Our toxic social and political environment

The longer I go on, the more reluctant I am to discuss social and political issues. I’ll give couple of examples of why.

Many years ago, I participated in a letter writing campaign which was designed to point out that our sitting state representative voted against a bill that would make it easier to vote early.
I got some phone calls about it, and some were pleasant..including one who supported the representative. But not all.

One person asked me what I did for a living. I told her that I was a college professor and she just KNEW that I taught communism and hatred of America. I chuckled and said that I was a mathematics professor and there was no anti-American way of solving a differential equation. Needless to say, she didn’t appreciate my response.

The point: based on her “priors”; she just KNEW what I did. KNEW.

And, “our” side is just a bad in that regard.

There was an incident in the Army Navy game where the Cadets and Midshipmen made circles with their hands. Of COURSE, internet liberals just KNEW those were “white power” signs (given that some white power people do use that sign) and of course, any official probe was going to be a “cover up.” And me…well those that know me just KNOW that I am defensive about the service academies since I graduated from one. KNOW.

And yes, from time to time, administrations lie. But mostly not; it may come as a shock, but they really don’t want blatant racists in the ranks. Oh yes, there is racism in the military, and yes, there was in the academy when I was there, but it was usually more subtle than that. Overt “white power” types were looked down on as being crude and uncouth, at least at the service academies.

But that is a digression. The bottom line is that zealots put too much faith in their priors and no amount of evidence will cause them to change their minds, so talking to them is a useless exercise. Hence I make liberal use of the “mute” button.

Democratic Debate: Klobuchar shines

I watched most of the Democratic debate.
Biden had a good night; looked relaxed and confident.
Sanders was Sanders
Klobuchar, at times, came across as the adult in the room.
Buttigeig took some shots but his talent showed.
Warren: IMHO, really wasn’t that good.
Yang: I still wonder why he is there.

Oh and the billionaire: who cares? Not me.

Klobuchar reminds Buttigieg that experience matters.

Buttigieg and Warren spar; Klobuchar becomes the “adult in the room.”

Impeachment: so what?

Ok, President Trump was impeached by the House. And that means…well…not much, IMHO. I do admire Speaker Pelosi’s tactics with respect to sending, or not sending, the articles to the Senate.

Still…what does it mean anyway?

Democrats will claim that no Republicans going along means that the Republicans are putting party (and personality) over country.
Republicans will claim that no Republican support means that it was a partisan witch hunt.

About the only thing I can say is that some of the House members clamoring for impeachment from the start (before the investigation) didn’t help matters. (here, here)

And yes, it COULD backfire.

But mostly, I don’t know and..I am just not that interested.

One more duty to go

March at graduation…ugh…and that will be it for the decade of 2010-2019 ..sort of.
The fun never stops. 🙂

Workout notes:

yesterday: yoga and a 5 mile walk outdoors (very slow)

today; leisurely weights only:
rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10: reasonably good
dead lifts: 5 x 135, 3 x 185, 1 x 225, a bunch of misses..still using my back, 1 x 230..could not get 235 or 240
hex dead: 6 x 185, 4 x 205
Issue: still too bound by my back. Butt and legs are weak. I need to emphasize the hex dead lift for a long time.
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (strong), 8 x 165
decline: 10 x 165
shoulder: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 180 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110
plank (2:30) and headstand.

Self talk during a workout

I’ll have more to say later this evening, but right now it will be about working out. Weight: OMG..193..but I did eat very late last night.

Workout: yoga then due to snow and cold..the plan was to just run 5 miles (40 laps of the outer lane, with 8 laps being 1.096 miles) but due to people on the track and some old guy timing intervals off of me, I ended up picking it up more than usual: 12:00, 10:32, 10:25, 10:28 (43:26) I knocked it off after 4; well 4.38 in 43:26 (about 9:55 mpm average; or about 9:33 average for 3.28 miles) as it was becoming, well, “too much work” and I wanted to leave something for the rest of the day.

Then a 11:03 mile on the treadmill finished it up for 5 for the day.

As usual, there were a LOT of old people on the track and …ugh…well, I think “that is ME in 10 years and I don’t like that” and that got me to thinking about retirement.

I’d love to see “retirement” as “you did great at work and you no longer have to work.” But instead it is “you’ve declined so much that you really can’t work effectively anymore.”

Bradley Basketball: As good as advertised?

I don’t want to exaggerate: Bradley is ranked 107 by the Sagarin ratings, and would be near the bottom of, say, the Big Ten or Big Twelve. And there were those blowout losses to Northwestern (unexpected) and Memphis (expected)

But BU is 7-3 vs. D1 competition (8-3 overall) and coming off of an 81-51 victory over a Georgia Southern team that isn’t that bad. Hot shooting (17 of 30, 4/5 from 3 point range) plus good defense lead BU to a 42-22 half time lead. But with about 12 minutes to go or so, GS cut the lead to 12 (58-46). But then game the finish which put BU up 79-48 with only a few minutes to go.

The dark cloud: BU lost one of its best players for 3-6 weeks with a hand injury. We’ll see what sort of depth the Braves have.

This was much better than it was before the current coach took over.

Workout notes: final exam mode. Weight: still 192.

rotator cuff
pull ups: 10-15-10-15-5-5 (the second set of 15 burned..I need to remember that)
goblet squats: 2 sets of 6 x 25

bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (strong), 7 x 165
incline: 10 x 135
hex dead (handles down) 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 1 x 225 (couldn’t get 2), 6 x 195
shoulder: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 90 Hammer machine, 10 x 140 Hammer
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 each arm (dumbbell), 10 x 110 machine
2:30 plank.

It was ok…I think that I need to push myself a bit more in at least 2-3 different exercises during the workout.

Ah sleep

I finally slept well…I might know why. We’ll see; I do have a revision of a paper to do and yet another paper to finish. Busy winter break for me.

Yesterday: nice “hill” workout: jogged to Bradley Park, (took a 1 mile route to get there) and did the “run hard up the hills” (and one flat sprint) and walk, then jog recovery. I got out of breath on the hills, which is the point. But my body felt ok. Long and gentle today.

I watched a couple of games; Illinois State football season came to an end with a hard fought 9-3 loss at North Dakota State; the defense played very well, and this was very different from the 37-3 kicking I saw earlier this year. So ISU went 8-4 in the regular season and won 2 more games, prior to losing in the quarterfinals. Great season!

Then I watched Navy polish off Army 31-7, getting 301 yards rushing from its quarterback (and all of 1 yard passing..from a wide receiver). Army had won the previous 3 in a row; once it was an “upset” and the other two times, Army was just better. Not today.

Interestingly enough, I complained (with hashtag) about Trump wearing a campaign ball cap to the coin toss. I incorrectly called it a MAGA hat (it was a KAG campaign hat, so the substance of my complaint: wearing a campaign hat at a CIC type of event, still stands.

I don’t have a big Twitter presences (only 44 followers on my sports account, and many of them are probably bots) but the tweet generated some heat.

Exhausted…politically speaking..perhaps…

No, I am not physically nor intellectually:

workout notes: slow walked my workout.
rotator cuff
pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 2 of 5
goblet squats: 2 sets of 6 x 25, 6 x 50
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline: 10 x 140
decline: 10 x 165 (easy)
shoulder press: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 7 x 85 barbell (standing)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
hex dead lift: (handles turned down): 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 1 x 225 (struggle), 6 x 185
plank: 2:30

Weight: 192. bloated from too much hot cereal; I was eating portions that worked well for me 4 years ago..I am older now. Time to cut back. Still, the pull ups were fine (and I worked out in sweat pants)

Exhausted: I know that David Brooks can write “cliche columns” but I agree with much of what he says here:

There are two power blocs driving politics today. First, there’s the proletariat. These are the working-class voters who go to Trump rallies in the U.S. and powered Brexit and Boris Johnson’s campaign in the U.K. They see their best world receding and they want a tough guy to bring it back.

Second, there is the precariat. These are the young and educated voters caught in the gig economy, who see no career security ahead. They want leaders like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn who will promise enveloping policies — free college, free internet, free child care — to give them some sense of safety.

These two groups are different in some ways. When the proletarians attack their enemies, they do so from a position of perceived social inferiority, so their attacks are resentful and brutal. When the precariat attacks, it does so from a position of perceived moral superiority, so its attacks are filled with ridicule, mockery and scorn.

But the movements do have parallels. Both are driven by a fear of the future, and of each other. Both have a tendency to embrace catastrophic, apocalyptic visions of the ruin around us. Dystopia has become the opiate of the activist class.

Haunted by economic insecurity, they will tolerate any sin in their leader — racism, anti-Semitism, dishonesty — so long as that person is willing to fight and be on their side. They both support massive, unrealistic policy proposals, because they reject the idea that politics is simply the muddled way we settle differences with people we disagree with.


People in the exhausted camp are tired of having politics thrust in their face every hour. As Ryan Streeter of the American Enterprise Institute has found, young people who are “lonely at least once in a while” are more than seven times more likely to be active in politics than those who are socially active. Those who are exhausted have other things to do. They want to restore politics to its rightful place, and find meaning, attachment, entertainment and morality in something else besides Twitter wars and election campaigns.


But the chief feature of the voters in the exhausted group is timidity. They do not get energy from conflict, the way, say, Trump does. Their instinct is to keep their heads down and just get through this craziness.

I might NOT label it “timidity.” Few who know me would call me “timid.” But I simply walk away from discussion now. I quit engaging Bible beaters a long time ago; if they want to think that the universe is less than 10K years old, there is little I can do to change their mind. And the same goes with the ulta-woke and their ridiculous social codes that THEY think that THEY have the power to enforce.

I just hope that the Democratic party leaders learn the lessons from yesterdays UK elections …from what I can tell, the Twitter liberals haven’t.