blueollie

Many angry women do not respond positively to “woke rhetoric”?

Ok, right now I am mixing some conjectures of mine (and I’d welcome facts that either reinforce or shoot down my conjecture).

This is based on my personal relations with women, many (NOT all) who oppose Trump and cannot stand him. Some have told me that they do not identify as being feminist; that feminist rhetoric does not “speak to them”.

I think that I get this. So much of feminist rhetoric, or at least what gets publicized, speaks of “rape culture”, “patriarchy” and the inherent misogyny of our society. And any statistical difference between men and women (say, males being more likely to be interested in mathematics or engineering) is viewed as being, well, due to sexism or misogyny. Much of this attitude is discussed in Pinker’s book The Blank Slate. And yes, Steven Pinker was elected to the National Academy of Science.

The interesting thing is that some of these women ..many(?) actually believe Dr. Ford over Kavanaugh. They have no tolerance for sexual harassment nor sexual assault.

So what is going on? Maybe, just maybe, they share my attitude: sexual harassment is the fault of the person doing the harassment and those in authority who tolerate it. Maybe some males are serial harassers.
And yes, some are disgusted by the Kavanaugh confirmation STILL think that Al Franken should not have resigned (I am one of them).

Politically speaking, I think that the Franken resignation hurts us: it shows a party that is controlled by those with a hair trigger, and I don’t see how that makes us Democrats attractive to anyone but the most “woke” people, who really do not comprise a large percentage of the voting bloc.

And the woke feminists do not even come close to speaking for all women...not even all white women. And responses such as “those who don’t go along with us have internalized patriarchy” isn’t going to win anyone over.

Moving forward:

I think that this is spot on: screaming at Senators in public places isn’t going to do a thing; I doubt very seriously if it will bring any new votes.

Wait..what about the Tea Party in 2010 and those townhalls? I crunched the numbers:

52 Democrat incumbents lost their seats. Half of those were held by Democrats in districts which voted: Bush, Bush and McCain. And

I’ve listed the CD’s along with the Presidential winner in 2008, 2004, and 2000. The last number is the number of times that a Republican president won that district (data from here)

So: 26 of these losses came from districts in which 2008, 2004 and 2000 by the Republican presidential candidate.
14 of these had the Republican president win 2 out of the 3 times
6 of these had the Republican president winning once
6 had elected the Democrat every time.

Or, put another way, 40 of the 52 Democratic incumbents who lost represented “red” or “reddish” districts.
This does not include the currently undecided seats nor those in which the sitting Democrat didn’t run for reelection and the seat switched hands.

Now, how many Republicans hold Democratic voting Congressional Districts?

That is the asymmetry of the situation, as I see it.

Now as far as how it will go: it is unclear as to how the House races will go. Will you see a lot of Democrats in deep blue CD’s and see Republicans barely winning in red CD’s?

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

Kavanaugh fiasco and the fissures in our country

Oh, did this fight over Kavanaugh open up a can of worms.

For one, the discussion of “ok, exactly how do you treat the testimony/stories of the alleged victims? The answer really can’t be put on a bumper sticker. And no, it isn’t as simple as “few allegations are false”…for many reasons.

And what was going on in THIS case? No, it isn’t always as simple as “one of them is lying” or “one of them got it wrong.”.

And as to who you believe or who you trust more or who you trust more to be accurate depends on many prior assumptions.
Liberals tend to see this as “yet another case of a powerful man getting away with it” whereas conservatives see this as yet another case of liberals besmirching a fine man for political gain.

And, the Republicans used the latter feeling, along with a discomfort with the “me too” movement to further political support. And given the make up of the Senate, the did not need as much total support as liberals would have needed.

Republicans aren’t going to be intimidated by “vote ’em out”, etc. Now about those midterms, here is the 538 forecast (Wang has the House as 50/50, Senate favoring the Republicans).

House forecast

Senate forecast

Senate composition

October 6, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Toxic Trump takes his toll…

So, what is Trump about? Some claim he is mostly supported by the entitled “elite” (both elite by economic birth and achievement elite..those who have a achieved but still feel cheated of honors and station)

Some say he is mostly about white nationalism.

Others contend he is about male privilege and misogyny …after all, he insulted a FEMALE reporter and, lately, mocked Dr. Ford’s testimony.

He sure provokes outrage. But not all of the outrage is expressed coherently and, well, people aren’t always at their best emotionally and logically when they are angry. And, at times, I find myself being unsympathetic to Trump’s critics even though I think that Trump is an awful president and unfit for office.

He has a way in bringing out the worst in everyone, I think.

Workout notes: 4 mile treadmill run, 1 mile track walk.
run: 11 minute mile (5.2-5.5 froggy for 10 minutes), 10 minutes at 6.7 (almost 2 miles in 20 minutes), 28:36 for 3 miles, 29:27 for 3.1, walk/jog to 39:30 4 mile.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

A bit of politics and social issues.

I admit that I’ve been disengaged with political discussions on social media. I did jump into a discussion on Tucker Carlson’s twitter feed about “what is strong about diversity” (questioning a frequent liberal claim that “diversity is our strength”). I mentioned that societies that are isolated from others (e. g., no exchange of ideas with other groups) tend to stagnate.

That let to some spirited discussion. Yeah, I got a few “your an idiot” caliber remarks but most tried to make intellectual points..genuinely valid back and forth.

Sadly…at least ON THE INTERNET, liberal discussion often devolves into yelling “that’s racist”, “that’s misogynist”, “that’s a microagression” (in my case: for asking for clarification of the facts of the case).

It is all a contest to see who can be most “woke” or “pure”; virtue signaling, if you will.

It has gotten to the point to where if you hear “I want to understand your argument”, it is probably a conservative saying it.

On the other hand, it almost appears that the liberal game is to parse a statement so as to find what is offensive about it.

And if the facts/models do not fit your narrative …or if someone might be offended by what they THINK are the consequences of said facts…well, we can’t have that, can we?

(yes, I know that there are many, many conservatives who yell and do little else…who understand nothing and only accept what Breitbart and Fox tell them. But these I just block on the spot.)

It isn’t as if there is interesting stuff out there right now. For example, Nate Silver’s analysis of the upcoming midterm elections is interesting:

Social Issues: caricatures of famous people.

Jimmy Carter

Yes, even this:

Ok, what about lampooning behavior?

John McEnroe

And so we get complaints about this:

It appears to me that certain “woke” liberals have a rule that certain protected classes should be “off limits” from caricature and if you “go there” you are a xxist (racist, sexist, misogynistic, etc.) It is my opinion that the final caricature fits in with the others but, well, I know, there is a history of “Sambo” cartoons (still the subject of controversy in some places). And yes, lampooning (or attempting to lampoon) an entire collection of people for being what they are IS racist; lampooning an individual for their individual actions is not.

And yes, I find this to be very racist.

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

No Sarah Palins but…

No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the “Sarah Palin of the left”. Sarah Palin was a sitting governor (almost served a full term) and was the GOP nominee for VP in 2008.

Ocasio-Cortez won a PRIMARY election in a Congressional District that few have heard of until relatively recently. I am not going to say that she has deep policy knowledge; she doesn’t. I don’t know if she will grow into a seasoned politician or not. I do not know if she has the underlying humility to realize that she needs to learn more about many things. But for right now, she is someone to keep an eye on, nothing more.

From video that I’ve seen of her, she seems to have some political talent. What that will eventually translate to is anyone’s guess.

Georgia Governor This race is very tight; the two polls I’ve seen: one has a 2 point lead for Kemp and the other has a 2 point lead for Abrams. Real Clear Politics calls it a “toss up”.

This surprises me for a couple of reasons: 1. Georgia is a Republican state that even Obama couldn’t carry (though he did well) and, well, the optics do not look good to me:

1. She is deeply in personal debt.

2. Optics:

Ironically, this comes from Cheri Bustos’ Instagram site, and if anything, Bustos is the “fitness model” Congresswoman (see below if you are unfamiliar)

BUT…perhaps obesity and being in debt is what many people in Georgia can relate to? Yeah, I remember that Christ Christy is obese..(not in debt, at least to my knowledge) but the sad fact (I think) is that physical appearance matters more for females than males.

We shall see..perhaps I am seeing this through my own warped prism.

August 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Uniting with those you do not like: 2018 midterms

Ok, I have no political science credentials. But at least lately, it seems that we are in the following cycle: Republicans govern (or attempt to). Republicans crash the economy (or at least make things worse). People get disgusted. They vote the Democrats in. Things get better but a combination of Democratic infighting and the Democrats championing unpopular stuff gets them voted out of power and the Republicans take over again, only to run things into the ground, again.

I’ll talk about the Democrats championing unpopular causes at another time (but IMHO, this is a combination of the Ant and the Grasshopper and “Beggars can’t be choosers” in action)

But right now I will just say this: I find my fellow Democrats to be very annoying. For one, we are as prone to “argue by slogan” as anyone else. For example, take the current debate as to whether to keep Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the House Democrats.

As I see it, there are many pros and cons: she is a good fundraiser and she has had some great accomplishments (e. g. getting the ACA through the House). On the other hand, the House Democrats have steadily lost seats and many feel that her time is past. And it is clear that the GOP thinks that she is a good thing to run against in the red Congressional Districts that are closely contested.

You’d think that this is worthy of debate, right? Well, no..not for some:

You see: it is all misogyny. (eyeroll).

Never mind that many Democrats who don’t want Pelosi would be happy with another female. Now if you want to talk about ageism…maybe that could be PART of it.

But in the upcoming midterms, none of this really matters. If you oppose Trump, vote for the Democrat, period. Opposing Trump IS enough (and yes, one Jill Stein backing idiot tried to tell me it wasn’t enough).

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a 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

Yes, many on the left wing deserve contempt. But that is not a reason to support Trump.

Let me make this clear: this is not one of those “white men are victims” posts. I honestly believe that racism’s primary effect is against “people of color”; in particular, black people. As Chris Rock says “none of you (white men) would trade places with me, and I am rich!”

Yes, issues of race, class and sex/gender in society should be discussed and honestly debated..and honesty does NOT mean “immediately accept what comes out of the mouth of a liberal”. Yes, some who think that they are arguing against racism or sexism or religious prejudice make stupid statements, get facts wrong, get on high horses and..some are walking, talking examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Having a moral or ethical goal does not make you neither informed, smart nor does it make your arguments correct.

I remember something that happened in a faculty gathering many years ago. One of our women’s studies professors was talking about moving and made a somewhat anti-male joke (something about an activity elevating their testosterone thereby giving them negative male traits) and I joked “oh, so you became more logical and accountable too?” That did not sit well with her..she tried to explain to me that, as a woman, her “invoking male stereotype joke” was, well..strength..sort of a truth to power thing. I responded something to the effect “save that bullshit for your impressionable undergraduates”.

I noticed later that the department sponsored some, well, I think, very ill conceived posters. I even complained about one of them to her. She was skeptical. So, to her credit she asked some students for their opinions..and she was shocked that the students saw them the way that they did. All her posters did was to alienate potential allies.

But she ASKED.

And yes, I’ve been wrong about how things would be taken; I do NOT claim a perfect track record. In fact, I’ve had my own bad ideas challenged and ..yes, changed by intellectual honest colleagues.

IMHO, we ALL have bad ideas from time to time.

But, as I said, that was years ago. These days, all too often, dumb and sometimes prejudicial behavior is tolerated if it comes from someone from a “victim class”. Here is an example of that.

And I think that this is on point:

In my opinion, this issue really reared its ugly head in 2016. The Republicans elected someone who ran, in part, on a platform to “oppose political correctness”..this was from the FIRST political debate of the 2016 election season (from August 2015)

Of course, this blew up in our faces (ok, one of many, many, many factors)

All too often I’ve heard those who voted the same way that I did respond with a cry of “that is racist”, “that is sexist”, “that is misogynistic”, “that is islamophobic”, etc. as if it were some sort of trump card that would end the argument in their favor. And surprise, surprise, the USA is not a liberal arts department; the voters are not humanities professors.

And so the Trump voters decided to give us the finger.

And hey, I get it. My “blocked list” consists mostly of stupid, sanctimonious liberals; I don’t like them any better than you do. And I get it: some safety net programs benefit at least a (statistically) few horribly irresponsible people, and yes, many of my friends (include some that I haven’t blocked) will go through hilarious gymnastics to avoid criticizing.

So to you who are disgusted by Trump’s arrogance and incompetence but loathe us liberals: yes, many of us are unpleasant people. I don’t want to associate with them either. But reelecting an incompetent is NOT the solution. By all means: make fun of me and my Prius. Avoid socializing with me. But please…if you want to back a conservative, back a competent one. But the current POTUS is doing damage to our country.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Headwinds for Democrats in 2020

Yes, the 2018 midterms come first. What will happen?

But there are some serious obstacles to overcome in 2020:

1. Trump is at 90 percent among Republicans…and Republicans vote. Democrats often don’t vote.

2. Republicans are better at focusing on what is important to them. Money Republicans get their tax cuts, deregulation and SCOTUS picks. Deplorables get someone who punches people they do not like.

On the other hand…Democrats are awful. Disqualifying sins: maybe thinking that “hey, single payer is great, but we have no shot at it now”..or for saying that “person X failed because of their actions and not because society discriminated against them”..or because they have too few “blind left handed transgender pagan lesbians of color” on their staff…or maybe 20 years ago brushed someone’s butt during a hug, etc.

3. Incumbents have an advantage. The lost in 1932, 1976, 1980 and 1992. They won in 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1956, 1964, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2004, 2012. That is 11-4.

4. The EC puts Democrats at a disadvantage. Since 1992, D’s have won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, 2016 (6 of the last 7) but won the EC only 4 times. Rural states have disproportionate power.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Random gripes, quips and inconsequential observations

1. I ran fairly hard on the treadmill. How hard? When I walked a cool-down mile on the indoor track, I could see a trail of sweat drops from my previous laps.

2. I hate it when I see something I want a photo of…but when I get out my phone, I find that I had it turned off. By the time it switches on (searches for signals, etc.), the potential object has left. Over the past few days, I missed a genuine albino squirrel and a chance to troll my yoga teacher with a butt shot.

3. Sometimes I’ll see a selfie posted on social media and think..OMG, they look terrible..not like I remembered them. Then I realize that they are either an age peer..or someone younger than I am.

4. When discussing my change of workout cycles, I found myself saying “I am not 45 years old anymore”. Then I realized that 45 is actually old, in terms of sports.

5. I am typing this because I am avoiding work on a paper..this is the dreadful “proofing” phase.

6. It is humbling to realize that I’ll never be as good as my graduate school advisor. Then again, he got that position because, well, he is out-of-this-world good. Put another way, if you are reading this, you are probably not “major league talent” (with p = 10^{-3} or so).

7. A meme asked if I’d like to “know what I now know” back when I was 10. If that meant, say, being able to foresee which stocks grew and which ones flopped, sure. But if it meant “wisdom” then…HELL NO! I’d rather that my dreams of being truly special not get crushed that early and glad that I really didn’t understand the concept of an “outlier.”

8. Success, the vast majority of the time, requires both intense hard work AND extreme luck. The luck part comes with avoiding terrible things (e. g. horrible diseases or accidents) and being in the right place at the right time. Example: consider Larry Bird. Obviously he is an excellent athlete that worked his butt off. But if he were born, say, 100 years earlier, he would have been, at best, moderately successful at something that most of us would have never heard of. He was fortunate to be born at a time when athletic ability could mean fame and fortune.

Or take Steven Hawking. 200-300 years earlier, he would have died an early death and not been remembered. Even healthy geniuses of today may well have been people of less than average value in the world of 5000-10,000 years ago. They were fortunate enough to be born at a time when their abilities could be nurtured into something special.

9. I had dreamed of being an athlete. During the summer of 1969 I tried out for baseball teams (Little League) both “major” and “minor” league. No team wanted me. BUT I received an unsolicited invitation to a summer math camp (based on teacher recommendations). Think that there was a message there?

10. I think that social media has made tribalism worse. We tend to pick a side and defend people within that side, regardless of whether they are worthy of defending or not. On the other hand, we are expected to swallow criticism of the villains from the other side, whether justified or not. This pressures those who “love the truth.”

11. Books: I like the scholarly ones that attempt to seek “what is true”. Those that are really advocating some previously held point of view irritate me. IMHO, true scholarship seeks out truth, where ever it is. Advocacy seeks to persuade, in much the same way a good lawyer seeks to persuade a jury. A scholar really has to play both..er…many sides and attempt to blow up the current hypothesis. Yes, a scholar does have to have some base assumptions, but those should be clearly understood from the start (e. g. naturalism, laws of gravity, laws of logic, “Axiom of Choice”, etc.)

12. My high tech workout shirts really do reek after I’ve sweated in them a bit.

13. In baseball, an “out is an out”, be it a strike out or a fly that is caught on the warning track (assuming there is no one on base to advance). But I always felt worse after a strike out.

14. When I am watching a baseball game and the pitcher is on, I often find myself being glad that I was not in the batter’s box!

15. My strongest memories of football: wiffing on blocks and on tackles. Gads, I sucked.

16. Whoever said “you can be anything you want to be provided you try hard enough” should be tarred and feathered.

17. Everyone should be treated fairly, including those I do not like.

Ah, time to end this silliness.

July 24, 2018 Posted by | baseball, football, laughing at myself, Navel Staring, Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment