What to make of it all

I remember the 2008 election well, especially since I volunteered for the Obama campaign…EARLY (as in winter, 2007). In June 2007, they briefed us and told us what the strategy would be:
1. Hold his own in Iowa and New Hampshire
2. Play Clinton to a tie during Super Tuesday by focusing on gathering delegates in the smaller caucus states; remember that Clinton won the big states.
3. Have field offices set up in the “next 10” states/DC before the second wave of big states.

Clinton thought she was going to knock out Obama during super Tuesday and didn’t have the offices set up in those next 10 states. Obama did and he absolutely trounced her in those…it was there he built up his big delegate lead.

She basically “played him to a tie” after that but by then it was too late; she was hopelessly behind.

So…who is going to have their field offices set up…have the relationships with the local political leaders set up..who is ready to compete in Super Tuesday and beyond? Did Klobuchar and Buttigieg peak early? Will black voters vote as a block or will their votes be as spread out as everyone else’s votes?

We have a LOT of questions moving forward. I think any one of 6 candidates can win: Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Warren, Biden and yes…Bloomberg MIGHT be a player in Super Tuesday. MIGHT.

We may well have a brokered convention.

Workout notes
weights only. Still slightly weak. Weight: 195
pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 2 of 5 (not much rest)
rotator cuff
incline: 10 x 135 then 1 x 160, 2 x 155, 5 x 150 (little rest between the last sets)
decline: 9 x 170
shoulder press (dumbbells today) 6 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 115 machine, 10 x 200 Hammer (very easy)
goblet squats: 6 x 25, 50, 70, 70 (best in a while)
plank, McKenzies
Walk home to deadlifts:

6 x 145 form, 4 x 211, 4 x 233 (not as easy as I’d hoped)
6 x 167 Romanian
6 x 220 hex bar

That finished me off.

A rant about poverty and safety nets..

Fact: modern day America is not 50,000 years ago or even 500 years ago; we are not living in a resource scarce area. I realize our ancestors had it very, very hard…at times, they even had to kill unwanted kids during times of extreme scarcity.

That isn’t our current state in the United States of America.

People become poor for many reasons. Many kids are born into it. And about those poor parents having kids:

It is complicated. Sometimes, people make reasonable decisions based on reasonable assumptions and unfortunate things happen: accidents, illnesses, lay-offs…unexpected caretaking duties for a family member, a baby is born with a chronic health condition that is expensive to deal with, etc. It can be a million things…reasonable people can behave reasonably and things still go bad.

And yes, sometimes, the parents are morons…just complete idiots who do stupid thing after stupid thing, and they are blissfully unaware of their stupidity. They start with no margin of error, behave recklessly and become even worse off.


In my opinion, a humane, relatively affluent society should provide some basic floor for living: to me that includes basic shelter, food, schools, heat (in cold weather regions) and medical treatment.
Of course, most people do better when there is incentive to work for it; I am not talking about luxury for everyone. But I am talking about our society providing some peace of mind that no one will be thrown out in the cold…not even the complete idiots.

Yes, I know…some will refuse help…there is always that vexing balance between giving people the freedom to fail and be idiots and being cruel..so I am talking about “help to those who need and want it” and basic help.

Yes, this would include my tax dollars going to some that I find unpleasant. So be it.

Lingering soreness

I woke up with “sore”, well, “low grade sore” legs and wondered if I could shuffle at all. I could..a couple of hours AFTER I had woken up. Doing it right away is just very hard right now.

It was just over 5 miles in just over 1:02 and I felt..ok. It wasn’t the death march last week’s slightly longer “run” was. Why dead lifts would leave me with sore legs is a bit of a mystery..unless it ws because I did some Sumo style.

What this means is that my Tuesday “post yoga” run will have to suffice as my “Steamboat 15K training run”, at least so long as I do Saturday dead lifting for poundage. Or..perhaps do the run every other Saturday (followed by light dead lifts) and do “heavy” (less light?) dead lift every other Saturday..stick with medium ones in between.

Social comments: We don’t learn. Impeachment did NOT hurt Trump’s ratings..

Education: This is a longer article which is a review of two books that interest me. But buried in it is this: Finger. Wagging. Does. Not. Change. Minds.

One fascinating study Klein quotes found that “priming white college students to think about the concept of white privilege led them to express more racial resentment in subsequent surveys.” Anti-racist indoctrination actually feeds racism. So tribalism deepens.

Personally, I wish we stuck to teaching our subjects..and by “we” I mean professors. I try to be “all math, all the time.”

I am a universe away from the genuine athletes

And yes, today’s workout went ok. Afterward: I weighed 196.7 with sweatpants (about 194 with no clothes) so the weight is moving in the right direction;

pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (left elbow/forearm…probably from front squats (holding the bar))
rotator cuff
incline bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 150
decline bench: 9 x 170 (wasn’t quite comfortable enough to attempt a 10’th rep..but this is 5 lb up)
dumbbell shoulder press: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
machine rows: with 120: 3 sets of 10
goblet squats: first 6 x 25, then later: 6 x 50, 6 x 70 (to the sill..knees might have bowed in a bit)
clean and press: 6 x 95
back squats: (in between the first and 2’nd goblet squats) 3 sets of 5 x 95. Depth is still lacking.
plank (2:30
head stand This all took 55 minutes.

back home for 20 more minutes: hex bar squats: 6 x 176, 3 x 220 (231 felt too heavy for reps), 6 x 209
Romanian 6 x 145 (better check my back..these should have been more challenging)

Yes, I worked up a sweat. But I am not kidding myself: there is a universe of difference between what I do (and have ever done) and what the genuine athletes do.

Politics: Jerry Jones will beat Paul Krugman

First: I did my morning workout: yoga with Ms. V and then 5 treadmill miles: 5.2 going up every 5 minutes (32:54 at 3) then 42:41 at 4, 52:24 at 5. I didn’t have the pep to go too much under a 10 minute pace toward the end (19:30 for the final 2). I felt good but must have looked terrible getting off of the treadmill.

Now about politics: I see this so often.
1. Liberals lionize someone..either a kid (here or here) or some orange haired “activist.”

2. Conservatives attack: “that kid needs to learn some….(insert “history”, “policy”, “economics”)” while smirking.

3. Someone like Paul Krugman pounces point out that said activist is saying basically true things.

4. Liberals say “see…I told you…listen to the kid…even Krugman (or some other expert) says that they have it basically right…”

And we lose. Why?

Politics often has little to do with facts; conservative attacks are more about “neener neener…those libs are following some dumb kid (or weird activist)” hoping that the undecided say “ugh..do I want to ally myself with THEM?” That is, “is THAT the kind of team I want to join?”

The correctness of the ideas has very little to do with it.

And that is where Jerry Jones, the owner of the NFL Cowboys, comes in. The Cowboys are the NFL’s most profitable team and, by objective measures, perhaps the most popular team.

Yes, the do have a distinguished history; at one time, they WERE among the NFL’s elite, year in, year out.

But that was a long time ago. In the 24 seasons since their last Super Bowl win (1996, after the 1995 season):

1. Regular reason: they are 20 games above .500, with a record of 202-182 (about a 9-7 season average).
2. Playoffs: they have appeared 10 times and have…FOUR Wild Card Round wins to show for it..zero divisional round wins..which means zero appearances in the NFC championship game.

Reality: the Cowboys are a very average franchise, in terms of on the field success. And yet, they remained viewed as one of the top franchises.
That is “marketing” and Democrats are dreadful at it.

That is, IMHO, why we lose so much.

Not getting it…

Liberals aren’t good at marketing. Yes, one might argue that is ad is intended to get other liberals to contribute to the “Ditch Mitch” campaign.

But I’d imagine that this would be counterproductive, especially when shown in Kentucky. Hint: Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah probably won’t convince many Kentuckians; this is a bit like trying to convince San Francisco people to vote against a Democrat …by quoting Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

We just don’t get it.

Others do; there are Republican strategists who hate Trump and are trying to help us learn to win elections. This is an excellent article by Rick Wilson on “how to run against the devil.”

Along those lines: the humanities are suffering badly and this article links to a free Chronicle of Higher Education special on the death knell of the humanities. I am sure the problem is deep and has multiple causes, but one thing strikes me: will students and parents want to fork over 6 digits worth of tuition in order to learn how to be offended?

Yes, classical humanities has quite a bit to offer, especially as small as the world has become. But I worry that the outside reputation of the humanities is that it is mostly a bastion of wokeness.. place to learn about the 37+ gender pronouns and the plight of transgender males who suffer through periods.

Self destructive attitudes, personal and political

No one would ever accuse me of being a relationship expert. But this article makes a lot of sense to me: one of its conclusion is that a negative remark (spoken or unspoken) can damage a relationship much more that positive deed can every help it.

Also: relationships can start off with a bang, and the key to keeping them going is to avoid declining too much.

What mattered was the bad stuff, as the psychologists concluded: “It is not so much the good, constructive things that partners do or do not do for one another that determines whether a relationship ‘works’ as it is the destructive things that they do or do not do in reaction to the problems.” When you quietly hang in there for your partner, your loyalty often isn’t even noticed. But when you silently withdraw from your partner or issue angry threats, you can start a disastrous spiral of retaliation.

“The reason long‑term relationships are so difficult,” says Caryl Rusbult, who led the couples study, “is that sooner or later one person is liable to be negative for so long that the other one starts to respond negatively too. When that happens, it’s hard to save the relationship.” Negativity is a tough disease to shake—and it’s highly contagious. Other researchers have found that when partners are separately asked to ponder aspects of their relationship, they spend much more time contemplating the bad than the good. To get through the bad stuff, you need to stop the negative spiral before it begins.


Most people don’t recognize the negativity effect in their relationships. When Roy Baumeister, one of the authors of this piece, asks his students why they think they would be a good partner, they list positive things: being friendly, understanding, good in bed, loyal, smart, funny. These things do make a difference, but what’s crucial is avoiding the negative. Being able to hold your tongue rather than say something nasty or spiteful will do much more for your relationship than a good word or deed.

A companion to that: Consider this meme, which was posted by a local running group:

I see this as illogical: it starts with “no approval needed” followed by a list of “is it ok…” questions…that is…seeking approval.
And THAT is where the “trouble” is: I think the issue isn’t “not racing” or “being slow” but rather expecting others to applaud your efforts. Applause is earned and really can’t be demanded. The winner of the race will always get more praise than I will, and IMHO, that is the way things should be.

We are free to be mediocre and even underachieve (if this isn’t our job) but we have no right to expect applause for it. And if our feelings get hurt when we don’t get it, THAT IS ON US.

People are naturally attracted to success and if we don’t have any, well, we are apt to be starved for attention and be resentful.

As our basketball coach says:

And this brings me to politics
Yes, I am a liberal but I often get sick of liberals and wonder if they keep us from winning politically.

Here is why I say this: yes, Republicans run on anger all of the time. But they direct their anger at “the other”; the ones wagging their fingers at them, calling them “backwards, stupid, bigots,”, etc.

Yes, the rank and file are getting conned..but they are being told: “vote for us and we’ll protect you from those overbearing liberals and lazy moochers.”

Now the liberals use anger too..but the anger is directed at..well, people who don’t want to support those who have less, those who, say, decline to “admit” that a “woman can have a penis”, “gender is a social construct”, etc. And the problem here is that the Democratic “tent” is a wider one, ideologically speaking, and every subgroup has different views and interests than the other subgroup, and when the sanctimonious liberal pontificates, they end up attacking would be political allies.

I see a little of this when I go to our local Democratic dinner. Local Democrats are mostly a coalition of African Americans and Labor; the people I see online or on college campuses tend to be more of the “feminist/LGBT rights” and “science and reason” types. And the latter groups often unintentionally insult the former.

Unless we have a very charismatic candidate that can being at least a modicum of unity (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama) we are in trouble and may well screw ourselves in the upcoming election.

I have not resigned myself to a loss yet..but I see a loss as likely.

Onward to 2020: being a head case (sports)

Yes, I have two work projects to do, and yes, world events are FAR more important than this dribble. But here I go anyway:

I’ve always had sports goals and they’ve always been, well, average. And yes, I tend to get obsesses by one goal or another, be they power lifting, running, walking, swimming, etc. and frankly, I suck at every sport I try.
I am just getting back into dead lifting after years of neglect and, well, I looked at some of what older people are doing:

Good Lord. I did 240 last year and I’ll post today’s workout in just a bit.
Yes, I know what an outlier is; it is a concept that I teach. Intellectually, I understand that. These older people are like those who dead lifted 700-800 lbs as a 20-30 year old male (my best is 425); realistically, I can expect to perhaps reach 1/2 of what the best 60 year old males do.

And yes, some of the stuff I do is counter productive; my distance walking and running hurts my lifting and my lifting hurts my distance running and walking. There is no denying that.

But, well, I still have that emotional reaction: “if they can do that, why can’t I?”

But..there is another side to this. The percentage of people my age who have trouble with climbing the steps or even being able to do a single pull up is much, much greater than the percentage of people who can handle these big weights.

I think the idea is this: we have eyes in the front of our heads; we can see only those ahead of us. That is why I feel so bad after a 5K when it feels as if I’ve finished dead last..in fact I sometimes am “upper 1/3” but it doesn’t feel that way. I can see the river of people ahead of me, not those behind me.

Yes, I know: focus on myself, with my abilities, time to train, etc. That is all I can do. But man..it sure seems as if I should be moving bigger weights. I might be able to if my form improves and I am diligent.

Workout notes Low energy today; weight was 194.5 (197 with shoes and shorts and shirt)

rotator cuff
pull ups: got 5 sets of 10.surprised
bench: weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185 (felt the shoulder)
incline press: 10 x 135
decline press: 8 x 165 (weak)
dead lifts (need to get shoes…did without shoes): 6 x 135, 3 x 185, 1 x 225 (missed 2 x), miss 240, 6 x 185, 6 x 205 (went all the way down)
shoulder press: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
2:30 plank
head stand
3 mile walk untimed (felt good)
Also: 2 sets of warm up squats with 25 lb. plate; focused on keeping the knees out.

Being honest, speaking without a filter and “telling it like it is.”

Sometimes people praise Trump for “telling it like it is.” Really?

Fact: Trump often lies or gets things wrong.

What I think people mean: “Trump speaks without a filter” or “Trump speaks without regards to “feelings.””

Now that might be true. But is that a good thing?

I know that I often bite my tongue for many different reasons:

1. It what I am thinking really accurate? Often: it isn’t. My assumptions can either be wrong or incomplete. I might have facts wrong, and from time to time, I make logical errors (“this might not follow from that.”)

2. Is what I am saying really necessary? True, this person might be “fat” or “unintelligent” but why is it my responsibility to point it out?

3. Is my phrasing the best way to phrase something? Or, can I say it a different way to be more effective? How is the person taking what I am saying?
I know that good coaches phrase things differently to get better results: example, “don’t miss” puts the word “miss” into their player’s mind; instead they say “make this” which puts the word “make” into their mind.

On the other hand, I am not going to lie either. For example, I cannot, in good faith, tell a person with average athletic ability that they will be in the Olympics.

The inability to discuss anything non-technical on twitter…

I found this thread on the Steele dossier to be useful:

The TL;DR: this was raw intelligence, which included stuff that is unlikely to be true for many reasons, and extracting information from it requires competent analysis, and by “competent” I mean “skilled in this type of intelligence”. Being smart and having “common sense” is insufficient.

OF COURSE, the author was attacked to supporting Trump, not going by Rachel Maddow’s “connect the dots” analysis because she is a woman, etc.

Now, this is technical, but RadiofreeTom was attempting to explain the situation to non-experts. Good luck with that.

Other stuff:

It is common to try for success in your dream field/profession and to come up shorter than you had hoped you would. That leaves this interesting question:

Yes, aptitude matters. I’ve seen people fail out of stem programs because they lacked the sufficient aptitude to attain the level of success that they wanted. You might even said that was true of me; after all, I am not full professor at MIT (and shouldn’t be). And I certainly failed spectacularly at sports.

Now, of course, one can get into this whole aptitude thing: are we talking about genetic aptitude (yes, it exists), or aptitude due to environmental factors (e.g. fetal alcohol syndrome people, or some sort of physically or mentally debilitating injury, or lack of development due to illness, poor early nutrition, or perhaps retarded development due to early environmental factors…) Yes, it is very complicated.

Still…interesting issue, and no, I have zero desire to discuss this with a woke.

The Big Ten and SEC teams are starting play and let the excuses and rationalizations begin: