blueollie

Green New Deals and all that

Yes, I back some sort of “Green New Deal” which means a massive effort to achieve energy independence, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Yes, right now, the Democrats have only the House and without a victor in 2020 (Senate and Executive) and either a filibuster proof majority OR without getting rid of the obstructionist dinosaurs, a GND will remain a dream.

And of course, on policy, it should be made by scientists, engineers, public planners, economists and yes, politicians who know how to cut deals at several levels. IMHO, nuclear will have to be included (new generation stuff)

What is out now is a mere outline of a plan.

As for the other stuff: no, it isn’t “intersectionality” but:

And no, this isn’t going to get passed between now and 2020. But it is something to platform on, especially in the primary.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Yes, sometimes you do have to settle

Every winter I ask myself “why” I live in Peoria, IL. The answer is, of course, is “employment.” When I interviewed for jobs, the offer I liked best was from Bradley U: department, academic reputation, etc. So I accepted cold winters and a decaying rust belt town to get something I wanted.

The same happens in politics, a lot.

Now, after this was tweeted, came the following series of revelations. In other words, if he resigned ..well…things might not be any better.

No wonder why Nancy Pelosi was so artful in her response:

She never called on him to resign. “Do the right thing” is NOT “resign”.

Now I am not picking on Mr. Blow; many, many seem to want to have the luxury of taking their ball and going home if they don’t get everything they want.

Whoever I back in the 2020 election will be someone that I disagree with on a few issues. That’s a given.

Workout notes Weights and a very cold walk. I finished my weight routine early: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups, 10 x 135, 3 x 185 bench, 10 x 135 incline, 10 x 50, 45, 40 standing military, 3 sets of 10 x 110 row, planks (2:30), then I noticed I had enough time to walk outside..so that is what I did.

February 8, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Democratic sausage making

Yeah, 30 years ago, I’d be right with those guys. 🙂

And no, she isn’t some deadbeat in her personal life, as some right wingers claim. Now what she becomes, who knows. She does have political skill and is an excellent communicator. What she does with that: who knows.

Politics: very messy. I’ve spoken a bit about the situation in Virginia. The Republican who would be governor had the top 3 stepped down: went to VMI when it was still segregated and, yes, oversaw the production of a yearbook that had racist stuff in it. Why this would surprise anyone just astonishes me; what would one expect from a university that didn’t even admit blacks until the following school year (August, 1968)?

So…maybe it is better that governor and co. NOT resign?

There are other things irritating me. Some Democrats are attacking Neomi Rao (nominee to fill the judgeship that Kavanaugh vacated to go to the Supreme Court). Yes, as an undergradate, she wrote some mean things (as this friendly article admits). But here is one of the things that Kamala Harris attacked her for. (pdf file) The gist: if two students are drunk and have sex, why is the male liable and the woman not liable? And is it not a good idea to not get drunk to begin with (drunk to the point where you cannot protect yourself). OF COURSE, being drunk doesn’t mean that people have license to rape you..or do other things to you (e. g. steal your money…as has happened). But giving a safety tip does, in no way, excuse the criminal if you become victim of a crime.

I just get sick of it all, at times.

Workout notes: yoga, 1 mile treadmill (11:30), 5.33 on the track (40 laps, lane 3) in 55:48; 8 lap times: 11:46, 11:39, 11:27, 10:46, 10:08 (miles: first mile was just over 11, final was 9:30 so each lap time was about 40 seconds slower than the mile split).

Weight: 194.

Basketball notes: yes, on Saturday, I watched the men lose at home to Southern Illinois, despite being up by 10 points at the half.

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Tip off. Decent crowd, but not packed.

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Go Braves! Southern Illinois at Bradley.

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Tense ending.

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BU had its chances but got out worked down the stretch. They did win impressively on Wednesday evening though (at Evansville)

February 8, 2019 Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Past sins, black face, offensive stuff

We’ve seen public figures being pressured to resign due to incidents where they did offensive things in the past. So, what constitutes something that should lead to resignation?

Clearly, this sort of thing calls for resignation:

Thursday morning, Michael Ertel, appointed Secretary of State by Gov. Ron DeSantis weeks earlier, testified before a House committee about the several lawsuits filed over the 2018 election.

By mid-afternoon, Ertel turned in his resignation, after photos emerged of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface at a private Halloween party 14 years ago, two months after 1,800 people were killed by the massive storm. […]

The photo was taken in 2005, eight months after Ertel was appointed Seminole County supervisor of elections and two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

Here, an official mocked black hurricane victims.

On the other hand, this is completely different:

The third-ranking elected official in Virginia, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, acknowledged Wednesday that he had worn blackface at a party as an undergraduate student, deepening a crisis that has engulfed the state’s Democratic leadership. […]

Although speculation about Mr. Herring’s history with blackface had coursed through the Capitol this week, it was not until Wednesday morning that he met with the Legislative Black Caucus to inform them. He then issued a statement that described how, as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia in 1980, he had dressed as the rapper Kurtis Blow.

By Mr. Herring’s account, he and friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup” for a party, and that it was a one-time occurrence.

He was NOT an official; was an undergraduate student, and did not do this to mock anyone.

My point: we ought to use some judgement: when did it happen, and what were they doing at the time? And what WAS the culture at that time?

A policy that condemns public figures who have had “any association” with blackface would thin out the supply of reputable public figures rather quickly. Comics and movie stars would be the first to get “canceled.” Jimmy Fallon did blackface to impersonate Chris Rock; Jimmy Kimmel did it to impersonate Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey; SNL’s Fred Armisen did it to impersonate President Obama; Ashton Kutcher did brownface to depict a stereotypical Indian man in a Popchips commercial; Robert Downey Jr. wore blackface in Tropic Thunder; Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, who play “Mac” and “Dee” on the critically acclaimed sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, have both donned blackface in the show.

And there’s no reason to stop at the living. As demonstrated in a recent New York Times op-ed, “‘Mary Poppins’ and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting with Blackface,” the grave provides no protection from the professionally offended class. To that end, perhaps we should posthumously repudiate Judy Garland (of Wizard of Oz fame), Gene Wilder (of Willy Wonka fame), and Shirley Temple (of Shirley Temple’s Storybook fame), all of whom did blackface.

Is this offensive?

How about this?

I know that times have certainly changed. No, I never used blackface. But is entirely possible that I went to an event/party where someone did…it just wouldn’t have registered with me; I was not aware of it so many years ago.

In fact, I used to have Confederate flags (the battle flag) on my bedroom wall; this was high school through the first few years of college (I’d come home on leave); the reason is that my high school was the Travis High Rebels and we used that flag for our sporting events; it was on our uniform, etc. At the time, I saw it as “school spirit”, period.

And think about other issues: can you imagine this song coming out today?

Sorry, do not include me on the “zero tolerance” train (at least, retroactively). There is so much that was mainstream in our past that we now (correctly) see as offensive in this era.

Many, myself included, were blind to things that would be obvious now.

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | 2 Comments

Which way will the Democrats go in 2020?

There appears to be two schools of thought here.

One is that the blue wave of 2018 was caused by the Democrats flipping “red” districts with, well, somewhat moderate candidates.

To that many liberals point to opinion polls on issues which show that typical liberal issues poll very well. And in the state where Sen. McCaskill lost, minimum wage (12 dollars) passed and right to work was repealed. But, many times, people like an idea (say, single payer healthcare) but they don’t like the extra taxes or rationing.

The other school of thought: the younger, liberal firebrands should take over. Interesting:

The future of the Democratic Party represented by Fairfax needs to become its present, immediately. It’s the generation that includes leaders like Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Interesting: Omar, Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez won in blue districts, and Gillum and Abrams lost their respective elections. Not a single person on this list defeated a Republican incumbent.

Workout notes: yesterday, 1 loop plus out and back on Moss/Bradley walk prior to yoga with Ms. Vickie. This morning: 7 mile ride (25:30 on Expresso, 7 laps) after weights: rotator cuff, pull ups: 15-15-10-10, bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 5 x 170, decline: 10 x 165, military 10 x 50 standing 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 50 one arm rows. plank, headstand, etc. then the bike ride.

