blueollie

Trump voters and personal malaise

The personal malaise: for some reason, I’ve had a bit of tickle in my throat over the past few days and haven’t felt good at all. I am, well, kind of antsy, throat has a tickle, eyes burn a bit. BUT, my workouts have been fine, and when I am really coming down with something, my workouts usually tank.

Yesterday’s weights and run were good, today’s walk: 2 outside, 1 track (13:03, off/on), treadmill walk (start 10 minutes at 4.6 mph, then upped it..37:35 at 3, 38:50 5K) was fine. Last night’s yoga class exposed my weaknesses, but it was fine too.

Is it allergies, or do I have some sort of low-grade “something”?

Trump voters: this is a decent read. Roughly speaking: they don’t like the KKK or the Nazis, but they think Trump is doing ok and that Obama was divisive.

About the latter: I think that it stems from what I call “cultural inflexibility”. They see “true America” in one specific way and too much deviation from that box is “unAmerican”. So if a president says something to the effect “you know, African Americans might have a legitimate grievance here”…well, if it is a Republican saying it, they might raise an eyebrow. A white Democrat: well, they see it as political pandering. And a black Democrat: DIVISIVE! HE IS TEARING THE COUNTRY APART.

To them, BLM is criminal coddling (“if you’ve done nothing wrong, the police won’t do anything to you”) And very few of them are persuadable…and none of them would ever be persuaded by me.

Anything that they haven’t experienced, well, just isn’t true. And if Fox News tells you, well, they are telling the truth. I’ve had a few of them actually tell ME what I do in my own classroom! I tartly retorted that there isn’t some unAmerican way to solve a calculus problem.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | illness, walking | | Leave a comment

And THIS is why I am cautious about “Crying Wolf”

So Trump took up for the neo-Nazis and other white supremacists by saying “there was guilt on both sides” because, well, some of the counter protesters didn’t act optimally at all times.

“You had people in that group who were protesting the taking down of what to them is a very, very important statue,” Trump said, before suggesting that Lee and other Confederate-era generals, including Stonewall Jackson, are the victims of historical revisionism attempting to delegitimize their roles.

Speaking rhetorically, Trump asked reporters whether George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both slave owners, should suffer the same fate and have their statues removed. “You’re changing history; you’re changing culture,” he said.

Trump reiterated his condemnation of neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. But he also made clear that he believed that some of the counterprotesters were armed and took aggressive actions that helped spark the violence.

Hmmm, so Confederate leaders are on the level of our founding fathers? Yes, you sometimes heard such nonsense in southern circles.

Well…back to the point in my post:

I’ve heard all sorts of things called “bigotry”; they range from being skeptical of using pronouns, wondering if transwomen with male genitals should use women’s “gang showers”, pointing out that the ACT and SAT really do have predictive power (with regards to future success in STEM fields) or for pointing out that, statistically speaking, there is more social pathology in the lower economic classes (though research suggests that poverty is the cause, not the effect), my contempt for the cries of “cultural appropriation”, etc.

I am loath to scream “bigotry” because, well, when one over uses the word, it loses its power for when it truly applies.

And I have a hard time distinguishing unusual amounts of anger for the usual, run of the world noise I hear from my fellow lefties. If the background is full of constant static, it is tough to distinguish a real signal.

And so..to see how Americans are reacting to Trump…I am turning to…the feed of “mainstream Republicans” more so than the feed of my fellow Democrats.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | racism, social/political | | Leave a comment

Do the Republicans continue to threat the needle?

I am struck by something: Medicaid is very important in West Virginia: percentage wise, they have the highest reliance on Medicaid/CHIP in the nation (29 percent, versus 20 percent nationally, or 19 in Illinois).

Trumpcare would some of its worst effects there.

And yet, West Virginia gives Trump the highest approval ratings in the nation: 60 percent! (as opposed to below 40 percent elsewhere)

So, of course, that is where he went for a rally yesterday. Go figure.

That is a fine needle to thread, isn’t it? At the heart of the GOP agenda is “tax cuts for the financially elite”; you might say that attempts to reform the ACA were “ok, you need to die earlier so the wealthiest can have bigger tax cuts”. I doubt that is the message that they deliver to states like West Virginia.

So…they peddle false promises (“coal is coming back”) and hatred of…well, people like me (“it is those liberals getting in the way of America being Great Again”)

Will this continue to work? In some states, I am sure that it will.

I suppose that some are fine with being pissed on so long as they are praised in the process?

August 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Depressing state of politics

Ok, it is no secret that I never considered Donald Trump to be suitable POTUS material. Enough of my countrymen disagreed enough for him to squeak by in the Electoral College though he lost the popular vote by about 3,000,000 votes (and if you start complaining that is a fake statistic because of “illegals voting”, you are too stupid to be reading my blog, so just get lost right now).

Now our rough, tough, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN president is…whining?

Pathetic. But it probably plays to his hard core supporters because, well, many of them are also whiny little victims. A great explanation is here: (and he uses a King Solomon story to help make his point)

Upshot: remember those pitiful “what has happened to my country” whines when President Obama was in office? (if you want to be nauseated, watch at 1:15)

They had an idea of what their country was like (no, it never was that way), and they had a skilled con man running to saying “he would make it great again” by…well, sticking it to the liberals. Sure the real agenda is the same as it always was (tax cuts for the wealthiest among us), and they sold it to the base by, well, attacking people like me.

So that brings me to the Democrats.

And I’ll say it: as evil as I think the elite Republican mission is (the tax cuts for the wealthy above all else), they are better politicians than we are. And their “message to the base” is an easier sale; all one has to do is to cherry pick a few ridiculous college campus incidents to get people fired up about how ridiculous liberals are (like this one)

(for the record: there are crackpot professors…but it has gotten so ridiculous that people who have never set foot in a college classroom see fit to tell me what goes on in colleges and how *I* brainwash students into not working hard, hating American, etc.)

So, what are Democrats about? We are supposed to be about a society that works for all, including the less talented, the disabled, the poor, the sick, those born into tough circumstances, etc.

And guess what? That is a tough sell. The Republicans glorify the rich…and well, most all of us want to be rich, or at least moderately comfortable.

Who wants to be poor, sick, laid off, mentally ill, or disabled?

We Democrats talk about safety nets (e. g. Medicaid) and minimum wages. BUT FEW WANT TO HAVE TO USE SAFETY NETS, TO BE ON MEDICAID OR TO WORK FOR MINIMUM WAGE. These policy issues are tough to rally around and those who would benefit the most vote at low rates. (directly, anyway; the economy does benefit from safety net programs). “The poor” is not that big of a voting block and much of the “working class” really isn’t poor.

Yes, there are people who will never grow much past a minimum wage job and Democratic policies might help them, but no one wants to face up to the fact that they are doomed to be stuck on that rung for life.

And so we get critiques of how well the Democrats are doing (and yes, “pathetic” is accurate). Oh, true, we did win the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections (2004 was the exception) but the EC hurt us in 2000 and really hurt us in 2016.

So we try to critique ourselves, and get, well, pathetic articles like this one. Example:

When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.”

It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum – as sycophantic a representative of the Democratic party in the punditocracy as there is – wrote about how people would have to be “crazy” not to “have a reflective disgust” of people who are homeless and mentally ill.

Considering homeless people are also disproportionately black, LGBT, disabled and, of course, poor, Drum managed to reveal the disdain the liberal elite has of wide swaths of Americans.

Uh, I think the latter is just reality. Most people do have at least an internal “yuck” reaction to many of the homeless and mentally ill.

My response is that we need to use our morals and intellect to work past that “yuck” response ..and to realize that our discomfort might be born from fear that we are just a single (or a few) unlucky incidents from being just like that homeless or mentally ill person.

Example: what if I sustain a head injury that harms my ability to even do math, much less teach and research it? Oh sure, there is enough in the bank to have the home free and clear (and pay taxes) but what about that income? I have disability insurance, but times would get tougher, very quickly.

Nevertheless, articles such as the one I quoted attempt to throw cold water on what I think are needed, frank discussions.

And there is the old “Bernie would have won” bullshit. Yes, I am aware of the polls that showed him beating Trump head to head by bigger margins than Clinton was leading by..but you don’t think that the Trump analytics team would have absolutely vaporized Sanders? Please.

And some are saying he is the 2020 front runner? Oh, spare me. Oh yes, Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner and I think that she is done, just as Al Gore was in 2000. But Bernie Sanders? Nope.

Oh well, this is why I haven’t written much about politics this year. I consider Trump to be dangerously incompetent and temperamentally unsuited for the job. But I consider my party to be politically incompetent.
In short, the Republicans can win elections but cannot govern; the Democrats can govern but suck at elections.

And yes, I think that the extreme political skill (and policy chops) of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama hid many of our party’s weaknesses. How many of these “purple unicorns” (blessed with show business AND policy skills like Pres. C and Pres. O) do we have?

It is just too depressing right now.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, economy, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

They hate us. They really hate us.

I have no doubt that the elite Republicans are driven more by “upper end tax cuts” than anything else. But what about the other Republicans? Why are they so “meh” about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia (as indeed it did; there is no longer any doubt; what is debatable is the degree, how high up the collusion went, and the effect).

Paul Krugman has some thoughts that I think are worth pondering:

The important thing to notice is that almost the entire conservative movement has bought into one or both of these arguments. After all the flag-waving, all the attacks on Democrats’ patriotism, essentially the whole GOP turns out to be OK with the moral equivalent of treason if it benefits their side in domestic politics. Which raises the question: what happened to these people?

One answer might be that right-wing ideology, the commitment to tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor, has such a grip on conservative minds that nothing else matters. But while this is true for some apparatchiks, my guess is that it’s not nearly as true for many – certainly not for the Republican base in the general public. So why has partisanship become so extreme that it trumps patriotism?

Well, I have a thought inspired by something my CUNY colleague Branko Milanovic wrote recently about civil wars. Branko – who knows something about Yugoslavia! – argues against the view that civil wars are caused by deep divisions between populations who don’t know each other. The causation, he argues, goes the other way: when a civil war begins for whatever reason, that’s when the lines between the groups are drawn, and what may have been minor, fairly benign differences become irreconcilable gulfs.

The Republicans need this rift to exist; they would not win on a “small government, low taxes on the rich” platform alone.

So they come up with something like Fox News and they push things. One was religion (the opponents are HEATHENS). Another: well, the LIBERALS are just awful. And yes, if you look hard enough, you can find leftists behaving badly (example)

(By the way: I am a college professor; I’ve worked (lived?) on college campuses for 31 years. Yes, there might be some SJW silliness here and there, and it should be challenged and opposed. Yes, there ARE SJW professors who are buffoons; a much, much higher percentage are reasonable human beings. But you are talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny part of what happens on a university. Most students have much more mundane concerns (money, social life, assignments, yes, even studying) and some are far more interested in parties than protests. Even most SJWs are reasonable human beings; only a small percentage are wacko, and those are the ones you see in the news. So the right wing focuses on perhaps 1-2 percent of what happens on a college campus..)

So right now: the push is “the liberals are horrible people and must be wrong about everything” so, if the liberals hate Russian collusion, then it must have been ok.
Krugman concludes:

And political figures either adapted or were pushed out. There once were Republicans who would have reacted with horror to Trump’s embrace of Putin, but they’ve left the scene, or are no longer considered Republicans.

This has troubling implications for both the short and the long run. In the short run, it probably means that no matter how bad the Trump revelations get, most Republicans, both in the base and in Congress, will stick with him – because taking him down would be a victory for liberals, who are worse than anything.

In the long run, it makes you wonder whether and how we can get the country we used to be back. As Branko says, there was a time when Serbs and Croats seemed to get along fairly well, indeed intermarrying at a high rate. But could anyone now put Yugoslavia back together? At this rate, we’ll soon be asking the same question about America

Oh well. Bottom line: we have to win those 2018 and 2020 elections.

Baseball notes Yes, I note the irony that I go to baseball games with a lot of people who probably voted for Trump. 🙂 If they knew how I voted… lol..

The Chiefs won 4-1 last night; due to a commitment I missed the first inning and the first Chiefs run. But I did catch 3 home runs early in the game (one by the Captains, two by the Chiefs) and saw the Chiefs add an insurance run to salt the game away.

Workout notes
Yes, I know, not much: 2 mile walk after easy weights:

PT Stuff (hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff), pull ups (5 sets of 10, ok), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 5 x 185,
military press: barbell: 6 x 95, 10 x 85, dumbbell: 20 x 40 standing dumbbell, machine incline: 10 reps with 140, rows: dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 x 65
abs: 3 sets of 10 moving bridge, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, headstand (ok, this time).

July 14, 2017 Posted by | baseball, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Why “across the aisle” dialog is so tough..often impossible…

Yes, we now know that at least elements of the Trump campaign attempted collusion with Russia. But do not expect this to change much.

Despite some noisy (and I think, disingenuous appeals for funding) rhetoric from Democrats:

And yes, one Democrat has filed an article of impeachment, we all know that is going nowhere. The R’s control the House. Nixon’s disapproval ratings were about 38 percent among Republicans whereas Trump’s approval rating among Republicans remains well in the 80’s (via Gallup)

So, these reports, which seem like “blockbuster” stuff to so many of us, will be “just politics” at best and “fake news” at worst to most of the rank and file Republicans.

It CAN help our political position though.

And trying to talk about issues; all too many think they know way more they do, and some of the loudest, most opinionated, know the least.
I’ve had people who rarely, if ever, step foot on a college campus tell me what is happening on them. I’ve even had people tell ME what I teach in the classroom…and such people get very offended when I tell them that I was unaware that there were “unAmerican” methods for integrating a function in calculus class. 🙂

But by Jove, they are SURE that they know.

There are times when I believe that those who know the least are the most sure about what they “know”.

Workout notes
4 mile walk after weights.

Weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, so-so), incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 7 x 150, military presses: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 45 (standing), 10 x 100 (machine) rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Not much.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Most vicious people on Twitter are…NOT Trump supporters…

Ok, it is amateur hour in the White House and now we are getting “he is too dumb to have known better” defense (with regard to attempted collusion with the Russians)

And yes, it appears that actual campaign laws were broken.

Now of course, this needs to be investigated, sorted out and appropriate legal penalties should be applied.

As far as “ending the Trump presidency”: really, the way we can do that is to win a bunch of seats in the 2018 midterms, and yes, win the 2020 election. Forget President Trump being removed from office; even with a potential Democratic House, we are never getting a 2/3 majority of the Senate.

We need to win at the ballot box, and investigations can help us have a more fair election next time.

Now about my headline a fellow Democrat pointed out that the people nastiest to them were not Trump supporters but rather Sanders supporters! And yes, I can believe that.

It seems that many of the Bern victims just “know” that if their message got out, people would just flock to Bernie’s platform because it is just so righteous, just and, well, “reasons”.

Trump supporters might not like people like me, or see me as naive, wrong headed, or whatever. But they will admit that there are lots of people like me out there. Bernie supporters: well, if you don’t support Bernie, it is because you don’t know Bernie, or because you are some establishment dupe, etc. For many of them, it is “all slogans, all of the time”.

Workout notes 4 mile treadmill run in 42:50; 30 minutes of “5 minute Froggy” then 12:30 of 2:30 Froggy. Then a 1 mile cool down walk.

4 miles at this effort was once 37-38 minutes (in 2009) Oh well.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | running, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment

My ‘Merica Post…

Yeah, yesterday was 4’th of July, which is Independence Day.

I wondered: what makes the United States different? Yes, I know, most countries (all?) have some sort of identity; what is ours?

Two things come to mind.

When I was in the Navy, we made port calls. And before we visited a port in a foreign country, we got a briefing on the customs and on the culture of where we were visiting.

When we visited Italy, we were told this: when you visit a small shop, if the owner is having a conversation, they aren’t going to stop it to wait on you. Remember that the shop was probably the family shop, and that is all they are ever going to be; they aren’t worried about expanding, moving up, defeating the competition, etc. So just be patient.

And that goes to the lesson many Americans grow up with: The American Dream to “make it big” (I was going to be a professional athlete, you see).

One other: when I visited the Anne Frank House, they had a theater where they would show some situation and ask “what is more important, Factor X or Factor Y (e. g. they would show a newspaper article about a recent controversy). The Americans were all over FREEDOM OF SPEECH ahead of the other factors (say, protection from discrimination)…as was I.

Of course, at this time in our history, we are pretty divided, as this Horsey cartoon shows:

So, where does this divide come from? Well, for one, our history is complicated. Our past citizens DID take risks..they had guts. But they also did terrible things too:

So, what do we focus on?

And as far as the American Dream, well, where some do make it big, our social/economic mobility isn’t what we would like to think it is. And I think this is where the division comes from.

Some liberals push for a higher minimum wage (and too high of a minimum wage can cause problems) and for health care for the poor. That is great, but…newsflash: people do not want to be poor, and no one dreams of being stuck in poverty, even though..for many, that IS where they are going to be.

So measures that favor the poor…while they are effective, really aren’t that popular (until they are actually implemented and have been in place for a while)

So what wins out: dreaming (you are going to be rich one day), or practical reality (that you won’t be)?

What I did on the 4’th of July:

In the morning, I took Tracy to Galva to run a 5K (and did poorly: 30:05) and in the evening, baseball!

The Chiefs beat the Snappers and won 5-1 behind some good pitching, spectacular fielding (they robbed the Snappers of at least 3 hits) and 2 home runs.

I sat behind the 3’rd base dugout (visitor’s dugout at Chiefs games; home dugout at Bradley games)

there was a brief rain delay.

But it turned out to be a fun day:

And a decent crowd.

Other 4’th of July images

From a local parade (I did not see it)

And what is more “Merican” than yoga pants?

Workout notes
weights and a 5K walk (42:45, from intervals)

rotator cuff, hip hikes toe raises, pull ups (2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10), goblet squats 50-75 (up very 5, sets of 5), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 7 x 150 (good hips on last set, so so on second set), military: 15 x 55 dumbbell, seated, supported, 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 lifemachine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 (each arm), 10 x 110 machine, 2 sets of moving bridge, 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, headstand (good).

July 5, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Friends, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Are you angry? So what?

I keep seeing this as a theme: Trump says something stupid and Mitch McConnell tries to get a vote on a truly dreadful bill, and people get ANGRY. But so what?

I think that Trump speaks very clearly here:

Yes, on occasion, a Lindsey Graham might stroke his chin and say he is “troubled”…but ultimately he votes for the Trump policy in question.

Yes, there are protests ..

But that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. How much power do these people have? And those who might feel compassion for them are already NOT voting for members of Congress that back this dreadful “wealthcare bill” (yes, the ACA has problems, but an upper end tax cut won’t fix them).

This strikes me as a situation similar to that of airline customer service. Yes, the airlines don’t care because, well, they don’t have to. Each airline has more or less a monopoly on certain routes, so if you are going to fly…well, you basically HAVE to fly them. (this is one reason I want high speed rail…for competition )

So what are we to do? I really don’t know, but here are my “off the cuff” ideas:

In the short term, how do we pressure the Republicans when we basically have zero leverage (Trump supporters won’t change their minds and Big Money is indifferent to the rest of us)

1. Target the most vulnerable Republicans (as we are doing in the Senate); the ones who will need votes beyond the Republican base.
2. Pressure big business. If we find some billionaire threatening to withhold campaign funds unless the Republicans fall into line, find their biggest investments and boycott them. Our money, put together collectively, does have some clout.

In the long term, we need to win back at least one chamber of Congress and win the 2020 Presidential election.

And even here, I’ve seen two different paths discussed.

1. Seek to win back that small percentage of Trump voters who voted for Obama in 2012. Though there aren’t that many of them, there were just enough of them to tip the scales in 2016.

See this thread:

or

2. Forget about them and focus about exciting our own people and getting them to show up.

Now how do we excite the base? Here is where the “Bernie” vs. “Hillary” war continues to rage.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with it: hatred of liberals.

Yes, once again, Trump was tweeting stupid, disgusting things.

And yes, Sarah Sanders Huckabee defended Trump doing so.

Now, yes, Mitch McConnell might have enjoyed the cover to try to get to “an agreement on principle” to a still toxic health care…er…”wealthcare” deal.

But yes, Trump’s conduct is disgusting, and even many conservatives agree. Trump does this all of the time. But they defend it because:

Yep…he is their son-of-a-bitch. And they despise us and everything we stand for.

The elite Republicans (Ryan, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Priebus, Pence) all stand to gain something; here is a nice list as to what each might gain.

And so it goes.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 2 Comments