And I sour on “identity politics”

If you hang around enough liberals either in person or on the internet, you will find the following:

women’s issues activists perceive a society dominated by patriarchy, complete with “rape culture”, misogyny and ‘mansplainers”
civil rights activists: see racism everywhere and many will reject statistics on crime, etc.
And people in minority religious communities see discrimination against them and others being out to get them.

Now, of course, there ARE legitimate issues that government should deal with, no doubt there. ISSUES.
But too often it appears that the pitch is “you belong to group X ergo you should vote with us.
Now of course, not all members of group X agree with that.

But, the issue is, as I see if: if group X can be persuaded to vote as a bloc, so can group Y and group Y might be a lot bigger than group X.

Ann Coulter, yes, THAT one, warned of what might happen if whites voted as a bloc.

So, I just as soon see issues emphasized and, yes, some issues will appeal more to certain groups than others.

But I seriously doubt that we will win a bloc voting war.


June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Sign of the times: efficiency at the expense of the participant/customer

Yes, the specific situation isn’t that big of a deal.

I went to pick up my packets for the Steamboat Classic races.

In the days of old, you’d find your name (and the names of those you were picking up for) on a list. You’d write down the number and walk over to the table with that number. You’d be handed a preformed packet with the race number in it, and then walk to the “shirt” table and you’d be done; in and out was usually less than 10 minutes, if you were so inclined.

Not now. Now, you stand in line to be waited on by a volunteer with a computer. They would listen to you give the name and (often unsuccessfully, at least on the first try) type in the name, at which the number would be assigned. Then you’d get your number and walk over to get your shirt. Though this might not seem like much of an extra step, it actually is…and the time from start to finish (given the lines) was tripled.

Of course, this method requires fewer volunteers and no time spent packet stuffing and the like (I used to do that). And yes, there is less waste (numbers are only assigned as they are claimed).

We can debate the merits but, without a doubt, the process has changed. I remember this computerized check in process causing problems in a couple of other races (the now defunct Screaming Pumpkin, and the first Peoria Marathon back in..2012?)

This particular type of process works ok for the smaller races though.

Workout notes reduced weights, easy but warm 2 mile walk.

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (3 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, decline: 10 x 165 (not bad)
military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 standing, 10 reps machine, machine incline: 2 sets of 10 with 140, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
No abs. 🙂

Weight: 199 before. Still too much; I’d like to drop 10.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | ranting, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Yelling F-Trump…

The twitter discussion here is..well, interesting.

It is “oh no, saying “F-Trump” won’t make our case more appealing! And no it won’t, but the person saying it is an entertainer. And yes, those cheering are those who would hate Trump anyway.

But look at some of the comments:

“we have to fight” (uh, yelling curse words isn’t exactly fighting)

“look at the ovation” (yeah, but within that group…)

“it feels good” (ok, I buy that one)…

Bottom line: yeah, some are going to be butthurt over this, but those will never be with us anyway.

IMHO, this means …well…nothing, either way.

Rant: Democrats will always have a tougher time of things. Reason: so many of our causes benefit (or are aimed at benefiting) people who do not vote:

refugees, legal and illegal immigrants, convicted criminals and public aid recipients (ok, some of the poor vote, but not in large numbers). Appeals to the heart are tough political sells; appeals to one’s own well being are political winners.

Oh yes, wait, you might say: “don’t lower middle class and poor white Republican voters benefit from liberal policies?” Sure…but many, I think, vote their aspirations and not their reality.
Example: you say D’s are for expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage. True, but who wants to BE on Medicaid or to be stuck in a minimum wage job for very long? Accepting that is your reality is pretty grim.

Think about it: which message has more appeal:

1. We are doing things to help the lower and lower middle classes and these will benefit YOU right now?

2. You are a winner..or would be one if only that stupid government would get out of the way and quit over taxing your hard earned salary and giving it to lazy poor people…”Them”.

Accepting “1” means accepting the reality that you are probably destined to stay where you are; “2” means that you have some hope of moving up.

workout notes easy 3 mile run in Bradley Park (heavy legged, just a bit) and a 1 mile walk.

Past: the one showing the 1:35 was from the 2000 Madison Half Marathon. The other one: was taken a few weeks earlier in Ottawa, Canada. I had done a 44 minute 10K on Saturday night and did the half marathon on Sunday morning just to see the course (the marathon was two loops; half was only one). I ran a 1:42. I tried to hold off the guy in black behind me but could not. He shook my hand and said “sir, you did very well FOR YOUR AGE”. I just said “thank you” and did not tell him about the 10K the night before.

And…let’s just say that I almost certainly won’t run 1:35 for Saturday’s 15K (about 4 miles shorter than a half marathon) and will be lucky to “run” 1:42. Sigh…

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

Being sure and being exasperated

1. Most important issues are very complex, with many layers to them. And often there is no one optimal answer; often the choice is between “less evil” solutions. And there are many factors, some which are missed by some smart people who have thought long and hard about such issues.

Therefore I am surprised…(ok, disgusted) that so many, well, non-experts are so confident in their opinions on such subjects. Yes, I can see rejecting crackpot positions (creationism, anti-vaccination views) but many issues go well beyond “rejecting the crackpot”. And when the issues have any brush with politics, the zealots are the most likely to be uninformed.

2. I do have one advantage: while I tend to associate with liberals, I grew up on Air Force bases and spent some time in the Nuclear Navy. So I had the pleasure of having some brilliant, accomplished conservative friends, and I got to know at least a bit of their frame of reference, even if it is one I do not share.

3. But when I find myself getting exasperated by liberals…well, the conservatives I end up attempting to talk to online,…well, for the most part…tend to be downright awful. In their world: the political process gives slackers, deadbeats and losers too much say in things like tax policy, taxes are theft from the winners to give to the losers, white Christians are the most discriminated against group in the United States, Trump is a “man of the people” and the US is constantly being picked on by other lesser, green-with-envy countries. Black Lives Matter is just police hate and criminal coddling and statistical black underachievement in the economy is mostly the result of bad culture, sloth and bad attitude.

Oh, and science is “junk science” when you talk about climate change and evolution..but to believed when it backs up what they believe. (ok, liberals too, are pretty selective when it comes to accepting science)

And of course, we are a Christian nation, and while some other religious people (Jews) are tolerated, atheists are really heathens who are merely defiant about the One True God. Oh sure, Trump isn’t religious at all…but you know, he is the “broken vessel” in the way that King David was.

Anyhow, there is nothing for me in modern conservatism (Trumpism).

June 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

Immigration and Asylum: I do not know what to think.

Looks terrible, right? We are “ripping a child from a parents arms!” Well, not quite in this case: the child had a father back in Cuba who still wanted him; his mother had died while trying to escape Cuba.

The photo was from June, 2000.

And so, things aren’t what they might appear to be at first blush.

And the issues: mostly, I have questions rather than answers about what we “should do” as a country.

I do wish we talked about the issues with humane tone, as we see George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan doing here:

They are still human beings.

But what to do, exactly?

Illegal immigrants? I am a “follow the rules’ kind of guy. But practically speaking: there are so many here. It is impractical to round them up and ship them out..and there would be huge human costs and huge costs to our economy. Any solution would have to be a pragmatic one and will probably involve some unfairness to someone.

And I really can’t join forces with some of the “follow the law” types because many of them ARE racists and bigots, though of course, not all of them are.

DACA: yeah, that seems like a good compromise as it sets criteria and rules to be followed. This is one area where I can say “let’s get it done”; I like a solution that has been arrived at.

Asylum and refugees: ok, this one is sticky. No, we can’t be the the world’s catch all. In the case of refugees: sorry, but as far as, say, Syria, the wealthy Middle East countries should bear the brunt. Why us? Asylum: when we talk about, say, gangs and domestic violence: we have gangs. We have domestic violence. Do people leave our countries to escape to other countries? Do other countries accept, say, our domestic violence victims?

Now if that question sounds ridiculous, then are we not admitting that there are some countries that are incapable of solving those problems on their own…”shithole counties” if you will? But who got upset when that phrase was used? Ok, the POTUS should use that phrase, but conceptually, is this point not taken?

Note: I am talking about asylum seekers for domestic violence and gang violence; I understand the concept of war/famine/natural disaster refugees.

But even then it isn’t clear to me.

If someone wants to flee a country…what part did the US play in making that country an unsafe place to live? Did we help install some right wing dictator? Do we let our companies set “Gilded Age” conditions for workers? Did we help destroy that country’s economy or environment? What about climate change related environmental disasters or changes?

So, immigration, refugees, asylum seekers: there are so many issues and our moral responsibility is not always clear to me.

And argument by photos, memes and slogans just doesn’t help me, at all.

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

Our fundamental disconnect

Look at the above photo. People like me see the Obama photo as positive (it is good to get along with the world) and the second one as negative. Trump people see the first photo as weakness; Obama being played by those Europeans and the second one as strength (finally standing up to them).

Now of course, some famous liberals rant. And they get ovations.

But famous conservatives do it too…and also get ovations.

And guess what? No one’s mind has gotten changed.

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

My pessimism for 2020

Ok, the midterms aren’t here yet. And yes, I’ve been wrong before. I thought that Clinton would win the primary in 2008 and the general in 2016 and I was actually worried about…Fred Thompson in 2008.

But I have thought about 2020 and do not feel good about it.

Here is one thing:

This is what Hayes is complaining about as “sexist”:

Soros, who said he wants to avoid dividing the party, also refused to pick favorites among the emerging crop of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there is one prospective candidate he said he hopes does not get the nod: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

He blames Gillibrand for pushing the resignation of former senator Al Franken “whom I admire,” Soros said, “in order to improve her chances.”

Franken (Minn.) resigned in January after a number of women alleged that he touched them inappropriately. Gillibrand was a leading voice urging her fellow Democrat to quit.

Frankly, I think that Gillibrand would be a terrible candidate; I see her as too extreme:

Matt Damon gave an interview to ABC News last week in which he offered the following observation: “There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Crazy, right?

Minnie Driver, Damon’s co-star in “Good Will Hunting,” thought so. “There is no hierarchy of abuse — that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if a woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for,” she told The Guardian. “You cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other.”

Kirsten Gillibrand agrees: “I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation,” the Democratic senator from New York said at a news conference when asked about calling on Senator Al Franken to resign. “You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.”

(there was a time when she could distinguish the two, but never mind that)

It was as if we have learned nothing from 2016. There are degrees of bad behavior. Criticism of a female prospective candidate is not inherently sexist (some some types of criticism certainly are).

But I wonder: it appears that the country exist in (one in which rape, sexism, misogyny run rampant) is not the country that most exist in. Check out this Washington Post op-ed (and ask: would a headline of “Why can’t we hate: X” where X is a member of a religion, race, etc. would be acceptable). This article appears to be an attempt to confirm every extreme right wing stereotype about higher education.

Now this article is NOT from a Democratic operative but it is one that the Republicans will almost certainly use to tar us with. And it isn’t attractive to most people, though I suppose it will be cheered in some narrow circles.

Wagging one’s finger and screaming “shut up and listen” might feel good, and you’ll probably get away with it in UU Churches and in liberal arts departments. But it is no way to win an election.

And let’s face it, what sounds horrible to many of us is a selling point with many who voted for Trump.

So no, we aren’t going to win over the true believers, but perhaps we can appeal to some of the “I voted for Trump because I hated HRC” voters who are dismayed by his results.

Side note
This is an example of something that bothers me, but many Trump voters would see as a positive:

If respect from the rest of the world was important to you, you probably did not vote Trump.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

About Trump’s “didn’t you burn Washington” remark to Canada (not quite true, but not crazy)

The remark:

Citing unnamed sources, the cable news network reported that Trudeau asked Trump how he could cite national security as a justification for the tariffs, during a “testy” May 25 phone call.

“Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump reportedly retorted.

When asked if Trudeau took it as a joke, CNN’s source said, “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

The president was evidently referring to the Aug. 24, 1814, burning of Washington by British troops. After defeating American troops in Bladensburg, Md., British soldiers invaded the city in the only occupation of Washington in American history. The soldiers burned several federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and White House (then referred to as the Presidential Mansion).

Yes, I know, Canada didn’t become an independent country until 1867.

But..when I visited the Canadian War Museum,(back in 2000), I found what they had about the War of 1812 to be interesting.

For starters, it was a bigger deal for them than it is for us. Next: they spun it as a successful repulsing of an invasion attempt by the United States. (we saw it as resisting British attempts to impound our sailors and to attack settlers).

They (the Museum) also spun the war as a Canadian victory over the United States; hence the burning of Washington by the British is something that they appeared to WANT credit for.

So, while I don’t like Trump, I can see his point (though that was 1814..and irrelevant to today’s situation).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

The Republicans and Conservatives are shaking in their boots!

That’s right: a few vocal, noxious celebrities will lose their shows, others will be “destroyed by just one tweet”, “twitter will erupt” or “take down” or “will have none of it”, and there will be lots of “resist” hashtags! Oh yeah, some will put on pussy hats and march…well, wait..that insults women who don’t have pussies.

Bill Maher sums up much of my frustration.

Remember: “Don’t boo: vote”. (Yes, my friends vote).

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

And I find myself a social conservative

“In my day”, if you accepted gay rights and women’s rights, well, you were a social liberal (you might still be a foreign policy hawk, or a supporter of supply side economic).

And yes, employment should be about the ability to do the job and not one’s sex or gender identity. Period.

But now: well, I balk at the notion that society should make major changes to things like language in order to make a statistical handful of people feel good.

Yes, I agree with physical accommodations (ramps, handicapped parking, Braille signs, etc.). But…30 plus gender pronouns? And I admit, this “hey, this offends me because not all women have vaginas” made my eyes roll.

And in sports competition: “competing with the gender that you identify with”??? Really? If that is ok, then why even have different divisions? The divisions exist because of BIOLOGICAL differences (statistically speaking, of course).

I guess that I am now a conservative.

Sports: well, I have a benchmark race coming up, and I remember something I wrote…gasp…6 years ago. I was to go under 25 minutes for the 5K a few more times…now..even going sub 28 seems daunting. Note: I am slightly stronger now, though I am heavier too.

Today: weights only; pull ups I tried 2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10 to get 50. bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 6 x 175, decline: 6 x 175, military: 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45 (thick handles, could not do 50), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual abs, usual “this sucks” plank (2:30). That was it.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | Leave a comment