blueollie

Why I mostly just s**t post…

Ah, social media. Yes, I still use it and often, people will post interesting, longer articles.

But as far as discussion: sigh. Mostly it breaks down into either “yelling slogans”, typing “#checkyourprivilege ” hashtags, or virtue signaling. And many times, people who comment on what I say have not read what I actually said …rather they comment on what they think that they said or use my tweet/post as a launching pad to show how virtuous they are.

And let’s face it: when it comes to persuasion, the messenger matters. Example: one of my favorite twitter “follows” is a professor from Berkeley. She has done quite well for herself and sometimes takes long vacations in France. She was “calling for a general strike” if Mueller was fired…evidently unaware that 42 percent of Americans either don’t know who he is or no opinion of him and another 29 percent disapprove of him. She has no idea that many get their news in bits between work and, say, getting their kids and many are living paycheck to paycheck. Needless to say, she is not going to convince anyone outside of a very narrow circle.

And I’d guess that most of us are like that in one way or another.

So posting and commenting are often a waste of time.

Workout notes: weights, then a nice 2 mile walk outside. Weights: usual pt, pull ups (5 sets of 10: good), bench: 10 x 135, 7 x 170 (no pain), 10 x 135 incline: military: standing dumbbell 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 10 x 180 machine (90 each side), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 hammer (10 x 110 other machine too). usual abs; headstand was a bit easier, plank at 2:30 was a challenge. Weight: 197.6 after weights; I actually felt…good???

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April 20, 2018 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Shattered: a view of the failed 2016 Clinton campaign

I just finished reading the book Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.

Like many, I thought that Hillary Clinton would win but was aware that she was not in as strong of a position as Obama was in during the 2012 campaign.

Still, I thought that the “worst case” was 272-266 Clinton

And I misread the coalition that Trump brought aboard in key states.

So, what went wrong? Oh I know what went wrong with the models that overstated Clinton’s probability of winning; it was the statistical idea of independence and the width of the confidence intervals.

But what about with the election and campaign itself? The book Shattered examines that question. Yes, the book makes it clear that the Comey letter, Russian meddling and other forces played a factor; for example, in some key areas of key states, she did just as well as Obama did with the female vote but did much worse with the male vote. This book does NOT discount these factors.

But it does talk about how dysfunctional the campaign was (the goal was often to maintain access to HRC rather than to get her elected…loyalty was rewarded, sometimes at the expense of competence..and there was too much focus on analytics and “getting one’s people to the polls as opposed to trying to win at least a few votes over”.

Yes, I know; many times there are people that you are wasting your time with. But there is value in persuasion; sometimes losing red counties 65-35 instead of 75-25 can help you carry the state.

And, they painted a portrait of a candidate who, while knowing every white paper on the issues, just could not connect with voters outside of a narrow circle. And it wasn’t as if HRC was good with public introspection; she appeared to place little blame on herself, at least at that time. She does some of this in her own book, which came out later.

I found that the book was a good complement to Clinton’s own book What Happened.

Oh yes, if you Loooooove Hillary you’ll think that this book is a “hit job”. This book will be dismissed by Clinton cultists. If you hate her, you’ll find a lot you like in the book, though the book DOES admit that other factors played a big role; any one of these could have tipped the scales in such a close election.

But, realistically, I think that the book shows that attempted to run a 2012 style campaign against a very unconventional opponent with the country being in an unconventional mood.

And yes, while Obama was a ground breaking candidate, he was also a “purple unicorn” with extreme intelligence, charisma and political skill. Clinton had only the ‘intelligence” part; being a woman didn’t seem to help her a higher percentage of the female vote and she was hurt with the male vote. Though one might exclaim “sexism”, and I have no doubt that it was a factor, I wonder if there was a difference: Obama got to where he was under his own steam. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton got to where she was because of Bill; had she never married him, she might have well been some successful lawyer, professor or policy expert.

And while her being saddled to Bill got her into the arena, it may well have harmed her during this particular election itself.

Now of course, every campaign makes mistakes and has some dysfunction; after all, Trump did horribly during the debates and had all sorts of gaffes and missteps ..many which might have sunk him in a different election. But he had enough showmanship (“political campaign skill”) to overcome those missteps….at least during THIS election.

Other reviews: here, here and here.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | 2016, books, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

No mass uprising over Mueller being fired: exhausted, underpaid Americans

I find some of the dialogue on Twitter to be, well, rather uninformed. I am reading about marches, pitchforks and even a “general strike” if Trump attempts to fire Mueller (he would have to do so indirectly)

The reality:

“Just 29 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of Mueller, while another 29 percent had an unfavorable one, and 42 percent said they’re unsure or never heard of Mueller.”

Sure, a majority say that the investigation should continue, but this is not an issue on most people’s minds.

Think about it: the average American who even listens to the news probably gets a snippet here and there on the way between, say, their job and picking up their kids. Those most interested are those with the time to digest things, and even many of these are probably pro-Trump.

People really don’t have the time or energy to seriously challenge this.

Oh sure, the teacher’s strikes may have paid dividends, but people have kids in schools; this affects their lives HERE AND NOW..it isn’t some abstract “principle of democracy” for them.

I suppose underpaying Americans and keeping (most) of them overworked has its virtues.

Another topic: guns in schools. Yes, there were student protests about gun violence in Miami. But these didn’t get covered that well: the victims and the protesters are non-affluent and black. Yes, I know: this is “ordinary” gun violence as opposed to the AR-15 mass shooting but such violence kills far more kids than the “assault weapons/mass shootings” do.

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

brief respite

Nice weather for a change. Foot: better; left shoulder: oh-so-slight tweak during wide grip pullups.

usual PT and abs (2:30 plank), 5 sets of 10 pull ups (slow) bench; 10 x 135, 3 x 160 (stopped), military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 20 x 40. Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200. Hammer incline: 10 x 140 (45+25 on each side).

Glorious, pain free 5K walk outside.

Tribalism and politics I sometimes find it astonishing that I agree so much with someone who cancels my vote. Part of the issue is the D vs. R classification is so coarse. But I wonder if part of it is just not liking many of the people who vote the other way.

Every time I think of considering a Republican…I look at the creationist Bible beaters and “Obama was a Kenyan Muslim” “birthers” and Trump supporters and think “nah..nothing for me over there”.

But stupidity is indeed bipartisan and perhaps I’ve learned to tune out liberal/Democratic stupidity?

April 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , , | 2 Comments

Why I think that we are stuck with Trump for at least his first term…if not….a second

Yes, I know that Trump is at about 41 percent approval (FiveThirtyEight), (Real Clear Politics)and at 79 percent among Republicans (Gallup..you have to sift a bit).

These are not wonderful numbers. But when Nixon resigned, he was in the 60 percent range among Republicans…AND Democrats controlled both chambers AND Fox News didn’t exist. So even if the D’s take both chambers in 2018 (a long shot…taking the House might be realistic) I don’t see anywhere near 2/3 of the Senate voting to remove him.

Trump will have to really, really become toxic and I don’t mean “he triggered a bunch of liberal snowflakes by saying (insert “something offensive to liberals” here)” toxic. True, some (many?) around him may well end up in jail.

Frankly, I’ll be relieved if he doesn’t get reelected in 2020 (as he may well might). Yes, he is unpopular, but he can win by being “less evil” than whoever the Democrats run..and for the life of me, I don’t have a clue.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Voting: it matters.

We had primary elections yesterday; none of my major candidates won (or even came close), though the incumbent governor almost got beat in the primary by a whack-job.

So, now it is the “battle of the unqualified billionaires” for governor.

But of local interest, there was this referendum on the ballot: should Peoria County make “auditor” a professional, non-political position (one that is appointed). I voted “yes” to make the auditor to be a professional, appointed job rather than an elected one. More than 22,000 people voted and “no” won by 14 votes.

14 votes!

Workout notes:

weights (usual pt), pull ups (5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10) decline press: 10 x 135, 10 x 165, incline press 4 x 155, 10 x 135, military (standing: 10 x 50, 10 x 45), seated: 15 x 50, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 (single arm) with dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

abs: twist crunch (50, 24), yoga leg lifts (10, 10), moving bridge (3 sets of 10), headstand (tough to get into), plank 2:20, side plank

run: treadmill: 5.1-5.4 5 minute froggy, then 6.1 then 6.2-6.5 every .25 miles (31:58), 32:55 for 5k, 45:25 4 mile (walk final .9 miles).

foot: ok, iced.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Trump, Mueller, Instagram science and “The Needle”

It seems as if anything can raise offense these days…well, I suppose it was ALWAYS that way but we hear more about it now. Here, a budding female scientists expresses frustration with being stuck with the “make science attractive to the masses duties” because she is female:

A lot of good comes from the work of female scientists on Instagram. But it disturbs me that these efforts are celebrated as ways to correct for the long held and deeply structured forms of discrimination and exclusion that female scientists face. I wonder whether our efforts should instead be directed toward advocating for policy changes at institutional and governmental levels.

When I next interview for a job, I won’t have an Instagram page to show that my love of science doesn’t make me boring and unfriendly. Publicly documenting the cute outfit I wear and the sweet smile I brandish in the lab isn’t going to help me build a fulfilling career in a field where women hold less senior positions, are paid less, and are continuously underrated. Time spent on Instagram is time away from research, and this affects women in science more than men. That’s unfair. Let’s not celebrate that.

And..of course…someone was offended.

Now THIS is a reasonable response..sort of. I don’t think saying “I am not going to do this and this is why” is shaming. If you WANT to do this, fine. But the author of the article was saying that she felt pressure to do that, and she shouldn’t. Disclaimer: I love my camera and my Instagram does have some “math selfies” or at least photos of math department members doing “mathy” things. But that is ME; I enjoy doing that.

Speaking of math: “The Needle” (Upshot’s day of the election forecast needle” is explained here. And yes, it DID predict a Trump victory long before it became apparent to others; I followed it. Roughly speaking: it looks at what vote has been counted, which areas have not been, what the turnout was and historically, how the outstanding areas have gone. It is a bit like this (about 6 minutes into it)

Trump and Muller Trump cannot fire Muller directly, and firing him indirectly will be harder than it might appear at first…and even if he does, that doesn’t mean the investigation gets stopped.

But this doesn’t mean that Congress ..or the people will see the full results of the Muller probe either.

I am not sure as to what is going on or what is happening. I do know that the Russians have made fools out of us in many ways. As far as the election stuff: yeah, some of the Russian ads were…well…”shit posting” quality. But campaigns are forbidden to consult with people who are putting out ads on their behalf unless they are an official part of the campaign, and foreigners aren’t allowed to collude, period. So there is some potential violations of election law.

Workout notes
Swim, then running. Swim: I was disappointed that the lifeguard showed up and I was awful (bloated, etc.) 4 x 250 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 back, 200 drill, 2 x 200, 1 x 100 (3:36, 3:42, 1:52), 2 x 50 (54), 2 x 25, 50 back.

run: treadmill 5.1 and up .1 every .5 miles (33:50 for 3, 34:55 for 3.1, then walk to 47:25 for 4 miles. Foot: was starting to work so I had to talk myself out of doing more. That is a good sign.

March 20, 2018 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Not ready for prime time

Ok, I tried a 7 mile walk; W. Peoria 5.25 plus a 2.05 Cornstalk loop. Pace was high 16’s; I was stumpy because I was automatically trying to protect my PF heel ( which hurts with a push-off). It will be a while before faster walking is comfortable. Time: 2:02 (not a misprint). Oh boy. It was sunny and I have only mild “post walk” ache without taking Naproxen. And yes, I am not quite over last Thursday’s bug; I ended up napping this afternoon.

For some reason, I was reminded of Steamboat 15K runs in the past. And you know what I really, really miss?

Well, when I finished in the 1:08 range (just under, just over), I felt good about being included in the group I was running with. I felt similarly when I slowed to 1:11-1:14. 1:21-1:23….not so much.

Walking it just under 2 hours? Well, I liked my age peers (e. g. Lynnor..some others) . But most around me were on the order of 20 years younger and, well, let’s just say that they are different than those I used to run with. I miss being with the “old group”.

Hell, I suppose I should be grateful I finished today’s walk. But man, do I lose a bunch when I have to lay off a bit.

Other news: The Trump circus continues. Trump fires Tilerson via twitter and then fires Goldstein (a top deputy).

Well, at least tonight’s Pennsylvania election is expected to be close, and this is in a highly Republican district. Trump threw a huge rally for the Republican..will it help?

Frankly, the Republican sounds desperate but I am not great at guessing.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking | , , | Leave a comment

We looooove being victims

Billionaires. Right wingers. Left wingers.

What they have in common: they are all “victims”. I wondered about what is going on and reading the book Political Animals by Rick Shenkman gave me some ideas.

One of the ideas is about political anger: such anger can be useful and justified when it is used by some honestly oppressed group (think: blacks during the civil rights era) fighting to get the same rights that everyone else has. But it can be toxic and dangerous when it is used to “punch down” by groups that honestly are NOT being oppressed.

Now, of course, the lamebrain activists see this as justification to shout down speech that they don’t like, even if it is a talk that no one is forced to go to.
That is NOT “rebellion” or “civil disobedience” but rather shouting down ideas that you don’t like.

Illness note Not nearly 100 percent, but I am starting to sweat. Forget working out; my target date to return is Monday.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

This funk is becoming normal…

I have been in just a weird mood. Some of it is related to my personal life (no worries..”First World Issues”) but some of it, I think is about our country’s social situation.

I’ve heard about polarization and yes, there were times when this country was even more polarized (think: civil rights era, Civil War). But get a load of this:

Yes, one current wrestling “villain” (aka “heel”) is the outspoken liberal!

And yes, if you listen to the comments, it is “those libs” who try to tell us “how to live our lives”…which I suppose means that they want to teach creationism in their public schools, discriminate against gays under the law (yes, there is fine line between “freedom of private association” and what a public business is permitted to do), etc.

And those who ARE of liberal mind who have the means often leave such places to go where they fit better:

We’ve talked to death the fact that America’s rural areas have been emptying out and filling up the big urban areas across the country. Within those urban areas, liberals are not well represented in the suburbs in most cases; voters there tend to be older, married, white homeowners of a distinctly reactionary bent. In other words, the author is right that there is little organized liberal presence in a lot of these places…because most of the liberals are gone.

Where, then, are these liberal ground-up organizations supposed to come from? As the second quote reveals, Democratic campaigns have a kind of “surge and recede” dynamic; they fan out across the country for election years and then pack up and return to California and the East Coast until the next election. That’s ineffective. The problem is that there’s a reason all of those people live in California, New York, Boston, and DC – they’re probably from the Muncies and Rockfords of the world and they got out the second they could. Going back simply reminds them of why they left.

Not to make the author personally responsible for solving this problem, but there must be some reason she’s at Harvard. Certainly University of Illinois would be equally happy to have her. Oh, right, I forgot: central Illinois sucks. That’s why she’s not there.

Who’s left on the liberal side of the spectrum in these unorganized places where the Democratic presence has atrophied? You’ve got younger people who are itching to get out and generally do so at the earliest opportunity. Then you have the 30-55 aged liberals who are living in a sea of red for job-related or personal reasons. Most of them are pretty tired of showing up to school board meetings in Keokuk, being outnumbered 25 to 1 and ostracized for suggesting that maybe the Bible isn’t a science textbook. If you’ve never had the experience of being in a small town and being one of a small percentage of educated liberals, you very well might believe that it’s possible to rally these people into action. But if you’ve had that experience, you’re probably not eager for more of it.

And while I find the company of *some* conservatives to be pleasant, they tend to be conservatives of a certain type. They can read a graph, know basic terminology and can rebut my argument with facts and reason (or at least attempt to 🙂 ); they “play by the same rules”.

So..enjoyable, fruitful dialogue is difficult to come by and more and more, I am keeping opinions to myself

And some on the left are downright shameful. (I say *some*)

I still believe that these are an ignorant, misguided minority. How dare THEY tell me what I am allowed to hear!

And yes, I know, not everyone is entitled to a platform, and people have the right to make the case to “not choose this speaker”. But once they have the proper invitation, those who WANT to listen to what the speaker has to say should be allowed to. And yes, this means even, say, a Bible club creationist speaker.

Anyway, the current situation depresses me.

On a positive note

The heel is continuing to heal (pun not intended). After weights, I had a treadmill walk and the pain was, well, just enough to be noticeable at times. In most times, I wouldn’t notice or think about it much.

weights: usual PT, pull ups (2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10), decline presses (10 x 135, 10 x 165), incline presses (5 x 155, 10 x 140), military presses: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, goblet squats: 10 x 50, 50, 60 (to the bench).

Abs: 50, 24 twist crunches, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 3 sets of 10 moving bridge, 30 seconds of boat, head stand (decent), 2:15 plank (tough final 15 seconds) side planks.

Walk: started out slowly (3.5 mph), moved pace up gradually, finished 3 miles in 44:09, 5K in 45:30. Varied incline from 0.5 to 3, 0 to 4 then 4 back down to 2, then 0.5. The heel felt the best at about 3.9 mph, and at 2.0 incline. (strange that it likes a slight incline better than flat).

This IS encouraging.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment