blueollie

Trump, Second Amendment and all that…

I agree that it is time, ok, past time, to visit the Second Amendment and do away with it. Our military is a professional one, and the idea that some yahoos with rifles can stand up to a professional military force is stupid:

If you think stock piling firearms from the local Guns and Guitars store, where the Las Vegas shooter purchased some of his many weapons, and dressing up in camouflage and body armor is going to protect you from an American military capable of delivering tanks and armored vehicles full Navy SEALs to your door, you’re delusional. The tragic incidents at Ruby Ridge, in Idaho, and Waco, Tex., in the 1990s, in which citizens armed to the teeth collided with government agencies and lost badly, is a case study for what would happen were the citizenry to rise up in violence against the state today.

And in any case, if you’re having trouble with the government, a lawyer is a much more potent weapon than a gun. Politicians and police fear citizens armed with legal counsel more than they do a public fortified with guns. The latter they can just shoot. The former means they have to appear before a judge.

A civil society based on the rule of law with a professional military to protect its citizens from external threats; a police force to protect civilians from internal dangers; a criminal justice system to peacefully settle disputes between the state and its citizenry; and a civil court system to enable individuals to resolve conflicts nonviolently — these institutions have been the primary drivers in the dramatic decline of violence over the past several centuries, not an increasingly well-armed public.

Oh yes, this won’t happen anytime soon…perhaps my grandchildren (as yet to be conceived) might see it.

No, I don’t think is possible to work “within” the Second Amendment:

Given all of this, why do liberals keep losing the gun control debate?

Maybe it’s because they argue their case badly and — let’s face it — in bad faith. Democratic politicians routinely profess their fidelity to the Second Amendment — or rather, “a nuanced reading” of it — with all the conviction of Barack Obama’s support for traditional marriage, circa 2008. People recognize lip service for what it is.

[…]

In fact, the more closely one looks at what passes for “common sense” gun laws, the more feckless they appear. Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts. They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.

There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment.

Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either. The 46,445 murder victims killed by gunfire in the United States between 2012 and 2016 didn’t need to perish so that gun enthusiasts can go on fantasizing that “Red Dawn” is the fate that soon awaits us.

Again, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

Trump’s unfitness for office:

Trump is there, acting like this disaster relief is some sort of “t-shirt toss” that you might see at a baseball game. Seriously? I honestly think that he really has little empathy..something the last few presidents had. Yes, that includes both President Bushs.

How Trump Hangs on Obviously, there are some who are just going to like him. But I’ve noticed his routine calling anything unfavorable “fake news”.

It appears to work; his followers buy it. For example: one said that “Obama couldn’t call ISIS “terrorists”. That, of course, is false. But they didn’t like “The Hill” and wouldn’t accept a direct quote or a video from there.

Oh well…for him, the ends justifies the means, I guess.

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October 6, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

And Democratic politics depress me even more…

Sigh. Now we have Hillary Clinton supporters fighting with Bernie Sanders supporters. Yes, I was “Clinton all the way” this time around, and I think it is joke that anyone takes Sanders seriously for 2020.

And so Hillary Clinton came out with a book that I am interested in. But, of course, she is catching heat from not only the Sanders wing and from Republicans (“sore loser”) but also from many who think that her time as a national politician has passed. Frankly, I belong in the latter camp as well, but I am still interested to read what she has to say about the election.

But some of the Clinton supporters: AAARRRRRGGGHH. They are as unreasonable as some Trump supporters.
Some refuse to entertain the notion that she wasn’t that good from the podium..she was not a natural politician. She didn’t have a sense of when to “slogan it” and when to give a nuanced “lawyer like” answer. She did not have the show-biz skills that Obama and Bill Clinton had/have.

Some refuse to accept the fact that she is deeply unpopular; her approval rating is lower than Donald Trump’s. “Why, her book signings are sold out” they’ll respond. True, but “so what”? 30 percent approval rating still means that a lot of people still like her..and that she will be in demand in many circles.

And then you hear the nonsense about “She doesn’t need permission from men to write her book”..”she won’t be silenced” (that fat book contract is hardly “silencing”). Oh boy. What they appear to mean is that they don’t want her to get criticism. Of course she will get it, and there is nothing her supporters can do about it. And yes, some (most?) of the criticism will be incompetent. But that comes with the territory..as do book reviews, critiques and the like.

I can really do without the “personality cult”. She ran…ran a lack-luster campaign and wasn’t able to overcome Cambridge Analytics, Russian interference (in the form of fake news and document hacks) and the baggage of her long history…as well as her inability to say things like “ok, I screwed up..my fault, PERIOD” Such statements were always followed by “tl;dr” explanations which, while true, didn’t help her politically.

Ironically she got the reputation for being dishonest when in fact, she was the more honest candidate (by this measure). Her personality DID not help her though. Again, she was a poor politician, at least in terms of getting elected.

And do not get me started on Bernie Sanders. For one, he is not a Democrat. For another: he is mostly bluster and empty, “never going to happen” promises. If he is the best we can do for 2020, we deserve to lose again.

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Frustration and communication

In terms of talking to others: well, I have reached a tipping point of sorts. I engage far less for several reasons.

For one, when someone, say, makes a statement on social media, they might be doing so for a variety of different reasons:

1. Venting
2. Wanting “you aren’t alone” type responses
3. Cheerleading
4. Inspiring the like minded to action
5. Providing information
6. Attempting to persuade someone
7. Wanting a discussion which may be
a. an attempt to “insult the other side”
b. an attempt to “win a debate”
c. or to explore a topic further; exchange facts and ideas, etc.

And because I am socially awkward, I have trouble knowing what is what…why is the person posting that.
And there was a time when I liked conversation, but now-a-days, I often find people who merely “shout slogans” and provide strings of adjectives. And as far as ideas and facts, there is often disagreement as to what constitutes a fact and many have no clue as to how to make a valid inference. And some ideas really are nuanced; many people simply don’t “get” them (e. g. conditional probability) and it is useless to try to explain it to them.

Now I certainly agree with this meme, but the idea that people search for “facts” that, at least superficially comfort them rather than “digging for the truth” is NOT, NOT limited to Trump supporters.

What is worse: I can really see several sides and understand many different emotional reactions.

One one hand, I can see why many men my age might be inclined toward Republicanism. After all, right now, it seems that if you are doing ok financially, it feels as if leaches will find you. I said “feels” because there is something to be said at being at one’s peak earning power, and that, like one’s physical strength, does not last forever.

On the other hand, the current crop of Republicans are incredibly incompetent; they peddle “zombie lies” and falsehoods and can’t run anything correctly. They deny science, push crackpot economics and screw up basic things.

But back to the Democrats: we have our factions. The Hillary people can’t seem to grasp that she, fairly or not, is amazingly unpopular. But the Sanders camp is a bunch of crackpots who think that he would have won; they don’t seem to get that things like “minimum wage” is a huge issue for most voters. Most of us do better than that and no one wants to think that is where they will end up. Don’t get me wrong; I think that there should be one and there is an optimum one that might vary from location to location. Too high or too low is no good.

Even Trump hate divides us. I don’t like Trump because I think that he is incompetent. I am not that bothered that he may have called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” (if what is what it was) or if some aspiring starlet let him pat her on the butt. (remember, the infamous remark was “they LET YOU grab them…”

Now I disapprove of his behavior AS A PRESIDENT and AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; to me, deportment is part of the job. But it is lack of knowledge, his lack of interest in obtaining such knowledge and his current deportment that bothers me.

Oh well…baseball season (for me) is exciting and football season is underway.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Political Correctness, pushback and Trump.

Ok, here is another “why are so many white men” angry article. This one starts off with the usual….”you are upset because you are used to having all of the advantages…” but it does get better and is ultimately worth reading.

I’ll add a couple of things: first, change, no matter what kind, can be poorly executed. Sometimes a well intended program just ends up making extra work for everyone and ends up either detracting or adding no value. Sometimes a well intended program is wrong headed. So, I can see “diversity” programs being resented, at least at first. And second, sometimes the change is sold with a great deal of sanctimonious finger wagging …with no opportunity for dialog. It is “as a member of class X, I am offended and you must be quiet and listen..” I don’t think that finger wagging changes anyone’s mind.

College campuses are a frequent target of the right wing and some of the fire...SOME is justified. In general, people aren’t happy when their ideas get challenged.

Here is an example of that: take “race”. You hear about “race being an artificial construct” when, in fact, it makes scientific sense (in terms of clustering of certain alleles. And yes, evolutionary psychology is an honest science (even if it is abused too often). Too often, people dismiss findings that they do not like, regardless of the evidence and the quality of the study and the number of studies that confirm a result.

But on the flip side: much of political correctness is of the right wing variety (e. g. creationism..which has no validity at all). And the conservatives are gravitating toward their own identity politics, with Trump leading the way.

Workout notes 1 mile to the W. Peoria Track, 47:52 (24:46/23:06) for 10 laps (about 4.2 miles); Larry was with me for part of a lap and for the final 3 laps, I chased a cute bespandexed runner..she would not let me catch her (broke my heart…not).

While this is not the best I have done it was respectable for this workout…best in a very long time (10 years or so).

August 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

And I am pessimistic for the country…

Take a look at this image, which I presume to be meant NON IRONICALLY (I sure hope that it is satire but doubt it..).

Realize that to 35-40 percent of the population of the United States, THIS IS A POSITIVE IMAGE.

So yes, every large country has its share of stupid, utterly ignorant people who think of themselves as “heroes for good”. But our country’s set up gives disproportionate power to the rural areas; every state (not matter how tiny) gets 2 Senators and at least one House Representative, and a combination of gerrymandering and population dispersion is often reflected in statistics like this one:

Republican candidates received 49.13% of total votes cast in 2016 and won 55.4% of U.S. House seats. Comparatively, Democratic candidates received 48.03% of votes and won 44.6% of races. Third-party and write-in candidates received 2.56% of votes.

And don’t even get me started on this:

According to vote tallies from The Associated Press, Clinton amassed 65,844,610 votes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., 48.2 percent of all votes cast. Trump received 62,979,636 votes, 46.1 percent of all votes cast.

The Associated Press announced today that all votes had officially been certified.

Clinton had 2,864,974 votes more than Trump, the largest popular vote margin of any losing presidential candidate in U.S. history, according to the AP.

The early forecast for 2018 has the Democrats picking up House seats, but not regaining power …while winning the aggregate popular vote.

Bottom line: I have no problem with a rural person’s vote counting the same as mine, and I understand that perfect equity is impossible. But what we have now is outrageous.

I think that our country is ungovernable. I believe that it is time for us to split into two countries.

But HOW? There is the rub: our divide is more “urban vs. rural” rather than state vs. state. Having an old Confederate vs. Union split might not solve anything; after all I live in Peoria, IL but have more in common with someone in Austin, TX than I do with the rural people in this state.

But I suppose if we had a Union vs. Confederate split, we could rewrite our Constitution to reflect our current reality instead of being hidebound by the way our country was in 1776.

But…I really don’t see a way to make it work….sad to say, I have gripes but no viable solutions.

My ideal solution (which would NEVER happen) would be to go to a single chamber system with more representatives…non-gerrymandered districts and the winner of that election chooses a Prime Minister. No majority = coalition government.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | laughing at myself, political/social, social/political | 1 Comment

Corporate America: more responsive than Congress?

Interesting:

Now think about it: the Louie Gohmert’s and Joe Shimkus’ of the Congress really don’t care about what I think; they reflect their own constituencies. But a corporation very much cares about sales; it really doesn’t matter if they sell the item in Oklahoma or California. The profit is roughly the same. So here, the number of people who have money to spend matters, hence the opinion of such people matters. There is no gerrymandering to skew things, at least for national brands.

I know that this is not perfect, but wow…

Workout notes: weights then running on the treadmill:
weights; usual PT stuff (shoulder, hip, feet), pull ups (5 sets of 10; less rest…very tiring), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 140, dumbbell military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing, Hammer machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

Then treadmill run: 4 miles in 45:09. I did 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 (increase every 10 min to 3 miles) then increase every 0.25 miles. That was my first “run” in a long time; I thought that I had lost the ability to run.

Weight: more or less the same; ok, down slightly.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | 3 Comments

Serving two masters

Politics It is a shame to see Senator McCain let himself be used by Senator McConnell to try to “shame” the other Republican senators into holding the line and moving forward with the “motion to proceed”. Courage in battle doesn’t translate to “courage in politics”.

That is just too depressing to think about.

Workout notes
The bad news: my running has taken a major nosedive. It is tough to do more than easy treadmill running.
The good news: walking is improving (right knee: slightly sore…)

today: I felt a bit bored with working out and so did a “jog two laps, skip rope 25 reps (had two misses in my skips)” then attempted a run on the treadmill. that turned into a run/walk for 1.25 miles.
Then I quit that, went to the track and walked 4 miles of “walk 3 laps steady and deliberately, 1 lap to recover the mind” and that took me 51:45 (13:27, 12:50, 12:51, 12:36). This was NOT at interval intensity.

So..I emphasize walking and the running suffers. But the walking improves. Go figure.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, running, walking | Leave a comment

Why “across the aisle” dialog is so tough..often impossible…

Yes, we now know that at least elements of the Trump campaign attempted collusion with Russia. But do not expect this to change much.

Despite some noisy (and I think, disingenuous appeals for funding) rhetoric from Democrats:

And yes, one Democrat has filed an article of impeachment, we all know that is going nowhere. The R’s control the House. Nixon’s disapproval ratings were about 38 percent among Republicans whereas Trump’s approval rating among Republicans remains well in the 80’s (via Gallup)

So, these reports, which seem like “blockbuster” stuff to so many of us, will be “just politics” at best and “fake news” at worst to most of the rank and file Republicans.

It CAN help our political position though.

And trying to talk about issues; all too many think they know way more they do, and some of the loudest, most opinionated, know the least.
I’ve had people who rarely, if ever, step foot on a college campus tell me what is happening on them. I’ve even had people tell ME what I teach in the classroom…and such people get very offended when I tell them that I was unaware that there were “unAmerican” methods for integrating a function in calculus class. 🙂

But by Jove, they are SURE that they know.

There are times when I believe that those who know the least are the most sure about what they “know”.

Workout notes
4 mile walk after weights.

Weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, so-so), incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 7 x 150, military presses: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 45 (standing), 10 x 100 (machine) rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Not much.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Amateur Hour …

Yes, there are many reasons that Donald Trump pulled out the 2016 election in the Electoral College. But, overall, the Republican voters stuck with the Republican; that was far and away the biggest factor. What one identifies with means more than anything else.

Oh yes, his campaign (at least certain members of it) did attempt to collude with Russia; they admitted as much. And just a small change in a handful of states could well have made the difference.

But one way or another, he “won”.

And so far, it has been terrible. Donald Trump clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. And yet, the Republicans in Congress support him, though they might make a “this is troubling” statement once in a while.

Workout notes weights only; I am kind of tired.
hip hikes, toe raises, goblet squats: 25, 25, 50, 50, 60, 60, 70, pull ups (5 sets of 10) bench presses: 10 x 135, 1 x 190, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military: seated: 15 x 55 dumbbell, standing: 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 200. rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 110 machine. abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. Fell over on head stand.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2016, political/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Post Independence Day

West Peoria had its annual 4’th of July Parade which featured an interesting float:

Its reception? I’d say, mixed. It was “respect for the holiday” vs. “Trump sucks”.

Yesterday, I saw a ball game. The Chiefs won a pitcher’s duel 1-0; the starter went 6 innings and struck out 9. The Chiefs lone run came on a home run.

There were fewer people than on the 4’th of July game:

Workout notes: tested my new shoes. 2 miles outside, 5K “Deek” workout (walking), 1 mile cool down: 12:03, 12:11, 11:58, 1:20. (36:13, 37:34). Basically, 10:45 ish for the 400 on, 14:45 for the 200 off. Focused on posture.

July 6, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Peoria/local, political humor, political/social, walking | | Leave a comment