Civility, Political Correctness, etc.

I was going to focus on an issue but I want to express my disgust at the bombs sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, and others. To me, this is similar to the deadlier incident where an unhinged lunatic shot some Republican members of Congress.

Yes, Trump’s rhetoric disgusts me. But the shooter was not a Trump supporter. I continue to believe the idiots who do these sort of things are unhinged outliers and have little to do with the rank and file American of any political persuasion.

Being offended:

The Fort Worth Telegram apologized for running this cartoon.

Ok, I chuckled when I saw this. Why? I thought about it. Yes, I do have genuine sympathy for the discrimination that various groups suffer. But..this cartoons a non-black who passed herself off as black, a white lady playing up some (genuine) Native American heritage (yes, I have German heritage in my background, but you couldn’t tell it by looking, and no one identifies me as German).

And damn times it appears that some who really do not belong to some genuinely oppressed group pretend to..and some make ridiculous demands (e. g. opposing the “vagina monologues because “not all women have vaginas”, etc.)

Yes, I know that transgenderism is genuine and not “playing girlie”.

But I suppose on another level, the cartoon did get me to think a bit. And I do find this “quest to be outraged” to be tiring.

But there are voices of reason out there.

Is PC-ness helping Trump?
No doubt that Trump is a demagogue..and his trying to stoke fears over a “immigrant caravan” that is still more that 1000 miles away is absurd.

But ….well, Trump’s approval has inched UPWARD throughout 2018.

Trump vs. Obama, via

Workout notes: 5 mile run on the treadmill. I had stomach trouble and had to stop after 3 (32:32) but got back on for 2 more (18:22; 9:39/8:43) and it felt fine.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

A bit of politics and social issues.

I admit that I’ve been disengaged with political discussions on social media. I did jump into a discussion on Tucker Carlson’s twitter feed about “what is strong about diversity” (questioning a frequent liberal claim that “diversity is our strength”). I mentioned that societies that are isolated from others (e. g., no exchange of ideas with other groups) tend to stagnate.

That let to some spirited discussion. Yeah, I got a few “your an idiot” caliber remarks but most tried to make intellectual points..genuinely valid back and forth.

Sadly…at least ON THE INTERNET, liberal discussion often devolves into yelling “that’s racist”, “that’s misogynist”, “that’s a microagression” (in my case: for asking for clarification of the facts of the case).

It is all a contest to see who can be most “woke” or “pure”; virtue signaling, if you will.

It has gotten to the point to where if you hear “I want to understand your argument”, it is probably a conservative saying it.

On the other hand, it almost appears that the liberal game is to parse a statement so as to find what is offensive about it.

And if the facts/models do not fit your narrative …or if someone might be offended by what they THINK are the consequences of said facts…well, we can’t have that, can we?

(yes, I know that there are many, many conservatives who yell and do little else…who understand nothing and only accept what Breitbart and Fox tell them. But these I just block on the spot.)

It isn’t as if there is interesting stuff out there right now. For example, Nate Silver’s analysis of the upcoming midterm elections is interesting:

Social Issues: caricatures of famous people.

Jimmy Carter

Yes, even this:

Ok, what about lampooning behavior?

John McEnroe

And so we get complaints about this:

It appears to me that certain “woke” liberals have a rule that certain protected classes should be “off limits” from caricature and if you “go there” you are a xxist (racist, sexist, misogynistic, etc.) It is my opinion that the final caricature fits in with the others but, well, I know, there is a history of “Sambo” cartoons (still the subject of controversy in some places). And yes, lampooning (or attempting to lampoon) an entire collection of people for being what they are IS racist; lampooning an individual for their individual actions is not.

And yes, I find this to be very racist.

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

When the left parodies itself…

I read a Facebook post about a lawyer who worked pro-bono on LGTQ issues who was catching heat for wearing a pussy hat…you see it isn’t inclusive enough because….some women don’t have vaginas (ok? )

And sure enough, the person writing that post wasn’t kidding.

Oh my…and we wonder why we aren’t taken seriously.

And I saw this cartoon:

Ok, surely the cartoonist is exaggerating…right?

Uh, no…

The rape claim

The patriarchy and feminine independence claim

Sometimes I really think that our dogmatic lefties are just like the Bible Beaters who drink a different flavor of Kool-aid.

So back to the women’s marches: how big of a deal are they? Well, if they inspire people to help us out on 2018 and 2020, I suppose they are a good thing.

But I see a crucial difference between these and the Tea Party marches, BESIDES this crucial difference:

The Senate is set up to give small, rural states an advantage (Wyoming has the same number of Senators as California does). And gerrymandering means that liberals can be effectively fenced up.

So, a large women’s march, even in, say, Fayetteville, Arkansas (home of the University of Arkansas) isn’t going to worry anyone.

The women’s marches are a “mostly white”, mostly educated and blue women’s movement and comprise of a statistically small group of women. And even numerically massive gatherings in Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. mean…well, not much.

Women are indeed still split along economic and educational lines.

And Alabama: 63 percent of white women voted for Moore. It was black people, not white liberals, that saved the day.

January 22, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

SJWs and Alt-right: two sides of the same ignorant coin?

Like many, I’ve been wondering “how did Trump ever get elected” and I’ve considered the factor that “maybe Trump was a pushback against political correctness” conjecture.

And I asked myself “what role might I have played in this”?

Now don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of people who would have supported Trump “no matter what” and it is difficult, if not impossible, to convert a conservative into a liberal. Genes are in play here.

But..does it appear that liberals, in an attempt to be “fair” to minority groups with less power, refuse to acknowledge tough truths? I had very similar questions along those lines 35-40 years ago! (yes, I can recommend the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond)

But yes, I’ve seen justice minded liberals deny facts that they don’t like. Here is an excellent example of that (denying crime statistics)

Don’t like a statistic: say it is false and call it XXX-ist!

Another example: take the issue of race and IQ.
Fact: in the US, different racial groups score differently (e. g., Mexicans score lower than non-hispanic whites)
Fact: IQ IS relevant (albeit imperfect) in terms of measuring intelligence (yes, I know; it is a 1 dimensional measure of a complicated thing, but it is meaningful; e. g. someone with an IQ of 95 won’t be an engineer or lawyer (statistically))
Fact: intelligence, or the potential for intelligence, is heritable.

So what happens: the alt-right people improperly combine these facts to argue that, say, in a meritocracy, you’d expect Mexicans to do worse than whites (as a group). You see: as a group, Mexicans just aren’t smart enough to compete and only affirmative action, which gives unfair advantages, can make things look a bit more level.

The SJW liberals don’t like the conclusion that Mexicans are inferior so they deny one or more of the above facts! Reason: they believe that if the above facts are true (and they are), the conclusion that Mexicans are inferior would be correct!

That is, the SJWs and the alt-right agree on the logic; they don’t accept the same facts.

(disclaimer: I am Mexican and, no I don’t feel that we are inferior in any way)

The problem is not with the “facts” but on how you use the facts. To see what is going on, see this article in, of all places, The American Conservative.

TL;DR argument: the potential for intelligence is determined by genes. This is individual. Example: there is nothing anyone could have done to make me as smart as Steven Hawking. But outside forces effect gene expression (say: fetal alcohol syndrome). So if a group of people lives in worse circumstances (say, inferior nutrition, prenatal care, early childhood education), that could well show up in the group IQ measurements and that can change with time (as it did with the East German/West German example).

So, the “group mean IQ being low means that group is inferior” is not a valid conclusion.

But the denying of facts never helps.

We are seeing something like that going on with the reaction to a Steven Pinker video.

The 8 minute video is worth watching: (I got this from Jerry Coyne’s website)

I can see the the effect on bright students. They go through their educations and are either never told relevant facts, or told that these facts are wrong and believing those facts is xxx-ist. They then find out that those facts are, well, facts…and the student feels betrayed and lied to (and rightfully so).

Rule of thumb: do not rule out a hypothesis because it “fees bad”.

And by the way: the above is what I mean about “political correctness”. Political correctness is not “basic politeness”, as some claim.

By the way, read Pinker’s book Blank Slate.

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

We’ll never be together but maybe we can do better?

I am sort of “out of sorts” with politics lately. Some of it is that Trump is so unhinged and incoherent at times; there are times when he doesn’t even seem to understand the policies he is advocating for.

Some of it might be my age and station in life; so little of what is in the current news affects me directly anymore. I say “directly” because some bad policy might have harmful effects that show up later (e. g. economic stimulus at the bottom of the economy tends to filter up, inaction or weak action on climate change might (probably?) will lead to terrible effects later, etc.)

And as far as discussing things with others: forget about it. It appears that those most eager to talk well, really don’t know what they are talking about. 🙂

From the current right wing:

And the stuff about Russia and possible collusion (and yes, there is something to this) will NOT be believed on the other side; they will see it as the the usual “political mudslinging” that always goes on.

And we’ve got fights on our own side as well. There is some pushback to the more extremist elements of the “me too” movement, as well as counter push backs.

Yes, I’ve seen workplace groping incidents and no one wants a return to those days (I think). And yes, the workplace should be a place for work. But aside from that, there IS a difference between socially inept attempts to flirt and sexual harassment. Yes, many women know the difference. Not all do.

I’ve had some female friends …friends who HAVE been sexually assaulted in the past…tell me that a lot of this feminist stuff “does not speak to them”.
I’d be interested to know what percentage of women have heard of “me too” and what percentage of women have heard of it but do not embrace it. I do NOT have data here.

And yes, I do wonder if political correctness (which is NOT mere politeness) has harmed us. I think that Steven Pinker is right on here (though this is simplified, as it has to be as it is only 8 minutes long)

Oh well…off to run a bit.

Last night I just KILLED it at yoga class. Ok..maybe not so much; I almost toppled over in some relatively “basic” poses. I need to practice more.

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

Trump, “Real America” and all sorts of “Political Correctness”

I am on the road and we stopped near Columbus, Ohio for the evening. We are about 6 hours out of Peoria.

I have time for some political posting.

So, Donald J. Trump will be President. Oh yes, there might be a “faithless elector” or two, but that won’t stop him. We need to engage in very basic politics to stop him. That doesn’t mean that we take Russian interference lying down; Sen. Lindsey Gram offers some good suggestions.

Paul Krugman offers suggestions on how to channel that “cool anger”. I agree: we should really make the case that Trump really represents wealthy interests and little else; he won’t help improve the normal lives of the “rank and file” nor will he level the playing field so as to empower the rank and file to improve their own live (which is what most really want anyway).

Though America is NOT the GOP, America is NOT a liberal college campus either. The average American is not going to get the vapors if Trump doesn’t speak according to some approved “PC” script. We can show that Trump is making the playing field more unequal though…he is lying about big manufacturing coming back, he is going to try to take away people’s health insurance and he will do nothing to “Make America Great Again.”

We have to make him pay a political price for that, and that means nominating those with the political skill to do it.

About political correctness: Yeah, I get tired of all of this nonsense that says that “rural, Trump voting” people are the “real Americans” and that the rest of us (close to 3 million more!) are, what?

But, I will continue to call out liberal political correctness, which sometimes can be so pervasive that it actually attacks well established scientific results.

Workout notes: easy 3.1 mile walk (5K) on the treadmill yesterday; 39:10.

December 15, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, science, social/political, travel, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s win and liberal political correctness

I am careful to say “liberal political correctness” as much of political correctness is of the right wing variety. The more benign examples people losing their minds over athletes taking a knee during the national anthem or people upset over people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. The more serious cases involve denial of climate change or denial of the theory of evolution, and the falsification of history by school boards.

I don’t expect right wing political correctness to improve under a President Trump; in fact, the signs are very troubling.

But liberal political correctness is what we hear about most often in the media. No, it isn’t as widespread as the conservative variety, and frankly, it isn’t, as yet, as damaging.

But it is there and it is annoying and often cited as a factor to explain Trump’s victory. Examples of this excessive political correctness includes “trigger warnings“, the denial of statistics that do not easily fit a narrative among other things.

From my own personal interactions, I’ve seen the following:

1. In the case where a black guy who stole a car ended up being killed by police, statements such as “he would not have been in this situation to begin with had he not stolen a car” were met with cries of “you’re racist”.

2. Safety tip suggestions to female college students to reduce the risk of rape were met with cries that these suggestions, made by student services professionals, were examples of “victim blaming”.

3. Statements that things like an ACT mathematics score is correlated with success in, say, calculus, were called “racist”.

4. Claims that females in “gang showers” (communal showers) might not be comfortable showering with someone with male genitalia (a “trans woman”) were met that these fears were mere bigotry.

5. Trump’s statement that, gasp, some women indeed marry for money was treated as an example of misogyny (see 8 and 17. I also note that Trump has called women “fat and ugly”, but people say similar things about, say, Chris Christie.

And I think that, in general, people are tired of all the finger wagging and being told what they should find disqualifying. People don’t like others trying to tell them which political rallies they are allowed to go to.

Yes, I think that Trump was a horrible pick; in my opinion he lacks the temperament, deportment, and the skill set of be even an adequate president. But some of the criticism is over the top (this is an interesting read, though I disagree with aspects of this post.

So, will Trump’s election make any of the above better? Some seem to think so; some see this as the death knell of “identity politics”.

Personally, I’d like to see some reason come back. I think that there are logical, reasonable ways to discuss women’s safety, to condemn sexual assault, to condemn unfair treatment of minorities by police and to be reasonable about “transgender rights” while protecting the rights of all involved.

The political issues; that is another matter for another post, soon to come.

November 22, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

RNC convention thoughts, real Americans and all that…

I watched some of the Republican Convention last night. It was a circus. And I died of laughter watching Ted Cruz get booed.

No, the election odds haven’t changed much; Hillary Clinton is still between a 1/3 to 5/11 favorite in the betting lines.

What I found interesting was this statement by Michael Moore:

I don’t see much evidence of that in the polls:


Yes, Mr. Moore is right that what we are hearing in the RNC convention IS “music to the ears” of a certain type of American which some call a “real American”. But “real Americans” are an increasingly small percentage of those who vote; estimates this to be around 20 percent of the electorate. Trump is getting absolutely blistered in other demographic groups and is even trailing about white college educated voters (Romney won this group).

An interesting aside: I was a bit surprised to learn that about 70 percent of Americans over 25 do not have a bachelors degree. That surprised me. But that is MY being in a bubble; most of my “in real life” friends have advanced degrees or advanced professional credentials.

Aside about “political correctness”: when I hear political correctness, I think of “denying facts or data because they make you uncomfortable”; e. g., denying science because it conflicts with your religion, denying the health risks of obesity because of some concern about “fat-phobia”; denying that there are IQ differences (on the average) between demographic groups (e. g. Asians, on the average, score higher than those of Mexican decent).

I agree that PC-ness should be pushed back against. But that in no way justifies bombarding someone with racial slurs and the like, as happened here.

July 21, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Political Correctness, Black Lives Matter, Police and all that…

I’ll start with “political correctness”. When I complain about “political correctness”, I am mostly talking about academic stuff like this. Yes, someone published a study on why “Pilates is white and racist”. Really.

Note: if one wants to discuss why certain movements are done easier by people with different body types, I am all for that. Example: my former yoga teacher is way better than yoga than I am. Yet, due to the design of our respective bodies, she cannot do headstand to save her life, but it is easy for me.

But there is no “-ist” to it; some things are easier for some people than they are for others.

Black lives Matter and Law Enforcement:
Yes, there is quite a bit of public anguish over this. We see accusations of “privilege” hurled at “white America”, a reminder that police officers are indeed human and it is good to remember that, and accusations that we are indeed talking past each other. The latter strikes me as mostly on point, but there is something else going on here, I think.

I think that we are dealing with a toxic mix of things: African Americans constitute a disproportionate amount of the poor on public aid, the poor exhibit a disproportionate amount of the social pathology (great book on this subject there; this Krugman column is also pretty good), humans are more sympathetic to “winners” and we are hard wired to reason inductively.

I really believe that the elimination (or great reduction) of poverty and social segregation would go a long, long way to cure what ails us. But how to do that? And do we, as a society, really want to do that?

I think that, at least in terms of racial tension, the best atmosphere I encountered was when I was an Air Force dependent (the Navy appeared to be more racially segregated than the Air Force), and when I played sports in Japan (on teams for dependents).

But what do I know?

July 11, 2016 Posted by | social/political | , , | 2 Comments

Trump, being PC and being Presidential…

Memories; from the first Republican Primary Debate:

When this happened, I told my wife that Trump answered very well, given his audience.

But now the audience is different.

And he wears a different hat.

Yes, I am not going to blow a gasket if citizen Donald Trump calls Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” or whatever he called her. But we have higher standards for Presidents.
Leading the country involves not issuing crude insults at citizens.

Remember the furor over then Senator Obama talking about some people clinging to “guns and religion” when times were tough? That wasn’t even in a campaign setting; that was meant to be a clinical observation.
Now the Republicans nominated someone who issues grotesque, schoolyard type insults. Again, that is fine for a citizen, but it is not presidential. It is not the kind of remark that any President in my lifetime would have deliberately made in public.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans | , , | Leave a comment