Wednesday, May 30, 2012

P90X Day 33: Legs & Back

For some reason, this workout seems to be getting harder, not easier. I take that as a good thing. I think it means that I'm doing it right. Most of the lunges are ok. I'm doing them all with weights now, and I may even increase the weights on a couple of them next time. The wall squats are pretty much unbearable, but then, they're supposed to be.

But the pull ups are still killing me. I think my problem is now more mental than physical, though, and it's just something I need to push through. Every time I walk over to the pull up bar, I stare up at it with dread. Then I hop up and I do 3-4 quickly and easily. It's generally not until about the seventh one where the difficulty matches my original foreboding. I don't know why I have this mental issue with them, when they've definitely gotten much easier over the last five weeks. But, I do, and it's something I need to work on.

Ab Ripper X was, well, Ab Ripper X. I am starting to surprise myself here. My sit ups are starting to look more and more like actual sit ups. Still can't do 25 of either set, but I think I did over 10 of each before they started devolving into crunches. Hey, it's progress. Give me another few months, and I may get to where I actually look like the people in the video when I'm doing this workout.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. Kenpo X is tomorrow. Looking forward to a good cardio day, now that I've started making real progress there.

Polling The President-May 2012

It’s that time again. Time for my monthly look at President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) polling figures.

As always, I’ll start with the RealClearPolitics averages. Today, his approval/disapproval number stands at 48.0/47.4. Last month, he was –0.4, today he’s +0.6. That’s barely outside the range of statistical noise, but it is trending the right direction for Obama. And, what I said last month is still true. The good news for the White House is that this number is virtually unchanged over the last several months, and even a bit higher than last August.

I’m a little puzzled as I move on to Right Track/Wrong Track. The four most recent polls end on 5/7, 5/7, 5/20, and 5/20. Not terribly recent. But, that’s the data we have to work with. His numbers here are a dismal 33.8/58.5, which is a –24.7 spread. However, this is a slight uptick from last month, and shows a pretty significant gain over the last year. Still, as I said last month, if I’m a political consultant I’m salivating at the opportunity to run against an incumbent President when less than 34% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction.

Next, I move on to the Consumer Confidence Index from The Conference Board. May’s report was released yesterday, and is very disappointing for the President. May’s CCI is down to 64.9, which represents a 3.8 point drop from April. The other numbers in the report don’t get any better. Only 13.6 percent of consumers say business conditions are “good”, and only 16.6 percent expect conditions to improve over the next six months. Again, the only good news in this report is that these mid 60s numbers are a whole lot better than the mid 40s numbers from last summer. However, the continuing bad news out of Europe is going to be a drag on Consumer Confidence for a while, regardless of what happens here.

Finally, as promised, it’s time to look at some head-to-head matchups with former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the race for the White House. The current RCP average has Obama at 45.7 and Romney at 43.7. There’s good and bad here for both sides. Obama can take solace in the fact that he’s ahead, and that his string of bad polls seems to have abated. Romney can take solace that almost all of these polls are Registered Voter polls which tend to shift Democratic by a net of about 4 points.

Romney should also be happy that 10% of the public remains undecided. Conventional wisdom says that undecideds that break late go to the challenger. But, there’s some recent data that suggests that conventional wisdom may be wrong (late deciders in 2004 went heavy for President George W. Bush (R-USA)). I think a better way to look at it may be that undecideds are closest to “Independents”. So look at how Obama and Romney are polling among Independents to get an idea of how undecideds may go on election day. In just about every poll I’ve seen, Independents are tilted heavily in favor of Romney. This may be the key data point in this year’s election. If the numbers are close (check), and GOP enthusiasm is higher (check), and Indies prefer Romney (check), it’s hard to see how he can lose.

But, until the polls shift to reflect that, we can only go with what we have.

Overall, this is a mixed bag for the President. However, he can definitely point to improvements over the last year. Despite America’s obvious displeasure with Obama and our economic situation, an incumbent with an improving economy (even if the improvement is spotty and weak, or even imaginary) is hard to defeat. NFL owners rarely fire 7-9 coaches, particularly if they were 5-11 the year before. NFL owners fire 5-11 coaches who made the playoffs the year before. If none of these numbers change, I’d give Obama a slight edge in November. Romney’s going to have to move the needle. It looks like he should be able to do so, but he hasn’t yet, and the clock is ticking.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

P90X Mid-term Review

Yesterday, I did Back & Biceps for the first time. Since I did a bonus Cardio X last week, that means that I have now done all the workouts in P90X at least once. That makes me qualified (IMO) to give a mid-term review of the program. I’ll give another one once I complete it.

P90X hypes itself as an eXtreme workout program. Is it? I honestly don’t know. I have nothing with which to compare it. I’ve never done any serious workout or training program in my life. I did a little exercising on my own in college, and was a fairly avid bike rider until I was about 30. But that’s been the extent of it. I’ve never belonged to a gym, never had a personal trainer. In other words, I’ve been a couch potato most of my adult life, and I was even a “wimpy kid” back in high school.

In spite of all of this, I’ve been able to do the P90X program and have fun with it. Now, is it hard? Yes, every single workout is hard, even the stretches. This is the part where I say, “if I can do this, you can too”. And I mean it. Now, can you go from being a couch potato all your life to doing P90X like a pro tomorrow?

Sorry, but the answer to that question is an emphatic “no”.

I started working on my own to get in better shape on December 26th, 2011. As I mentioned in previous posts, I bought a Wii Fit for my kids, and ended up using it every day for myself as well. At first my “workouts” were very light, but I slowly ramped up, adding more and harder exergames, as well as putting in more time every day on my workouts. After four months of this, I felt like I was ready for P90X. I probably could’ve started P90X a month earlier, but I know I would not have been ready back on December 26th.

Still, the extra month helped me get more ready. I was also working on improving my diet in those four months, and it was also a gradual process. I don’t think I would’ve been ready for the P90X diet after three. To be honest, I’m still not perfect about it. I’ve modified it in a way that works for me, but I’m probably not doing it quite well enough to get 100% of the benefits. That will certainly be true during the last phase, when it’s unlikely I’ll be able to do the carb loading. This means I also won’t get 100% of the expected results. So be it.

So, what I’m saying is that I believe that you can do the package if you spend a little time getting ready first. The P90X Lean program is even lighter and easier. No matter what, though, if you’re out of shape like I was, or even worse, then there will be some exercises that will give you problems. Maybe you’re too overweight to go full blast for an hour on the cardio days. Maybe you have bad knees. Maybe you have weak ankles, or limited flexibility. For the most part, I don’t think these things matter. What matters is desire. For just about every single exercise, Tony shows modified methods that are either less or more intense. He’s constantly telling you, “if you need to hit pause, do it”, or “if you can’t get down this far in the lunge, don’t”, etc.

Combine that with the Lean version, which is lower impact, with more emphasis on cardio and less on muscle building, and I believe that anyone can do it. Heck, one of the guys on the Plyometrics (Jump Training!) video has one leg. And even he only does the modified versions on, I think, two of the exercises.

Now, if you do the modified versions, will you get as much out of it? No, of course not. But if that’s all you can do, then you’ll certainly get more out of it than skipping the exercise completely.

You can also modify the program to suit your needs and abilities. Go on to the website, discuss your options with your peers in forums, and with your assigned coach. Just the other day, I listed the workouts that I would do if I was trying to turn P90X into a cardio program.

So, what have I gotten out of it? Too early to say, I think. In terms of muscle and appearance, I don’t think I’ve changed visibly over the last 30 days. I was already thin, so the “Fat Shredder” phase didn’t do much for me. But I can tell you that I’m noticeably in better shape. I can do more pull ups. I can lift heavier weights. I can stretch farther. These changes may not be all that visible on my body yet, but in time they will be. And if not, I honestly don’t care. I’m not trying to get into better shape to pick up girls. I’m trying to get into better shape because I want to live longer. Improved health is my primary goal. Improved appearance is a distant second.

I do have a few minor gripes, though. No program is perfect.

  1. I don’t like the menu. It seems too heavy on breakfast for my tastes, and Phase III is very unfriendly to diabetics. Hence my modifications.
  2. They move very quickly from one exercise to the next on most of the videos, and with little demonstration or explanation. In time, you learn to appreciate this. You don’t need an explanation of Mary Katherine Hamm Lunges or Fifer Scissors or Prison Push Ups, because you know what they are. And it would frustrate you and annoy you to have to sit through it every time. The first time or two through the DVD’s though, you end up doing a lot of watching and rewinding. Or, since it’s your first time through, you’re a little slow doing the exercise and putting whatever accessories you used away. I find myself yelling “wait! wait!” at the TV often the first time I do a workout.
  3. Some parts of the body seem to get a better workout than others. There’s not much on muscle building for lower body.
  4. It’s too short. I was surprised when I realized this about a week ago, but it’s true. Hard to imagine a 90 day program being described as too short, I know. But, yesterday I did Back & Biceps for the first time. I’ll only do it four more times before the 90 days are up. How much progress can you make in a given workout if you only do it five times? More and more I’m convinced that I’m going to take a week or so off after the 90 days are over, then do a second round. 180 days seems like the right number to me.
  5. Cardio is a little light, especially in the Classic version. Both Lean and Doubles have more cardio, but there are other workout programs such as Insanity that are much more cardio intensive. If that’s your goal, you should probably look at something else.
  6. Time. The shortest workout, Cardio X, is 45 minutes. Back & Biceps is 50. All of the others are around 60, and three times a week you get an extra 15 minutes of Ab Ripper X. Then Yoga X is even longer than that, clocking in at 92 minutes. You have to really work to work it into your schedule.

Those are the cons. Really none of those are major, at least to me. YMMV. A short list of pros:

  1. You can monitor your progress in nearly every workout and see your week-to-week and even day-to-day improvement
  2. It’s fun. Tony’s a good coach. He has just the correct amount of direction, discipline and humor. The workouts are intense, but always in a light-hearted manner.
  3. I do believe that anyone can do it.
  4. My blood sugar/blood pressure/cholesterol results alone are incredible. Ask my doctor.
  5. The day-to-day variety keeps it from getting boring. The last month before I did P90X I did a lot of cardio boxing. After two weeks of it I was bored out of my mind. Pretty much the same thing every day. By the end of the month, I hated it. There are some exercises in P90X that I “hate”, but only because they’re so intense, not because it’s hard to motivate myself to do them.
  6. I may not be able to see much of the results in the mirror yet, but I can feel them. There’s no flab in my legs or arms. If I press on my stomach, I can feel my ab muscles tighten. That’s a new thing for me. I’ve never felt that in my life. Feels a little weird to be honest. But, in a good way.
  7. Accessories are cheap. I’ve spent a little money on weights. The pull up bar was cheap as were my push up bars. But you can do most everything just with resistance bands if you want. And you don’t even need the push up bars. I probably won’t start seriously using them until my second time through. I currently just use them on a couple of the exercises.

Anyway, that’s my mid-term review. I say “Bring It”.

I was going to include the “How to Bring It” video. I know I watched it online before I started, but now I can’t find the entire video online anywhere. Strange. I’ll keep looking and update this post if I can find it.

UPDATE: How To Bring It Video

P90X Day 32: Yoga X

Really, nothing new to report here today. I noticed again during the hamstring stretches that I can stretch a tiny bit farther than I could a few weeks ago. On the other hand, I had much more trouble with the balance poses today than I usually do. Your body changes every day. Next week I’ll do the balance poses fine, most likely.

The first 45 minutes are still brutal. New yoga goals: 1) be able to do half-moon and twisting half-moon without falling down, 2) be able to do twisting triangle and twisting half-moon and have it look like that’s what I’m doing.

Tomorrow, Legs & Back.

Up next, mid-term review.

Black Is White, Up Is Down, Right Is Wrong, And…

Aaron Walker is in custody as I write this.

Who is Aaron Walker? He’s one of the bloggers who has been harassed by Brett Kimberlin. I’m sure you remember who that is.

He has been taking into custody for violation of the following peace order:

peace-order1-e1338309632429

What did Walker do? He blogged about Kimberlin’s attempt to frame him and silence him. Today a judge agreed with Kimberlin that Walker has no First Amendment rights.

For years now, Glenn Beck has been saying “you will wake up one morning and no longer recognize your country”. Today is the day.

Stacy McCain (who has been forced into hiding, due to being another blogger facing Kimberlin’s wrath) reports:

FROM AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
Aaron Walker, whose complaint against convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin became a conservative cause célèbre this past week, was reportedly taken into custody today after a court hearing in Rockville, Maryland.

One person who attended the hearing in Montgomery County District Court said that Kimberlin asserted that Walker’s continued blogging represented a violation of a “peace order” Kimberlin had obtained against the Virginia attorney, who says Kimberlin tried to “frame” him for assault earlier this year.

During the course of the hearing — which reportedly lasted about an hour — Judge C.J. Vaughey appeared to become increasingly hostile toward Walker, who was taken into custody when the hearing concluded.

On Thursday, May 17, Walker published a 28,000-word account of his experience being targeted by Kimberlin, which soon caught the attention of leading figures in online New Media, including University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, who writes the popular Instapundit blog, and bestselling author Michelle Malkin, who warned her readers, “Please remember: Kimberlin is a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon.”

Further updates may be found on McCain’s blog. As Professor Reynolds says, “read the whole thing”.

Lee Stranahan (one of the organizers behind last week’s “Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day”) has called for an “Everyone Blog About Aaron Walker Day” – right now.

This affects everyone in America. I have blogged in the past that the left hates free speech. I’ve actually been working on a follow-up to that post, regarding Rush Limbaugh, our President, Media Matters for America and their war on Fox News, and the aforementioned Brett Kimberlin.

I’ll finish that up, but later. This is more urgent. The left will use this victory today against free speech (and make no mistake, that’s what it is) to further their goals of shutting up those who disagree with them. Expect the Kimberlin method to repeated as often and in as many places as possible. Without the protection of the First Amendment, all of our other God given rights are assailable.

The battle lines have been drawn. In the end, there will be no bystanders. You will either fight back against this oppressive government control over your life, or you will fall victim to it.

I, for one, have no intention of being a victim. I stand with Aaron Walker.

UPDATE: More info from Patterico. He paints the same description of the shredding of the First Amendment and it’s implications, but with greater detail. Read here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

P90X Day 31: Back & Biceps

Ow.

Ok, that’s out of the way. Did Back & Biceps for the first time this morning. It’s a rough workout, but I can see it possibly replacing Chest & Back as my favorite some day. It really works the upper body. It’s also the first of the workouts that I felt worked my forearms to any significant degree. I enjoyed that because I’ve always felt my forearms look like toothpicks. Not that I want to look like Popeye, but anything would be an improvement.

For once, I nailed the weights pretty much perfectly on all the exercises. I was a little low on a couple, but I realized it after 1 or 2 reps and upped the weight. I was still low on Lawnmowers. You’d think I’d have that one right by now, since it’s also part of Chest & Back, and this is the 4th time I’ve done it, but no. Every week I add five pounds. Every week, I think I’ve got it, and every week, it’s still too light. I started at 20 pounds, because that was all I had initially. This week I did 14 reps at 40. Next week, I’ll do 45. I’m trying to get to the 8 to 10 reps range.

Only one other gave me trouble with the weights, and that was the very last exercise. You’re supposed to 4 sets of 8 reps each of strip-set curls. You’re supposed to start with the maximum weight you can do and drop it a bit with each set. I started with 20, and I’m not sure I could’ve done 25. That meant my last two were 10 and 5. 10 might be ok for the fourth set, but it was too light for the third. 5 is just too light, period. Maybe I could go to 12 and 10. If I can get the first set up to 25, then I think it’ll be a good exercise for me.

BTW, I thought of a new goal today. I’d like to eventually match the weights Tony uses on all of the exercises. For most of them I’m about 20 pounds lighter. So, I’m not going to catch him on this round of P90X, that’s for certain. It seems extremely unlikely that I’ll even catch him on a second round, but it’s not totally out of the question. If I can make it to a third round, maybe I can catch him there.

There are some killer pull ups variations on this workout, and it starts with my nemesis, Wide Front Pull-Ups. If you recall, my goal is to be able to do 10 of those. I did 7 this morning without the chair, and 3 with it. Not quite there, but a huge improvement over week one.

And, afterwards, of course, I had Ab Ripper X. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Yeah, bite me, Nietzsche.

I don’t even remember what tomorrow brings. The days are starting to run together. Probably Yoga X. See you then.

Why I Use Bing Instead of Google, Part 3049

Memorial Day 2012:

google memorial day 2012

 

bing memorial day 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

P90X Day 30: Plyometrics

I did this first thing this morning, just haven't had a a chance to post about it until now. The day before Memorial Day is a busy one in my household.

As I've mentioned numerous times now, the cardio workouts give me trouble. Oh, who am I kidding? They all give me trouble, just in different ways. A better way to say it is that I'm often dissatisfied with my performance during the cardio workouts. Well, either I'm getting better at them or it's getting easier to raise my heart rate. I was "in the zone" pretty much constantly during Plyometrics today, and even managed to do the "Hot Foot" exercise right for the first time.

And, wow, was I pooped afterwards. And totally soaked in sweat. I may just have to burn the clothes I was wearing. I'm not sure they're salvageable. ;) I'm actually starting to like this workout quite a bit. Or, as I say about Ab Ripper X, "I hate it, but I love it." (ok, I stole that quote from Tony Horton without attribution. Err...now I think it's no longer without attribution)

Actually, the most amazing thing about today is that I am pretty much right on target for nutrition. Since I had pizza from my favorite pizza joint for lunch, that's remarkable. I should get some sort of medal for the self-control I showed today.

Tomorrow, Back & Biceps. That's another new one, and I assume Ab Ripper X will be at the end, but I haven't actually looked. Since I'm off work tomorrow, I'll probably do it first thing and try to get out an early post tomorrow. Perhaps I'll even have two tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

P90X Day 29: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Something new! Today is the first time for this workout. So, was it hard? Well, yes and no. The workout I had been doing on this day was Chest & Back. I’ve commented previously that that workout has become my favorite. I doubt Chest, Shoulders & Triceps is going to become my new #1. Still, it was a fun workout. And, I have to say that based upon how I felt two hours after, I got more out of it than I usually do on the first time attempting a new workout.

Still, I had my share of issues with it. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to start P90X by first spending a couple weeks trying out all the various workouts. That way you’d be familiar with all of them and have a baseline before your official day 1. I had my typical issues today: choosing the wrong weight, having to pause and restart an exercise because I wasn’t ready and didn’t fully understand how to do it, etc. It took me close to an hour and a half to do the one hour workout because of all of my pauses. And I’m still not sure I have the proper weight yet figured for all of the exercises. But, I think I’m close.

Speaking of the proper weights, when Tony says “you don’t need a lot of weight for this one”, listen to him! There are several exercises in Core Synergistics and this one, where 5-10 pounds is enough. If you go and pick up some 25s, you’re going to be hating life long before the exercise is over.

So, what did we have today? Lots of curls, flys & presses, and push ups. No pull ups today, but new push up types. One of the push ups was a one handed one. I think the very first time I saw anyone do that was Sylvester Stallone in one of the Rocky movies. I remember thinking to myself “How can anyone do that?” And I’ve never attempted one in my life. Until today. Did I do them? Yes, I did. Don’t have my sheet in front of me, but I think I did 10. Might have been 8. I can’t remember.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. I did find a push up I can’t do. At least not yet. The clap/plyometric one. It could be because my carpet is too thick. I might try it again on a hard floor. But I think I only did 3 where my hands actually came together, and all 3 of those had bad landings. I didn’t even try to get my legs off the ground.

All in all, this was one of the harder workouts, I thought. Oh, who am I kidding? They’re ALL hard.

Afterwards, Ab Ripper X. I swear that one should come with a warning, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter”. It’s been a week and a half since the last time I did Ab Ripper. I was worried that I had slipped some in the interval, but that didn’t really seem to be the case. I don’t think I did quite as well on the sit ups, but it was pretty close. As for the rest, if anything I did a little better than I recall from the last time. It was a good feeling.

Tomorrow, back to Plyometrics, which is another that I haven’t done in a week and a half. Looking forward to it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

P90X Day 28: Phase I Complete

Today was X Stretch again, but more importantly, it was the last day for Phase I. That means we check body fat again. 11.64% today. Down from 12.25% on Day 1. I’d hoped to be a bit lower, but honestly I can’t complain. Getting below 10% at my age is going to be very hard. But I’ll keep plugging.

Also, according to the calcs, I’ve gained about 3/4 of a pound of muscle mass. Again, I’d hoped for more, but from what I’ve seen with others, it does truly look like gains accelerate as you go through the program. Which isn’t surprising. Still, the 3/4 of a pound makes sense, based on the calorie numbers I’ve been running. Seems like I need about 100 calories more a day, maybe slightly less, than I did a month ago. That’s consistent with a gain of slightly less than a pound of muscle.

Tomorrow, my old friend is back. Ab Ripper X. I haven’t done it in a week and a half. I guess I’ll find out if in the last week I’ve gotten better or worse during the break. But, before Ab Ripper X, I get a new workout: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps. I’ve heard conflicting reports about this workout. Some have told me it’s no harder than Chest & Back, just different. Others have told me it’s much harder. Pretty sure it’s the one with the goofy pull ups, and we all know how much I like those. I expect it’s going to be pretty hard. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

Also, the diet changes for Phase II. I lose about 25 g (100 calories) of protein per day, and gain about 50 g (200 calories) of carbohydrates per day. Despite nothing else changing, my total calorie number is supposed to be the same. You figure out how that works.

I’m still fudging the numbers a bit anyway, since I’ve discovered the totals are still too high for me. I’ll probably end up dropping my protein by about 30 g and increasing the carbs by about 30 g. Close enough.

Oh. I just realized I didn’t mention today’s workout at all. It was surprisingly good. I think I stretched farther than I ever have before on almost all of the stretches. It felt quite good. I still don’t like the hamstring stretches, but at least now I have to stretch farther to get the same amount of displeasure from them.

I expect to be totally wiped after tomorrow’s workout. Will let you know.

Stay tuned.

Who is Brett Kimberlin?

Today is “Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day”. Living in Indianapolis, I think I have a little bit different perspective on this sociopath than some, so I’m going to talk about his history.

If you know nothing about his present activities, this is the man who has been harrassing (that’s a mild word for it) conservative bloggers. Among his victims are Andrew Breitbart, Patterico, Liberty Chick, Aaron Worthing, & Stacy McCain. All of these people became his victims merely for writing blog posts about this man and his activities. I encourage you to read the links above. I would quote from them, but there’s too much there. I don’t feel I can properly excerpt any of it. But believe me when I say that his tactics against them have been nothing short of chilling.

Remember this scene from “The Untouchables”? Imagine Brett Kimberlin as Frank Nitti, and you’re getting warm. He’s been far worse than Nitti here though.

 

Anyway, on to the more distant past, and Brett Kimberlin’s initial “claim to fame”.

This is Brett Kimberlin:

Brett C. Kimberlin schemed to elude justice with a series of bizarre plots designed to murder, maim and rob his enemies, create havoc at Speedway and discredit the chief government prosecutor.

On sheets of yellow legal pad, Kimberlin asked another inmate in the Marion County Jail to arrange for the murder of Bernard L. (Buddy) Pylitt, the former first assistant U.S. attorney who coordinated his prosecution.

The offer contained a list of 10 names, including a potential prosecution witness, Robert Scott Bixler. Some names had crosses next to them. These indicated those marked for murder, it was learned.

“There were six to be killed, two or three to be roughed up and one or two were to be robbed”, a source said.

You might ask exactly what charges Kimberlin was facing and why he’d go to this trouble. Here’s your answer. This is Brett Kimberlin:

It was about ten minutes before 10 p.m. on Sept. 1, 1978 when the first two bombs went off. A third exploded at 10:45. They'd been placed in trash cans and dumpsters and no one had been close enough to be hurt, but the blasts were plenty large enough to do some real damage.

Still, it seemed like it might have been the work of teenage boys, who may have been sufficiently startled by their own handiwork to reconsider how they spent their idle time.

But the next night another bomb went off, and then another.

A Speedway High School gym bag had been left by itself, as if forgotten by a player. One of the parents, Carl DeLong, 39, walked over to retrieve it when the bomb went off. His right leg was nearly blown off and his left leg and right hand were severely damaged. Doctors tried to save his leg but had to amputate.

The bomb that maimed Carl DeLong on Sept. 6, 1978 turned out to be the last one, but residents of Speedway didn't know that. Each day people wondered when and where the Speedway Bomber would strike again. As far as the public knew, investigators had no idea who was behind it.

Brett Kimberlin is the Speedway bomber.

The shooter below is not Brett Kimberlin, but believed to have been working for him:

On July 29, 1978, Speedway resident Julia Scyphers, 65, answered a knock at her door. A man she didn't know was standing on her stoop asking about items she'd recently tried to sell at a yard sale. She let him into the garage to look at the items and he shot her in the head.

Mrs. Scypher's husband, Fred, 68, heard the bang and came out in time to see a car pulling out of the driveway. He would later tell police he'd gotten a glimpse of the man who'd come to the door.

Why would Kimberlin want this old lady dead? Good question. This is Brett Kimberlin:

Speedway police were puzzled by the murder. “She had no enemies,” they said.

But she did. Investigators learned her daughter, Sandra Barton was a close…very close friend of Brett C. Kimberlin. The relationship between the pair was complicated by his strange affection for Mrs. Barton’s pre-teen daughter, Debbie

The article I’m quoting was written in 1981. In 1981, that’s how they worded thing like that in the news, “strange affection for Mrs. Barton’s pre-teen daughter.”

Not following me, yet? Let me make it clearer with the following paragraph from the same article. This is Brett Kimberlin:

Investigators learned Debbie accompanied Kimberlin on several long, unsupervised trips, including holidays in Florida, Mexico and Hawaii.

Mrs. Scyphers violently disapproved of Kimberlin’s questionable relationship with Debbie and her mother.

Getting it now? “Strange affection”, “questionable relationship” are euphemisms.The author is trying very hard to state without stating that Brett Kimberlin is a pedophile.

This is also Brett Kimberlin:

Five years later, in 1988, Kimberlin vaulted himself into the national news when he claimed he'd once sold pot to Dan Quayle, then a U.S. Senator from Indiana and candidate for vice president. Quayle vehemently denied the charge and Kimberlin produced no proof beyond making the claim.
Kimberlin was paroled in 1994 after serving about 13 years of his 50-year sentence. But when he made no effort to pay the DeLong judgment his parole was revoked in 1997 and he went back to prison for about four more years, released again in 2001.

Finally, this is Brett Kimberlin:

Kimberlin is the business partner of leftist blogger Brad Friedman who frequently plays fast and loose with the facts. They are both involved with a group called Velvet Revolution which also receives funding from the Tides Foundation.

JTMP has received at least $70,000 in grants from the far-left Tides Foundation since 2006.  The 2006 grant in the amount of $60,000 was for general operations which means JTMP could use the funds without restriction. The 2008 grant of $10,000 was also for general operations.

Another noteworthy donor is singer and liberal activist Barbra Streisand who has given JTMP at least $10,000 through her Barbra Streisand Foundation since 2006 ($5,000 in 2006 for general operations and $5,000 in 2008 for general operations).

Yet another is Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts).  Mrs. Kerry is CEO of the Heinz Family Foundation which has given JTMP at least $20,000 since 2006 (the grant was earmarked for general operations).

See, the “tolerant” left has no problems being associated with Kimberlin. In fact, the left loves him. Why?

Do the people at the Tides Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, and Heinz Family Foundation know that they have given money to an organization run by a litigious, violent, radical felon who appears to delight in intimidating people whose views he disagrees with?

Oh wait. There’s no point in answering that question in the Obama era, is there?

Because he’s on their side, and he practices politics the Chicago way. Wow, and now we’re back full circle to Frank Nitti.

That is Brett Kimberlin.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Math Is Hard

The other day, I presented a lengthy, if somewhat boring rebuttal to the awful piece by Rex Nutting on President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) spending.

@politicalmath presented another one of his wonderful infographics on the subject late last night. If you haven’t seen it, it’s been promoted to Hot Air. I suggest you take a look. It makes many of the same points that I made, and a few more, but does it in a manner that’s a bit easier to read.

@JimPethokoukis has another. And another. Oh, and one more. The first one is inflation adjusted, which is excellent. The other two, point out the spending in terms of GDP. That’s good, but I prefer absolute dollars, at least if we’re rebutting Nutting. I think % GDP is misleading in this case, since GDP has shrunk. But, you may disagree. There are still some very valid points in all of his writings and I encourage you to read it. He makes one great point that I thought of myself just today, and I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Don’t the House Republicans get any credit for fiscal restraint the past two years?

Absolutely. Remember that if Obama had his way, spending would be much higher. Speaker Boehner keeps saying no and is to be commended here.

Finally, today @danieljmitchell posted a piece on the subject. I’m a big fan of Mitchell, but I don’t think this is his best effort. It’s much like mine. Long and meandering. But he makes one stellar point that no one else has made. And, it’s the actual point of this post. I’m going to dig a little deeper on this one point.

I think all four of us have pointed out that TARP is a big factor in the FY09 spending increase. And that since it balloons FY09, that makes the increases in FY10, FY11, and so on, smaller.

But wait…it’s worse than that!

TARP not only made FY09 spending larger, but it made FY10 and FY11 spending smaller.

Yes, you read that right. How? Because TARP repayments were counted not as receipts (revenue), but as negative outlays (spending) in the budget.

FY09’s budget was increased by $240 billion dollars due to TARP spending. FY10 was reduced by $95 billion due to TARP repayments, and FY11 was reduced by $65 billion from the same.

In other words, we spent $160 billion more the last two years than the government has been saying we spent.

Remember my graph?

Yeah, that dip in FY10 below 0? It never happened. When you exclude TARP repayments, FY10 spending is $3.552 trillion, a 1% increase over FY09 ($3.518T). FY11 spending is $3.668 trillion, a 3.3% increase over FY11, a 4.2% increase over FY09, and a whopping 23% increase over FY08!

And remember, I’m not doing anything with FY09’s numbers. And we’ve already established that a) FY09 is a poor baseline due to TARP & stimulus, and b) it’s questionable to assign much of FY09 to President George W. Bush (R-USA) in any event. But, even taking that as Obama’s staring point, his spending increases are $160 B more than Nutting is giving him credit for.

P90X Day 27: Yoga X

Nothing new to say about Yoga X. This is the 5th time I’ve done this workout, I think. I look ridiculous on the last couple of the active poses. I think it’s half moon and twisting half moon. Actually, it’s true of pretty much any of the stuff that begins with Warrior 3.

You have no idea until you’ve done this workout what it feels like when you make it through the first half. Of course, the second half, with Yoga Belly 7, isn’t really any better. But at least it starts off easier, and gives you a break. At the end of that first 45, I am completely drenched in sweat. Hard to believe that yoga could make you sweat so much.

One other minor thing I’ve noticed. I haven’t mentioned it before, but you hear a lot about people who do P90X, and how they’re in constant pain for the entire 90 days. They shouldn’t be. If you’re one of those people that after day 1, you can’t lift up your arms to shampoo your hair, then you’re doing it wrong. You could be pushing yourself too hard, but most likely you’re not eating right. That’s why they make those protein drinks people. A nice big protein drink right after a workout will greatly reduce your pain the next day.

Now, a little pain is ok, especially in the beginning. Heck, even now on day 27, my legs are sore after doing all of the yoga. But in the morning, I’ll be fine. Probably even sooner.

I don’t know why I brought that up. Just did.

Tomorrow, or some time this weekend, I’ll likely have at least one nutrition post. And next Wednesday or Thursday will see my first mini-review of the P90X program as a whole. By that time I’ll have done all the workouts, so I’ll have something to say. My full review will occur on or after day 90. But there will be a preliminary one next week.

Tomorrow, X Stretch and the end of Phase I. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

P90X Day 26: Core Synergistics And…a Bonus

Today was the second time for Core Synergistics. I won’t have to do it again for another 4 weeks. Near the end, Tony says “this may become your favorite workout”. I’m not sure about that, but I will say that if I could only do one workout out of the set, this would be the one.

Why do I say that? It feels like the broadest based and most intense of the workouts. At the end of it, I’m completely exhausted, from head to toe, and I’m drenched in sweat. There is a great mix of cardio exercises and strength exercises. And while there are a few that make me grimace, there are none that are just completely awful. Or any that might cause you to want to make adjustments because of bad knees or week ankles. And there are no exercises that bring on feelings of inadequacy like some of the pull ups can. Everything is doable by just about anyone. It’s just hard, and it’s non-stop. But it works your heart, your legs, your arms, your abs, in short, everywhere.

Now, a brief word about the entire P90X program. I believe I mentioned way back at the beginning that there are actually three different programs. The one I’ve been doing is what most people think of when they say P90X, but it’s really called P90X Classic. There’s another one that de-emphasizes strength training a little bit, in favor of a workout program that gets you lean and fit. It’s a bit easier, and is called P90X Lean (some people call it P90X Lite). The third is the most intense and is called P90X Doubles.

The three different programs flip around the workouts a bit. In Lean, you replace Chest & Back with Core Synergistics. Doubles is the same as Classic, but starting in week 5, you add an additional workout 3 or 4 times a week. This workout is called Cardio X, and you also do Cardio X in lean, replacing Plyometrics.

Why do you care about all of this? You may not, but I’ve been curious about Cardio X for some time. It’s the only workout in the series that’s not part of P90X Classic. Also, I was curious about it in that I was wondering how hard it would be to upgrade to Doubles.

So, today I did a second P90X workout. Not because I felt like the first one didn’t do enough for me. But just because I’m crazy and I wanted to do this Cardio X.

So, what’s Cardio X? It’s a mishmash of several of the others. It has pieces of Yoga X, Plyometrics, Kenpo X, and even Core Synergistics in it. In fact, there’s only one Cardio X exercise that doesn’t appear elsewhere, a variation of Jumping Jacks that Tony calls Wacky Jacks. It’s also the shortest workout, being only about 45 minutes long. I got a good workout from it, and had no trouble getting my heart rate up like I like. I also felt better during the yoga segment than I normally do during yoga. Not sure why. Maybe because it was shorter. Definitely, this was the “easiest” of the workouts, and there’s no doubt that length was a contributing factor to that.

Anyway, this workout is another good one. It’s lighter on strength than Core Synergistics is, and is heavier on cardio (big surprise, given the name). But it’s still another broad workout. If I wanted to turn P90X into a much more cardio based thing, I think I’d do Cardio X, Kenpo X, Plyometrics, and Core Synergistics. And throw in a couple days of yoga and stretches.

And if I wanted to do Doubles, the length is perfect for me. I prefer to do morning workouts, but the standard P90X workouts are 60-75 minutes (90 for Yoga X), and I don’t have that much time in the morning. But 45 minutes I could easily do and have done. The plan for Doubles is that you do a morning Cardio X 3 or 4 times a week, and then your regular Classic workouts every day in the evenings.

So, will I do that? I considered it, but no. As I keep saying, I’m really concentrating on the strength training here, and I would hate to do Cardio X in the morning and then not have enough left in the tank to get a good workout in the afternoon/evening. It’s the second one that’s the more important to me, and I don’t want to sacrifice it. So, I’ll be sticking with Classic, but it’s still nice to know exactly what’s in Cardio X, finally, and how hard it is.

Tomorrow, back to Yoga X. Then Friday is X Stretch and the end of Phase I of P90X. Stay tuned.

CBO Says We’re Between a Rock And a Hard Place

Interesting report released yesterday by the CBO. While it still depends heavily upon the static analysis that I’ve criticized so often in the past, it does still show the hard choices we’re going to have to make in the very near future.

In short, the report says that if the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1, then we will have a short recession in 2013. I think they’re optimistic about the length of the recession, especially taking into consideration external factors such as the economic crisis in Europe, but it’s not a pretty picture regardless.

Under those fiscal conditions, which will occur under current law, growth in real (inflation-adjusted) GDP in calendar year 2013 will be just 0.5 percent, CBO expects—with the economy projected to contract at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the first half of the year and expand at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the second half. Given the pattern of past recessions as identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research, such a contraction in output in the first half of 2013 would probably be judged to be a recession.

However, the CBO says that if the Bush tax cuts are extended, then GDP growth for next year will be around 4.4%. That’s extremely optimistic, considering the current state of the economy and the pace of the “recovery” we’ve had so far. I merely present it as a data point from which to judge the rest of their projections.

Unfortunately, extending the Bush tax cuts is not all sunshine and rainbows, according to the CBO. Since they believe that such an occurrence will limit tax revenue, they see this as a problem down the road. I can’t say it any better than the CBO did, but I will bold some key points:

If all current policies were extended for a prolonged period, federal debt held by the public—currently about 70 percent of GDP, its highest mark since 1950—would continue to rise much faster than GDP.

Such a path for federal debt could not be sustained indefinitely, and policy changes would be required at some point. The more that debt increased before policies were changed, the greater would be the negative consequences—for the nation’s future output and income, for the burden imposed by interest payments on the federal debt, for policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, and for the likelihood of a sudden fiscal crisis. And the longer the necessary adjustments in policies were delayed, the more uncertain individuals and businesses would be about future government policies, and the more drastic the ultimate changes in policy would need to be.

The CBO is going to keep hammering this home (and so will I), until someone other than Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) gets it. The economic path President Barack Obama (D-USA) has put us on leads to financial ruin. And we are very far down the path. Every day we delay doing something about it a) makes it harder to solve, and b) makes the required solutions more drastic.

Now, the CBO thinks that we can avoid this financial ruin by raising taxes. But, unless we can raise taxes to 30% of GDP without destroying the economy (we can’t), then the CBO is wrong. We may need to raise taxes. But we absolutely need to lower spending. And, until we commit to doing the latter, there’s no point in even considering the former.

One final point: politicians, regardless of party, who are ignoring this problem or pretending it doesn’t exist are endangering the future of America. These people must be stopped. Quickly. This is what the elections this November are all about. It’s very simple. You can either vote for America, or against it. The time to choose is now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

P90X Day 25: X Stretch

Nothing really new to say about this workout. It's the fourth time I've done it, I think. I will say this. Yesterday I mentioned that every workout has a few exercises that just make you cringe, when you see them coming up. That's even true for this one. I hate the hamstring stretches. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them. Someday I would love to get to the point where these aren't unbearable. I think I'm a long way from there, though. And it's hard to believe that I'll even be close to that in a mere 65 more days. Still, it's a goal for the future.

More and more, I'm considering doing a second cycle of this when I finish. I think I'll take a week off and then hit it again. Probably won't post about it every day the second time around, though. You're welcome. :) I may do P90X+ instead. I know I won't be ready for P90X2.

Democrats Biggest Problem: Math

You may have seen this article claiming the “Obama Spending Binge Never Happened” or the graph below today from the Democrats.

The graph is from the article. The only problem: the article is complete bunk. It’s interesting reading, but has some serious flaws, some of which I’ll detail.

Also, they retrieved their data from the OMB, and CBO. I have a problem with that, in that the CBO data doesn’t always agree with the Treasury department. I’m not sure why. But, since the Treasury is the last word on our fiscal situation, I’ll go with it for any historical analysis. I will use the latest CBO estimates for FY12-FY17, however.

Why am I going all the way out to 2017? Well, the author of the article wants to pretend that the major pieces of ObamaCare don’t go into effect next year. But they do. Since this is law that has already been passed and signed by President Barack Obama (D-USA), and it’s his signature legislation, it’s fair game to be included.

Now, for my graph, I go year-by-year, rather than look at 4 years at a time. Here’s my graph of percent change in outlays from year to year.

image

Now, there are some interesting things about this graph, to be sure. First, the only period where increases were consistently small was FY93-FY99. We never had a year in there above 4% increase. We on the right like to credit the Republican Revolution of ‘94 for the low deficits late in the decade, but the simple truth is that things were moving in the right direction even before President Clinton’s (D-USA) first budget (FY94). And remember, this has nothing to do with the dot com boom. This is outlays only, not receipts. Clinton and the GOP Congress should be commended for keeping outlays down through this period. Yes, they made lots of military cuts, and that’s one of the reasons things start climbing again after 2000, but the data is undeniable.

Now, notice that big spike for FY09. That represents an 18.2% increase in outlays from the previous year. It’s hard to see, but even FY08 had a 9.1% increase of FY07, so these were two bad years in a row. Of course, the reason for the increase in FY09 is the stimulus package, and TARP. The combined effect of these two on FY09 outlays is around $400 billion. Taking those out would cause FY09 increase to be a much more reasonable 4.8%.

Now, here’s the other problem with FY09. The article linked above notes that FY09 should fall under Bush's numbers, since he was President in September, 2008. September is the start of the next fiscal year. However, it does attach the stimulus money to Obama, since Obama signed that into law. Of course, the author, Rex Nutting, doesn’t mention that Bush never signed an FY09 budget. The Democrats refused to submit one until after the election.

(And you thought that Democrats avoiding submitting budgets was a new thing)

It was again Barack Obama who signed the omnibus spending bill funding discretionary spending for FY09. Of course, that’s only discretionary spending, not mandatory spending. Mandatory spending just increased at previously approved levels automatically. If this is giving you a headache, you’re not alone. I thought I’d write this post in about 15 minutes, but it’s taken much longer. So, who to give blame to for FY09? Bush should get blame for TARP, and Obama for stimulus and omnibus. But the rest? Typically, you’d assign it to the outgoing President. Is that right in this case? Maybe. I honestly don’t know.

Moving on to FY10, the year Nutting wants to start with for Obama, we see a 1.8% decrease in spending. Nutting tries to convince us that Obama’s a hero for this. But put it in perspective. From FY81-FY08, the average increase per year was 5.8%. So, to use some hard numbers, imagine that FY08’s budget was $1,000. Assuming average increases, FY09 would have been $1,058, and FY10 would have been $1,119. In reality, FY09 was $1,182, and FY10 was $1,160. In other words, the 1.8% decrease was a pittance. It should have been much larger. And FY11 should have had a decrease again. By now, there’s no TARP in the budget, and the stimulus money is almost all spent. And yet, our budgets are still much higher than FY08. But Nutting wants to convince you that we haven’t seen an increase in spending under Obama.

The CBO does project increases for Obama’s second term of 3%, 4.3%, 6.5%, and 4.1%. Three of the four years are below the historical average, though, and that doesn’t seem likely at this point.

If all of this is too much, let me sum up this way: FY87 was our first $1 trillion budget. FY02 was our first $2 trillion budget. FY10  was our first $3 trillion budget. FY16 is projected to be our first $4 trillion budget. If this sounds like Obama has reduced spending, then you’ve lost your mind.

Monday, May 21, 2012

P90X Day 24: Kenpo X

Another short one today.

No, really. I promise.

If you've been following this space, you know that Kenpo X has been giving me fits. Not because it's hard, but because it's a cardio workout, and I haven't been able to get my heart rate up to what I considered a good level. I also mentioned that around the middle of the last Kenpo workout, I thought that I had figured out what I was doing wrong.

I was able to test my theory today. And boy, was I correct. This was the most draining and exhausting Kenpo workout I've had yet. And after Core Synergistics yesterday, this doesn't feel like a "recovery" week at all. Feels more like a "torture Chris week". X Stretch tomorrow, so at least that's going tobe somewhat restful.

That's all for today. I have another post on diet and nutrition coming up. It just hasn't quite gelled yet. Soon, though.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

P90X Day 23: Core Synergistics

Core Synergistics is new. Or at least, new in the sense that I haven't done it before. It's kind of a mishmash of cardio, strength, and ab exercises all focused on the core. And man, is it hard. Is it the hardest workout yet? I don't know. Maybe. Each workout is hard in its own way. And for each workout, there are a few exercises that cause you to groan when you see that they are coming up next.

Today's workout is no exception. This is definitely not a workout I'm looking forward to doing again. Fortunately, I don't have to do it again until...Wednesday?? I thought this was a rest and recovery week. Tomorrow is Kenpo X. What's restful about that?

One of the amazing things this particular workout shows you is how you can still get a workout even with very light weights. 5-10 pound weights are enough (at least for me) in most of the exercises here. You do a lot of reps with floor-to-ceiling type stuff with mixed curls and presses. No proble for the first 5-10 reps. By the time you get to 20 though, you're asking yourself just how many you're supposed to do. And the last 5 are downright painfull.

What else is in this package? Well, three new push ups for those of you that can't get enough push ups. And lunges, side lifts, and a couple ab exercises that look pretty easy at first until you find out that you'll be holding the position for 30 seconds or more.

Form is everything in this workout. Actually, I'm starting to learn that's true for just about all the exercises. If you don't do the exercise exactly right, you don't get the benefits. Even if you're just off by a little bit, it dramatically affects the befpnefits you receive. So something I have to keep reminding myself of, if the exercise doesn't seem that hard, watch the video closer and see what I'm doing wrong. For most of the exercises on most of the workouts, there's not all that much you can do wrong. A pull up is still a pull up. But, there are always some where that's not true. A lunge isn't a lunge if you don't go low enough, or if your knee is too far forward, etc. All of the exercises in Core Synergistics are of the latter variety.

Tomorrow Kenpo X. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

P90X Day 22: Yoga X

Short post tonight. I think.

I discovered two important things to remember today.

First, doing Yoga X first thing in the morning is HARD. I’m stiff and my muscles are tight. In addition, we really need a new mattress, so often when I wake up, my back is a bit sore lately. I couldn’t even do one of the back stretches this morning. Hurt too much. And then I came out of it too quickly too, which you’re not supposed to do. That only made my back feel worse. Yippee.

Second thing I learned today is that I need to eat more. Most people starting out on an exercise program like P90X are overweight. Well, most people period are overweight, so that’s hardly a surprise. Phase I of P90X is called Fat Reducer for a reason, and probably most people again will find the diet plan for Phase I very restrictive.

I’m not in that position. I was lean to start with, and I don’t eat very much. And it was already high protein and low carb. I just had to increase the protein and cut out a little bit of fat. Anyway, the diet plan I worked out using the P90X math is a lot more calories than I’m used to consuming. I tried it for a few days. I couldn’t get very close to the number they wanted. I felt like I was gorging myself. And I gained weight. During the Fat Reducer Phase. And not because I was already putting on muscle mass. The calorie count for the diet plan was just too high for me.

So, I adjusted it down, by quite a bit. I have still been eating more than I’m used to eating, but only by a couple hundred calories or so a day. Well, these last few days I’ve been hungry all the time, and have even bumped up my caloric intake by another 100 or so calories. It hasn’t been enough. I’ve still been hungry, and I’ve been losing weight again. I probably need to add at least another 100 calories, maybe even 200. And then I’m starting to get pretty close to the P90X recommended number. Imagine that.

The funny thing is all of this has been going on during the least intense days of P90X there are. Yesterday was just X Stretch, and today was Yoga X. Both of those are hard, but I guarantee I’m not burning anywhere near the calories I burn doing Plyometrics. This means my body is starting to consume more calories on its own. This is exactly what I’ve been hoping for, and working for.

A friend of mine tells me that you burn an extra 4 calories an hour for each pound of muscle mass. I think that’s the right number. I’m sure he’ll correct me if it’s not. That works out to 96 calories a day. Call it 100 just to make the math simple. If my body needs another 200+ calories a day just to maintain itself, then I’ve added about 2 pounds of muscle. Pretty simple.

This also makes it simple for me to figure out where I want to be. I’d like to add 500 or so calories a day to my diet. Actually, 750 would be better. If I can do that, then it’ll make my eating choices a lot easier. I’ll be able to eat more of what I want to (within reason), without having to think about the benefits and disadvantages of every single bite. That tells me that I need to add somewhere around 7-8 pounds of muscle mass. Now, I’m not sure what it’ll take to do that. Perhaps more than a single round of P90X. But I know where I’m headed, and my body will tell me when I get there.

Ok, so I barely talked about Yoga at all today. But you’ve heard me describe it all before. Only difference is that today was really rough for me. I think if I do it first thing in the morning again, I’ll extend the warm up segment a bit, because I definitely wasn’t ready today.

Tomorrow, a new DVD! Core Synergistics.

Can’t wait! Stay tuned.

Friday, May 18, 2012

P90X Day 21: X Stretch

The most exciting thing about finishing Day 21 is that it means you’re essentially through with Phase I. Next week is the “Recovery and Ab Focus” week. I like the sound of the first part, but not the second part. :)

Stretching is not my forté. It may be the part where I can tell most just how out of shape I have become. I started riding my bike again a little bit last summer, and it hurt just to lift my leg enough to get on the bike. That’s how tight my hamstrings are. Much better now, but there’s still LOTS of room for improvement.

And, this is probably the slowest and most difficult area to gain back. After 90 days I may only be able to get a couple inches farther on most of the stretches. It may even be less than that. At my age, it’s hard to do anything to increase flexibility. But X Stretch and Yoga X are definitely helping. I can actually grab hold of my toes on one of the hamstring stretches. I think the last time I was able to do that, I was about 15.

This is definitely a workout where you measure progress in terms of millimeters, or in seconds (as in, “how many seconds can I hold this”). I can tell things are getting better. And I definitely feel great afterwards. But it’s by no means speedy. Millimeters. Ugh.

Tomorrow, the schedule changes completely. Yoga X on Saturday, and this terrifying sounding “Core Synergistics” on Sunday. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

P90X Day 20: Kenpo X

Third time’s a charm for Kenpo X.

If you’ve been reading this space, you know I’ve been having a little trouble with Kenpo X. It’s supposed to be a cardio workout, and I’ve been having trouble getting “in the zone”. I finally figured out what I wasn’t doing right, and fixed it today, and got a much better workout. Sadly, it still took me half the workout to figure it out. So, it’s more accurate for me to say that I got a much better half a workout. Still half a loaf is better than none, or so the politicians tell me.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, Kenpo is kind of a kickboxing type workout. And I really swing my arms and legs. It’s not like I’ve been all that half-hearted about it. But, I haven’t been putting the same force behind the movements that I would do if I were actually trying to hit or kick someone. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure that out, and to fix it. But it made a huge difference when I did.

Now, I just have to remember to do that next week.

Tomorrow, X Stretch, and then the “off week”. I’ve looked at the schedule. I don’t think “off” is how I would describe it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

P90X Day 19: Legs & Back

Third week of Legs & Back. Instead of getting easier, this is getting harder. This week I pushed myself, going deeper in all the lunges and squats on the legs. (ow!) And I pushed even harder on those $#!+ pull ups, doing several more than last week. Even made it to 4 unassisted on the second round of Wide Front Pull Ups. That’s a major coup. Much better than the 1 that I did a mere two weeks ago.

I may not have bulging biceps but there’s no doubt that I’m getting in better shape. Doc today at my annual physical was amazed at the shape I’m in. It’s nice to see such a shocked expression on the face of your doctor, and it be for good news.

Of course, after nearly killing myself on Legs & Back, I got to enjoy Ab Ripper X again. No more Ab Ripper X’s for a week and a half. I’m so not going to miss it, either. That really is an amazing set of exercises. Hard to believe you can get that tired from a mere 15 minute workout that’s not even cardio related. But, I do. I’m completely wiped every time at the end. When Tony says to go into the child’s pose, it’s indescribable how good that feels. I end up holding it for another minute or so after the DVD is over just because it feels sooooooo good.

Oh, and in case you missed it from my earlier Tweets or post, I am off the meds for my diabetes now. That was the end result of my physical and I couldn’t be happier. That’s the effect of actually getting serious about eating better and exercising more. I just wish I’d done all this about 15 years ago. Still, better late than never, I guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

P90X Day 18: Yoga X

Since when does a yoga workout make you sweat enough to need a shower? Since it’s the P90X yoga workout.

Actually, I don’t have much to say tonight. If you tend to think of yoga as that thing where you turn yourself into a pretzel, then stand on one foot and go “ohhhmmmm”, then you definitely need P90X. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are poses where you turn yourself into a pretzel, and plenty of poses where you stand on one foot. And yes, Tony wants you to “ohhhmmm” at the end (I don’t—it doesn’t work for me, but that’s just me). But this yoga is just as much of a workout as the other six days of the week.

To be honest, one of the long standing complaints about P90X from many is that it doesn’t do enough yoga. That’s one of the things they changed with P90X2, from what I hear. I guess I’ll find out at some point. Maybe. Let me get through the next 72 days before I make any P90X2 plans, please.

It was nice to get through the workout. 4 days down now in week 3. Week 4 is supposed to be a “Rest & Recovery Week”. Sadly, that doesn’t mean sitting on the couch eating potato chips. No, it’s two days of Yoga X, two days of X Stretch, one day of Kenpo X, and two days of a new workout called Core Synergistics. Sounds like next week will be just about as hard as a regular week. And week 5 gets even worse.

Yippee! Looking forward to it. Legs & Back, and my friend, Ab Ripper X, tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

P90X Day 17: Shoulders & Arms

I made a mistake after Shoulders & Arms last week, and it cost me this week. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m using some pre-setup weights for my workouts. I have three sets that I’ve been using. A heavy one, a medium one, and a light one. My light one is 15 pounds, and the medium is 25. That’s actually too big of a difference. I need a 20 pound set setup.

Which, now that I think about, I could actually do without much trouble. I don’t use my heavy set for Arms & Shoulders, so I could spend 3 minutes and convert that one into a 20 pound set. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that until this minute.

Anyway, I use the 15s for most of the exercises, and the 25s for a few of them. But, last week I noticed that the 15s were too light for a couple of the exercises, but the 25s were still too heavy for those exercises. I had a week to do something about that. I could’ve ordered another set of weights, so I could have 4 sets, and have that 20 pound set. Or, I could’ve done just what I realized this minute, and set up my heavy set for 20 pounds.

But, I did neither of those things. Nor did I do anything else. Apparently, I somehow thought that in a week, I’d gain enough strength that the 25s would magically work for me on those exercises. Several of them are ones where Tony says that even he prefers to use 25 pounds and under.

Of course the 25s were still too heavy. But I did get stronger. The 15s did even less for me this week. And that was true on even more of the exercises. I’m not saying they did nothing for me. But Tony says over and over “8-10 reps for muscle mass, 12-15 reps for lean muscle”. And by that he means that when you reach that number, you’re done. You can’t do any more, at least properly.

Well, I’m going for muscle mass. I need to be in that 8-10 range for everything. As I’ve said before, not because I’m trying to look like The Hulk, but because I need the muscle mass to help manage my diabetes. I was over 8-10 on a good half of the exercises today that I did with the 15s. Worse, there were a couple that I easily passed 15 and ended up over 20. I had to pause the DVD because they were moving on to the next exercise, and I hadn’t reached the point yet where I was “feeling the burn”. I have to fix this problem for next week.

I got a good workout, but it could have been quite a bit better. Still, I was quite sore and tired and sweaty afterwards.

And, of course, afterwards came my best friend, Ab Ripper X. Ab Ripper X is going to give me great abs…if it doesn’t kill me first. And I honestly don’t know which it’s going to be. Ok, I exaggerate. A bit. But this is still the hardest part of P90X for me. And it’s more than just abs, it’s core work. I feel it from my lower chest down to my thighs. Still, at least my sit ups are looking better. Gotta be thankful for small things. A few months ago, I couldn’t do a sit up. Period. Now I can. I can’t yet do 25 of them, but I’m getting closer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

P90X Day 16: Plyometrics

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is not only day 16 of P90X, but another personal milestone for me. Today marks 140 days straight that I have done some sort of work out. For those keeping score, that’s 20 weeks. When I started, I didn’t think I’d make it 20 days. After all, I never had before.

Like yesterday, and the rest of the week, today’s motto is:

Bring It!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m struggling a bit with the cardio workouts.

I keep mentioning that I’m trying to get my heart rate into the desired range. Here’s a handy chart:

The base formula for Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is 220 – AGE. For me, that’s 175. For an anaerobic workout, you want to be consistently between 80-90% of that number. That’s 140-157.5. Now, this is just an approximate number. It also depends upon your resting heart rate. If your resting heart rate is very low, getting up to 150+ may be difficult. If your resting heart rate is very high, you may want to go up past 150, a little bit. But talk to your doctor first. Don’t just assume you should be going for 200. That’s almost certainly too high, no matter what your resting rate is.

For me, my resting heart rate is a tad on the high side, so I feel like I should be at about 150-165 to get me “in the zone”. I can definitely tell when I’m in that range for a while. It “feels” a lot different than just 140-150 would, but in a good way. I don’t really know how to describe it. But after a while of doing cardio, you’ll know the range you should be in to be getting the most out of it.

Anyway, on the cardio workouts, I keep checking my rate and I’m in the 130s, maybe low 140s. And I know that’s not good enough for me. Today, I pushed it more. I made sure to lunge a little lower, jump a little higher. I made sure my form was better than it had been on previous plyometric workouts. Result? I was in that 150-165 zone pretty much from beginning to end of the workout. And man, did it wear me out. And I was drenched in sweat when it was over. But it felt good too. I even hit 180 very briefly. 180 is too high, even for me, but it’s probably ok for a few seconds. Double time jump tucks did it to me. Remind me next time to maybe slow those down just a bit.

So, two days in to week three, and this has been the hardest and most rewarding week yet. I’m almost sad that next week the entire workout cycle changes. But I am enjoying P90X more and more every day. Much more than I thought I would.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

P90X Day 15: Chest & Back

Bring It!

Six months ago, if you had described the various P90X workouts to me and told me that this one would be my favorite, I would have laughed at you.

But it is. I find myself looking forward to it on Fridays, and smiling all the way through it on Saturdays. And I’m still smiling and I finished it over an hour ago.

Why? Well, there are several reasons, I think.

One is that I’m just really starting to enjoy doing push ups. You may think that’s crazy, but it’s true. Doing push ups is the most basic measure of body health there is. When a Marine sergeant says “Drop and give me 20!” (or 50, or 100, or whatever it is), they’re don’t mean leg lifts, or crunches, or Groucho Marx walks. They mean push ups.

A second reason is that I think that it’s easier to measure how hard you’re pushing yourself and your progress on this workout than any of the others.

How do you know if you’re improving on the cardio ones? Well, if you’re completely out of shape when you start, and you reach the point where you can make it through the workout without feeling like you’re going to die, then I suppose you’ve made progress. But that’s not where I am. I have to use my heart rate monitor and see how well I’m doing. Even still, that’s more a measure of how well I’m pushing myself, and not of my progress.

For the stretches and yoga, it’s similar. You can tell if you’re improving because you don’t fall down as much and can stretch farther. But, the increases don’t come rapidly, and are often more mental than physical, at least at first.

Even on the other strength training days, I find it difficult to measure my intensity and improvement. They use a lot of weights, and I’m still struggling to find the right weight for me for each particular exercise. And even when I find it, I still can’t measure progress for a couple weeks. This week for most of the exercises on Shoulders & Arms, I did a lot fewer reps, but more weight. A few of them were even the opposite. More reps, but less weight. Hard to measure progress. And hard to measure intensity, too, when you do 3 or 4 reps, and then realize you need to switch weights.

But, for Chest & Back, it’s different. Most of the exercises are just variations on push ups and pull ups. You can look and see exactly how many of that particular exercise you did the previous week, and just do more this week. Every time you do that, you know that you either a) pushed yourself harder, or b) improved. And it’s probably both, but either of those is good. You get lots of endorphins during this workout. And as Tony Horton says, “That’s a beautiful thing.”

Of course, when it’s all over, and you’ve put it all on the mat (or carpet, in my case), then it’s time to start Ab Ripper X.

Tony describes Ab Ripper X perfectly, “I love it…but I hate it.” 15 minutes of pure torture. Actually, it’s not really. It builds up to it, but it builds up quickly. The first couple of exercises aren’t that bad. During the third one, I start to grimace, and it gets worse from there. But hey, there’s only 11 different exercises.

As I noticed last Saturday, my form was not the best this week in Ab Ripper X. Still not sure if that’s an effect of having a couple days off from this workout, or has more to do with having to do it after doing Chest & Back. But Ab Ripper X still kicks my butt, and I imagine I’ll be saying that every single time it comes up. Still, I’m just happy I don’t have to pause the DVD any more. Yes, on the two sit up exercises, most of my “sit ups” are more like crunches, but I’m still feeling it, and I’m improving, so I don’t feel guilty. I’ll get there. Some day.

Oh, one final note for Duane, if you’re still reading this: +5 on all the push ups again today, and +1 on all the pull ups. Have a great day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

P90X Day 14: X Stretch

Ahhhh…two weeks down. Until you’ve gone through this, you have no idea how good it feels to say that.

Last week this day was murder for me. This week it actually felt good. I’m really starting to worry about my mental health. Winking smile

Make no mistake. This is still the P90X version of stretching. They call this a “rest” day. Ha! But I’m slowly adding some more flexibility in my legs, and I can feel the stress and tension melting away in my neck and shoulders. It’s wooonnnnderful.

The only issue I have with it, is that afterwards I don’t feel like I got a workout. For the last four months, I’ve been counting calories on my workouts, and I didn’t stop until I hit my calorie goal. And I did this every day. Now, with my rest days, I feel fat, if I don’t burn off a few hundred calories. But, I know that my body needs the rest, especially while doing a workout series like P90X. Tomorrow, I’ll be glad today was stretching, and not strength training.

Tomorrow? Back to Chest & Back. 3rd time around, but last time until week 9, I think. Chest & Back means my nemesis also, Wide Front Pull Ups. And, of course, afterwards, there’s Ab Ripper X.

Only 76 more days to go.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

P90X Day 13: Kenpo X

Hello, Kenpo my old friend.
I’ve come to attempt you again…

Apologies to Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel.

Anyway, today was again the cardio workout from hell, Kenpo X. Hey, at least I didn’t do it twice today. So, there’s that. Still think I’m not quite pushing myself hard enough though. Hard to get my heart rate consistently above 150. I need to work on that next week.

That reminds me. When you buy P90X, they will try to sell you on a lot of extra equipment. You don’t really need it. You can do everything with a couple sets of bands. I like the pull up bar and a few sets of weights, because I find it too easy to cheat with the bands. But, to each his/her own.

They also try to sell you on their protein shakes, bars, recovery drinks. You can get stuff just as good or better at GNC or Kroger. Or even make most of it yourself. You’ll probably want some sort of protein shake, just because the protein demands of the diet are so very high that you’ll be hard pressed to get the amount they want otherwise.

But, there is an area in which I do recommend following their lead. The heart rate monitor. It’s invaluable on the cardio days. You may feel like you’re pushing yourself, but then you check the heart rate monitor and discover you’re not. It’s the only way you’re going to know that for certain. Now, you don’t have to get the one from BeachBody. I’m pretty sure any decent heart rate monitor will do. I picked a relatively inexpensive and highly rated one on Amazon. Works great for me.

Tomorrow is Stretch X. Week 2 is essentially in the books, now. One more week of the same, and then the first pace change comes. Remember, it’s all about muscle confusion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

P90X Day 12: Legs & Back

I think my body knew that Legs & Back was coming today and it was trying to give me excuses. I sat down funny this afternoon and twisted my left hip, which responded by aching the rest of the day. Then, when returning from getting my kids from the sitter, I got a charley horse in my right calf. That was about 30 seconds of pure agony, and I was on my way to work out at the time.

So, whatcha gonna do? You guessed it. Ignore it and work out.

I think I mentioned this a week ago. Legs & Back is part of the whole P90X muscle confusion thing. You do a killer exercise on your legs. Your calves and thighs are screaming. So, of course next you go do some pull ups. Then it’s back to the legs. Then back to the pull up bar. Man, I hate that pull up bar. But, in a strange way, I’m starting to want it, too. I like the fact that every time I do them, I’m a little better.

Tony always talks about using a chair to assist you on the pull ups if you need it. I had serious issues figuring out just how best to do that in my limited space, and dealing with the fact that my pull up bar isn’t very high. Sunday night I finally worked it out, so I was able to test it today. It worked well, and allowed me to do a few extra reps on each one. Yes, they’re a little bit of “cheating” reps, but I’m getting more of a workout from those than I would by not doing any at all. On the sheet I marked those separately, so I marked how many I did without the chair and how many I did with it.

Some of the leg exercises make your legs just scream at you. You’re beyond thrilled when they’re over. But, if I have any complaints at all about P90X it’s that (to me, anyway) it seems much more focused on upper body than lower body. That’s not really an issue for me, because that’s what I want too. But there are times when I feel my legs aren’t getting the same attention as my arms.

To illustrate my point, Day 1 is Chest & Back. But how do you do Chest & Back? Mostly push ups and pull ups. Yes, you’re getting definition on the chest and back, but you’re also seriously working your arms. Then Day 3 is Arms and Shoulders. A lot of curls and other weight lifting. Day 5 is Legs & Back. Finally the legs get a workout, but how do you do the back? More pull ups. Now, in defense of P90X, Day 2, Plyometrics is jump training cardio. That works the legs, but it works them through cardio jumping. Day 6 is Kenpo, and that’s kind of a kickboxing cardio workout, so your legs get some more cardio work again. But if you’re expecting leg curls or leg lifts, you’ll be disappointed in P90X (at least that’s my experience so far…but I’m only 12 days into it).

Anyway, because of that, I truly appreciate this day. And I’m incredibly sore afterwards. For a while. The whole thing is incredibly physically challenging and exhausting. When I got to the second sets on the pull ups, I was thinking to myself “I can barely lift my arms up over my head, and you want me to do pull ups? I can do fall downs, but not pull ups.” Still, as I mentioned earlier, the chair helped, and even without the chair, I did better on the pull ups than last week. Just work for improvement every week.

And, as I mentioned yesterday, Ab Ripper X follows Legs & Back. Ab Ripper is the most intense 15 minutes of the whole series (at least that I’ve discovered so far). And you’re already exhausted before it starts. Still, that probably makes it an even better workout, but I swear afterwards that I just want to crawl into bed and turn out all the lights.

Tomorrow, Kenpo X. Again, my body can use the change of pace. The designers of this series knew what they were doing. And no more Ab Ripper X until Saturday. Hooray!

Indiana Primary Postmortem

I’m happy today. Neither of Congressman Dan Burton’s (R-IN-05) nor Senator Dick Lugar’s (R-IN) names will appear on my ballot this November. In addition, after I agonized over whom to support in IN-05, I finally selected Susan Brooks, and she won. She’ll be a good Congresswoman. Jackie Walorski won her primary in IN-02, and I think she will likely win in November as well. People not from IN are going to be amazed by this woman if she makes it to Washington, DC. Watch out.

But enough about that. Let’s think about what happened and what it means. I want you to mull over some facts for a minute. We had no statewide ballot initiatives that would affect primary turnout significantly for either side. President Barack Obama (D-USA) ran unopposed, and I think we’re all finally in agreement that former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has sown up the Republican nomination. For Governor, both the Democrat and the Republican ran unopposed. There may have been somewhat of an uptick on the GOP side for the the Lugar/Mourdock Senate race. There were about 400,000 votes in GOP Pres primary in 2008, and closer to 600,000 this year. But in 2008, operation CHAOS was in full swing. Former Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) almost won IN, where there were over 1.2 million votes cast in the Dem primary. So, it appears that neither the GOP nor the Democrats should have had any kind of significant “built-in” enthusiasm edge. I’ll give you a slight one for the GOP, but I don’t think it’s huge.

So, comparing apples to apples, then:

Governor race:

Candidate Votes
Mike Pence (R) 530,384
John R Gregg (D) 202,186

Even if you think there was an edge for GOP voters, you’d have to convince yourself it’s close to 3:1 to be able to spin this as good news for Gregg. This is a brutal looking result for the Democrats. Hard to imagine that Pence is not going to be our next Governor.

Presidential Race:

Candidate Votes
Mitt Romney (R) 398,188
Barack Obama (D) 216,128
Ron Paul (R) 95,467
Rick Santorum (R) 82,620
Newt Gingrich (R) 39,769

 

Obama did a tick better than Gregg. Basically, it looks like we can set the bar at around 225,000 for Dem voters (and that’s probably on the high side) in this primary, and about 615,000 for GOP voters.

But, I said earlier there was little to no “built-in” enthusiasm edge. Yes. That means there was no intrinsic reason based on the ballots themselves for either side to have a big advantage over the other.  The 3:1 edge we’re looking at here is the result of an extrinsic enthusiasm gap. It appears to show that GOP voters in IN are much more enthusiastic about this election than Dem voters. This will likely carry over to November. I think we can write off IN as a swing state for the White House. It won’t be blue this time.

Finally, there’s the Senate race. I’m going to spend a bit of time talking about this:

Candidate Votes
Richard E. Mourdock 387,982
Richard G. Lugar 256,108
Joe Donnelly 202,320

 

Donnelly did about as well as Gregg and Obama. And 50,000 votes worse than Lugar, who lost to Mourdock by over 125,000 votes. Again, this is not a good sign for Donnelly.

But the Democrats have a plan.

As I said yesterday, we’re a purple to red state here. We think of ourselves as conservatives, but also centrist. That’s why we had Senators like Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) for many years. The IN Dems will try very hard to paint Mourdock as an extremist and Donnelly as the centrist willing to cross the aisle.

It’s going to be a hard sell. Donnelly is a little bit of a Blue Dog Democrat, only voting with Dems 69% of the time in his term. But, Mourdock will be quick to point out that in every single key vote, Donnelly sided with his Democrat brethren and against Indiana. He voted for ObamaCare. He voted against ObamaCare repeal. He voted against the GOP budget. He voted in favor of the Senate Payroll tax bill. He voted against debt reduction. He voted against defunding NPR. In short, every time he could have voted to save Hoosiers money, he voted the other direction. Frankly, of the two, Mourdock seems more likely to be the one to cross the aisle on a vote where his vote might matter.

Honestly, the IN Dems have to be kicking themselves this morning. There’s no doubt that Lugar’s loss gives them an opening. Centrists are now in play, and we have a lot of them here. But Donnelly is an exceptionally weak candidate. He’s a two-term Congressman, that wasn’t likely to be re-elected (he would’ve been facing a rematch against a better funded and better organized Jackie Walorski). They never really thought that Lugar would be defeated, and Donnelly was the only person they could find willing to run against him.

But, facing what looks like a GOP headwind in November, at least in IN, Donnelly has a big challenge. There’s six months to go, and you never know who’s going to make the key mistake in a campaign, but it’s hard to see Donnelly coming out on top right now.

UPDATE: Earlier version of this post had stated incorrectly that Donnelly was a one-term Congressman. He has served two terms. My mistake.

P90X Day 11: Yoga X

I missed my update yesterday, as I was too busy keeping up with IN primary results. I did get the workout in though.

Same as last time, Yoga X kicked my butt. But, I needed it. There’s a reason for the cycle in P90X. You do a day of strength, a day of cardio, then strength again, then stretch. Then you follow that up with strength, cardio, and end the week with another stretch. Your body needs that stretch time to recover.

But P90X yoga is not your every day yoga workout. I never thought you could work up a sweat doing yoga, but I did yesterday. And I suspect that as I get more limber, working up a sweat will actually be easier. Can’t wait.

Anyway, short update today. I have a bit more to say about Yoga X, but think I’ll wait until next week. Today’s workout is Legs & Back. More wall sits and pull ups. Hooray. And can’t forget (like I did on Monday), Ab Ripper X is today too. Another hard day of P90X. Just like all the rest.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Memo: If You’re Not Fighting the War in Social Media, You’re Losing It

I’m going to pick on @indgop on Twitter for a bit, but not because I don’t appreciate IN’s GOP, but because they need to get better at dealing with social media. And I’m sure they’re far from the only ones.

I follow most of the big political players on both sides of the aisle. So, I follow @RNC, and @BarackObama for example. I like to know get the straight scoop not just form my side, but from the opposition as well. That way I see how they’re using social media, and learn how to combat their spin with truth. So, of course, here in IN, I also follow @INDems and @indgop.

@indgop is the official Twitter account for the Indiana Republican Party.  Currently, @indgop has 1,386 tweets, 3,015 followers, and is following 1,909 (I’m one of those 1909. Thanks for following). They have tweeted 21 times so far in the month of May. In the month of April, they tweeted 36 times. @indgop tweets so infrequently that I’ve had to check several times to make sure that I’m still following them. That’s not a good thing.

Indiana is a purple to red state. We voted for President Barack Obama (D-USA), but in 2010 rode the Republican wave and elected a 2nd GOP Senator, and increased the GOP U.S. House delegation as well. We have a GOP governor, but have often had Democrat ones, and up until recently have generally had 1 GOP Senator and 1 Dem Senator.

So, let’s compare @indgop to @INDems, the official Twitter account of the Indiana Democrat Party. Despite being in a red-ish state, @INDems has more followers, at 3,512. Now, they follow far fewer, a mere 319, but have tweeted over twice as many times, 2,903. So far in May, they have tweeted 87 times. That’s in 8 days. In the last 38 days, @indgop has only tweeted 57 times.

If you’re not fighting the war, you’re losing.

There’s no reason @indgop should be behind @INDems in either tweets or followers. There are far more conservatives in IN than libs, and there should be more for @indgop to tweet about as well. We have the Governor’s mansion, both chambers of the General Assembly, both U.S. Senators, and 6 of 9 of Indiana’s Congressmen are Republican. And, while it’s not a state level position, the mayor of Indianapolis is also a Republican.

I RT @INDems several times a day. A lot of their tweets are not party related, but simple things like reminder’s about today’s primary. I can’t remember the last time I RT’d something from @indgop. Given my political leanings, I would much prefer it was the other way around. But, if I see something useful, I’m going to RT it, no matter who it comes from.

Here’s the problem with this. If I RT @INDems, and others do as well, that will help them gain followers. They already have more than @indgop. And gaining followers will help them get out their message for their actual party tweets. Now, maybe right now in IN it doesn’t really matter. We won’t be giving our electoral votes to Obama this time around. And Mike Pence is going to be the Governor next year. And we’ll still have two GOP Senators from IN next year, regardless of what happens in the primary today.

But, @INDems is playing the long game. They’re not thinking just about 2012, but about 2014 and 2016. They’re laying the ground work for it now. And, who knows, maybe they’ll get lucky, and pull off an upset somewhere even this year. But, come 2014 & 2016, when things maybe aren’t so bright for the GOP in IN, @indgop is going to be behind. And once you’re behind in social media, it’s very hard to catch up.

Make no mistake. It may not happen here in IN, but social media will play a role in this year’s election, and may very well be the deciding factor in some elections by 2014 & 2016. If your state or local organization is behind here, you need to work with them to catch up.

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Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

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