blueollie

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.

house8milecornstalk

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

Trump trumping political correctness?

Yes, I know..I am talking about Donald Trump way too much. But I admit: I am fascinated by him.

I don’t know why he is leading; my “best guess” is that it is a combination of Mr. Trump’s savvy (and he is a smart guy, like him or not) and the fact that he offers the combination of social conservatism with a desire to fix our decaying infrastructure, tax the wealthy and to strengthen social security and the like. Heck, even I like these positions!

S. E. Cupp brings up another aspect: Mr. Trump is pushing back on the overreach of political correctness.

trumppc

I think that she has a point.

Now, of course, there are those who rush in to defend “political correctness”, but I think that this defender is wrong:

I can see it raising a lot of hackles. But let’s continue:

I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. The Trump supporters and proto-Trump supporters I know are upset by things like having to listen to Spanish-language messages on customer service lines, not being able to call women “chicks” without someone frowning at them, and having to stop telling racist jokes at work. That’s what “political correctness” is code for: having to worry about the sensitivities of people who were invisible or submissive not that very long ago.

If Cupp is right and I’m not, then let’s all cooperate in convincing Republican politicians and conservative pundits to stop using the term “political correctness” and come right and and tell us what the beef is about. Is it really “trigger warning” requirements at scattered liberal arts colleges? Or is it this whole new world we’re in where people have to question old habits? When Ben Carson calls inhibitions about torturing terrorism suspects “political correctness,” it’s pretty clear he’s yet another apostle for the Church of the Day Before Yesterday, when America was never wrong and dissenters kept their mouths shut.

I could do with a little less speech policing from all sides, frankly. It gets a little tiresome sometimes. Still, the truth is that Ed is right: for the vast, vast majority of us, it leaves our lives entirely unaffected as long as you can avoid flat-out slurs against women, blacks, gays, Jews, and so forth. Really, that’s about 99 percent of it. Is that really so hard?

Here is why I disagree: political correctness (from BOTH the left and the right) has affected basic research (from the right: think “climate change”, or think about the pushback against the finding that our big domestic security threats come from right wing groups); read Steven Pinker’s book Blank Slate to see how leftist political correctness has affected research on things like rape.

You see it in the culture as well. Example: Yes, I think that it is impolite to verbally chastise fat people. But now, we are told that obese people are sexy and have perfect bodies. We are told that it is bad form to criticize irresponsible behavior and that a low level criminal is a hero. PC-ness has gone way past a “don’t be a jerk” request.

So, that might be part of Mr. Trump’s appeal, but it is far from the whole story, otherwise we might have had, say, Andrew Dice Clay running for office.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

The Genius of Donald Trump, a Sanders score and teachers…

Workout notes: 3 mile walk (to lower Bradley Park and back) followed by weights:

5 sets of 10 pull ups
rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185 (bodyweight: 187, home)
incline: 10 x 135
military: 2 sets of 10 x 85 barbell, 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 each arm, 10 x 110 machine
pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160, 10 x 150 alternate machine
yoga with head stand.

Gym: pretty empty.

Teachers: there is now a teacher shortage; frankly few want these jobs anymore. My prediction is that the same will happen for higher education, at least at the non-elite, non-Research I institutions.

Election 2016: this is hilarious; the liberal social justice warriors can’t seem to figure out why everyone else isn’t outraged that Donald Trump isn’t following their approved scripts.

And, of course, why is Mr. Trump getting away with it when others can’t? There is a method to his madness, as Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) points out. I disagree on one point though: if nominated, Trump will lose and lose big no matter who he selects as VP.

Bernie Sanders: calls out CEOs who call for austerity. Sen. Sanders is correct here.

1. While these CEOs are business geniuses, running a national economy is different than running a business. Example: government spending can percolate up and have a multiplier effect.

2. A CEO can be indifferent to the fate of laid off workers. A government shouldn’t be.

Good for Sen. Sanders for calling out these people.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | education, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Appeal of Donald Trump

As Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican field (with a double digit lead in most polls), people ask: “why”?

There are probably several reasons he appeals to such a wide audience. Paul Krugman weighs in:

Frank Bruni marvels at polls indicating that Donald Trump, with his multiple marriages and casinos, is the preferred candidate among Republican evangelicals. Others are shocked to see a crude mercantilist make so much headway in the alleged party of free markets. What happened to conservative principles?

Actually, nothing — because those alleged principles were never real. Conservative religiosity, conservative faith in markets, were never about living a godly life or letting the invisible hand promote entrepreneurship. Instead, it was all as Corey Robin describes it: Conservatism is

a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.

It’s really about who’s boss, and making sure that the man in charge stays boss. Trump is admired for putting women and workers in their place, and it doesn’t matter if he covets his neighbor’s wife or demands trade wars.

The point is that Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open.

That is part of it. Part of it is Trump’s positions themselves:

The matrix here shows the possible positions. A welfare state available to all is the Democratic position, which is pretty much what other Western countries call the social democratic position. The dominant role in the modern GOP is played by a faction that links de facto disdain for Those People with a desire to slash social insurance. Libertarians are, in principle, small-government without the undertones; they are also basically absent from the actually existing electorate.

And then there’s the empty box. Once upon a time that box was filled by southern Democrats, who preserved Jim Crow while supporting the New Deal. But they’ve all moved over to the GOP now, and in the process become anti-social-insurance. But there are plenty of voters who want Social Security and Medicare for people who look like them, but not those other people. And at some level Trump is catering to that unserved population.

Remember that things like cutting entitlements are deeply unpopular positions. Some put up with it because of what comes with it:

voterepublican

But, well, there is part of him that I actually like.

trumppc

This first came about with his first exchange with Megyn Kelly at the first Republican debate

Now don’t get me wrong: insulting people is tacky and boorish; I don’t approve of the public name calling. But the “evil” (if you will) is only so big and, yes, there are more important things to talk about.

And, in my opinion, calling his subsequent “twitter attack” on Ms. Kelly is absurd. I think it is juvenile, silly and stupid, and certainly not at all presidential. Do you want this man with the nuclear codes? But bullying? She doesn’t work for him, he can’t have her fired, and, well, she doesn’t have to read his tweets.

Then there is Mr. Trump throwing out a reporter who tried to jump his turn and speak over other reporters at his press conference. No, a reporter doesn’t have an inherent right to the floor nor does he have the right to hijack an event.

So I approve of what Mr. Trump did here.

Now, of course, my opinion on this issue is deeply unpopular among “progressives”. But sorry; people don’t have the right to hijack an event and hold others to a captive audience.

I was disgusted by this:

And this:

And this:

Life is too short to give self-aggrandizing “activists” a captive audience.

So, I am glad that Mr. Trump threw that reporter out.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

President Carter: it was an honor sir.

I am proud to say that in my first Presidential election, ever, I voted for then President Carter. When he dies (and he is still very much alive), he will be sorely missed.

jimmycarter

August 22, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

More interesting than I’d thought.

I’m getting ready to go lift weights (I slept in) and I read a few more articles about the 2016 campaign. I admit that I am far more interested than I though that I would be. The reason: the insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Jonah Goldberg wrote an interesting editorial as did Robert Riech. And yes, these campaigns constitute a bit of a revolt.

Both campaigns take the gloves off when it comes to saying what their respective bases want to hear. (in the case of Sanders, I wonder just HOW he’ll accomplish his goals, but that is for another post)

Donald Trump, while running a hyper “American exceptionalism”, xenophobic campaign, is against dismantling the welfare state. Look at one of his commercials; he rails against our crumbling infrastructure.

I can even relate to some of what he says! (seriously…)

And Trump dismisses those who thinks that “a candidate should never say this or that”; he just flippantly refuses to follow “approved scripts”:

I actually like that too.

Bernie Sanders gets on the press for failing to address the important issues:

Now why am I a Clinton supporter? Well, I think that she has a sober analysis of HOW one gets from “here to there” and she has the smarts to actually do it. And yes, change is frustrating and incremental. And as far as the election: sure, Sanders won his last election with 208 K votes.

Side note
As far as people going on about President O’s approval ratings: they are tracking the historical trend very well. (from here)

obamaapprovalaug212015

I included President Bush’s numbers so you can see what “low numbers look like”.

August 21, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

It is real and my slacking has to stop

Workout notes: 5 mile walk outside (14:20’ish pace), 3 inside (middle lane, 12:20 each for 37:00). My goal pace for the marathon is 12:30 so this was an adequate workout, given the tough weekend.
I followed with 10 minute of cycling and some yoga, and another “so-so” headstand.

The University Conference starts in about 50 minutes, so the start of the school year is really here; tomorrow I write up syllabi for my courses (engineering/science calculus II, numerical analysis, theory of interest), make up review sheets, etc. Classes start a week from tomorrow. And yes, unless I am seriously injured or sick, I don’t miss opening day.

Baseball game tonight and tomorrow night; football season opens (for me) on the first Friday in September.

So, it is time to come off of the summer sleep/wake up schedule and finalize my “semester workout” routines…while hopefully fitting in some research time. Of course, administration will try to pile on BS as, well, administrators have resumes to build! So, I’ll practice:

No. No. No. No. No.

Election time
I know that primaries are still a long way away (a football regular season away!) and I seriously thought that I’d be uninterested in this election.
So far: Hillary Clinton is laying groundwork and catching flak for stupid things (she is a flak magnet)
Bernie Sanders is providing fool’s gold our purity trolls.
And Donald Trump is shaking things up on the GOP side. Suck it, Charles Krauthammer!

I just love it that Donald Trump can tell “activists” to just go f**k themselves, whereas the Democrats are oh-so-gentle with them.

No, there is no danger in my voting Republican, unless the Democrats nominate David Duke or some other wacko.

But, I am much more entertained that I thought that I would be.

trumpleadsthisiswhy

August 18, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, walking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, what shape is Hillary Clinton in? She might lose some states but…

Though the purity trolls rage, Hillary Clinton is still in good shape. I’m not saying that she is a “lock” and I believe that she will lose a few states to Bernie Sanders.

If you look back on Democratic primary races from 1988 to now, in 2000 Gore made a clean sweep. But in the other primaries where there was no incumbent, the winner did NOT sweep:

1988: Jackson: 9 states plus DC, Gore: 7 states, Gephart: 3 states, Simon: 1 state.
1988DemocraticPresidentialPrimaries.svg
1992: Tsongas: 7 states, Brown: 6 states, Kerrey: 1 state, Harkin: 1 state.
1992DemocraticPresidentialPrimaries.svg
2004: Edwards: 2 states, Clark: 1 state, Dean: 1 state.
350px-2004_Democratic_Primary_Results.svg
2008: Clinton: 21 states.

2008demprimary

So, expect Sanders to win a few states.

August 16, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , | 1 Comment

Running: what today’s routine training run told me

Today’s run: perfect day for it, though some of the drivers in the park were completely careless. The District 150 teachers had their meeting and some drove up the Bradley Park hill too damned fast. But it is District 150 so what does one expect? :-)

Still, the run, while untimed, felt good and not at all like my usual Thursday slog. Reason? My guess is that I walked 3 miles yesterday instead of doing my easy 2, “quicker” 2. That tells me that my usual Wednesday workout really isn’t that easy for me after all.

I also thought about this: of the older guys that I know that are burning up the 5Ks, none ever moved into marathon running. The long stuff does take a toll, especially over time. I am not sure what that means for me, as I am starting to enjoy the semi-long walks yet again.

Politics I think that getting passionate about a candidate or a cause makes you…well…maybe not stupid but it does give you a massive blind spot. And I can see why people get attracted to candidates that make no sense at all.

For example: I honestly DO like Donald Trump, even though what he says makes little to no sense at all and, were he somehow to win the Presidency (and I doubt he’ll even stick it out during the primaries), he’d be a disaster. But in a way, he is my kind of guy; one not afraid to tell mediocrities to STFU.

And as far as the Bern-o-bots, they remind me of the Wendy Davis supporters. Yes, I actually LIKE the candidates and respect what they do or try to do, but I consider their supporters to be off-the-rocker crazy. But I suppose that “FAN” is short for “Fanatic”. And don’t get me going about those “activists”; they are enough to get me to consider voting Republican.

I have to remind myself that not all stupid, know-it-all idiotic activists are liberal:

But, but…”that’s different!”

August 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, walking | , | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders: not a leader

I admit that I like that Senator Sanders has a Keynesian approach to economics (demand side economics) and is speaking to wealth inequality and the problems that it causes.
I don’t like his stance on science issues though.

But this really bothered me:

sandersblacklives

Evidently Senator Sanders went ahead and let some kooks (aka “activists”) hijack one of his rallies.

So, is that how a President Sanders will do things? Will he set an agenda only to let some activists come in and change his agenda to suit their needs?

Yes, a President should listen to the voices of “the people”. But then a President should study the facts, take in advice and say “we are going to try it this way” and go. She (or he) can’t let the “flavor of the day” activists hijack the plans on a moment’s notice.

This is not leadership. So, large crowds or not, I do not see him as presidential material.

His crowds are large (as were Obama’s in 2007) but so were Eugene McCarthy’s. A large crowd means that he excites a segment of the Democratic base (the “activist base”). That does mean something.

August 11, 2015 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

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