Neither liberals nor conservatives are inherently dumb. But their knee jerk reactions are.

There are smart liberals and there are smart conservatives. There are also dumb liberals and dumb conservatives. I really don’t see much of an intelligence difference between the two groups, though it appears to me that the intelligence manifests itself in different ways (e.g. top scientists lean liberal; top CEO’s lean conservative).

However, the two groups are prone to knee jerk reactions that ARE dumb. On the right, you see the old “If Obama is for it, it must be ultra liberal, etc.” Never mind his economic plan (in particular, infrastructure rebuilding) and Obamacare have conservative elements to them.

On the left: once a group has achieved “underdog/victimhood” status, they become protected. Hence some liberals conflate discrimination against Muslims (e. g. protesting the building of a mosque) with criticism of Islam as it is widely practiced. And, “innocent until proven guilty” is just fine, UNLESS the accuser is a woman and the accused is a man and the accusation is some hot button “issue crime”.

I think that “innocent until proven guilty” is even MORE important when one doesn’t like the accused or the group that the accused belongs to.

October 28, 2014 Posted by | ranting, social/political, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Obama’s accomplishments

Fact Check does its thing (non-partisan)

Paul Krugman, an early critic of Obama, gives an excellent defense of his record, thereby refuting much LIBERAL criticism. Seriously people: did you think that a “different” Obama could have gotten a more liberal agenda past Republican obstructionism? And yes, the deficit is DOWN, not that anyone knows or cares.

Yes, I know: any deficit adds to the national debt, whether it is down or up.

October 10, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, politics, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

not quite over it

I’ve coughed a bit today; still have “the drip” (TMI).

But I took advantage of cool, overcast conditions to do a 16 mile, 4:06 walk over hilly terrain.

I did double my usual Cornstalk 8 (minus the out and back to my house); so it was 14 miles plus a 2 mile (down the hill, lower loop and back).

I kept the effort steady; just over 1 hour at the end of the first out and back; 2:33 at the end of 3, 3:20 at the end of 4, then 46 minutes for the final 3.04. Yes, the legs ached; this course offered 22 uphills, all of them in the middle 14 miles, and 20 of them between mile 1 and 13. I did see the university softball team playing and I saw some small animals. The park had light use during this time.

Next week: I add 3 more miles of hills (5 more hills).

October 5, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized, walking | | Leave a comment

Climate change, creationism, jobs, and race

Talk about a sticky situation. A white lesbian couple paid a sperm bank for sperm from a white male…and ended up with sperm from a black male. Now they have a half-black daughter…and they are suing.

Oh sure, one can say that they entered a business transaction and didn’t get what they paid for. But what effect will this have on the kid? Ah, they’ll probably blame it on the racism of others. ;-)

Jobs report

248K new jobs last month; the good is that this is better than losing jobs. The bad: the new jobs aren’t paying well.

The Aral Sea was once the 4’th largest lake in the world. By 2000 it had shrunk a great deal, and now it is almost gone.



Reasons: many; one of them is irrigation. One consequence is that nearby areas no longer have the lake to moderate the extremes; so it is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

Creationism: Why Evolution is True has an interesting take on a non-Sequitur cartoon.

October 4, 2014 Posted by | creationism, economy, politics, politics/social, racism, science, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Hanna City Hustle 2014 version


It was sweltering; 78 F with 87 percent humidity. The thunderstorms were coming but they were a few hours away.

So, I took a shorter warm up than normal (12-13 minutes) and started…slowly.

I tried to keep it under control; mile 1 came at 8:35. I was tracking this fit woman who was to blow me away about half way through; I moved up steadily past many who started too fast for the conditions.

There is a turn out of neighborhoods onto a country road for about .75 miles; I saw others on the way back. Mile two: my target had put more distance on me but it came 8:28; I had sped up slightly (in part due to a gentle downgrade). I got that downgrade back on the last 1.1 where I was just haning on. (9:34, or about 8:44 for the last mile).

8:35/8:28/9:34 = 26:38
place: 21 out of 73.

Ironically, this race was smaller than normal. So, due to races on the same day I ended up with my 4’th AG award (in a 5k) since Memorial Day (though I didn’t pick up two of them due to leaving early.

I was slower than two weeks ago due to the conditions. But I was ok with that.

After eating pancakes, I went to the Riverplex and saw a nearly empty pool; there was an elderly guy barely making it from one side to the other.
Later, a young attractive woman showed up, and still later, one of those “bronze body” guys that looks like an animated Greek statue. The total:

500 free
5 x 100 (alt fist/free) on 2:10
4 x (50 front kick, fins, 100 free)
alt 100 pull, 100 free (400 total)
4 x 25 fly (with rests)
4 x 25 back (fins)

That was enough for the day; 180.7 prior to swimming; 179.7 after.

My previous to Hanna City Hustles (both about 1:20 faster, on cooler days)


2014 post blood donation 5K races:

27:06 68F, 65 percent
27:41 73F, 69 percent
27:23 74 F, 67 percent
25:53, 70 F, 72 percent
26:38, 78F, 87 percent

August 23, 2014 Posted by | running, swimming, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Tempo workout and delusions

Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 10.50.33 AM

Ok, it was slightly warm 70 F, 78 percent humidity.

I did some stretches and, as I was getting ready to hit the path, I saw a young woman running in the direction that I was going to go in. I hesitated slightly; I really didn’t want to spook her out by running behind her. But no worries; as I got going she all but disappeared from view; I didn’t see her close up again until she was on her way back. :-)

Ah, age plus my slow warm up pace. :-)

I took a 2 mile route to the track (via the goose loop) and on the track, I decided to do a tempo-ish run. I wanted to run reasonably hard but not kill myself.

8:29/8:31 (17:01) and then a slow 200 meter walk (2:09), then 1600 in 8:40 (picked it up the last 200 m) to arrive at 5K in 27:51. That wasn’t too far off my recent 5K runs, especially when you factor in the weather.

27:06 68F, 65 percent
27:41 73F, 69 percent
27:23 74 F, 67 percent

I finished with a 1 mile walk, then 1 mile run back to the Riverplex, followed by 10 minutes on the exercise bike (for my knees).

August 2, 2014 Posted by | running, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Initial micro-mini “I Goat This” triathlon

I was looking for something to do, workout wise. I didn’t want to do too much. So it went like this:

1. Hilly 4.2 mile run; not timed. I chose my “Cornstalk Classic” course; this is a long time staple of mine.

2. Then I did 6.2 miles (10K) on the stationary bike (22:30, approximately).

3. Then I swam 1.25 miles. Now, the swim was a total mess. I felt awful in my first 100, so I did the following:

3 sets of 4 x 100: free-back-IM-side, free-IM-side-IM, free-side-IM-side, then 10 x 100 free on 2:05. First 6 were 1:55; last 4 were around 1:50; I was finally feeling better.

So, I ran just over 1 mile and swam 1200 meters more than what is done in a sprint tri, but cycled 10K less. 22 more minutes and I’ll call it a “Goat” sprint tri; yes, the order was exactly reversed.

Of interest: I really felt bad at the start of the swim; only when I pushed the pace of some of the 100s did I start to feel right. That is strange.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | running, swimming, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

What makes a tea party member? Note: it isn’t ALL bad..

I remember in 2006 I was doing a 24 hour walk. I felt a bit sick and sat down to rest a bit. One of the other competitors went past and said “you aren’t getting miles by doing that.” I was shammed into getting up and getting out there.

That is what conservatives are often very good at doing; they know that success takes hard work and sometimes going beyond what you think that you can do.

And so, it isn’t a surprise that many link their success with their actions:

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame said college graduates are more likely to support tea party ideas if they live in counties characterized by high levels of residential segregation based on education level. The researchers found the correlation between tea party support and educational segregation to be uniquely strong compared to factors like racial segregation and class segregation.

Rory McVeigh, a University of Notre Dame political sociologist and author of the study, told The Huffington Post that he was interested in discovering what communities might be particularly hospitable to tea party principles and why. Prior to the study, he posited that the tea party ideology, which advocates for limited government and low government spending, might resonate more among people who don’t interact much with low-income individuals who may benefit from government programs. As it turns out, McVeigh was on to something.

“My thinking was that people who are likely to embrace [tea party ideology] are more likely to be people who have had some success and life and limited exposure to those who haven’t enjoyed the same advantages. … Education is such an important predictor of how you end up in life,” said McVeigh over the phone.


McVeigh explained to HuffPost why this might occur.

“When you’ve had little exposure to people who haven’t had the same opportunities as you, you’re more likely to adopt a view that ‘really anybody who wanted to could have succeeded if they only did what I did,’” said McVeigh.

But there is a bit more:

But as we know, not everybody has the same access to a high-quality education.”

Here is what is unsaid: having access to the same “high quality” of education doesn’t guarantee success. Obviously, I had a LOT of classmates in high school. Some did very well in life, some did ok, and some didn’t do so well. Of the honors group that I remember, there are lawyers, scientists, engineers and others with advanced degrees.

But there were still others who didn’t take things seriously and, say, either got pregnant or got someone else pregnant.

The bottom line: not everyone takes advantages of opportunities; in fact, it appears to me that most really don’t.

In fact, *I* have been called “privileged” even though my family was far from wealthy, neither parent made it out of junior high and my high school was the public one; 55 percent Hispanic at the time. It was NOT highly regarded academically in the district at the time, though I thought that I got a good education there.

It appears to me that if one doesn’t screw up early in life, someone will call you “privileged”. :-)

So, in this regard, they aren’t crazy.

Here is where the error is: there is a difference between talking about individuals in a group (e. g. the slackers in my high school) and talking about an entire group of people. If an entire group of people does poorly in society, then either something is wrong with them…AS A GROUP, or wrong with how society treats them. Sure, within that group, you will have slackers and no-good-for-nothings. But statistically, it is highly unlikely that most or even the typical of the group is like that.

Note: this might come as a surprise to those not paying attention, but on the average, Tea Party types are somewhat MORE educated and wealthier than the average American. Of course, I love the misspelled Tea Party signs, but in reality, those are outliers.

Yes, there is also the idea that as one becomes more powerful, one tends to lose empathy:

Psychological research suggests the answer is no. Studies have repeatedly shown that participants who are in high positions of power (or who are temporarily induced to feel powerful) are less able to adopt the visual, cognitive or emotional perspective of other people, compared to participants who are powerless (or are made to feel so). [..]

Why does power leave people seemingly coldhearted? Some, like the Princeton psychologist Susan Fiske, have suggested that powerful people don’t attend well to others around them because they don’t need them in order to access important resources; as powerful people, they already have plentiful access to those.

We suggest a different, albeit complementary, reason from cognitive neuroscience. On the basis of a study we recently published with the researcher Jeremy Hogeveen, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, we contend that when people experience power, their brains fundamentally change how sensitive they are to the actions of others.

The human brain can be exquisitely attuned to other people, thanks in part to its so-called mirror system. The mirror system is composed of a network of brain regions that become active both when you perform an action (say, squeezing a rubber ball in your hand) and when you observe someone else who performs the same action (squeezing a rubber ball in his hand). Our brains appear to be able to intimately resonate with others’ actions, and this process may allow us not only to understand what they are doing, but also, in some sense, to experience it ourselves — i.e., to empathize.

This goes hand in hand with the “segregation” hypothesis; we have a hard time with empathy with what we don’t know well.

Now as far as really why and individual might tend conservative to begin with, that is probably genetic. But of course, environment affects HOW this conservatism is expressed.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

In denial

Workout part I:

22 minute jog outside (high 50’s…really)
inside: 5 x 400 with 200 walk, 200 run

I used lane 2

runs: 1:54-1:51-1:52-1:51-1:52-54
rests: 2:13-1:55-2:03-1:57-2:04
miles: 9:48/20:32

Then: 2:26 walk then an 8:59 mile (lane 2)

Total: 31:58 for just over 5K (counting all of the walking laps)

Interval totals: 12:40 of the time was walking (.75 miles) , 19:18 was running (2.375 miles)

After I finish this, I’ll go for a short hike.

This is day 15 after blood donation; some of “it” is coming back.

Denial: My wife is retired, and though she is older than I am, it is difficult for me to think of her as being elderly, though she is (by any reasonable definition).

As for me: yeah, I see that my times are slowing and that I can’t lift as much weight as I once could. I could once do 27 pull ups without stopping; now even doing a single set of 15 is a chore (typically it is 5 sets of 10 with short rests, and that isn’t easy for me).

But I remain in denial. My slowing times aren’t reflecting my age; they reflect that I am just “not in shape yet”. But I’ve been trying to “get in shape” for 9 years now and it hasn’t happened yet. :-)

Here is the effect of increasing entropy on my body over the years….you can see the steady loss of definition in my arms in these photos.





Enough of that. Time to hit the trails and then do some math.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | running, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

First 6 months of 2014: athletic summary

My favorite “online running log” is down for the count…probably need to write it off. I have the data downloaded somewhere. I’ll have to figure out where.

So every week, I’ll post a summary on Sunday.

Today’s walk: goal was to get 4 hours plus; I ended up with 17.75 miles in 4:24. I walked 2:10 out, 2:08 back in 2:18 plus 6 more minutes (about .4 miles more).



The weather: mostly high 70’s with humidity in the low 80 percent range, save a quick cooler front. There were rumbles of thunder and it did rain…at times on the course but NOT where I happened to be.

The course: Cooper, Moss, Union, W. MLK, Kumpf, Water to the riverfront, then to Abington, Lower Glenn Oak (trail along Perry) to Springdale, under Route 150 to Harvard (past Affina) and then to the bike path which I took to Prospect, and then to Tower Park. I then walked back and added a Bradley University (Markin) loop to get 4:20+. My pace: kind of slow, but it was warm and sticky.

What I saw: a few cyclists, a group of older runners, a few bunnies and a lot of ground hogs.

I focused on posture.

Afterward: I felt tired upon stopping…but air conditioning, a drink and lunch really, really revived me. I perked right up.

Summary for the week:

Monday: weights, 2200 yard swim, blood donation.
Tuesday: 4 mile run (8 x 200 meter with 200 walk/jog); almost passed out at the end.
Wednesday: 6 mile run (1:03) outside; easy effort.
Thursday: weights, 2650 yard swim
Friday: 2 easy, 5K run (27:06), 1 easy for 6 total.
Saturday: 2200 yard swim, weights, (got 50s for dumbbell military), 4.25 mile walk.
Sunday: 17.75 walk in 4:24.

37 miles on foot, 4 miles swimming, 3 weight sessions, blood donation, slow race, longish walk. Weights: ordinary.
Bodyweight: 180.x pre swimming, 178.x after swimming.

5K summary for the season:

4 July: Firecracker 5000 27:06 5K
31 May: Family House 5K 26:50 (fell down)
24 May: River Run 5K (certified) 24:42 5K
10 May: Race For the Cure 25:27 5K
3 May Run to Remember 24:17 5K .
26 April: 26:47 5K (Bradley soccer 5K)
19 April: 23:27 2.96 (24:40 5K, or 23:45 3 mile)
5 April 22:31 (2.8 miles) 25:05 5K
29 March CIDA 25:09 5K
1 March: 27:27 for 3.25 miles: 26:10 5K.

Other comments over the first 6 months of 2014 (athletically speaking)
My mile races: pretty bad but all were in sauna like conditions. I suspect my indoor miles (inside lane of the indoor track) were a bit short by a few seconds; the middle lane is probably accurate. But training for these miles helped my 5K run (I think).

Microbrew: 7:59 (slow, “tour the course 6K” afterward) June 22
Main Street: 7:04 (downhill) June 27
Mental Health: 7:46 (day after Main Street)

I had a decent (but not great) 4 miler 33:25; June 7

And I had a “meh” Steamboat 15K run (1:29:57) June 14.

I also had a couple of ok half marathon powerwalks:

2:25:25 on April 12 (Peoria Heights)
2:19:14 River City Half (May 18).

Weight room wise: 180 for 3 reps is my best bench press performance (or 160 for 10 reps, 170 for 7 reps); most everything else is stagnant.
I did restart swimming and I stayed with it. I use swimming mostly as cross training; once or twice I managed a set of 100s on the 2 with a few under 1:40, but 1:42-48 is more the norm.

My best progress has been in the 5K run.

July 6, 2014 Posted by | running, Uncategorized, walking | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 658 other followers