blueollie

Post Independence Day

West Peoria had its annual 4’th of July Parade which featured an interesting float:

Its reception? I’d say, mixed. It was “respect for the holiday” vs. “Trump sucks”.

Yesterday, I saw a ball game. The Chiefs won a pitcher’s duel 1-0; the starter went 6 innings and struck out 9. The Chiefs lone run came on a home run.

There were fewer people than on the 4’th of July game:

Workout notes: tested my new shoes. 2 miles outside, 5K “Deek” workout (walking), 1 mile cool down: 12:03, 12:11, 11:58, 1:20. (36:13, 37:34). Basically, 10:45 ish for the 400 on, 14:45 for the 200 off. Focused on posture.

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July 6, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Peoria/local, political humor, political/social, walking | | Leave a comment

Not understanding the AHCA

I’ve had conversations with many people, who just do not understand what “good” the AHCA does. “How can they be in favor of a bill that would eventually cost many their health insurance and weaken the coverage of many that already have it?”

The Republicans lie, of course. They say Obamacare is in a “death spiral.” No, it isn’t. Yes, premiums have gone up (more sick people in the system) but when haven’t insurance premiums NOT gone up? There were supposed to be subsidies to help offset those but doubt was raised about such subsidies being fully funded. So, one could say that Republicans are trying to sabotage the ACA.

While I acknowledge that some libertarians are hostile to the idea that people have to have health insurance, here is what I see as being the main issue for the elite Republican political leadership:

Eliminate the Medicare surtax on wages: High-income earners currently pay the 1.45% Medicare payroll tax on wages up to $200,000 ($250,000 if married). But then they pay an additional 0.9 percentage points — or 2.35% – on wages above those levels.
Under the House bill, that 0.9 percentage point surcharge goes away in 2023 — a delay from the original legislation, which would have nixed it in 2018. The enactment date was pushed back to free up some money to augment tax credits for Americans in their 50s and early 60s, who would face much higher premium costs under the GOP bill, since it would let insurers charge older consumers more than they can under Obamacare.
Related: How the Republican bill would change Obamacare
Get rid of the Medicare tax on investments: In addition to the surtax on wages, high-income earners making more than $200,000 ($250,000 if married filing jointly) are subject to a 3.8% Medicare tax on a portion of their investment income, which is determined by formula. Investment income includes money from capital gains, dividends, interest, rental income and annuities.

Politifact said that the claim that the wealthiest among us would receive most of the tax cut benefits as being “half true” because:

$122 billion to a variety of individuals through tax changes:

$49 billion: Postponing the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans actually helps middle-income taxpayers, the Tax Policy Center says.

$35 billion: Allowing more tax deductions for medical expenses — starting at 7.5 percent of income, rather than 10 percent. This tends to help middle- and upper-income people, given that the rich are well insured and the poor don’t pay income taxes.

$19 billion: Repealing a cap of $2,500 on the pre-tax dollars workers could put into flexible spending accounts annually. Poorer people can’t afford to put more than $2,500 aside for medical expenses, but this change benefits middle-income folks as well as the wealthiest.

$19 billion: Increasing, to $6,550 for an individual and $13,100 for couples, the amount that could be put annually into a Health Savings Account. Similar impact as the pre-tax change.

Basically, it would help some of the “lower end” 6 figure and up people.

And they conclude this:

Not all of the $600 billion in tax breaks (over 10 years) would go to the wealthiest Americans.

But nearly half — $275 billion — would almost exclusively benefit only people on the highest end of the income scale.

So, that is what they care the most about. We’ll see what tweaks the Senate comes up with.

Bottom line: they want those tax cuts, and they need to cut spending enough for the bill to be able to be passed in the Senate via reconciliation rules. That’s really it. Now, what tweaks to do? They have to balance the Ted Cruz vote with the few moderate vote, and it will probably have to go back to the House again.

June 22, 2017 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Butts: less attention to hers, more attention to mine

Yeah, I’ve loved female butts for all of my post adolescent life. I still remember something from the 8’th grade, I believe. A female friend was sitting with me on the grass (she ran track and went on to be a Rams Cheerleader). She got up (in her tight jeans) and I teased her: “you’ve got grass all over your butt!” She said: “well, brush me off then…” and I about passed out. But I did my duty..and still remember it 44 years later.

I am open enough about it to teased about it by friends; from time to time my female friends send me joke memes about that.

But…all the while, I’ve neglected my own butt and the result is back pain, legs that get easily fatigued, etc. So I’ve been attempting to do something about it.

Today: I ran 6.07 miles in 1:05, doing a “5 minute froggy” for 50 minutes, then varying the speed after dropping back a bit, hitting 6 miles in 1:03:44. I was sweaty and out of breath and forced myself to do sets of 5 “goblet” squats:

0, 25, 45, 45, 50, 50, 60, 60. I made sure I “sat” below parallel then 10 x 270 on the leg press.

I was tempted to skip the final 2 sets with 60, but I saw the guy who won my AG in the trail half marathon (1:59, to my 3:02) and decided to finish all of them.

My back does feel better…we will see if this eventually translates into a better 5K run.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | butt, political humor, political/social, running, weight training | Leave a comment

Saturday Night Live skit makes a profound point about some Trump supporters

Yes, I am backing Hillary Clinton for many reasons; I see her is smart, well informed, tough and highly qualified. Yes, I oppose Donald Trump for many reasons; the most important one is that I find him to be unqualified; a rank amateur for THIS particular job. To me, a big part of being the President of the United States is knowing how to work with Congress and state governments, knowing about the “give and take”, knowing when to twist arms and when to compromise.

But Mr. Trump does have widespread support from different types of people, though probably not enough support to win. Hillary Clinton is a heavy favorite. But that is beside the point.

I would say that I can understand why some affluent people support him, but, I really can’t…at least if they have stock.

But what about poor working class white people: what do THEY see in him? Oh sure, he isn’t “politically correct”, but, well,..remember that Trump looked down on Mitt Romney as not having enough money.

So, if he would insinuate that Mitt Romney is a loser

What in the hell do they think that Donald Trump thinks about them?

And so we have this funny skit where a working class Trump supporter (played by Tom Hanks) plays “Black Jeopardy” and finds…well, just watch:

Working class people, regardless of color, have quite a few issue in common. Yes, there are important differences (e. g. how they are treated by police).

Why such people would view Donald Trump as caring about them I’ll never understand.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s remarks and young men: the messenger matters

house81mossbradleypark

Cool, easy but deliberate effort, 8.1

Trumps remarks Of course, many people deserve a voice in developing policy. And yes, when it comes to “winning hearts and minds”, there are many hearts and minds out there and many appropriate messengers for them.

So, I thought about Trump’s remarks and I thought about “which is the best way to reach young men”? And I thought back to my life 35-40 years ago (yes, I am old) and I thought “whose words made an impression on me”?

When it came to “women and the military” the discussion of “should women serve on submarines” came up. The “pro-integrating women” voice that stuck with me: the engineer of a fast attack submarine (a Naval Lt. Commander). I thought about the submarine captains.

Earlier than that, I thought about the younger men who I admired, sports coaches and the like.

That is when it occurred to me: the voices that will most reach the young guys are those who come from “those who have what I want”; that probably includes CEOs, military officers (both commissioned and non-commissioned), athletes, etc. And because I was a nerd, well, I respected the engineers and scientists. Liberal arts professors and outspoken feminists: not so much; I had no desire to “be like them”.

I suppose a version of that still holds for me today. When someone posts a Salon, Huff-po, or Vox article with the title “here is what men get wrong about X” , I don’t even bother to click the link. On the other hand, if Paul Krugman or Steve Pinker say something, I listen (or read). If someone is where I want to be (or wished that I were there), I pay more attention to them.

October 9, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

And the race approaches “steady state”…

Workout notes: weights then 5 miles.
Weights: some weightless squats, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline press: 7 x 150, 10 x 135
military: dumbbells: 2 sets of 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40
rows: dumbbells: 3 sets of 10 x 50
head stand (ok)
abs: 2 sets of: 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges, 12 twist crunch.

run: frog boil (2 minute intervals: 5.2 up to 7.1, getting to 4 miles in 39:13, then 15:43 mile walk.

Election
Electoral Vote and Election Projection are almost in agreement, differing on 2-ME (323-216 or 322-215). Probability of an HRC victory: upshot: 81 percent, 538: 74 percent (polls plus), 85 percent “now cast“, Princeton has it at 92 percent. Odds: vary from 2/5 to 3/10, with most bookies having it at 4/11.

Yes, Trump might still win, but it is looking terrible for him.

My maps: Clinton landslide (improbable), Clinton squeaker, Trump win (improbable). I think that Electoral Vote-Election Projection have it right (322-323 to 216-215)

clintonlandslide6oct

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trumpwin

October 6, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, running, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Who thought that Trump won the first debate?

patrietingreen

patriot

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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:

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

Some cartoons:

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine

horseytrolls

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.

trumpyogapants

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.

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fasterwalkingfans2016

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