Debate and demise of expertise

Workout notes: still feeling a bit rundown and my throat is a tiny bit scratchy. Sleep: still limited.
weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, reasonably good), weightless squats, incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 6 x 150, military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
Head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges.

Walk: 5K outside (to Lower Bradley Park); perfect walking weather. It was just a bit chilly.

Debate I was sad to see no handshake before OR after. That is just a shame. How I saw it: it was “everyone’s drunken uncle” vs. an expert and, well, I am sure that the other “drunken uncles” think that Trump did well.

It actually started off as a more conventional debate at first but then got ugly in the last hour or so. Trump refused to say that he’d accept the outcome of the election (thereby lending fire to the crazies…but also giving nervous downticket Republicans a reason to dump him) and he called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”

The election It appears as if the betting markets have stabilized; most sports books have Clinton as a 1/6 to 1/7 favorite.

This election is a bit different from previous ones though. For starters, the battle lines are a bit different (despite Trump’s pivot to abortion):

It’s a very different story from 2008, when Barack Obama built a big national lead by attracting white working-class voters in states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton’s gains come from big margins among well-educated voters and an electorate that’s much more diverse than it was even a decade ago.

The result is a sharp increase in polarization along demographic lines of race, education and gender — yet a decrease in geographic polarization. The predictable electoral map of the last four elections, born in part of the culture wars and split along familiar regional divides, might not look quite the same this November.

This dynamic helps explain why reliably red states are now on the verge of competitiveness, even as some traditional battleground states haven’t budged.

It seems as if the Clinton coalition consists of women, educated white people (many went to Romney in 2012), and minorities. So, even if some formerly blue states stay blue, the votes will be coming from different regions of the said states:

That struggle is playing out across the North, where Mr. Obama fared well among white voters four years ago. Ohio, the anchor of Mr. Obama’s so-called Midwestern firewall, remains very close. Mrs. Clinton has fared better in Wisconsin, but she’s not necessarily doing better there than she is nationwide.

The dynamic is also keeping many of the red, working-class states where Mr. Obama was competitive in 2008 — like Missouri, Montana and Indiana — out of the Democratic column.

Mrs. Clinton may yet sweep the Midwest, winning in places like Iowa and Ohio. But if she does prevail, she might do so in a very different way than Mr. Obama did four years ago.

She is making up for her weakness with strength in some of the most reliably Republican turf in the country. She’s running even with Mr. Trump in the Milwaukee suburbs; she leads in Western Michigan; and she’s posting huge leads in suburbs around Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

She’s struggling mightily in some traditionally Democratic or competitive areas like Green Bay, Wis.; northeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton; northeastern Ohio, including Youngstown; and Macomb County, Mich. — the place that inspired the term “Reagan Democrats.”

This balance between Mrs. Clinton’s weakness among white working-class Northerners and her strength among well-educated voters might be enough to preserve a relatively similar electoral outcome in the Midwest, even as the underlying coalitions shift significantly. But this trade-off is not nearly as favorable for Mr. Trump in the states where there is much less room for him to make gains among white working-class voters.

And there is something else going on. How could a rank amateur like Trump have ever obtained the GOP nomination to begin with? Years ago, I grew up thinking of Republicans as the wealthier, more educated people. They valued competence and expertise.
Now, not so much:

Americans — or, at least, a particular subset of Americans — have had enough of experts, facts, math, data. They distrust them all.

This rising cynicism, sown recklessly by opportunistic politicians, will not only make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to make good choices and govern peacefully; it could also become a significant economic challenge.

The latest evidence of this anti-evidence trend comes from a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last week.

The survey found that more than 4 in 10 Americans somewhat or completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government. Among Donald Trump voters, the share is 68 percent, with nearly half saying they don’t trust government economic data “at all.” […]

Offered sober-minded, nonpartisan analyses that Trump’s fiscal plans would add trillions to deficits and jeopardize the economy, his supporters claim these assessments must be lies because (A) the analysts are biased against him, and (B) Trump would obviously never let bad things happen to the economy, duh.

In other words, ignore the experts, ignore the math, trust the message.

Or as World’s Worst Surrogate Ben Carson said Friday on MSNBC, “Let’s throw the economists out, and let’s use common sense.” Presumably Carson believes that all forms of expertise, including neurosurgical, should be similarly disposed of in favor of “common sense.”

This paranoid anti-evidence trend long predates the current election, of course.

There was also a poll “unskewing” cottage industry in 2012, when supporters of Mitt Romney were convinced their candidate would win the White House handily. Then, as now, large rally crowds were cited as evidence that pollsters simply had to be wrong.

Why do voters continue to buy this nonsense?

Of course, experts aren’t always right. But they are right most of the time; after all, our planes fly, our medicine works and you are reading this via a computer/smart phone via a computer network.

And of course, distrust of expertise isn’t solely a conservative thing; witness the behavior of the Third Degree Bern Victims and the Stein supporters. Yes, we liberals have our crackpots and their supporters. But they don’t reach the top of our ticket…not yet anyway.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Lockerroom talk: The messenger matters

I’ve thought long and hard about what I heard Donald Trump saying on that tape.

I’ve talked about this before. I grew up using locker rooms (football from 7’th to 12’th grade, wrestling, then the military and of course, gyms since the 8’th grade). And there were my submarine deployments.

Yes, sometimes sex was described in very rough terms, often by guys saying what they were going to do with their wives and girlfriends when they got home. Sometimes people did say “OMG, so and so has a nice ass” or stuff like that.

But only once did I hear anyone suggest, even in jest, anything that would be described as sexual assault and that was done by an enlisted man in a deliberate attempt to gross me out. I admit that I didn’t handle it well; I merely suggested to the young man that he didn’t amount to much; that he wasn’t much of a threat. Instead of doing something to educate him, I decided to hurt his feelings. But, this was between to very young men.

Now what can be done? Well, this article suggests that men have to be the ones to do something about it, but I admit that this was the type of article that made me cringe for several reasons:

1. I have doubts about whether I know exactly where the line should be. There IS a fine line between thinking “wow…did you see that thong bikini” and suggesting a grope. And no, I don’t buy into this whole “rape culture” model, nor do I have a desire to be a busybody scold. No one appointed me to be the censor, no more than anyone else appointed a religious nutter to be one.

2. People do have freedom of association. My guess is that someone who is too much of a scold will end up..hanging around like minded people.

3. And here is where I really get into opinion. One caveat: I am talking about “winning hearts and minds” and NOT about “policy”. Sometimes policy has to get ahead of “hearts and minds”.
I know that when it came to hearing tough truths, it had to come from someone who is where I want to be. Women? They certainly have a right to speak their minds, but as a young guy, I really didn’t take what they said to heart, at least when it came to what I should think and say in private. The “feminists”? Mostly I tuned them out.

The people I listened to were, well, the guys who had what I wanted in life. They were those who I admired: officers with a chest full of ribbons, respected athletes, coaches, and yes, some of my STEM area professors. The “finger waggers” from “soft” areas mostly elicited an eyeroll from me.

A respected more senior male saying “hey, not cool..that is gross, disrespectful and wrong” had a LOT of influence on me. But it had to be the right messenger.

October 14, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

When Utah becomes a “toss up” state…

Some facts: odds:

2/11 to 1/8. And no, “Stripper Girl”, I am not converting to percents.🙂 And to be fair, these change during the day; yesterday the odds varied from 2/11 to 1/6.

The Election Projection and Electoral Vote maps agree, up to ME-2 (EP gives it to Trump)

Upshot has HRC at 89 percent.

But this really got to me: FOX NEWS now has Utah as a “toss up” state.


Yes, it is *possible* that Trump comes back; after all, NFL kickers sometimes miss 35 yard field goals, basketball teams sometimes rally from 12 points down with a minute to go (I saw that once last year), and Larry Bird missed a free throw from time to time. But we remember these events because they are so unusual.

October 13, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Public Perception: Rep. Bustos becoming like Aaron Schock?

Yes, I like running as you can tell from this blog. Yes, I see a lot of spandex clad women on weekend mornings.

And then I saw this ad:

Yes, Ms. Bustos is a former NCAA athlete. And I wondered about the image:

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. dashes up the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 26, 2016, as lawmakers arrived for final votes before Congress leaves for a week-long Memorial Day recess. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. dashes up the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 26, 2016, as lawmakers arrived for final votes before Congress leaves for a week-long Memorial Day recess. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


My spouse remarked “that is like Aaron Schock“.

Ugh. I suppose there is a fine line between showing that you are healthy and active (as President Bush did…and did effectively…and President Obama does it too) and going a bit too far. Where is the balance?

I also think of Sarah Palin and though I don’t like her, I think that she strikes about the right balance between putting forth “I am healthy and active” image and overdoing it.

But that is just me.

October 11, 2016 Posted by | IL-17, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | | Leave a comment

Trump’s slide continues ….and he becomes “unshackled”

Workout notes: easy, untimed 5K run. Plenty for today.

Trump’s slide: I’ve never seen a candidate fall from grace so least in the betting markets:


In other words, Clinton is now between a 5-1 to 6-1 favorite. If odds puzzle you, this short video should help:

And he has had “enough”:


Yes, he might still win, but I’ve not seen odds like this since the Dukakis vs. Bush race.

And to think: Megyn Kelly, who I do NOT like, got it right so long ago (August, 2015)

Hey, as Paul Krugman said a long time ago: the country is NOT the GOP. And Trump is running against a seasoned, tough, smart opponent and not a bunch of buffoons.

October 11, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, running | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s remarks and young men: the messenger matters


Cool, easy but deliberate effort, 8.1

Trumps remarks Of course, many people deserve a voice in developing policy. And yes, when it comes to “winning hearts and minds”, there are many hearts and minds out there and many appropriate messengers for them.

So, I thought about Trump’s remarks and I thought about “which is the best way to reach young men”? And I thought back to my life 35-40 years ago (yes, I am old) and I thought “whose words made an impression on me”?

When it came to “women and the military” the discussion of “should women serve on submarines” came up. The “pro-integrating women” voice that stuck with me: the engineer of a fast attack submarine (a Naval Lt. Commander). I thought about the submarine captains.

Earlier than that, I thought about the younger men who I admired, sports coaches and the like.

That is when it occurred to me: the voices that will most reach the young guys are those who come from “those who have what I want”; that probably includes CEOs, military officers (both commissioned and non-commissioned), athletes, etc. And because I was a nerd, well, I respected the engineers and scientists. Liberal arts professors and outspoken feminists: not so much; I had no desire to “be like them”.

I suppose a version of that still holds for me today. When someone posts a Salon, Huff-po, or Vox article with the title “here is what men get wrong about X” , I don’t even bother to click the link. On the other hand, if Paul Krugman or Steve Pinker say something, I listen (or read). If someone is where I want to be (or wished that I were there), I pay more attention to them.

October 9, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Trump’s remarks and the value of male mentorship

Workout notes: 4 mile run (untimed) then weights at the Riverplex: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 140, military presses (dumbbell, 5 x 50 standing, 10 x 40 standing, 10 x 180 machine), rows (3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell), abs (headstand, 2 sets of: 12 twist crunches, yoga leg lifts, moving half bridges)

Trump’s remarks: yes, I played football and wrestled for a number of years. I was in the Navy, and I made some deployments on a submarine.

Yes, some of the talk was “rough”; sailors did sometimes talk about “poking their wives/girlfriends” when they got home (in the car even), they but their girlfriend’s/wives panties on their face, made remarks about breasts, butts and the like.

Yes, they probably didn’t talk that way when women were around.

But, I never heard anyone brag about groping a woman against her will or anything like that.

Here is my half-baked thought: when we grew up, most of us had older males that we looked up to…older “peers”. They may have been the starters on the varsity football team, or those who have attained ranks/status or just have achieved something that we wanted to achieve. And we wanted to be accepted by them.

And when we crossed a line..either them, or even a peer would say “dude, that’s gross. Not cool.” And we’d adjust or become outcasts.

I have a feeling that someone like Trump never had that.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

2016 election: resembles the 1990 Texas Governor’s race just a bit.

I watched Trump’s odds fall overnight …again:


There was quite the firestorm over the taped remarks he made.

Now this never really changed my mind about him; I completely expect that he would have made remarks like this.

I’ve grown up around military and football lockerrooms and I’ve heard talk like this…from young guys. As we get older, the more mature guys start to say “hey, dude, that’s gross; don’t talk that way”..and the younger guys pick up the cues and adjust.

But if you’ve always been super wealthy…who is going to correct you?

Nevertheless, this isn’t what one expects from an established leader, even in private.

This sort of reminded me of the 1990 Texas governor’s race between Clayton Williams and Ann Richards. Now there are some big differences: Clayton Williams built up his own business; Trump inherited his wealth. Clayton Williams started with a big lead in the polls and lost it with his mouth. Hillary Clinton was never behind in the race; the size of her lead ebbed and flowed but never vanished.

But yeah, bus public statements can kill a politician’s career.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

And the race approaches “steady state”…

Workout notes: weights then 5 miles.
Weights: some weightless squats, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline press: 7 x 150, 10 x 135
military: dumbbells: 2 sets of 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40
rows: dumbbells: 3 sets of 10 x 50
head stand (ok)
abs: 2 sets of: 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges, 12 twist crunch.

run: frog boil (2 minute intervals: 5.2 up to 7.1, getting to 4 miles in 39:13, then 15:43 mile walk.

Electoral Vote and Election Projection are almost in agreement, differing on 2-ME (323-216 or 322-215). Probability of an HRC victory: upshot: 81 percent, 538: 74 percent (polls plus), 85 percent “now cast“, Princeton has it at 92 percent. Odds: vary from 2/5 to 3/10, with most bookies having it at 4/11.

Yes, Trump might still win, but it is looking terrible for him.

My maps: Clinton landslide (improbable), Clinton squeaker, Trump win (improbable). I think that Electoral Vote-Election Projection have it right (322-323 to 216-215)




October 6, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, running, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

VP debate: meh…

Workout notes: 6.47 mile walk (closer to 6.5 actually with the grass portion) in 1:36:22; 14:54 mpm.


It was fine but there was some traffic on Heading Ave.

The debate Yes, Tim Kaine was annoying and interrupted way too much. Pence appeared to be in the 1980 campaign mode. So while most say that Pence won “on style”, Kaine understood that his mission was to support the top of the ticket. On the other hand, all Pence did was deny that Trump said the things that he indeed said:

And yes, Trump did say what Kaine said that he did about Mexican illegal immigrants:

I doubt if the debate changed the race much; the betting lines haven’t changed.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | , | Leave a comment