Freya’s Day

Welcome to another action-packed Friday blog! Let’s get started, shall we?

June Challenge Day 16

I’m still running a mile every day and still doing it in the morning. I know, right? Me, getting up early and running fifteen days in a row? Inconceivable!

I’m not sure what gains I’ve made. I do feel more erect when I walk, so it must be benefiting my core, which is good because I sit at a desk all day at work slouching.

And my legs feel more muscly, less flabby. And as I mentioned before, I feel more sure-footed carrying my elderly, 70-pound dalmatian upstairs at night.

Cardiovasularly, it’s hard to tell if I’m making strides (strides… Running… Ha!). If I push myself to a pace of over 6.7 mph, I tend to start gasping and I’m not sure if that’s helping or hurting my progress. 

I’ve always heard that you should be able to carry on a conversation. Well, that’s only going to happen if I jog at a slow pace, not run, and what’s the fun in that? Besides, I run solo; who am I going to talk to? The television?

Photographic Proof of Bigfoot?

I think I should have taken some semi-naked photos of myself before I started the June Challenge so I could compare and see if I’ve had any visible physical changes. I really regret not taking any “Before” pictures a year and a half ago so I could see how far I’ve come. (I imagine they would resemble a hairless version of the infamous Bigfoot picture.)

Oh. OK. Nevermind. Now that I see him, Bigfoot looks in better shape.

The photos would be helpful because now I look in the mirror and I don’t see much change, but considering I’ve dropped 30 pounds, there must be a change. Photographic evidence woukd have been nice to verify it.

The tape measure, after all, only shows minimal changes in size and that always depresses me. How is it possible that I’m now down to a 34 inch waist in my pants but the tape measure still shows it is 38 inches?!?

Weigh-In Friday

I’m down a pound from last week. I’m at 201.8. I’m still above my lowest weight of 198.6 from back on May 12th.

However, looking back, in the last month I’ve dropped -3.4% in average body fat and gained +2.3% muscle mass. 

So why can’t I lose the weight? Because I love junk food, that’s why. I love salty snacks, especially cheddar and sour cream potato chips. Don’t leave that bag near me or it is gone. Put a few in a bowl and I’ll be fine. Wait. It’s empty already. Just one more bowl.

And last night, I baked the Bigfoot-sized bag of frozen Jeno’s Pizza Rolls for dinner. Sorry, not sorry. Had a craving. Usually I’m good with portion control for dinner, but last night I went a little overboard stuffing those delicious little pizza-filled wonton-like things in my mouth. It was like the old Alka-Seltzer commercial:

https://youtu.be/VFKifpMtlNs

On Becoming an Auto Geek

I’ve never really been a car guy. By that, I mean, a guy who fusses around his cars, spending entire weekends in the garage massaging and oiling and pampering them.

Sure, I like cars. One day, I’d love to get a classic muscle car and attempt to restore it, except we haven’t the garage space for that and to me, a header is the thing at the top of a document.

The closest I came was my 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z. I did change its oil. And I hand washed it. Applied polish. But to be honest, I never understood the process. 

Did you know that polishes and waxes are two totally different things? I didn’t. I learned washing from my dad, who also wasn’t a car guy. You got a bucket of hot, soapy water (dish soap, why spend money on car wash soap?). Then you’d dry it with old beach towels. Then lather on some Turtle Wax. Voila. Done.

And after the Daytona, I kind of lost interest in band washing, mostly for two reasons, 1) We were living in an apartment without access to an exterior hose, so automatic car washes became a habit, and 2) None of our cars really had a very impressive looking paint job.

And up until recently, my philosophy on car washes had devolved to, “If the rain can’t get it clean, it ain’t getting clean.”

That changed when I got the Fiat. Part of the reason I was attracted to it was the paint job, olive green metal flake that sparkles in the sun.

So I’ve been researching how to detail a car to preserve and protect that shine. I’ve spent hours on sites like Autogeek.net watching videos on car detailing.

Thursday, my order from Autogeek.net came. I can’t wait to take my new random orbital polisher and the detailing products to our Vibe and see if I can’t make her shine again. She’s got a bad case of neglected, oxidized paint. White? I thought she was supposed to be dirty dishwater grey?

Stay tuned.

Making Baseball Great Again

Did anyone watch the Congressional Baseball Game last night? It was very enjoyable, and not because the Democrats destroyed the Republicans 11 to 2. 

No, it was enjoyable because you could sense, despite the athletic competition they were in, that there was a sense of comraderie that probably hasn’t been evident in Congress for a long, long time. 

Sad that it took a shooting to make everyone realize that, despite our political beliefs, we’re all still human beings.

And who knows how long it will last.

The part of the game I found touching was (and I swear there was something in my eye), at the end when the Democrats received the trophy for winning, they called out the manager of the Republican’s team and gave it to him to put in the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana to keep until he recovered from his wounds.

That’s the spirit of cooperation and civility we should all be living every.single.day.

Currently Reading:

The Complete Guide to A Show Room Shine by Mike Phillips

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Randomosity

It is Random Friday, where I cover a lot of topics in a short time. Hang on.

Fuelishness

When I first started driving, I got into the habit (some might say weird compulsion) to keep a notebook in the car to keep track of fuel and mileage. Its something my mom did, and still does. Whenever you fill up your car with gas, you note the date, odometer reading, how much gas you put in, and then you can figure out how many miles per gallon you’re getting.

This is useful because it often can indicate if there’s a problem with the engine if the MPG starts dropping radically.

I got away from this a few decades ago, but I just started up again recently. I found a phone app called “Fuel Buddy” and it tracks all the fueling information and even calculates the MPG for me so I don’t have to wear out any brain cells.

Fuel Buddy also allows you to track several vehicles and has options to automatically sense what gas station you are at. You can set service reminders for various components, like the battery, engine oil, spark plugs,  tire rotation, etc.

So far I’ve found on our last fill up that our 2004 Pontiac Vibe got 26.27 mpg, which is pretty good for an older car that does primarily city driving, and the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge got 33.35 mpg. I might have been driving it a little aggressively since I first got it, so I’m going to see if I can better than on the next fill up.

First Outdoor Run

Yes, you read that correctly. Tuesday, I went out for the first outdoor run of the year. We finally had nice weather, no rain, and it was in the low 80s.

I wore my Hoka One One Clifton 3 and they were so cushiony, it felt like I was running on a wrestling mat instead of a cement sidewalk.

I did fairly well, and ran well over a mile and a half before I had to rest walk for about half a block or so. It seemed like I was always running uphill. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure M.C. Escher did not design my neighborhood.

I’ll have to relearn to pace myself, but it was nice being outside instead of on the treadmill watching TV.

I ran a total of 3.14 (pi!) miles in 36:13. Way off my personal treadmill best of 28 minutes and change for 3.11 miles (5k). My average speed was 5.2 mph, which isn’t bad since I had about 4 walking breaks thrown in there. And my fastest pace was 9.1 mph! Call me The Flash! Or maybe The Flash’s older, out of shape brother, The Slump.

The only drawback to outside running is my shoes got dirty. They don’t pick up dirt and grass and debris when I run on the treadmill. I’ve grown accustomed to having my shoes looking like new, so seeing the sole no longer pristine white sort of depressed me. Oh, well.

Took the Plunge

My phone did, that is. Fell right off my belt and took a half gainer into the toilet bowl at work. I guess the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge really is waterproof because it wasn’t harmed at all.

Luckily, the water was still disinfectant blue from when it had been cleaned the day before, meaning no one had used it yet.

I wiped it off, smeared some hand sanitizer on it, and it was good to go.

Weigh-in Friday

Sorry. I didn’t weigh myself this morning, which is probably just as well. Despite returning to salads for lunch this week, (the last several weeks I was eating PB&J or lunch meat sandwiches), I ate a lot of junk food the rest of the time: pizza (three times, restaurant and frozen, and leftovers), burgers  (twice, both at restaurants), a shake, cheesecurds, and heavily salted snack foods. So I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d climbed back over the 200 pound mark.

First Place!

Thought I’d mention it, since nearly every baseball pundit predicted we’d be in last place,  the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in their division, leading the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Nyah! Nyah!

Star Trek Discovery

By now, most trekkies have seen the first real trailer of Star Trek Discovery and pissed their pants. Amirite?

Or you’re in a state of quiet uncertainty. You dont want to get too excited in case it sucks, but you’re still eager for anything new from the Star Trek franchise.

Or you’re one of those skeptics who are trying to figure out, if this is supposed to be in the Prime timeline 10 years before Kirk, why does all the equipment and special effects look like they’re from the Kelvin timeline?

I’m actually part of a fourth group. The ones who are angry as Hell that CBS isn’t airing Star Trek Discovery on over-the-air network CBS, but instead has chosen to hold the franchise hostage and extort money from loyal fans by forcing them to watch their pay service, CBS All Access.

I don’t know about yoo, but I don’t deal with terrorists. Why should I pay for a service that has only one watchable show on it? I mean, I can’t even name another television program that airs on CBS.

Fuck you, CBS.

If I have to, I’ll wait ten years for the show to make it to Netflix.

How the Elimination of the Fairness Doctrine Fucked Over America

I read something appalling recently. Although that the approval ratings for the Orange Turd are the lowest in the history of approval ratings, there are 96% of those who voted for him, STILL SUPPORTING HIM!

Are you fucking kidding me?

So you have to ask yourself Why? And the only answer possible is they are uninformed on the issues, they only hear one side of the argument, the side they already agree with. There is no critical thinking involved. They are spoon fed their opinions from Fox News, Breitbart, and conservative talk radio.

There was a time in America where the people were better informed. They could make better decisions because they were more knowledgeable about current events and understood both sides of an issue.

If you’re old enough, you probably remember when news programs had Point-Counterpoint discussions where they’d discuss both sides of an argument.

They did that because it was an FCC  requirement.  They had to give equal airtime to opposing views to keep their broadcast license. During elections, if they had one candidate on, then the station was required to give equal time to their opponent.

It was called The Fairness Doctrine and it became law in 1949. And it worked. Most Americans, if they regularly watched the news, had a basic understanding of issues and could make informed decisions. It helped Americans to think for themselves.

But then, in 1985 under Ronald Reagan, that rule was rescinded. Without the requirement to present both sides of an argument, conservative talk radio was born and its angry,  one-sided ignorant rhetoric quickly found an audience among white bigots who felt disenfranchised by a progressive America.

Talk radio hosts were able to inflame these white Americans into believing all their supposed woes were because of illegal immigrants, non-Christians, libtards, feminazis, ecoterrorists, gays who were forcing their lifestyle upon them, and the like.

And their hate and ignorance continued to grow because now they could feed their ignorance by listening to only one side of the news–conservative–and they lost the perspective to see things from the other side. It became easier to name call than have an open mind.

And the Orange Turd found he could capitalize on their hate, their bigotry, and their ignorance, and he road a massive wave of racial, homophobic, sexist prejudice into the White House.

And despite his every lie, every scandal, every illegal activity, his supporters still love him because they are completely uninformed about these activities and have the opinion (handpicked by the Orange Turd himself) that everything negative said about him is “fake news” and all part of a witch hunt to tear him down.

And that is why we need The Fairness Doctrine back: to try to bring some sanity back into politics, to gradually re-teach people how to think for themselves, and to inform them of all sides of the issues.

Resist to stay informed.

/rant over

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Topic Stew

Question: What do my ADHD and Friday blog posts have in common?

Answer: An inability to stay focused on one topic.

So fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Running and judging progress

I suck at judging my progress in my exercising or weight loss programs. What I mean is, I forget where I started and focus on the now and often that now looks like I’m not progressing.

For instance, in running, if you were to ask me have I improved any, I’d probably say, “a little.” Because I can’t see, or remember, where I used to be. And I even keep a training log! I just don’t look at it.

So when Facebook wanted me to post a memory from last year, I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, because I finally had concrete evidence that I have improved. Here is that memory:

2016-04-26 20.16.59

How things were back on April 26, 2016

That is from April of last year. My Facebook comment was something like, “Look what I did!” and I was proud of it. I had run one and a half miles in under twenty minutes at an average of 4.6 mph!

So when I saw that, I really was amazed to realize I had indeed made a ton of progress. Just recently I set a personal best running the 5k (3.11 miles) on the treadmill in 28:45 minutes at a 6.5 mph average.

Sometimes you need to look back to move forward.

Weigh-in Friday

I broke the 200 pound barrier! Whoohoo! 199.9, baby! Booyah!

Earbuds and driving

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people driving around with earbuds on. Seriously? You’re behind the wheel of a 2000 pound bomb! All your attention should be focused on safe driving, not distracted and deaf to everything around you.

Why do they do that? Do they think it makes for safe, hands-free phone use? Maybe, but now you can’t hear emergency vehicles and other sounds that could warn you of impending dangers.

If that’s the reason, then get a single-ear Bluetooth device so you still have one ear free to listen to the traffic sounds around you.

If, on the other hand, you’re listening to music, well, then you’re just an irresponsible asshole. Get off the road.

I thought for sure earphone wearing while driving was illegal, but I checked. Guess What? It’s legal in 35 states! That’s whack. And you’re still an asshole.

Another advantage to driving stick

Unless I chew gum or munch on candy (which isn’t good for my teeth or diet) while I drive, I have the unconscious habit of biting my nails and cuticles, often to bleeding. Hey, I said it was unconscious.

But I’ve been driving stick now for over a week and I just realized, I haven’t been biting my nails. I guess because I need both hands to drive there isn’t any time to gnaw.

Bluetooth woes

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know how much I can’t stand my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge because of a whole laundry list of reasons.

Add “the Bluetooth sucks” to that list. It just won’t connect to the Blue&Me in my Fiat. I’ve tried deleting a ton of apps in case they were interfering and it finally manaves to pair, but it still won’t connect, which is weird, right? It’ll pair but not connect?

Red Sox fans hurling epithets

For many of us, the news this week of Red Sox fans shouting racial slurs and epithets is downright shocking. Seriously? We aren’t past this yet? Sure, I admit we haven’t eliminated racism, but many of us thought we had at least sent that sort of pig ignorance underground, made it so racists could no longer be overt about their hatred unless they wanted to be severely castigated by intelligent society for their repugnant views.

But now, it seems racist and bigoted thoughts have risen from under whatever rock they had been hiding under and are becoming normalized. Why? Because of Trump, that’s why. He’s made that sort of hatred and vile judgemental anger acceptable among his voting base. 

And that is why they are deplorable.

And speaking of deplorable pig ignorance

Hasn’t this man — sorry, Trump isn’t a man, he’s got all the emotional maturity of a child — hasn’t this illegitimate buffoon said, and done, enough ignorant bullshit to get him impeached? I mean, Andrew Jackson is just the latest in showing off his amazing stupidity. Hasn’t he embarrassed us enough on the world stage? Aren’t Americans fed up enough with his lying, cheating, and vacation golf every weekend to shout a collective “you’re fired!” yet? Haven’t we learned by now that “Make America Great” really means “Make America Great Again for Trump and his family and businesses at the expense of the poor and middle class?”

Isn’t it time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and get this orange asshole out of office?

And speaking of orange assholes, Milwaukee has a statue dedicated to Trump:

20170504_103121

Trump’s orange anus

Thank god it’s Friday!

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Postal Service shouldn’t be losing money

The news is that the United States Postal Service had a third quarter loss of $2 billion.

Many think the Post Office is simply a losing proposition. The opposite is true. Revenues for the USPS are up overall 2.2%! Package deliver revenue rose 6.6%. Standard mail revenue was up 5.1%.

So you ask, if the Post Office is doing so well, why are they doing so poorly?

The answer is Congress. They just don’t have a clue. For instance, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) said, “The Postal Service’s latest reported loss illustrates the urgent need for postal reform to prevent a taxpayer funded bailout of the Postal Service. Unfortunately, some in Congress still have not come around to the need to allow the struggling institution to right size itself. In fact, just last week, 22 senators asked for a renewed moratorium on mail processing facility consolidations, consolidations that would enable the Postal Service to save hundreds of millions of dollars each year.”

Even Issa doesn’t get it. Or he’s deliberately ignoring the truth. The Post Office should be breaking even or even making a small profit, but it isn’t.

Why? Is it because Congress won’t let them downsize?

No! Its because the Postal Service is the only government agency that has to PREFUND its retiree health benefits under a 2006 law (which coincidentally is when the USPS started losing money). The Postal Service has to prefund those benefits to the tune of about $5.8 billion a year.

No other public or private entity is affected by that law — only the Post Office. All other government and most private companies have a “pay-as-you-go” system, whereby they pay the premiums as they are billed.

Because of this burdensome law, the Postal Service has operated at a loss 21 of the past 23 quarters. And those two quarters were when Congress rescheduled the prefunding payments!

So you have to ask yourself Why? Why is the Postal Service being singled out?

And why is Congress too stupid to realize they caused this mess in the first place?

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Who really is the worst president evah?

“Obama is the worst president since WWII!” That’s the takeaway from a recently released poll, which, I’m sure, Fox News has been covering gleefully non-stop.

But lets think about that. Earlier today I showed you why you should dismiss this particular poll. Now, let’s consider each president and judge them on their merits, shall we?

Harry S Truman. Here was a man who not only couldn’t afford a middle name, for most of his life he couldn’t even afford a period after the S! That’s right. He had to borrow one from the editors of the Chicago Style Manual. And just try to forget that he dropped not just one, but two atomic bombs upon fellow human beings as the only solution to ending the war. Years later, he was overheard saying, “It never occurred to me to just say, ‘Please.'”

Dwight D. Eisenhower. Great general, bland president. I mean, does anyone have any impression of him beyond the slogan, “I like Ike”? I’m stiflingly yawns just thinking about him. Seriously though, he created the Interstate Highway System, NASA, and despite Al Gore’s claims otherwise, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which led to the Internet. And even though he created the communist domino theory that was used as justification for entering Viet Nam, he redeemed himself by being opposed to Joseph McCarthy and his communist witch hunts.

John F. Kennedy. A war hero (who hasn’t seen the movie “PT109” starring Cliff Roberton). He had a gorgeous wife and still got to sleep with Marilyn Monroe. He was the only President to win a Pulitzer, until President Obama. He created the Peace Corps. He challenged America to put a man on the moon and we did it. He brought a youthful style and vigor to the Presidency that was definately missing from the Eisenhower years. We call his presidency Camelot, for God’s sake. JFK was everything except bulletproof. He was so charismatic the nation still mourns him a half century later.

Lyndon Johnson. The only reason JFK picked him as a running mate was to win Texas. Had he given serious consideration to “a heartbeat away” JFK would have picked someone intelligent. Only two things come to mind when people think about Johnson, if they bother to think about him at all, and that’s how he would lift his basset hounds up by their ears and how he constantly showed his appendectomy scar while saying, “Not as cool as a bullet in the head, but its all I got.”

Richard M. Nixon. The “I am not a crook” crook. Highlights of his presidency include opening communications to China and saying, “Sock it to me?” on “Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In.” The lowlights include Watergate, 18 missing minutes of tape, and having a running mate in Spiro T. Agnew who was an even bigger crook than he was. Nixon single-handedly destroyed the nation’s faith and trust in it’s government in general and.the office of the President in particular.

Gerald R. Ford. If not for Chevy Chase falling down all the time, we never would have even noticed someone had replaced Nixon. People would say, “Who is Chevy Chase imitating?” “The President.” “No. That’s nothing like Nixon.” “Nixon resigned. He’s no longer President.” “Dude! That’s far out.” Ford’s legacy is his “WIN!” program, which stood for “Whip Inflation Now!” It was a program designed on the wish theory, that if we all wished hard enough, the economy would improve. America did wish hard enough and Ford failed to win reelection.

Jimmy Carter. Carter was a surprise victor in the 1976 election. America wanted a Washington outsider, so they elected an unknown peanut farmer. What they got was a rerun of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” featuring the zany antics of Carter’s drunk brother, which included marketing “Billy Beer,” while the President himself fended off attacks from a killer rabbit while lusting in his heart. And on a serious note, lets not forget the Iran Hostage Crisis and the rescue attempt that went horribly wrong with helicopters crashing and burning in the desert, which was no surprise since Carter had slashed the military budget and everything was held together with bubblegum and bailing wire.

Ronald Reagan. The Great Communicator to some, the Teflon President to everyone else because it seemed no matter what stupid shit spewed out of his mouth, none of it stuck to him. Here is a brief list of the bullshit that happened on his watch: Iran/Contra. Catsup named a vegetable. Nancy running things via astrology. Referring to the Soviet Union as the evil empire and the infamous announcement, “We begin bombing in 5 minutes.” The Invasion of Granada, so strategically important to America. Trying to outspend the USSR in defense, including billions wasted on a pipe dream known as Star Wars. Tripling the Federal Deficit in the process. Nearly 11% unemployment. Giving amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants (you decide if that’s a plus or minus). Funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan in a shadow war against the Soviet Union, and in the process creating the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Cutting the taxes on the rich from 70% to 28%, which forced him to raise taxes on the Middle Class 11 times to make up for it. Raiding the Social Security Trust Fund and leaving a note that said, “IOU $2.7 trillion, Love Ronnie.”

George Herbert Walker Bush. He was President? Seriously, who remembers this? He got us into the first Gulf War to save our free access to Kuwaiti oil, but it was measured in days, not months or years. If one thing can be said, Bush knew when to pull out (just not always soon enough as we’ll see when we get to the 43rd President.) What defined his presidency was the promise “Read my lips, no new taxes” which became a joke when he broke it.

William Jefferson Clinton. He tried his best to be like JFK, but Hillary was no Jackie-O and Monica Lewinski was no Monroe. He did outdo JFK’s sexual conquests in one regard: Clinton was the only president to ever raise taxes retroactively, thereby screwing the entire nation. Crime decreased every year of his Presidency, while the number of federal prisoners doubled. He inherited the largest budget deficit in American history and turned it around leaving a $127 billion surplus. Came up with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And redefined the definition for sexual relations.

Richard “I’m a Dick” Cheney. Um. Oh. Sorry. I guess he never officially held the office of president, did he? Nevermind.

