John Y’s Musings from the Middle: How the Universe Works

jyb_musingsIt’s hard to ever get ahead in life until you can first understand some basic rules of how the universe operates.

For some, the message of this video is elementary.

For most of the rest of us it requires a great deal of concentration and rote memorization.

Before we learn.

After you learn the rules of the universe you can try to manipulate them to your advantage.

Or flow with them.

I recommend the latter.

Josh Bowen: The Core — The Center of Our Universe, Volume 1

The journey to the center of our bodies. What on earth is the core?

“Today class, our experiment is to stay in the gym for 12 hours and ask every person what their goals are.”  A landslide will mention “core” “abs” “stomach.” It is our obsession. Another experiment is to watch any informercial, pushing an obscure fitness product, and see how many times they mention “core” or “abs.” I’ll be willing to bet its more times than they mention anything nutrition related. I mean why eat well when you can do crunches, situps and use the shake weight and get ripped. That is until you realize you have to do 250,000 crunches, JUST to burn enough calories to lose one pound of fat…YES just one pound. You can do crunches until you are blue in the face but it won’t eliminate your stomach fat. And on a side note, whatever new product is out there, it won’t speed the results up any faster. So why do we do crunches? Well duh, its to get an 8 pack!

Abs are made in the kitchen, no matter how hard you work your “abs” you cannot outwork your diet. If your nutrition is not up to par, your stomach will not be either. “So what is the core?” “Why do we have to work it?” “How do we work it?” I answer all of the above!

Lets start with what the “core” actually is. The National Academy of Sports Medicine defines it as the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar spines and also the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip complex (stabilizes the body during weight bearing functional movements producing and reducing forces). WHAT? Time for an anatomy lession! PS do not fall asleep, it gets better.


  • Rectus abdominus- The “abs.” A key postural muscle that flexes the lumbar spine and can aid in respiration


  • Erector spinae- lower back muscles that extend the vertebral column
  • Multifidus- deep musculature that runs from the base of the cervical spine to the sacrum. Main job is the stabilize vertebrae in the vertebral column during movement


  • Internal Oblique-Compresses abdomen; unilateral contraction rotates vertebral column to same side
  • External Oblique-rotates the torso
  • Quadratus Lumborum-Alone, lateral flexion of vertebral column; Together, depression of thoracic rib cage


John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My Inner Gangsta

1229957_10153258296065515_821760196_nMy inner gansta raises its ugly head.

Because it can.

And to remind me I am a dangeorous man.

Last week I took four free mints instead of one when leaving a restaurant.

The week before I went through the Express Lane with 11 items.

jyb_musingsNext week?

Who’s to say?

I don’t even want to think about it.

(Note: after snapping this pic I got nervous and immediately re-parked. But strutted to the Thorton’s entrance.  Because I could. And to remind myself that I am a dangerous man.)


For some people….and I suspect I am one of them.

If you really don’t watch us to touch something because of wet paint I recommend changing the sign from:



“Go ahead. Touch it. I dare you.”

The RP Talks the “War on Coal” on NPR

On KCRW’s “To the Point”:

Climate Change and the ‘War on Coal’

Power plants are by far the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the US, and now the Obama EPA has issued regulations that Democrats in some regions are calling the first battle in a “war against coal.” It could be extended and bitter. The President wants to get around Congress, with other countries looking for US leadership in reducing greenhouse emissions. We hear about national and international politics as climate scientists are about to release their latest findings.


Click here to listen to the broadcast

Jason Atkinson: “Before the Storm,” A Short Film

The Northwest’s rivers are swollen and unfishable except for one.  Contributing RP Jason Atkinson and Shawn Miller rush to catch steelhead before a big storm hits.  Here’s Jason’s latest short film chronicling the adventure, “Before the Storm”:


Lauren Mayer: Celebrity Crushes

Most young girls become infatuated with pop stars at some point – and reflecting back on those initial crushes reveals a lot about who we are (and how old we are).  For example, there were the bobby soxers who squealed over a young Frank Sinatra, the girls swooning over Elvis the Pelvis (before the Vegas sequined jumpsuit days), and teens fainting at Beatles’ concerts.  In my day, we were too young to go to a Beatles concert but not too young to pick our favorite – the popular girls all liked Paul, cool girls worshipped John, out-there individualists picked George, and I was probably one of three girls who had crushes on Ringo.  (Because he was the funny one – that’s the same logic that drove me to pick Peter as my favorite Monkee . . . . but I digress.)

As we grow older, our crushes evolve – often to include movie stars (while all my friends admired George Clooney, I always had a thing for Kevin Kline – again, he was funny), even comedians (the funny thing works for a lot of us) and political leaders – whether it was liberals admiring Barack Obama in 2008, or conservatives swooning over Paul Ryan last year (or my parents’ generation who loved JFK).  These more adult crushes tend to include substance as well as appearance, admiration of talent or accomplishment or potential (like when I was one of lots of people, men and women, fantasizing about Nate Silver, doing statistical analysis with me in a dimly lit office, softly murmuring demographic data in my ear . . . . . . and YES, I know he’s gay, but hello, it’s a fantasy, I’ll never meet him anyway so what difference does his orientation make?)

Where was I?  Oh, my latest crush, which seems novel to me, although my friends who grew up Catholic remind me of their crushes on priests, and there were some pretty hot scenes in the Thorn Birds between Meggie and Father Ralph.  Still, I’d resisted the appeal of a man in clerical dress (and don’t tell me it’s a cossack or whatever, it looks like a dress to me) until the new Pope started blowing fresh air into the Vatican.  The last time people were this excited about changes within Catholicism was Vatican Two – which inspired Tom Lehrer’s immortal “Vatican Rag.”  So I figured it was time for another musical salute to the Pope . . . .

“Oh Francis (I’m A Jew Who Has a Crush On You!)”

Join Krystal Ball, Michael Steele, Jeff Smith and The RP at an NYC New School Forum, TONIGHT!

Second Acts: Recovering from Scandal

Presented by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.

Crisis management and scandal recovery have captured the moment, from big-league sports to New York City’s recent political silly season. PR firms are rebranding themselves as crisis advisers. Ex-White House aides are peddling their bona fides. While the public sees scandal through a tabloid lens, at its heart are flawed human beings making mistakes, acting emotionally, and trying to preserve their reputations and careers. “Recovering politicians” who suffered highly publicized scandals share their stories, offer guidance, and comment on the latest attempts to launch second acts.

Jeff SmithWSOP Day 2A conversation with:
Krystal Ball, co-host, MSNBC’s “The Cycle;” former Virginia congressional candidate
Jonathan Miller, Daily Beast columnist; No Labels co-founder; former Kentucky state treasurer
Michael Steele, co-chairman, Purple Nation Strategies; former Republican National Committee chairman

Moderated by:
Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, The New School; former Missouri state senator

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Theresa Lang Community & Student Center, Arnhold Hall
55 West 13th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), 2nd Floor

Admission is free but you must RSVP.

Jeff Smith Dishes on “House of Cards” & “Newsroom” on “Up with Steve Kornacki

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Stop Sign

Stop signSo I was at a stop sign and waiting for the sign to change….

And after several minutes lost in thought I realized that the wait was starting to irritate me.

jyb_musingsAs well as irritate the driver behind me who gave a short honk which I recognized from hearing a few seconds earlier but it never occuring that the first honk was intended for me.

But realizing all of a sudden that it was at the same time I suddenly remembered that stop signs don’t change colors.

And drove on through.

Artur Davis: Those Fading Democratic Centrists

Molly Redden’s essay in the New Republic about the waning of Democratic centrists may be off-base in its examples—Christine Quinn’s deficiencies as a candidate competed with her ideological positioning as a source of her troubles, and Bill Daley’s withdrawal from the Illinois Governors’ race can hardly be attributed to a leftist backlash when he was running ahead in the polls—but her premise is certainly not one an expatriate former Democrat like myself would argue.  In fact, I will use her observations to go one step further: the declining appeal of centrism in Democratic politics is not only tactically relevant to candidates, it is about to become just as culpable from a policy shaping standpoint as the much more heralded implosion of the old governing “establishment” wing of the Republican Party.

To be sure, Redden and her like-minded colleague Noam Scheiber aren’t spending much anxiety on the erosion of Democratic social conservatism, but they are highlighting that essentially one economic world view is tenable within internal Democratic fights. The tenets are that the inequitable distribution of wealth is the dominant economic threat; an aggressively regulated marketplace promotes fairness in a manner that overshadows any costs to innovation or growth; and the only adequate response to more systemic conditions like high unemployment and poverty is an assertive infusion of public dollars. In practical campaign terms, this means a candidate with a record of alliances with corporate institutions will need to spend time disgorging any rhetoric that helped forge those ties (for example, the Cory Booker who 16 months ago was defending private equity’s capacity to invest in underserved neighborhoods has morphed into the soon to be senator whose stump speech laments the failure to hand down prison sentences to Lehman executives); and a Bill de Blasio will have a built-in advantage over a more pro growth oriented message even without the special circumstances of identity politics around his mayoral nomination in New York City.

davis_artur-1But the demise of the corporatist sensibility in Democratic politics has arguably spilled into an aversion to the reform minded brand of politics that was until recently an underpinning of both the party’s strategic and policy framework. This plays out most decisively in the context of entitlements. There is a near universal consensus among Democratic politicians and elites that the current entitlement structure is morally and fiscally sound enough that a genuine overhaul is neither desirable nor necessary: a sharp movement from the Simpson Bowles approach a notable number of Democratic thought leaders praised in 2011 and a lifetime of difference from some of the thought experiments of the late Clinton era.

The same antipathy to reform surfaces in the disappearance of the old Robert Kennedy critique of bureaucratic anti-poverty institutions, and in the field of education reform, where accountability and strengthened teacher standards are about as unpopular among today’s Democrats as vouchers or parental choice; that is to say, almost toxic.  And, as fellow right-leaning reformers like Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat might point out, there is no meaningful discussion in contemporary liberalism of the kind of pro family tax reform that would advantage major portions of the Democratic Party’s low wage base; and it is conservative pundits who are churning out proposals to make the earned income tax credit more flexible or to permanently reduce FICA taxation on the working poor.

Read the rest of…
Artur Davis: Those Fading Democratic Centrists

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show