A way in which Trump appeals to me..

No worries: I am firmly behind Hillary Clinton in this election. I see her as the most qualified candidate and I think that she’ll do a fine job in office.

But I don’t have the hatred of Donald Trump that many other of his detractors have. Oh yes, I think that the skill set of a real estate mogul is a very different skill set required to be a president, and I think that Mr. Trump really doesn’t believe that. It is easy to become intoxicated by one’s financial success and to start believing that one knows more than they actually do.

But, like many, Mr. Trump does appeal to one of my darker sides:

What common views or traits unite the most visible Trump partisans? A group including Limbaugh and Christie is not defined primarily by ideology. Rather, the Trumpians share a disdain for “country-club” Republicans (though former House speaker John Boehner apparently likes Trump because they were golfing buddies). They tend to be white and middle-aged. They are filled with resentment.

Above all, they detest weakness in themselves and others. The country, in their view, has grown soft and feeble. Their opponents are losers, lacking in energy. Rather than despising bullying — as Ryan, Romney and all the Bushes do — they elevate it. The strong must take power, defy political correctness, humiliate and defeat their opponents, and reverse the nation’s slide toward mediocrity.

There have always been politicians who despise weakness and the weak. Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson are examples. They were not always bad at governing, but they were bad human beings who came to a bad end.

And there you have it. I do not like weakness. I LOVE smart people. I like mentally and physically strong people.

Evidence: well, if you ask me about what I like about Hillary Clinton, I might reply this way:

Clinton, on the other hand, is not ludicrous. She can think on her feet; she’s tough as nails. Do you really think the person who stared down the Benghazi committee for 11 hours is going to wither under schoolboy taunts?

The news media will, I fear, try their best to pretend that the contrast isn’t what it is. We’ll hear endless explanations of why Trump’s vanity, ignorance, and lack of moral fiber somehow prove his “authenticity”, which Clinton somehow lacks. And maybe that will stick with voters. But I don’t think it will. In the end, it will be a race between a tough, smart lady and someone who is obviously a yuge, um, Antonin Scalia School of Law. And voters will notice.

You might also check out my friends or social media friends list. You’ll see people with advanced degrees and research output. You’ll see people who have finished multiple marathons and ultra marathons or people who have athletic accomplishments that I can only dream of. Another such example: one internet friend has taken it on herself to raise some kids that relatives were found not competent to raise; that is toughness in action and is attractive to me.

Even my spouse: when I first fell in love with her, she was a well respected professional on campus who had a great career. My “do things with” friends have/had positions of great responsibility, published books, honors and the like.

Now my carping about “weakness” is illogical; after all, I know that I am heading downhill (slowly right now); my body and, to a lesser degree, my mind is slowing down slightly. And things can change in the blink of an eye (illness, accidents, etc).

But a dislike of weakness resonates with me and that is how Trump markets himself.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Mopping up the JV race..

You can see the results here. Basically Clinton had a very narrow win in Kentucky (28-27 split in pledged delegates) and Sanders had about a 10 point win in Oregon, which could be about a 6-9 delegate advantage for him. So the race has gone from a Clinton lead of 280-300 to 272-295. In other words, not much has changed.

That has been the usual pattern. Unfortunately, the spin will be about the same:

Ugh. More primaries today. Do they matter?

Not for the nomination. Clinton has won — her big victories in the mid-Atlantic states ended any chance that Sanders can catch up on pledged delegates or popular vote, and he’s not going to convince superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters. Again, the math: Clinton leads by 280 pledged delegates, with 897 left. To overtake, Sanders would need to win the remaining contests by a 280/897 margin, or 31 percent. This is not going to happen.

This is very much true even if he wins both primaries tonight. KY and OR are both very favorable states for Sanders, basically because they’re very white. Alan Abramowitz predicts Sanders +6 in OR, +1 in KY; Benchmark Politics predicts narrow Clinton win in KY, narrow Sanders win in OR. Suppose Abramowitz is right. Then Sanders might narrow the gap by 5 delegates — but there will be only 781 left to go, and his required margin would rise to 275/781 or 35 percent. And the demography gets much worse for him in the remaining states.

But here’s the thing: a lot of Sanders supporters don’t understand this reality — 29 percent still believe that he’s the likely nominee, and another 11 percent aren’t sure. If news reports say that he “won” tonight, they’ll persist in their illusions — and the narrative that Clinton is somehow stealing the nomination will continue to fester.

I think some of this comes from people hearing something and not really digging into it to understand what they’ve heard. I’ve had a Sanders supporter try to tell me that the popular vote count is a “statistical dead heat” (no, it isn’t, not even when one counts the caucus states). I’ve had another Sanders supporter try to tell me that there were some states where Sanders won the vote but Clinton got *all* of the delegates (no: look at the links to see for yourself); evidently she was confused by the complaint that, in some states, Sanders won the state but all of that state’s *superdelegates* are backing Clinton.

Hence the belief that Sanders is being cheated continues to fester. Yes, Sanders is being called out on it:

Like a lot of people, I was shocked by the statement Bernie Sanders put out about Nevada. No hint of apology for his supporters’ behavior, lots of accusations about a “rigged” process when the issue in Nevada was whether Clinton should get more delegates in a state where she won the vote. And the general implication that the nomination is somehow being stolen when the reality is that Clinton won because a large majority of voters chose to support her.

But maybe we shouldn’t have been shocked. It has been obvious for quite a while that Sanders — not just his supporters, not even just his surrogates, but the candidate himself — has a problem both in facing reality and in admitting mistakes. The business with claiming that Clinton only won conservative states in the deep South told you that; and even before, there were strong indications that he would not accept defeat gracefully or even rationally.

And as far as Nevada: here is what happened. In a nut shell, Clinton won the state, her campaign was better organized and some of the Sanders delegates didn’t understand that one had to be a registered Democrat to vote in a Democratic convention.

Oh dear. Losing is never pretty. And idealism together with passion can dampen rationality.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

West Virginia votes today and…and uncomfortable right wing cartoon

The cartoon:


Yes, liberals tend to reflexively take the side of the underdog and, all too often, liberals conflate complaints about the more regressive practices of Islam (example) with justifications of anti-Muslim bigotry (which I openly oppose).

I’ll make it clear: saying that Islam (on the whole) enables many regressive practices is NOT the same as opposing the building of mosques, backing noxious anti-Muslim immigration policies, etc.

West Virginia votes today This should be a rather easy victory for Sanders. This would cut Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates from 285 to 280 or so. However, this shouldn’t be like the 2008 blowout where Clinton crushed Obama by about 40 points (and still trailed by 100 delegates or so); the link is to an old Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) episode which had a funny take on it. Of course, I can put West Virginia in the Republican column right now, though it wasn’t always that way.

National Election

Donald Trump is now turning to the Republican Party for funds. So maybe this election will be more conventional than previously thought.

And yes, you’ll hear that Hillary Clinton is trailing in this battle ground state or that one. Reality: she has a good sized lead right now and it will take something special to change it.

And about the election coverage: Gin and Tacos, while giving Nate Silver proper credit, seems annoyed that many don’t realize that what he does is really, at least by academic standards, well, sort of basic. (and yes, Ed admits some jealousy, but what about me? I don’t even have the best blog on the 4’th floor of my building!:-) )

I’ll tell you what I like about Nate Silver: he got his stuff out there, and in 2012, it was a very useful counter to all of the garbage that places like NPR were putting out. My friends who followed the election on NPR were scared to death, even though I told them that the election wasn’t close and showed them the battle ground state polls:

Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 4.38.49 AM

Romney only lead in a few of these and always at “margin of error” levels. There was no hope for him here, though the media constantly reported a “close race”. Silver was the public face against such nonsense; I call the 2012 election as a “victory for the nerds.”

May 10, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, statistics, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Double weekend

Today: 15.2 mile walk (9.78 plus 4.74 plus .68 (2 extra goose loop extra long out and back)


3:55 for the 15.2 miles; this was about 15:27 mpm. Slow, sort of wet, cool, and I saw a ton of rabbits, geese and their fledglings.

Mothers Day




Toward the end of her life…


Later years…


2008: helping the Clinton campaign with Spanish language voters.

May 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, walking | | Leave a comment

Walking, running and Bradley Baseball (personal and trivial)

Bradley Baseball: scroll down.

Today ended a step back week:
Monday: weights and light swimming (sore shoulder: 1000 yards)
Tuesday: 8 miles running, 1 walking
Wednesday: am: 4 mile harder walk (with weights). PM: 2 mile walk with the group
Thursday: 8 miles running
Friday: weights only
Saturday: 6 miles (5K race in 26:04)
Sunday: 15.7 mile walk

Total: 44 miles, after having been in the 50s

Today’s walk; overcast, light headwind early: I wend down to the river path via the goose loop and then continued to the Heights Tower and then returned via the Boredom to my House via McClure


I extended it by 1.1 miles by adding a Cooper/Ayers segment:


4:03:44 total (15:32 pace); I was so sluggish when I started. The last 4 miles of the Boredom part took 57:14 (14:19 mpm) and the final 1.09 miles was done at 14:35. But I was really, really sluggish on the first 10 miles. I think that I needed a step back week.

Yesterday’s 5K Yes, it rained pretty hard. And there is something I want to say. First, the “social photos”: I’ve cropped a few of these



As you can see, it was quite the downpour. Now for some Cassie:


Then for Tracy (you can see me over her shoulder; I went back to bring her in, as I often do.


Now for some commentary: I followed this young lady for a while; I remember thinking “she isn’t going to last”. It turns out that I did catch her and pass her and finish 4 seconds ahead of her, “by the gun”. But my chip time was 1 second SLOWER than hers; evidently she started behind me and blew past me quickly. And she did stay ahead of me for about 60 percent of the race.


Now yes, she is 32 years younger than I am; she *should* be faster than I am, but, as you can see, she doesn’t have a classic runner’s build and I *thought* that I should have taken her.
But I have to remember this: when I was just a bit older than her (she is 24; I was 26) I weighed 230 pounds (45 lbs. heavier than I do now) and I was THREE MINUTES faster in the 5K. Yes, a 23 minute 5K is NOT a good time for a man in his 20’s. Time marches on…though I wonder what sports that young woman plays/played. She must have been an athlete of some sort.

Bradley played an 8 pm, and the weather was foggy and chilly.



And Bradley trailed Dallas Baptist (ranked 17’th in the nation) 1-0 going into the bottom of the 8’th. But a 2 out run tied the game.
Then came the bottom of the 9’th, after Bradley made them go 3 and out in the top of the 9’th. It was 2 outs, no one on base and I had resigned myself to “extra innings.”

Then came a singe. Then the runner advanced on a wild pitch, and the Bradley coach put in a fast pinch runner. Then came another single and the fast runner was able to score.

Bradley won 2-1 to take its first “conference series). The game was way more exciting than the 2-1 score would indicate; though the pitching was good on both sides, both team’s batters hit the ball well only to be robbed of hits by excellent field play (on both sides).

It was just an excellent, exciting college baseball game in..less than traditional baseball weather.

May 1, 2016 Posted by | baseball, running, Uncategorized, walking | , , , | Leave a comment

Wet Run to Remember

Day: 47, rainy, windy. Tells you what you need to know. Nevertheless, Tracy was a trooper and didn’t back out, so we went and I managed about 2 miles or warm up. My legs: felt surprisingly good.
The race: it was smaller than usual and I was surprised to be as close to the front as I was. Then I remembered that the winning time was a time that I had run in the (distant) past. So I got to see first hand how much I’ve slowed.

Nevertheless, I felt ok upon finishing, given that it was a 5K. I did run reasonably hard and did ok, given the win and the rain. I took the first mile in 8:11 (downhill) and held on to finish in 26:04, which was about 14 seconds slower than what I had hoped for on a good day.

I cooled down by going back for Tracy and walking her in. It was good to do a race with her again.

I had thought about trying to compete with Steve, but he is just way to good for me right now; he was exiting the turn around circle as I was entering. I did chase a couple of younger women and got both; a couple of younger guys got me on the last uphill and a couple of kids sprinted past me at the finish.

Tracy got 3’rd in her age group.

Cassie was a few seconds behind me but won her age group; I sort of wish she had set a 25:45 pace:-)

I hope that the rain clears off for tonight’s Bradley Baseball game.



2016 26:04 8:11, 8:30, 8:30 (25:12) 0:52 place 25 of 177, 20 of 102 men 4 0f 8 AG
2015: 26:59 8:10, 8:24, 9:31 (26:05) 0:52 place: 74 of 303, 58 of 172 men, 4 of 8 AG
2014: 24:17 7:37, 7:37, 8:11 (23:26), 0:50 place: 35 of 343, 30 of 187, 7 of 13
2012: 24:34 7:54, 7:45 8:04 (23:44), 0:50 place: 66 of 272

This year:

Interplanetary March 19: 25:50

April 30, 2016 Posted by | running, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Primary predictions, VP picks, compromise and inequality

2016 Primary Race
Who is Hillary Clinton going to pick for her ticket? The vetting has quietly begun. I really don’t have a good feel for who should be picked.

As far as the primary results, all of this “x in a row” stuff is nonsense; who won what race was mostly about whether it was a caucus or a primary, what percentage of the voters were actual Democrats and the demographics of those showing up.

Though there has been some back and forth between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters, things are actually worse on the Republican side. Friendships are ending over their choice.

Protesters Activists are passionate by definition. But they have to learn some restraint and some compromise. President Obama said as much.

Social This article talks about inequality at things like cruise ships, amusement parks and the like. Personally, I think that they conflate a few things here.

For one: there is inequality (e. g. paying on the order of ten times as much for the privilege of exclusivity) and offering comfort/experience as “an option if you want it”. Example: I am by no measure wealthy. But I basically doubled my (inexpensive) ticket price to sit in prime so I can have a better view of the game with…well, this will sound strange, fewer empty seats around me. As I age, I enjoy sitting down for the game more and more. IF the price difference isn’t too great, I’ll pay a little more to get my favorite seats (I like front row of the upper deck in most stadiums), or the back row of the lower deck in smaller stadiums.

But this nowhere near spending 4-5 times as much for luxury seats.

April 24, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Clinton: wins yet another irrelevant southern state. :-)

I told you so. I had Clinton winning by 13 points 56.5-43.5 and padding her lead by 33 delegates. With 76 percent of the vote in she leads 58-42 and Upshot predicts 140-107, or a 33 delegate margin.

Yes, the exit polls were off but, as Nate Silver says:

Something else worth watching: the exit poll that had Clinton up by only 4 percentage points statewide had her beating Sanders by 10 percentage points in New York City. So far, however, Clinton has about 85,000 votes from the five boroughs as compared with about 52,000 for Sanders, which equates to a 62-38 advantage for Clinton in the city overall.

. In a later update, Nate Silver suggests that there was some selection bias in that Sanders supporters were more eager to answer exit poll questions.


The site is cracking me up (the comments).

April 20, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Policy, journalism, and the primary

Poverty: public policy can make a difference; here we see that in New York City, the poor enjoy longer lifespans, both in terms of being compared to the poor in other areas and as a percentage of the lifespan of their wealthier neighbors. Think: better food and walkabiity.

Media: sometimes, journalists bend over backwards to be “balanced” that they give special interests too much benefit of the doubt (e. g. creationists, climate change denialists)

2016 Primary

Bill Clinton’s poverty and crime programs: they DID have benefits, but they also had some bad side effects. It wasn’t “all good” nor “all bad”.

New York Primary: Sanders might be hurt because this primary is closed to Democrats only. This is one yin-yang about the Sanders campaign. The yin: he is bringing in people who are new to the political process. The yang: these newbies often don’t know the rules. Example: there was a case in Illinois where one Sanders voter wanted to “vote for Bernie”; he couldn’t be made to understand that Sanders wouldn’t be helped unless he also voted for the Sanders delegates (in Illinois, the candidate vote is just a beauty contest; one also has to vote for the candidate’s delegates as well, and they ARE marked by candidate).

Colorado Republicans: they did NOT have a primary nor did they have a caucus. They had a convention and Trump’s lack of organization cost him dearly: he ended up with zero delegates.

April 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Yes, black lives matter…and…

What got me thinking about this topic was this video:

Now yes, BLM is more about law enforcement treating everyone fairly and giving the same benefit of the doubt to black people as everyone else gets. Yes, that is difficult to do, given the nature of human prejudice (not particular to white people; we evolved to reason inductively).

But there IS another issue. As a society, we seem to be ok as long as “we” have the ability to avoid the more violent areas. Those who are stuck in such areas are just out of luck, especially if police presence goes down.

I suppose the rub is that law enforcement shouldn’t be a mechanism to keep “us” (those with a little bit of wealth) safe from those who don’t have any but rather as an entity that protects everyone, including those who have to live in underserved areas. I remember reading in Steven Pinker’s book Better Angels that much of the violence in underserved areas is the result of vigilantism; people there do not feel confident that law enforcement will take their complaints seriously but will instead either ignore them or arrest them for something else. Hence they take the law into their own hands.

If there is a way out of this, I’d love to hear it.

April 9, 2016 Posted by | racism, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment


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