Regressives and rage…

I’ve spent some time on Twitter, following mostly left-leaning accounts, but also running into some right wing ones as well. I’ll talk mostly about left wing accounts as that is what I am more familiar with. Also, most (but NOT all) of my friends lean left.

What I’ve noticed: there seems to be a fairly large number of people on Twitter (probably not a majority, by any means) who are:

1. angry (ok, I get that)
2. VERY self-confident in their opinions (why, I do not know)
3. KNOW that they are on the “side of what is right and moral” and
4. View others who disagree as evil and stupid and
5. View THEMSELVES and themselves ONLY as “the people”; those with opposing views are, well,…don’t count.

As far as 5: oh yes, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans constantly invoke their opinions as the opinion of the “American people”; that is what they do. But many others in the rank and file do this all the time. The very idea that their opinion is just one opinion among many and that there is no good reason to give special weight to it is just lost on them.

I suppose that is just human nature.

But one thing is bothering me: Senator Corey Booker and his “speaking truth to power” act:

Uh, Senator Booker: 1. How do you know that YOU are speaking “the truth” and

2. YOU are a US Senator…if YOU aren’t part of “The Power”, then who is???? Seriously; I have no interest in backing a victim for the highest office in the land.

Oh, I think I get it: in “wokeland”, WHITE MALES are the privileged and if you aren’t one of those, YOU don’t have the power; THEY DO. So when you wag your finger at them YOU are speaking “the truth to power” even if you are wealthy, successful and hold high office.

I am afraid that Ann Coulter (of all people) was onto something:

Ann Coulter says when Democrats take back control of the House of Representatives in January, there’s only one thing that will connect the diverse group of lawmakers: hatred of white men.

“They all hate one another,” Coulter said, discussing the alleged discord between members of the Democratic Party.

“I mean you, have the Muslims and the Jews and the various exotic sexual groups and the black church ladies with the college queers,” Coulter said, apparently describing the new group of Democrats elected to Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The incoming class is the most diverse in history and includes the first Muslim congresswomen and the first Native American congresswoman.

“The only thing that keeps the Democratic base together is for them to keep focusing on: ‘No, white men are the ones keeping you down, you must hate white men.’ It’s the only thing they all have in common,” Coulter added as she appeared on Fox News as a guest on The Ingraham Angle on Tuesday.

And in wokeland, the more of these non-privileged groups you belong to (intersectionality) the more privilege you are granted to say YOU NEED TO DO IT THIS WAY.

And they become ENRAGED when you don’t acknowledge the “privilege” of the “non-privileged.”

And perhaps that is one reason why the current success of Joe Biden is making their heads explode; that perhaps THEY are out of touch with ordinary voters …well, that just can’t be.

Chiefs vs. Kernels: living dangerously and getting away with it..once.

I caught a couple of interesting Chiefs vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels games.

The Thursday one saw the Chiefs fall behind 2-1 before tying it with a home run in the bottom of the 7’th and, in the bottom of the 8’th going ahead on a 2 run home run. BUT in the top of the 9’th, it got interesting as the Kernels made an out, got a single, struck out and then 2 walks in a row. Bases loaded ..2 outs, but the next relief pitcher stuck out the final batter to preserve the win.

The Friday game: the Kernel pitching kept the Chiefs at bay, limiting them to 1 hit and leading 2-0 going into the bottom of the 9’th. Then after one out…back to back home runs! Tie game…and extras. But the Kernels drove in their “ghost runner” in the 11’th and the Chiefs stranded theirs to lose 3-2.

My photos:

Thursday’s game

Friday’s game

Almost 5K; almost a complete race

In one of my early Peoria area races, back in June, 1997, I ran the Metamora Lincoln-Douglas “3 mile” (about 3.07 miles) in 20:38. I remember mile 1: a runner named “Sue Boast” was with the group as we ran past and a volunteer called out the time. One runner didn’t hear it..I and for some reason Sue saying “Six Twenty Five” stuck with me. According to my log, I was to get to mile 2 in 13:07. My time equates to about a 20:50 5K, and I ran..surprisingly, a 20:52 just a week later (on a warmer day). I wrote in my log “too fast, mile 1.”

Well, today I didn’t run a 6:25 first mile. I got there in 8:10 which, yes, is my fastest mile since 2015 and my 17:07 was my fastest 2 mile since 2016. And no, I couldn’t sustain it; I fell apart on the final 1.06, walking 3 times (really, too many…should have gutted it out better than that).

Perhaps the first mile split was a tiny bit short, but I was way too close to people who usually finish way ahead of me.

Rule of thumb: if I am right with a bunch of people that actually LOOK like runners, I am probably going too fast to sustain the pace.

Final time: 28:05 (about 9:09 mpm or 28:22 for a 5K). This would have been a decent time for me last year, but I am capable of better this year…PROVIDED I pace myself better.

Had I lived back then, I would have…..

This tweet churned up some thoughts:

Of course, slavery was once the norm (in terms of people keeping other groups slaves) and yes, in the US, we often soft peddle just how cruel and brutal it was.

But, were I born to a wealthy white southern slave holding family, would I have become an abolitionist? I am sure that I would have…IN MY FANTASIES. But the reality opposing such measures, in that time and immersed in that culture, would have required not only an unusual amount of moral insight but also an unusual amount of moral courage, none of which I seem to display in my current life.

That is why I just roll my eyes when I see rather average people talking about what they “would have” done back then. If they have that much character (an outlier level), why is that not showing up now, IN THIS LIFE?

If I am more moral in some ways than my ancestors, it is because I’ve been taught better and because I live in a society that allows for it.

And from this, I’ll pivot to this article, which I got via Steven Pinker’s Twitter account.

This is the same principle. And yes, yesterday’s heroes (or heroines) were flawed people. Clarence Darrow was right about race relations and science but totally wrong about women’s rights (he opposed women’s suffrage). William Jennings Bryan was wrong about science but right about women’s suffrage. Both of these men did good for a lot of people, but were critically wrong about a key issue.

Aging and lifting part 101

Yes, I talk about aging and attempting to do sports quite a bit. Reason: as I age, the formula changes.

Weight lifting: though I am NOT as strong as I once was (not that I ever was strong; best dead lift was 425 and best bench was 310) my strength seems to have taken less of a hit than my running ability.

Part of the reason, I think, is that lifting involves fewer systems. The other reason: I am not a natural runner. I’ve noticed that, among the men who were a bit faster than I several years ago: some are much faster than I am not. These tend to be the small boned, “runner body” men. My guess: their efficient running stride and lighter weight means that they didn’t have to decrease their training to the degree that I’ve had to. Much of my slow down comes from the fact that I can’t train as much as I once did. Ok, part of that is my knees: I’ve had 5 operations total.

But I can lift 3 times a week and while I don’t do as much as I once did, I can still do a respectable amount.

Some key differences:
1. I need more rest between sets if I want to handle the same amount of weight. This is why I do better in the summer when I don’t have to rush through.
2. I sometimes get out of breath; this happens when I challenge myself to do a set of 15 pull ups (instead of just 10); I am breathless when I finish.

Today’s workout: (more detail than normal)

rotator cuff (usual)
pull ups: 5 sets of 10, one of 5 (varied the grip; notice: I now keep my eyes open and make sure that I can see over the top of the rack…this changes has lead to a bit of “core soreness” at first but has done me good.

bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (solid)

dumbbell military press: 10 x 50 (standing, full in a while)

bench press: 7 x 160 (kind of gave up; left shoulder sometimes acts up)

dumbbell military press: 10 x 45

rows: machine 3 sets of 10 x 110 with sets of other things in between

machine military: 10 x 180 (90 each arm)

goblet squats: 6 x 30, then 6 x 40..felt some soreness

planks: 2:30 bent arm, side plank

head stand

Crow pose (yoga)

knee stretches: kneeling then sitting on a ball. This is what I cannot do:

I have to put a medicine ball or an “on edge” yoga block under me.

Biden and older people becoming more conservative with age…

First things first: yoga, then a 6.4 mile run (this 5.7 mile course, plus an extra .37 goose loop and .34 miles to get to and from the course from my car:

Time: 1:16, or about 11:55. It was a shuffle on somewhat sore legs.

Election: yes, I still like Klobuchar the best but, to be honest, I think that she started with too low of a profile to gain any traction. She is popular with her constituents and has the best track record of getting bills singed into law, given that she started in 2007. She has 33 to Biden’s 42, but she has had 35 fewer years to do it. And her bills are pretty substantial ones..she is a doer.

But alas, she is not polling well and Joe Biden is the front runner, for now…and has an excellent chance of getting the nomination. And so, he is taking heat, much of it from the loony left.

The latest: has to deal with him discussing how he dealt the segregationist Senators back in his early days of the Senate. He described how he had to deal with them civilly.

None of what Biden said is new; he talked about this in detail in his book Promises to Keep (2007) Yes, this book had long been out when President Obama picked him to be VP..and yes, Obama vetted him.

I am happy to see his campaign hitting back at the critics.

Yes, there is some truth to this Tweet but Biden’s support comes from others as well:

Anyway, keep piling on Biden and I just might have to vote for him (unless Klobuchar surges into a competitive position, and yes, I’ve contributed to her campaign).

Are older people more conservative? Yes…for many reasons. One reason: it used to be that wealthier people trended conservative, and wealthier people live longer. There are, of course, other reasons. One conjecture of mine: I used to be considered somewhat liberal because I was for gay rights (including marriage), for affirmative action (making higher education more accessible to underrepresented minorities), etc. BUT the goal post has shifted and now having positions such as “genetic males should not be considered females in sports competitions” or “math isn’t inherently racist” is enough to get you labeled as a conservative. And if you think that the word “woman” should refer to someone who is biologically female, well, that is HATE SPEECH. I kind of thought it was taxonomy.

Time to shift gears (sports and professional)

Sports: ok, time to gear up for something else (what?) I am thinking about a fall marathon or 50K (latter in early December)

So, I need to walk more but I need to build up gradually.

Today: 4.5 mile walk (28:37 for 2.1 miles, 5:17 extra lap); about 1:03 total and I focused on form for 2/3 of each lap, relaxed for 1/3. Then weights; rotator cuff, pull ups (15-15-10-10); went very well…showing off for Sue? incline: 10 x 135, decline: 10 x 160, military: 2 x 50 (barely got it up, 10 x 45, 15 x 40, then 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine, plank, head stand, knee stretches..and goblet squats: 2 sets of 6 x 30, 6 x 40, 6 x 50…good depth..minimal pain when I “sat back.”

Math: trying to get myself to do the hard work to make an article worthwhile…there is a reason I balk. I need to force myself to learn new things throughout the academic year.

New photos from last weekend: no, I am not in them. Crystal ran about 7:30 mpm, and the other photo shows some 6:20-6:25 mpm runners (30 years ago..or more for me)


Why Biden is an anti trump

Yes, I appear to have become more bullish on Biden. I back Klobuchar (also like Booker). But Klobuchar and Booker and not getting traction.

Yes, I have worries about Biden; his age is a factor! Seriously, our creativity diminishes and our energy diminishes as well. If he wins the nomination, I hope he picks a younger, energetic VP candidate (e. g. Klobuchar, Biden, Harris…and please, NO Abrams!!!!)

While he is the clear front runner, it is early and he could well lose the lead.

One of the reasons I like Biden is because he is an anti-Trump in the following sense: Biden has always said that one should assume the best motives of one’s political opponents. They want good things for the American people, but they have different ideas as to how to get there, or a different idea as to what constitutes good things. He touts civility towards one’s political opponents.

Now that does NOT sit well with many liberals; part of our deal is that we like to think that we are better than “them” (smarter, more moral, etc.)

And demonizing “the other” is one of Trump’s main tactics:

Speaking in Orlando, Florida — and mostly reading from prepared remarks rather than improvising — Trump launched attack after attack on familiar hate figures: Democrats, the “fake news,” the Mueller investigators, and, of course, Hillary Clinton.

“Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage and want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it,” Trump said.

The speech actually opened on a positive note. Trump thanked his supporters, said he’s restored “government by and for the people,” and bragged about the economy’s performance.

Then, just about five minutes in, things took a turn.

“2016 was not nearly another four-year election. This was a defining moment in American history,” Trump said. Then in a mocking tone, he gestured toward the members of the media present and said: “Ask them, right there.” In case anyone missed his meaning, he added: “By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there.”

I honestly think that the country, as a whole, is tired of this.

Joe Biden: Promises to Keep (2008 campaign memoir)

I just finished Joe Biden’s book Promises to Keep. This book was published in 2007 and ends with his decision to run for President in 2008; we know how that ended up.

The book starts out with the home life stuff; many might find it interesting but I found that part to be a bit of a slog. I found that it picks up when he graduates from Syracuse Law School and worked for a firm which defended a company from a law suit filed by a cruelly injured worker…he expresses remorse that the poor, injured guy would probably come up empty.

And so goes much of the rest of the book. Biden expresses his values via how they came up during some of the big events of his long Senate tenure.

He starts by describing his improbable Senate victory in 1972 (he was previously a county office holder), the tragic death of his wife and child, and his early political battles including:
Vietnam, the Carter administration, the Bork nomination, his failed 1988 campaign (yes, he discussed the plagiarism issue in detail, both the speech and the work in law school), the Violence Against Women Act, Kosovo, (including his meeting with Milošević ), Afghanistan, Iraq and the Bush-Cheney administration.

On a personal note: the description of his brain surgery and recovery from it was interesting.

As far as tone, there are some things that might make the heads of progressives explode:
1. He goes over “law and order/crime” quite a bit.
2. He is a conservative on abortion rights…yes, he is politically pro-choice
3. He also has the attitude that one ought to assume the best motives in those you disagree with (politically). This “those who disagree with me politically are evil and stupid” is NOT his brand.

Personally: I liked the book and learned from it.

A couple of unpopular opinions: academia and immigration

First: workout notes: yoga then a 7.3 mile run in 1:26:48. It warmed up a bit during the run; it was evenly paced but the second half was downhill. I slowed a bit.

Someone took this one of me on the Steamboat course, with about a mile to go.

Muscle development: there but there is lose skin on my arms. Ugh.

Weight: 189 (after yoga, before running).

Issues: Of course, universities can be selective in who they admit and elite universities can be very, very choosy. But this spurred some memories:

A few weeks ago, documents leaked showing that about two years ago, when he was 16, some months before the shootings, Kashuv wrote racist comments in text messages and on a collaborative Google doc.

He was studying for the A.P. U.S. History exam with some classmates online. Around midnight they began posting childish things. Kashuv’s comments were repulsive — blatantly racist and anti-Semitic. He wrote the N-word 12 times and then explained that he was good at typing that word. “[P]ractice uhhhhhh makes perfect.”

When the comments became public last month, Kashuv immediately apologized. “We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” he noted.

On May 24, Harvard’s admissions dean, William Fitzsimmons, wrote to him explaining that Harvard was considering revoking his admission. Harvard reserves the right to revoke admissions for behavior “that brings into question your honesty, maturity or moral character.”

This isn’t the first time Harvard has done this:

Harvard has revoked at least 10 prospective students’ acceptance letters after it was discovered that the students shared racist and sexually explicit memes via a private Facebook group chat.

The group chat, which was at one point named “Harvard Memes for Horny Bourgeois Teens,” was formed in December of last year as an offshoot of the main Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook Group, the Harvard Crimson reported.

Students used the group chat to share offensive content that would have gotten them banned from the main class of 2021 Facebook group. Memes traded in the group reportedly mocked sexual assault, pedophilia, the Holocaust and children’s deaths.

I suppose they can use whatever criteria they want.

Personally, when I teach, I am concerned with just one thing: is the student learning the material and can they demonstrate competence in using said material? I care not at all what their beliefs are; they can be anything they like outside of my classroom. I focus on the material…ONLY.

Of course, they are not allowed to be disruptive in class as that inhibits the learning of others. And they have to treat me with a certain amount of decorum. Everything else: outside issue.

In fact, our university graduated an avowed white supremacist: he learned the material and met the requirements. He also ended up in prison, but not for anything he did in college.

Of course, students have some codes of conduct: they aren’t allowed to threaten other students, faculty or straff, commit campus crimes, etc.

But as far as their beliefs: well, that is up to them.

Immigrant mistreatment Yes, I know; asylum seekers, refugees , and immigrants (legal or not) are different categories of people and different laws apply. And, of course, I’d hope that my country treat them as humanely as possible while enforcing our laws.

But this exchange spurred some heated discussions:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday dismissed criticism from “shrieking Republicans” who targeted comments in which the freshman lawmaker called immigration detention facilities “concentration camps.”

“For the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps,” she tweeted.

“Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”

Now “concentration camps” might be the technically correct term. But I’ve heard OTHERS liken it to what happened to Americans of Japanese ancestry or to what the Germans did to the Jews.

There is a massive difference between:

1. Detaining non-citizens who attempt to enter another country, uninvited
2. Detaining ones OWN citizens against their will without due process (say, for a crime)
3. Going into another country and detaining other people against their will.

What the US is doing here is “1”, which is a very different thing than 2 and 3 (US in WW2..and Germany) and Germany in WW2.

One loses credibility when one conflates said situations.