George W. Bush. C’mon! Obama came in worst ever when this man-child was in the running? Bush II was an international embarrassment. He was a drunken frat boy who couldn’t even swallow a pretzel without choking. He even barfed on the Prime Minister of Japan. There were no WMDs. He bankrupted us fighting two wars we had no business in, one simply begun to finish what his Daddy couldn’t. If someone went to Hollywood and proposed a movie about an utter buffoon rising to hold the most powerful office in America, no one would have taken a chance on it because it was so unbelievable. But we all lived through it! Dozens of comedians became famous doing Bush II and not one of them had to write any skits, they just had to be him; they’d laugh like him, act like him, talk like him, and quote him, and audiences laughed hysterically. They had to, laughing kept everyone from crying at the realization that the joke was really on America because our leader was one big international punch-line. OK, emotions aside, the Bush II legacy is: He took more vacations than any other president in history. Used torture to interrogate prisoners. Wiretapped millions of Americans without warrants. Outsourced the war to contractors who weren’t bound to follow Iraqi or American military laws. Failed to act on an Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing called, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” The price of oil quadrupled under his watch. He was a Draft dodger. He took Clinton’s budget surplus and spent it like a drunken sailor, leaving Obama a $1.2 trillion hole. Poverty increased by 26.1%.

Barack H. Obama. A President whose entire presidency, even his life’s history, is nothing but lies and fabrications promulgated by right wing spin doctors, bigots, and conspiracy nuts. The opposition blames him for everything that goes wrong anywhere in the world and discredits him for anything that goes right. An obstructionist House blocked any and all legislation, including jobs bills that would actually help Americans get back to work, in a deliberate attempt to make President Obama look bad. He gets blamed for an economic collapse that was caused by his predecessor’s idiotic policies and he gets blamed because the recovery isn’t happening fast enough (again getting blamed by the Republicans as they cause obstruction to anything that might fuel the recovery). So honestly, how can the man even be judged when he hasn’t been given a fair shake? When he’s had these kinds of odds against him? When an entire political party fully admits their sole goal is to ensure Obama fails?

So now that we know their track records, which president should actually be considered the worst, or best, in the last 69 years? If you were honest in keeping score, the ones at the very top would be Eisenhower and Kennedy. The ones at the very bottom would be Nixon, Reagan, and George Dubya Bush. Obama, at this point, should come out in the middle somewhere. Probably closer to the top than the bottom, but seriously, it is far too early to be making judgments upon his legacy. History will remember him for the Affordable Care Act, eliminating Osama Bin Laden, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” creating new fuel economy standards, and investing more than any other administration in renewable technologies, while battling against unprecedented personal attacks fueled by ignorance, racism, and bigotry.

And there you have it, a brief history of American Presidents since World War II.

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Worst President Evah?

A recent poll put out by Quinippiac University questioned 1,446 registered voters, 73% of whom were white, over the phone.

The consensus of this poll? That President Barrack Obama is the worst president since World War II. At least that’s the buzz from all the news outlets.

But the news doesn’t analyze these things. They just take the AP feed and or the university’s PR release and run it as is.

In other words, they give you the results while running attention-getting (and website click-through attracting) headlines, like “Obama’s the worst!” “GW Bush better than Obama!” and nonsense like that.

Did any bother to mention that the poll queried only 13% of black voters? Probably not.

Now some news outlets might, in an effort to show fairness in the makeup of the respondents that a 73% white majority lacks, provide the claimed political demographics of Republican 26%, Democrat 31%, and Independent 35% and say, “See? That’s a fair and equitable distribution.”

And at first blush, we might agree, until we read that 45% believe Mitt Romney would be doing a better job as President.

Sorry. I should have warned you. I’ll wait while you wipe off your monitor and keyboard, but c’mon! You should know better than to read this while drinking tea.

Back? Good. Now, seriously? Romney? You have to ask yourself, “How the Hell did Romney get 19 more percentage points than the 26% of those who claimed to be Republican?” Because in all honesty, who but hard-core conservatives would admit Romney was good at anything?

The answer is people don’t align themselves with political parties like they used to. So the pollsters asked the wrong question. They instead should have asked if the respondents were Conservative, Liberal/Progressive, or Moderate.

The results would have been more informative of the philosophical breakdown. For one thing, nobody would answer “Moderate” because no one wants to be thought of as wishy-washy, which is what all Americans think of when they think of Moderate. In fact, a picture of Michael Dukakis in a tank wearing an army helmet comes to mind when we think of a Moderate. Laughable.

For another, many people who claim to be Independent really aren’t. Not in the least. Every Independent, when you listen to them or watch what they post on social media, either skews to the right or to the left, but never ever in the middle. Most Tea Party members consider themselves Independent, not Republican, as do many Libertarians, but both share many conservative beliefs with Republicans.

So combine the 73% white with the fact that 45% actually think Romney wasn’t a complete asshole, and you end up with a poll that has as much credibility as a poll asserting most Americans want genetically-altered food without any GMO labeling only to discover the majority of respondents were actually employees of Monsanto.

Remember also, polls are just a snapshot in time, so you have to ask yourself, “What was happening from June 24 to June 27, 2014?” The answer is: Obama gave a talk on working families and said women of newborns should get paid leave (Gasp! That’s socialism!) there was escalating violence in Iraq which led to discussions of sending more troops (OMG! Bush had that won, now look!) the IRS commissioner was being grilled on the Hill (Obama is giving them marching orders to investigate everyone in the Tea Party!); to name just a few news items that would skew opinion against any standing President.

Given the apparent bias in the sampling, this poll needs to be taken with a large helping of salt. If nothing else, this poll and the furor surrounding it, is worth a good laugh.

Don’t take it seriously. But how could you when it came to the conclusion that Ronald Reagan was the greatest president since 1945?

Am I right?

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Of shutdowns, budgets, and debt ceilings

We’re still in a government shutdown, thanks to the Republicans and their heavy-handed, black mail strategy to force President Obama to defund a LAW that they were incapable of defeating through legal, constitutional means.

But now, the rhetoric is ramping up as we approach the deadline for raising the Debt Ceiling Limit.

Republicans, already the most hated human beings on the planet, more so than even fundamental Islamic terrorists or child molesters, are trying to use this new crisis as leverage for their failed Tea Party agenda.

Recently, House Speaker, Republican Representative John Boehner actually said, “We can’t raise the debt ceiling  without doing  something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means. The idea that we can continue to spend money that we don’t have and give the bill to our kids and our grandkids would be wrong.”

What? Hello! John? Ever hear of the austerity fiscal policy known as “Sequestration?” If not, let me refresh your memory. Sequestration were automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that were supposedly so odious, so unappealing to Democrats and Republicans alike, that they’d be forced to come together and hammer out a real budget with sensible spending cuts and tax raises.

That never happened. The coming together part, I mean. Sequestration did happen. We’re in the middle of it and we’ll be in the middle of it for the next eight years. Sequestration will last until 2021.

But obviously John doesn’t remember that. Or maybe he doesn’t care. He doesn’t think Sequestration goes far enough and he wants to cut more. Economists already think Sequestration will make our recovery slow down. More cuts would be even more harmful to the economy and jobs.

So when Boehner says we can’t raise the debt ceiling without first addressing spending, one wonders: is he even paying attention? We have addressed spending cuts. Severely.

If America is paying attention, they’ll realize that Boehner, the Tea Party Republicans, and their puppet masters — the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist — don’t care one whit about balancing the budget. All they care about is destroying the one thing they haven’t been able to defeat since it became law on March 21, 2010. They’re like Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful LIfe” trying to destroy the Building and Loan, which helped the poor and disadvantaged get homes. But in our little drama, the Republican Mr. Potters are trying to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), which in turn is going to help the poor and disadvantaged receive the healthcare they desperately need.

As George Baily said to Mr. Potter, “You sit around here and you spin  your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn’t, Mr. Potter! In the… in the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.”

it’s time we told the Tea Party, “And that goes for you too!” It’s time we told Norquist, “And that goes for you too!” It’s time we told the Koch Brothers, “And it goes for your too!”

It’s time we squashed those scurvy little spiders, America.

It’s time to get rid of the obstructionists and get back an America that works together toward a better future.

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