhere near so I didn’t risk extra reps)
military press: 2 sets of 7 x 95 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
head stand, 2 sets of (24 crunch, 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts)

Posts I frequently hear: if X gets elected, I am leaving the country. Well, that is probably not going to happen. But I wonder: why would any other country want you? I think that if someone wants to find somewhere else to go, one has to actually have things that the new host country would want.

Brexit This was very emotional for many:



More photos here. Scroll down and click on the photo gallery.

Some cartoons:

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine


June 27, 2016 Posted by | political humor, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

I did it wrong…

Workout notes: weights, then an easy 5 mile walk in Bradley Park.
rotator cuff
pull ups: 15-15-10-10 (very strong today)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (strong…no spotter else I would have pushed for more reps)
incline press: 10 x 135
military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 (strong)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine
head stand (ok)

Walk: routine; too pretty not to. The gym was empty and I did NOT see this.


Ironically, I had a GREAT weight workout after bombing at the 24 hour race this weekend; I am more muscular than I’ve been in years. That’s classic “me”: train for a long walk, and watch one’s weight room performance improve.

Here I am at FANS: one was taken early (mile 15 or so); the other one when I walked a “ceremonial” final 2.315 miles in the last half hour. I had recovered from the crash the day before; legs felt great. The good news is that the only thing injured was my ego..and yeah, this one will smart for a good, long while.



June 7, 2016 Posted by | big butts, butt, political humor, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Bad run, bad blood, faulty memories …

Ok, the day was beautiful. And I went for an 8 mile run through West Peoria and half of my Cornstalk 8.1 course. And I sucked. It took me 1:31:09 to cover the 8.3 mile course, 43:57 for the first 4 or so, 1:20 for the segment between and 45:51 for the final 4 (slightly more). energy, though it was a perfect day. There are days like that.

Politics (what else?)

David Horsey talks a bit about the unreasonable attacks on Hillary Clinton from Sanders supporters. Yes, it appears to be that way. And no, the national race is NOT tied, though a poll or two shows “margin of error” gap. Oh, it doesn’t really matter as the race is effectively over. But if you are a Clinton supporter and have any online presence at all, you’ll be bombarded with nonsense of all sorts.

Bottom line: we had an election (just a bit to go) and one side has an insurmountable lead, period. It is to Clinton’s credit that she is winning/has won fair and square. Though this blog article unfairly discounts the strength of Sen. Sanders’ message and his skill in delivering it, paragraphs 2-6 are excellent.

Now that we will be focusing on the general election, it should be noted that both sides have a nostalgia for the 1950’s: the high economic growth rate, relative equality and higher taxes entice the Democrats, and the regressive social order and apparent societal homogeneity appeal to Republicans.

And Donald Trump is being very shrewd in exploiting the Sanders-Clinton rift:



I think that Hillary Clinton will eventually win, but we won’t have very many easy breaths between now and the election. This will NOT be easy.

Bad Blood: this Republican tow truck driver refused to help a woman with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, though he was the one called to the stalled car on the highway. Sorry, but that is just too much. Legal…but unethical.

May 5, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Tomorrow’s Primaries

Going into this primary season, I really thought that I’d be more interested in the Republican race. And there is something going on. Nevertheless, I am still interested in the Democratic race; that is a credit to the Sanders campaign.

I fully expect Hillary Clinton to pad her formidable lead in pledged delegates by 44 delegates: (calculator is here)


Democratic Convention Watch gives a nice synopsis of what is likely to go down.

I think that the Clinton campaign is confident; they’ve already turned their fire on Donald Trump.

So my apologies to those who are “already sick of it”; I just …LOVE election season.

April 25, 2016 Posted by | political humor, politics, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

“Wrestling” and politics

Some fun…

Now this was before Mr. Trump was a candidate:


March 31, 2016 Posted by | political humor, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Primary Race: Sanders and superdelegates; Cruz and rats..

Right now, Hillary Clinton has a lead of around 300 pledged delegates. Today, there are contests in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state, where the demographics (mostly white voters) heavily favor Sanders. He is expected to do well today, though April could be rougher.

The national polls: of course, his campaign touted the one national poll that is favorable to him:


But Sen. Sanders knows the score and is hoping to persuade…superdelegates (the very ones his supporters decry!) to help him close the gap in pledged delegates:

Bernie Sanders has launched withering attacks on the Democratic establishment for months. Now he appears to be asking its most entrenched members to hand him the nomination even if he loses at the ballot box to Hillary Clinton.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published an interview in which Sanders suggested that superdelegates — the 712 elite party leaders and insiders who can support whichever candidate they want at the Democratic National Convention — should tip the nomination in his favor.

Sanders is being soundly beaten by Clinton among the “pledged” delegates whose support is determined by the popular vote, so turning to superdelegates may be his only option. But it’s still a surprising tack to hear him take.

Here’s what Sanders told the LA Times:

I would fully concede that we have a narrow path to victory. Your point is well taken. But it is a path. And the only thing that I would add to the arithmetic that we could all agree: Arithmetic is arithmetic, is momentum.

And it is also the fact that many super delegates have not yet declared, that’s number one. Number two, for the super delegates and others who have declared, as I said long ago, the key issue, you know, people like Hillary Clinton more than me. That’s fine. But what people are most concerned of in the world that I live in is that a Republican not get into the White House. I think we can demonstrably make the case, and I say this without one second of hesitation, that I am the stronger candidate.

And yes, there are polls that show him beating Donald Trump by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton does, though the Clinton campaign reminds us that Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for a long, long time; she has already had everything in the book thrown at her. Hence it is reasonable to expect that Sander’s support might shrink a little.

By the way, I do not have a problem with superdelegates. A party can decide on a candidate anyway that they choose, and while it is nice to give the “rank and file” some voice via the pledged delegate route, there is a place for the party insiders to have some extra say. Of course, if the process is too undemocratic, there might be less enthusiasm for a candidate.

But there is no requirement that the party’s candidate be decided by democratic means.

So I have no problem with Sen. Sanders making this argument, though I am laughing at thought of some of his less thoughtful supporters spinning this development..especially after they grumbled about Hillary Clinton’s massive lead in superdelegates.

And speaking of the candidates: here is how each candidate’s tax plans affect you (you enter your income). Note: Sanders’ tax plan raises your taxes, but gives you Medicare so one would have to consider the effect of reduction in your health insurance premium.

Republicans Yes, Ted Cruz really did say “Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

March 26, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I that bad?

Someone posted this meme…and tagged me.


Am I really that bad?🙂

March 22, 2016 Posted by | humor, political humor | , , | Leave a comment

Last night’s Democratic Debate and Maine Caucus

The weekend ended up going slightly better (less bad?) for Sanders. He won the Maine caucus easily and got 15 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 7; so the net weekend result is Clinton + 3 pledged delegates. That is, Sanders is NOT catching up. But he is tough and holding his own; nothing to be ashamed of.

Last night’s debate was frustrating for me; in general I have little patience with “audience” questions. The one that asked about “prayer” and talked about her church services…grrr…I wanted to yell and tell her to go to the Republican debate and pester them. But the reality is that many (most?) Democrats are also religious.

Childhood poverty: uh…why are you having kids if you can’t afford to raise the ones you now have? Sorry, but PARENTS are (mostly) responsible for childhood poverty, though I understand that bad things can happen to people (domestic violence, lay-offs, diseases, deaths, accidents) and yes, there is evidence that things like SNAP can lower the likelihood that kids will need public aid later in life. So I remain in favor of such programs (and expanding them where necessary), though I hear what my Republican friends say and often agree with them. It makes me sick to see us cede this “personal responsibility” issue to them.

And you had the classic clash between the more nuanced Clinton and the bumper-sticker spouting Sanders. There are people who LIKE the latter.

Example: Clinton’s answer on fracking was the correct one (ALL energy extraction techniques have potential for disaster and ALL can be done properly or improperly). But if you say that…”what…you are ok with ruining drinking water?” For a proper “pro-and-con” discussion, see here.

Oh well…the answer to keeping myself serene during debates is to limit my discussion to people who evaluate claims by similar methods. I like talking about stuff, but I don’t care for people who “argue by spouting bumper stickers”.

Overall both candidates did fine; Sanders made a bit of a gaffe about the race question, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. All candidates make them and he has a long history of doing good things in this area.

March 7, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social | , | Leave a comment