February 5, 2019 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Our racist past (and Northam)

The discovery of Gov. Northam’s racist photo on his Medical School yearbook page (1984) (one man in black face, the other in a KKK costume) has lead to some intense discussion.

I will put something about my own past at the end of this post.

Of course, some leading Democratic contenders (Warren, Booker, Harris) have called on him to resign as did the Virginia Democratic Party. Pelosi hedged her bets:

Notice: “do the right thing” rather than simply “resign”, as many others have said directly. This way, she can say “I never asked him to resign”, as others have:

Now if seems strange that something that happened 35 years ago should cause so much anger now:

In short, African Americans are an essential part of the Democratic coalition. They are not a part of the Republican coalition; in fact, some of the baser appeals the Republicans make to those who resent public aid going to black people or resent black people questioning the impartiality of law enforcement.

Here are other interesting takes:

(links to threads)

And this comment:

Personally, I think that he will have to resign, though he hasn’t admitted it to himself as yet.

Now about my own past

Yes, I have done things that I am ashamed of, though blackface and KKK costumes aren’t part of that.

But I will talk about the atmosphere when I grew up. Yes, there was some racism on the Air Force Bases that I grew up on, BUT because the schools I went to were mixed race as were the teams I played on, I can honestly say that racism wasn’t a problem for me *at that time* in my life. But when I moved to Austin, Texas (not quite the silicon valley that it is now) and went to a lower middle class high school, the racism was very prevalent there. The n-word was tossed around on the playing field…and in the hallways. Kids tended to segregate…and yes, the black kids cut the lunch line and there were sometimes fights. Administration did NOTHING. It was a pretty sorry atmosphere even though the school was 55 percent Mexican American…many Latinos didn’t like blacks either.

So what about the Navy and the Naval Academy? Yes, there, the authorities gave us civil rights training, did the appropriate amount of finger wagging, but there was a more subtle undercurrent of racism there. It wasn’t “n-word” mostly, or at least all of the time….you see, that was too “uncouth”. It was more of the smugly told racist jokes that didn’t use the obvious n-words. And it was things like I am about to describe:

I had a friend and roommate (for a semester) who was from rural Alabama. He admitted that he didn’t like blacks (privately). But how others reacted to him: it was more like a “hey, what do you expect from a dumb white hick from Alabama..it is just how they are..” sort of thing with the rest of us (mostly white people). He WAS academically deficient ..a type of “rural white affirmative action” if you will..and couldn’t handle the academics, even though the rest of us tried to help him out.

I remember one time…we were at the dining table where they served us “family style”: pans of food were set on the table and passed around. It was ok to ask another table if you could have any left overs in the pan. One time a black guy with a stereotypical black accent asked if he could have some of that leftover fried chicken. We let him ..but immediately all of us turned to look at the Alabama guy because we KNEW that would set him off…and we were giggling and laughing…”you know that will set off that dumb hick!” sort of way.

One time I expressed a bit of disgust about his racial attitudes (to another friend) and was told “remember where he came from…did you see him in Chemistry, working with a black lab partner..they were getting along. People can change…”

Anyhow…there you have it. Racism, at that time, was pretty freely expressed in “private company.” That was true in certain circles in the Navy as well…and yes, even in the officer ranks (though I did not see it in the officer ranks in the Nuclear Navy). The time period I was talking about was from 1977-1985.

It was a different time, and things have improved..or so I would think, based on my own experience…though it could just be the company that I presently keep.

I do want to comment on one other thing:

Yes…having an honest conversation on race IS all but impossible due to people (mostly white liberals) being so eager to pounce with moral superiority. In fact, there are honestly held beliefs that, I think, CAN be challenged in an intellectually honest manner. I talked about that some here.

Workout notes: today, 6 mile run walk on the treadmill in 1:11
Yesterday 7 mile ride on an indoor bike, weights: usual PT, abs, planks, etc. pull ups: 10-10-10-10-5-10, (yes 55 total), 10 x 135, 3 x 185 bench, 10 x 135 incline, 8 x 165 decline, 10 x 50 standing military, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 50 one arm rows, then the planks/bike ride.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Bad arguments for a correct conclusion

One of the things I’ve seen that makes me cringe: someone making an absolutely awful argument for..well, some policy that I want to see enacted or against something that..well, that I oppose.

One example: the owner of Starbucks is thinking about running for President as an independent who is both socially liberal and economically conservative (e. g. low taxes on the wealthy).

Yes, I respect his business accomplishments. But I’ve seen this time and time again: someone who is brilliant (and I am sure that he is) really hasn’t put their brain power to the issues of the day; running a government is very, very different than running a business. For one thing: debt is very different for a government than for a private entity (also here), and governments pay down the debt by growing the economy so that the debt is a smaller and smaller part of the GDP.

But if one spends all their time at work..how much time is there left over for doing hard thinking about other issues? Often I’ve found very successful people to be very uninformed on issues that do not involve their field.

And, let’s face it: businesses ought to be run like businesses…other things shouldn’t be run like businesses.

So, I oppose his candidacy. But..some of the opposition to his candidacy is of: “his “qualifications is that he is a white male.” as if THAT is what made him successful. Sigh…if being a white male were enough, there would be millions of ultra successful people. 🙂

Cartoons: There was a time when wealthy people felt an obligation to society:

Yes, ironically, someone posted a clip to show that this meant that “Keynesians are stupid” but..not really…I think it shows the opposite. A higher marginal tax rate encourages the wealthy to keep working rather than take it easy and make more investments. And stimulation at the bottom of the economy ensures that demand remains high… the “long hours for little pay” is what trickle down has given us now…

Snow: more of it today; BU did a great job of keeping the walkways clear.

Workout notes: 5 more treadmill miles (walking: 1:02:20)

February 1, 2019 Posted by | economics, economy, Peoria/local, political/social, politics, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

An honest conversation about bigotry? Sure…

I am paying attention to Kamala Harris as I am interested in her candidacy. I still want to see what Corey Booker and Amy Klobuchar do too…though even if all three end up running, I might well still support Harris. Immediate appeal to me: she appears to be an intellectual, “personal responsibility” Democrat.

So I am paying attention to what she says, and this tweet caught my eye:

Ah, speak “that truth”. But what exactly is “truth”? Sometimes the mere mention of accurate statistics leads to cries of “racism.” This is what can go wrong:

People need some space to express honestly held beliefs even if said beliefs are inaccurate. And I believe this:

1.People are hard wired to reason inductively (go by what they see)
2. Our country is very diverse with many different types of settings (southern, northern, eastern, rural, urban, suburban, small town) and our experiences might be mostly in one type of community
3. “Common sense” is often woefully inadequate to give a proper assessment; it is limited to the experiences of the individual and to the mental/intellectual/knowledge of the individual.
4. People, at least some, CAN change their mind if they are open to it and are given a logical argument and facts. But finger wagging (“if you believe this you are a horrible bigot” or “if you believe this you are delusional”) does not change anyone’s mind. Too often people appear to try to “shame” the other person into going along with what they THINK is right.
5. Humans are highly imperfect beings and any group, if it is large enough, will have their share of bores, idiots, slackers and criminals. ANY sufficiently large group. And if you have some bias against said group, it is all so tempting to draw inferences that back up what you already “feel.”

January 30, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

My “Covington in DC” post

Yes, I too was fooled by the still photo and short video clip; at first I was under the impression that those kids surrounded that elderly Native American. I even remarked that had I acted that way at that age, my parents, teachers or even coaches would have punished me.

And yes, I saw the longer clip and yes, my reaction is now a bit different; it is more of an eyeroll…not optimal but mostly, a “nothing to see here.”

But I did think about the incident and reactions to it. And I have two basic thoughts:

1. Humans tend to grade “our side” on a curve. Yes, liberals..even those who watched the longer clip..were still outraged..and I haven’t seen many outraged at the Black Hebrew Israelites, the kooks who yelled vulgar, racist and homophobic stuff at the kids. Conservatives tended to rally toward the kids (some were wearing MAGA hats and chanting stuff like “build the wall”…some were apparently mocking the Native American with tomahawk chops..others appeared to enjoy dancing to the beat..and I admit, I find such beats very appealing…it make ME want to dance a bit.

But imagine had those 4 kooks been white KKK members and the kids be black kids with, say, “Obama” hats. My guess is that the battle lines would be flipped; liberals would be praising the restraint of the kids and goodness knows what conservatives would be calling them (my guess “thugs”, “ghetto”, etc.)

2. I think that humans project their own experiences onto situations. I think about my own life: the kooks who yelled stuff at the kids…they remind me a bit of the kooks that you sometimes find in the city..they yell stuff and..if you are NOT feeling threatened, you just ignore and walk past. It is unpleasant but short lived and not much a part of my life.

But the smirking kid: could be the entitled college student who the university took because the family cut a fat check, or perhaps the bosses nephew who, though minimally qualified, was given the position over you…or perhaps the kid who tries to skate past their course project with lots of power point slides and pie charts, none of which make any sense, but “wow” their parents and uninformed.

Of course, I do not know these kids and this description might not apply to them at all. But I am talking about some reactions being projections of our own lives into this situation.

The Native American (who is not a Vietnam veteran but did serve in the Marines..and honorable thing to do): he is an experienced activist..not his first rodeo.

Workout notes: 10 miles at the Riverplex. 6.5 run (slight walking thrown in) 54:50 for 5, 1:07 for 6, 6.5 in 1:15 (some walking) then 3.5 miles in 56 minutes (ok, 28 laps of lane 1-2) in the Riverplex…tons of spandex but I stayed focused. Weight: 191.4 before 186 after but that was mostly dehydration.

January 27, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking | 1 Comment

Finger wagging doesn’t work unless…

Ok, here are some thoughts on a very cold day (and yes, it is snowing …AGAIN)

so this lovely loose, cold snow will cover are already slick, icy residential roads:

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Solid ice.

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This winter has gone from reasonable to brutal very quickly. And our city never handles things well; we are on a downward spiral (much of the tax base has fled..and this is but one consequence)

Lovely.

And there is a bit of good news; evidently the government shutdown is over for now, and maybe the Republicans will get some sanity with regards to the wall.

But the people leaving the city reminds us of a fact: in the vast majority of the cases, you can’t force someone to do something that they don’t want to do unless you have some influence on them. You can’t make people want to live in this frigid, icy, stupidly run (IMHO) wasteland.

I am here because of..well, paychecks. There is something I want. And I stay in the city because I can walk to work (most of the time, without a severe risk of slipping and breaking my neck).

And I think the same thing applies to attitudes. All too often, it appears to me that some attempt to change attitudes by some version of “if you don’t see it this way, you are a horrible person” or “if you don’t see it this way or that way, I won’t like you.”

You sometimes see that attitude in mandated “anti-evil-thing” training that you find in the workplace, and sometimes it backfires!

If you are an employer you can force an employee to take training, but you can’t force them to take it seriously or to internalize it.

And you can hate Trump but you cannot stop others from voting for him (how did 2016 work out?)

In my opinion, IF you have some standing with the person, they might *choose* to listen to you or, if you make a good case, you might be able to *persuade* by logic, reason, etc.

And if you have nothing to offer and nothing that the other person wants, you had better be good at persuasion…”just do it or I think you are: a jerk, a ***ist, etc.” doesn’t change anything.

Workout notes though this horrible winter weather (constant snow, ice, frigid temperatures) put me in a bad mood, my workout went fine? (weight 193)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170, decline: 10 x 165, military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 one armed rows with 50, planks, etc.

Then 10K on the bike (used “Camel Country” course..set for 10 miles but it was taking longer than I wanted..stopped at 30 minutes).

Fun: I changed my @mathguy19 Twitter cover photo and profile photo:

The cover photo: everything is something I either taught or studied in my own research.

January 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change, mathematics, politics, politics/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment