Disliking someone/thing that you want to like you

Recovery day workout thoughts. There are some people and some things that, while you really don’t like them…you still want them to like you. That only applies to a few.

Yes, that applies to people. But right now, this applies to an event: the marathon. Yes, running or “speed walking” a marathon is hard work and will, and I mean WILL lead to pain and fatigue. I’ll be hating myself for doing this in the final 10K of the event, guaranteed (unless things go wrong and I don’t make it that far).

But something draws me to it..and yes, I am planning a “maximum effort” this September/October and I am reasonably far along (long walk is currently 16 miles) in my training.

Workout notes rotator cuff, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (not that bad), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (empty gym..didn’t want to push it), incline: 4 x 165, 6 x 150, military press (dumbbell) 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45 standing: rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 each arm (dumbbell), 2 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, Hammer incline: 2 sets of 10 with 140 (70 each arm).
twist crunch: 2 sets of 12, yoga leg lifts: 2 sets of 10, moving bridge: 3 sets of 10, headstand (struggle to get up today).

Then 2 miles of walking outside..wonderful weather.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | marathons, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Reporters Trump and behavior

Last night, I responded to a Yglesias tweet about the Montana candidate who ended up physically attacking a reporter. I had read the campaign statement and was under the impression that the reporter had crashed a private event.

Yes, I know, physical violence is wrong but I still believe that reporters don’t have license to go where ever they want.
So I said “Bad overreaction, but that the reporter went onto private property, uninvited. Reporters need to respect boundaries.” which, predictably, lead to some responses, many of which were emotional and dumb.
I used the block function a couple of times.

BUT, I ended up talking to some cool people too and gained a couple of more “non-public” people to follow.

But this brings me back to reporters. I still remember this:

Yes, a private function has a right to exclude people. If this seems harsh, remember that the same rules apply if, say, a NewsMax or Fox “reporter” tried to crash and disrupt a press conference devoted to science to interject completely inappropriate questions and remarks.

But speaking of behavior, get a load of this:

This man is emotionally unfit for the office.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Blog post one: Lynnor Special FAIL

I have a few things to say…more than I had anticipated. So here goes:

Workout: it was 52 F outside but my legs were a bit dead. So I went to try a Steamboat 15K simulation indoor, on a track and treadmill.

11:20/10:46 2 miles (lane 2 track) followed by some hills at 5.3 mph..I figured the indoor would give me some heat conditioning. The first mile went fine..did a hill rep 1-2-3 (up every 2 minutes) then 1-2-3 (up every minute) then 2-3 to get to 1 mile. Then 1 mile of 0-.5-1-1.5 then 0-.5…at which point I walked a bit. Then another 6 minute hill 1-2-3 rep..ok, 7 minutes…and then recovery..and…walking. I gave up and walked to 4 miles (6 miles in 1:13). It was becoming too much like a “hard” workout and I want to race on Saturday.

Moral: don’t try to simulate a race at something close to race pace unless you are rested. I had a nice couple of days of workouts the previous 2 days.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | running | Leave a comment

Trump’s budget

Ok, President’s budgets are almost always DOA in Congress. But they do provide some insight into what the administration wants, will sign onto and…yes, competence. And yes, Trump’s budget has a yuge accounting error. This is the kind of mistake you might expect of high school students.

But there are other issues. For one, it cuts essential science including the NIH budget, some of which is used in disease prevention.

Think of it this way: there are certain, non-profitable things (things that won’t make money for a business) you want the government to do. Public safety is one of those things, and things like preventing the spread of disease, tracking and countering the mutation of things like the flu virus would be a proper function, right?

And basic science, in general, isn’t profitable enough to attract business funding. But it is still important and something the government should fund.

So what about Trump’s proposed cuts to the social safety nets?

Conservatives tend to support reforming welfare policies because they think that government programs trap families in a state of dependency, cutting them off from work and immiserating their children. In fact, research shows that the opposite is true. Several recent papers have found that the children of low-income mothers with access to prenatal coverage under Medicaid later had lower obesity rates, higher high-school graduation rates, and higher incomes in adulthood, and were less likely to receive welfare payments, like SNAP. Meanwhile, a Brookings analysis of SNAP found that 65 percent of mothers who receive the benefits would fall below the poverty line without the program. There is practically no question that reducing support for working parents by hundreds of billions of dollars will increase the number of children who grow up in poverty.

Tuesday’s proposal comes two months after the president released a so-called “skinny budget” previewing changes to discretionary spending, the 30 percent of government that is appropriated each year, unlike “mandatory spending,” like Social Security or Medicare. In that budget, Trump sought a big increase in military and border spending offset by cuts to science funding, the State Department, and environmental protection. The skinny budget was notable for shutting down some of the few economic programs that specifically help the Rust Belt and Appalachia, starving research universities of the funds that often power local innovation.

In short: Trump’s budget would almost certainly increase the number of uninsured Americans while hurting poor families, especially those that rely on government support in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. But that’s not all.

It’s critical to assess Tuesday’s budget along with the White House’s tax plan. Its centerpiece is a proposal to lower the tax rate on “pass-through” income to 15 percent. This change might seem like a middle-class tax cut, since most businesses are small pass-throughs, like small barbershops or sole proprietorships. But 80 percent of all pass-through revenue is actually taken in by the richest 1 percent of small business, which means a large rate cut for pass-through income turns out to be a windfall for the rich. According to the Tax Policy Center, the proposal “would add $2 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years, while distributing nearly all the benefits to the highest-income households.”

Yep, it is just more “trickle down” bullshit.

However, some of the discussion about this budget really turns me off, at least on an emotional level. Yes, money into safety nets is more effective stimulus than tax cuts (poor to lower middle class people spend what they the money goes into the economy, whereas a wealthy person can buy only so many luxury items) and said money can actually reduce future dependence on public aid.

Nevertheless, what I’ve seen (appeals) have been emotionally unappealing; it is mostly “feel sorry for me” or “feel sorry for them” stuff. And the poor, statistically speaking, do exhibit quite a bit of social pathology (parents that make more kids without supporting the ones that they have; here is an extreme example) Poor people tend to be fatter (really!) and tend to smoke more.

Then there is personal experience: many (most?) families have that one moocher who ALWAYS has their hand out; they are the ones that you don’t pick up when they call because they call when they want something. And I think it is human to extend your own experience to a larger setting, where it …just does NOT apply.

And so, am I spend more in taxes to give them more money? Well, the truth it…our society is better off when we do exactly that. Sometimes, the best policy helps those that you do not care for.

And, the playing field is far from level. Yes, even with a level playing field, there will be some poor people. Some are there because of bad luck, some because of a lack of ability (think: “special needs” people), some are suffering from untreated mental and emotional health problems (which COULD be treated, IF they could afford it, or if we had single payer health coverage) and yes, some are just no good (every income group has a percentage of these).

So, how should we effectively “sell” funding anti-poverty programs? I try to bring out the spreadsheet but am not sure if that is an effective way or not. But I think that this method might answer the question that an increasing number of middle class people are asking: what is in it for me?

May 24, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics | | Leave a comment

Damn you Father Time…

An unrelated post about Track and Field got me to thinking about my own performances. Yeah, they are declining.


1. One’s potential decreases with age. Competitive athletes told me that they notice this in their early 30’s. Of course, if one starts later in life, or decides to up the level of their training, they can see improvements in performance; after all it is possible for, say, 80 percent of a lesser capacity to exceed 50 percent of a greater capacity. But one’s upper bound does decrease and that decrease accelerates when one reaches their 50s and really accelerates in their late 60’s and early 70s. See: Gompertz law.

2. Injuries accumulate; I noticed a “jump” in my decline after my last knee surgery (2010)

3. Attitude: now-a-days, I tend to do “what is fun” when I workout rather than what is optimal training. And I don’t push as hard…I need to be able to recover to do the rest of my day.

4. Prior performances have taken something out of me: I know that I am not a real athlete. But there are some performances where I felt like I left a bit of myself out there. May 2004: I did 2 24 hour events in the same month: 101 miles and 88 ..then the next year (caustic 100 miles on a trail in just under 30 hours); I just haven’t been the same since.

But hey, it is still fun and even though I don’t have new PRs to look forward to, I still get joy out of a “good for this year” performance.

Workout notes: weights and an easy 5K walk on a beautiful day.
rotator cuff, pull ups (5-5, then 4 sets of 10), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 6 x 150 (attention to hips), military press with dumbbells (20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45), Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.
Headstand (got in easier) and goblet squats (sets of 5) 45-50-55-60-65-65-70-75. These ARE getting easier.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training, whining | | Leave a comment

Forget about Impeaching Trump…for now.

If you read my twitter feed, some are under the impression that Trump will be removed from office. Nate Silver does a very detailed analysis and concludes:

All that work … and I’m still not going to give you a precise number for how likely Trump is to lose his job. That’s because this is a thought experiment and not a mathematical model. I do think I owe you a range, however. I’m pretty sure I’d sell Trump-leaves-office-early stock (whether because of removal from office or other reasons) at even money (50 percent), and I’m pretty sure I’d buy it at 3-to-1 against (25 percent). I could be convinced by almost any number within that range.

The easiest-to-imagine scenario for Trump being removed is if Republicans get clobbered in the midterms after two years of trying to defend Trump, the Republican agenda is in shambles, Democrats begin impeachment proceedings in early 2019, and just enough Republicans decide that Pence (or some fresh face with no ties to the Trump White House) gives them a better shot to avoid total annihilation in 2020.

In some sense, then, the most important indicators of Trump’s impeachment odds are the ones you’d always use to monitor the political environment: presidential approval ratings, the generic congressional ballot and (if taken with appropriate grains of salt) special election results. What makes this time a little different is that if Republicans think the ship is sinking, impeachment may give them an opportunity to throw their president overboard first.

And I’ve seen credible arguments that…Trump could well end up getting reelected in 2020! (yeah, I know…it is a Salon article, but this article strikes me as being credible).

Trump’s approval, while dismal for a new president, isn’t at historic lows (though low FOR THIS POINT in an administration). The Real Clear Politics approval average is just under 40 percent. His Gallup poll approval is at 37 percent. But it is at 84 percent among Republicans.

That might seem hard to believe, but remember that lots of Republicans do not trust the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN. This is what they are seeing:

They are much more likely to be up in arms about what some obscure liberal arts professor said than about serious issues like this one:

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

Things like Trump’s embarrassing mathematical error in his new budget (he double counted the projected offsets to his proposed 2 trillion dollar tax cuts) will be seen as, at worst, “liberal lies” and, at best, the “he said, she said” part of partisan politics.

If that sounds incredible, well, we are not behind their propaganda wall.

Many of us simply do not associate with many (if any) Trump supporters; we are hearing different things than they are. Note how “clumpy” this precinct level map is; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 3 million votes, but, on an individual level, we are likely to interact mostly with those who see eye to eye with us. Yes, I live in a county (Peoria, IL) that barely went for Clinton; my Congressional District (IL-17) elected Cheri Bustos (Democrat) but was carried by Trump (barely); Obama won it by 17 points in 2012. (2016 by Congressional District, by County)

So, I have to disagree with her here:

Interviews with Trump supporters are the only way I come to grips with, well, how delusional the Republican rank and file is.

And these are the people who vote for all of those Republicans in Congress. And now, Trump has big money behind him (tax cuts).

But between now and 2020 lie the 2018 midterms and those are huge; the President’s party usually loses seats.

But that means flipping some “swing districts” and IN SUCH DISTRICTS, “impeachment” does not play well there.

So, I’d like us to focus on winning at least one chamber (maybe two?) in 2018, and would settle for a legislative stalemate between now and then.


Workout notes
5 treadmill miles; slow warm up (2 miles just over 22 minutes; 5.2 going up .1 every .5 miles) then 3 miles of .25 faster, .25 walk (3.7 mph); .25 segments were 6.7, 6.9, 7.0 (two reps at each level). Just enough to get sweaty (197.5 before, 194.3 after).

May 23, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Higher Education, “speaking the truth to power”, “unpleasant truths”, etc.

This walkout by a few dozen students at the University of Notre Dame graduation ceremony got me to thinking about higher education. The students complained about VP Pence’s stance on immigrants (which goes against the mainstream of what current Catholic teaching is) and on homosexuality (where he is mostly consistent with Catholic doctrine, though some parishes are indeed gay couple friendly).

And I wonder: why go to school whose Church goes against your values?

Yes, these days, at least in certain fields, it appears to be chic to attack “false narratives”. But, lost in this is that the professors *should* be teaching their students actual facts and knowledge! How can one “speak the truth to power” if one doesn’t really know “the truth” to begin with?

On the flip side, while I agree with this sentiment, in theory:

Often, “unpleasant truths” turn out to be “widely held, but factually incorrect opinions” deemed as “common sense”. Again, to speak the truth means to know the truth.

Example: yes, in the US, different “races” have different mean IQ scores. That is indisputable but many do not acknowledge that or even know it.

And yes, intellectual ability is inherited genetically (example: nothing I could do could turn me into Steve Hawking). So, those might be “the unpleasant facts”.

But to learn the truth, one should also realize that the genes merely put an upper bound on intelligence; how close one comes to attaining that upper bound depends on many things (e. g. not consuming lead as a kid, mother not taking drugs while carrying the kid, early childhood education, etc.). And group mean IQ is far from unchangeable; note the case of East/West Germany where the IQs between the two countries diverged under communist rule and started to converge again after reunification! THAT is also part of the truth. To deny environmental factors is to be intellectually dishonest.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | social/political | Leave a comment

May baseball?

The Chiefs beat the Beloit Snappers 7-6 on a somewhat chilly day; I ended up putting on an extra sweatshirt in the final 2 innings.

The first photo shows a new Chiefs player; it is an official Chiefs photo. I added an arrow to show where we sit. It was kids day and a “senior special” Sunday (5 dollar tickets for 55 and up). There were a LOT of kids there.

What was unusual is that there were three 3-run innings; 2 for the Chiefs.

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Workout notes: this morning, easy 3 mile walk after weights:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 4 x 185, incline: 10 x 145. military: seated, supported, 20 x 50 dumbbell, standing: 2 sets of 10 x 45. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer.
goblet squats: 5 x (25, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch 10 yoga leg lifts, 3 sets of moving bridges. Headstand: tough to get up but I made it after the third try.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Almost felt like a training walk…

I did this 15.46 mile walk plus a .73 loop (Bradley to Glenwood, back of Bradley Hall, past the basketball arena, Main, cooper) and the segments were:

Out: 1:48:30, back: 1:47:23 (3:35:54 for 15.46) and then 10:10 for the .73 mile loop. The pace was “deliberate” but not “race”. Ok, perfect temperatures, somewhat breezy, but overall, a perfect day to walk. And yesterday, I only jogged an easy 4 miles (46 minutes) on the treadmill. 13:58 mpm for the 15.46, 3:46:04 for the 16.19 miles. (13:58).

Yes, I’ve done better but this is the best in a very long time.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

My own “triggers” (of knee jerk responses)

I’ve often chuckled about “trigger warnings” and snowflakey things in academia. But I have my own “triggers” which, well, set off an illogical knee jerk reaction in me. NO, I don’t need to be “warned” or protected from them. An NO, this is not the same as what is meant by the way the word is usually used (say, a war veteran being told that a science demonstration will have a loud “boom”).

1. Buzz words. When I am deciding if I want to click on the link to read an article, I look at the headline and the words. And yeah, there are certain words and phrases that trigger a “scroll past” or “look elsewhere” reaction in me.

Among those: “how scientists find that The Bible was right about….” or “privilege”, “patriarchy”, “deep state”, “misogyny”, “cultural appropriation” etc.

What gets me skeptical are titles such as “What if everything you knew about X is wrong”, or “what you don’t know about Y”.

2. People themselves. I admit this (to my shame): when I see a person about my age (or within a few years) who is obese and moving with great difficulty, I feel an automatic contempt. That, of course, is illogical as I know nothing about the history of the person (e. g., they could have had a stroke, injury, heart attack or other unfortunate physical problem) and the fact that I haven’t as yet is mostly due to genetics and good luck more than anything else. I’ve done nothing to merit “good luck” though I do practice decent health and lifestyle habits. Still, those “healthy habits” only tilt the odds in your favor; there are NO guarantees.

So I try to use my mind to get past that. But I can see where the concept of a “cursed person” comes from and why ancient people might ascribe such a condition to having angered a deity, spirit or whatever.

Workout notes; thunderstorm (which cancelled a baseball game) so I did 4 miles of “running” on my home treadmill in 46 minutes.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Personal Issues, running, social/political | Leave a comment