blueollie

Health care: I can live with some inequality

Ok, we know that the House attempt to kill Obamacare went down in flames; you had the “Freedom Caucus” who did not want any sort of government involvement at versus some moderates who didn’t want to see so many kicked off of insurance.

So, were do we go from here? Some populists are actually ok with some sort of universal coverage (think: “Medicaid for all”). I do not think that the populists are really free market types who are opposed to a single payer type solution. It is more tribal than that:

I think that perhaps too many of them see others from their tribe as being unworthy slackers and losers. But will enough of them move past that? We shall see.

I wonder if there is a way to play to President Trump’s ego and need for adulation…let HIM be the one that “finally got it done” and got us something like universal health care.

So what would such a plan might look like?

I could see some sort of “basic health care for all” with the option of people either getting some extras on their own. I could live with that, provided the “extras” really were extra.

Example: you get cancer, you get good treatment; the full works.

But if you’ve reached the point where you are semi-conscious, have no realistic chance of pulling out of it, but you want to spend the last month of your life in a semi-conscious state, hooked up to machines …well…that you can have a private policy to pay for. If you want to spend your insurance premium money so you can die on silk sheets, go for it.

Workout notes 4 mile walk on dead legs.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics/social, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

Allergies, colds and enforced humility

For the past couple of days, my eyes have watered, nose runny (TMI) and I have felt ..sort of yucky. But my workouts have been ok. Last night’s exercise class was fine (decent challenge actually) and today I did weights then my usual “short, sweet” 2 mile treadmill run where I run the first mile in about 11 minutes; second one in about 8:45 or so (my current 5K pace). I usually finish feeling refreshed and today was no exception.

So I thought: ok…not bad…then I remembered October, 2000:

OLLIE NANYES (M41) 3:38:12 91 85 / 18 M40-44 PEORIA, IL, USA (91 of 400)

That’s an 8:19 pace.

Yep, I was happy, though I was well aware that 90 people were faster, and that the winner was done BEFORE I got to mile 20. Since there was an “out and back” segment, I got to see some of the faster runners on their way back.

Nevertheless: I’d be delighted if I could average 8:19 for a 5K this year; I did that a couple of times last year. My last sub 25 was in 2014. That might well have been my final one, ever.

Well, F*CK ME DEAD. Ok, no…I still can run, workout, chase cute spandex (though cute, SLOW spandex..can’t catch the faster spandex anymore).

Workout notes: weights plus the aforementioned 2 mile run:

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10).
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 190 (good)
incline press: 10 x 135
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
dumbbell military (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
incline (Hammer Machine) 2 sets of 10 x 140 (70 each arm)
headstand (went ok)

Run: 10 minutes (2 at 5.2, up .1 mph every 2 minutes), 2:30: (6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7 for 1:30, 7.1 for final minute) 19:41 for 2 miles, 2.03 total.

Now to dig myself out under a whole pile of grading.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | marathons, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

And the Laplace Transform offends…

This Friday, we start Laplace Transforms in differential equations. By “Laplace Transforms”, we mean the usual simplified Laplace Transform we teach to beginning differential equations students; we do not know what a Lebesgue or a Stieltjes integral is.

That reminded me of what happened in my first differential equations course, back in the fall of 1978. I was sitting next to Vince and the instructor wrote the following on the board:

That, of course, is the gamma function (think of it as a way to extend the factorial function into a continuous function on the reals, though there is a more general version). If you must know, for positive real numbers, \Gamma(x) = \int^{\infty}_0 t^{x-1} e^{-t} dt . This is a convergent improper integral for x > 0

Never mind that.

Vince said “box of x, what is box?” I replied “that is the gamma function, Vince”.

“Box…what’s box? They are just making stuff up! They are making it up as they go along!” Vince was just so offended by the gamma function!

Anyway, that is a memory that made me chuckle; and yes, Vince ended up passing the course.

Workout notes: Not sure what was wrong; my nose is runny and I had a tough time breathing in the gym as the pace got harder (heat? dehydration? allergies?) So my planned 10 minute warm up, 10 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) workout became 10 minute warm up, 6 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) followed by a 5 minute walk, then enough running to get me to 6.1 miles in 1:05, and 1:44 more of walking to get me to 10K in 1:06:44.

I call that a “rescue of a workout”; for me, a 10K training run at under 11 minutes per mile is a valid training run, and I did get some pace changes.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Friends, humor, running | , | Leave a comment

Conversation Starter

This is from the Chief’s Instagram feed. Yeah, believe it or not, what I picked up on HAS started conversations (indirectly) and, in at least a case or two, lead to a friendship, one of which is still current (I think)! Weird, huh?

But this does remind me that Bradley’s home baseball schedule starts this weekend and the Chiefs aren’t that far behind.

Workout notes:

Morning: a bit later than normal. But weights went fine:
rotator cuff
pull ups (5 sets of 10, determined)
bench press: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 10 x 170 (good)
incline press: 10 x 135 (reasonably strict)
military press: dumbbell: 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 100 (each arm)
rows: 3 x 110 machine
goblet squats: warm up, sets of 5, 0, 25, 45, 45, 50, 60, 60, 60
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, head stand (up more quickly than usual).

Walk: Cornstalk classic 4 miler.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | big butts, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Tough loss for Illinois State

What is a safe lead in basketball? Answer: a “win”. Illinois State stated with very hot 3 point shooting (5 of 7) and took a 33-15 lead with 4:07 to go in the first half and lead 36-23 at the half.

In the second half, Central Florida started to attack the basket more but ISU still lead 52-42 with just under 11 minutes to go.

Still, the UCF guards penetrated and their 7′ 6″ center (not a misprint) seemed to be more comfortable. So while ISU made all 8 of their free throws, UCF made 14-18 and that proved to be the key difference: more attempts from the line.

UCF took the lead for the first time with 1:41 to go (61-60) and used great defense (some good blocked shots) to hold the lead. But with 4 seconds to go, ISU drew a foul and calmly made both free throws to lead 62-61.

On the ensuing play, the UCF guard drew a foul (a force out) with 1.3 seconds to go and made both free throws (madhouse atmosphere) which sealed the win.

It was a terrific basketball game and a great atmosphere; I just wish ISU had gotten one more stop so we could have had a Wednesday game vs. Illinois (who won at home later that evening).

Socially, it was fun for us to go with Vickie and Harry.

Some game action:

Couple selfie:

Our group:

Vickie sizing up the offerings at the concession stand.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | basketball, Friends | , | Leave a comment

A very common type of Trump supporter…

I know it is common to mock Trump supporters as being very wealthy people (e. g. CEOs) interested in getting their “low tax and deregulation” wish list fulfilled or as very dumb, poor people voting against their own interests. I’ve written about those two types of supporters.

But there is another large class of Trump supporters: people who, while not unusually educated, are not poor either. One might think of a factory foreman or perhaps a senior enlisted person in the military.

They are somewhat wealthier than the average American and, realistically, a bit above average in IQ. I was reminded of this type of Trump supporter when I read a comment on a physics professor’s Facebook page:

Rory, I’m a graduate Engineer. I was an Electronic Technician for years before I became an Engineer. I encountered this academic blindness on my first day of “Theory of Electrical Design.” My University professor began the class teaching that Electricity flowed from Positive to Negative because all things must flow “downhill.” I laughed. I had learned that electrons are responsible for electricity and, being negatively charged, they always flow from Negative to Positive AND I had built and repaired many a radio, radar and computer SUCCESSFULLY using this methodology. However, my Professor could/would not accept that fact! He had only heard his theoretical approach (I call it the “hole” theory) and I had to accept his POV in order to pass his class. He had never operated on any electronic devices and did not CARE how things worked in the real world (where I earned my living). It was difficult for him to see anything except theory and he was blind to any other POV. I, on the other hand, once I saw that if I reversed all my polarity signs, I could make the Math work for the sake of a passing the exam. I have other examples of Academic blindness insisting that Reality must change for the sake of their personally proven theory.

This is where you and I are. I have outer world experience in what works. You are an academic professional. You’ve lived inside this academic ‘bubble’ so long, you think I’M mad. The others following your page who delight in slander, emotional name calling, and illogical phraseology because they do not understand me, are different than you or I. There is no hope for them. But I extend this essay in the hope you might see some possibility of value to another view of reality. You see, from where I sit, it is not my view that contradicts the way Reality works, it is yours. And what, may I point out, is one definition of “Mental Illness” but a mental attitude that shuts out reality? With hopes we can exchange some meaningful dialogue, I offer you my Best wishes, Jon

Now, the person who wrote this probably has a somewhat above average IQ, though well below that of the physics professor he was addressing (who is a national class level researcher).

Now here is what is going on: when one teaches, say, circuit analysis to those who do not have a college mathematics and physics background, one must simplify. And at least in the Navy (and perhaps in other places), they are taught an “electron current” theory of electricity. This is more intuitive for them; they can visualize (so they think) little electrons (thought of as, well, small particles) flowing from one place to another.

Because using this convention and simplification allowed for this person to do electronic work, well, that must be “real world”.

In fact, current was defined before electrons were, and the standard electrodynamic theory has current “flowing” in the other direction. That is the universal definition among scientists and engineers and, at the university level and above, that is what *should* be taught.

But oh no…this individual, while not dumb, was terribly ignorant of “what was out there” and not curious enough to learn.

And what of the basic science behind the electronic components that he was able to tinker with during his “technician” days? Did that just appear from a burning bush? Nah, to this obstinate fool, well, that is some “no common sense professor” with his nose too deeply in the book to appreciate REAL WORLD stuff.

Anyhow, there are a lot of Trump supporters like this one. The conclusions that they have reached in their respective limited spheres and limited experiences override expert opinion, especially if that expert opinion is counter-intuitive to them.

Workout notes: 58:36 for a 5 mile walk on the treadmill; it felt fine.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking | 2 Comments

I am almost sorry I didn’t vote for Trump

Ok, yes, I still consider Donald Trump to be an unqualified amateur who lacks the necessary deportment and humility to be President of the United States.
I fear that his recklessness will get us into a shooting war; that his ham-handedness will wreck our economy and heaven forbid what will happen when we get our first genuine crisis.

But, well, look at what is happening:

1. A Trump supporter in Chicago is whining about being…bullied? Uh, Trump is the quintessential bully. Oh, let me make it clear: I do NOT approve of threats and the like; if I saw someone vandalize their business, I’d report it to the police right away.

And for what it worth, I do business with companies that are run by Republicans all of the time; I go by things like customer service, how I am treated, how they treat their workers, etc.

But if others want to make choices with their dollars or to denounce their choice, well, that is just “freedom”, no? And remember that Trump bullies people all of the time.

2. Many Trump voters are…worried about losing their Obamacare and/or Medicaid. Seriously? Hey, Trump made much of his money via cons and stiffing contractors. And you thought that he’d tell the truth to you? OMG…I am dying with laughter:

An aim of Republican legislation is to reduce private premiums, but Ms. Sines’s son, who along with her other two grown children signed up for Medicaid under the expansion, has been warning that their coverage could be “in trouble,” she said. She cannot believe Mr. Trump would allow that to happen.

“I can’t imagine them not keeping it like it is now,” said Ms. Sines, who runs a group home for the elderly.

Mr. Waltimire said he hoped to return to the police force, and the health benefits it provides, this year. But with no guarantee of good health — he was injured in a fall in 2009 and has had circulatory problems ever since — he also hopes other options remain available.

“It’s kind of hard for me,” he said of having free government coverage. “I’ve always worked all my life. But like my counselor said, sometimes you just have to say thank you and move forward.”

3. And those who live in impoverished areas just KNOW that good jobs are coming back:

“I voted for Trump 100%,” says Barbara Puckett, a 55-year-old mom, who lives in the small and friendly town of Beattyville. “It’s the most hopeful I’ve been in a long time now that he’s in there.”
Trump won 81% of the vote in Beattyville. People here love that Trump doesn’t “sugarcoat” anything. They feel he understands them, even though he’s a billionaire.
“Donald Trump’s got all the money he’ll ever need,” says Steve Mays, judge-executive for the county and life-long Beattyville resident. The 49-year-old says he’s never been more excited about a president than he is now. “Trump will be a president for the common man.” [..]

“If you got a job here in Beattyville, you’re lucky,” says Amber Hayes, a bubbly 25-year-old mom of two, who also voted for Trump. She works at the county courthouse, but is paid by the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP), a form of welfare.
Coal, oil and tobacco made Beattyville a boom town in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. Locals like to bring up the fact that Lee County — where Beattyville is located — was the No. 1 oil-producing county east of the Mississippi at one time.
“Growing up in the ’70s? Yeah, this was the place to be,” says Chuck Caudhill, the general manager of the local paper, The Beattyville Enterprise. He calls the town the “gem of eastern Kentucky.”
Today, the town is a ghost of its former self. The vast majority of Beattyville residents get some form of government aid — 57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security.
“I hope [Trump] don’t take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won’t need the benefits,” says Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She’s also on Obamacare.

Uh huh. I am sure that businesses are itching to set something up in this town. ROTFLMAO.

Hey if you vote for a known con artist, you are voting to get conned.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political | | 2 Comments

A beautiful day for humility…

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed today’s workout. But there was humility at every stage.

At the Riverplex: when I got there, there was a younger guy (early 30’s?) doing reps with 225 on the bench. He was working out with a bespandexed lady (wife? girlfriend?) whose butt was winning its war with the spandex.

Yeah, I did that when I was younger…actually much more but never mind. That isn’t now.

Then someone …middle aged?..a serious lifter entered. I think his arms were about the size of my lower thighs. I laughed and thought “I had better get out of here before he uses all of the 45 pound plates.”

Someone that Mamma T calls “shirtless Bob” was there; we talked and I noticed that he was running on the treadmill…I peeked at the pace…9 miles an hour (6:40 mpm). Yeah, he is a year or two older than I am.

We chatted; he ran a 5:44 mile last year. I last ran that fast..when I was 38. F*ck me dead!

So I went outside and then ran the 2.2 miles to the start of the Glenn Oak hill (same one that is on the first part of the Steamboat 15K course) and did 4 hill repeats (about .25 miles each, .25 miles back), and then ran the 2.2 miles back (roughly 10K to 6.4 miles total). Those just killed me; I tried to run them at a pace to get me way out of breath at the end and to make me heavy legged.

(logs at the bottom to the gate at the top).

I enjoyed it but…OMG…was I reminded at how badly I suck. 🙂

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10…went well), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 7 x 170
dumbbell military: 10 x 50 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing
Hammer Machine incline: 3 sets; 10 x 180, 8 x 200, 8 x 180. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. headstand: went really well with the wall for confidence (didn’t use it at all though)

March 19, 2017 Posted by | running, weight training | Leave a comment

Thinking about poverty…

This was a 2014 Alternet article about poverty. That, plus reading some of the status updates of some of my friends helps me have a better understanding.

This is why: yes, there were times when I was short on money. But these were usually “between guaranteed jobs” times or “graduate student” times; one still had health insurance and still knew that a job was on the way. That makes a difference.

And of the poor people I actually know: well, many families have that “one or two” deadbeats that just mooches off of everyone else. They had the same parents, often had the same opportunities (and even got degrees in some cases) and even got the same inheritances …and blew it. Some sat by you in school. Others even had parents who made six figure incomes. And yet they failed and continue to fail, no matter how many times they are bailed out.

But this is the hazard of extrapolating from what one knows; it just doesn’t work that way for many of the working poor.

Workout notes: easy 5 mile walk at my “quick pace” outside. I felt yesterday’s leg workout.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Understanding different types of Trump supporters

Yes, I admit that there are some Trump supporters that do fall into the “basket of deplorables”; there is no denying that. No, it isn’t half of them but it is certainly some of them.

I’ll focus on the more mainstream ones.

One group includes the poorly educated, “lower middle class to poor” Trump supporters. Yes, Trumpcare and many of Trump’s proposed economic policies will hurt them more than most. So what is going on? This appears to be the best explanation I’ve read.

This is my summary of the article: yes, the repeal of Obamacare and the cutting of safety-nets (including Medicaid) hurts them. Cutting “Meals on Wheels” hurts the elderly in the region as well.

But: what these people really want is for the long lost jobs to return; jobs with health insurance and retirement plans (both indirectly subsidized by the government in terms of tax breaks). Government run safety nets…those are yucky programs that “other people” rely on:

Why are economically struggling blue collar voters rejecting a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The reality is that the bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy. […]

ike most of my neighbors I have a good job in the private sector. Ask my neighbors about the cost of the welfare programs they enjoy and you will be greeted by baffled stares. All that we have is “earned” and we perceive no need for government support. Nevertheless, taxpayers fund our retirement saving, health insurance, primary, secondary, and advanced education, daycare, commuter costs, and even our mortgages at a staggering public cost. Socialism for white people is all-enveloping, benevolent, invisible, and insulated by the nasty, deceptive notion that we have earned our benefits by our own hand.

My family’s generous health insurance costs about $20,000 a year, of which we pay only $4,000 in premiums. The rest is subsidized by taxpayers. You read that right. Like virtually everyone else on my block who isn’t old enough for Medicare or employed by the government, my family is covered by private health insurance subsidized by taxpayers at a stupendous public cost. Well over 90% of white households earning over the white median income (about $75,000) carried health insurance even before the Affordable Care Act. White socialism is nice if you can get it.

The article also describes the tax breaks we get for our pension plans.

When Democrats respond to job losses with an offer to expand the public safety net, blue collar voters cringe and rebel. They are not remotely interested in sharing the public social safety net experienced by minority groups and the poorest white families. Meanwhile well-employed and affluent voters, ensconced in their system of white socialism, leverage all the power at their disposal to block any dilution of their expensive public welfare benefits. Something has to break.

And so, Bernie like populism will flop with that group.

The business CEOs
I remember my days in the submarine Navy. Both the officers and the enlisted men came from the top of their respective groups, at least in terms of intelligence. As far as the officers I worked with: typically A engineering students in college who has done well in Nuclear Power school They were very hard workers (16-18 hours a day at sea, 12 or more in port) were typical, and they knew the technology (e. g. nuclear power plant) inside and out.

But with those hours and that focus…let’s just say there wasn’t time to focus on the finer points of social policy or macro economics; whatever matched their intuition sounded good.

Business CEOs are probably similar: very smart people who know their business and their industry inside and out…but probably not that interested in this that don’t directly relate to their business in the short term. Hence, to them, Trump indicates and end to the “class warfare” that Obama waged..finally…lower taxes and fewer regulations! So attitudes like this are probably common.

Oh, there are long term problems. For example, if income inequality gets to be so great that few people have disposable income left, who is going to buy their stuff? If regulations made businesses so unprofitable, why did CEO pay rise so steeply? What will happen if/when Trump either gets us in a war or a trade war?

But lots of 14-18 hour days doesn’t give one a lot of time to ponder things beyond their own narrow interest.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , | 1 Comment