Some late May politics and social issues…

Will the House impeach President Trump?
I still think that Fareed Zakaria raises some good points. But as the Muller Report gets digested and summarized..

More and more Democrats (and a Republican) in the House are clamoring for impeachment. I had wondered if there were enough votes, given that there are about 30 moderates representing reddish CDs. Fivethirtyeight thinks that there *probably* are.

Note: Nancy Pelosi is probably wise to slow-walk this.

I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. Note that Trump admitted (albeit, probably unwittingly) that Russia helped him win.

What I find interesting is that so many conservatives are fine with Trump praising a ruthless dictator who executes even his own officials. One was just recently executed.

And I admit that I am disgusted with Trump’s relationship with the military and how there seems to be little push-back (this is about the Navy, at least at first, trying to ensure that Trump didn’t see the ship name “John McCain”. Talk about a “triggered snowflake.”

Other issues

Thank you, Meryl Streep, for pushing back on this “toxic masculinity” nonsense.

Political correctness on campus: yes, some students ..AND FACULTY..will reject science if they think that the science in question runs counter to what they think “ought” to be true. Biology catches this from several angles: religious nutters can’t deal with evolution, and the woke can’t deal with the fact that humans aren’t blank slates.

I think that online discussions aren’t helping matters. I wonder if overuse of Twitter is leading me to stat thinking in slogans and catch phrases. There is some research that suggests that Twitter could make you dumber.

Why is Biden doing so well (for now)

Joe Biden appears to have a sizable lead in the polls. Yes, it is early, and it could be due to name recognition. But the “woke wing” of the Democratic party appears to be, well, a bit stunned.

Well, it might be those, well, misguided voters who think that Biden will appeal to enough “Obama to Trump” voters to flip the states back. Will Bunch writes:

As someone who, by scribbling notes at today’s rally, has now officially covered 10 presidential elections, I wondered if the obsession with “electability” — voting for someone not because he excites you but you think he excites people who aren’t like you — can be a dangerous trap. Just ask Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton — each crowned before they weren’t elected.

Biden’s DJ probably should have ditched the Stevie Wonder for some Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, because this was a crowd that clearly wanted to party like it’s 2015, when Obama seemed to have everything under control and Biden was his wingman. A small part of that may be a craving for the center-left politics of the two men. More of it, I think, is a simple dream of a decent human being in the Oval Office again.

But a lot of the craving for 2015 is likely a desire to return to a world where bright May Saturdays were for softball games and cookouts where no one was rolling their eyes over the latest presidential tweet — where for the most part people didn’t think about politics at all. I was struck Saturday by how many people walked out of Biden’s speech before it was even over — praying that their affable Uncle Joe had things under control, and that we don’t get fooled again.

The poor “woke” liberals can’t understand it:

But getting elected is not about appealing to the bland median. It’s about appealing to the people who actually feel motivated to turn out and vote.

The Democratic Party of 2019 does not look much like Joe Biden. Women, African-American, Latino and Asian voters are all much more likely to say they support Democratic candidates than Republican ones. White voters, male voters and especially white male voters generally support Republicans.

Those assumptions about electability reflect entrenched biases more than political science, and have a dash of arrogance to boot. An electable candidate, the thinking goes, has to be authentic and broadly appealing. But authenticity itself is coded as white and male when it’s defined by white men.

You see…the dumb voters are currently being fooled by white men who define what is electable and what isn’t!

I mean really…Joe Biden just isn’t…well…that “woke”:

Former vice president Joe Biden defends his support for the 1994 crime bill that many blame for mass incarceration of blacks. He declares that most Americans are “satisfied” with a private insurance system reviled by the left. He justifies the North American Free Trade Agreement as a pact that “made sense at the moment.”

And to the dismay of many liberals, he won’t call for a study of slavery reparations, saying the nation has other ways to fight racism.

In his opening weeks as a presidential candidate, Biden has rejected much of the conventional wisdom that drove the first stretch of the Democratic nomination fight, refusing to play to the party’s liberal wing, focus on the wrongs of the past or call for revolutionary transformation.

To the surprise of many, he has been rewarded with a lead in the polls that, so far at least, has proven durable and steady. As a result, his candidacy is challenging assumptions about what Democratic voters want in the era of President Trump.

At its heart, Biden’s campaign is a gamble that his rivals are wrong in seeing the current Democratic Party as liberal, angry and ready for revolution — a case he made in unusually pointed terms at a rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.

“I know some of the really smart folks say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity,” he said. “They say Democrats are so angry that the angrier a candidate can be, the better chance he or she has to win the Democratic nomination.

“Well, I don’t believe it.”

But this latter article seems a bit more thoughtful than the previous two that I quoted:

That raises the question of whether the party’s center of gravity lies less with vocal activists than with a quieter group of voters that is less likely to join Twitter or show up at campaign events. “His candidacy may be different,” says Biden’s campaign pollster John Anzalone, “But it is the one that is working.”

Yes. Many of us despise Trump. But that doesn’t mean that we want the perpetually outraged and triggered running things either.

I remember feeling down about the 2016 election but then thinking: well, all of this “women are going to get Trump…their anger will be heard, blah, blah, blah” flopped, bit time. And I was worried that instead of thinking that the old “shut up and listen to me as I wag the finger in your face” tactics failed and that we should try something different, that people would just double down on what didn’t work before.

Yes, I know what we won’t win the “white male working class” vote (though we might do a bit better) but that isn’t the point. Frankly, the “white men are the enemy” thrust is a real turn off to me, even if they invite me to be “one of the good ones” (i. e., an “ally”). And it is my guess that this is not what many Democratic primary voters are looking for; the D electorate is NOT twitter.

But time will tell. Frankly, I am hoping that my favorite candidate (Amy Klobuchar) or second favorites (Kamala Harris, Corey Booker) can make inroads; I honestly think that we need new blood. But…I think that I can understand Joe Biden’s appeal.

Run to Remember 2019

For the first time in 3 years, I did this race. 2 years ago I had a graduation to go to and last year I was just coming off of an heel injury. Stormy weather had drove me inside this week for 6.4 mile runs on the Riverplex track and that actually had me feeling fresh for this race..much to my surprise.

I picked up Tracy, got there and warmed up for a couple of miles..and got to talk to some runners.
Facts: 27:12 (8:31. 8:30, 9:16 (uphill), 0:54 for 27:12 (fastest since July 2016); I wilted on the final uphill sections and got passed several times..and yes, Pat O got me there too.
I really didn’t feel that bad at the start and tried to keep something resembling a run; I tried to keep the wheels turning. The out and back portion saw me see several friends. But on that last uphill; I did have the “umpf” to give a bit more. I really think I could have gotten those final 13-15 seconds with a better effort.

The race does feature a good spread afterward. One thing though: they start with a ceremony (it is to honor police officers killed in the line of duty) and while it is a touching, moving ceremony, it does mean that you start at about 8:15 instead of the billed 8 am, so plan your warm up accordingly. And this remains one of my favorite races, both for the race and the cause.

Past Run to Remember results (final mile IS uphill, but I need to get tougher than this)

2019: 27:17 8:31, 8:30, 9:16 (26:18) 0:54 place: 67/273, 49/143 men, 3 of 9 AG.
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

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.


The day was picture perfect but I showed up to the race fatigued, though my legs felt ok when I woke up. But something is going on; during the last mile I just jogged and walked; it was as if I had full body fatigue.
Ironically, this was my best race of 2012 and 2014, and so far, my worst of 2015.

During the last mile (somewhat uphill) I basically gave up and walked and jogged. There were some well built guys that I wanted to stay with but couldn’t. No endurance…not this kind anyway.

I think that I am missing the “tempo” workout; those sustained 5-6 mile runs at 9-10 minutes per mile that I have done in the past but quit doing as of late.

Barbara walked 1 mile and Tracy also went with us. Socially, I enjoyed it. It was fun to talk to Debbie, Cassie and Mike.


Weather: cool (50), breezy. Course: out and back with a loop; slightly downhill out (with the wind); uphill and against the wind on the way back (note the splits).

I went with Tracy to this race.
Upon warming up, I felt MUCH better than I did last week; backing off a bit seemed to help. Many of my usual “targets” (runners I race) were at a different race, but I saw Jerry Kolb (very tall) and made it a “stretch goal” to beat him and a “stretch goal” to crack 24. I accomplished neither. Still, finishing 35 out of 343 isn’t that bad, and only 5 women beat me (only 4 if you count “chip times”). And this was my fastest 5K since August 22, 2009 (almost 5 years ago!)

We went out and I made an effort to hold back. You do down some small, rolling hills so I wasn’t surprised to find a faster than usual 1 mile split. I just tried to maintain and keep Jerry in sight (he is very tall). Then came the out and back part on Grandview. There were two older runners just burning it up. I like this stretch because you can see most of the field; I saw Tracy headed out.

At around mile 2 (another 7:37; level mile) I saw Jerry faltering a bit so I really made an effort. But now we were facing the wind and going back up the hill…paying for the help we got going out.
We were then side by side for about 1/4 of a mile; he got ahead, faltered and I caught him, then he got ahead again. A lady was with us as well. And I was feeling it too; I didn’t have the confidence to try to “red line it”; I knew that I’d have a decent time by “maintaining”. Still, I had something left.

That last little hill feels tough and when I got to mile 3, I did NOT sprint when I saw the clock hit 23:59. I lost three places in that last .1 of a mile; that shouldn’t happen.
Afterward, I went back for Tracy and got teased a bit by Cassie (and her cool socks). Oh yes, afterward I noticed Cassie tugging on her spandex shorts. 🙂

Tracy finished in just over 40 minutes.

We then enjoyed the good spread of food; Tracy had pizza where I had 1/2 of a bagel (quality bagel), a couple of small yogurts, a couple of bananas and an apple. Good food.
The cause: funds for families of law enforcement officers who were killed in action. Can’t think of a better cause.

I can recommend this race without reservation: well organized and a lovely course with just a few hills to keep you honest.

Future: this course is good for me (I ran my fastest 2012 race on it) so there is no guarantee I’ll get rid of those 18 seconds. I am going to have to work at it; perhaps add some 800 meter repeats.


The facts: time: 24:34 (7:55 mpm), splits: 7:54, 7:45 (15:39), 8:04 (23:44), 0:50. The finish was slightly net uphill, though the course was out and back. This was my fastest time since September 2009 and an improvement over my times earlier this year and a major improvement over last year’s time. Weather: perfect (62 F). Place: 5 in the Age Group, 66 of 272.

Total run: 2 mile warm up, 1 mile walk to cool down.

The event itself: I had thought about doing the Lake Run (the flagship event of the Bloomington-Normal Lake Runner’s club) and while that race (a 1/4 marathon or a 12 K) IS an excellent event, I chose this one because it was in town and it made it possible to make a 10 am political event in Peoria (I’ll talk about that in another post).

It turns out that The Run to Remember is a nice little race; I am planning on doing this one on a regular basis. It is a fund raiser for a group that supports the families of law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty so there is some ceremony (10-15 minutes worth). Hence I was glad that I took a longer warm up than normal (over 2 miles actually) and that I used the bathroom late. But the ceremony was fine and touching.

The course itself is an out and back through some beautiful little neighborhoods; it crosses Prospect on Grandview drive and does one of those park-like loops for an out an back. I’d call the course “gently rolling” with a few micro-hills (20-30 feet?) and it is all on what I call “soft pavement” (tarmac rather than concrete).

My race Though I was a bit alarmed at how heavy legged I felt during the first part of the warm up, I was feeling great toward the end of it (21-22 minutes of easy running). I knew that I’d do fine if I kept the early pace under control.

I lined up at about where I was to finish and we were off. I was a bit surprised that I got passed so much in the first 1/2 mile or so, but I was to see most of these people again. 🙂

I stayed steady and paid attention to effort; I was pleasantly surprised to be under 8 minutes (7:54) at mile 1 but that included some downhill. I gradually started to pick things up a minute or two later and found myself starting to move up. Then I saw the leaders on their way back; that is ALWAYS humbling. 🙂

I kept moving up and, after seeing many people on the way back (some I would see again!) I rounded the little parking traffic circle on Prospect. I got to yell for some ahead of me (e. g. Jim David, Kevin McGuire) and some behind me (e. g. Theresa Shultz, Shelia Hansen) which meant that I wasn’t running too hard. My yelling is, in part, an effort check.

