blueollie

Sexual Harassment allegations, training and effectiveness…

Yes, sexual harassment has been in the news (sometimes to the exclusion of the truly dreadful GOP tax bills that the Republicans are trying to push through)

Of course, I was dismayed to see the allegation against Al Franken. But then came another of a different type:

On the heels of Tweeden’s disturbing allegations, however, another woman came forward claiming that she too had been “stalked and harassed” by Franken. Melanie Morgan teased her accusation with a Tweet, and then directed curious readers to her website. On her website, she described how Franken called her more than once because he disagreed with how she was discussing a policy issue on the radio.

Even giving Morgan the extremely generous benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to pretend what she alleges Franken did is the same thing as what Tweeden’s picture shows Franken actually doing. Nor is what Tweeden’s picture shows, horrible as it is, the same as what somebody like Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton did.

Which gets to a problem. Right now, the court of public opinion is faced with the awkward task of assigning degrees of severity to sexual misconduct, because, while they all cause harm, they don’t all cause the same amount of harm and thus don’t merit the same punishment. Furthermore, punishment varies by the power the offender wields. A senator, for example, should have a much higher moral threshold than, say, a comedian. Writing in The New Yorker this week, Masha Gessen treads lightly in making this point, warning that the #MeToo moment could devolve into “sex panic” if we’re not careful. “The distinctions between rape and coercion are meaningful, in the way it is meaningful to distinguish between, say, murder and battery,” Gessen writes.

One’s political ideology or past advocacy doesn’t mean it’s impossible for a person to be victimized by somebody with opposing ideology. But if what she’s written is all she’s got, Morgan’s account reeks of naked political opportunism, of weaponizing victimhood in a way that is so morally bankrupt that it threatens to derail the entire #MeToo conversation for selfish political ends.

I’ve seen a case of this when I was at the University of Texas. The two people involved did not dispute the facts: a tenured faculty member called a non-tenured faculty member to complain about a professional matter. Sex was never brought up; the sole charge of “sexual harassment” was that the tenured person was male and the non-tenured one was female…and the call was at night.

Now, unless the tenured person made a habit of hassling female members, this was not sexual harassment; if anything, it was simple douchebaggery. Not all bad behavior between men with more power/status against females with lesser power/status is sexual harassment.

So what about things like genuine groping? (I say “genuine” because the Franken photo, while disgusting, didn’t involve actual groping. She was wearing a heavy flak vest.)

I’ve seen it a few times; one time in the Navy (woman claimed that a senior enlisted goosed her while he walked past) and one time I saw an academic tickle the butt of a female in his rock and roll band as she walked by…he was married to someone else but I didn’t know their respective status (were they friends? were they “that type” of friends?).

But I know it happens and it is wrong (if not consensual). And yes, it seems sad that we need to, as a society, condemn it to reduce it. But how?

I know that standard anti-sexual harassment training is ineffective; in fact, it might well make things WORSE. I have some guesses as to why.

But as far as why men have some urge that needs to be resisted: some of the popular ideas are, in my opinion, dumb. It isn’t anything to do with “sin” or, even worse, women being “sinful” by nature. And no, I doubt it is the result of women being “sexualized” by culture. Instead, I think the urge comes from simple evolutionary pressures to mate. Men aren’t evil for “wanting to”; it just acting on the urge that is the evil. Seriously, I think some of the pressure is taken off when we just admit this “hey, you might want to, and I don’t blame you, but you don’t get to.”. I honestly think some scientific thinking about the matter helps.

Workout notes: 10K walk yesterday. Today: weights; highlights is that pull ups were easier, 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (empty gym), 10 x 170, military: couldn’t get thick dumbbells, but still 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, also goblet squats (2 sets of 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 60 to the sill), rows (machine), etc.

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November 18, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Al Franken and all that…

Yes, this occurred before he ran for Senator. Yes, I do not care for the person being used as the butt of the joke (it is called “groping” but there is the matter of the flak vest..symbolic groping?)

Wrong is wrong, and if you talk the talk….

Now I am not naive. My guess is that the GOP had this waiting to use at an opportune moment. One uses their negative stuff at the “right time” (Karl Rove famously did that in Texas state election) He had the goods on the candidate but sat on them until the opportunity arose. And THIS is why you do “opposition research” on your own candidate!

But this also struck a nerve with me. Yeah, as a teenager I swatted girls on the butt; I matured and stopped doing that. So, as an adult, it has been “hands off” for me. Period. And if you view my photos, it is clear that I have many female friends who do things with me (ball games, going out to eat, walks, runs, etc.) Clearly they are comfortable being around me.

But I am not a feminist. I believe in equal opportunity for women (and favor some affirmative action programs in areas where they are underrepresented) and I believe that, in the spirit of fairness, some of the “typical male centered” workplace policies need to be adjusted to account for the statistical fact that women are more involved in child raising, etc.

But I reject all of the lingo (patriarchy, privilege, blah blah) and the whole anti-science position that the movement appears to have taken on (e. g. that humans do not have evolved instinctual traits and there is a statistical difference between female and male traits).

And there are males who openly buy into such lingo…and then you find them doing…this?

Oh, about “whatabout”…yes, I know. This post is about introspection.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Watching what I say….

Ok, I made a couple of basketball games over the past couple of days. The Bradley men whipped Delaware 61-53 (after getting hammered by them in the previous 2 years) and the women beat a D-2 opponent (Lincoln, Missouri) 88-44 in a game where they lead by 50 points with 4 minutes to go. (yes, Bradley played everyone and made no special effort to run it up).

Attendance at both games was…sparse and I sent photos to empty seats galore (along with the obligatory “fans fed up” joke remark)

It turns out that the Woman’s Basketball Team coach saw my tweet and responded. She was polite and gracious (pointed out that Lincoln was a last minute substitute for a D-1 team Valparaiso who is now a conference member). But…that tells me that I had better watch what I say in public. What I see as light hearted fun might be painful to someone else.

Now about the game against Lincoln: this shows how important recruiting is. They were competently coached; they simply didn’t have the players we have.

And folks, this applies to other areas too: talent matters! If your response is “well, duh”, there are people in positions of authority who do not understand this.

Workout notes: weights yesterday; usual Wed. workout (incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 10 x 150 (good), pull ups went very well (for a change); it all went well. Then a 3 mile run on the treadmill (5k in 32:40; 31:40 for 3 miles, 22:07 for 2. ) Today: 1 mile walk on the treadmill (12:15), 5.1 hill miles outside.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | basketball, running, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

The joy of blocking on social media and one appeal of Trump (it is nowhere near enough though)

Well, work has its challenges, and decorum (and just simply doing my job) forces me to be more polite than I’d want to be; it would be unprofessional for me to go off on someone, even if they “deserved it” (e. g., being completely in the wrong but unwilling to entertain the thought that it might be true).

And what does Trump do: he goes off on people…and once in a while, he goes off on someone I do not like.

Ah…sort of a guilty pleasure, no? But it is a poor quality in a POTUS…in addition to his utter lack of qualifications for the job.

But one way I do engage in that fantasy: on social media, “dumbsplainers” get blocked on the first, or sometime the second warning. And yes, often these are liberals, but not always.

One example: there were some empty seats for the Bears Packers game this year, and the Trumpchumps were trying to tell me that this didn’t happen in previous years; this year’s empties were due to their “boycott the NFL”.

So I found an Instagram photo from the 2016 game (during the game) and SHOWED them..yes, there were empty seats in that game. And this year, Aaron Rodgers was out. That felt good.
And if the Trumpchump can’t accept that I will block them.

(yes, the game was going on, and it was close the whole way).

Workout notes: Sunday: 2 mile “fast walk” (25:30) before a Bears vs. Packers game
Yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups 5 sets of 10, one set of 5-5 on the new bar, bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (first with thick bar dumbbells), 20 x 40 standing, dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10)..yoga later (slept in)
today: 10K walk outside.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | NFL, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

The NFL protests: disappointment

When I first saw the NFL protests I was hopeful. After all, the NFL fan base is very diverse and I thought that we might finally get some meaningful discussion between different types of people. Yes, I knew that a large subgroup of fans would be upset; there is a reason the NFL does the “canned showy patriotism” stuff.

But, alas no such luck.

Even among some who believe in freedom of speech: they claimed that an employer has a right to enforce PR actions of their employees (I agree with this) but then go on to say that the protests are deeply unpopular with “NFL fans”.

This misses a key fact: not all NFL fans feel the same way.

No, I am not talking about liberals like me; I know that I am in the minority.

I am talking about the large African American fan base; the NFL needs them too..and can’t afford to alienate them. That is probably the main reason you haven’t seen a major crackdown, aside from the Cowboy’s owner (who even agreed to a compromise “kneeling before the anthem and joined the players in doing that).

In short: same old stuff; people refuse to look beyond their own statistically small bubble.

Here is one poll which shows that the country is split.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | | Leave a comment

Both up and down…

Personally: I’ve been sort of “bleah” and distant from most lately. This isn’t a depressive episode as I still enjoy things and am very much looking forward to this weekend of football. (Illini, then Bears..always love a football double, the latter with a dear friend). I really enjoyed last weekend too. It isn’t a relationship/friendship thing either; might be a combination of things including lessening daylight, professional stuff, it might be adjusting to aging; who in the hell knows?

But today’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey are making me feel a bit better; even some Republican areas are rejecting Trumpism. But the real proof will come in the 2018 House races.

But many political discussions disgust me. For one, there are many who “just know” false things (example: creationists) Talking to them is, at best, futile. And here is the rub: a lot of what one “knows” is what one picks up from the environment.

Think about it: there were smart people who lived 10,000 years ago, and what did these people know about the world they lived in? So if someone is socially isolated and those around them believe certain things, why should they listen to you if you tell them something different?

