I think that some disgust is normal…

First: a note about why academia is under some ridicule. This incident, while not that important in and of itself, is seen as representative of what is going on today:

A female student at Cornell University stripped down to her underwear—twice—before presenting her senior thesis to professors and other students.

The student was attempting to strike a blow against the patriarchy, repudiating her media arts professor’s advice to dress up for the presentation. Yet I can’t help but wonder: On what planet is this not a violation of Title IX, the federal anti-harassment statute that so many college administrators cite when cracking down on problematic, sexually charged behavior?

The student, Letitia Chai, was practicing her presentation in class while wearing cutoff jean shorts. That outfit, The Cornell Daily Sun reports, drew a rebuke from professor Rebekah Maggor, who asked, “Is that really what you would wear?”

“I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress,” Maggor later clarified in an email to the Sun. “I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.” Indeed, the syllabus warns students to “dress appropriately for the persona” they plan to present.

Hmmm, so we have a professor who seems apologetic about suggesting appropriate attire for a presentation and a young woman who strips down to her underwear to “fight the patriarchy”?

By the way, I’ve been to quite a few student presentations. They almost always wear nice clothes.

And now to a more serious matter: public policy. Paul Krugman constantly attacks Republicans for their attitude about social safety nets; in this case, their attack on SNAP:

But however petty Trump’s motives, this is a big deal from the other side. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that new work requirements plus other restrictions proposed by House Republicans would end up denying or reducing nutritional aid to around two million people, mostly in families with children.

Why would anyone want to do that? The thing is, it’s not just Trump: Conservative hatred for food stamps is pervasive. What’s behind it?

The more respectable, supposedly intellectual side of conservative opinion portrays food stamps as reducing incentives by making life too pleasant for the poor. As Paul Ryan put it, SNAP and other programs create a “hammock” that “lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.”

But this is a problem that exists only in the right’s imagination. Able-bodied SNAP recipients who should be working but aren’t are very hard to find: A vast majority of the program’s beneficiaries either are working — but at unstable jobs that pay low wages — or are children, elderly, disabled or essential family caregivers.

Oh, and there’s strong evidence that children in low-income families that receive food stamps become more productive and healthier adults, which means that the program is actually good for long-run economic growth.

Krugman points out that the program really isn’t that expensive; it is the very act of helping “losers” that burns them:

In the end, I don’t believe there’s any policy justification for the attack on food stamps: It’s not about the incentives, and it’s not about the money. And even the racial animus that traditionally underlies attacks on U.S. social programs has receded partially into the background.

No, this is about petty cruelty turned into a principle of government. It’s about privileged people who look at the less fortunate and don’t think, “There but for the grace of God go I”; they just see a bunch of losers. They don’t want to help the less fortunate; in fact, they get angry at the very idea of public aid that makes those losers a bit less miserable.

So, IF this is true, why is it true? Well, there are certainly stupid, unpleasant people getting public aid:

But is this most of them? Realistically: probably not. But I can say this:

1. Disgust at freeloaders is probably innate; my guess is that this probably stems from human evolution; after all we spent tens to hundreds of thousands of years barely eking out an existence; a freeloader could well damage our clan or tribe in a serious way.

2. We also evolved to reason inductively; we go by what we see and extend it. Example: most of the people I know either grew up around me or around family members; by definition we had roughly the same opportunities. In come cases, we had the same parents. And the ones who ended up mostly dependent on public aid are the ones who made stupid decisions after stupid decisions and EXPECTED other family members to bail them out..over and over and over again. They were all “don’t tell me what to do” when they were about to something stupid and irresponsible, but when the consequences came, they had their hands out..over and over again.

This was the old Ant and Grasshopper:

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

Now, it really isn’t as simple as all that..that much is true. Accidents happen, illnesses happen, lay offs happen, businesses go bankrupt and mistreat workers, and people get abused by others. And yes, some are born into situations where they have less opportunity from the get-go and zero margin of error; no one to give them that lower interest loan to tide them over, etc. Anecdotes are not data (until you have a LOT of them anyway).

So, ultimately, I agree with Krugman’s point and support such programs…all the while having some disgust toward the slackers and the idiots, some of who will be helped by such programs. It is impossible to have a program that only benefits the “virtuous poor”. The benefits of these programs outweigh the downsides.

Workout notes Ooops on the food choices: 203.6 was what I weighed before lifting…but yesterday I ate “high bloat” foods. Still..I like to be below 200.

usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10: these went ok), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 175 (got lazy), 10 x 135 incline, 8 x 165 decline, military: 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 20 x 40 dumbbell, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual abs, 2:30 of plank sucked. 2.1 mile walk at just under 16 mpm

Tomorrow I race my first 5K since last October or so..first race of any kind since last December. Foot will be time will be ghastly.


May 11, 2018 Posted by | education, political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Dark Web, Democrat advantages, Republican bubbles, etc.

Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, education tends to make people MORE partisan. I suppose that part of the reason is that we become better at advocating for our positions and learning how to counter “their” arguments. Now for me: I need at least a grudging acceptance of science though, yes, there is some liberal BS that gets passed around as fact and that grates on me.

Those who call it out are, of course, criticized (which is fine) but sometimes, there are those who try to “deplatform them” at events; try to drown out their talks. What the idiots who do this don’t seem to get is that it makes people angry (those who are there to hear the speaker)..and doesn’t strengthen their position at all. And some of these people (serious thinkers) have been lumped together with genuine crackpots in a recent article about the so-called Dark Web.

And there lies the trouble: the “taboo” stuff is mostly bunkum but some of it is not; it would be helpful to have genuine experts weigh in without being shouted down by the virtue signaling peanut gallery.

Now what about 2018 and 2020? In liberal bubbles, you’d swear that there was a “blue wave” coming. But the evidence is mixed. Yes, the incumbent party usually loses seats AND the special elections, to date, have been very bad for Republicans. But Trump’s approval has been creeping up into the low to mid 40’s and the generic ballot doesn’t show much of an advantage for the Democrats any longer.

Yeah, many Democratic women won primary elections, but mostly in districts where the Democrats have no chance in 2018.

The Republican base is too brainwashed to be able to admit that the FBI has genuine evidence on Trump. So you can forget things like impeachment or removal.

So what will happen in the 2018 midterms? I do not know; there are conflicting indicators. Betting markets: Republicans 2-1 favorites to hold the Senate (at least 50-50); Democrats 2-1 for the House.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

A safe lead is a win ..

I enjoyed some Bradley Baseball last night. It started off strong (3-0) after 2 innings…and was pushed to 6-2, with the relief pitcher (a math honor student) striking out the side in the 7’th. Then the next relief pitcher came in..there was an out missed on a bad throw to first based (it was 6-3) then..ooops. Bases were loaded and SIUE tied it at 6 after 8. BU got 2 runs after an intentional walk (with a runner on 2’nd)..evidently they wanted 1’st and second covered..but why pitch to 3’rd in order?

So it was 8-6 and that is how it ended though SIUE made it interesting getting the tying runners on base. The game lasted over 3 hours but had so much action, it went quickly.

Perfect weather, and finals are over. SIU-Edwardsville at Bradley (make up game)

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May 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment


My jaw aches just a bit due to crown preparation. It isn’t too bad though.

Yesterday’s workout: weights (usual pt, pull ups (5 x 10, rough), 10 x 135, 6 x 150 incline, 7 x 165 decline, military 10 x 50 dumbbell, 15 x 45 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer rows, usual abs; 2:30 of plank sucked. Then 16 laps of the track in 28:07 plus one more lap.

Today: 10K course (6.3 miles) in 1:15; just a shuffle after breakfast. I need start focusing on beating Lynnor!

May 11, 2018 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment