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

Our fundamental disconnect

Look at the above photo. People like me see the Obama photo as positive (it is good to get along with the world) and the second one as negative. Trump people see the first photo as weakness; Obama being played by those Europeans and the second one as strength (finally standing up to them).

Now of course, some famous liberals rant. And they get ovations.

But famous conservatives do it too…and also get ovations.

And guess what? No one’s mind has gotten changed.

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

My pessimism for 2020

Ok, the midterms aren’t here yet. And yes, I’ve been wrong before. I thought that Clinton would win the primary in 2008 and the general in 2016 and I was actually worried about…Fred Thompson in 2008.

But I have thought about 2020 and do not feel good about it.

Here is one thing:

This is what Hayes is complaining about as “sexist”:

Soros, who said he wants to avoid dividing the party, also refused to pick favorites among the emerging crop of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there is one prospective candidate he said he hopes does not get the nod: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

He blames Gillibrand for pushing the resignation of former senator Al Franken “whom I admire,” Soros said, “in order to improve her chances.”

Franken (Minn.) resigned in January after a number of women alleged that he touched them inappropriately. Gillibrand was a leading voice urging her fellow Democrat to quit.

Frankly, I think that Gillibrand would be a terrible candidate; I see her as too extreme:

Matt Damon gave an interview to ABC News last week in which he offered the following observation: “There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Crazy, right?

Minnie Driver, Damon’s co-star in “Good Will Hunting,” thought so. “There is no hierarchy of abuse — that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if a woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for,” she told The Guardian. “You cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other.”

Kirsten Gillibrand agrees: “I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation,” the Democratic senator from New York said at a news conference when asked about calling on Senator Al Franken to resign. “You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.”

(there was a time when she could distinguish the two, but never mind that)

It was as if we have learned nothing from 2016. There are degrees of bad behavior. Criticism of a female prospective candidate is not inherently sexist (some some types of criticism certainly are).

But I wonder: it appears that the country exist in (one in which rape, sexism, misogyny run rampant) is not the country that most exist in. Check out this Washington Post op-ed (and ask: would a headline of “Why can’t we hate: X” where X is a member of a religion, race, etc. would be acceptable). This article appears to be an attempt to confirm every extreme right wing stereotype about higher education.

Now this article is NOT from a Democratic operative but it is one that the Republicans will almost certainly use to tar us with. And it isn’t attractive to most people, though I suppose it will be cheered in some narrow circles.

Wagging one’s finger and screaming “shut up and listen” might feel good, and you’ll probably get away with it in UU Churches and in liberal arts departments. But it is no way to win an election.

And let’s face it, what sounds horrible to many of us is a selling point with many who voted for Trump.

So no, we aren’t going to win over the true believers, but perhaps we can appeal to some of the “I voted for Trump because I hated HRC” voters who are dismayed by his results.

Side note
This is an example of something that bothers me, but many Trump voters would see as a positive:

If respect from the rest of the world was important to you, you probably did not vote Trump.

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

About Trump’s “didn’t you burn Washington” remark to Canada (not quite true, but not crazy)

The remark:

Citing unnamed sources, the cable news network reported that Trudeau asked Trump how he could cite national security as a justification for the tariffs, during a “testy” May 25 phone call.

“Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump reportedly retorted.

When asked if Trudeau took it as a joke, CNN’s source said, “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

The president was evidently referring to the Aug. 24, 1814, burning of Washington by British troops. After defeating American troops in Bladensburg, Md., British soldiers invaded the city in the only occupation of Washington in American history. The soldiers burned several federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and White House (then referred to as the Presidential Mansion).

Yes, I know, Canada didn’t become an independent country until 1867.

But..when I visited the Canadian War Museum,(back in 2000), I found what they had about the War of 1812 to be interesting.

For starters, it was a bigger deal for them than it is for us. Next: they spun it as a successful repulsing of an invasion attempt by the United States. (we saw it as resisting British attempts to impound our sailors and to attack settlers).

They (the Museum) also spun the war as a Canadian victory over the United States; hence the burning of Washington by the British is something that they appeared to WANT credit for.

So, while I don’t like Trump, I can see his point (though that was 1814..and irrelevant to today’s situation).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

And I find myself a social conservative

“In my day”, if you accepted gay rights and women’s rights, well, you were a social liberal (you might still be a foreign policy hawk, or a supporter of supply side economic).

And yes, employment should be about the ability to do the job and not one’s sex or gender identity. Period.

But now: well, I balk at the notion that society should make major changes to things like language in order to make a statistical handful of people feel good.

Yes, I agree with physical accommodations (ramps, handicapped parking, Braille signs, etc.). But…30 plus gender pronouns? And I admit, this “hey, this offends me because not all women have vaginas” made my eyes roll.

And in sports competition: “competing with the gender that you identify with”??? Really? If that is ok, then why even have different divisions? The divisions exist because of BIOLOGICAL differences (statistically speaking, of course).

I guess that I am now a conservative.

Sports: well, I have a benchmark race coming up, and I remember something I wrote…gasp…6 years ago. I was to go under 25 minutes for the 5K a few more times…now..even going sub 28 seems daunting. Note: I am slightly stronger now, though I am heavier too.

Today: weights only; pull ups I tried 2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10 to get 50. bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 6 x 175, decline: 6 x 175, military: 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45 (thick handles, could not do 50), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual abs, usual “this sucks” plank (2:30). That was it.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Hot topics and hot weather (Trump, Me Too, Nazis…the real ones)

I was somewhat amused to see the Miss America pageant,…er..competition, drop the swimsuit and evening gown “competition”. I wondered “is that even a thing?” (about 5-6 million viewers watch). But then I heard the decision was, in part, related to “me too”? Yeah, I know…”women as sex objects”, etc. (I really saw Miss America as an old, outdated thing that only modern day “plastics” aspire to.

Then I recalled: bad sex is considered part of “me too” by some. Boorish, clueless behavior is considered part of “me too” by some.

Even the case where a subordinate comes on to the superior and the superior doesn’t reject is called “me too”.


Well, I suppose they can make their movement about anything they want. And as long as the movement was about sexual assault and sexual harassment (especially in the work place), you could count me in. No one should be forced to engage in sex acts against their will, and certainly, no one should have to tolerate sexual harassment to keep a job or get a promotion. What a nightmare that must be!

But, increasingly, “me too” appears to be becoming some sort of catch-all phrase to indicate something that some woman, somewhere, doesn’t like because they feel it contributes to sexism or misogyny (or what they think is “misogyny” anyway).

Good luck with that.

Note: I am not sure that this expansion of “me too” is going to help politically. I do know that in 2012, Obama got 42 percent of the white women vote and 55 percent of the women vote, and in 2016 Clinton got 43 percent of the white women vote (1 point higher, well within MOE) and 54 percent of the women vote (1 point lower, again within MOE). (per CNN exit polls, 2012 and 2016). Given the publicity that Trump had..well, evidently women, on the whole, did not see Trump’s behaviors and statements to be disqualifying. In fact, he was very open about his attitude from the get-go.

If we beat Trump in 2020, it won’t be because of “me too”, pussy hat marches, or other such things.

Now, of course, “me too” really isn’t purely political. But I do think that keeping it a bit more narrowly focused might help win allies (say, Republican women who don’t like sexual harassment either).

Back to Trump and the Republicans: I have to agree with this assessment. I do not know how the 2018 midterms will go (D’s are a slight favorite to take back the House..but barely more than a 50/50 favorite) but Trump is NOT in free fall. If anything, he may well get reelected.

I cannot tell you how much this distresses me. They are incompetent and proud of it! Administration officials boast that D-Day was part of our long relationship with Germany. Republican Congressmen cannot tell the difference between Nazi and US troops.

And still, Republican voters do not care. Sigh…

Workout notesIt was a bit warm and sticky outside and I wanted some turnover so I went to the (still warm but out of the sun) gym.
Treadmill: slow 10 minutes then 2.234 miles in 21:21 (9:33 pace, 6.1 for 10 minutes, then 6.2-6.6 every 2, 6.7 for 1:21). Then walk/jog to get to 43 minutes for 4, 56:40 for 5. Then a slow walk outside; it was enough today.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

This and that…get ready for ugliness…

My math problem: what I thought was an easy fix yesterday wasn’t so easy. I am going to have to work at it a bit. I think.

Issues: a judge ruled that that Trump couldn’t block people on his personal twitter account (though he can mute them). Rough reason: this became a de-facto public free speech forum.

Illegal immigrant families: yes, some kids are being separated from the adults that they came in with (about 700) but the issue is more nuanced than those yelling bumper stickers make it out to be. For one: the adults aren’t always the parents of said kids.

Why old people tend to be conservative: though this wasn’t exactly true in 2016, in general, people who are better off financially tend to be conservative. And if you are better off, you tend to live longer. Hence those that live the longest tend to be conservative.

Speaking of conservative vs. liberal, the ruckus about the NFL and Trump, and the NBA teams not wanting to visit him lead me to research which sports attract, on the average, what type of fan. Surprising to me (at first, anyway) is that, among all of the sports I follow, college football attracts the most conservative fans. NBA attracts the most liberal (though I’d be a WNBA fan if I lived near a team).

Here is a chart from the source:

Upcoming midterms: this might be an ugly election cycle. The Republicans probably won’t run on their “tax cut success” and so will try to use dog-whistles (e. g. paint Democrats as MS-13 lovers, slam the black NFL players for kneeling..all hot-button, highly emotional issues to get their older white base to show up.

And so it goes with “identity politics”; if we try to get a group to vote as a block, they will try to get an even larger subgroup to vote as a block.

Workout notes: weights plus a 4.1 mile hilly walk (1:03 for the Cornstalk + course (hill, the long version) to and from Markin. This is a shorter course when one goes to and from Markin, but not by much. It felt good.

Weights: stomach bothered me a bit until I told myself to calm down. Then: pull ups (ok, 5 sets of 10), incline: 10 x 135, 4 x 155, decline: 6 x 175, military: 1 set of 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Usual abs, usual sucky plank (2:30).

Weight: 198 after.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump: the poorest example set by a POTUS in my lifetime

No, I am not doing to debate the wisdom of a type of immigration policy, the wisdom (or even the philosophy) of a tax cut, a trade deal or an arms control deal.

I am strictly talking about setting a personal example.

I grew up as an only child and one of my weaknesses (one of many) is that I thought that I was somehow “special”. It was tough for me to learn that I was really just one of many; nothing was “all about me”.

Seriously? He lies repeatedly and brazenly and is shameless at trying to make everything about HIM. And yet..his popularity remains in the low 40 percent range.

(44 by Real Clear Politics, 41.7 by Five Thirty Eight)

It seems that Trump violated almost every personal value that we preach to our young…and yes his approval remains this high?

May 31, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Bipartisan snowflakery

Who are the real snowflakes? The NFL shamefully gave in on the “stand for the National Anthem” issue. Yes, they have the right to put a public decorum feature into the contract and that might be popular with a large subset of NFL fans. But it isn’t popular with all of us, and to me, this is just more “phony patriotism” that we see at sporting events. Seriously, what does watching athletes play a sport have to do with patriotism?

All of this flag waving nonsense won’t keep me from the sports but I admit to rolling my eyes at it all. Yes, I grew up on military bases, and yes, we had the national anthem before just about everything, including movies. And there was the colors going up and then down in the evening. But that was a military base; that was a different situation entirely.

Due process:Yes, women sometimes lie about being sexually assaulted. So, an accusation is not enough. I want to see “due process”, which is appropriate to the level of accusation (e. g. legal, in the event of a charge filed by law enforcement, or an impartial investigation in the case of a workplace complaint, etc.)

What makes these accusations a bit different, at least in the case where there are no charges formally filed, is that there ARE gray areas due to the nature of human interaction.

Workout notes: somewhat warm 5 mile hilly run.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | political/social, running, social/political | Leave a comment