blueollie

Blue wave? Maybe…maybe not.

Last glance: the generic congressional ballot has the Democrats with a 4 point advantage. That translates into a “who knows” who will win the House ins 2018. The reason: House gerrymandering plus the natural tendency for D’s to in their districts in massive 90-10 blowouts vs. R’s winning, say, 70-30 gives the R’s an advantage.

Other trends: the tendency for the incumbent party to lose seats and recent special election results favor the D’s so maybe, just maybe, the D’s have a slight advantage. However, the D’s are entirely capable of overplaying their hands.

No, I do not want to see the Democrats running on “let’s attempt to impeach Trump”. That is a major political gift to the right wing..a way to fire up possibly discouraged Republicans and get them to the polls.

I think it is important to remember that the R’s live in a different universe than we do. In some cases, we do not agree on what constitutes a “fact”. In other cases, we can view the same thing but react very differently. Example: I see this as wrong (women being hassled by ICE for speaking Spanish) but this is the sort of action that brings nods of approval from Trump supporters (read the comments on this video when it is posted by, say the Washington Post or New York Times🙂

Campus free speech: nice discussion here. As far as the slur/slogans: you see that on social media..quite a bit actually.

And this is one reason I do not get involved in non-technical arguments between students; they need to work things out for themselves. Technical: sure, if a student says something like “all continuous functions are differentiable” I might ask “what about the absolute value function” to get them on the right track. But that is technical.

Advertisements

May 22, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Michelle Wolf and selective outrage

Yes, these people are just outraged that a comedian told a few harsh jokes during the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Her routine is 20 minutes:

Frankly, it wasn’t that good nor that offensive, though her shot at the media at the end (for basically creating Trump to begin with, at least as a viable political figure, and then making a ton of money off of him) was very good.

But hey, what about all of the other stuff Trump and his supporters said?

LOL…

Oliver Willis has remarked that we liberals sometimes act as if there is some universal judge or referee that will judge and reward logical consistency. There isn’t.

For one, humans tend to be hypocritical (condemn lies on the other side; soft pedal lies on our side…to the degree that we acknowledge them at all) and there is the partisan press that is always working on us to get us to mistrust negative negative stuff about our side (yes, I allowed myself to be fooled when I voted for Blagojevich for reelection in an Illinois governor’s race; very stupid of me. I literally decided right IN the voting booth to pull for him. I should honor any extreme reluctance to vote for a D as a huge warning sign). Here is an example of a lie our side won’t let go of. Trump mocked a reporter..that is clear..but given that his motion is is “mocking of anyone” motion, it is also reasonable to assume that he was not mocking him for HIS DISABILITY. He used that motion before with other non-disabled people (e. g. Ted Cruz).

And so it goes. Yes, Trump has said terrible things and gotten a pass..or was even praised for it.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | 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

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

Believing the worst about those you hate..

First in the news: yes, the FBI raided the office of one of Trump’s lawyers. No: you do not have attorney-client privilege if you are trying to use a lawyer to commit a crime or cover it up.

This is old news, but I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall:

There are a couple of things wrong here. One: not all of us would consider one unkind mocking a disqualifying event “on the spot”, though, IF true, it is a bad thing. This isn’t the same level, but remember Obama apologizing for making that “Special Olympics” remark (about how bad of bowler he is)?

But, more importantly, there is quite a bit of evidence that Trump uses this mannerism to mock *everyone* he wants to mock.

So, I really believe he was just mocking a reporter.

Now if you want to say that mocking people in this manner isn’t “presidential” behavior, well, I might agree with you.

I think the lesson here is that I (and many others) really want to believe the worst about those we dislike. Therefore, I must approach all “did you see what Trump just did” stories with a bit of skepticism.

Note: I really do not believe that Trump will be removed from office; I see that as a very remote possibility. And it probably isn’t helpful for Democrats to run “on impeachment”..especially those who are running in Republican held states and Congressional Districts.

But I do think things like this MIGHT help us beat him when he runs for reelection.

Personal and workout stuff (TMI)

For the past couple of days, I have not felt “Right”; lower GI while, not bad, is..off. I ache more than normal (joints, old injuries) and last night, after yoga, my right knee was somewhat unstable (too much kneeling in class?) The stomach stuff: probably our campus tragedy …that really, really bothered me. It still does..I just felt dejected .

Yesterday: weights and bike. Weights: usual PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (slow), military press: 10 x 50, 10 x 50, 15 x 45 (all standing), rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. bench press: dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 x 40 (full motion). incline press: Hammer: 10 x 90, 10 x 140 (45 + 25). full ab set (2:30 plank). Then 34:40 for 10 miles on the bike. Evening: yoga.

Today: swim: 250 (slow, off), 250 (better), 5 x 25 fist, 25 free, 5 x 25 drill, 25 free (fins), 3 x (100 free, 100 pull), 4 x 100 modified IM (free instead of fly), 100 pull, 50 free, 50 side.
run: 10 min: 5.1, 5.2, 5 min: 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6..up to 44:50 (4 miles), then 6.1-6.4 (every .25 miles) for 54:32

Note: this morning, my heel hurt a bit..was fine on the run for the first 30-35 minutes, then “there” for “faster” (less glacial) paced running.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | bicycling, running, social/political, swimming, weight training, yoga | , , , , | 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

Guns and Trump support..is the tide turning, just a bit?

This was a different situation as Sarah Palin had resigned from office. But it appears that support for her dropped after her infamous “blood libel” comment.

And while a few polls have Trump’s support under 40 percent, his Real Clear Politics average remains at 41 percent. There is not much to see in terms of approval rating. But is the tide starting to turn just a bit?

And yes, the latest horrific mass school shooting really has little to do with Trump though the current “debate” (war for our country’s soul?) breaks along Trump supporter lines. Take a look at the political maps here: if only gun owners voted, Trump only fails to win Vermont. If only people who are NOT gun owners voted, Clinton wins in a landslide (losing West Virginia and perhaps Wyoming).

Trump made things worse with his bravado:

“You don’t know until you test it, but I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump told a gathering of governors at the White House. “And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too.”

Yes, he put a disclaimer ..but: run where? It was a large campus and it was all but impossible to know where the shooter was. But this sort of “Dirty Harry” fantasy plays well with Trump’s base.

And there is the whole assault weapons issue. Please spare me with “no, there is no such thing as an assault weapon” bullshit. The AR-15 and weapons like it are really military grade weapons, minus an automatic feature. They are designed to kill and wound many people, very quickly. And a “bumper stock” can make it very “machine gun” like.

And so we are talking about possibly reviving the assault weapons ban.

Now yes, MOST gun deaths and criminal gun deaths are due to ordinary handguns (another issue); mass shootings are a small percentage of all homicides. And the previous federal assault weapons ban didn’t reduce gun crimes or gun homicides, though it appeared to have a positive effect on mass shootings (4 or more deaths)

The figure from the Wiki article on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the method of tabulation is found here.

So, if nothing else, this might calm the effect on the national psyche, though, it won’t reduce gun deaths by that much, or at least to a degree that statistics can detect.

I do not know how it will play out. But if the non-NRA forces can band together and stick together, perhaps the NRA can be taken down financially, or at least forced to reform itself to reverting to being an association for the rank and file gun owner.

Disclaimer: ok, I don’t like guns, and I am worried that some moronic Dirty Harry wannabe will end up trying to play the hero and shooting innocent people.

(yes, that fear has little to do with assault weapons)

But I once earned a “Marksman” ribbon in the military (pistol) and once shot “for pleasure” back in 1981 (target range). And no, I don’t have an issue with hunters, skeet shooters, competitive shooters, business owners who have a weapon for self defense, farmers who use a firearm as part of their livelihood, etc.

And yes, I get tired of some of what passes for debate (e. g. “ha, ha, criminals don’t obey the law”, etc.)

February 28, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Don’t look now, but Trump is…winning. Seriously.

When Trump got elected, there were several things that worried me. One of them was NOT that he’d govern like a typical Republican. Yes, I don’t like Republicans but we’ve lived through them before; I was worried that this loose cannon would get us in a nuclear war and/or crash our economy.

Neither has happened.

Oh, I still don’t like him; I do not like his deportment, his rude tweets, his attacking private citizens (verbally) and his lack of intellectual curiosity.

But as far as his actual actions go, what I’ve not liked about him is exactly what I would not have liked about, say, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, etc.

So, IF, IF, you think that we ought to cut taxes on the wealthy, appoint right wing judges and cut safety net programs…if you thought that the previous 8 years was a nightmare where someone who didn’t have traditional American values held the presidency…where moochers and slackers voted themselves more money by electing a president who gives out free stuff…

Well, you probably are pretty happy with Trump, even if you wish he had a more conservative deportment and would tweet less.

And that Trump tells those nattering, finger wagging social justice warriors to “buzz off” is a little extra bonus, right? (ok, the SJWs often annoy me too, even if we have broad agreement on policy).

And this is reflected in his approval ratings (about 42 percent..up from the high 30’s).

I am not saying that his party won’t lose seats in the 2018; they may well do so. It is even POSSIBLE (unlikely?) that the Democrats pick up a chamber of Congress. But typically, the President’s party lose seats during the first round of midterms.

In my opinion, he’ll be reelected. You have no idea at how much that I hope that I am wrong. But that is what the current situation tells me.

February 23, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Trump’s positioning becoming a bit stronger…

These are interesting times.

Trump’s approval ratings have inched up to 41.5 according to Real Clear Politics. That is still very low for a President just finishing their first year (and lower than Obama’s) and especially low, given that the economic numbers aren’t that bad overall.

Nevertheless the trend is up..and the Republicans are improving just a bit in the “generic Congressional ballot”, though they are still not in great shape. It is far, far, far from certain that the Democrats will win a chamber of Congress back.

Here is what I find ironic: Trump is actually governing like a typical Republican (in terms of what policies he is pursuing). And some Republicans who like those policies but who feared his instability are feeling better, and some who hate his “crony capitalism” just love how acerbic he is, especially when he attacks targets they don’t like. In fact, were Trump to act more normally, his approval might actually be lower.

On another note: higher education is under attack. Some of it is cost: new technology adds cost, new mandates (to accommodate students with “learning disabilities”) adds mandated cost and each program carries with it administrators and the like; administrative payroll is much higher than it once was.

And there is college itself: the postmodernist nonsense prevalent in some disciplines is not helping our reputation and frankly, I wonder about the overall erosion of academic standards.

February 2, 2018 Posted by | education, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment