blueollie

Reporters Trump and behavior

Last night, I responded to a Yglesias tweet about the Montana candidate who ended up physically attacking a reporter. I had read the campaign statement and was under the impression that the reporter had crashed a private event.

Yes, I know, physical violence is wrong but I still believe that reporters don’t have license to go where ever they want.
So I said “Bad overreaction, but that the reporter went onto private property, uninvited. Reporters need to respect boundaries.” which, predictably, lead to some responses, many of which were emotional and dumb.
I used the block function a couple of times.

BUT, I ended up talking to some cool people too and gained a couple of more “non-public” people to follow.

But this brings me back to reporters. I still remember this:

Yes, a private function has a right to exclude people. If this seems harsh, remember that the same rules apply if, say, a NewsMax or Fox “reporter” tried to crash and disrupt a press conference devoted to science to interject completely inappropriate questions and remarks.

But speaking of behavior, get a load of this:

https://twitter.com/SteveKopack/status/867758571882258432/video/1

This man is emotionally unfit for the office.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s budget

Ok, President’s budgets are almost always DOA in Congress. But they do provide some insight into what the administration wants, will sign onto and…yes, competence. And yes, Trump’s budget has a yuge accounting error. This is the kind of mistake you might expect of high school students.

But there are other issues. For one, it cuts essential science including the NIH budget, some of which is used in disease prevention.

Think of it this way: there are certain, non-profitable things (things that won’t make money for a business) you want the government to do. Public safety is one of those things, and things like preventing the spread of disease, tracking and countering the mutation of things like the flu virus would be a proper function, right?

And basic science, in general, isn’t profitable enough to attract business funding. But it is still important and something the government should fund.

So what about Trump’s proposed cuts to the social safety nets?

Conservatives tend to support reforming welfare policies because they think that government programs trap families in a state of dependency, cutting them off from work and immiserating their children. In fact, research shows that the opposite is true. Several recent papers have found that the children of low-income mothers with access to prenatal coverage under Medicaid later had lower obesity rates, higher high-school graduation rates, and higher incomes in adulthood, and were less likely to receive welfare payments, like SNAP. Meanwhile, a Brookings analysis of SNAP found that 65 percent of mothers who receive the benefits would fall below the poverty line without the program. There is practically no question that reducing support for working parents by hundreds of billions of dollars will increase the number of children who grow up in poverty.

Tuesday’s proposal comes two months after the president released a so-called “skinny budget” previewing changes to discretionary spending, the 30 percent of government that is appropriated each year, unlike “mandatory spending,” like Social Security or Medicare. In that budget, Trump sought a big increase in military and border spending offset by cuts to science funding, the State Department, and environmental protection. The skinny budget was notable for shutting down some of the few economic programs that specifically help the Rust Belt and Appalachia, starving research universities of the funds that often power local innovation.

In short: Trump’s budget would almost certainly increase the number of uninsured Americans while hurting poor families, especially those that rely on government support in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. But that’s not all.

It’s critical to assess Tuesday’s budget along with the White House’s tax plan. Its centerpiece is a proposal to lower the tax rate on “pass-through” income to 15 percent. This change might seem like a middle-class tax cut, since most businesses are small pass-throughs, like small barbershops or sole proprietorships. But 80 percent of all pass-through revenue is actually taken in by the richest 1 percent of small business, which means a large rate cut for pass-through income turns out to be a windfall for the rich. According to the Tax Policy Center, the proposal “would add $2 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years, while distributing nearly all the benefits to the highest-income households.”

Yep, it is just more “trickle down” bullshit.

However, some of the discussion about this budget really turns me off, at least on an emotional level. Yes, money into safety nets is more effective stimulus than tax cuts (poor to lower middle class people spend what they get..so the money goes into the economy, whereas a wealthy person can buy only so many luxury items) and said money can actually reduce future dependence on public aid.

Nevertheless, what I’ve seen (appeals) have been emotionally unappealing; it is mostly “feel sorry for me” or “feel sorry for them” stuff. And the poor, statistically speaking, do exhibit quite a bit of social pathology (parents that make more kids without supporting the ones that they have; here is an extreme example) Poor people tend to be fatter (really!) and tend to smoke more.

Then there is personal experience: many (most?) families have that one moocher who ALWAYS has their hand out; they are the ones that you don’t pick up when they call because they call when they want something. And I think it is human to extend your own experience to a larger setting, where it …just does NOT apply.

And so, am I spend more in taxes to give them more money? Well, the truth it…our society is better off when we do exactly that. Sometimes, the best policy helps those that you do not care for.

And, the playing field is far from level. Yes, even with a level playing field, there will be some poor people. Some are there because of bad luck, some because of a lack of ability (think: “special needs” people), some are suffering from untreated mental and emotional health problems (which COULD be treated, IF they could afford it, or if we had single payer health coverage) and yes, some are just no good (every income group has a percentage of these).

So, how should we effectively “sell” funding anti-poverty programs? I try to bring out the spreadsheet but am not sure if that is an effective way or not. But I think that this method might answer the question that an increasing number of middle class people are asking: what is in it for me?

May 24, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics | | Leave a comment

Forget about Impeaching Trump…for now.

If you read my twitter feed, some are under the impression that Trump will be removed from office. Nate Silver does a very detailed analysis and concludes:

All that work … and I’m still not going to give you a precise number for how likely Trump is to lose his job. That’s because this is a thought experiment and not a mathematical model. I do think I owe you a range, however. I’m pretty sure I’d sell Trump-leaves-office-early stock (whether because of removal from office or other reasons) at even money (50 percent), and I’m pretty sure I’d buy it at 3-to-1 against (25 percent). I could be convinced by almost any number within that range.

The easiest-to-imagine scenario for Trump being removed is if Republicans get clobbered in the midterms after two years of trying to defend Trump, the Republican agenda is in shambles, Democrats begin impeachment proceedings in early 2019, and just enough Republicans decide that Pence (or some fresh face with no ties to the Trump White House) gives them a better shot to avoid total annihilation in 2020.

In some sense, then, the most important indicators of Trump’s impeachment odds are the ones you’d always use to monitor the political environment: presidential approval ratings, the generic congressional ballot and (if taken with appropriate grains of salt) special election results. What makes this time a little different is that if Republicans think the ship is sinking, impeachment may give them an opportunity to throw their president overboard first.

And I’ve seen credible arguments that…Trump could well end up getting reelected in 2020! (yeah, I know…it is a Salon article, but this article strikes me as being credible).

Trump’s approval, while dismal for a new president, isn’t at historic lows (though low FOR THIS POINT in an administration). The Real Clear Politics approval average is just under 40 percent. His Gallup poll approval is at 37 percent. But it is at 84 percent among Republicans.

That might seem hard to believe, but remember that lots of Republicans do not trust the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN. This is what they are seeing:

They are much more likely to be up in arms about what some obscure liberal arts professor said than about serious issues like this one:

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

Things like Trump’s embarrassing mathematical error in his new budget (he double counted the projected offsets to his proposed 2 trillion dollar tax cuts) will be seen as, at worst, “liberal lies” and, at best, the “he said, she said” part of partisan politics.

If that sounds incredible, well, we are not behind their propaganda wall.

Many of us simply do not associate with many (if any) Trump supporters; we are hearing different things than they are. Note how “clumpy” this precinct level map is; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 3 million votes, but, on an individual level, we are likely to interact mostly with those who see eye to eye with us. Yes, I live in a county (Peoria, IL) that barely went for Clinton; my Congressional District (IL-17) elected Cheri Bustos (Democrat) but was carried by Trump (barely); Obama won it by 17 points in 2012. (2016 by Congressional District, by County)

So, I have to disagree with her here:

Interviews with Trump supporters are the only way I come to grips with, well, how delusional the Republican rank and file is.

And these are the people who vote for all of those Republicans in Congress. And now, Trump has big money behind him (tax cuts).

But between now and 2020 lie the 2018 midterms and those are huge; the President’s party usually loses seats.

But that means flipping some “swing districts” and IN SUCH DISTRICTS, “impeachment” does not play well there.

So, I’d like us to focus on winning at least one chamber (maybe two?) in 2018, and would settle for a legislative stalemate between now and then.

Realpolitik.

Workout notes
5 treadmill miles; slow warm up (2 miles just over 22 minutes; 5.2 going up .1 every .5 miles) then 3 miles of .25 faster, .25 walk (3.7 mph); .25 segments were 6.7, 6.9, 7.0 (two reps at each level). Just enough to get sweaty (197.5 before, 194.3 after).

May 23, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Removal of Trump from office: yes, there is a downside

First of all, I have no training in law; I do not know (for sure) whether Trump did anything impeachable or not. It appears to me that he violated his oath of office in at least 3 areas: violation of the emoluments clause, obstruction of justice (trying to hinder the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the election) and his grotesquely reckless giving “beyond top secret” information to Russia (though he DOES have the power to do so).

I have read that while the Constitution says “High crimes and misdemeanors” as the standard,

Fifth, this may well be a violation of the President’s oath of office. Questions of criminality aside, we turn to the far more significant issues: If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office. As Quinta and Ben have elaborated on in some detail, in taking the oath President Trump swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of his ability. It’s very hard to argue that carelessly giving away highly sensitive material to an adversary foreign power constitutes a faithful execution of the office of President.

Violating the oath of office does not require violating a criminal statute. If the President decided to write the nuclear codes on a sticky note on his desk and then took a photo of it and tweeted it, he would not technically have violated any criminal law–just as he hasn’t here. He has the constitutional authority to dictate that the safeguarding of nuclear materials shall be done through sticky notes in plain sight and tweeted, even the authority to declassify the codes outright. Yet, we would all understand this degree of negligence to be a gross violation of his oath of office.

And yes, I find this convincing.

The downside: the biggest one for me is that if Trump leaves office before his term is up (whatever reason) then:

1. He is going to be replaced by a conservative, and almost certainly, one with a lot more political skill. That is, the Republicans will still control both chambers of Congress and the executive AND have someone who is better situated in getting their agenda passed.

2. The replacement will have a good shot at reelection and

3. The Republicans in Congress can play the “we placed patriotism over party” card and probably better positioned to retain their seats.

So there are political minefields here. BUT, right now, I am worried about disaster and would trade Trump for some conservative who is more emotionally stable and rational, even if it hurts us politically.

I still see impeachment as a longshot though:

And yet, outside the inner circle of Republicans with access to the commander-in-chief, Trump’s popularity remains respectable, even solid. The conservative base is largely unaware of the constant revelations of Trump’s gross incompetence, or has been trained to ignore them as propaganda emanating from the administration’s enemies in the deep state or the liberal media. In red America, Trump remains a hero at best, and a competent, normal president at worst.

Recognizing competence is not a strength of red America. Remember that Trump was elected by people who see Trump as themselves, had they been born into money. And many of them probably sincerely believe that THEY could do a competent job as president.

Workout notes weights, 2 mile run, 3 mile walk.
weights: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups, incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 3 x 160 (strict hips), military: 20 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. headstand.

run: 20 minutes (2.08) 10:38 mile 1, 19:16 mile 2 (6.7 at 8 minutes then up by .1 ever .25 miles)
walk: 5K Bradley Park course (easy)

May 17, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Critiquing Trump: big deals, usual critiques and silliness

Yes, this is a big deal. In a meeting with Russian officials, Trump blurted out highly sensitive information, which we now know was obtained from Israel.

Yes, this is a big deal. Not only might this get a source killed, it might make Israel less likely to share stuff with us, and it might make our own intelligence people less likely to tell POTUS what they know.

But even worse (if that is possible), is that our Republican political leadership is unwilling to do anything about it, since they feel that they can get their precious tax cuts if DJT remains in office with at least a little bit of credibility.

Paul Krugman has a good tweetstorm on that topic:

But will this matter to the rank and file Republican? Sadly: probably not, or at least “not much”; they will see this as the usual “back and forth” that goes on with any president.

I remember that I went through something like this at the governor level: yes, I voted for Blagojevich a second time. Yes, I heard the dissension but around here, and I even backed his primary opponent to the point of giving him money. And the Republicans lie and overblow things so much that I didn’t believe them, at least at first. Then I began to have doubts, but was told by one “sort of party insider” that people were angry at him because they didn’t get the expected patronage.

It turns out that the Republicans were actually telling the truth!!! That is one vote that I wish I had back.

Happily, the Democratic legislature did the right thing and impeached him.

So what to make of Trump? Note, I am limiting myself to stuff he does AFTER becoming president; Russian interference in our election (along with possible collusion) is a different matter.

First there is the silly stuff. I don’t care how he likes his steak, how many scoops of ice cream he has, that he is fat, or that he doesn’t have a dog.

Then there is the usual partisan stuff, when he does Republican things, I am not going to like them. But elections do have consequences. I’ll speak my mind but this is the normal partisan push-back.

Next: any President has to make decisions and those will be critiqued. An example of this was Trump’s decision to bomb that Syrian airfield. I saw that as a rather futile gesture that really had no impact but I can see many Presidents doing this. But these decisions will always attract scrutiny. And some of what he tries won’t work out. Yes, Obama had a few policy misses too, but these were hardly “unfit for office” stuff, no matter how much the morons on Facebook and Twitter scream.

Then there is the “he isn’t behaving in a Presidential manner” stuff. I think that this is important, but not to the degree “we have reason to remove this man from office” important. I do not like the way he criticizes private citizens; I think that he sets a very poor example in this area. No president in my memory did anything like this. This is ugly, but, well, a large minority of people (not even a plurality!) voted for this or at least did not see it as disqualifying.

Finally, there is the “unfit for office” stuff: these are his sneering at the emoluments clause (profiting from his office), his nepotism and now, this impulsive giving out highly sensitive intelligence because he wants to show off, and his attempts to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation. Yes, I see Trump as unfit for office.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

We will always talk past one another

Interesting. I see things like this:

Or read articles like this one (about conflating affordable health care with personal responsibility)

Or even articles like this one (saying that our growing economic inequality is making us more and more like a 3’rd world country).

And often, my conservative friends and I agree on the facts. Seriously. The issues are:

1. Ok, who is to blame for this? Yes, that is an important question (*) thought that might sound strange.

2. Ok, what is the best way forward toward resolving this problem?

It appears to me that, in general, conservatives assign more agency to the individual. For example: are people behaving responsibly, or are they, say, just going around and making women pregnant without having any means of supporting a kid? Yes, that DOES happen:

Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Note: this article is from a “bleeding heart” perspective; it goes on to attempt to absolve such “fathers” of their behavior.

Poor health? It is undeniably true that, at least statistically speaking, much of our poor health comes from terrible habits (overeating smoking, etc.).

So, our conservative friends tend to trace many of our social problems to defects in human behavior rather than as something that society bears direct responsibility for.

And you know what? I don’t see our conservative friends as being completely wrong or as being crazy.

Why do I remain a liberal? For one, there is evidence that demand side economics works (stimulation at the bottom of the economy indeed trickles up) and well planned public aid at the bottom of the economy can reduce the chances of ending up on it later in life.

Another reason is that, statistically speaking, pathological social behavior tends to follow poverty rather than be the cause of it. Some evidence for this theory: look at what has happened within some previously non-poor groups.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I think that people don’t have agency or bear some personal responsibility. I still exercise and carry out my professional duties, and my degrees were not handed to me. I worked for them (while enjoying, yes, taxpayer funded subsidies which I want others to have access to as well).

But those born in harsh socio-economic circumstances have a much, much smaller margin of error and effort only goes so far.

Think of it this way: I could probably improve my running my losing, say, 30 lbs. and running more and running harder. But there is NOTHING I could do to become competitive. My effort can move the needle, but only so much.

And it is my opinion that those born into the bottom can only escape with an enormous amount of effort, and those who do are probably those with an almost an outlier amount of talent.
Of course, it happens, but right now, it is my opinion that it is, for structural reasons, an event whose probably is too low to be considered “fair and just”.

Sure, some who have no excuse fail anyway. There will always some of these. And given a level playing field, some will always do a whole lot better than others. I accept that.
But I don’t see the playing field as being level.

(*) if you disagree that “blame” is not important, ask yourself this: two people need a new liver to be able to live. One is a typical person who got an unfortunate disease. Another is someone who suffered internal injuries while they were attempting a robbery. Who gets priority?

workout notes: weights then an easy 3 mile walk outside (too pretty not to)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170 (empty gym, no spotters..had to stay conservative), incline: 10 x 135, military: 20 x 50 dumbbell, seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer machine.
Abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridges. Headstand (relatively easy today).
And goblet squats (between upper body stuff): 5 x (25, 25, 45, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70). These ARE getting easier.

May 15, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

The appeal of Trump, data analytics and all that…

Still working on finals; taking a break. Workouts are logged at the end of this post.

Trump and data miningFor me, this is, at once, both spooky and awe inspiring. Remember that Trump won the key Electoral College states by a whisker so even a 1 percent shift was HUGE. These go into how it was done, at least in terms of data mining, false news planting and the like. (here, and here) Trump’s people knew who to target, what fake news to show them and how to motivate their people to get to the polls.

And I have to hand it to the Republicans: they know that many vote their resentments and they know how to turn resentments away from the upper, upper classes to the far less wealthy “professional classes”.

And surprisingly enough, I can see it. Think about the “data mining” links I posted. Who paid for that and set it up? That’s right: multi-millionaires to billionaires. But who do you see wagging their fingers at you and calling you a bigot because you, say, are uncomfortable with…oh, say, transgender rights (say, to use a locker room)? Who is enforcing, uh, “political correctness” at the workplace?

People like villains that they can see.

And I get it. Look at the push-back against the House health care law I am seeing on my feed. Almost exclusively, it is “poor person X saying that YOU need to pay more in tax because THEIR kid needs it”. Yes, the other “not-so-well-off” find the message appealing. At times, it really does seem that the liberal message is “hey, high income earner: you need to pay more in tax to fund MY poor life choices”.

Yes, yes, yes, reality is way more nuanced than that, but I am talking about appearances and emotions here.

Yes, I don’t like Trump and I even gave the Clinton campaign some money (and, of course, voted for her). But it is easy for me to dislike Trump (as a President anyway) because I put a high premium on being factual and on technical competence; for example, had the race been between Mitt Romney and Jill Stein, I would have voted for Romney even though I agree with Stein on more issues.

And yes, “demand side” economics makes more sense to me, and the stimulus that society gets by being a bit more generous with safety net stuff is worth the price of funding a small percentage of slackers and no-good-for-nothings (and yes, they are there and yes, many get public aid).

Workout notes Monday: am, weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10; last one was 5-5), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military: 20 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 10 x 45, 10 x 45 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine. goblet squats: 5 x (25, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70).

Later: walk (5K, Bradley Park)

Today: 1:49:40 for my 15K course; 47:56, 47:26 were the two “just over 4” segments. Cool and sunny, but it was a shuffle; legs were somewhat tired from the squats yesterday.

May 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Ok, Obamacare repeal passes the House..what next? Malthus lives on…

Here are a couple of good articles which explain what must happen for this bill to become law: it needs a CBO score, then it needs to be determined if this bill meets the rules for reconciliation AND it can even get 50 Republican votes. (Washington Post, Scientific American)

My guess: House moderate Republicans changed their minds because, unlike the ACA, this is unlikely to become law in its current form. So, while the ACA passage cost the Democrats many, many seats, this bill, if it dies or becomes unrecognizable, might not cost the Republicans nearly as much.

Besides, the biggest threat to many Republicans is a primary challenge, NOT the general election.

My guess: the Senate will have to make some tweaks to both get to 50 votes AND to meet reconciliation rules, and that tweaked bill might not survive a second round in the House. I’ll be watching carefully.

Oh, my feed is full of “those heartless Republicans” but these pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears. The elite Republicans have always had a bit of a social Darwinist element to their reasoning.

You see life is hard, it is risky and many do not make it. If you are one of those, well, that is sad, and perhaps a charity might help you out. But that is NOT “our problem”.

This sentiment is expressed by former US Representative Joe Walsh:

Republicans in office cannot say this directly, but he can. Believe me, many of the wealthy Republicans think this way.

There are assets and debits. If you cannot contribute due to either age or disability AND aren’t wealthy, well, you are a debit, not a credit. So society is better off not supporting you. Reverend Malthus would be proud.

Workout notes:
rotator cuff, pull ups (ugly got 10-10-10-10-(5-5), incline presses (10 x 135, 5 x 135, 4 x 135, strict hips), military: 20 x 50 (dumbbell) seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing (dumbbell), 3 sets of 10 x 110 row machine.

2 mile run: 10:36/19:14 via 8 minutes of 2-2-2-2, then 6.7 until mile 1, 6.8-7.1 and 7.2 for the last 46 seconds.

Then goblet squats (100 meter walk recoveries) 50-45-50-60-50-65 (5 reps). Took two sets to get to the proper depth.

Now: onward to see my daughter graduate and finish final exams.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | health care, Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, running, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

The Health Care/Insurance debate: how superstition can be harmful

Yes, I am the first person to promote the virtues of eating well, exercising, avoiding excessive risks, not smoking, showing restraint in one’s sex life (and using condoms) etc.

Maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, staying physically active can all help increase one’s odds of staying healthy. Also, practicing things to help one to remain serene can help. So does science (e. g., getting your vaccines!!!!)

But that is far, far, far from the whole story. There are many factors such as unavoidable accidents (e. g. that drink driver crosses over and hits you), genetic factors, and just plain bad luck.

But the religious nutters and other woo-woos refuse to accept this. Many simply cannot live with the inherent randomness; to them, the whole universe is all part of some deity’s plan.

And yes, sometimes jerks who think this way elect other jerks who think this way:

So, needless to say, I am skeptical:

Maybe I’ll be wrong; after all, the stop gap budget was a pleasant surprise.

workout notes: deliberate but non-intense 4 mile walk; I am kind of dragging.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | health care, political/social, politics, social/political, superstition, walking | Leave a comment

Introspection: good medicine, though not everyone agrees…

A book called Shattered has caused a mini-sensation in some Democratic circles:

Donald J. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in November came as a shock to the world. Polls, news reports and everything the Clinton campaign was hearing in the final days pointed to her becoming the first female president in American history.

In their compelling new book, “Shattered,” the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes write that Clinton’s loss suddenly made sense of all the reporting they had been doing for a year and a half — reporting that had turned up all sorts of “foreboding signs” that often seemed at odds, in real time, with indications that Clinton was the favorite to win. Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in “Shattered” — and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating, sure to dismay not just her supporters but also everyone who cares about the outcome and momentous consequences of the election.

Now this has been tough to talk about in public. IF you dare bring this up and your list of “social media” friends includes followers of liberal/Democratic politics, you’ll get the following:

1. Some will tell you how unelectable HRC was from the get-go and how we should have rallied around BERNIE (no, I am not making this up)
2. Some will bring up the very real factors of Russian collusion (a fact) and the Comey letter (another fact) and mention sexism/misogyny and say that was IT, period.

Many are simply not open to the fact that, even given that a woman is going to have a tougher time of it than a man, and given the Comey letter and Russian collusion, the Clinton campaign WAS a disaster; they neglected areas were Obama campaigned hard. Evidently, HRC and company learned nothing from the 2008 primary. If one remembers: the 2008 primary was essentially tied after Super Tuesday. But the Obama campaign had set up field offices in the next 10 states; HRC did not and she got creamed and fell hopelessly behind in the delegate race. When she recovered, it became even from there on out (more or less) but she was in too deep of a hole to catch up.

So, Clinton campaign incompetence is all too easy to believe.

And one wonders: where was OUR Cambridge Analytics “get out the vote” operation?

I liken it to a football team that goes on the road, gets a few bad calls and loses a close game. Sure, the bad calls matter, but so do the unforced fumbles and missed field goals. It is several things, and the race should have never been close enough to lose to begin with.

And yes, the loser of the election (with perhaps the exception of Walter Mondale, who had zero chance against Reagan) gets raked over the coals. That comes with the territory.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has had an outstanding career; she not only won a major party nomination, but was a Senator and a Secretary of State. That is awesome. She is a success. But she is NOT a natural politician (as she admitted) and her final two campaigns still stunk.

And this leads to the concept of introspection: I’ve found that, at least on a personal level, I benefit from looking at my failures and asking myself: “what could I have done better”? “what will I do differently next time?”

No, this is NOT the same thing as “self loathing”; after all, beating myself up for not being as smart as Stephen Hawking or being a professional athlete is useless (not that I don’t do it anyway, from time to time). But what I am talking about is my critiquing myself when I fall short of MY potential.

And, frankly, I am surprised at how many do NOT see this as a valuable thing to do. So many times, I see people blaming everyone else but themselves (other people, society for not appreciating them, etc.). I’ve never seen that turn out well, but people do it all of the time.

Workout notes yesterday, weights and a 2 mile walk.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, easy), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 4 x 185 (no spotter), incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell): 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110, abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches, head stand , goblet squats (sets of 5) warm up, 45, 45, 55, 55, 60, 65.

today: easy 5 mile run after dropping Barbara off.

Better get to grading: I want to watch baseball tonight!

April 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment