Politics, bodysuits, minimum wage, etc…

Evidently, a grade school teacher stripped down to a skin tight “human anatomy” bodysuit to teach a lesson on human anatomy.


In my teen years…I’d be praying that she turn around and face the board. :-)

Here is another view of them:


Minimum wage Right now, there just isn’t much economic mobility. Getting beyond a minimum wage job can be difficult.

Politics The top Republican candidate to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House has withdrawn. Some have suggested Paul Ryan, who Paul Krugman calls the “flim-flam” man. Might there be a deal in the works for a bipartisan “coalition speaker”? As nice as that sounds, I doubt it.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, spandex | , | Leave a comment

On President Obama: Once people’s minds are made up…(left and right)

I was going to call this “Obama derangement syndrome” but I remember going through something like with with President Bush. Once he decided to invade Iraq, I turned against him. Sure, I DID vote for Al Gore in 2000 and was disappointed when the SCOTUS decided to go his way; this was a case of a statistical tie being resolved by a Republican Supreme Court.

But it turns out that President Bush did do a few good things toward the end of his second term and he did some good work combating disease in Africa. But it took a very long time for my ice to thaw.

And so it goes with President Obama.

From the left: many still see him as a corporate sellout and even praise from the liberal wing isn’t enough to change their mind. So when it comes out that the TPP might not be the horrible thing that some say (still figuring out all the details)…well, these critics remain unwilling to consider the new evidence.

But that is nothing compared to the “Obama is the antichrist” crowd. Listening to the media, one might conclude that President Obama is the most hated president ever. In fact, his approval numbers are tracking the historical average, almost perfectly.


In short: he has been pretty typical, in terms of approval. If you want low: look at President Bush.

Now some of the permanent Obama haters (left) pointed out that “approval” is not the same as “doing a good job” and I agree with that statement. Personally, I think that he has done a fine job: he has wound down some US involvement in wars, taxed the rich, stopped the job losses, gotten us at least a little economic stimulus, ended “don’t ask, don’t tell”, strengthened gay rights and gotten us health care.

But some of the left think that we shouldn’t have any war (I agree, but don’t see that as ever happening, under anyone) and we should have a more European socialist/capitalist economy. Those on the right: the elite Republicans are furious that the most wealthy have to pay more tax and the rank and file are angry that their version of America (straight, white, protestant, the rest of the world bowing to us) has been exposed as being unrealistic.

Ironically, President Obama’s conservative critics (I am talking about the sane ones; not the “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim” ones) have a more realistic appreciation of some of what President Obama has accomplished than many of the left wing critics.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

Intellectual and Emotional Potpourri

Workout notes
First weights (7:10 am):

pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10 (the set of 15 was tough)
rotator cuff exercises
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (good set)
incline press: 10 x 135 (easy at the start, challenging at the end)
military press: 2 of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing, 10 x 100 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

That took about 45 minutes. Then running:
11:06 treadmill mile
track: 17:09 2 mile (lane 2: 8:41/8:28) Not all out, but it wasn’t easy either. Was it really 14 years ago this was my marathon pace?

stationary cycle: 16 minutes (4 miles) to help the knees.

I left the workout feeling pretty good. This took me to 8:45

Other topics
Jerry Coyne: is retiring. I found this post interesting as it describes the life of a research professor. He also gives advice to the next generation of research scientists.

He also has some things to say about the attitude of always trying to keep the students comfortable; evidently the current generation of students are more easily traumatized.

I can say this: yes, when I was their age, we whined about similar things. The difference is that administration (and professors) merely told us to “grow up and quit whining”. I admit that, at times, it is easy to take the “easy way out” and not challenge the students to find the best in themselves.

Capitalism and morality Jonathan Haidt suggests that capitalism has contributed positively to our morality in that we now have the luxury of considering certain moral issues. I think that this fits in well with some of the stuff that Jared Diamond wrote about (society reaching a stage where people have time to think)

But yes, capitalism (especially, lightly regulated capitalism) has its dark side too.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Here are some interesting tidbits about that show. Note: one episode helped someone (correctly) beat an unjust murder charge!

Hillary Clinton when a politician has had a long career, they will make mistakes and change their mind on some issues. Now the Iraq war: I wanted my Senator to vote no, and Senator Durbin did.

But on gay marriage: many of us changed our minds; remember in 2004, both President Bush and Senator Kerry were for civil unions. I came to marriage equality long before then, but there was a time in my early adulthood where I was “anti-gay” just, well, that is what “good people were.” But as I grew up and learned more..I found that my heart was never in it. This became clear to me when I saw some gay men kissing and sitting on each other’s lap; I just couldn’t get upset about it though I felt I was “supposed to”. In fact, I thought “well, they won’t compete for my female date” and that was that. So the gay rights thing switched for me in my early 20’s (1980’s).

Keystone pipeline: I was ambivalent at first; after all, oil has to be transported somehow, and the potential for accidents was always there. Reading the science and engineering articles on it turned me against it, but I needed to see the evidence.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton, while a better politician than Bernie Sanders, isn’t the politician that Bill Clinton was or that Barack Obama is. But she is thoughtful and that sometimes confuses people.

Here is a video of her discussing the problems with a program that gives public money vouchers for private religious schools. Of course, her points flew right over the heads of the dimwitted wingnuts who posted the video, but excellent points they remain.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

And I agree with Dr. Ben Carson (sort of)

Dr. Carson said:

That’s a significant shift from Sunday when, during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carson, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”

“No, I do not,” Carson responded. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

He later clarified:

“I don’t care what a person’s religion beliefs are or religious heritage is,” he said at a news conference in Sharonville, Ohio. “If they embrace our Constitution and are willing to place that above their religious beliefs, I have no problem with that.”

Now it is true that our Constitution says that there can be no religious test for office. But voters are free to use any criteria that they want. So, if a candidate:

1. Believed in “end times” and governed that way or
2. Believed that supernatural forces governed our universe and that appealing to these via prayer, magic, etc. could affect the outcome of events or
3. Believed that “religious crimes” should be punished by the state or that a religious group would have state backing

then I would oppose that candidate, be they a Muslim, Mormon, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Satanist, Neo-Pagan, etc.

On the other hand, if a candidate from one of these faiths have a platform that I liked, had the political skill to carry out at least part of the platform and showed good moral character, and understood that our government is secular, I’d vote for that candidate.

September 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

GOP Debate two: reminding me why I am not a Republican

I understand why they had so many candidates but; well, when there are too many, you don’t learn much.

The best overall analysis that I’ve read is here..

On style: Fiorina won and Rubio did well. But Fiorina didn’t get much right (as in factually correct). But like the good “leader”, she seemed to know what she was talking about (speaking specifically and decisively) even if she really didn’t.

But, as Bill Clinton pointed out, “being strong but wrong” is ok in these settings.

Trump: he didn’t exactly jump at the chance to weigh in with specifics. But I doubt if he lost supporters; he probably didn’t gain any either.

The JV debate: Jindal looked desperate and Graham: did you know that he has been to the Middle East 35 times? If you want more war, vote for Sen. Graham…who is on the JV for a reason.

Personally: Paul is broke and polling at tiny levels. So the next debate: Carson, Fiorina, Trump, Bush, Rubio. I’d do away with the rest of them.

In terms of who I liked: Gov. Kasich is the only one I’d be comfortable with as President (though I’d vote for any current Democrat over him) and that probably means that Kasich is dead in the water to Republicans. Gov. Pataki was also sort of reasonable, which means that he is toast.

I talked about the debate on Facebook; I probably got unfriended multiple times. I did warn people though.

Personal analysis
I admit that I get very irritated by many liberals. To me, liberals are weak on personal responsibility; too many enable and excuse underachievement. It is almost as if they see no correlation between what one does and where one ends up. (and yes, we don’t have enough economic mobility…that is true).

They also seem to delight in being offended and seem to have some list that dictates the amount of outrage one should feel over certain types of social missteps. It is as if they have never heard of “proportional responses”.

But then I watch one of these debates…and there is NOTHING for me here.

When a conservative tries to make a point, they do so by arguing in cliches and slogans. Liberals rely more on facts. They might not interpret the data correctly; they might not know what an outlier is, or what a rare event is, or what a confidence interval is, or they might extrapolate from a local happening or they might get data from a bad place (e. g. Natural News). But at least they try.

With conservatives, it is all slogans and cliches, all the time. And they are still of the “supply side economics, more war” mindset; they expect the rest of the world to tremble at the sight of the US of A, THE GREATEST COUNTRY THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN…..TURN BACK TO GOD…RONALD REAGAN…..BLAH BLAH BLAH…

Hey conservative: if this country DOES rank well in SOME categories (and it does), it sure as hell isn’t because of YOU: often it is IN SPITE OF YOU.

Many of them (not all) make me sick.

September 17, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Republican debate tonight

JV: 5 pm Central time.
Varsity: 7 pm.

Target: Trump.

Donald Trump wants to tax the rich and NOT cut Social Security and that is not sitting well with the GOP elite, though it is popular with the base.

So the party elites are attacking him.

Personally, this is one reason I like Mr. Trump. Oh sure, he called an obese woman “fat and unattractive” and made fun of Carly Fiorina’s sourpuss facial expressions, said unfortunate things about Mexican immigrants (confusing it with Castro emptying his jails to send the inmates to the US?)

But..he is wealthy enough to tell both the party elite and the smug, nattering social justice warriors to go to hell and get away with it…I love it. Even if he is wrong much of the time, and, in all honesty, I want him nowhere near the nuclear codes.

September 16, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , | 4 Comments

Checking in, Microaggression overreactions, etc.

Workout notes: zero energy. Weights:
pull ups (4 sets of 10, then 1 more…these were a chore)
rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170
incline press: 10 x 140
military/row/pull down superset:
military: 2 sets of 10 x 40 standing (dumbbell), 10 x 85 barbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 (Hammer)
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

Bike: 23:33 for 10K (started slowly)

yoga: included some headstand.

This New York Times article says that our natural movements are designed to conserve energy. This is what makes moving fast so difficult; being fast is not energy efficient.

University life (at a small school): I graded some quizzes and notice that one person really nailed all the problems. was a key that I had made earlier..good thing I made a 100.

And yes, we (academia) are getting very corporate and, at times, unconcerned with the quality.

Also, in an effort to be more welcoming, the PC-ness has gone too far. We are training people to overreact to minor slights, and that is not a helpful thing.

Politics Donald Trump is pulling away on the Republican side; on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton enjoys a 42-24-21 lead.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanders and Trump: the protest candidates

I remember reading what Robert Reich had to say:

“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.

Don’t confuse this for the public’s typical attraction to candidates posing as political outsiders who’ll clean up the mess, even when they’re really insiders who contributed to the mess.

What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Yes, I know; these candidates are very different as well. For one, Sen. Sanders is an experienced politician and his agenda is your basic liberal agenda. In terms of policy, Mr. Trump is all over the place, and he is running more on personality than on substance.

But both are a reaction to anger. Sure, Sen. Sanders files all sort of “feel good” bills, none of which will ever see the light of day. He represents a very narrow constituency and may well win some early states. But as my friend Jennifer put it, he is a bit like that student council candidate who promises free candy in the lunch room: it is a popular thing, but will never happen.

Mr. Trump also responds to anger. Upset that our highways are a total joke? One of his commercials talks about rebuilding infrastructure.
Upset with smothering political correctness…so thick that it harms our higher education? Trump doesn’t have patience for the PC warriors.

Upset with the rich not paying taxes? Trump wants to tax them. And he is NOT under the thumb of rich donors; he doesn’t need them.

Oh yes, there is illegal immigration. And let’s face it; sometimes groups of immigrants (legal or otherwise) cause problems by not observing local culture. The negative reaction isn’t as simple as “white people are racist”.

Now, of course, I don’t want Mr. Trump anywhere the nuclear codes; and while anyone can see problems, doing something about them is a different matter entirely.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Why would anyone listen to Dick Cheney?

By the way, the Senate has 41 votes to filibuster an attempt to block the Iran nuclear deal.

September 8, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, world events | , | Leave a comment

The Republican race…

Workout notes: left about 7:20 or so; walked my Cornstalk 8.1 in 1:46:05; 54:28/51:37. The last 1.03 was 11:49. There was some fresh gravel.
It was sticky: 75 F, 87 percent humidity at the start; 80 F, 74 percent at the end.

But I was surprised; I felt a bit tired yesterday and my first mile was just over 14 minutes. But I loosened up and got into it mentally.


Politics That Donald Trump continues to lead really amuses me. Remember the Republicans declared that they had an all-star lineup:

Well, he’s tapping in, but he’s essentially — he’s done it in a way that the word offensive is too weak,” Krauthammer said. “It’s an insult. An entire immigrant group. He did not make a distinct between legal and illegal immigrants. That’s his entire campaign. All our problems are from Mexico, from China, from Saudi Arabia, and Japan. He will make them pay. But that elevates him to a guy actually with ideas. These are eruptions, barstool eruptions. And the pity is this. This is the strongest field of Republican candidates in 35 years. You could pick a dozen of them at random and have the strongest cabinet America’s had in our lifetime and instead all of our time is spent discussing this rodeo clown.”

Paul Krugman is having fun with it:

Both the Republican establishment and the punditocracy have been shocked by Mr. Trump’s continuing appeal to the party’s base. He’s a ludicrous figure, they complain. His policy proposals, such as they are, are unworkable, and anyway, don’t people realize the difference between actual leadership and being a star on reality TV?

But Mr. Trump isn’t alone in talking policy nonsense. Trying to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants would be a logistical and human rights nightmare, but might conceivably be possible; doubling America’s rate of economic growth, as Jeb Bush has promised he would, is a complete fantasy.

And while Mr. Trump doesn’t exude presidential dignity, he’s seeking the nomination of a party that once considered it a great idea to put George W. Bush in a flight suit and have him land on an aircraft carrier.

The point is that those predicting Mr. Trump’s imminent political demise are ignoring the lessons of recent history, which tell us that poseurs with a knack for public relations can con the public for a very long time. Someday The Donald will have his Katrina moment, when voters see him for who he really is. But don’t count on it happening any time soon.

I’ll put it this way: the Republicans have been running con men for years. Mr. Trump is better at it.

September 1, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment


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