blueollie

Taking on conventional wisdom

More Trump: who are those Trump voters anyway? You can read what many of them said here. So, what can or should we do? Well one thing is that we need to concern ourselves with other countries (e. g. Russia) interfering with out elections; evidently they are doing that in Germany too. We should do something about people in large states being grossly underrepresented.

But what about now? Well, some say that we ought to stick with identity politics, even if it is politically unpopular. Personally, I can see the reason for such politics being unpopular. For example, this article talks about the pick for Labor Secretary being someone who, gasp, used sex to sell hamburgers. Sorry, but the days of claiming “that’s sexist” and shutting down the discussion are over.

Alas, political correctness isn’t only found on the left wing. You see some on the right wing too: here, some criticism is aimed at Paul Krugman for pointing out that the coal/manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back and that such regions will likely lose population, just like what happened in other countries.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Why might someone have voted for Trump?

Yes, Trump won the Electoral College which is what matters. Still, it bothers me that the “loser” of this election currently has more than 2,676,170 MORE votes than the winner (2 percent and climbing); that the minority can dictate to us really burns me up.

Nevertheless, as of this time, 62.9 million voters thought that Trump was suitable for the job of President. And many of my friends are saying stuff like this:

whovotedfortrump

So, why might have someone voted for Trump? I’ll need to see an analysis of the exit polls. But here are some things that I’ve heard, either in person or online:

1. The Republican will always get a certain percentage of “always Republican” votes.
2. Many just despised Hillary Clinton.
3. This was a push back against “political correctness” (at least the liberal version of it)
4. Some really believe that Trump can bring manufacturing jobs and coal jobs back (one predicted that Trump would flip Ohio and Pennsylvania because of coal).
5. Some really see the “base culture” of the United States slipping away (“press 1 for English”, growing acceptance of Islam, etc.)
6. Some thing that a political outsider might “shake things up” and Hillary Clinton is the ultimate insider.
7. Some wanted contrast from the cool, calculating, cerebral Obama.
8. Some did not want a female president.
9. Some thought Trump might be a “law and order” guy, at least for the common criminals.
10. Some wanted more isolationism?

Ah, it is a lot to think about. I have much more to say but grading of final exams is my current priority.

Workout notes: weights plus a 5K walk in the cold (Bradley Park course). Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 150, military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 20 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50, headstand.

I did an exercise class with Ms. Vickie last night; I went with Barbara.

December 8, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

And I drag Mat to the Bears vs. 49’ers game

How does a math professor afford “Media Deck” seats in Soldier field? Well, having an outdoor December game between 2-9 and 1-10 teams helps.

As far as the seats: row 1. Loved that. Now the bathroom at the end (section 244) is too small..and the concourse is crowded. So, next time I’d go to the middle sections to get to the bathroom. Other than that: excellent.

Now the game: the Bears won 26-6, though the first half didn’t look so promising. The 49’ers controlled play…but only managed two field goals. One came on a drive. The other was set up by a partially blocked punt which was returned to the Bear 4 yard line. But the returner though he had scored and …in celebrating what he thought was a touchdown, did a snow angel in the endzone. That resulted in a 15 yard penalty which ..lead to a field goal.

So with just over 2 minutes left in the half, the Bears had the ball at their own 20. They tried two running plays with limited success..and the 49’ers called time out, hoping to get the ball back.

So the Bears completed a pass for the first down..and which point momentum shifted. The Bears found that their backup quarterback COULD pass in this weather and he started to hit passes. That moved the Bears sharply to the 12 yard line, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the 49’er 1 with just over 30 seconds to go. The Bears ran it in and took a 7-6 lead at the half.

The Bears dominated the second half, mixing running and passing. The drove for 2 touchdowns and established a 21-6 lead going into the 4’th quarter.

A nice field goal pushed it to 24-6; and then a good punt pinned the 49’ers deep (at their own 2), and a quarterback sack for a safety pushed the final margin to 26-6.

So, the Bears won 3 games this season, and I was there for 2 of those victories! In fact, I’ve yet to witness the opposing team score a touchdown on the Bears.

I never got that cold; in fact, during the game, I never had to put on my extra coat.

bears491

The Media Deck concourse has heat lamps overhead. If you sit in rows 11-12, these might keep you a little bit warm.

bears492entry

The Bears take the field.

bears493action

Early action.

bears494fieldgoal

Field goal 49’ers.

bears496td2

Bears in scoring position in the third quarter.

bears495touchdown

Touchdown Bears!

bears497coldfans

The cold fans braving the elements.

bears499wherewewere

The red arrow marks where we are.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

Workout catch up

Classes ended yesterday, and I am going to write up some final exams.

Workouts: Sunday: light yoga prior to the Bears game trip.
Monday: 3 miles on the home treadmill; 34:30 (“run”)
Tuesday: weights then a reasonably serious 6 mile run on the treadmill in 1:03:10. I did the 5.2 for 4 minutes and increased the speed every 4 minutes until 52: mile 5 came at 51:50, 4 at 42:20. Then I walked to 54 minutes, then jogged the rest.

Weirghts: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, nice shoulder burn), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 10 x 170, incline: 10 x 145. military: 2 sets of standing 10 x 50 dumbbell, 20 x 50 seated, supported. 3 sets of 10 x 50 one armed row, head stands (shaky entry), 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches.

I seem to have recovered somewhat from Wednesday’s blood donation.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Why do you believe that?

Trump’s win has lead to a discussion about “political correctness” and people being “shouted down” and “shamed” into falling in line with a tribal orthodoxy.

Of course, Trump is bringing in a toxic right wing version of this which is a much bigger threat.

But still, the liberal community is important to me, and I like to see ideas vigorously discussed and debated. And it has gotten to the point of “why do you believe that” is considered a hostile reply.
So I’d like to move away from stigmatizing questions and conjectures and toward debating them…explaining why bad ideas are bad.

Football:
Navy got stomped by Temple 34-10 and Western Michigan beat Ohio 29-23 the night before. That sends Western Michigan to the Cotton Bowl, I think. What I found curious was Navy fans lambasting Western Michigan last night for not looking overpowering. They seem to have forgotten that Navy had several close calls this season..and there was today’s game.

Navy IS a decent team, but not Cotton Bowl worthy. Sadly, it looks like Navy will be matched up with a dreadful North Texas team in the Armed Forces Bowl; that is disgusting. Navy deserves better than that.

Workout notes: 5K walk outside after a full weight workout, sans ab work
rotator cuff, pull ups (10-5)(10-6), 10, (5-5), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military (dumbbell) 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing, 20 x 50 seated, supported, 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm rows.

note: the (10-5) meant: 10 pull ups, switch grip, 5 more…same for 5-5…little to no rest.

December 3, 2016 Posted by | football, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

More head scratching….

This is just nuts: Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is now about 2.5 million, and her percentage lead is 1.9 percent? And yes, the Democrat has won the popular vote in 6 of the previous 7 elections, though the Republican won the Electoral College thrice.

Nevertheless, our elections, for now, are decided by the Electoral College. Somehow, it makes sense to spend attention to a few “swing states” as opposed to where more people live? That no longer makes sense to me.

But Trump won. Oh, there will be consequences; for example many will lose their health insurance.

So, where do we go from here? I completely agree with this:

As Democrats contemplate their losses in November’s election, most have settled on a solution. They believe that the party needs more economically populist policies. But this misses an essential reality: Most people don’t vote on the basis of policies.

There is excellent research by political scientists and psychologists on why people vote. The conclusion is clear. As Gabriel Lenz writes in his landmark 2012 book, “Follow the Leader?”, “Voters don’t choose between politicians based on policy stances; rather, voters appear to adopt the policies that their favorite politicians prefer.”

And how do voters pick their favorite politicians? It is a gut decision that is more emotional than rational. Mostly it hinges on whether they identify with a politician in the social and psychological senses.

In an important recent book, “Democracy for Realists,” Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels show that “group attachments” and “social identities” are key to understanding voting behavior. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt reinforces this view with mountains of research showing that people choose their political views based on their tribal attachments.

I agree with this. However these sorts of solutions are problematic:

Barack Obama is a singularly charismatic politician. But he might have made Democrats forget that the three Democrats elected to the White House before his election came from the rural South. They knew that world; they were of it.

With these insights in mind, on the campaign trail, perhaps Clinton and the Democrats should have rallied not with Beyonce and Jay Z but rather with George Strait. And if you don’t know who he is, that’s part of the problem.

I agree that Barack Obama is so good of a politician that he may have masked problems that Democrats have. But as far as Beyonce and Jay Z: remember that a Democrat cannot not win without the base. True, they can’t win with ONLY their base, as we found out; we do need at least a few votes beyond our base. But you can’t disrespect your base either.

It is a tricky line to walk.

Workout notes: yesterday, weights only (day after whole blood donation): pull ups (5 sets of 10), rotator cuff, incline bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 150, military: 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 20 x 50 dumbbell seated, supported, 10 x 200 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single armed rows, headstand, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches.

today: run only; 5.1 mile shuffle on my hilly course; hills were a chore.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, Uncategorized, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Why “normalizing Trump” might be a good idea (and what that means)

I was struck by memes of the following variety:

hedoesnotknowwhy

I found myself shaking my head. (yes, I am aware of the argument that Trump was merely mocking a generic clueless reporter and not lampooning the disability of a specific reporter)

But, let’s assume that he was mocking a specific reporter who has one arm with a curled up wrist.

Now some might find that funny, and many might find that rude and boorish. But disqualifying? (*)

Think of it this way: suppose that President Elect Trump were to “bring back” good job, establish 5 percent growth in our GDP, bring up median wages to new heights, keep us at peace, repair our infrastructure, see increases in longevity, reduce poverty and get everyone decent health insurance (even institute a good single payer system)?

If that happened, I think that he would be “reelected” (sort of) in a landslide, no matter how boorish his personal mannerisms were. Many people are willing to overlook such things if the rest is good.

Think about it: suppose you had a rare condition that most surgeons could not fix, but there is this one extraordinary one who had a 95 percent cure rate. But he was going to be let go by the hospital because, say, he made a racial slur on Facebook. And so, the only ones left to operate were those who had, say, a 5 percent success rate. How would you feel?

So, for me, as much as I don’t like Mr. Trump, the real issue is that he is bringing incompetent people to his administration and that he is going to double down on trickle down economics.

And THAT is why I claim that we should focus on failed policies (provided, of course, they fail):

One is to what extent we should regard Trump as deliberately using social media controversies to distract attention from other issues. The other is to what extent political actors should be pressured to not “normalize” Trump — remaining focused on what is outlandish, offensive, and bizarre about him rather than doing boring things like writing about his humdrum pick for transportation secretary.

Normalization, in this context, is typically cast as a form of complicity with Trump in which the highest possible premium is placed on maintaining a rigid state of alert and warning people that he is not just another politician whom you may or may not agree with on the issues.

But several students of authoritarian populist movements abroad have a different message. To beat Trump, what his opponents need to do is practice ordinary humdrum politics. Populists in office thrive on a circus-like atmosphere that casts the populist leader as persecuted by media and political elites who are obsessed with his uncouth behavior while he is busy doing the people’s work. To beat Trump, progressives will need to do as much as they can to get American politics out of reality show mode.

Trump genuinely does pose threats to the integrity of American institutions and political norms. But he does so largely because his nascent administration is sustained by support from the institutional Republican Party and its standard business and interest group supporters. Alongside the wacky tweets and personal feuds, Trump is pursuing a policy agenda whose implications are overwhelmingly favorable to rich people and business owners. His opponents need to talk about this policy agenda, and they need to develop their own alternative agenda and make the case that it will better serve the needs of average people. And to do that, they need to get out of the habit of being reflexively baited into tweet-based arguments that happen on the terrain of Trump’s choosing and serve to endlessly reinscribe the narrative of a champion of the working class surrounded by media vipers.