It is very, very tough to change one’s mind about an important belief. I’ve done so from time to time, but usually it has been a gradual process. And yes, sometimes I get an insight that I was blind to for a very long time.

Workout notes: yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 9 x 170 bench, 10 x 135 incline, military: seated, supported: 15 x 55, standing: 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 1 set of 10 x 60, goblet squats: 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 54 (sill), yoga later in the evening.

today: easy 6 mile walk.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

How science could help workplace and social relations…

One of my favorite twitter people is Prof Helen. She is an expert on health care policy and a professor at Cal-Berkeley, one of the finest R-1 universities in the world. So when she says something, I take it very seriously.

The subject of “me too” (sexual harassment and sexual assault) has been in the news lately and Prof Helen said this:

This reminded me of this blog post by Marta Iglesias:

It is my goal to explain why the causes of male and female difference are not merely cultural or the product of patriarchal indoctrination. Separate athletic competitions and distinct medical disciplines of gynaecology and urology testify to the most obvious biological differences between men and women. But the scientific method − a co-operative, critical, and self-correcting process which has midwifed huge technological and medical advances − can also help us to understand more subtle differences between the sexes in interests and aspirations. And it is understanding what we really are that will make us free.

Now this is NOT a “well, boys will be boys ergo we should just accept certain behavior”. It is more like this: statistically speaking, male brains are wired a different way. We are hard wired to view women, at least in part, sexually. Here is a joke meme along those lines (involving yoga class)

But FEELING does not excuse actions; we are men, not rabbits. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, period. It is up to men to adjust and to treat women fairly.

And yes, I know, there are some women who flirt and some who intentionally dress to provoke sexual arousal. But many times, the arousal is internal to the male…in short, it is OUR problem and it is up to adjust to it. We are to keep our hands and words to ourselves.

Feelings and urges do not have to be acted on.

And, it isn’t all about sex.

For example, my wife has a Facebook account and, from time to time, she will start a social/political discussion that gets very emotional. She flat told me to resist the urge to “ride in to save the day” when it appears that someone making a comment is being disrespectful. She is an accomplished professional; she does NOT need my help.

Workout notes:
Weights, 3 mile walk; yoga. Usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10; last one was 8-2 (narrow to wide grip), incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 155, 10 x 140, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbell), 10 x 45 standing (dumbbell), 10 x machine (90). rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Walk: West Peoria.

November 1, 2017 Posted by | human sexuality, social/political, walking, yoga | Leave a comment

Beating Trump…

Yes, Mueller should continue his work and bring people who broke the law to justice. But I doubt this will remove Trump from office; after all, Congress remains in Republican hands and even if the D’s take back both chambers in 2018 (doubtful; ONE chamber is POSSIBLE) you still need 2/3 of the Senate for removal. And most Trump voters see this process as some sort of witch hunt. Our best bet is to win Congress and win that 2020 election.

I just hope that our purity trolls don’t blow the 2018 midterm elections for us.

Workout notes: easy 10K walk in the chilly morning hours.

November 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

How “honorable” are these Republicans anyway?

Ok, we’ve seen open pushback from Sen. Flake and Sen. Corker.

But, but…we are talking about tax cuts for the wealthy here. Principle? Pshaw. These reptiles are about getting reelected, period.

Sorry, but I remain cynical, though I suppose your ordinary “supply side economics” crank Republicans are at least more stable than what we have as a President.

The economy can recover from another Bush disaster better than it could recover from a nuclear war.

But this leads me to the following point: we are at a point where any information that is unfavorable to Trump will be seen as “fake news” and, like it or not, these people vote in Republican primaries. Not getting on board can be a political death sentence, from the right.

And yes, to their credit, they show up for the general elections (and midterms) too.

So we have to take advantage. And for the love of Democracy, I hope that the liberal purity trolls give it a rest in races in conservative states. Any Democrat who can win in Tennessee, Alabama or Arizona will not be someone that I would vote for in Illinois. I get that. I wish every liberal did.

Workout notes: today, damp, chilly 10K walk. Yesterday: weights: usual pt, pull ups (5 sets of 10, a real struggle), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (good), 10 x 135 incline, military (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 (dumbbells), rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine row. Goblet squats: 5 x 25, 5 x 45, 5 x 45, 5 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (sill). Yoga in the evening.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Football National Anthem protests and Mohammed cartoon protests

Remember the Muslim riots over cartoons? Now, in the United States, we have had nothing quite this egregious. But the uproar over some football players not standing during the National Anthem strikes me as similar in a way: the players not standing for the National Anthem is not hurting anyone; it is not denying anyone medical treatment, taking money from anyone, physically harming anyone, etc. It is a symbolic action.

And cartoons don’t hurt anyone either. Of course, I am NOT comparing the reactions; no one has rioted over a player not standing.

Still..the reaction is CONFORM, DAMN YOU!

Yes, you see similar pressures in the left wing to conform to certain orthodoxies, though these tend to not be centered around symbols like a flag.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | free speech, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment