I see why many liked Michele Bachmann, twitter and package deals

Yes, she hasn’t even been seated yet, but she has been attacked by the right wing and lionized by many on the left. Of course I am talking about the soon to be seated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY-14) who became a sensation when she pulled off a huge upset in the Democratic primary, taking down a well funded, seemingly entrenched member of the Democratic establishment.

And for now, she is a bit of a sensation. And, well, she frequently gets facts wrong when she speaks in public. Here is a nice list. Here is another one.

She really strikes me as a bonehead, though some with high standards grade her on a curve:

Krugman is a bit harder on Republicans who say stupid things.

And yes, there are plenty of Republicans who say stupid things. And to my knowledge, AOC isn’t planning to bring a snowball onto the floor, nor will she claim that an island is in danger of tipping over if loads put on the island are unevenly distributed.

Members of Congress do not strike me as especially bright; in fact, in her book Living History, Hillary Clinton says that some that she talked to really didn’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid!

So, AOC seems to be in good company.

But here is why I can’t seem to just ignore her: she pops up on my feed all of the time and, well, I actually LIKE the direction of some of her big ideas: a “moon shot” level commitment to green energy, and her goal of universal health care (and her noting that, as of right now, health insurance companies are the true “death panels”).

And, to be fair, no one has won over the public with white papers and spreadsheets.

So, whatchagonnado???

She is a bit like Twitter I guess: there are several people I follow because either I find value in *most* of what they post, or find that they post a gem every so often (but mostly post duds). The rest is “scroll past” stuff.

Workout notes: 5 mile treadmill walk in 1:00:10. I weight 194 on my home scare before walking, but 189.2 on the gym scale prior to lunch? Oh well..probably variability in scales (gym scale is higher end) and in what is in my belly.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking, WTF | Leave a comment

And the level of discussion is depressing …

Now of course, the news isn’t all bad. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) stood up and announced that he would vote against the Farr nomination. Yes, I expect a Republican to nominate a conservative, but there are plenty of principled conservatives out there.

I am going back to the border fiasco. I am still hearing that those who climbed the fence “did nothing wrong”; in fact what they did IS illegal. Yes, this was only a small portion of the “caravan”. Yes, someone in the country illegally can seek asylum. But illegal entry is, well, duh, still illegal. You wouldn’t think this is a nuanced point but ..well, if that is what you hear in your bubble..or what you hear from members of Congress:

Yes, the goal might be legal, but one might be breaking the law to get there..and THAT is what was criminal.

Now my feeling is that they did the right thing by not prosecuting; I am out of my lane here but I think that the prosecuting attorneys have some discretion on what to pursue. I’ll leave that to the pros.

But we really don’t need dishonest or misleading statements from our members of Congress. I’d rather she merely applaud the decision to NOT prosecute.

Workout notes:
Tuesday: weights plus a 4 mile run in 42:07 (bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, decline 8 x 165, etc. pull ups were 15-15-10-10. rest was the usual routine.
Wednesday: 4 mile walk on the treadmill in 45:45 (8 am meeting)
Thursday: 6 mile walk in 1:10:24; 10K in 1:12:35 (just under a 12 minute pace)

Basketball note: saw a wonderful Women’s game: Bradley held off a spirited challenge by Eastern Illinois 67-64, playing sterling defense in the final minute.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Where the Republicans and Democrats did well: a surprise

Yeah, I am still following the “spat” over whether or not Pelosi should be the speaker. Yeah, she knows how to get stuff done, and it appears to me that the opposition to her is scattered in select Congressional Districts where a conservative Democrat ran, in part, against those “Washington liberals”.

I do not expect it to amount to much, though, yes, we do need to groom new leadership.

Now there are 3 uncalled House races and it appears that the Democrat pickups will be 39 to 40 seats total. Where did the Democrats do well? This surprised me:

I remember a time when the Republicans did better in the higher income districts. Things change.

Paul Krugman has some thoughts and he is not optimistic that this divide will be bridged anytime soon:

here’s a cumulative, self-reinforcing process at work that is, in effect, dividing America into two economies. And this economic division is reflected in political division.

In 2016, of course, the parts of America that are being left behind voted heavily for Donald Trump. News organizations responded with many, many, many profiles of rural Trump supporters sitting in diners.

But this was, it turns out, fighting the last war. Trumpism turned America’s lagging regions solid red, but the backlash against Trumpism has turned its growing regions solid blue. Some of the reporters interviewing guys in diners should have been talking to college-educated women in places like California’s Orange County, a former ultraconservative stronghold that, come January, will be represented in Congress entirely by Democrats.

Why have lagging regions turned right while successful regions turned left? It doesn’t seem to be about economic self-interest. True, Trump promised to bring back traditional jobs in manufacturing and coal mining — but that promise was never credible. And the orthodox Republican policy agenda of cutting taxes and shrinking social programs, which is basically what Trump is following in practice, actually hurts lagging regions, which depend a lot on things like food stamps and disability payments, much more than it hurts successful areas.

‘I Have No Idea How to Tell This Horror Story’
Furthermore, there is little if any support in voting data for the notion that “economic anxiety” drove people to vote for Trump. As documented in “Identity Crisis,” an important new book analyzing the 2016 election, what distinguished Trump voters wasn’t financial hardship but “attitudes related to race and ethnicity.”

So this might be about Trumpism and not about traditional Republicanism.

November 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

The Democratic fight against Pelosi: political theater?

Here is a list of those opposing Nancy Pelosi (to become the new Speaker of the House)

I wonder how much of that is setting up for the reelection campaign in Congressional Districts where Pelosi isn’t popular? One can then say “Hey, I stood up to the Pelosi liberals” (or to the “Pelosi corporate establishment types”) in your campaign ads.

Oh I am sure that some really don’t want her as speaker but it isn’t as if they are offering a clear alternative.

Workout notes: weights ..very “just going through the motions” workout. rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, ok)
bench: (weak) 10 x 135, 2 x 185, 2 x 185, 5 x 170 (just up and quit), 8 x 165 decline), military: 10 x 50, 40 x 45 (standing), 10 x 180 (machine) rows 10 x 110 machine.
head stand, 2:30 plank.

Note: I am getting some “very close to the ankle” pain at night..sort of where the Achilles pain used to bother me. I think it is that I changed my running a bit (just a tiny bit less shuffling; I did a 4 x 800 with 400 walk recoveries at just under a 9:00 pace yesterday and some 9:45 mpm running two days prior.

I also know that my morning workout affects how easily I move up the stairs.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, weight training | | Leave a comment

Pelosi wars.. ugh…

First things first: 58 minutes for 5 miles walking; my weight loss to just around 190 has helped. Dropping 10 more pounds would help even more.

And last night, Bradley basketball won 74-65 over a pesky Jackson State team that would not go away; every time Bradley got a double digit lead, JS hit some 3’s to get right back in it. Bradley’s big guys had good nights (20 and 15 points) and several players had double figures.

Politics: great, now that the Democrats have the House (still more seats to be determined; 7 appear to be up in the air right now), there appears to be a fight over who should be Speaker. Normally, the caucus votes and then the winner of the caucus moves forward to the whole House voting, at which case whoever gets the majority of votes wins. Evidently some want a change where someone needs 218 votes (out of 230-235 or so) to be advanced out of the caucus, a very high standard. That strikes me as nuts.

So we go to the arguments. Much of the anti-Pelosi sentiment appears to be “too old”, “old guard”, “grip on power”, “corporate”, “establishment”, etc. But the pushback, or at least MUCH of it is “sexism, misogyny”, etc. It is a battle between two “woke” factions. At times I wish I believed the trickle down economics bullshit so I could just be a Republican and be done with it.

About Pelosi: sure, the threading of the needle for the ACA was a historic feat; IMHO she’ll go down as one of the great Speakers for that feat. But is her time past? I do not know. Should we groom new leaders? Of course.
But do we need to change at the moment? Well, “would someone else be more effective”, to me, is the ONLY consideration (and yes, there is some debate as to what “more effective” means). No, she is NOT “owed” anything AND “change for the sake of change” is stupid.

We will see how it plays out, but the quality of the discussion is lacking.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | basketball, Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

Liberal outrage, antics, etc.

Mississippi is having a run off between a Democrat and the Republican incumbent. And something has been made of one of her statements:

In a video posted on Twitter over the weekend, Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi is seen complimenting a supporter by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Ok. Now, of course, a racial angle is being made of it but yes, for much of human history, public executions were a popular event, and still are in some parts of the world.

Now had Hyde-Smith been a high ranking official of a public business, she would probably get fired; collectively liberals have money to spend and the threat of economic boycotts carries some punch.
But this is an election in a southern Republican state and liberal outrage could well backfire; after all, much of current Republican appeal, at least to the non-well off, is “sticking it to the libs”.

I really think that much of our power for social issues rests with spending power; this is why many companies are more progressive than the law requires them to be.

Now about those elections: results are still trickling in and the Democrats DID so well. In terms of popular vote, this was an impressive result. In terms of number of seats gained, this isn’t what the Republicans had in their waves, but much of that was because the Democrats in Congress didn’t lose seats they way the Republicans did in 2006, 2008, 1992, etc. So there were fewer pick ups to be had.

And yes, we lost the “star elections”. But I was fully prepared for that and said so.

And yes, we have our kooks. And many liberals love our kooks.

Update: there is another interpretation to the last story I linked to. Oh, it is couched in the usual millennial “woke” bullshit but the thread makes a valid point: (follow the thread).

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Some thoughts on the midterms

Of course, not all of the elections have been settled. There are mail-in ballots to be counted in some states, some races that have gone into recount, etc. And right now we are looking at probably 37 pick ups in the House, and a loss of 2-3 sets (at most) in the Senate (brutal map for us).

Of course, there as been some “well, the Democrats would have done better had they been more…well, like me” remarks out there. And of course, said remarks are mostly nonsense. 🙂

Some progressives won in some places, and lost in others. In some districts, the successful Democrat ran AWAY from the national others, they ran toward it. Much of it depended on what the district is like, the skill of the candidate, the skill of the opponent, etc. And frankly, the type of region had more to do with it than anything else.

And please, enough of this “women are going to do this or that”. Women are not monolithic. In some cases, white women voted MORE conservatively than white men!

Now, I don’t care for all of the bullshit SJW terms in the article that I linked to, but I think the author’s point is a good one. I’d add that there is a disconnect between what a highly educated woman sees as important (say, a lawyer who got passed over for a partnership) and what an uneducated one sees as important. This The Nation article is from 2016 but I think makes a good point.

And I think that there are other factors as well. For example, Stacy Abrams appears (as of the time of my writing this) to have lost a super close election for the governor’s office in Georgia. And frankly, I thought her visuals were terrible; had she looked like say, my US Rep (an African American version) or like, say, Michelle Obama…she might have gotten that extra 1 percent to have won. That is very superficial but so many things can matter in such a close race. And there is some evidence behind the conjecture that the physical appearance of the candidates matters, even for male candidates. Yes, it SHOULDN’T matter. But in a razor tight race…every minor edge or handicap matters.

November 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

2018 midterms and letdowns…

I wrote this on October 30. It aged well.

Yes, Beto’s Texas campaign paid dividends for some in House races, and yes, the Democrats did pull off some upsets in House races and flipped some statehouses. Not every result is in, but we have at least 220 House seats and will realistically pick up 7-10 more.

But some have mentioned that there is sadness, and it isn’t about the “genuine political stars” going down in flames.

Gin and Tacos wrote a post “I know why you’re sad.” And no, that isn’t it for me.

For me, almost every election, I end up voting for people that, well, I’ve worked for much of my life to AVOID being like them. Some of it is serious (e. g. the corrupt Senator from New Jersey), some absurd ( the unqualified but mega-rich governor elect of Illinois) and some of it petty (obese and in debt) Yes, I voted for one of these (though not in the primary) and would have voted for the others, had I lived in those respective states.

I suppose the dirty secret is that I really don’t like many that I’ve made political alliances with. At times, it appears that some who vote the same way that I do celebrate underachievement. Many can be just as sanctimonious as any religious nutter.

But, ultimately..I’ll let a Brit describe how I felt:

Note: I do not pretend it is any better on the other side. And yes, when I complain how the Senate gives way too much power to small states (small in population), I have no desire to listen to someone with a business degree from Bo Diddly Tech “splain” to me that “We are a Republic, not a Democracy”.

Workout notes: glorious but slow 10K run through Bradley park; leaves, hills, morning sunshine.

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics/social, running, social/political | | Leave a comment

No, I don’t like everyone I vote for

This is about two things:

1. Yes, I can understand people voting for Trump despite not liking many things about him.
2. Yes, I voted for candidates that I didn’t care for…even this time around.

This time around, I voted for a candidate who shoplifted and whose campaign misrepresented her educational background (they claim it was an unintentional mistake). I also voted for an unqualified rich guy. And I voted for an intellectually vapid spewer of boring boilerplate cliches; someone who was the handpicked choice of the party machine.

They were the best available in their respective races, period. I didn’t love them.

I suppose my point is that voting often requires that one take a healthy does of pink bismuth first.

Workout notes: weights only this morning; rotator cuff, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (ok), 10 x 135 4 x 185 bench, 10 x 140 incline, 8 x 165 decline, 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 180 machine military, 3 sets of 10 x 110 rows, plank, headstand. Later: yoga with Ms. Vickie.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, weight training | Leave a comment

Civility, Political Correctness, etc.

I was going to focus on an issue but I want to express my disgust at the bombs sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, and others. To me, this is similar to the deadlier incident where an unhinged lunatic shot some Republican members of Congress.

Yes, Trump’s rhetoric disgusts me. But the shooter was not a Trump supporter. I continue to believe the idiots who do these sort of things are unhinged outliers and have little to do with the rank and file American of any political persuasion.

Being offended:

The Fort Worth Telegram apologized for running this cartoon.

Ok, I chuckled when I saw this. Why? I thought about it. Yes, I do have genuine sympathy for the discrimination that various groups suffer. But..this cartoons a non-black who passed herself off as black, a white lady playing up some (genuine) Native American heritage (yes, I have German heritage in my background, but you couldn’t tell it by looking, and no one identifies me as German).

And damn times it appears that some who really do not belong to some genuinely oppressed group pretend to..and some make ridiculous demands (e. g. opposing the “vagina monologues because “not all women have vaginas”, etc.)

Yes, I know that transgenderism is genuine and not “playing girlie”.

But I suppose on another level, the cartoon did get me to think a bit. And I do find this “quest to be outraged” to be tiring.

But there are voices of reason out there.

Is PC-ness helping Trump?
No doubt that Trump is a demagogue..and his trying to stoke fears over a “immigrant caravan” that is still more that 1000 miles away is absurd.

But ….well, Trump’s approval has inched UPWARD throughout 2018.

Trump vs. Obama, via

Workout notes: 5 mile run on the treadmill. I had stomach trouble and had to stop after 3 (32:32) but got back on for 2 more (18:22; 9:39/8:43) and it felt fine.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment