Interesting take on the recording of Donald Sterling’s racist thoughts…

While Mr. Sterling’s thoughts were reprehensible, this “recording without his knowledge” may have been a crime. And we are entitled to some privacy of what we say in private, are we not?

After all, isn’t there value in discussing our dark side with a trusted friend?

Marc Randazza discusses this at CNN.

I was alerted to this via his blog, which is well worth reading.

May 2, 2014 Posted by | racism, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Donald Sterling and being around black people

Mano Singham has an interesting take on Donald Sterling and his owning an NBA team:

On NPR this morning an analyst said that what was more interesting to explore than the racist comments was the contradiction between Sterling’s disdain for black people and the fact that his girlfriend is half black and half Mexican and that his players are majority black.

There is no contradiction. The idea that there is one stems from the misperception that racists avoid being near the people they dislike. To say that Sterling is a contradiction is say that the ante-bellum plantation owners who had racist views yet had black servants and slept with some of them were contradictions. In reality, it is perfectly consistent and all about demonstrating one’s power over people. What could be more satisfying to a racist than ‘owning’ someone, literally in the past and quasi-metaphorically now in the relationship between athletes and team owners in professional sports.

Racists have no problem with being in close proximity to those whom they think are inferior, as long as the latter know their proper place. In fact, you need them around in order to demonstrate your superiority. Sterling is in fact remarkably ordinary in this regard.

Now, I am not saying that they aren’t groups of people that I dislike; I certainly do. But I’d rather not associate with them…at all.
I suppose that I understand that I am not fundamentally “better” than those I dislike; I just don’t enjoy being around them.

April 30, 2014 Posted by | racism, social/political | | Leave a comment

Donald Sterling’s comments on race….

Obnoxious, but seriously: do you think that he is really that different than most other rich, older white guys? Seriously?

Of course, the NBA will have to discipline him, given that most of the players are black and many of the fans are too.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | basketball, NBA, racism, social/political | | Leave a comment

California women in prison, tube tying and “eugenics”

I recently came across reports of what happened in California: basically, some have claimed that some prison women were “coerced” into having tube tying procedures. Of course, by law, the prisoner isn’t allowed to be coerced and there has to be a medical board review to approve of the procedure, and evidently the latter didn’t happen (though the prisoners had signed off).

Then, of course, the “eugenics” claim was made (example)

I have a few things to say:

First of all, I think that a healthy, controlled sex life is good for people’s emotional and mental health. This is one reason I support the birth control mandates in the health care law and for programs like Medicaid. Having the state perform these sort of procedures on BOTH men and women in prison, IF the prisoner wants it, isn’t a bad idea. And, IMHO, there is nothing wrong with “reasonable counseling” and persuasion.


According to former Valley State inmate Christina Cordero, 34, the institution’s OB-GYN doctor pressured her to have a tubal ligation.

“As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it,” she said. “He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn’t do it.”

Cordero, who spent two years in prison for auto theft, agreed, but said, “today I wish I would have never done it.”

Hmmm, someone has 5 kids and goes to jail for auto theft. She worries about being called a “bad mother”? Oh dear. Sorry, I don’t find this convincing. This sounds like an “after the fact” regret from someone who doesn’t exactly have great judgement to begin with.

Now, as to the “eugenics” issue: I’d invite people to look at the numbers:

The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that doctors at two women’s prisons in California sterilized 148 women between 2006 and 2010 after they gave birth, with as many as 100 more in the years before that and without following proper procedures.

How in the world is this even going to make a blip in the demographic mix of a state the size of California? “Eugenics”? Oh please.

Besides, think of it this way: if you really believed that one either should reduce the Mexican-American population of California or someone had a goal of doing so, HOW IN THE WORLD WOULD THIS PROGRAM BE EFFECTIVE IN DOING THAT?

You’d have to believe that a significant percentage of the Mexican-American population is in prison, which is simply not the case. Believe it or not, the vast, vast majority of us aren’t criminals. :-)

Seriously: this is one instance in which this position (held by some liberals) is insulting to me.

That being said: of course, if proper procedure wasn’t being followed, that SHOULD be investigated. But spare the hysterical claims, ok?

April 22, 2014 Posted by | racism, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A strange racial (racist?) reaction by basketball fans (1990)

Former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson was recently inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame. This brought back memories of the Texas vs. Arkansas battles of old; I attended Texas from 1985 to 1991 and followed the team (season tickets most years).

The Texas vs. Arkansas games were usually emotionally charged. Two memories stand out, both from the 1989-1990 season. That year, Arkansas won the Southwest Conference and the conference tournament and made it to the Final Four…by….beating Texas in Dallas in the Elite Eight. The teams played 4 times and Arkansas won them all; 3 games (the NCAA game and the regular season games) were close.

First one: in the regular season, there was a huge shootout at Austin. Texas had a 3 point lead with only a few seconds to go and Texas had the ball. Arkansas fouled Travis Mays (future NBA player) who was an 80 percent free throw shooter. The foul was ruled intentional, which meant that UT got two shots AND the ball. That would have given Texas a 5 point lead with something like 5 seconds to go.

Coach Richardson walked off of the court. No technical was called.

So….Mays….MISSES BOTH. Arkansas steals the ball and hits a 3 at the buzzer….overtime…and Arkansas won.

Richardson was called “strolling Nolan” for that.

Second one: the “race” factor.
Arkansas was a virtually all black team with a black coach. Sure, many of the white Arkansas fans used the N-word…and cheered for them anyway. That isn’t what struck me as odd though.

This was the SWC tournament championship game and Arkansas was killing us…blowing us out. The Arkansas fans were loving it and cheering wildly with each Arkansas basket.

So, toward the end of the game…and remember that Arkansas HATED Texas, UT 7’th man Hank Dudek got a rebound. He spotted an open lane and drove it the length of the floor and dunked the ball.

The Arkansas crowd got silent for a moment…and then….clapped. This was NOT the roar that you hear from your team scoring…but a instant reaction…a serious clap.

Dudek is white.

Oh sure, he was UT’s 7’th person on the rotation; a small forward (6’7″) who…yes..could jump. He had transferred from a mid-major program on the east coast. He was a legitimate 7’th person; he wasn’t good enough to start for this Elite Eight team but would have started for most teams. This play, while a good play, was well within his athletic abilities.

But I still remember that reaction. It amused me; I had seen Dudek play and work out. I wasn’t the least bit shocked. My wife (at the time) turned red in the face and muttered “as*h*les!”

Man…that was strange.

April 9, 2014 Posted by | basketball, racism, social/political | , , , , | 5 Comments

Unfair attacks on Bobby Jindal and Paul Ryan

Don’t get me wrong: these are not my favorite politicians and I think that their policy ideas are bad. But while I believe in attacking bad ideas and sloppy thinking, I do not believe in putting words into people’s mouths. Here are two cases of that:

Bobby Jindal
Read the headline:

Gee, did Gov. Jindal really say that? Uh, no.

“We still place far too much emphasis on our ‘separateness,’ our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc. We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few. Here’s an idea: How about just ‘Americans?’ That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our ‘separateness’ is a step backward. Bring back the melting pot. There is nothing wrong with people being proud of their different heritages. We have a long tradition of folks from all different backgrounds incorporating their traditions into the American experience, but we must resist the politically correct trend of changing the melting pot into a salad bowl. E pluribus Unum.”

First of all, nowhere does Gov. Jindal talk about racism nor does he excuse it. He is merely discussing an important issue for many of us darker skinned folks (and others): what is the dividing line between embracing the “larger culture” (whatever that means) and keeping our ethnic traditions?

Of course, if you surf to the article, you’ll hear the authors opinion on why Gov. Jindal really meant something other than what he actually said.

Yes, I know: outlets like Fox News do this to us all of the time. But I really want to believe that we are smarter than that….and in this desire, I am…delusional.

Now for Paul Ryan

Rep. Ryan is accused of:


But did he really say that? Slate has a decent article about this:

Ryan’s problem, it seems, is that he’s talking about inner cities while being 1) a Republican who is 2) about to unleash poverty legislation heavy on work requirements. If you’re a Democrat, you can talk about the inner city in the same way Ryan does.
He acknowledged that it was a stereotype; Ryan just assumed it was a sterotype. In the world of hate-clicking, there’s no allowance for Ryan framing this in familiar terms to a skeptical conservative audience. He said there’s endemic poverty in the inner cities, and it’s not up to him to say it.

Get a load of this quote (same source):

“There are communities where for too many young people it feels like their future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town,” said President Obama in his speech to announce new “promise zones” in poor (some rural) areas. “Too many communities where no matter how hard you work, your destiny feels like it’s already been determined for you before you took that first step. I’m not just talking about pockets of poverty in our inner cities. That’s the stereotype.”

So, in my opinion, Rep. Ryan was pointing out that there are situations in which children grow up NOT seeing their parents (or at least one parent) getting up, getting ready to go to work. That CAN be damaging.

Now before you thinking that I am embracing Rep. Ryan’s economic ideas: forget it. Paul Krugman describes his ideas accurately.

Cutting safety net aid right now it just nuts; in fact, some aid (like SNAP) actually reduces the chances that kids end up on public aid as adults. The moral pathology associated with poverty is often an effect of poverty, not the cause.

There are several economic issues: not only are decent paying blue collar jobs getting scarcer, many are difficult to reach for inner city people and many of the new, entry level jobs don’t have a pathway toward better jobs in the future:

For years, many Americans followed a simple career path: Land an entry-level job. Accept a modest wage. Gain skills. Leave eventually for a better-paying job.

The workers benefited, and so did lower-wage retailers such as Wal-Mart: When its staffers left for better-paying jobs, they could spend more at its stores. And the U.S. economy gained, too, because more consumer spending fueled growth.

Not so much anymore. Since the Great Recession began in late 2007, that path has narrowed because many of the next-tier jobs no longer exist. That means more lower-wage workers have to stay put. The resulting bottleneck is helping widen a gap between the richest Americans and everyone else.

“Some people took those jobs because they were the only ones available and haven’t been able to figure out how to move out of that,” Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press.

If Wal-Mart employees “can go to another company and another job and make more money and develop, they’ll be better,” Simon explained. “It’ll be better for the economy. It’ll be better for us as a business, to be quite honest, because they’ll continue to advance in their economic life.”

Yet for now, the lower-wage jobs once seen as stepping stones are increasingly being held for longer periods by older, better-educated, more experienced workers.

The trend extends well beyond Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, and is reverberating across the U.S. economy. It’s partly why average inflation-adjusted income has declined 9 percent for the bottom 40 percent of households since 2007, even as incomes for the top 5 percent now slightly exceed where they were when the recession began late that year, according to the Census Bureau.

Research shows that occupations that once helped elevate people from the minimum wage into the middle class have disappeared during the past three recessions dating to 1991.

Paul Ryan’s concern about kids being raised in an environment in which the adults aren’t regularly working is a valid one; the problem lies in his proposed solutions to this very real malady.

March 14, 2014 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

losers, transparency and silliness (photos, etc.)

This post will be a “stream of consciousness” post with no set theme; I am reviewing a LOT of job applications and need a release. :-)

Workout notes 6 mile run on the treadmill in 1:01:11; varied the incline (0 to 1 mostly, every 2 minutes) and speed; last 20 minutes I varied between 10:20 and 8:54 mpm every 2 minutes. Then I walked a slow 2 miles on the track; legs were tired so I quit.

Stamina is still low, but blood donation was last Friday.

My back is stiff from sitting too long; so I need to do some back stretches.

Our local university basketball team is playing the number 4 (or 5) team tonight; it might get ugly.

Though this team made the Sweet 16 back in 2006, success after that has been limited and attendance has fallen: (only regular season games at the larger off campus arena were counted):

2007-2008 — 10,114 (+3.1%)
2008-2009 — 10,019 (-0.9%)
2009-2010 — 9,338 (-6.8%)
2010-2011 — 8,450 (-9.5%)
2011-2012 — 7,860 (-7.0%)
2012-2013 — 7,411 (-5.7%)

The 7 games in Carver arena this year: paid attendance (NOT “through the turnstile attendance) averages 6205, but that includes only 2 conference games and includes “winter break” games. Three times, the paid attendance was less than 6000 fans and the largest crowd was the “double header” against Chicago State (6797; this included a women’s game). Also, the weather has been dreadful as of late.




Texas Football
The Longhorns hired Charlie Strong (from Louisville) to replace Mack Brown. Strong has had quite a bit of success with Louisville and is known as an “in your face” coach. I am excited. However his reception has been cool among some big donors and, well, there is this:


Yes, this shirt has been pulled. Personally, I HOPE this is someone saying “cool, things at UT have changed so much we can have a black coach” but…well…I don’t know. This is, at best, clumsy and at worst, racist. I don’t know the intent.

Losers It appears to me that the Republicans, at least the top ones, at their heart, have a contempt for those who haven’t been economically successful. In fact, some conservatives have said that the Republicans should just up and admit it:

In short, the GOP’s attempt to be the party of the common man has backfired. With good reason. Not only have the policies not worked, but the pandering ignores that the “Party of the Rich” label is an aspirational one. It’s a good brand. People like exclusivity earned in a meritocracy, and if the Republicans embrace self-made achievement through policies explicitly geared toward the rich, they’ll be far more appealing. When it comes to giving things away, the Republicans will never be able to match up with the Party across the aisle which is expert at wealth redistribution.

Importantly, there are votes to be won if the Republicans simply be themselves. Per Friedkin it’s apparent that voters sense fraud rather easily, plus it’s probably too easily forgotten that the late George McGovern was shocked during the 1972 presidential campaign when blue collar voters gave a big thumbs down to his proposals in favor of steep inheritance taxes. Republicans need to remember that the American culture is an achievement culture. Americans, as the McGovern story clarifies, at least think they’ll eventually grow rich. When Republicans try to act poor in their search for the vote of the regular guy, it’s arguable that they lose a lot of ‘regular guy’ votes. Whatever their station in life, Americans want to be rich. Because they do, Republicans should embrace their label as the party of the rich in order to attract the achievers, along with those who aspire to achievement.

Oh sure, people are likely to live and die within the economic class that they are born into, or possibly a lower one:

Even by measures of relative mobility, Middle America remains fluid. About 36 percent of Americans raised in the middle fifth move up as adults, while 23 percent stay on the same rung and 41 percent move down, according to Pew research. The “stickiness” appears at the top and bottom, as affluent families transmit their advantages and poor families stay trapped.

But that is *always* everyone else. :-)

“Internet Science”
These top two made me chuckle:



Now as far as this next one:


:-) Unfortunately, much of the woo-woo anti GMO stuff you see on the internet is of the above caliber. And unfortunately, my State Senator came out in favor of a stupid GMO labeling law:

In November, Washington became the latest state to reject a ballot proposal that would have required labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients.
At the same time, Maine and Connecticut have passed laws requiring labels on genetically engineered foods. However, their laws won’t go into effect until other states in the Northeast also adopt GMO labeling laws.
Against that backdrop, an Illinois lawmaker said he will pursue legislation this year requiring labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients.
“I’m dealing with this strictly as a consumer right-to-know bill,” said Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria. “I’m not saying yea or nay to the health risks. I’m saying consumers have a right to know and they can make up their own mind.”
Koehler’s Senate Bill 1666 would require that foods containing genetically modified ingredients (usually referred to as GMOs, for genetically modified organisms) carry a label that says as much. The specific ingredients don’t have to be identified, only that GMOs are present.

That is dumb; here is why: would he support a law that mandated labels that contained the phase of the moon at the time of harvest? Of course not: the reason is that this factor has no effect on the product. So, a “good” GMO law would be one that would require a label when there was a SCIENCE REASON for doing so; for example if a particular genetic modification changed how a food is digested by someone with a particular allergy or disorder (e. g. Celiac disease) then yes. Of course, I know of no such modification or even if it is possible.

Liberals drive me crazy sometimes; we can be every bit as stupid as Bible thumping Republicans.

Lululemon stock plunges
Lululemon has had a rough year. Perhaps it is the “transparent pants”:


(ok, NOT Lululemon but hey…)

Some want to claim this is the result of “fat shaming” (yeah right, people who do yoga in 100 dollar yoga pants so want to be associated with the obese)

But this is a far more likely reason.

Perhaps they were overvalued to begin with; they are boxed in the “yoga pants for the beautiful people” market, where they may well continue to thrive.

Back to the job application reading; at least, as mathematicians, we don’t have THIS to worry about. No one wants to sleep with us. :-(

But I did have a math article appear this month and….


:-) Hey, at my age, it is the older MILF and middle GILF crowd. Oh, all right, I got this from here and did a little modification. :-)

January 14, 2014 Posted by | basketball, big butts, college football, creationism, economy, football, nature, racism, science, spandex | , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes I like being in the bubble

I belong to a few right wing groups on Facebook just to see what they are saying.

If you really want to know what they are thinking (but that most of their leaders won’t say); well, consider this “joke” taken from a page called “Liberals Suck”

Screen shot 2013-08-27 at 6.08.12 PM

You see, they think that such jokes like the above reflect reality. Of course, though African Americas (2008 to 2009) were over represented in the TANF rolls, not only proportionally but numerically, at least nation wide.

But the reality is that there are, at least numerically, a lot of African Americans contributing tax money which is received, in part, by white families on welfare too.

And when it comes to “getting a job”; well, it is kind of unfair to blame a person for not having a job when you won’t hire them, even if they are as qualified as other applicants. (example).

August 28, 2013 Posted by | racism, social/political | , | 3 Comments

The Butler: see it.

I just saw the film The Butler.

Was it overdone? Sure; it put a montage of experiences into a single family’s experience.
But I think though this one person/family’s experience, it tells an important story.

Among the features:

1. It reminds us of the violent racial discrimination that existed within my own lifetime.

2. It tells the story of conflict between generations who are trying to overcome racism. It shows the (understandable) impatience of the young activists and how they fail to understand why their parents are often more reserved in fighting discrimination. They lack the context to see where their elders are coming from and they confuse their moderation of action with approval of the existing situation. It also shows that, many times, the young set has a better ear for how things are NOW (things DO change) as opposed as to how they once were.

3. It reminds many of us how many of the opportunities that we enjoy (I am speaking as a brown man now) weren’t there for our parents and elders. We owe our elders some gratitude for getting these opportunities opened up to us. We also owe some from the majority culture who followed their conscience; that isn’t always easy.

4. Of course, it is a good family story in its own right.

At times it is harsh medicine, but on the whole, it was uplifting.

More here.

Note: some are complaining about Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan.

Yes, she did go to North Vietnam and pose by anti-aircraft guns and make anti US statements. While it was true that I too didn’t like the war (albeit mostly because I didn’t want my dad to get killed there; he went twice), it was a colossal mistake and a very bloody one. Evidently Ms. Fonda felt the same way, but she was duped by the Communists. All too often young, idealistic headstrong “know-it-alls” rush in without really knowing what they are doing, and in my opinion, that is what happened here.

But really, who is worse? Is it someone who makes dumb (with good intentions) statements or someone who gets us into an unnecessary war that kills and maims lots of Americans? I have far more disgust for the latter.

Now call me cynical, but I wonder if this Fonda issue is the real issue that some conservatives have with the film (I am sure that some do); I really wonder if they are reacting to
1. Some of the genuine sins of the country being exposed and
2. Barack Obama being portrayed positively.

I really wonder.

August 25, 2013 Posted by | movies, racism, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Does “profiling” make a community safer?

I saw this on Facebook:
Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 4.25.13 PM

First of all, you can look up these supposed statistics here, here, here or here. Two of these pages allow you to sort the cities by whatever factor (crime rate, type of crime rate, etc.)

So the statement from the Facebook post is blatantly false.

But if it weren’t false, where is the fallacy?

Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose I had such political influence that I could get the police force to police my neighborhood and “profile” anyone who doesn’t look EXACTLY like me. That is, if you go into my neighborhood and you aren’t ME, you get questioned and harassed.

Guess what: *I* would probably be (marginally) safer! But this would be unfair, and the quality of life for everyone else (the not-me’s) would drop; you might say that the official crime rate against me went down, but the “crimes by the law enforcement against the citizens of the area” rate skyrocketed.

So, suppose you profiled every young black male that went through my neighborhood. Yes, much of the “mugging” crime around here has been done by black males (almost all, in this small region).

Those of us who lived here who AREN’T black males would be safer, but the black males, who have every bit as much right to be here as the rest of us, wouldn’t be. And the vast majority of them are behaving legally; the actions of a few idiots have nothing to do with them.

You might say that profiling actually makes more citizens less safe as it shifts some of the “law enforcement crimes” to a particular group of people, though it might lower the official crime rate against other groups of people.

But all too often we go by what might be “best” (in the short term) for our own particular subgroup than what is best for ALL of our citizens on the whole.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | racism, social/political, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment


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