blueollie

Banned in Pakistan!

Ok, only a page of my blog as banned in Pakistan:

and I am reasonably sure it is because of this cartoon:

Where this might appear to be comical (ironic: a backwards, 3’rd world nation banning something on the internet), this is what happens without free speech protections. And this is an excellent demonstration of a major problem with the Islamic republics.

Workout notes: easy 3 mile walk.

Advertisements

September 22, 2017 Posted by | free speech, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

What’s going on with health care, elections, Democratic Party, etc.

Yes, the Senate Republicans are trying, once again, to strip health care away from millions. Why? Because people like the Koch Brothers said “no more money until you do”. It is really that simple, I think.

The 2016 election: it was perhaps a bit more than “Comey letter plus “she is a woman”” but, well, here are some charts. The conclusion:

What’s most notable beyond that in some ways is all the things that didn’t happen.

Trump did not, for example, discover that the white population was deep down yearning for crude racism. Some people were — he won the GOP primary, after all. But Trump got a slightly smaller share of the white vote than the more normal Mitt Romney. Conversely, whatever black and Latino voters hadn’t already abandoned the GOP during the Obama era weren’t driven away by Trump, who did no worse with these groups than Romney had.

And while Clinton managed to rally educated white women to her side in a way that previous Democrats had not, she was not broadly more appealing to women than previous Democrats. And, in fact, she did worse with noncollege white women than a black man did four years earlier.

Most fundamentally, even though the extraordinary significance of the outcome seems to call out for an equally weighty explanation, it appears in the end to have turned at least as much on trivial matters as profound ones.

Maddening, huh?

And the way forward? This essay points out what is wrong with what the Bern Victims are trying to do:

Sanders has a response to the political question of how to get his ideas through congress. He says that his “political revolution” will increase voter turnout across the board and usher in a wave of new Sanders-agenda-friendly legislators. But this claim doesn’t even make sense. If he believes both Democrats and Republicans are corrupted by money and special interests, is he suggesting his supporters will replace nearly all of congress? Where are these Bernie-friendly congressional candidates going to come from? What is his backup plan if this “revolution” doesn’t pan out? This plan seems more like an afterthought than a coherent strategy. Perhaps because it is an afterthought. Ideology is most important.
Sanders has it completely backwards. He’s trying to quibble over how to spend political capital that he has not yet earned and has no realistic plan of earning. This is the fundamental flaw with his candidacy. Bernie Sanders is a bad solution to the wrong problem. It’s not that Democrats are spending their political capital unwisely — it’s that they don’t have any. By peddling his ideological purity tests, Sanders is instead contributing to the problem by harming the effort to build a bigger Democratic coalition, which is the actual way to increase voter turnout, earn political capital, and advance progressive causes.

And here we go. Oh sure, you can point to this poll or that poll that says that there is “support for single payer” but..well, checking a box in a poll is one thing. PAYING for it is quite another and using an issue to win an election is altogether different.

Workout notes yesterday, weights only, then yoga in the evening.

rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (15, 15, 10, 10), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 5 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 with 110, then 2 sets of 10 x 50 goblet squats (sill)

Today: 2 mile walk outside, 26:32 for 16 laps in the outer lane (walking), 4 laps on, 2 off: 6:35. 3:53, 6:15, 3:45, 6:01. Just enough to get the heart rate up.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton: not a politician

I’ve watched the back and forth about Hillary Clinton and her book. I’ll have to read the book. But from what I’ve read, it appears that this is classic Hillary Clinton: she looks at an issue (in this case, her election loss), examines the facts and gives an honest answer. But any honest answer (e. g. Russian interference, media holding her and Trump to different standards) will sound like “sour grapes”; it isn’t good politics.

Now, of course, she might be through with politics (a good thing) but a good politician needs to know how to put on a show, when to give details, and when to give a slogan/bumper sticker answer. In my opinion, she does none of those things well.

Now what about “misogyny”? Well, if you are claiming that she lost because she is a woman, are you saying that the Democrats ought to only nominate men? Obama found a way to work through racism and a successful female will have to navigate her challenges as well.

You win elections with the electorate you have, not the one that you wish you had. Dumb people vote. Bigoted people vote. Any candidate who wins will have to win at least a few votes from very unpleasant people.

We Democrats will have to get our act together or Trump will be reelected. I am pessimistic.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social | , | 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

Pre workout thoughts: graphic software and North Korea …

Just so you know where Korea and Guam are; many Americans do not.

I am not worried about North Korea attacking the United States; having a reliable ICBM with a miniaturized warhead is a huge technological task. But a new Korean war would be a human disaster for not only Korea but possibly for those in Japan and other nearby states. The first one devastated Korea, burned down almost every major town and killed more than 1,000,000 people.

In times such as these, I want cool heads to prevail.

Graphic software: in the days of old, if you wanted to get a mathematics paper published, you’d send out the paper, get it refereed, and if it was accepted, technical typists and artists would write up the paper and you would review it.

Now, it is up to the author to type set it (I can do that..it is a minor pain) and draw it…and well, it is tough to make good drawings with just “Paint”. I am trying to learn Inkscape and am running out of patience. I am sure I will be a pro when I finally learn it but ugh…that isn’t how I want to spend my time.

Workout notes: yesterday, 8 miles of hills; untimed but it was a steady effort. Great weather for it; I could not make myself go into the gym to do timed laps.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | mathematics, politics, walking, world events | | Leave a comment

Will Trump realize my worst fears?

My fear of Trump was not his agenda; we’ve had presidents with conservative agendas before. I disagree with the approach, of course. But I realize that I won’t agree with the policies of every president.

It was Trump’s lack of stability and his unwillingness to listen to those who know what they are talking about that troubled me the most…by far…and more so than his vulgar social media persona.

I was reminded of the Vietnam war which killed between 1.3 and 4.2 million people. It was sold to the US as “Communism vs. the West” when, in fact, Vietnam wanted self determination (who doesn’t?) The Vietnamese and the Chinese were ancient enemies and there was little chance that they would have anything more than a brief “alliance of convenience” to get rid of the US. The Fog of War discusses this. If you haven’t seen it, it goes 1:45 but is well worth it.

Now Trump is irresponsibly shooting his mouth off with regards to North Korea. That is just so irresponsible and childish…exactly what I don’t want a President of the United States to be. This is NOT a Rambo movie.

No, I doubt that North Korea can actually hit the US with anything resembling a reliable weapon. And yes, North Korea will be annihilated if they fight the United States. But at what cost, especially to those in South Korea and Japan (and other nearby countries)?

I sure wish that we had a stable person as President right now.

But I suppose it is one way to rally the rubes.

Workout notes Running was too painful, so I walked a hilly 5 mile course (Cornstalk) at right around a 15 minute pace. I felt much better afterward.

August 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, world events | | Leave a comment

Do the Republicans continue to threat the needle?

I am struck by something: Medicaid is very important in West Virginia: percentage wise, they have the highest reliance on Medicaid/CHIP in the nation (29 percent, versus 20 percent nationally, or 19 in Illinois).

Trumpcare would some of its worst effects there.

And yet, West Virginia gives Trump the highest approval ratings in the nation: 60 percent! (as opposed to below 40 percent elsewhere)

So, of course, that is where he went for a rally yesterday. Go figure.

That is a fine needle to thread, isn’t it? At the heart of the GOP agenda is “tax cuts for the financially elite”; you might say that attempts to reform the ACA were “ok, you need to die earlier so the wealthiest can have bigger tax cuts”. I doubt that is the message that they deliver to states like West Virginia.

So…they peddle false promises (“coal is coming back”) and hatred of…well, people like me (“it is those liberals getting in the way of America being Great Again”)

Will this continue to work? In some states, I am sure that it will.

I suppose that some are fine with being pissed on so long as they are praised in the process?

August 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Pre-packing entertainment: college football memories

Oh yeah, I am painfully aware of the fiasco in the Senate. I’ve had some things to say and I am getting way more responses on Twitter than I am used to.

My political account is here:

Now if I could remove just ONE politician from office (by edict) : well, it would be Trump since he is unstable and has the nuclear codes. But if he were a stable person (and just did stuff that I didn’t like politically), then I’d remove McConnell, as he has quite a bit of political skill.

Now for the post Since I am talking about disasters and dumpster fires and NOT talking about my own footraces, that means Illinois football.
I’ve had season tickets for 6 years (and I did see them a couple of times in person..one was a 51-3 loss to USC in the 1990s)

I also went to 4 years of Navy games (and caught a couple of road games) and 9 years of University of Texas games.

Now Navy and Texas were much more successful, overall, than Illinois. In the 6 years I’ve had season tickets, 7-6 and 6-7 were the BEST records.

So riddle me this: (aside from the singular 51-3 loss I talked about): who got beat the worst at home among Texas, Navy and Illinois? (for a true home game, not a “road home game”)

That’s right: TEXAS.

I am not counting the 46-3 loss in the Cotton Bowl to a strong Miami team.

The 1988 Texas team got annihilated 66-15 at home by Houston (quarterbacked by future Heisman trophy winner Andre Ware) and the 1989 team got smeared 50-7 by Baylor. And there was the 1976 team that got drummed 30-0 by Houston at home and 27-3 by Texas A&M.

Navy: while I did see Navy get stomped 33-0 by Notre Dame in 1980, that was in Giants stadium in New Jersey..same with the 35-0 pounding by Houston. But at home, the worst loss was 30-14 to Syracuse (who had future NFL greats Art Monk and Joe Morris).

But Illinos: in the 6 years that I watched them at home, well, they lost a lot of games but, as a rule, they never lost by 30 points or more at home the way that Texas did.

2011: 31-14 to Michigan (17 points). 2012: 52-24 to La. Teach (ok, it was up to 52-17 when La. Tech let up), 35-7 to Penn State , 2013: 56-32 to Wisconsin and 60-35 to Ohio State, 2014: 30-14 to Iowa, 2015: 28-3 to Ohio State. 2016: 40-17 to Minnesota (misleading), 34-10 to Western Michigan, 48-23 to North Carolina, 28-0 to Iowa (ok, 4 losses by 20+ points is a lot).

But nothing as bad as what I saw with Texas; no 30+ point losses at home. The biggest spread was 28 points.

Weird, huh?

July 26, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment