blueollie

Corporate America: more responsive than Congress?

Interesting:

Now think about it: the Louie Gohmert’s and Joe Shimkus’ of the Congress really don’t care about what I think; they reflect their own constituencies. But a corporation very much cares about sales; it really doesn’t matter if they sell the item in Oklahoma or California. The profit is roughly the same. So here, the number of people who have money to spend matters, hence the opinion of such people matters. There is no gerrymandering to skew things, at least for national brands.

I know that this is not perfect, but wow…

Workout notes: weights then running on the treadmill:
weights; usual PT stuff (shoulder, hip, feet), pull ups (5 sets of 10; less rest…very tiring), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 140, dumbbell military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing, Hammer machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

Then treadmill run: 4 miles in 45:09. I did 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 (increase every 10 min to 3 miles) then increase every 0.25 miles. That was my first “run” in a long time; I thought that I had lost the ability to run.

Weight: more or less the same; ok, down slightly.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | 1 Comment

Serving two masters

Politics It is a shame to see Senator McCain let himself be used by Senator McConnell to try to “shame” the other Republican senators into holding the line and moving forward with the “motion to proceed”. Courage in battle doesn’t translate to “courage in politics”.

That is just too depressing to think about.

Workout notes
The bad news: my running has taken a major nosedive. It is tough to do more than easy treadmill running.
The good news: walking is improving (right knee: slightly sore…)

today: I felt a bit bored with working out and so did a “jog two laps, skip rope 25 reps (had two misses in my skips)” then attempted a run on the treadmill. that turned into a run/walk for 1.25 miles.
Then I quit that, went to the track and walked 4 miles of “walk 3 laps steady and deliberately, 1 lap to recover the mind” and that took me 51:45 (13:27, 12:50, 12:51, 12:36). This was NOT at interval intensity.

So..I emphasize walking and the running suffers. But the walking improves. Go figure.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, running, walking | Leave a comment

Why “across the aisle” dialog is so tough..often impossible…

Yes, we now know that at least elements of the Trump campaign attempted collusion with Russia. But do not expect this to change much.

Despite some noisy (and I think, disingenuous appeals for funding) rhetoric from Democrats:

And yes, one Democrat has filed an article of impeachment, we all know that is going nowhere. The R’s control the House. Nixon’s disapproval ratings were about 38 percent among Republicans whereas Trump’s approval rating among Republicans remains well in the 80’s (via Gallup)

So, these reports, which seem like “blockbuster” stuff to so many of us, will be “just politics” at best and “fake news” at worst to most of the rank and file Republicans.

It CAN help our political position though.

And trying to talk about issues; all too many think they know way more they do, and some of the loudest, most opinionated, know the least.
I’ve had people who rarely, if ever, step foot on a college campus tell me what is happening on them. I’ve even had people tell ME what I teach in the classroom…and such people get very offended when I tell them that I was unaware that there were “unAmerican” methods for integrating a function in calculus class. 🙂

But by Jove, they are SURE that they know.

There are times when I believe that those who know the least are the most sure about what they “know”.

Workout notes
4 mile walk after weights.

Weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, so-so), incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 7 x 150, military presses: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 45 (standing), 10 x 100 (machine) rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Not much.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Amateur Hour …

Yes, there are many reasons that Donald Trump pulled out the 2016 election in the Electoral College. But, overall, the Republican voters stuck with the Republican; that was far and away the biggest factor. What one identifies with means more than anything else.

Oh yes, his campaign (at least certain members of it) did attempt to collude with Russia; they admitted as much. And just a small change in a handful of states could well have made the difference.

But one way or another, he “won”.

And so far, it has been terrible. Donald Trump clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. And yet, the Republicans in Congress support him, though they might make a “this is troubling” statement once in a while.

Workout notes weights only; I am kind of tired.
hip hikes, toe raises, goblet squats: 25, 25, 50, 50, 60, 60, 70, pull ups (5 sets of 10) bench presses: 10 x 135, 1 x 190, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military: seated: 15 x 55 dumbbell, standing: 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 200. rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 110 machine. abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. Fell over on head stand.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2016, political/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

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.

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

Why Trump gets away with it: hatred of liberals.

Yes, once again, Trump was tweeting stupid, disgusting things.

And yes, Sarah Sanders Huckabee defended Trump doing so.

Now, yes, Mitch McConnell might have enjoyed the cover to try to get to “an agreement on principle” to a still toxic health care…er…”wealthcare” deal.

But yes, Trump’s conduct is disgusting, and even many conservatives agree. Trump does this all of the time. But they defend it because:

Yep…he is their son-of-a-bitch. And they despise us and everything we stand for.

The elite Republicans (Ryan, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Priebus, Pence) all stand to gain something; here is a nice list as to what each might gain.

And so it goes.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 2 Comments

Democratic infighting…

Yes, though we are still smarting the close losses (yes, the 4 special elections were from “safe Republican” districts), one thing that we cannot lose sight of is that “the candidate matters”. People might yell that “a Berniebro would have won” or “this policy” or “that policy” might have one. I am NOT saying that “messaging isn’t important”; it is. But the candidate matters, and politics requires skill, just like other professions. Some people are naturally better at it. And the campaign itself matters.

And when the election is in a “safe Republican” district, often a strong, naturally talented candidate is NOT recruited (who wants to do a fool’s errand?) and IF it turns out that it is a competitive race, well, that is an opportunity lost. This may have happened in Georgia-6, which WAS a tough race for a Democrat.

But of course, Democrats are fighting among themselves.

One issue: should we continue to back Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic House leader? My thoughts: yes, her feat of getting the ACA passed, IMHO, made her an all time great Speaker of the House. That was quite a feat.

But is her time past? Aside from being good at fundraising, she really hasn’t accomplished that much as the Democratic leader. I think we could argue that it is a time for a change.

BUT, this puts back into the “Bernie vs. Hillary” territory.

There is a large contingent of women who see misogyny everywhere; having anything resembling a rational discussion with some of the more strident members is impossible. Any push-back on their ideas or pointing out an (apparent) flaw will be called “mansplaining”.

I found it is just best to avoid them completely.

Anyway, these types see any movement to get Pelosi to step aside as a type of misogyny. That is not where I am coming from; I am fine with the next House leader being female; in fact, when I say “we need new blood”, I fully expect that this new blood will heavily consist of women and men of color.

Example: though she is a Senator, Sen. Harris might be part of the wave of the future.

But as far as leadership of the House Democrats: our own Cheri Bustos might be a candidate. She might lack the national stature AT THIS TIME, but that can change.

But yeah, there we are in our party: white vs. black, women vs. men, the “middle to upper middle class” vs. the poor. And there are the regional issues: what works in San Francisco and in Vermont might not play in Central Illinois. We have to be flexible and understand that whoever emerges as our candidate in 2020 will NOT be everything everyone wants.

Now who? I like Sen. Warren, but she really lacks that “show-biz” part that I think a national candidate needs to excite people. She is tough, smart, and knows the issues inside and out. But I see her as lacking “charisma from the podium”; that is something that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have.

I think that Sen. Booker has it; I wonder if Sen. Harris has it (maybe?). We shall see.

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, social/political | 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

Moving forward…

Yes, Democrats lost 4 special elections: in Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas and in Montana. They won one in California.

The Republican special elections came about because a GOP Congressman resigned to take a post in the Trump administration, so these were considered “safe Republican seats”. They proved to be very competitive, and the margin in the Georgia and South Carolina races were less than 4 points.

So, these elections were encouraging but frustrating. Yes, there is some finger pointing going on and some Republican taunting.

So, do these results mean anything? And how do we move forward?

Here is what I take away from it:

1. Trump has weakened the enthusiasm of some Republicans, but not nearly the majority of them. And tribal identity remains strong. Running to the left in such districts isn’t going to work, at least in terms of getting some Republican voters or “Republican leaning” voters to switch.

2. Yes, we need to get more people to the polls, but I doubt that Bernie Sanders types will do it. At the House level, we need “district appropriate” candidates, including those who can distance themselves from, say Nancy Pelosi. And yes, we need new blood at the leadership levels.

3. At the national level, we need candidates that excite people, and people often get excited by the personality of the candidates, not by proposed policies or platforms. Note this 2008 video, where Obama supporters didn’t know the basics of his positions.

Identity has a LOT to do with it, and do not trust the voters to know the basics. In general, they don’t.

And public expressions of anger really do not convince anyone to switch, though they might be effective in a primary election. Liberal hatred of Trump is a DESIGN FEATURE, not a bug. Count on the Republicans to say “see: the liberals LOATHE Trump, so he must be doing something right”, even as Trump pushes for laws and policies that will hurt their constituents!

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

How can Democrats do better?

Ok, what do we do in 2018, and in 2020? That is a tough question with no simple answers. These three opinion pieces offer up some ideas, and yes, these pieces offer (sort of) competing ideas, though there is some overlap.

First of all, why did some Obama 2012 voters defect to Trump? One possibility: though they voted Obama in 2012, they still had some resentment toward at least some liberal constituencies (e. g. black people, Muslims, feminists, etc.) But in 2012, the economics won out. In 2016, the “identity” won out. Perhaps that can change in 2020, or even in 2018? Yes, this is a small percentage of voters, but big enough to swing the critical states in 2016.

This makes some sense to me. After all, I don’t like many liberal activists; some of the social justice warriors are, well, loud and clueless. I too get disgusted with the excesses of the political correctness crowd. But, to me, policy wins me over.

Of course, turnout hurt us; many who broadly agree with us don’t show up. The candidates will have to have some show-biz appeal to excite people.

On the other hand, we can’t be too stuck on the current electoral map. After all, I am old enough to remember California and Illinois being Republican states.

Workout notes: 8 mile walk (8.1 Cornstalk course) in 1:58:20 (59:06/59:14) 14:36 pace. It wasn’t much of an effort, though I walked “with purpose”. Cool weather.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment