Why talking to “the opposition” is so unpleasant ….

Ok, I read this vox article which tries to makes this a “both sides” type of thing:

If you ever thought, “You couldn’t pay me to listen to Sean Hannity / Rachael Maddow / insert any television pundit you violently disagree with here” — you are not alone.

A study, recently published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, essentially tested this very question.

Two hundred participants were presented with two options. They could either read and answer questions about an opinion they agreed with — the topic was same-sex marriage — or read the opposing viewpoint.

Here’s the catch: If the participants chose to read the opinion they agreed with, they were entered into a raffle pool to earn $7. If they selected to read opposing opinion, they had a chance to win $10.

You’d think everyone would want to win more money, right?

No. […]

Frimer also tested people’s knowledge of the opposing side. Largely, the partisans were unfamiliar with their viewpoints. So it’s not the case that people are avoiding learning about the other side because they’re already familiar. What’s going on here is “motivated ignorance,” as Matt Motyl, one of the study co-authors calls it.

The last paragraph: I’d love to see how this study measured that. Here is why: at least on Facebook, I really DO know what the other side is going to say, at least the yahoos and sad sacks that I see. Now, I’d LOVE to see what an intelligent, informed conservative thinks, but I rarely see such conservatives on social media. I just see a collection of dummies or those who, while smart enough to have professional success, use all of their thinking power “on the job” and give little effort to understanding the facts behind the issues of the day; what you get from them is basically “knee jerk, bumper sticker” quality stuff, sans the spelling and grammatical errors.

So, I am not interested when they try to tell me that the Bible is a reliable guide to science (or history, or much anything else for that matter, save perhaps some insight to what people of that time thought). I am not interested in hearing that Obama was Muslim born in Kenya or that Benghazi or Fast and Furious was an impeachable offense, or that the ACA was a government takeover of our health care system.

These imbeciles might KNOW what we should do in Korea, but don’t even know where it is!

But truth be told, there are liberals I’d rather not talk to either. These are the type that scream about “cultural appropriation“, safe spaces, trigger warnings and the like.

Yeah, most of us (myself included) are mistaken about a lot of things, but the subset of intellectual average (or worse) people who are SURE that they are right and sanctimonious to the point where their positions are dogma are the worst ones to deal with, and I’d rather not engage with them on my free time.


May 16, 2017 Posted by | social/political | Leave a comment

Critiquing Trump: big deals, usual critiques and silliness

Yes, this is a big deal. In a meeting with Russian officials, Trump blurted out highly sensitive information, which we now know was obtained from Israel.

Yes, this is a big deal. Not only might this get a source killed, it might make Israel less likely to share stuff with us, and it might make our own intelligence people less likely to tell POTUS what they know.

But even worse (if that is possible), is that our Republican political leadership is unwilling to do anything about it, since they feel that they can get their precious tax cuts if DJT remains in office with at least a little bit of credibility.

Paul Krugman has a good tweetstorm on that topic:

But will this matter to the rank and file Republican? Sadly: probably not, or at least “not much”; they will see this as the usual “back and forth” that goes on with any president.

I remember that I went through something like this at the governor level: yes, I voted for Blagojevich a second time. Yes, I heard the dissension but around here, and I even backed his primary opponent to the point of giving him money. And the Republicans lie and overblow things so much that I didn’t believe them, at least at first. Then I began to have doubts, but was told by one “sort of party insider” that people were angry at him because they didn’t get the expected patronage.

It turns out that the Republicans were actually telling the truth!!! That is one vote that I wish I had back.

Happily, the Democratic legislature did the right thing and impeached him.

So what to make of Trump? Note, I am limiting myself to stuff he does AFTER becoming president; Russian interference in our election (along with possible collusion) is a different matter.

First there is the silly stuff. I don’t care how he likes his steak, how many scoops of ice cream he has, that he is fat, or that he doesn’t have a dog.

Then there is the usual partisan stuff, when he does Republican things, I am not going to like them. But elections do have consequences. I’ll speak my mind but this is the normal partisan push-back.

Next: any President has to make decisions and those will be critiqued. An example of this was Trump’s decision to bomb that Syrian airfield. I saw that as a rather futile gesture that really had no impact but I can see many Presidents doing this. But these decisions will always attract scrutiny. And some of what he tries won’t work out. Yes, Obama had a few policy misses too, but these were hardly “unfit for office” stuff, no matter how much the morons on Facebook and Twitter scream.

Then there is the “he isn’t behaving in a Presidential manner” stuff. I think that this is important, but not to the degree “we have reason to remove this man from office” important. I do not like the way he criticizes private citizens; I think that he sets a very poor example in this area. No president in my memory did anything like this. This is ugly, but, well, a large minority of people (not even a plurality!) voted for this or at least did not see it as disqualifying.

Finally, there is the “unfit for office” stuff: these are his sneering at the emoluments clause (profiting from his office), his nepotism and now, this impulsive giving out highly sensitive intelligence because he wants to show off, and his attempts to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation. Yes, I see Trump as unfit for office.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

One challenge of being an older “runner wannabe”…

I thought that I might try to do 8 miles-to 15K. When I got to 2.5 miles, I found myself shuffling at a 12 minute pace and realized it was not going to work. So I switched to running all of the uphill and downhill parts and walking the flats and finished just over 5 miles in 1:07-1:08 (delay at a light). And the workout became fun! Oh, it didn’t do that much for me, but the point was to “save it for another day”; I probably haven’t fully recovered from Sunday’s tough 14 mile walk at 14:30 mpm. Oh, that isn’t a fast walking time, but it was challenging for me, at this time.

I am simply too heavy right now (too close to 200 lbs) and, well, what worked for me in the past 4-5 years doesn’t work now. I need more recovery days; it is probably time to bring back swimming as cross training.

And I think that I’ve reached the point where I have to choose. I ran run or walk, but perhaps not both. What I mean: I can run enough to, say, do the occasional 5K at 27:xx but if I wish to train enough to have a good shot at walking a sub 6 hour marathon, I need to focus on walking and maybe have a few training runs (and an occasional 5K race) scattered here and there. I have to choose. And to be honest, right now, walking feels much more natural.

And that is the challenge for me: for a long period of time, one formula “worked”. Now the “best formula for me”, at least when it comes to running or walking, appears to change every couple of years or so. What worked in 2012-2013 no longer works.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment