Lying while remaining factual: yes, they fall for it!

From time to time, I like to entertain myself by telling clever lies. Here are a couple:

“Playing basketball makes you tall; just look at how tall they players are!”

“Hospitals should be banned; after all, statistically speaking, those outside of hospitals are much healthier than hospital inpatients!”

I teased my wife: “even if you correct for sex and age, those who train with a personal trainer in the gym are not as strong as those who train without one.”

My wife remarked that “those who took Building Steam (the program to train newbie runners) finished the 4 mile race slower than runners who didn’t use that program.” (I have not checked this, but it is highly likely that it is true).

But you often see this in politics. Get a load at what Trump is posting:

And there are (at least) three types of reactions that disgust me.

1. People who know what they are doing but post this anyway because they know many people will “buy it”.

2. People who see it and believe that this really is evidence that Trump is doing better.

3. People who are skeptical but assume that, well, the numbers must be wrong (they aren’t). Ok, this disgusts me a bit less than 1 or 2.

Now Dear Reader, there is no need for me to explain it to you, but in the event that you want to explain it to others: here are graphs of the Dow Jones index, GDP and the jobs graphs. They all show what happened: President Obama inherited a recession and it took a bit of time to dig out of it whereas Trump inherited an economy that was on the upswing.


August 10, 2018 Posted by | economy, political/social, social/political | , | 1 Comment

Random thoughts (all over the map)

I am nearing the end of summer break and am going over the diagrams for a paper that I’ll be submitting in 3 week’s time. This means: finishing research, starting on my next project, preparing for class, taking a look at search committee stuff, etc.

Though I have been paying attention to politics, I find much of the discussion to be depressing.

On one hand, the Republicans have gotten their people, including those conservatives that do not like Trump, to trust only conservative media sources (e. g., Fox News). So many really believe, say, that Trump is doing better than any past POTUS over the past 40 years (in terms of GDP growth) ..and this is based on, well, one strong quarter of growth being extrapolated. Of course, the growth might well have been due to businesses preparing for the trade wars and a one-time bump.

But try getting them to even read a graph, much less accept that it is a true one.

But being “sure” is not limited to “their team.” I know that issues are complicated and have many facets to them. Nevertheless, so many, including those who vote the way that I do, are just so “SURE” of things.
When one wants to “speak the truth” one has to actually KNOW “the truth” and few are experts on ANYTHING much less experts on everything.

I just find it astonishing that I have so many doubts about things that I’ve thought hard about, and so many others appear to have no doubts at all.

Sports: I still am in “baseball” mode but I just made my annual purchase of football magazines. I’ll be coming up with predictions soon and, of course, I plan to make a few games. I have season tickets for Illinois but hope to make a few Illinois State games, and perhaps a couple of Bears and 3-4 Colts games.

I did read about Texas football getting ready to make a 175 million dollar renovation to their football stadium. Yes, no tuition funds or tax payer funds will be used..and yes, the University of Texas has that kind of fund raising power. This means that, well…the kind of win/loss records we have seen over the past 5 years is unacceptable: 8-5, 6-7, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 = 31-32. Contrast that with, say, Iowa: 8-5, 7-6, 12-2, 8-5, 8-5 = 43-23.

But doesn’t Texas have more money, a bigger stadium, bigger following and bigger drawing power than Iowa? Well, it might just be that the money might actually be counter productive at times. After all, big donors EXPECT to have some say in the program right? But said donors don’t necessarily know all that much about football. Big money can be a two edged sword.

Well, more on football later.

And there is still quite a bit of baseball to play and, who knows..perhaps some Cornbelter playoff ball too?

Workout notes: weights then 5 miles of walking.

weights: 15-15-10-10 pull ups, incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, decline: 6 x 170, military (standing dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, Hammer machine: 10 x 140, rows: dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 x 50, 10 x 110 machine. Then the walk: 5K on the track 1 easy (13:36, 13:01, 12:15 (38:52), 40:41 for 25 laps.The faster miles were 1 on, 1 off, but the last 2 laps of mile 3 were done hard. Then 2 more outside.

Later: yoga, got 2:15 of plank before class. Did abs; this was one of Vickie’s harder routines.

August 9, 2018 Posted by | baseball, college football, economy, NFL, political/social, politics, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

One reason (among many) that I think that Trump will win in 2020

Yes, I know; the Democrats might well pick up seats in Congress in 2018..and maybe, just maybe, win back a chamber. It is POSSIBLE.

But, historically, incumbent Presidents have been tough to beat. Bush I lost in 1992, and Carter lost in 1980, and Ford (who wasn’t elected to begin with) in 1976. And Hoover lost in 1932. But the winners: Roosevelt (3 times), Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II, Obama; that is 11 election wins for the incumbent, 4 losses since 1932.

And yes, I see nothing hopeful among those potential Democrats being talked about.

And just who will vote for Trump and why? The “money” Republicans are getting tax cuts, deregulation and Supreme Court picks.

The rank and file? Well, evidence is that Trump, well, “punches hippies”; that is, attacks those that social conservatives hate.

And oh my goodness, many that the Democrats stick up for are not likable, at all.

Workout notes treadmill run: 4 miles in 39:40. Warm up (21:50 for 2 miles); basically 20 minutes starting at 5.2 mph and speeding up every 2:30 in the second 10 minutes, then the final 19:40 at 6.7 mph (17:51 for 2 miles), 1 mile walk.

Weight: 194.6, the lightest pre-workout weight I’ve been in over a year. It is gradually coming off.

July 24, 2018 Posted by | political/social, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

There has to be a balance somewhere: Trump and Republicans

Trump has stayed steady at about 42 percent to 43 percent and at 88 percent among Republicans.

Reason: my guess is that many Republicans wanted the tax cuts, deregulation, high stock market prices and “good” Supreme Court picks. And rhetoric and tweets aside, Trump has delivered on those.

Oh, there is a substantial amount of white nationalism too and I believe the Democrats playing the X card (where X means race, sex, gender, sexual preference, etc.) is a fool’s errand for us.

I think that, too many times, we think “hey, we are morally right ergo we will WIN” and, well, it just doesn’t work that way.

I honestly don’t see the way out other than to turn out the vote in record numbers…so large that we overcome the inherent bias against us… a structural bias that favors rural conservatives.

2020? We’ll see how 2018 goes first. But I see nothing in the “list of 2020” candidates that gives me any hope at all.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | Leave a comment

Older Democrats: “We need new blood! But OMG, NOT THAT!”

I really do not know what to make of it. I remember laughing at the Tea Party in 2009…but not laughing so much in 2010..and in 2016. So obviously, I do not know what is going on, though I do know that older white people do get out and vote.

I’ve seen many Democrats my age and older call for new blood in the Democratic party and sure enough, we see an upset in NY-14 (new demographics: 49 percent Hispanic). I see Democrats cheer her on! But her platform

And here is where the debate happens: “THE GOP WILL CLOBBER US WITH OPEN BORDERS”!!! But then again, the GOP is going to find something to lie about anyway, so why worry about that?

“This will turn off swing voters” vs. “Maybe this will get us new voters..people who never voted before”.

And you know, I have no idea…if ANY of this really matters. I read the book Political Animals by Rick Shenkman which argues (convincingly, IMHO) that people end up voting for one candidate or another for the silliest of reasons; the actual platform really doesn’t matter that much.

My conjecture (ok, wild guess based on, well nothing): those who even know what “abolish ICE” means already has their minds made up. (or at least sort-of know what it means; ICE was created in 2002 as a response to 9/11)

It is mostly about getting Democrats to show up…good luck with that.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

And this was just one day…

Interesting primary result in NY-14: a Bernie type unseated an establishment (but liberal) Democrat in the primary. NY-14 is heavily blue, so she should win the general. There isn’t much danger of a Christine O’Donnell effect here, I think.

