And Democratic politics depress me even more…

Sigh. Now we have Hillary Clinton supporters fighting with Bernie Sanders supporters. Yes, I was “Clinton all the way” this time around, and I think it is joke that anyone takes Sanders seriously for 2020.

And so Hillary Clinton came out with a book that I am interested in. But, of course, she is catching heat from not only the Sanders wing and from Republicans (“sore loser”) but also from many who think that her time as a national politician has passed. Frankly, I belong in the latter camp as well, but I am still interested to read what she has to say about the election.

But some of the Clinton supporters: AAARRRRRGGGHH. They are as unreasonable as some Trump supporters.
Some refuse to entertain the notion that she wasn’t that good from the podium..she was not a natural politician. She didn’t have a sense of when to “slogan it” and when to give a nuanced “lawyer like” answer. She did not have the show-biz skills that Obama and Bill Clinton had/have.

Some refuse to accept the fact that she is deeply unpopular; her approval rating is lower than Donald Trump’s. “Why, her book signings are sold out” they’ll respond. True, but “so what”? 30 percent approval rating still means that a lot of people still like her..and that she will be in demand in many circles.

And then you hear the nonsense about “She doesn’t need permission from men to write her book”..”she won’t be silenced” (that fat book contract is hardly “silencing”). Oh boy. What they appear to mean is that they don’t want her to get criticism. Of course she will get it, and there is nothing her supporters can do about it. And yes, some (most?) of the criticism will be incompetent. But that comes with the do book reviews, critiques and the like.

I can really do without the “personality cult”. She ran…ran a lack-luster campaign and wasn’t able to overcome Cambridge Analytics, Russian interference (in the form of fake news and document hacks) and the baggage of her long history…as well as her inability to say things like “ok, I screwed fault, PERIOD” Such statements were always followed by “tl;dr” explanations which, while true, didn’t help her politically.

Ironically she got the reputation for being dishonest when in fact, she was the more honest candidate (by this measure). Her personality DID not help her though. Again, she was a poor politician, at least in terms of getting elected.

And do not get me started on Bernie Sanders. For one, he is not a Democrat. For another: he is mostly bluster and empty, “never going to happen” promises. If he is the best we can do for 2020, we deserve to lose again.


September 13, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Warm run, bounces and day one of the DNC

Run: 1:47:05 for my 15K course. It was 76 F, 79 percent humidity at the start, 82 F, 62 percent at the end. I was 46:13/46:42 for my 2 “halves”; 14:10 for the 1.25 lower loop. Every time I was in the shade, I felt fine; I got hot out of the shade though.

Afterward, I did some more yard work, and my goodness do I stink. (TMI) I know that my online persona is that of a goat, but I’ve gone too far. 🙂

Presidential Race
This is what a “convention bounce” looks like; note that after Hillary Clinton’s numbers fell over the winter/spring (e-mail stuff) she maintained a steady level of support and Trump was down. But his numbers have trended up, very sharply.


Still, the long term forecasts mostly favor her, albeit narrowly.

Her betting odds are just over 1/2 (lower odds means a stronger favorite)

I watched the major speeches (Michelle Obama’s, Warren’s and Sanders’) and they were pretty good. You can find the highlights AND the full speeches here. If you only want to watch one, watch Michelle Obama’s.

Cory Booker’s speech was pretty good too:

Now there are some hard core “Bernie of Bust” people out there. Yes, they were called out:

But there are some Sanders supporters who will never vote for Hillary Clinton. Ed of Gin and Tacos fame explains what he thinks is going on (and I agree with him):

The more I listen to them, the more it’s clear that the fundamental disconnect between Sanders supporters who will vote for Hillary and Sanders supporters who will not vote for Hillary is not an ideological one. It is a difference in worldview. And while not all of the “No Hillary” Sanders supporters are young, they seem to share in common a worldview that is often stereotypically ascribed to “millennials” (if that term even means anything anymore). There have been moments in my career dealing with college students in which I’ve been left speechless – you can appreciate how rarely I’m unable to fill the air around me with words – by their worldview. It’s not a liberal-conservative thing, it is the apparent expectation that the world somehow has to make itself appealing to them. For example, I’ve had exasperating conversations with students who refuse to accept their only job offer because it either doesn’t pay them what they have decided they’re worth or it isn’t “fun” enough for them. And I ask them sincerely, “So do you expect to just wait until the job market gives you what you’d like it to give you?” And you’ll have to take my word on this: Some of them say yes. Some of them really do move back in with mom and dad and not work at all for years – years – waiting for something they think is worthy of them to come along. And of course it never does.

Of course, you can always posture and tall others how much more insightful and principled you are than everyone else. But oddly enough, that never shows up in their actual lives. 🙂

July 26, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

A political post to offend everyone

Part one: my offensive thoughts.
Part two: political articles I found interesting.

My offensive thoughts

1. This is the election where “everyone sucks”. I don’t believe that. I actually think that President Obama is doing a decent job and I think that Hillary Clinton is a highly qualified candidate who will be able to run with the better policies and perhaps improve on them. Yes, I LIKE Hillary Clinton. Perhaps I am not alone?

Psst: President Obama’s late term approval ratings are in line with those of President Reagan and are actually slightly HIGHER at this point in his administration than President Reagan’s were.


2. Yes, I think that Bernie Sanders is acting like a bit of a jackass toward the end of his campaign. But..sorry, I do NOT hate him. I think that he is a politician who is pulling out all of the stops to try to snatch an extremely improbable win.


And yes, he has a sweet basketball shot for someone his age:

And, well, I was actually glad to see him attending a recent NBA playoff game, though some complained about that. Sorry, but I rarely get to this “I hate everything about candidate X” mode.


And yes, if, say, a tree falls on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him against Donald Trump. That would be one of the easiest decisions of my life. A quick question: who would you trust more with the nuclear codes?

3. No, I don’t hate Donald Trump either; all of those “Trump is Hitler” memes just make me roll my eyes. No, I don’t like Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US (though one Turkish friend told me that “other countries do similar things”) and I’ve spoken out against that proposed policy. True, I do not see Donald Trump as being qualified to be president. Yes, he made a lot of money (but HOW?) but that isn’t a qualifying factor. He knows very little about actual policy and he gains popularity by going around and telling people what they want to hear (e. g. “there is no drought in California“).

And I hate to say this, but I really get a kick out of his shenanigans, as “unpresidential” as they may be.


And no, I don’t buy all of this “NeverTrump” stuff coming from conservatives. Yes, Republicans are rallying around him just like they did with MItt Romney. Paul Krugman predicted this would happen a couple of months ago:

By the way, I predict that even if Mr. Trump is the nominee, pundits and others who claim to be thoughtful conservatives will stroke their chins and declare, after a great show of careful deliberation, that he’s the better choice given Hillary’s character flaws, or something. And self-proclaimed centrists will still find a way to claim that the sides are equally bad. But both acts will look especially strained.

And all of these sanctimonious “only a truly evil, stupid person will vote for Trump” arguments, memes and the like will accomplish nothing, except to make the poster feel more self righteous. The bottom line: no one likes or respects a self-righteous scold; even I find them tiresome even when we are on the same side! Thomas Edsall puts it this way:

Trump’s anger at being policed or fenced in apparently speaks to the resentment of many American men and their resistance to being instructed, particularly by a female candidate, on how they should think, speak or behave.

On April 26, Trump wheeled out a spectacularly offensive attack on Clinton, perhaps designed to provoke the response it got. He accused her of playing “the women’s card” when “she has got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she would get five percent of the vote.”

Hillary rose to the bait. Three days later, appearing on Jake Tapper’s CNN show The Lead, she countered:

I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak…. I am not going to deal with their temper tantrums, or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to say about me, I could really care less.

Trump responded on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on May 2. What Clinton said “was a very derogatory statement to men,” Trump declared. “It was almost as though she’s going to tell us what to do, tell men what to do.” He continued, “It was a real put-down.”

The kind of messages that provoke reactance and a defiant or oppositional response, according to one study, include “imperatives, such as ‘must’ or ‘need;’ absolute allegations, such as ‘cannot deny that…’ and ‘any reasonable person would agree’.”

This is not to say that attacks on Trump won’t work; my guess is that they will. What I am saying is that “only evil, stupid people vote for Trump” won’t change any minds. But saying “his proposed policies are unfair, evil, etc.” might help us with turnout; think of it as invoking “counter anger” (e. g. “Trump’s policies are aimed at denigrating people like you and me”); here is an example of a 2008 ad which might work:

Part II: Articles
This Stanford article discusses the Democratic primary in California. Yes, Clinton leads and yes, there are some racial and generational differences.

Now what about running mates; who are Trump and Clinton going to pick and why? Here is an article about recent history and the “geographical, ideological and demographic” factors that the various candidates used.

My guess is the Trump will pick Christie (New Jersey governor); I haven’t a clue as to who Clinton will pick.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, political/social, politics, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

The end game of a losing candidate is often not pretty

Workout note: 8.1 mile run (hilly) in 1:26:46 (43:43, 43:03). I was stiff going out. The improvement on the second half was basically the difference on my last mile. It was a pretty day and long sleeves was too much.

Jumble though this is 5 seconds slower than my PB, this was my first “perfect score”.


Main Focus

Yes, tempers are flaring among the Democrats. One might wonder why Sanders is still in the race. This article gives a conjecture: yes, Sanders is more pragmatic than one realizes (e. g. he has been good about getting amendments added to bills he initially didn’t support) but his life has been a case of succeeding as a long shot. So, though the odds against him getting the nomination are slight (18-1 underdog in the sports books as of today), he still has a mathematical chance (say, winning 80 percent of the pledged delegates in California and flipping a ton of the super delegates). So he’ll keep fighting.

However, while many Sanders supporters ARE bright people (and I enjoy the company of several of these people), others have been mislead by articles like this one. Yes, *even* when you factor in the caucus state votes, Hillary Clinton still has about a 3 million vote lead.

Sadly, a significant minority of Sanders supporters either don’t know that or haven’t accepted that. A minority of these supporters have behaved very badly.

Yes, I know; some of the violent reaction has probably been exaggerated by the press; one Sanders supporter pointed out that there was no video showing chairs thrown in the Nevada Convention (though this had been reported in some articles.).

And yes, Hillary Clinton made some cringe worthy statements toward the end of the 2008 campaign, when she was being asked to drop out (and yes, she was much closer to Obama in delegates than Sanders is to her).

So, hopefully, we can come together after this, though I am sure that a few of the “Bernie or Bust” people will sit this one out.

May 19, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , , | 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

Why I find the Sanders message unconvincing on an emotional level


I don’t think that things are as bad as they were in 2008 when we had the Obama vs. Clinton dust up. Oh, but things have gotten very chippy; witness what happened at the Nevada Democratic Convention. And no, requiring that someone be a Democrat to vote at the Democratic Convention is’t “rigging it for Hillary”.

But I’ve been attacked a few times (social media), and the attacks have been of this kind:

“Hey weren’t you for single payer health insurance?”

Me: “yes”.

“Hey, why aren’t you supporting Sanders then?”

Me: “well, there are things like “numbers” (i. e., the wild assumptions that the Sanders plan makes, such as a fantastic rate of economic growth (AVERAGE of 5 percent) to help pay for that and his other ideas, and the idea that these ideas are going nowhere without Congress being aboard, and we’ll need to elect a lot of “Blue Dog” Democrats (conservative Democrats, often from conservative states and Congressional Districts) to have a shot of retaking Congress, and they won’t be aboard with such ideas”.

And I say that I simply find Hillary Clinton to be smarter, better informed and have a greater range of experience.

At this point, I am usually accused of being a Republican, “thinking small”, or simply cursed out.

But the reasons I presented were what I call “logic and data” reasons. There is an emotional reaction against his campaign’s tone, or, *at least the tone of his supporters”. To his credit, Sen. Sanders has addressed at least a bit of my concern from the podium, though I am not sure as to how much it colors his campaign message.

So here it is: though there are some affluent Sanders supporters, much of what I am seeing appears to be: “hey we need to raise taxes on you to give ME something”. Hey, I didn’t choose your college major and I didn’t tell you how many kids to have, etc. THAT, in my opinion, is not a convincing message; it smacks of a bunch of grasshoppers wanting more ants to subsidize them.

Now it is true that there are some small, relatively homogeneous countries that have what we think of as successful socialist economies. Now of course, these are really not socialist countries; they are capitalist countries with high degrees of public investment and a generous safety net:

In the Scandinavian countries, like all other developed nations, the means of production are primarily owned by private individuals, not the community or the government, and resources are allocated to their respective uses by the market, not government or community planning.

While it is true that the Scandinavian countries provide things like a generous social safety net and universal healthcare, an extensive welfare state is not the same thing as socialism. What Sanders and his supporters confuse as socialism is actually social democracy, a system in which the government aims to promote the public welfare through heavy taxation and spending, within the framework of a capitalist economy. This is what the Scandinavians practice.

In response to Americans frequently referring to his country as socialist, the prime minister of Denmark recently remarked in a lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government,

I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.

The Scandinavians embrace a brand of free-market capitalism that exists in conjunction with a large welfare state, known as the “Nordic Model,” which includes many policies that democratic socialists would likely abhor.

For example, democratic socialists are generally opponents of global capitalism and free trade, but the Scandinavian countries have fully embraced these things. The Economist magazine describes the Scandinavian countries as “stout free-traders who resist the temptation to intervene even to protect iconic companies.” Perhaps this is why Denmark, Norway, and Sweden rank among the most globalized countries in the entire world. These countries all also rank in the top 10 easiest countries to do business in.

How do supporters of Bernie Sanders feel about the minimum wage? You will find no such government-imposed floors on labor in Sweden, Norway, or Denmark. Instead, minimum wages are decided by collective-bargaining agreements between unions and employers; they typically vary on an occupational or industrial basis. Union-imposed wages lock out the least skilled and do their own damage to an economy, but such a decentralized system is still arguably a much better way of doing things than having the central government set a one-size fits all wage policy that covers every occupation nationwide.

In a move that would be considered radically pro-capitalist by young Americans who #FeelTheBern, Sweden adopted a universal school choice system in the 1990s that is nearly identical to the system proposed by libertarian economist Milton Friedman his 1955 essay, “The Role of Government in Education.”

And I’ve heard that most everyone in such countries has bought in because the benefits are clear to everyone.

So what does this mean for us? Here is my opinion: I think that people will support things like higher taxes IF THEY SEE THEMSELVES BENEFITING FROM THEM. Example: think of property tax rates in affluent areas. That is how wealthier districts have such nice schools and one way they keep “undesirables” out.

So, someone pushing a higher tax economy will have to convince the bulk of the voting population that THEY are benefiting or will benefit from such a system.

Sanders did make some argument in this direction; e. g. higher taxes to support single payer will be offset by lower insurance premiums for the rest of us.
It is my opinion that THAT has to be the thrust of his arguments. Otherwise: nope..will not work politically.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Sanders resisting the verdict …

Yes, Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in pledged delegates and leads in every April Indiana poll (3 to 15 points).


But Sanders is not going quietly:

Here’s how the narrative could have run: although he fell short of actually getting the nomination, Sanders did far better than expected, giving him and his movement a good claim to have a big say in the Democratic agenda for 2016 and perhaps setting the movement up as the party’s future. But to take that position — to turn defeat in the primary into a moral victory — he would have had to accept the will of the voters with grace.

What we’re getting instead is an epic descent into whining. He dismissed Clinton victories driven by black voters as products of the conservative Deep South; he suggested that his defeat in New York was unfair because it was a closed primary (you can argue this case either way, but requiring that you identify as a Democrat to choose the Democratic nominee is hardly voter suppression — arguably caucuses are much further from a democratic process); then, with the big loss in the mid-Atlantic primaries,he has turned to a sort of fact-free complaint that any process under which Bernie Sanders loses is ipso facto unfair, and superdelegates should choose him despite a 3 million vote deficit.

At this point it’s as if Sanders is determined to validate everything liberal skeptics have been saying all along about his unwillingness to face reality — and all of it for, maybe, a few weeks of additional fundraising, at the expense of any future credibility and goodwill. Isn’t there anyone who can tell him to stop before it’s too late?

And the true believers have gone off the rails. To them “the will of the people” means…well…*their* will. You might see them as similar to our Tea Party. So sad…not sure it will make that much of a difference in the end.

May 3, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Bernie Math Joke

Workout notes: beautiful day so I took it outside for my hilly Cornstalk 8.1 mile running course, followed by a 1 mile walk.

1:26:13 (44:12/42:01); last 1.03 miles was done in 9:06 (8:50 pace…THAT is picking up the pace? 🙂 )

the 1 mile (plus) walk was untimed.

There are a series of primary elections today. One poll came out that showed Sanders ahead in Rhode Island, so perhaps I should walk back my prediction for a sweep? Still, Maryland should be blowout and Pennsylvania should be more or less like New York, so I see Hillary Clinton adding 40-50 pledged delegates to her lead..and more “delegates in play” will come off of the table.

It is getting time for us to carry Senator Sanders off on his shield. Yes, he fought hard, and I respect the campaign that he has run. But today should be yet another 10-8 round for Clinton.

Don’t expect the more hard-core Sanders supporters to accept it though:

April 26, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Now this is some impressive Sanders Spin


WOW. Yes, the Sanders campaign is posed to take home 105-110 delegates (107 looks likely, according to Upshot) but that was because 247 delegates were available. In other words, his campaign trailed by 210 delegates coming in and now fell about 33 MORE delegates behind. And yes, while there will be a lot of delegates in play next Tuesday, they will be rewarded proportionally. So if Sanders goes 50-50 (and polls indicate that he will lose Pennsylvania and Maryland by reasonably large margins), he will have slipped even further behind, with fewer delegates left to be competed for.

I am shaking my head…THAT is spin.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , | 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