I saw that I was at 12:xx and figured that I might FINALLY break 25 and so picked it up again.

Mile 2: 7:45 and I was rolling; now I started to look for people to race (and there were plenty). I aimed for a well built young man, a tall guy in a yellow shirt and a young woman in cropped spandex shorts; I was to finish ahead of none of them though I caught the lady only to be outkicked by her at the end and I got outkicked by the young man starting at about mile 3. But they kept me from getting too lazy.

The uphill mile slowed me a bit (8:04) and I knew that sub 25 was mine; I didn’t have the mental courage to attempt a sprint in the last .1 miles though. I have to practice that.

Injury update: early on, I felt just a small twinge in my non-operated knee (left) but paying attention to stride length helped that to go away.

Springdale and and old Running Friend: Steve Foster, RIP (11 years later)

Below lies a post I made on a different blog 11 years ago.

This morning, I ran my course from the Riverplex front entrance, through the Gateway Building and around the fountain, down the path, around the gooseloop, through Springdale, up the mausoleum hill, then up the hill to Prospect, through Glenn Oak park, down the hill past the Ingersoll statue and back. That reminded me of some of the runs I used to take with Steve Foster (and his good buddy Jack Stone) and how Steve would always be ahead of me when we got to the hill and he’d take the opportunity to walk up it. I never gave him grief about it because..well, he WAS ahead of me. 🙂

Today, on a crisp (high 30’s-low 40’s) sunny day, this course took me 1:44 to do. When I was running it with Steve (and often Jack), it would have taken us 1:10-1:15 to do the same course. It turned out to be 8.6 miles. Weight: 184 before running (Riverplex scale, no clothes)

Back in December 2006, I had blogged about finding out that a running friend had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Today I had some sore legs and so decided to take a yoga class prior to trying to run. The class went ok, though I irritated the “behind the knee” area of my left leg when I did backbend; I’ve had some trouble with this recently. So, I had to stop running 22 minutes into my run and walk it in.

I was a bit irritated and feeling sorry for myself; I did the old “my stupid body is made of tissue paper and spit” routine.

Then, just as I got back to the Riverplex, Jack Stone (a fellow runner who is built like an NFL linebacker) called out to me; he wanted to talk.

Steve Foster, one of my running buddies and an active Illinois Valley Strider member, has pancreatic cancer.

Steve’s cancer was inoperable; he was given until June 2007 to live.

But Steve never gave up. After the unsuccessful operation (which did add to the quality of his life), he continued to go to the Riverplex and walk. He also swam and lifted weights; as of the fall of 2007 he was still doing that.

But eventually the cancer became too much; he became bedridden earlier this year (2008) and died a couple of nights ago.

EAST PEORIA – Steve Foster, 54, of East Peoria, Ill., died at 9:50 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2008, at his residence.

He was born Jan. 19, 1954, in Peoria, Ill., the son of Henry J. and Merry C. (Justice) Foster. He married Cathy L. Donath in Chillicothe, Ill., on Sept. 23, 1972. She survives.

Also surviving are his mother, Merry Foster of Chillicothe; one daughter, Carrie A. Foster of East Peoria; four brothers, Mike (Carol) Foster of Peoria, Jim (Vicki) Foster of Morton, Tom (Char) Foster of Chillicothe and Tim (Beth) Foster of Fondulac, Wis.; and one sister, Teresa (Larry) Painter of Chillicothe. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father and one niece.

Steve graduated from the Caterpillar Inc. apprenticeship program in 1977. He was an engineer and worked for Caterpillar in the TBU department in East Peoria. He worked for Caterpillar for 33 years, having last worked in November of 2006.

He received an associate degree from Illinois Central College in December of 1994.

He was a member of the Illinois Valley Striders Club and served on its board of directors. He was also a member of the Peoria Tri-Athletes and was a mentor for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters for 10 years.

He was a singer, songwriter, musician and artist. But most importantly, he was a devoted husband, father and good friend.

Graveside services will be at 12:30 p.m. in St. Joseph Cemetery in rural Chillicothe. Visitation will be from 10 to noon Monday, April 7, at the Weber-Hurd Funeral Home in Chillicothe, Ill.

Memorials may be made to OSF Hospice or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245.

Online condolences may be made to the family at

To see what some of his running buddies had to say, go here.

I’ll say a few words:

My last contact with Steve was when I sent him a letter with a photo of myself doing the 2008 version of the Austin 30K.

My first contact with him was as follows:

Back in 1997, I ran the Eureka “4 mile” race (not the Eureka spring classic; this one was during the summer, I think). It was called the “do two”, and the shirts were tye-dyed singlets with Ronald Reagan’s picture on them.

At the time, my best 4 mile run time was around 28 minutes or so and I hope to beat that.

I followed this tall, skinny, long-haired guy the whole way; try as I might I could not close the gap.

We finished and the clock said 25:XX.

I walked up to him and asked “was your time a bit faster than normal?” He blurted out “that ain’t no 4 miles!” and I burst out laughing.

One other memory: Steve and I took off from the gateway building in hopes of getting 10 miles or so; it was colder than all get out. To make a long story short we made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on Prospect; we were out for something like 2:30 or so and when we finished we hadn’t a clue of how many miles we had run.

Steve and I were on different sides on political terms; yet our discussions were always respectful.

I’ll say one more thing: Steve was one of those who, when you saw them, you started to smile. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you realized how much this guy did for others and you started to ask yourself: “what are you doing to make this community a better place?”

The world (and our community) is a better place because Steve lived here.

Of course, I am sad that he is gone but that is part of the price of having friends.
Maybe I’ll think about him the next time I think of myself as being too busy to lend a helping hand.

How cool is this?

Yes, we’ve seen the first images of a black hole. A lot of top-notch talent worked hard to make this possible. Here is one of these people, who is destined to go down in the science history books:



And in sports: regrettably I had to miss the Bradley Baseball team beating Iowa (though I went to a wonderful lecture on digital privacy and law enforcement/trail matters. If only they were on different nights.


I didn’t sleep all that much; kind of restless for a while.  Still, my weight room session went well.
pull ups: 15-15-10-10, incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, decline: 10 x 165, military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45 standing. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm. Usual planks, headstand, knee stretches (started with 4 lb. medicine ball),..went very well.  Goblet squats: 6 x 30,  6 x 50, 6 x 62 to the sill.

Weight: 187.

Moving right along

Just a workout catch up: Monday: weights only. rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, one of 5), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 165, military: 8 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated (supported), 10 x 90 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm, goblet squats (sets of 6: free, 25, 50, 62 to the sill), planks, knee stretches, etc. Knee: start with the 4 lb. ball.

I ran to and from yoga class, taking the long way home.

I am calling this 10, as I did a couple of unintentional out and backs (on Cooper, and again in upper Glenn Oak Park).  Yeah, it was slow; 1:30 on the way back or something to that effect.  the 2.5 miles there took about 30 minutes.
I was able to knee on the yoga blocks which were stacked on their side.


I can’t imagine doing that

After last Friday night’s trail event (I walked, finished  10 miles muddied but feeling good with a lot left “in the tank”, I though about the 30, mile finishers, the 50, 100, and of course, the 150 and 200 (yes, there is a 200 mile option)

I thought: “I can’t even imagine.”  But here is a critical difference between my saying that and a younger newcomer saying that:  I finished the 30 several times (2003, when it was 50K, and the fall 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015 (latter is not listed due to an “early start”, but it took just under 12 hours), and I finished the 50 twice (12:46 in 2004, 31:3x in 2008…DNF’ed and then came back the next morning to “finish”, and yes, I got credit) and the 100 twice (34:16 in 2005, 47:48 in 2009).   When I DNF’ed the 100 in 2016, I was 15:2x at 50 and came back for 2 more loops the next day..and I also DNF’d the 50 a few years ago.


So yes, I did finish some of these longer events..or at least someone with my name and history did.  I just can’t imagine doing that with my current body. 

Ah…so onward to do what I can this morning.