Of course, the Republican reaction to this was sane..

Yes, the rank and file Trump supporter really believe this. Oh well…

And the RNC has released a new attack ad:

Yes, Bernie Sanders is quoted (about public programs like health care), Nancy Pelosi (about child separation policy) (uprisings and, of course, Maxine Waters. But as for the rest: entertainers. The burned limousine: owned by a Muslim immigrant and was torched by idiotic protesters at the Trump inauguration.

We could easily find a video of Trump alone making genuinely outrageous statements. But this shows how they will run….it will be against the horrible liberals.

This lack of civility might well work for them; it is a bit trickier for us. Here is what some research shows.

Facts: might matter to a few swing voters but it won’t win us any converts. Yes, research appears to show that regions with illegal immigrants have less crime (per capita) than other regions.

North Korea did NOT “denuclearize”; in fact, it is updating its testing facilities.

And now…we are going to have a new SCOTUS opening. The only way to moderate this is to get a couple of Republican defectors, which will not happen.

And THIS is why: POTUS matters (even if he/she isn’t everything you want). This is why red state Democrats in the Senate matter, even if they are more conservative than you’d like, and even if they don’t support your pet positions.

Workout notes: weights, easy 2 mile walk. Usual PT, pull ups (10-10-10-(5-5)-(5-5)) good, incline: 10 x 135, 4 x 155, decline: 7 x 170, military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. Usual abs (hate planks), etc.

I remember the old days: cotton shorts and rust stained white t-shirts or sweatshirts. Now: high tech clothes, smart phones and those “shaker” bottles for whatever it is that the young people drink.

I do note that my upper body strength: is roughly what it was in 10’th grade, though I can do more pull ups now. I remember running a 5:58 mile on a dirt track at that age (at 220 lbs!) and there is no way I could do that..or even get to 1200 meters in that amount of time. Some things decay faster than others.

June 27, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Asymmetric political warfare: being smart.

Hey, we have to FIGHT…and some liberals are cheering the “shame Trump officials in public” rhetoric coming from our loose cannons:

But…will it “work” as in…will this lead to victory at the polls in 2018 and 2020?

Analogy: just swinging doesn’t always work.

But yes, we ARE having that debate.

Now, of course, I do not know what will happen, not for sure. But here is a thread based on research:

The take away: taking this “shame them…be as uncivil to them as to us” approach will probably not work for us. Right wingers really aren’t as united by policy as it might appear; what holds them together is tribalism…”white nationalism” if you will. So they might actually like some of our policy ideas (e. g. single payer) but are prone to overlooking that with “these evil liberals are trying to destroy your way of life by bringing all of these funny looking people into OUR COUNTRY” arguments rants.

For all of their cries of “identity politics”, they are “identity politics on steroids”.

Yes, they are shameless hypocrites.

On the other hand, we are really more about policy. Playing the “shun and shame game” won’t win us voters, won’t help us win independents and will not be effective at getting our voters to the polls.

So, for me, it is about WINNING not about “giving them what they deserve”.

Yes, the issues are serious. But how are those “hound ’em in public” going to change anything?

No one is asking you to socialize with these people. But what I am saying is that maybe, just maybe, we can chip away a few business owners who were hurt by Trump’s visa and tariff policies.

To me, victory is more important than righteously expressed anger, and I’ve yet to read anything convincing about how righteous anger helps winning.

As President Obama said: “don’t boo. Vote.”

June 26, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Rubbing it in our faces…

I still remember Trump’s first primary debate question and answer and the reception it got:

And that really set the tone.

Now I know that I live in a somewhat different world (academia) in which someone from a recognized protected class can pontificate without being challenged on their assumptions and logical errors (and most of us, myself included, make these from time to time). We are told to “shut up and listen” and the person pontificating is lauded for “their courage in speaking out”.

Let me be clear: I DO think that many of us (myself included) sometimes overlook the very real extra challenges that others have (example: spending a few weeks pushing my wife around in a wheel chair opened my eyes to accessibility issues..issues that I have over looked prior to that)

But I do think that there is a way of speaking about these issues, and few respond well to angry finger wagging and “shut up and listen”. Yes, an employer can silence and employee but getting them to buy into it is a much different matter.

So, I wonder if “getting the heads of liberals to explode” is a type of pushback?

(note: the “womp womp” may have gone too far, as families of all political persuasions have loved ones with Down’s syndrome)

My opinion: unless you have something someone values (a job, status, money, valued companionship, votes), there is really no reason for others to care if you are upset or not. These message “I just HATE you” yield a “so what”?

And given that liberals, while very noisy, often do not show up to vote, or those we advocate for don’t show up to vote…why should they care if we are angry or not?

June 22, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | Leave a comment

North Korean Summit

Quick take (I still have to read the various articles)

1. I am glad that we are talking. The status quo sucked.
2. I did not like Trump’s ridiculous praise of a ruthless, utterly brutal dictator. Yes, I know; in WW2 we worked with Stalin to defeat the Axis. But I wish Trump would have been the type to have studied that; how to work with a brutal person without lavishing them with praise.

3. I wonder what we got out of it..I know that we agreed to not do the joint exercises with South Korea. I have to make up my mind about that, but this does mesh with Trump’s isolationist tendencies.

4. And Trump claiming that this means peace with North Korea and that they are going to be denuclearized: is way too soon to be dancing in the end zone. It is a first step.

Yes, it is an important first step, but that it all that it was.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, world events | | 1 Comment

Immigration and Asylum: I do not know what to think.

Looks terrible, right? We are “ripping a child from a parents arms!” Well, not quite in this case: the child had a father back in Cuba who still wanted him; his mother had died while trying to escape Cuba.

The photo was from June, 2000.

And so, things aren’t what they might appear to be at first blush.

And the issues: mostly, I have questions rather than answers about what we “should do” as a country.

I do wish we talked about the issues with humane tone, as we see George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan doing here:

They are still human beings.

But what to do, exactly?

Illegal immigrants? I am a “follow the rules’ kind of guy. But practically speaking: there are so many here. It is impractical to round them up and ship them out..and there would be huge human costs and huge costs to our economy. Any solution would have to be a pragmatic one and will probably involve some unfairness to someone.

And I really can’t join forces with some of the “follow the law” types because many of them ARE racists and bigots, though of course, not all of them are.

DACA: yeah, that seems like a good compromise as it sets criteria and rules to be followed. This is one area where I can say “let’s get it done”; I like a solution that has been arrived at.

Asylum and refugees: ok, this one is sticky. No, we can’t be the the world’s catch all. In the case of refugees: sorry, but as far as, say, Syria, the wealthy Middle East countries should bear the brunt. Why us? Asylum: when we talk about, say, gangs and domestic violence: we have gangs. We have domestic violence. Do people leave our countries to escape to other countries? Do other countries accept, say, our domestic violence victims?

Now if that question sounds ridiculous, then are we not admitting that there are some countries that are incapable of solving those problems on their own…”shithole counties” if you will? But who got upset when that phrase was used? Ok, the POTUS should use that phrase, but conceptually, is this point not taken?

Note: I am talking about asylum seekers for domestic violence and gang violence; I understand the concept of war/famine/natural disaster refugees.

But even then it isn’t clear to me.

If someone wants to flee a country…what part did the US play in making that country an unsafe place to live? Did we help install some right wing dictator? Do we let our companies set “Gilded Age” conditions for workers? Did we help destroy that country’s economy or environment? What about climate change related environmental disasters or changes?

So, immigration, refugees, asylum seekers: there are so many issues and our moral responsibility is not always clear to me.

And argument by photos, memes and slogans just doesn’t help me, at all.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment