So, will the debate have much effect on the race?

My guess: no. Sam Wang explains why. Here is part of it:

Trump could take the lead, but it would go against what we know so far. I would characterize the race as being very close, but not as uncertain as you might think. Why? The unappreciated story of 2016 is the amazing stability of public opinion. As measured by national polls, 2016 marks the most stable Presidential race in >60 years of modern polling. At the level of state-poll-based analysis, the stability is even greater. This basic fact should inform all analysis.

Is this a stable race? Here is a chart of Upshot’s “likelihood of winning” metric:


And their links to other models:


How the bookies currently see it (Hillary Clinton slightly lower than a 2-1 favorite)


And the poll aggregator maps:


Election Projection


Electoral Vote

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

Yes, I miss George W. Bush…as an opponent.


Donald Trump has me missing George W. Bush…as an opponent. Yeah, I think that President Bush didn’t do a good job…not at all. But if my choices were him or Donald Trump, I’d vote for President Bush (after gulping quite a bit of pink bismuth)

Unrelated note
There really is no hope for me…at least I caught it BEFORE I left for work.


September 22, 2016 Posted by | humor, political/social, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

Trump can win this election. But right now Clinton is winning.

Workout notes: 4 mile walk; easy. Cool weather; sure hope we have that on Sunday, but it does NOT look promising.


As it sits right now: the Electoral College map (via Electoral

The national polls: (via Pollster)


The bookies:


Trump’s paths to victory: he has less than half as many paths that Clinton does (via Upshot)


Sam Wang’s analysis (Princeton)


So it goes. To me, this is looking more and more like 2000 and 2004 (with Clinton being in the position that Bush was in) rather than 2008 and 2012…in the latter cases I was very confident that Obama would win.

I am not so confident this time around. I am not ready to call this a toss-up; Clinton does have the edge. But that edge could evaporate. It is far from being a comfortable lead.

Why I still have hope: though Hillary Clinton is NOT the campaigner that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were, she isn’t as bad as Al Gore. And like him or hate him, George W. Bush was a good campaigner. Donald Trump isn’t the campaigner that he was, not at least as far as the “middle of the country” goes.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment

Why this Presidential election really is different for me

Yeah, I get it. When you listen to a Presidential candidate, *every* election is “the most important of your lifetime”. No candidate will say “hey, this election is kind of like the others; our country faces challenges but it always has..and times they were greater.”

But when you look at the elections that took place in my lifetime, for me, it was a contest between at least two qualified candidates (IMHO, Ross Perot wasn’t qualified). It was always a Senator, Governor, Vice President (etc.) though, I acknowledge that President Eisenhower did ok, and he was a former Army general (one who was the top allied commander in Europe, put together Operation Overlord, played a role in the forming of the post WW2 order, etc.)

And there were times when I liked *both* candidates: during the elections that I voted in (all that I was eligible to vote in), I liked both then VP Bush and Gov. Dukakis, Gov. Bush and VP Gore, Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, and again, Gov. Romney and President Obama. In each case, I thought that we had two good choices so I voted by platform (for the more liberal of the two candidates). And yes, I was dead wrong about then Gov. George W. Bush being a good choice; my Texas family warned me about that. Yes, I voted for Gore, but I honestly thought that either one would do fine.

So here we are. We have a former Senator and Secretary of State who has a ton of foreign policy and domestic policy experience; someone who is tough, smart, informed and rational…versus …Donald J. Trump.

Now you might view Mr. Trump as a “straight shooter” (but exactly ARE his positions anyway…they seem to constantly change), or as a practical, “I don’t have time for political correctness” person who will “get ‘er done”.
You might view him as an unpresidential bore. You might view him as an evil bigot who routinely stiffs contractors and cheats his investors (while remaining legal).

I will not comment on that.

I will say this however: his skill set seems to be making real estate investments and manipulating things like bankruptcy laws to his benefit, as well as knowing what he can get away with when it comes to contractors (do they fight him, thereby taking on an army of lawyers?)

I believe that is the wrong skill set for a president. Can Mr. Trump fire Congress? (ok, you might like to, but you can’t). Can he fire citizens and deport them for not going along? Can he rid the Supreme Court of justices that he doesn’t like?

Frankly, I think that he’ll trash our stock market…and I don’t see why people of “modest means” (say, 500K to 1 M) support him at all.

And yes, I am too old to go to war. My industry would probably survive a Trump administration. I’ve got enough time until retirement for my stocks to recover after a Trump presidency. I am not a Muslim nor am I routinely profiled by police. (disclaimer: I am of Mexican heritage). But, I don’t see him as doing the country any good. And I sure as heck don’t want someone that unstable with the nuclear codes.


I see him as unqualified, period.

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

Chief Illiniwek, Illinois football fans and Donald Trump

I’ve followed Illinois football closely for a few years, and I’ve had season tickets since the 2011 season. Yes, there are still a few Illinois Football fans. And you should read some of them discuss the reasons for the football woes: “they need to bring back DA CHIEF”!!! “We’ve gone downhill since they got rid of DA CHIEF”, etc.

For the unfamiliar, “DA CHIEF” is Chief Illiniwek, a student who was dressed up in a “Indian outfit” and danced at football and basketball games. It was retired after the 2006 football season (in February 2007) under pressure from civil rights groups. Frankly, I am glad that they retried it.

But let this sink in: the football team is not playing well because there is no “dancing Indian” mascot? Huh? I never knew that it blocked and tackled…I never new that top football recruits said: “well, I was going to choose Illinois but with that mascot gone, I’m going to Ohio State instead.”

But maybe there is something to it? Let’s look at the football records in the 10 years prior to “DA CHIEF” and afterward:

Before: 0-11, 3-8, 8-4, 5-6, 10-2, 5-7, 1-11, 3-8, 2-9, 2-10. (2 winning seasons) (39-76, .339 winning percentage)
After retirement: 9-4, 5-7, 3-9, 7-6, 7-6, 2-10, 4-8, 6-7, 5-7, 1-2 (current) (3 winning seasons) (49-66, .426 winning percentage)

Yeah, football isn’t doing great right now, but it is actually doing better (technically; adding the 12’th game allowed them to schedule an extra team that they could beat) after retirement…seriously. The perception that fans have is flat out false.

And I think it is this mentality that is helping Trump to do as well as he is doing. People pine for some past period in US history that, well, probably didn’t exist. Sure, maybe you didn’t have to “press 1 for English” and the local food court didn’t offer Thai food or tacos. But seriously folks, is electing someone who is grossly unqualified for office help with our current problems? Do you think that we really had an age in our history where we didn’t have at least as many problems as we do now?

September 18, 2016 Posted by | college football, politics, politics/social | , | 1 Comment

Conservative blindness…

Workout notes: weights only. rotator cuff, lots of goblet squats (30’s and 40’s), leg press: 10 x 210
pull ups: (5-5-5), (5-5-5), 10, 10 (5-5-5) do 5, switch grip, do 5, switch grip, do 5 with no rest
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (good), 10 x 170 (very good for me)
incline press: 10 x 135
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 45 dumbbell standing
rows: machine: 3 sets of 10 x 110
head stand, 2 sets each of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges.

Post I still have a few conservative friends on FB and I sometimes read what they have to say. Here is what one of them posted (and this guy is a smart, successful businessman)

Very odd wrinkle, this election. “Mud Slinging” has existed forever. But I can’t recall any election where voters become the target, not the candidates. With the “deplorables” statement/ follow ups, and social media posts where highly partisan potential voters post very negative characterizations of other voters, routinely, it’s hard to think this is good for any of us.

Hmmm, what about Romney’s 47 percent remark?

What about Sarah Palin’s “real America” remark?

Ok, ok, then there were similar remarks directed at Obama voters from…yes, the Clinton campaign …

So…attacking voters is nothing new. People like me have been attacked from the podium since, well, as long as I remember. I am used to it; evidently my sensitive conservative friends are not.🙂

And then there is a different kind of conservative. Oh yes, they HATE Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem…the type of conservative that…flies the Flag of Treason:


Please spare me this “Southern Heritage” crap. For one, this flag was flown by the Confederate Navy and by some individual armies. But it never flew over a confederate capital city. In fact, this flag came back into “style” when the southern states were pushing back against enforced integration.

Seriously people: if you approve of this flag, YOU are the one who is acting in an unpatriotic manner.

September 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

The election tightens but I think Clinton will win…

No doubt: the election is back to where it was pre-convention. This New York Times article gives a rundown o the various models and how they differ. In terms of basketball, you have a randomly chosen NBA player at the free throw line. If he makes the shot, Clinton wins. He misses: Trump wins. Or, think of an NFL kicker attempting a 45 yard field goal. A make means a Clinton win.

In the betting markets, Clinton is now slightly Less than a 2-1 favorite.


Why I think she will win: President Obama’s approval ratings continue to track President Reagan’s. Note where President Bush’s (II) were during the 2008 election.


And I think that President Obama can help Sec. Clinton, as this election might well be a “turn out” election. If the Democrats show up, we win. If they don’t, we lose.

So, what is going on? My guess is that Trump is being fueled by those who don’t want to “press 1 for English” crowd.

September 16, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

I have more respect for Sarah Palin than I do for Donald Trump (sort of)

Workout notes: easy 5.2 mile walk (two loops of Lower Bradley Park); it was untimed. I saw no other runners or walkers out there, which is unusual, given how good the day was.

Post I was getting “tag teamed” by two of my favorite grannies on Facebook (I have friends who love to roast me) and one said that it was like “Obama and Biden ganging up on Trump”. The other said “more like Palin instead of Trump”.

That (good natured?) insult got me to thinking…and, at least in a way, I have more respect for Sarah Palin than I do for Donald Trump.


Yes, Trump has some business savvy; after all, he did manage to make money off of bankruptcy laws and to stick other investors with the bills. Mean: yes, but savvy. And I doubt that Palin is that bright.

But, Trump was born into money and started with a lot of it, and had he merely invested what he had in safe investments, he’d have roughly the amount of wealth he has now.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin was not born wealthy. She was born into a middle class family and got herself elected to office, first to citywide office and later to the governorship. She did this without any inbuilt family connections; this was her under her own steam.

True: we now know about of her because of Senator McCain’s gamble but she got herself into that position to begin with, and I have to respect that.

September 15, 2016 Posted by | Friends, politics, politics/social, walking | , | Leave a comment

Snap, crackle, pop…

At times my body sounds like Rice Krispies ….

Weights: rotator cuff, lots of goblet squats (with and without weights), pull ups (5 sets of 10)
incline bench: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, 10 x 140
military: 6 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm
headstand (easy), 2 sets of: 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts 10 moving half-bridges

Then a 5K walk outside.

Taking it easy, doing admin stuff, and laughing at Trump supporters and others who were just so offended by the “basket of deplorables” comment that Hillary Clinton made…oh…and that she got sick. (really)

Sure, Hillary’s concern for privacy deludes people into thinking that she has something to hide. Well, if she does, the thousands who are investigating her must be incompetent idiots.

September 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment