Tired and cranky…

I sometimes get snippy when I am lost in thought (even not-so-profound thoughts) and today I got snippy. I also felt tired, so today was “weights only”:

rotator cuff
pullups, 4 sets of 10 then one more set of 10 after bench presses. So-so.
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 190, 8 x 175 (left shoulder convinced me to stop)
inline press: 10 x 150
military: 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 10 x 210 (machine), 10 x 85 standing barbell (left forearm/elbow soreness)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 on the Hammer machine.
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunches, 10 yoga leg lifts
headstand (better than I thought it would go)

It was enough.

Politics If you enjoy watching liberals eating their own, witness the attacks on Sen. Booker over his not voting for a largely symbolic amendment to the Senate reconciliation bill. And that is life as a liberal (or at least to the left of the center of US politics).

When I think about it, I am really a “closet Republican” who:

1. Thinks that education is a good thing
2. Accepts science, *even* when it conflicts with my intuition (that is, the findings of science that are considered “established” by the scientific community)
3. Is an atheist
4. Accepts civil rights, gay rights, reproductive rights
5. Believes that some groups (e. g. African Americans) have an uneven playing field and thinks that society should help address that
6. Accepts that Keynesian economics works better than “supply side” economics
7. Believes that good safety nets are not only compassionate, but also stimulate the economy at the bottom. Yes, this will end up helping a small percentage of slackers, moochers and morons.
8. Thinks that we, as a country, ought to make an effort to get along with the rest of the world.
9. Believes that regulation can be a good thing (so long as it isn’t overdone).
10. Believes in public investment.

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

What’s the deal with the ACA Repeal?

The House followed the Senate and set it up so that most of the ACA could be repealed via “reconciliation rules”, which require only a majority vote in the Senate.

This is really just step 1 of the repeal process. Now a bill has to be written up (negotiated, etc.) and then signed into law. And the “replace” part IS subject to filibuster rules. Here is a handy guide as to the steps which must be taken.

Not everything is going away via a “repeal law” passed by reconciliation; here is a discussion as to what might be one and what might be kept.

I feel terrible for those who didn’t vote Trump who will be hurting because of this. But to those who voted for Trump and are now worried? I have no sympathy at all. But many who voted for Clinton will be terribly hurt and this is why I am going to lobby my members of Congress to fight.

We never learn, do we? You vote to spite others (as many Trump voters did), you get bitten by your choice.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Trump: being deliberately divisive in an unprecedented way

I’ve never seen anything like it from ANY President Elect from either party in my lifetime:

And these are only the ones from New Year’s Eve onward!!! I am not talking about his “private citizen” tweets.

This is NOT how to show that you want to be President of *all* of America. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Don’t expect much from the Republicans in Congress…their hypocrisy knows no bounds:

I’m sorry, but uniting the country starts at the top…and President Elect Trump and the Republicans in Congress are failing…Bigly.

And please spare me all of this “President Obama was divisive” bullshit. Neither he nor President Bush acted anything like this.

Americans must agree:


This is from the Gallup Presidential Approval Center.

January 13, 2017 Posted by | barback obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social | , | Leave a comment

These Republican/Trump political developments depress me …in a way I haven’t been before…

Yes, I do know that “elections have consequences”. So when you lose an election (in part, due to one’s party going downhill), there will be stuff that I do not like. Example: the Senate just made it easier to repeal Obamacare…the “repeal” part can now proceed via “reconciliation rules” which means it is immune to a filibuster. But the “replace” part can still be filibustered.

I get that, though I am annoyed that the Senate, by design, gives way too much power to rural, small states.

But there is more going on here. Evidently the usual rules of decorum and conduct do not appear to apply to this “president elect” and the Republicans in Congress will not put a stop to it, since they can now get what they want. Forget about outcry coming from Trump supporters; these people just think it is all “media lies” anyway. And so I’ve grown to despise so-called “Real America” though I realize that a successful presidential candidate has to be able to win at least a few of these voters.

And Trump is getting away with it because, well, the “scandal stories” are just like a tidal wave; it is hard to dig deep into just one.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | 1 Comment

Trump is now endorsing companies?



What’s next: “The State of the Union brought to you by…”?

OMG….get ready for it. Our highways and wilderness are already going up for sale…

January 12, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

What many liberals don’t “get”

I’ve been following this spat with interest.

Now before you say “hey, wait a minute, don’t conservatives live in a bubble”, I’ll say: “of course they do“.

I am not interested in a “liberal America is better/worse than conservative America” shouting match. (though I have a definite preference as to where I would like to live).

But I am interested in at least understanding others outside of my world and I am interested in doing what Obama did: winning just enough votes from outside our our bubble to carry the key states.

And the greater point is this one:


If you really don’t understand why this *alone* wasn’t enough to end Trump’s chances, then you really don’t understand people. Yes, in some settings, one violation of a taboo is enough to bring someone down (say, a college campus) but that isn’t how it works in general. One one hand, there are degrees of social faux-pas. Some are worse than others.

And think of it this way: suppose you had an “almost fatal condition” that could be solved by surgery, and the typical surgery success rate was 50 percent. There is this one surgeon whose success rate is 90 percent, but he/she made some insensitive remarks about (take your pick: racial minorities, women, handicapped people, etc.). Who do you want doing your operation?

And NO, that does not mean “it is ok to mock handicapped people”. It is rude and ugly. It is certainly NOT presidential (I could never see President Obama or President Bush doing this). But not every flaw/rude action is disqualifying, in and of itself.

And so, going on about how rude and crass Trump is will NOT lead to defeating him. His job performance (if we are at peace, economy doing well/poorly, etc.) is what will matter.

Note: in all honesty, I really, really, really hope that I am wrong and that Trump does a great job. But I see no evidence that would justify such hope. None. Good things rarely happen by accident and Trump appears to be scattered and disorganized.

January 10, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Not the Republicans I grew up with…

Well, in 2017, a new President of the United States will be sworn in, and not the one that I had expected.

I am having a hard time processing this election; in some ways, the result is one that perhaps we’ve been trending toward in a long time. Gone is the articulate, well spoken, intellectual and enter the “fly by the seat of his pants” “rough spoken” rabid so-called “populist” who lives…here?


And that brings me to the subject of my post: this is not your old time “Republicans vs. Democrats” any longer.

When I was young, the Republicans were regarded as people who were proud of their educations and people who insisted on proper public deportment. Public humility was expected; women were to be ladies and the spoken word was to be measured.

And NOW, this is what we get:


(note: CPI went up in November..based on October data…interesting he is taking credit for improvement under President Obama, but never mind)

And the split in the vote was NOT along economic lines (save the poorest category); it was pretty much 50-50 at most income groups. The split was along racial lines AND educational lines.




(exit data via CNN)

What an interesting country this has become; Republicans are no longer the “classical music” party; they are the “Duck Dynasty/Ted Nugent” party.


Note: I know that Trump also parts ways with traditional Republicanism on things like free trade, but is all on board with things like “tax cuts for the rich” (aka “supply side economics”).

January 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social | 3 Comments

An economy based on jobs, self esteem, automation and all that…

Donald Trump was elected, in part, to bring good paying jobs back to America. Sure, the Obama administration has shown some job growth, but, in general, the new jobs simply didn’t pay as well as the jobs shed under the Bush administration. And there are some real questions with regards to Trump’s promises. He has promised faster economic growth which can occur either by making workers more productive (and thereby reducing the need for having as many) OR by increasing the size of the workforce (which will mean more immigration).

The promise of increased automation might lead to an interesting quandary: what if this means that even more well paying blue collar jobs disappear? So assuming that we will still make new human beings (else where is demand going to come from?) this can lead to some serious issue. How can one who doesn’t have the rarer high tech jobs make ends meet? One answer might mean that governments might provide some sort of universal basic income.

Now, of course, this can lead to some issues as well. Here is one big one: in our society, you ARE what you DO, so what if you “do nothing”, even if your basic income needs are met? I can see this being a devastating emotional development for males (though females who have suffered long term job loss have reported self-esteem effects to me). One might even call this a “spiritual crisis“. Now, I don’t agree with some of what the article I linked to says; after all, part of the blame for the rift in our society…perhaps most of it (?) can be laid at the feet of our overglorified “white rural/working class”. The idea that THEY are “real America” and the rest of us are some type of “guests” is bullshit. But, the main point, and yes, Rep. Ryan made this, is that there is some type of dignity that comes with a good job (still...not a good reason to cut safety nets).

So, while there will always be a need for some to work (and I sure hope that I am one of them!), are we approaching a time that goes beyond “everyone has a job” era?

There is a lot to think about here. I probably won’t live to see the “post job” era and I might not want to see the “growing pains” period, if one such era indeed comes.

Now as far as the self esteem thing: yes, people will be drawn to successful people; there is really no way around that. That, IMHO, is harsh reality. You might think of yourself as having all of these wonderful attributes. But ultimately, at least for males, you are what you do. You are your performance; “you are your W/L record” as they like to say in the NFL.

On the other hand, well, one’s success is often tied to factors well beyond one’s talent and one’s willingness to work hard.

Of course, there is society itself. For example if most of one’s day is devoted to gathering food and finding shelter so as to survive another day, one is not going to have the time and resources for “self improvement”. And there is era. Example: Larry Bird is certainly wealthy, and he was known as a hard working basketball player who developed his talents. But what if he were born, say, 80 years ago? It is highly unlikely he would be such a success; professional sports (save baseball) were not that big of a deal then. The ace computer programmer or the successful hedge fund manager would probably not have flourished 100-200 years ago.

So there is the factor of having a “talent suited for the times” as well.

In my case: yes, I am affected by the choices I made. I chose a lower paying, lower stress path for my specialty (pure math rather than applied math or engineering). But I had the type of talent needed for this time; there was a market for college mathematics professors. Yes, I worked hard to exploit my talent, and I was fortunate to have a public university and NSF money to help me along the way. I am doing ok, though that could change in a flash! And I believe that most who are doing ok to “much better than I am” fall into a similar category.

Others have skills that are less marketable in this era, or have had bad luck (e. g. serious illnesses, accidents).

Don’t get me wrong: some don’t have much talent, and some have made some terrible choices, and some of the “good for nothing” crowd (most?) will not accept responsibility for their own actions. I know such people; they are not pleasant to be around. We’ll always have those: I might call them “members of the basket of deplorables”.

But that is hardly everyone who is struggling. And many good people are down on themselves.

Note: I have no answers and make no predictions; many of these ideas are new to me and I have not thought them through.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Not my bubble…

Yes, many Americans ARE hopeful about the upcoming year. Just not the ones that I routinely talk to.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans, or 72 percent of those polled, say they are feeling hopeful about 2017, according to a new Morning Consult survey.

Sixty-one percent of respondents say they are feeling optimistic about the upcoming year, and 51 percent of people are feeling excited.

But half of the respondents say they are feeling anxious about the coming year, according to the poll.

Twenty-three percent reported feeling sad and 19 percent reported feeling angry going into the new year.

Personally, I feel as if our system gives way too much power to rural voters (disproportional representation to the small states in the Senate and to rural Congressional districts)

But mostly I am numb. I tend to agree with this: the bad stuff that will come will mostly be the result of having an amateur in the White House and the effects might take a while to show up.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Cold, cold cold…

Election tidbits:

Yes, the Clinton campaign used sophisticated turn-out models…but maybe forgot the basics?

The Trump voters: why do they like Trump more than the far less affluent liberals? Some of it is attitude; Trump lives the way many imagine that they would live were they rich.

Trump and Putin: yes, the Russians will probably dump him when the time is right. They usually do.

Other stuff: it was -3 this morning.

And so I went to the Riverplex for a modest workout:

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, reasonable), incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 160 (good), 10 x 150
military: 10 x 50, 7 x 50 (both standing, rough), 2 sets of 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 on the machine.
abs (2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts), headstand.

Walking: lane 1 of the track (7 7/8 laps to the mile); walked 32 laps: 14:56, 14:24, 13:34, 13:12. (56:07…yes this was once my 100 mile walk pace. What are you going to do?)

Weight: 194 after. (I did not sweat much).

December 18, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment