blueollie

Presidents: past and future, rain, libraries and currency…

Local: yes, it has rained in buckets here. Now only has this past June been the second wettest month on record for Illinois (last time was 1926!) but it was the wettest June in the whole country.

Yes, I’ve always thought that President Carter was underrated, though he did make a mistake by alienating potential allies. I liked his programs, but he seemed to go out of his way to attack liberals.

Now that the 2016 primary season is easing into starting, Hillary Clinton is being attacked from the left…and many of these attacks are coming from the Republicans. Basically, they see Sen. Sanders as being easier to beat (and he would be) so they want to prop him up as much as possible.

And yes, I made my first donation to the Clinton campaign.

Libraries Yes, they are going an transition in this digital age. I admit that I don’t use them very much, except for the electronic databases. Why? I tend to buy the books that I read..even after the fact!

Relationships: this is an excellent TED talk on infidelity. Sometimes affairs (whatever type) defy logic. However I have some confusion as to what constitutes an affair. Sure, physical sex and sex related activity (Bill Clinton stuff) and Anthony Wiener stuff (sexting) qualify. But is that it?

I also think that it is tough to see where you are wrong. Seeing my social media feed has been eyeopening; it seems as if many have a “I am the only sane one; the rest of the world is screwed up” attitude, which is satirized in this Pearls Before Swine cartoon.

pb150709ratperfect

Click on the thumbnail to read the cartoon at the official site.

Fun riddle (hetero guys will have trouble):

I joked that I let her in line in front of me (at a local store). How do you know that is not true?

i-would-be-so-happy

(click on the thumbnail to see the photo at the source)

July 9, 2015 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, relationships, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bristol Palin, the right wing and soaking the rich..

Well, it came out that Bristol Palin is pregnant:

After she became a teenage mother in 2008, Bristol Palin vowed that she would not have sex again until she was married. She went on to become an abstinence advocate and made hundreds of thousands of dollars preaching to girls about not having premarital sex.

In 2011, when she was 20, Palin made $262,000 as an abstinence ambassador for The Candie’s Foundation, the Associated Press reported, citing tax documents. A total amount earned over the years has not been revealed.

262,000 dollars? Remember, the Candie foundation is supposed to oppose this sort of thing. Oh sure, the message was more nuanced than “abstinence only”, and of course the conservatives are screaming bloody murder about the evil left pointing out that “abstinence only” doesn’t work and pointing out that many conservatives have zero problems judging OTHER women when they do this to themselves.

But hypocrisy from National Review is nothing new, but that isn’t the point of this post.

The point is: 262,000 dollars for THIS?

This reminded me of something Paul Krugman wrote a few days prior to the 2012 election.

Krugman pointed out that if one subscribes to conservative “news” organizations (say, NewsMax or Dick Morris.com, or the feed of some conservative politicians), one gets bombarded with messages about buying gold, scam investments or quack health products. Here is an example:

dickmorris

He then pointed out that Karl Rove was peddling ridiculous ideas to wealthy Republicans such as “Minnesota is winnable” if only they’d pony up more money for ads…more money for Karl Rove.

He goes on:

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

And while Rove the crusader is looking — provisionally, of course, until the votes are in — like a failure, Rove the businessman has just had an amazing, banner year.

What’s more, this makes sense of the embarrassing Rove “we’re winning! trust me!” piece in the WSJ, especially notable because — as Sam Wang recalls — Rove so famously declared that he had THE MATH just before the GOP debacle in 2006. It’s hard to think of any good reason to pretend that Romney has it in the bag — unless that pretense gets you one last big slug of business before Election Day.

OK, this is just speculation. Maybe Rove is really a selfless true believer, his actions untainted by self-interest. Still, it’s kind of an interesting perspective.

Remember: Krugman wrote this a few days PRIOR to the 2012 election, back when we were hearing all of that BS about it being close (and I was sure that it wasn’t).

So, in that sense, maybe Bristol and the other Palin family members are cut from the same cloth? Think about it: Sarah Palin kept making noise about “maybe she should run”…but clearly doesn’t have the stomach for it.

That also makes me wonder about the oversized Republican field: how many of them are serious, and how many just want to make some money off of it?

July 2, 2015 Posted by | republicans, republicans politics, social/political | , | Leave a comment

A day without rain?

Walked to the W. Peoria track; did 5 laps (2.1 miles) of drills, quick step, focus on push-off (27:43) and then walked back home and did a little bit of yoga.

Call it 3+ miles, which is good enough for today.

We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately but none last night; so the track (paved asphalt) was mostly dry.

Sports
Hmm, it appears as if the University of Texas athletic director is alienating fans, alumni, coaches, faculty and…the college president?

Social/Political

Lindsey Graham:

Sorry, but most everything I’ve read has the murderer being a white supremacist of some sort. But it appears to me that conservatives are tip-toeing around the idea that racial bigotry was a driving factor.

June 19, 2015 Posted by | racism, republicans, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment

Journalists not understanding politics

One outlet says this:

attack

So what was this “attack”?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How are you even gonna get into the pole position right now? I mean, Bernie Sanders– taken out a lotta the same progressive positions you have– has kind of shot up– in both the national polls and– and Iowa and New Hampshire the last– few weeks. Is– that’s a challenge to your candidacy.

GOVERNOR O’MALLEY: Well, I think it’s an encouragement to my candidacy, and for this reason. I think that– the public is looking for new leadership, leadership that doesn’t apologize for having progressive values.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: –why should progressive voters pick you over Bernie Sanders?

GOVERNOR O’MALLEY: Because I have a track record of actually getting things done, not just talking about things.

THAT was ugly? Please. This was nothing more that the classic “Governor vs. Senator” rhetoric that has been going on since we’ve had primaries. There is nothing to see here.

Mike Huckabee’s joke Yes, Mike Huckabee made the old “I with I would have pretended to be a girl so I could have showered with them” joke. That is not new; nor is it particularly offensive to me.

But many are having vapors over this:

The political mind of former Arkansas governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee must be a very interesting place — a place that looks and feels a lot like 2004.

BuzzFeed spotted a video of Huckabee’s February address at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tenn. The video was posted online this weekend by World Net Daily. In it, Huckabee shared some thoughts on transgender Americans.

“Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE,” said Huckabee. “I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’ You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?”

For most people, Huckabee’s comments seem a little out of date, perhaps even bigoted. This is a country in which a gold-medal-winning Olympian and one-time mascot of American masculinity just revealed that he is a transgender Republican, and then posed for the cover of Vanity Fair to share a new name, Caitlyn Jenner, along with a new gender identity and personal story.

Newsflash: Gov. Huckabee is running in the Republican primary and is openly targeting the elderly voter (witness his positions of Medicare and Social Security, which have put him to the left of his party and drawn the ire of his fellow Republicans)

Folks: the world of the Republican party is not an oversensitive college campus. :-)

June 3, 2015 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

Some political reality

If we listen to the detractors, EVERYONE hates President Obama.

But what is reality? If one looks at the cold, hard facts, President Obama’s approval ratings:

1. Track very well with the historical ratings of previous presidents (who have served two terms)

2. Are well above those of President Bush (at this point in his presidency) but below what President Clinton’s were. President Reagan had better ratings for much of his presidency but, at this point, his approval ratings were similar to President Obama’s (remember Iran-Contra)

obamaapprovalmay2015

Dotted line: average of all presidents. Light green: President Obama. Dark green: President Bush.

Screen shot 2015-05-24 at 5.13.45 PM

Again, light green is President Obama, darkest green is President Reagan (with the big dip); the middle green (and highest ratings) is President Clinton.

From here

Now the Republicans turn their sights on the 2016 elections. Yes, some are bloviating about the instability in Iraq (President Bush left a stable situation!) evidently forgetting that the Status of Forces agreement to get the US out of Iraq was negotiated with Iraq by President Bush. Yes, the region was more stable with us there, but were we to stay there in perpetuity?

Please.

May 24, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, world events | , , , | Leave a comment

Semester is over and I opine on politics, Fox News, etc.

Politics and Social Issues

Yes, President Obama called out Fox News for distorting the debate about poverty:

Of course, Fox News complained (and probably grinned ear to ear, enjoying a viewer surge) but..well, the DO say the kinds of things that he accused them of saying.

I am beginning to think that Fox is secretly hoping that Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency.

Now speaking of the election: let us not forget how bad Gov. Jeb Bush would be. Think of who is advisers would be and of how awful they were the last time they were in power. The Democrats must remind people of this.

Yes, I am hearing about the Bush vs. Clinton “dynasties”. Please. This article gets it right..at least mostly right. But it does leave one thing out: the Bush sons come from a super wealthy, very connected family whereas the Clintons are self-made.

Yes, I was never a big fan of Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate in 2008; you can read my (sometimes scathing) opinion of her campaign and campaign tactics elsewhere on this blog. But here is something you can never take away from her and her husband: these were NOT silver spoon people. Bill grew up poor, and Hillary grew up middle class. Both excelled academically but this was NOT a matter of some outrageously wealthy, connected family pulling the strings for them. They made it under their own steam, period (as did President Obama). There is no comparison between their story and the story of the Bush family. Period.

And yes, I see her as a worthy candidate and I’ll support her if she wins the Democratic nomination, as expected. And no, I know of any other credible Democrat challenger and…forget the Republicans. Every Republican who has announced is a loon (at least, with respect to politics; many have achieved in other professions).

Social/Political snark

Yes, 32 percent of Republicans think there is something to the “Obama wants to take over Texas” conspiracy. That’s right..and this isn’t just Texas Republicans either.

PPPJadehelm

Note who these people tend to favor for President; there is an interesting correlation, no?

Now, yes, sometimes a famous Democrat will speak out after a major event (in this case, the Amtrack crash in Philadelphia), and yes, in this case, the train was going 100 mph in a 50 mph maximum zone. And yes, often said famous Democrat will have no qualifications in that field. What is funny is that this offends some conservatives …I wonder how many of these listen to Chuck Norris or Ted Nugent? Heck, even Joe “the Plummer” has a following. :-) Pot: meet Kettle.

Academia: stuff like this gives academics, and the humanities in general, a bad name:

An incoming Boston University professor has apologized for her controversial remarks regarding White males on Twitter, Fox News reports.
Saida Grundy, an Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Boston University who identifies as a “feminist sociologist of race & ethnicity,” was hit with criticism after calling White college males a “problem population” on her social media page.
Many slammed the professor and called her tweets bigoted after she stated she wouldn’t contribute to White-owned businesses on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and called St. Patrick’s Day a “made up holiday.”

“Why is White America so reluctant to identify White college males as a problem population?” she wrote.
“Every MLK week, I commit myself to not spending a dime in White-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible.”
“Can we just call St. Patrick’s Day the White people’s Kwanzaa that it is? This is not a thing in actual Ireland. It’s completely made up.”

Her tweets have since been deleted.

OF COURSE, she claims that …well..her comment was “nuanced”. That is how the game is played; cry foul if it appears that YOUR group is being attacked, but turn around and make similar statements about other groups and claim to be “misunderstood”.

Yes, we in academia (especially us lefties) to have to clean up our act and this is a step in the right direction, as is this.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

On the road relatively soon

I slept in as I have a long drive ahead of me both today and tomorrow.

Workout notes weights only. Legs were heavy.

pull ups (hip hikes, Achilles) 3 sets of 10
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 180, 7 x 170 (rotator cuff)
incline press: 10 x 140
pull ups: 2 sets of 10 to finish 5 sets.
military: 10 x 85 standing barbell, 7 x 85 standing barbell, 10 x 40 standing dumbbell.
super set: pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 7 x 160 traditional 7 x 85 very low with
3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer Machine rows.

I started to jog on the treadmill but gave up; I figured some light walking around would loosen my legs a bit.

Politics
This is a very interesting take on Mike Huckabee’s candidacy:

Huckabee appears to be aware of his liabilities, and is thus angling not only for the evangelical vote, but for the old person vote in general. He’s adopted the view, unfathomable in modern Republican politics, that support programs for the elderly shouldn’t be tampered with, and not just for today’s seniors, but for at least a generation. By doing so he’s violated the GOP’s implicit pact that discourages members from accentuating the tensions between the party’s fiscal priorities and its aging political base. If he makes good on this cynical strategy, he will probably still lose, but his candidacy will have served a valuable and revealing purpose.

Let’s be clear up front that Huckabee’s positioning here is 100 percent cynical. As John McCormack of the neoconservative Weekly Standard reminded us last month, Huckabee was a proponent of the Republican consensus as recently as August 2012, when he wrote on his Facebook page that “Paul Ryan is being demonized for his suggested Medicare reforms. But the alternatives may be scarier.”

Today, Huckabee says he wouldn’t sign legislation codifying Ryan’s Medicare reforms if he were president, and lambasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to further raise the Social Security retirement age over time. In Iowa this week, Huckabee told a crowd of supporters, “It is a foolish thing for the government to involuntarily confiscate money from your pockets and paychecks for 50 years, and then suddenly tell you, oh, we were just kidding.”

You might call this a “government hands off of my Medicare” moment. :-)

keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare1

And yes, some conservatives are rather upset with him.

I love it. :-)

Social This is a case in which religious beliefs can cause harm. Someone has something bad happen to them (e. g. they get cancer). Someone, in an attempt to comfort, says “God’s will” or “God has a plan for you” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”; to be fair some give a secular version of such sentiment (e. g. they call your ordeal a “journey”.)

You know: sometimes people just have horrible luck and the idea that there is some cosmic puppetmaster calling the shots is just plain stupid.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | 2016, huckabee, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Social and economic divisions in the US

I know that is would be a politically unwise move. But there are some who want to celebrate the Union’s victory over the Treasonous States (aka Confederate States)(by Brian Beutler) :

In a speech one month ago, the first black president of the United States challenged millions of white Americans to resist the convenient allure of overlooking the country’s blemished moral record. It was a dual challenge, actually—first to the classical understanding of American exceptionalism, but also to America’s persistent critics, who abjure the concept of exceptionalism altogether.

“What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this?” President Barack Obama said. “What greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?”

This was both a rejection of the fairytale America perpetuated by American conservatives, in which national virtue overwhelms sin, and a statement of faith in the country’s robust capacity for self-improvement. And he delivered it in Selma, Alabama—a Southern city whose folksy name evokes state-sanctioned, state-administered violence against black citizens—on the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Selma would be a perverse venue for celebrating the Jingo’s exceptional America, but it was the perfect backdrop for Obama’s more nuanced rendering: the convening point of the march to Montgomery, on a bridge named after Edmund Pettus—a vicious white supremacist, who committed treason against the United States as a Confederate general, and later terrorized former slaves as an Alabama Klansman and Democratic Senator.

And so

This week provides an occasion for the U.S. government to get real about history, as April 9 is the 150th anniversary of the Union’s victory in the Civil War. The generous terms of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House foreshadowed a multitude of real and symbolic compromises that the winners of the war would make with secessionists, slavery supporters, and each other to piece the country back together.

Of course this would infuriate the South, but at this point I really don’t care. They still go on about “The War of Northern Aggression” so perhaps they need to be reminded as to who won?

To be blunt: I wish that we hadn’t have fought that war…we would be a stronger nation today had we just let them go.

But this idea isn’t going anywhere.

Punishing the slackers I think that there is a time and place for “tough love” and to challenge people to do better. And yes, if one is on public aid, should one be spending money on stuff that harms one’s life (e. g. cigarettes)?
But when it comes to public aid programs, it is unwise to lard programs with extensive restrictions which can be costly, ineffective and demoralizing. The drug testing program was one of these; what passed in the Kansas legislature is another. No, I don’t think that strip clubs and porn stores are an appropriate use of taxpayer money. But pools? Isn’t swimming healthy and uplifting?

Never mind that: why lard up a program with expensive, difficult to enforce restrictions that attack a problem which hasn’t been shown to be statistically large?

Conservatives see things differently. Forget “libertarians”; they are tiny in number and not significant, as Paul Krugman points out:

Well, the best story I have is Corey Robin’s: It’s fundamentally about challenging or sustaining traditional hierarchy. The actual lineup of positions on social and economic issues doesn’t make sense if you assume that conservatives are, as they claim, defenders of personal liberty on all fronts. But it makes perfect sense if you suppose that conservatism is instead about preserving traditional forms of authority: employers over workers, patriarchs over families. A strong social safety net undermines the first, because it empowers workers to demand more or quit; permissive social policy undermines the second in obvious ways.

And I suppose that you have to say that modern liberalism is in some sense the obverse — it is about creating a society that is more fluid as well as fairer. We all like to laugh at the war-on-Christmas types, right-wing blowhards who fulminate about the liberal plot to destroy family values. We like to point out that a country like France, with maternity leave, aid to new mothers, and more, is a lot more family-friendly than rat-race America. But if “family values” actually means traditional structures of authority, then there’s a grain of truth in the accusation. Both social insurance and civil rights are solvents that dissolve some of the restraints that hold people in place, be they unhappy workers or unhappy spouses. And that’s part of why people like me support them.

In any case, bear this in mind whenever you read some pontificating about a libertarian moment, or whatever. There are almost no genuine libertarians in America — and the people who like to use that name for themselves do not, in reality, love liberty.

Krugman has a bit more snark, especially for those who call his macroeconomic ideas “radical”:

The message instead is for those people — you know who you are — who imagine that the macroeconomics in this blog and in my column is somehow way out there on the left. In reality, I’m almost depressingly mainstream. It’s the other side in these debates that is showing lots of creativity, coming up with novel and innovative arguments about why we should do stupid things.

And as far as facts: well, conservatives desperately try to discredit any bit of good news:

Two impossible things happened to the U.S. economy over the course of the past year — or at least they were supposed to be impossible, according to the ideology that dominates half our political spectrum. First, remember how Obamacare was supposed to be a gigantic job killer? Well, in the first year of the Affordable Care Act’s full implementation, the U.S. economy as a whole added 3.3 million jobs — the biggest gain since the 1990s. Second, half a million of those jobs were added in California, which has taken the lead in job creation away from Texas.

Were President Obama’s policies the cause of national job growth? Did Jerry Brown — the tax-raising, Obamacare-embracing governor of California — engineer his state’s boom? No, and few liberals would claim otherwise. What we’ve been seeing at both the national and the state level is mainly a natural process of recovery as the economy finally starts to heal from the housing and debt bubbles of the Bush years.

But recent job growth, nonetheless, has big political implications — implications so disturbing to many on the right that they are in frantic denial, claiming that the recovery is somehow bogus. Why can’t they handle the good news? The answer actually comes on three levels: Obama Derangement Syndrome, or O.D.S.; Reaganolatry; and the confidence con.

[…]

Which brings us to the last point: the confidence con.

One enduring puzzle of political economy is why business interests so often oppose policies to fight unemployment. After all, boosting the economy with expansionary monetary and fiscal policy is good for profits as well as wages, yet many wealthy individuals and business leaders demand tight money and austerity instead.

As a number of observers have pointed out, however, for big businesses to admit that government policies can create jobs would be to devalue one of their favorite political arguments — the claim that to achieve prosperity politicians must preserve business confidence, among other things, by refraining from any criticism of what businesspeople do.

In the case of the Obama economy, this kind of thinking led to what I like to call the “Ma! He’s looking at me funny!” theory of sluggish recovery. By this I mean the insistence that recovery wasn’t being held back by objective factors like spending cuts and debt overhang, but rather by the corporate elite’s hurt feelings after Mr. Obama suggested that some bankers behaved badly and some executives might be overpaid. Who knew that moguls and tycoons were such sensitive souls? In any case, however, that theory is unsustainable in the face of a recovery that has finally started to deliver big job gains, even if it should have happened sooner.

I think it is best to view conservatives who hold beliefs similar to the theological beliefs held by religiously conservative people; trying to convince one with data is like trying to convince a Biblical literalist that it is logically impossible for the Bible to be literally true.

So what is an example of a liberal vision? Here is an example. Yes, no conservative would ever agree with it.

Economics and politics So how does the economy affect an upcoming election? There is evidence that what helps the incumbent isn’t overall performance but rather the change in the few months preceding the election.

April 8, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese fighter pilots, Buffett’s mobile homes, desired failure and welfare steaks…

Workout notes
Weight in the morning: 185 (after breakfast).
Now I went to the Riverplex and ran to Wodruff (via the goose loop), 1 mile 7:51 (3:57 for 809, 3:54 for second 800), 3/4 mile walk, 9:22 mile in lane 2. (about a 9:14 mile), then 2.2 miles back for 7 miles total.
Very humbling; though the mile wasn’t all out, it was hard and I put forth quite a bit of effort.

Then to the weight room:
pull ups (5 sets of 10, rotator cuff)
military presses (10 x 85 standing, 8 x 85, 10 x 180 seated, machine).
incline presses: 2 x 135, 10 x 115 (different angle)

This was about 30 minutes worth.

That was humbling. Was it only 15 years ago that I ran a half marathon at 7:17 per mile? Now ONE sub 8 minute mile is difficult. I want to scream “what am I doing wrong?
The idea that I am merely slowing the rate of decline instead of improving is still tough to adjust to.

Posts

Well, Warren Buffett is one of those “favorite billionaires”. But he is still a billionaire and how does one become one? Of course, I don’t know how involved he is with the details of this operation and I don’t have a balanced view. And, well, no easy way to say it…I am not exactly a fan of those hurt by these policies. But people don’t deserve to be mistreated and cheated (even if legally cheated), even if I might not like them.

SNAP Yes, I approve of this program, knowing that here and there, a slacker might be taking advantage. So on this debate:

n 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.

“This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing,” Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome.”

That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”

“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation. […}

On one hand, yes, SNAP is to help people out with the basics and, no I don’t want to see it used for luxury items. But, on the other hand: how often does that happen? Do you see poor people buying caviar?
Seriously, saying “I was this a couple of times” doesn’t justify changing the law; I’d like to see some data as to how often it is abused prior to seeing the time and effort being put toward a change in the law.

More Republicans: evidently, some are actually upset that Ben Bernanke took steps to prevent a failure that they predicted:

Ah: I see that there was a Twitter exchange among Brad DeLong, James Pethokoukis, and others over why Republicans don’t acknowledge that Ben Bernanke helped the economy, and claim credit. Pethokoukis — who presumably gets to talk to quite a few Republicans from his perch at AEI — offers a fairly amazing explanation:

B/c many view BB as enabling Obama’s spending and artificially propping up debt-heavy economy in need of Mellon-esque liquidation

Yep: that dastardly Bernanke was preventing us from having a financial crisis, curse him.

Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that this was an important part of the story. As I pointed out a couple of months ago, Paul Ryan and John Taylor went all-out conspiracy theory on the Bernanke Fed, claiming that its efforts were not about trying to fulfill its mandate, but rather that

This looks an awful lot like an attempt to bail out fiscal policy, and such attempts call the Fed’s independence into question.

Basically, leading Republicans didn’t just expect a disaster, they wanted one — and they were furious at Bernanke for, as they saw it, heading off the crisis they hoped to see. It’s a pretty awesome position to take. But it makes a lot of sense when you consider where these people were coming from.

Krugman goes on to say that this doesn’t exactly instill confidence that the Republicans will do what is best for the country, with regards to the proposed Iran deal.

War
A former Japanese fighter pilot recalls the hell of war and explains why he never wants to see it again:

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

[…]

In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.

“I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed,” said Mr. Harada, who said he was able to meet and befriend some of his foes who survived the war. “They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he added, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

This is a very powerful article about someone who has been there.

Science Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg lists his “best 13 science books” for the layperson; I have read one of these and much (most?) of two others.

April 4, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political, time trial/ race, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Short videos that I never get tired of watching

Basketball: Larry Bird Scores 60

Football

Social issues

Bus Fights

Animals

Movies

Humor:
Monty Python:

Larry David

Honest Best Man Speech

Easter Egg Hunt

Career Builder ads

Cartoons
Foghorn Leghorn gets his wave function collapsed

Other (possibly NSFW; some sexual humor)

Friends try on tights (gluteal nudity).

April 4, 2015 Posted by | basketball, butt, evolution, football, morons, movies, religion, republicans, science | , , , , | Leave a comment

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