That is what happened in other countries that have elected these sort of wacky authoritarian populists; they have been stopped by appeals to policy. It really should not be that hard.

goodjoblibtards

And seriously, how did these ads work?

(*) For the record, I find having proper deportment to be a prerequisite to be President of the United States, I don’t want an easily agitated, easily baited, hothead in charge of our military.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | economics, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | 3 Comments

A bit of statistics

Ok, how can we draw statistical inference when we cannot run a controlled experiments? After all, correlation and causation are not the same. This is a useful guide as to the how and when. Basically: is the correlation strong, and is there some “plausible reason” for such a correlation? This paper lists 7 points.

Simpson’s paradox You can see a discussion here.

Think of it this way: say 1000 women and 1000 men apply for admission to graduate school. 656 men get admitted, whereas only 260 women get admitted. Does this mean that things are biased against women?

But then we see that there are two very different graduate programs. The very selective graduate program admitted 8 percent of all male applicants but 10 percent of all women applicants. The other graduate program..the “easy to get into” program admitted 90 percent of female applicants and 80 percent of all male applicants. So: we see that the women outdid the men in both programs. Yet, we also see that 800 women applied to the “difficult to get into program” and only 200 men did. On the other hand, 800 men applied to the easy program but only 200 women did.

Check it out: women: 800*.1 =80 admits to the hard program, 200*.9 = 180 admits to the easy program, so 260 total admits. Men: 200*.08 = 16 admits to the hard program, 800*.8 = 640 admits to the easy program, or 656 total admits.

This isn’t just some “trick” either. When social scientists analysed the “stand your ground” defense law in Florida, they found that whites were more likely to be convicted than non-whites. BUT this was because whites were more likely to be accused of assaulting a white victim; it turns out that the probability of prosecution was higher if the victim was white than if the victim was non-white. You can see the details here.

workout notes: 4 mile walk after weights: rotator cuff, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (strong), 10 x 170, incline: 10 x 135 (very easy), military: 10 x 50 standing, 20 x 50 seated supported, 10 x 200 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm. head stand, 2 sets each of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunch.

November 29, 2016 Posted by | science, social/political, statistics, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

The Deplorables are going to be deplorable…

On Facebook, a conservative complained about Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment (which really only referred to the most extreme Trump supporters; she should have said “some” rather than “half”. Evidently this remark sent some “undecided” voters over the edge to Trump.

So, how is this going to work for them? Well, some of those benefiting from the “head of household” income tax deduction could see that go by the wayside and see their own taxes go up. And those who are benefiting from Obamacare could see that go away as well. Hey, no skin off of my nose, right?

Ok, ok, since I think that our economy is actually stimulated from the bottom, I don’t want to see the lower income people, including those who voted for Trump, get screwed over as that will put a drag on our economy.

November 29, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

building back up…

Workout notes: treadmill: 10 minutes of warm up (4 at 5.2, 4 at 5.3, 2 at 5.4), then 20 at 6.7, 6 at 6.8, 1:52 at 6.9, 15 minute mile walk to cool down (52:52).
Technically: 3.128 miles in 27:52 or 8:54 mpm, very close to what I averaged for the race this past Thanksgiving.

But it was easier as it was indoor (0.5 elevation) and I started out a bit slower.

Then I did some light leg stuff, (goblet squats, dumbbell lunges); some of the stuff I discussed with Mama T this past Sunday. My left hamstring has a very minor ping.

What should my goals be? A 24:00 5K at 49 years of age (my 2009 best) translates to 25:38 at 57; I was in the 25:50’s this year at my best. Ah…that is doable. Going under 25 …ugh..going to have to work hard for that.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment