blueollie

Sexual Harassment allegations, training and effectiveness…

Yes, sexual harassment has been in the news (sometimes to the exclusion of the truly dreadful GOP tax bills that the Republicans are trying to push through)

Of course, I was dismayed to see the allegation against Al Franken. But then came another of a different type:

On the heels of Tweeden’s disturbing allegations, however, another woman came forward claiming that she too had been “stalked and harassed” by Franken. Melanie Morgan teased her accusation with a Tweet, and then directed curious readers to her website. On her website, she described how Franken called her more than once because he disagreed with how she was discussing a policy issue on the radio.

Even giving Morgan the extremely generous benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to pretend what she alleges Franken did is the same thing as what Tweeden’s picture shows Franken actually doing. Nor is what Tweeden’s picture shows, horrible as it is, the same as what somebody like Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton did.

Which gets to a problem. Right now, the court of public opinion is faced with the awkward task of assigning degrees of severity to sexual misconduct, because, while they all cause harm, they don’t all cause the same amount of harm and thus don’t merit the same punishment. Furthermore, punishment varies by the power the offender wields. A senator, for example, should have a much higher moral threshold than, say, a comedian. Writing in The New Yorker this week, Masha Gessen treads lightly in making this point, warning that the #MeToo moment could devolve into “sex panic” if we’re not careful. “The distinctions between rape and coercion are meaningful, in the way it is meaningful to distinguish between, say, murder and battery,” Gessen writes.

One’s political ideology or past advocacy doesn’t mean it’s impossible for a person to be victimized by somebody with opposing ideology. But if what she’s written is all she’s got, Morgan’s account reeks of naked political opportunism, of weaponizing victimhood in a way that is so morally bankrupt that it threatens to derail the entire #MeToo conversation for selfish political ends.

I’ve seen a case of this when I was at the University of Texas. The two people involved did not dispute the facts: a tenured faculty member called a non-tenured faculty member to complain about a professional matter. Sex was never brought up; the sole charge of “sexual harassment” was that the tenured person was male and the non-tenured one was female…and the call was at night.

Now, unless the tenured person made a habit of hassling female members, this was not sexual harassment; if anything, it was simple douchebaggery. Not all bad behavior between men with more power/status against females with lesser power/status is sexual harassment.

So what about things like genuine groping? (I say “genuine” because the Franken photo, while disgusting, didn’t involve actual groping. She was wearing a heavy flak vest.)

I’ve seen it a few times; one time in the Navy (woman claimed that a senior enlisted goosed her while he walked past) and one time I saw an academic tickle the butt of a female in his rock and roll band as she walked by…he was married to someone else but I didn’t know their respective status (were they friends? were they “that type” of friends?).

But I know it happens and it is wrong (if not consensual). And yes, it seems sad that we need to, as a society, condemn it to reduce it. But how?

I know that standard anti-sexual harassment training is ineffective; in fact, it might well make things WORSE. I have some guesses as to why.

But as far as why men have some urge that needs to be resisted: some of the popular ideas are, in my opinion, dumb. It isn’t anything to do with “sin” or, even worse, women being “sinful” by nature. And no, I doubt it is the result of women being “sexualized” by culture. Instead, I think the urge comes from simple evolutionary pressures to mate. Men aren’t evil for “wanting to”; it just acting on the urge that is the evil. Seriously, I think some of the pressure is taken off when we just admit this “hey, you might want to, and I don’t blame you, but you don’t get to.”. I honestly think some scientific thinking about the matter helps.

Workout notes: 10K walk yesterday. Today: weights; highlights is that pull ups were easier, 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (empty gym), 10 x 170, military: couldn’t get thick dumbbells, but still 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, also goblet squats (2 sets of 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 60 to the sill), rows (machine), etc.

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November 18, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Al Franken and all that…

Yes, this occurred before he ran for Senator. Yes, I do not care for the person being used as the butt of the joke (it is called “groping” but there is the matter of the flak vest..symbolic groping?)

Wrong is wrong, and if you talk the talk….

Now I am not naive. My guess is that the GOP had this waiting to use at an opportune moment. One uses their negative stuff at the “right time” (Karl Rove famously did that in Texas state election) He had the goods on the candidate but sat on them until the opportunity arose. And THIS is why you do “opposition research” on your own candidate!

But this also struck a nerve with me. Yeah, as a teenager I swatted girls on the butt; I matured and stopped doing that. So, as an adult, it has been “hands off” for me. Period. And if you view my photos, it is clear that I have many female friends who do things with me (ball games, going out to eat, walks, runs, etc.) Clearly they are comfortable being around me.

But I am not a feminist. I believe in equal opportunity for women (and favor some affirmative action programs in areas where they are underrepresented) and I believe that, in the spirit of fairness, some of the “typical male centered” workplace policies need to be adjusted to account for the statistical fact that women are more involved in child raising, etc.

But I reject all of the lingo (patriarchy, privilege, blah blah) and the whole anti-science position that the movement appears to have taken on (e. g. that humans do not have evolved instinctual traits and there is a statistical difference between female and male traits).

And there are males who openly buy into such lingo…and then you find them doing…this?

Oh, about “whatabout”…yes, I know. This post is about introspection.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Watching what I say….

Ok, I made a couple of basketball games over the past couple of days. The Bradley men whipped Delaware 61-53 (after getting hammered by them in the previous 2 years) and the women beat a D-2 opponent (Lincoln, Missouri) 88-44 in a game where they lead by 50 points with 4 minutes to go. (yes, Bradley played everyone and made no special effort to run it up).

Attendance at both games was…sparse and I sent photos to empty seats galore (along with the obligatory “fans fed up” joke remark)

It turns out that the Woman’s Basketball Team coach saw my tweet and responded. She was polite and gracious (pointed out that Lincoln was a last minute substitute for a D-1 team Valparaiso who is now a conference member). But…that tells me that I had better watch what I say in public. What I see as light hearted fun might be painful to someone else.

Now about the game against Lincoln: this shows how important recruiting is. They were competently coached; they simply didn’t have the players we have.

And folks, this applies to other areas too: talent matters! If your response is “well, duh”, there are people in positions of authority who do not understand this.

Workout notes: weights yesterday; usual Wed. workout (incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 10 x 150 (good), pull ups went very well (for a change); it all went well. Then a 3 mile run on the treadmill (5k in 32:40; 31:40 for 3 miles, 22:07 for 2. ) Today: 1 mile walk on the treadmill (12:15), 5.1 hill miles outside.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | basketball, running, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

The joy of blocking on social media and one appeal of Trump (it is nowhere near enough though)

Well, work has its challenges, and decorum (and just simply doing my job) forces me to be more polite than I’d want to be; it would be unprofessional for me to go off on someone, even if they “deserved it” (e. g., being completely in the wrong but unwilling to entertain the thought that it might be true).

And what does Trump do: he goes off on people…and once in a while, he goes off on someone I do not like.

Ah…sort of a guilty pleasure, no? But it is a poor quality in a POTUS…in addition to his utter lack of qualifications for the job.

But one way I do engage in that fantasy: on social media, “dumbsplainers” get blocked on the first, or sometime the second warning. And yes, often these are liberals, but not always.

One example: there were some empty seats for the Bears Packers game this year, and the Trumpchumps were trying to tell me that this didn’t happen in previous years; this year’s empties were due to their “boycott the NFL”.

So I found an Instagram photo from the 2016 game (during the game) and SHOWED them..yes, there were empty seats in that game. And this year, Aaron Rodgers was out. That felt good.
And if the Trumpchump can’t accept that I will block them.

(yes, the game was going on, and it was close the whole way).

Workout notes: Sunday: 2 mile “fast walk” (25:30) before a Bears vs. Packers game
Yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups 5 sets of 10, one set of 5-5 on the new bar, bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (first with thick bar dumbbells), 20 x 40 standing, dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10)..yoga later (slept in)
today: 10K walk outside.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | NFL, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Indiana 24, Illinois 14: an awesome first play of the second half.

Ok, at the end of the first half, it was 14-0, Indiana. They hod out gained the Illini 266-72, but mistakes and a dropped “potential pick 6” kept the score down.

Then came the second half.

Wow…14-7 and for the rest of the period, Illinois appeared to sort-of control play.

Indiana got a field goal but Illinois answered.

Look at this one handed catch:

And the touchdown to cut it to 17-14.

But Indiana rallied to get an insurance TD and two turnovers (fumble, interception) sealed the deal.

How the game went: early, the Illini defender fell down leaving the Indiana receiver wide open. The ball hit him in the hands..and he dropped it. It was that kind of game.

Note: the Illinois quarterback was sacked 7 times.

Most of my photos are of the bands; Indiana brought theirs (and a few fans…there weren’t many fans there)

Yes, technically, I am in the photo, on the left side, 32 yard line or so, right under the overhang of the upper deck.

Late arriving crowd; it did get a bit more filled than this…

Armed Forces medley by both bands at the same time.

Cold, discouraged fans leave with 4 minutes to go after Illinois turns it over.

It was Big Ten Football weather.

Before the game: the Illini Band marching to the game.

Oh yes, I did 4 treadmill miles (running) in 45:30 prior to the game.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, running, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Coming apart at the seams: allegations of sexual misconduct

I admit that between Facebook and Twitter..well, by the time I get the idea and time to write, something else has popped up!

Sexual harassment has been in the news. But interestingly enough, it appears that current sexual harassment training has made things…worse?

Sexual harassment courses aimed at preventing workplace discrimination can have the opposite effect, making men less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior and more likely to blame victims, according to academic studies that cast doubt on traditional training programs.

One researcher who has questioned the effectiveness of harassment prevention classes is Lauren Edelman, a professor of law and sociology at the University of California Berkeley, the prestigious school that has been at the center of a series of high-profile faculty misconduct scandals in recent months.

“Sexual harassment training may, in fact, make it less likely that males will recognize situations that are harassing,” said Edelman, a faculty member in the renowned UC Berkeley law school, where Sujit Choudhry resigned as dean after he was found to have sexually harassed his executive assistant. “Sexual harassment training may provoke backlash in males.”

Studies testing the effects of harassment training are very limited, but some research has suggested counterintuitive and troubling consequences – that after men complete trainings, they may be more inclined to brush aside allegations and discount victims.

Some researchers believe trainings have no positive effects, tend to be more about legal cover than meaningful prevention or may even have unintended negative consequences – raising serious concerns about the way colleges and companies heavily focus on training as a solution to harassment.

This actually makes sense to me; many of these programs appear to be “check the box to reduce our liability” and, I wonder…how much of it comes from an outside speaker who just wags the finger and tells men that they are bad?

Tinkler has also studied how sexual harassment trainings can provoke backlash and how people who say they support harassment laws are resistant to the enforcement of those policies. Trainings can also reinforce men’s feelings that women are “emotional and duplicitous in the way that they both want sexual attention, but don’t want sexual harassment”, she explained.

Edelman, the UC Berkeley professor, said she suspects the backlash could stem from the “cartoonish, somewhat unrealistic” harassment examples that trainings often include – lessons that can make participants skeptical and resentful.

Yep. Now I know that situations differ from place to place..and sometimes signals can get crossed (friendliness be mistaken for being open to a sexual/romantic advance)

This is 40 minutes long, but Carol Tavris talks about campus sexual assault (a different thing, to be sure) and the ambiguity of communication:

Now here a type of thing that appears as if it would be effective (again, applied to college students):

You see: no finger wagging, no yelling at someone for what they didn’t do..but an affirmation of a positive attitude. Who could resent this? Well done.

And now we have the special Senate election in Alabama. Moore was accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14 year old…when he was a 3x year old lawyer.

And ..yes, the Republicans are, predictably, split:

And so I am hearing..from educated feminists, that women are going to take him down. Really? I’ve heard this before. And educated feminists don’t appear to speak to the non-educated women.

The race was listed as tied in a poll right after the allegations came out (with 86 percent of those polled having heard of them). Prior to that, the poll consensus was that Moore had a 8-9 point lead. Will this be enough….will this go the way of Clayton Williams vs. Ann Richards in Texas in 1990 where Williams JOKING about rape lead to his downfall in a very Republican state?

Workout notes; quick 5 mile walk yesterday (1:01:20..treadmill), 3 miles today after weights; usual PT, pull ups(5 sets of 10; switch grip on set 5) bench was 10 x 135, 6 x 185, incline: 7 x 150, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

pull ups: I find that doing them with my hands turned inward is now harder than a wide grip???

November 10, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

The NFL protests: disappointment

When I first saw the NFL protests I was hopeful. After all, the NFL fan base is very diverse and I thought that we might finally get some meaningful discussion between different types of people. Yes, I knew that a large subgroup of fans would be upset; there is a reason the NFL does the “canned showy patriotism” stuff.

But, alas no such luck.

Even among some who believe in freedom of speech: they claimed that an employer has a right to enforce PR actions of their employees (I agree with this) but then go on to say that the protests are deeply unpopular with “NFL fans”.

This misses a key fact: not all NFL fans feel the same way.

No, I am not talking about liberals like me; I know that I am in the minority.

I am talking about the large African American fan base; the NFL needs them too..and can’t afford to alienate them. That is probably the main reason you haven’t seen a major crackdown, aside from the Cowboy’s owner (who even agreed to a compromise “kneeling before the anthem and joined the players in doing that).

In short: same old stuff; people refuse to look beyond their own statistically small bubble.

Here is one poll which shows that the country is split.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | | Leave a comment

Both up and down…

Personally: I’ve been sort of “bleah” and distant from most lately. This isn’t a depressive episode as I still enjoy things and am very much looking forward to this weekend of football. (Illini, then Bears..always love a football double, the latter with a dear friend). I really enjoyed last weekend too. It isn’t a relationship/friendship thing either; might be a combination of things including lessening daylight, professional stuff, it might be adjusting to aging; who in the hell knows?

But today’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey are making me feel a bit better; even some Republican areas are rejecting Trumpism. But the real proof will come in the 2018 House races.

But many political discussions disgust me. For one, there are many who “just know” false things (example: creationists) Talking to them is, at best, futile. And here is the rub: a lot of what one “knows” is what one picks up from the environment.

Think about it: there were smart people who lived 10,000 years ago, and what did these people know about the world they lived in? So if someone is socially isolated and those around them believe certain things, why should they listen to you if you tell them something different?

It is very, very tough to change one’s mind about an important belief. I’ve done so from time to time, but usually it has been a gradual process. And yes, sometimes I get an insight that I was blind to for a very long time.

Workout notes: yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 9 x 170 bench, 10 x 135 incline, military: seated, supported: 15 x 55, standing: 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 1 set of 10 x 60, goblet squats: 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 54 (sill), yoga later in the evening.

today: easy 6 mile walk.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Walking and thinking

It was chilly (50’s) and rainy; drizzle to hard rain to..well, long enough for my shorts to dry?
I quickly measured it at 14.8 but it will do down as 15 (4:10). Again, it was a struggle for the first 90 minutes but then got better.

the course: usual to the goose loop and up through upper Glenn Oak. But I needed a second bathroom break and the bathrooms are closed for the season, so it was up Prospect to the Heights Tower, back on my usual modified Boredom then I turned left on Columbia Terrace; to Sheridan, then to Moss and back the usual way.

My left heel is sore (PF, my guess)

Along the way, I thought about politics.

Yes, there is Democratic infighting and many who supported Sanders are claiming that the DNC rigged the primary for Clinton. That, of course, is nonsense. Yes, there were fundraising agreements and perhaps the Sanders campaign didn’t like the debate schedule. And sure, most in the DNC preferred the party insider Clinton to Sanders.

But the bottom line is that she had broader support.

BUT….while that is true, well, some who supported Clinton can get unreasonable too. In my opinion, she is not a great campaigner and she has the kind of personality that enables negative perceptions, fair or not, to stick (Al Gore was the same way). She also did not come across well from the podium. And, too often, her desire to answer questions accurately and completely made her appear to be evasive. A good politician knows how to simplify and go into “bumper sticker/slogan” mode.

But it appears to me that many of her more rabid supporters are loyal to HER rather than to the party/country (that is, finding someone who can beat Trump and stall the toxic parts of the Republican agenda…assuming, of course, that there are non-toxic parts).

Yes, I am ready for fresh new blood in the Democratic party but that does NOT mean accepting nonsense and fantasy.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment