blueollie

Nice answer Secretary Clinton…

Direct and to the point…they way I like it.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | | 2 Comments

Nuclear energy; gaffes, free speech for professors, etc.

Nuclear Energy It has been a very long time since I had anything to do with nuclear power plant operation. Back then we had main coolant pumps, higher power reactors and the submarine had a screw.

Now-a-days; the subs have less powerful reactors, some rely less on coolant pumps and the Virginia class submarine uses a pump jet propulsor instead of a screw.

What I knew is obsolete. :-) Sort of. More here.

Here, Paul Krugman, who is a “lukewarm opponent” of the TPP, pushes back on some of the Obama administration push back to TPP opponents.

College campuses and free speech
In an effort to be accommodating to many different types of students and faculty, some colleges have tried to restrict free speech and to keep faculty from saying anything that might “offend” students, at least in a certain way.

Here is one professor’s push-back.

In today’s world; what faculty say, even on line and in newspaper column comments is subject to scrutiny and possibly negative consequences.

Now I don’t like what either of these professors said. But are we getting to the point in which professor’s public comments on the big issues of the day are subject to being straight jacketed?

Now I don’t want to conflate issues. Yes, I’d be fore firing a creationist biology professor or astronomy professor for incompetence, just as I’d fire a mathematics professor who tried to teach mathematical nonsense like this or this.

Competence matters.

So, if you want to fire, say, a holocaust denying history professor, well, good. That person would be too incompetent to teach history.

But what if I had genuine doubts and expressed them in public? (no, I am not a history professor) Would that be a fireable offense? By the way: I don’t have any doubts; to me, simple arithmetic seals the deal. Just look at the Jewish population before and after, as well as mountains and mountains of documents, much of which the Nazis generated.

What if someone really gave some credence to, say The Bell Curve (the book) stuff and they wanted to honestly discuss this in public?
Personally, I’d enjoy the challenge of having an honest discussion and debate with someone who honestly holds such ideas.

Now of course, others in other professions (e. g. politicians) should have more PR savvy than this.

Yes, this is a Democrat and yes, this was stupid. She is probably toast.

May 17, 2015 Posted by | education, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Hersh’s new “Bin Laden raid” conspiracy “conjecture”

Yes, some are abuzz over Seymour Hersh’s story about the Obama administration’s story being false.

Needless to say, there are some problems with this conjecture:

Hersh’s story is amazing to read, alleging a vast American-Pakistani conspiracy to stage the raid and even to fake high-level diplomatic incidents as a sort of cover. But his allegations are largely supported only by two sources, neither of whom has direct knowledge of what happened, both of whom are retired, and one of whom is anonymous. The story is riven with internal contradictions and inconsistencies.

The story simply does not hold up to scrutiny — and, sadly, is in line with Hersh’s recent turn away from the investigative reporting that made him famous into unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

A decade ago, Hersh was one of the most respected investigative journalists on the planet, having broken major stories from the My Lai massacre in 1969 to the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004. But more recently, his reports have become less and less credible. He’s claimed that much of the US special forces is controlled by secret members of Opus Dei, that the US military flew Iranian terrorists to Nevada for training, and that the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria was a “false flag” staged by the government of Turkey. Those reports have had little proof and, rather than being borne out by subsequent investigations, have been either unsubstantiated or outright debunked. A close reading of Hersh’s bin Laden story suggests it is likely to suffer the same fate.

Oh sure, the usual “the Obama administration always lies” crowd will run with it, tut-tutting that those stupid members of the media fell for the administration line “hook, line and sinker”.

Some will like the fact that Hersh was rude to “shitty journalists“.

So what do I think?

Ok, I am biased toward the Obama administration, but then again, I immediately rejected the 9-11 conspiracy conjectures as well. Hersh does have a distinguished record…a long time ago. So is this merely some old “has been” desperately trying to relive past glories?

Now I do NOT put it past ANY administration to lie or to get things wrong.

But this is the primary reason I am skeptical.

The Republicans hate Obama and I’d imagine that some of the more conservative elements of the military hate him too. Had this been this grandiose lie….wouldn’t the Republicans and other conservatives brought this to light at some strategic time prior to the 2012 election?

My goodness; look at how the Republicans tried to play up a non-existent Behghazi “scandal”.

May 17, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, world events | | Leave a comment

Misunderstandings…social, political and personal

Workout notes: damp, humid (80 percent), 67 F and it took me 1:33:27 to do my 8.1 mile course; my “pick it up” final mile was 11 minutes! I was about 45:40 half way; this was…well, less than a strenuous effort.

But..this effort is well in line with what the Oregon Pace Wizard has for someone who does a 25:30 5K.

easypace

That is reality. Yes, I enjoyed the run, but at times, well…if I went any slower, I’d be growing moss.

Topics
Final exams: some students have trouble understanding that their grades are

1. something that they earn and
2. reflect their performance and not what they think that they deserve.

Well, I might understand a 18-20 year old having trouble with the concept. Unfortunately, all too often, parents and administrators have trouble with this concept as well.

Misunderstanding

Some conservatives don’t like what Michelle Obama said here:

Or here.:

“You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum.”

Then, she went on to laud the Whitney for its efforts at inclusion and diversity: “And with this inaugural exhibition, the Whitney is really sending the same message to young people and to people of every background across this country. You’re telling them that their story is part of the American story, and that they deserve to be seen. And you’re sending that message not just with the art you display, but with the educational programming you run here. You’re reaching out to kids from all backgrounds, exposing them to the arts, showing them that they have something to contribute.”

It was a rather mild, if not flattering way to acknowledge a disparity while also encouraging efforts to counter it.

It is true; sometimes we are “class bound” when it comes to thinking “this activity isn’t for people like me”. In fact, it is useful to inform people that “yes, this place is for you too, IF you want it to be.” As far as the video, I hear what she is saying and I think that her message is positive.

She isn’t making excuses; she is acknowledging the discomfort that some of our neighbors have to push through.

Tribes

gunsign

To me, this is a sign about what sort of people this business wishes to attract and that they wish to keep people like me away; it is a nice signal for me to look elsewhere. I have no problem with it.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | Leave a comment

Semester is over and I opine on politics, Fox News, etc.

Politics and Social Issues

Yes, President Obama called out Fox News for distorting the debate about poverty:

Of course, Fox News complained (and probably grinned ear to ear, enjoying a viewer surge) but..well, the DO say the kinds of things that he accused them of saying.

I am beginning to think that Fox is secretly hoping that Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency.

Now speaking of the election: let us not forget how bad Gov. Jeb Bush would be. Think of who is advisers would be and of how awful they were the last time they were in power. The Democrats must remind people of this.

Yes, I am hearing about the Bush vs. Clinton “dynasties”. Please. This article gets it right..at least mostly right. But it does leave one thing out: the Bush sons come from a super wealthy, very connected family whereas the Clintons are self-made.

Yes, I was never a big fan of Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate in 2008; you can read my (sometimes scathing) opinion of her campaign and campaign tactics elsewhere on this blog. But here is something you can never take away from her and her husband: these were NOT silver spoon people. Bill grew up poor, and Hillary grew up middle class. Both excelled academically but this was NOT a matter of some outrageously wealthy, connected family pulling the strings for them. They made it under their own steam, period (as did President Obama). There is no comparison between their story and the story of the Bush family. Period.

And yes, I see her as a worthy candidate and I’ll support her if she wins the Democratic nomination, as expected. And no, I know of any other credible Democrat challenger and…forget the Republicans. Every Republican who has announced is a loon (at least, with respect to politics; many have achieved in other professions).

Social/Political snark

Yes, 32 percent of Republicans think there is something to the “Obama wants to take over Texas” conspiracy. That’s right..and this isn’t just Texas Republicans either.

PPPJadehelm

Note who these people tend to favor for President; there is an interesting correlation, no?

Now, yes, sometimes a famous Democrat will speak out after a major event (in this case, the Amtrack crash in Philadelphia), and yes, in this case, the train was going 100 mph in a 50 mph maximum zone. And yes, often said famous Democrat will have no qualifications in that field. What is funny is that this offends some conservatives …I wonder how many of these listen to Chuck Norris or Ted Nugent? Heck, even Joe “the Plummer” has a following. :-) Pot: meet Kettle.

Academia: stuff like this gives academics, and the humanities in general, a bad name:

An incoming Boston University professor has apologized for her controversial remarks regarding White males on Twitter, Fox News reports.
Saida Grundy, an Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Boston University who identifies as a “feminist sociologist of race & ethnicity,” was hit with criticism after calling White college males a “problem population” on her social media page.
Many slammed the professor and called her tweets bigoted after she stated she wouldn’t contribute to White-owned businesses on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and called St. Patrick’s Day a “made up holiday.”

“Why is White America so reluctant to identify White college males as a problem population?” she wrote.
“Every MLK week, I commit myself to not spending a dime in White-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible.”
“Can we just call St. Patrick’s Day the White people’s Kwanzaa that it is? This is not a thing in actual Ireland. It’s completely made up.”

Her tweets have since been deleted.

OF COURSE, she claims that …well..her comment was “nuanced”. That is how the game is played; cry foul if it appears that YOUR group is being attacked, but turn around and make similar statements about other groups and claim to be “misunderstood”.

Yes, we in academia (especially us lefties) to have to clean up our act and this is a step in the right direction, as is this.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

On the road relatively soon

I slept in as I have a long drive ahead of me both today and tomorrow.

Workout notes weights only. Legs were heavy.

pull ups (hip hikes, Achilles) 3 sets of 10
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 180, 7 x 170 (rotator cuff)
incline press: 10 x 140
pull ups: 2 sets of 10 to finish 5 sets.
military: 10 x 85 standing barbell, 7 x 85 standing barbell, 10 x 40 standing dumbbell.
super set: pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 7 x 160 traditional 7 x 85 very low with
3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer Machine rows.

I started to jog on the treadmill but gave up; I figured some light walking around would loosen my legs a bit.

Politics
This is a very interesting take on Mike Huckabee’s candidacy:

Huckabee appears to be aware of his liabilities, and is thus angling not only for the evangelical vote, but for the old person vote in general. He’s adopted the view, unfathomable in modern Republican politics, that support programs for the elderly shouldn’t be tampered with, and not just for today’s seniors, but for at least a generation. By doing so he’s violated the GOP’s implicit pact that discourages members from accentuating the tensions between the party’s fiscal priorities and its aging political base. If he makes good on this cynical strategy, he will probably still lose, but his candidacy will have served a valuable and revealing purpose.

Let’s be clear up front that Huckabee’s positioning here is 100 percent cynical. As John McCormack of the neoconservative Weekly Standard reminded us last month, Huckabee was a proponent of the Republican consensus as recently as August 2012, when he wrote on his Facebook page that “Paul Ryan is being demonized for his suggested Medicare reforms. But the alternatives may be scarier.”

Today, Huckabee says he wouldn’t sign legislation codifying Ryan’s Medicare reforms if he were president, and lambasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to further raise the Social Security retirement age over time. In Iowa this week, Huckabee told a crowd of supporters, “It is a foolish thing for the government to involuntarily confiscate money from your pockets and paychecks for 50 years, and then suddenly tell you, oh, we were just kidding.”

You might call this a “government hands off of my Medicare” moment. :-)

keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare1

And yes, some conservatives are rather upset with him.

I love it. :-)

Social This is a case in which religious beliefs can cause harm. Someone has something bad happen to them (e. g. they get cancer). Someone, in an attempt to comfort, says “God’s will” or “God has a plan for you” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”; to be fair some give a secular version of such sentiment (e. g. they call your ordeal a “journey”.)

You know: sometimes people just have horrible luck and the idea that there is some cosmic puppetmaster calling the shots is just plain stupid.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | 2016, huckabee, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Poverty, Baltimore, disagreement, TPP, etc.

Baltimore protests and riots (which are different things)

The American Renaissance has a reputation as being a white supremacist site/publication. But some of what they say might appear to be merely “uncomfortable truth” that others are too polite or cowardly to say:

Discovers why blacks riot.
An article from yesterday’s New York Times about the relative calm in Baltimore stumbled by accident onto something like the real reason why blacks were rioting. Near the famous burned-out CVS–the city had begged the company to “invest” in a dodgy neighborhood–the Times reporter found someone it identified as “Robert Wilson, a college student who went to high school in Baltimore.” The article concludes with Mr. Wilson’s explanation of why blacks rioted. He said nothing about Freddie Gray or police brutality. Instead, he said this:

We’re just angry at the surroundings–like this is all that is given to us?–and we’re tired of this, like nobody wants to wake up and see broken-down buildings. They take away the community centers, they take away our fathers, and now we have traffic lights that don’t work, we have houses that are crumbling, falling down.

After the riots in Baltimore in 1968, whites panicked and sold their property at desperation prices. Now, these houses are “broken down” because blacks didn’t maintain them. This pattern of white flight and “broken down” houses was repeated in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Washington, St. Louis, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, and countless other American cities. Some of the best city housing in the world was handed over to blacks who wrecked it. Neighborhoods filled with irreplaceable architecture are now wastelands.

Mr. Wilson complains that “we have houses that are crumbling, falling down.” The remedy for crumbling houses is for the people who live in them to fix them, but instead, Mr. Wilson asks, “Is this all that is given to us?”

This quote almost perfectly captures the black mentality that leads to rioting. Blacks live in neighborhoods that they, themselves, have wrecked, and then ask, “This is all that is given to us?”

Hard-working white people built the “broken-down” buildings Mr. Wilson is complaining about. Many had parquet floors, high ceilings, and fine moldings found today only in the most expensive new construction.

Like so many blacks, Mr. Wilson doesn’t realize how perverse it is even to think in terms of pleasant houses and neighborhoods being “given” to anyone. Does he imagine the white authorities “giving” nice neighborhoods to whites and cruelly handing out slums to blacks? They didn’t start out as slums. Whites saved and worked hard to build those neighborhoods. They maintained them, repaired them, and loved them.

But in today’s world of welfare, food stamps, government housing, and white guilt, Mr. Wilson doesn’t know any better than to ask for handouts.

Ok. Yes, it is true: those houses were once nice houses and now they aren’t; they weren’t kept up and yes, blacks were living in them when they went downhill.

But that is, at best, incomplete information.

For one: if these houses were rented (as they surely were), who is responsible for the major upkeep? Yes..the landlord. Who actually OWNED those houses?
And as far as the poor blacks that moved in: what we really had was well paying blue collar jobs leaving. Remember that higher education was less accessible to the poor, especially the black poor. They weren’t in a position to follow the paths of the well paying jobs.

Now as far as social pathology: yes, it is there. But the best evidence is that the dearth of employment opportunities and poverty come first; the social pathology follows. It is time to act economically. And yes, our poverty reduction measures have worked better than some claim.

TPP: Yes, much of this is about intellectual property and though this is not likely to be a disaster, Paul Krugman wonders why President Obama is spending political capital on this.

Robert Reich is a more passionate critic.

Me: sort of on the fence; I tend to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt based on how his other programs have worked out or are working out.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Swim and Texas “Draw Mohammed” shooting…

Swim: 500 warm up (pitifully slow; 10:13) then 15 x 100 (fist/free) on the 2:10 (mostly 1:53-1:56), 200 fins cool down (back, fly).

This was my last swim of the teaching semester. Now is crazy time.

Texas shooting some people attempted to shoot up a “Draw Mohammed” event. Randazza, as usual, cuts right to the chase.

If you are going to live in the United States, you have to accept the fact that we have free speech and your religion and precious ideas are fair game. If you can’t accept that: leave.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | politics/social, religion, swimming | | Leave a comment

Voter ID laws: the harm

Workout notes: 500 swim; then 8 x 50 kick (fins, front, focused on being downhill), 150 swim, 100 back. I just wasn’t into it. I was a bit bloated (182-183) afterward. I am feeling a bit tired and rundown.

Harm of voter ID law (hat tip: Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) This takes 11 minutes to watch. If you are one of those who wonder “what is the big deal”, watch. This is what can go wrong.

May 2, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, swimming | | Leave a comment

Some sane discussion…

I had posted President Obama’s remarks about Baltimore and applauded him for distinguishing the rioters and looters from the protesters. People should remember that anytime there is a disturbance that leads to a lessening of order, some will take advantage, be they sports rioters, riots and looters during police strikes, looters or just plain morons.

But as far as the plight of the poorer inner city communities (such as Baltimore’s), the evidence is that much of the social pathology is the result of poverty rather than the cause of it.

sanebaltimore

Of course, this is where I get sore. Conservatives are quick to point out the pathology and often blame…well, who else..for it.

On the other hand, trying to get the rank and file liberal to admit that there IS a social pathology and that, yes, the looting and rioting in those communities are caused by bad people, just as they are in other communities…well good luck with that. Now-a-days if you call a looter a “thug” some delusional individual will call you a racist.

In the above video, the person who spoke just afterword had some good things to say (and yes, the arguments over the word is just a distraction)

To conclude: I think that Kathleen Parker’s remarks are well taken.

May 1, 2015 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, poverty, racism, ranting, social/political | , | Leave a comment

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