Testing just a little

Well, I decided to walk to and from the office. It went ok; I didn’t limp home though I did feel tightness ..and sitting..have to work something out there.

Full, complete PT.

Weights: pull ups: 3 sets of 10, 2 sets of 10 mixed grip (changing after 5 reps), 2 sets of 5 wide, and 5 chin singles.

Push ups: 30 incline, 30 decline, 20 deficit and 20 regular

bench (Swiss bar) 10 x 134, 7 x 145, 5 x 150

deadlift: 10 x 134 10 x 184 low, 10 x 260 high handle

rows: 3 sets of 10 with 40..need to think how to take the bicep out of it.

curs: 3 sets of 10

high incline: 2 sets of 10 x 88 (very, very easy)

Maxing out on baseball

Ok, I saw 5 of the last 6 Chiefs home games vs. Lake County.

I kind of overdosed but loved ALL of it. I’ve talked about the previous games.

Two nights ago, I went with Tracy to the Saturday game, which ended in another Chiefs loss 4-1.

Then last night, I saw the Chiefs absolutely unload..included a grand slam home run and they won big-time 15-2..and so thanks to one game, had more runs than the Lake Captains for the series. But the record books will say 1-5.

In all honesty, the Chiefs were inspired and the Lake Captains appeared to just want to go home.

Saturday: with Tracy; second one was the row that I had to myself for a while.

Regressing (sort of)

In terms of distance I can walk, I am sort of stuck. Yes, I can walk a bit further when not warmed up; walking the 0.3 miles from my car to the stadium no longer scares me and isn’t painful.

But still, today, I started to feel “micro symptoms” at about 0.6, honest symptoms at 1.2-1.3 and mild pain at 1.5; had to tighten the abs and focus to finish. I was uncomfortable. And I had a brief “stretch with the clock running” at about 1.4.

Part of the reason I went as far as I did was that there was a slow 13:30 or so runner to chase.

I had limited my pre PT to see if it helped. And yes, the first .5-.8 mile felt fantastic. But as usual, the blood goes to the spine and…that sort of ends it.

The swim: went ok. Ok, it went great; very encouraging.

800 yards of 50 side, 50 back or breast (alternating)

4 x 25 front kick, 25 free

200 in 3:34 (had a swimmer to chase)

100 back

200 kick drills with fins

4 x 25 free with fins

50 dolphin kick with fins

Weight: 204 (after breakfast).

Limbo (sort of?)

Most of my PT

Then a short walk at a modest pace; I was ready to quit when I did (symptoms)

The resistance part:

pull ups: 10, 10, 10, 10, 5 chin, 5 wide, 5 mixed grip, 5 mixed grip.

The mixed grip really felt good.

push ups: 30 incline, 30 decline, 30 incline, 10 regular (PT in between)

Downstairs weights: superset of the following:

high incline press (10 x 88…these were maybe too easy?)

one armed row with 40 (sets of 10)

deadlifts with the trap bar: 10 x 134, 10 x 184 low, 10 x 260 8 inch. All felt easy and painless.

So, where am I? I meet with the back surgeon in just over a week. The reality is that my main symptoms are tingles and glute pain while walking; it comes on roughly at 1.1-1.2 miles on a bad day and 1.5-1.7 on a good day. I wore new shoes today; they did feel better.

This week:

Monday: 1.11, 1.0, Wednesday: 2.02, Friday 1.58, Saturday 2.03 (really 1.8), Sunday 1.25. Total is 8.99 but a more “honest” total would be:

1.11, 2.02, 1.58, 1.80, 1.25

I have stuff to think about.

My workout videos

Race neutrality and policy: why I favor it

One of the reasons I am a Democrat is I believe that government can help make its citizen’s lives for the better; for me that includes things like safety nets for those falling on hard times AND stimulus for the economically disadvantaged.

Of course, one doesn’t get the policy that one favors unless those politicians that favor such policies get elected in large enough numbers to pass said policies, and that means winning votes from enough people.

So, how does one “get the votes?”

Given the make up of the US, the important body is the Senate, which gives 2 Senators for each state. This is important.

Now if one wants to pass some race specific policy, say one that specifically benefits Black people, one has to get enough votes to get it through the Senate. An important fact: 15 states have fewer that 5 percent Black people, and 28 have fewer than 10 percent. That represents 30 and 56 Senators respectively. The “Black vote” (which, of course, isn’t 100 percent monolithic anyway) cannot carry much, in and of itself.

And it appears that race neutral remedies are more popular with the public, on the whole. Via Matt Yglesias:

Joe Biden lost Florida this year even while winning the national popular vote by a large margin. That’s a clear sign that this longtime swing state is settling down with a distinctly reddish hue. At the same time, a referendum to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15/hour secured over 60 percent of the vote — a clear sign that this issue appeals across party lines. Polls from Pew and others routinely show 40 percent or more of self-identified Republicans backing minimum wage increases, along with overwhelming support from Democrats.

And the support isn’t just theoretical. In the 2018 cycle, states as red as Missouri and Arkansas approved minimum wage increases at the ballot box.

At the very same time, California’s Proposition 16 — which would have re-legalized affirmative action in college admissions and state contracting decisions — lost soundly in a much more progressive state where less than 40 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white.

Whatever the specific merits of these ideas, the political lesson seems fairly clear. Raising the minimum wage is more popular than the generic Democratic Party brand, while race-conscious admissions and contracting policies are less so.

He goes on to conjecture that perhaps that lesson is NOT learned on college campuses, where racial justice type programs are better received than programs to help the financially poor students. I talked more about this here.

What got me to thinking about this issue was this recent tweet from a professor:

Of course, it is important for policy experts to know the facts; and it doesn’t hurt if the public knows them as well.

But will saying “group A is much poorer than the rest of us” really drive people NOT from that group to back aid to set group?

My guess is “NO”: in the US, there is evidence that the poor and those with lesser levels of achievement are looked down on..possibly with contempt, disgust and disdain:

So pointing out that a group is not doing well might not be helpful in gaining support target to that specific group.

So, I think it would be wise to “market” such programs and policies in a race/group neutral way…and do so in an aspirational way…in terms of previous successful slogans: “Hand up, NOT hand out” and “Yes, We Can.”

Unfortunately, this goes against the grain of the “woke” wing of the party.

I hasten to point out that I am NOT saying that the logic of some of the wokes is faulty: one can point out that, in addition to segregation being legal and enforced IN MY OWN LIFETIME, one can point out practices like “redlining” and making it hard (if not impossible) for Black veterans to benefit from post WW II GI Bill programs directly impacted the current wealth inequality.

Nevertheless, when trying to win support from the majority (or plurality) that isn’t in that group, one has to take into account human psychology and to hit the right emotional tone. Something race neutral that disproportionally helps Black Americans might be more easy to get passed in Congress and signed into law.

It might not seem fair..and it might not BE fair. But policy is what we need and sometimes “by any means necessary” means communicating and packaging helpful policy in a way that does not alienate the voters that we need to have.

Workout catch up part N+

I forgot to log my Thursday weight workout so here goes: about 2 hours plus of PT and weights/strength.

Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (some sloppy), 2 sets of 5 wide

push ups: 20 incline, 30 decline, 30 incline, 20 regular (went well)

Swiss bar bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 156, 6 x 145, 6 x 145

curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

trap bar deads (all low) 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 184 (being “squatty”)

Felt good afterward.

Today: ok…walking has been rough this week; it seems as if symptoms come on about 1.3-1.4 miles; to be honest, whether I make it to 2 depends on if I can get the right degree of ab tightening and do some mini back stretches on the fly. Yes, this is better than the old 0.8 miles but …adding .5-.6 miles in a month’s time? Gads.

I wonder if it is past time to put the ego on hold and just stop when symptoms appear.

So far, this week looks like:

Monday: 1.11, 1.0, Wednesday: 2.02, Friday 1.58, Saturday 2.03 (really 1.8)

But really, the symptom free distance is 1.3-1.5 on a good day, 1.1 on a bad one.

Today’s workout:

Swim: ok, that went ok.

800 of 50 side, 50 choice (choice being 50 breast or 50 back)

200 of 25 front kick (no fins), 25 free

200 in 3:38 (felt fine, if slow)

100 back

350 fins, consisting of 200 free kick (SFS, font, side), 100 dolphin kick, 50 free with fins)

1650 yards in all.

Then I drove home as people showed up at the playground and were on the path.

PT (second round…mini round in the morning)

A very rough 1.8 mile walk..and because I was near Bradley Hall, I did a 20 second stretch (if that) and walked it home.

So so walk; better swim

More and more I think that I will get some sort of invasive treatment for my nerve root impingement. I am progressing …well..sort of stuck.

Today’s walk:

It started ok; faint symptoms early but at about 1.35 I knew it would be rough so I turned for home.

Then it became a “rock in the shoe” day: university gym was closed sans announcement, I parked at the Riverplex alone but a big blue truck right next to me…Stanley Steemers in my neighborhood…(noise), someone in the locker right next to mine.

BUT the train in the parking lot did stop…and I got a swim lane and a decent 1500 yard swim:

800 of side/back, side/free

200 of kicking without fins

200 in 3:38 (pedestrian but easy)

200 of fin kick drills

2 x 25 free

50 in 49 seconds

Weight: 205, but that was after lunch.


Chiefs lost 3-2 even though…in the bottom of the 9’th, it was 3-2, and the Chiefs got runners on first and second with no outs! Then:

  1. strikeout
  2. runner trying to steal third was thrown out.
  3. strikeout

The Chiefs have lost a lot of games like this…right on the verge.

Encore post: religiosity vs homicide rate (by country)

Note: I wrote this for my old blog after the Sandy Hook shootings. And little has changed since then; you still have those saying “we need GOD back in our schools”, as if that would solve anything.

So I decided to crunch some data (this was from 10 years ago, of course) and to the surprise of no one, religiosity positively correlated with homicide rate.

Note: I am NOT suggesting that religiosity leads to the desire to murder; it is likely linked to poverty or possibly a coping mechanism for a violent world.

The encore post follows:

There was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut today, and 27 people are dead (mostly kids). Of course this is horrible; I can’t imagine the reaction from the other kids, parents, grandparents and other loved ones. My heart goes out to them.

Some perspective: where the death of a kid is sad, and more shocking when it is unexpected and enraging when it is as the result of an intentional, senseless act, death from these events is not the biggest risk that kids have. Here is a bigger one that doesn’t make the headlines (because it doesn’t kill as many at one time):

In 2009, a total of 1,314 children age 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,314 fatalities, 181 (14%) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Out of those 181 deaths, 92 (51%) were occupants of a vehicle with a driver who had a BAC level of .08 or higher, and another 27 children (15%) were pedestrians or pedalcyclists struck by drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.

In short, drunk driving crackdowns can save more kids than, say, potential measures to prevent such massacres.

And don’t even get me started on wars…

But what about this event? Of course, the debates over gun control open up full throttle. You will see: “we need more gun control” and “guns don’t kill people” and “if only the teachers or others were armed, they could have killed the gunman.” Yeah, sure, to the latter.

And of course, we have the usual: “see, God let it happen because we turned away from God”:

(uh, the less religious countries have much lower rates of violent deaths than we do) I’ll post some data at the end of this post.

But while I have an argument that makes sense to me, I realize that I had little or no data to back up my argument. So I found an article that did pose some data:

So what are the factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level?

Poverty is one. The correlation between death by gun and poverty at the state level is .59.

An economy dominated by working class jobs is another. Having a high percentage of working class jobs is closely associated with firearm deaths (.55).

And, not surprisingly, firearm-related deaths are positively correlated with the rates of high school students that carry weapons on school property (.54).

What about politics? It’s hard to quantify political rhetoric, but we can distinguish blue from red states. Taking the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential election, we found a striking pattern: Firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain (.66) and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama (-.66). Though this association is likely to infuriate many people, the statistics are unmistakable. Partisan affiliations alone cannot explain them; most likely they stem from two broader, underlying factors – the economic and employment makeup of the states and their policies toward guns and gun ownership.

Firearm deaths were far less likely to occur in states with higher levels of college graduates (-.64) and more creative class jobs (-.52).

Gun deaths were also less likely in states with higher levels of economic development (with a correlation of -.32 to economic output) and higher levels of happiness and well-being (-.41).

And for all the terrifying talk about violence-prone immigrants, states with more immigrants have lower levels of gun-related deaths (the correlation between the two being -.34).

Of course, these are STATISTICAL findings (e. g., Connecticut is a blue state); and yes, we have gun deaths in Illinois…a LOT of them, especially in Chicago.

Here is another list of facts about mass shootings: the US is more prone to these than other countries (duh) and the mere presence of more guns doesn’t lead to more gun deaths (Switzerland is an example). Switzerland does require firearms training though.

Data on Religiosity Vs. Homicide rate (reposted from an earlier blogpost about theater shootings)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.

I suppose that if I had a different upbringing, I’d laugh at such absurd statements. Unfortunately, I grew up among superstitious people who think EXACTLY like that. Whereas I am grateful I no longer have to associate with that crowd, I feel the need to point to, well, statistical evidence. Let’s look at homicide rates by country:
(rates: per 100,000 population; the US rate is 4.8 per 100,000; we rank 27’th:

Our religiosity rate (by the “unimportant” rating) is 34.5 percent, which is 42’nd (less religious is higher in this scale).

What do you notice? That’s right; the less religious countries are also LESS violent.

I decided to run a regression on the religiosity versus homicide rate; here “x” is “percent saying that religion is UNIMPORTANT” and “y” is homicides per 100,000 population.

The regression formula is y = 23.4 – 29.8 x which means that the the higher percentage of the population saying that religion is unimportant, the lower the homicide rate.

The plot is a bit of a mess:

Vertical axis: homicide rates per 100,000 population. Horizontal axis: percentage of population saying that “religion is unimportant” That is about as clear as it gets, though the relation is non-linear (and really shouldn’t be either).

and of course, this is highly non-linear; r^2 = .153.

Then look at the US prison population (FBI statistics):

In **1997**, the Federal Bureau of Prisons released the professed religious adherence rate of those in the U.S. Federal Prison system.

Christians make up about 80% of the American population AND prison population.

However, Atheists make up about 8% of the American population but only 0.2% of the prison population.

Bottom line: atheists are LESS likely to commit crimes than believers, though some of that might be due to factors such as educational level.

In any event, there is zero evidence for the claim that being religious and believing in superstitions makes someone more moral.

Some Chiefs baseball

Yes, this is how I relax.

Yesterday the Chiefs dropped a contest against the Lake County Captains 6-4 in 11 innings. What was weird is that the starter had a very rough start; gave up a double to the first batter and 4 earned runs…but then over the next 5 innings: “3 up, 3 down”. In fact the Chiefs retired 28 batters in a row while they crawled back into the game.

It was 4-3 going into the bottom of the 9’th but the Chiefs got runners on 2’nd and 3’rd with one out. Then came an intentional walk to load the bases…and the Captains walked the next run in! So it was 4-4 in the bottom of the 9’th, 1 out and bases loaded…then a strike out (on a full count no less) and another out.

In the 10’th..once again, the Chiefs had runners on 2’nd and 3’rd with 1 out and the game still tied at 4…stranded them.

Then some ill advised infield play lead to 2 runs by the visitors and a 6-4 loss.

Today: virtually empty. It was 5-1 Captains in the top of the 8’th before the thunderstorms let loose…I made it to my car when it let up a bit. Not sure it they will continue, or pick it up tomorrow, or just call it.

Opinion: we will do NOTHING about our gun violence problem.

Oh, I’ve heard it before: “gee, 90 percent of the public including 77 percent of Republicans support background checks.” And yes, polls say that people support background checks…but when it comes to closing the loophole that allows for gun sales if the background check hasn’t been done in 3 days..not so much.

And in 2016, background check measures were on the general election ballots in Nevada and Maine, two states that Hillary Clinton won. Result: about 50-50; narrow win in Nevada and narrow loss in Maine.

As for the assault rifles (a military rifle with the civilian version having the automatic feature disabled ) we see that Iowa has a bill on the governor’s desk…which allows for deer hunting with AR-15s.

Bottom line: there is no real public will to do anything. The conservatives will say stupid things like “arm the teachers” or “battle harden the schools” but, in reality, their attitude is more “hey, in a free country, stuff happens.” Example: