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“Honest conversations about race”

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 May 2015

Have you noticed that a lot of the talking heads like to “call for” an “honest conversation about race,” but very few of them actually do it?

What’s stopping them?

Yesterday I did hear a pretty interesting conversation on CSPAN radio. Lessons from Baltimore Unrest

There was a lot of silly stuff, but at least they were addressing the issues head on. At least in the part I heard.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Solar panels on the roof

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 May 2015

About a year ago we got an offer from a solar company to put solar panels on our roof for free. The company would own the power generated, and would sell it back to the utility company (which is obligated by law to buy it).

Supposedly it would lower our utility bill.

We didn’t do it because it was a 20-year contract, and I think this technology is changing so rapidly that any deal done today will be foolish very quickly. It seemed that the solar company would be getting all the benefits from better technology, and we’d be stuck in a 20-year deal.

Now that Tesla is going to start offering a home battery, I’m going to start thinking about this more seriously.

The problem with solar, of course, is that it’s not on all the time. Good batteries are the key to making it work.

If you can run your house off a battery and allow the solar cells to recharge it — with the utility company standing by when additional power is necessary — then that makes a lot of sense.

For years I’ve been naysaying “alternative” energy because so far it’s been mostly hype and silliness. It looks like we might be to the point — or at least close to it — where solar will actually work. That is a very good thing.

-- 9 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Sexist or not?

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 April 2015

This is pretty funny.


(HT The Rational Male.)

Apparently some people were mad at the company for promoting the idea that women might want to be thin and attractive, but nobody seems to mind when photos imply that men might want to be muscular, etc.

On Facebook yesterday I posted a picture of Bernie Sanders and said he doesn’t look like a president to me. John very aptly said, ‘Remember this thread the next time somebody says “they wouldn’t criticize a man’s appearance.” (re: Hillary)’

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Families first, not dollars first

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 April 2015

Most of the time when people talk about “not putting profits ahead of people” and that sort of thing, what follows is standard socialist blather. I hope I can avoid that in this post, because I do believe we need to put people before profits, and that “pure capitalism” isn’t always the best choice.

E.J. Dionne has an interesting article: The Roots of Baltimore’s Anguish. He says part of Baltimore’s problem is that manufacturing jobs have gone away.

If it costs $100 to manufacture a widget in Baltimore, but only $50 to have it made in China and shipped here, it’s pretty obvious that you want to move your manufacturing to China. The lower cost of the widget increases the standard of living of people in the United States, who can now get more for less. (That is, if you consider filling your house with cheap junk an increase in the standard of living, but …. You get the point.)

The company cuts its costs, the consumer gets products at lower prices. Everybody wins, right?

But what about the displaced worker?

One theory would say that he can now move on to bigger and better things. We transition blue-collar workers to white-collar workers where they can make more money.

To some extent that is certainly true, and that does happen. As we’ve lost manufacturing jobs we’ve gained jobs in marketing and information and whatnot. A corollary of that theory is that we should invest more in education. Re-train these people. Send everybody to college so they can all sit in front of computers all day.

What this theory misses, I think, is that not everybody can do white-collar jobs. There’s a portion of the population that doesn’t belong in college. We need to have jobs for those people too.

“Economic efficiency” doesn’t only mean “getting widgets at the best price.” It also means making sure we have an environment where fathers can get the work they need to support a family.

But what are we doing? We’re sending manufacturing jobs overseas and importing cheap labor. It’s madness.

I recently had a new roof put on my house. All the workers were foreigners. I have nothing against foreigners. I married one. But why are we importing laborers when our own citizens aren’t getting the jobs they need?

This is one of the things about contemporary liberalism that makes no sense at all. They claim to be for the working man, but they won’t let anybody stop the flow of cheap labor across the border. The guys who put the roof on my house could have been from Baltimore rather than Guatemala.

If the problem in Baltimore and other cities is the lack of decent jobs, then let’s close the border until job growth can catch up. And perhaps we should also consider ways to encourage U.S. companies to keep jobs here.

I realize that’s not the most efficient thing, from one perspective. But while cheap widgets are nice, they’re not nice at the cost of cities full of broken families where people have no hope for the future.

I read once that there are four very simple things you can do to make sure you’ll have a decent chance in life. Get a job. Stay out of jail. Don’t have kids until you get married. Get married and stay married.

Our current culture / economy / legal system is undermining each of those things.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“Safe places” in college?

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 April 2015

I went to the University of Maryland back in the 80s. It was a safe place. I think there were two policemen assigned to watch over 30,000 students, or something like that. We walked around all hours of the day or night with no concerns.

It was definitely not “safe” in the way some people talk about “safe places” on campus. See In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas.

… student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate [about “rape culture”] too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

When I was in college I was a radical conservative Evangelical. Even back then, campuses were bastions of liberalism. (It’s only gotten worse since.) Conservative ideas, and particularly conservative Christian ideas, were attacked in almost every class.

My Mineralogy professor stuck to the subject, but most other professors thought that part of their job was to promote liberal ideology. And of course I was a hot-headed kid who wouldn’t back down from the challenge. There were arguments all the time. Nobody provided calming music and Play-Doh.

Many years later I went back to campus for some reason, and this weird sensation of hostility settled over me. I felt like I was behind enemy lines.

I would be willing to bet my mortgage that if there’s anybody on college campuses who feels oppressed, harassed and “not safe” (in the pansy way they’re talking about it), it’s the conservative Christians.

-- 8 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Sometimes you need to kill the guy

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 April 2015

A long time ago I read a debate in First Things about the death penalty. People were trying to interact with modern Roman Catholic teachings that the death penalty is unnecessary and should rarely be used.

John Paul II argued that since the state has the means to imprison people and keep them away from the general population, that is preferable to executions. Drawing on his experience as a judge hearing awful cases, Robert Bork replied that the pope didn’t know what he was talking about. Some people are so incredibly violent, Bork said, that putting them in jail is a serious threat to other inmates and to the guards.

This reminds me of a discussion I had recently on Facebook about shooting looters and arsonists. People don’t like the idea of the police using force or injuring rioters, but it’s not as if it’s a binary choice. People seem to think that we have simple choices in life — choices that have no other ramifications.

When people are burning down buildings, throwing molotav cocktails at police, etc., failure to contain that kind of chaos puts emergency responders in danger. E.g., firemen might die trying to stop the city from burning down.

All this came to mind when I saw this story: ‘Why I killed Jeffrey Dahmer': Prisoner reveals how serial cannibal taunted inmates, fashioning limbs out of prison food

Prisoners and prison guards have rights to. So do policemen, firemen, EMTs, and so on.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

If Democrats are so smart …

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 April 2015

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit.

Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The great inter-racial sock hop

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 April 2015

Here’s a legal question for you.

Let’s say Baltimore felt that it had a serious problem with race relations, so it created a series of inter-racial social events. You could only come if your date was of another race.

Would that be legal? Why or why not?

I’m not asking if it’s a good idea, only if it would be constitutional.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Is Rand Paul this stupid?

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 April 2015

According to The perilous new push to excuse lawlessness, Rand Paul said he wants to repeal …

“any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color.”

This is precisely what’s wrong with the way we deal with race in this country. Disproportionate impact is not evidence of bias, and Rand Paul is stupid to support a policy that endorses that assumption.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“The civil rights issue of our day”

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 April 2015

In a discussion about same-sex marriage on the radio, one person said that same-sex marriage was “the civil rights issue of our day.”

That conjured in my mind an image of a group of people who — looking longingly back on the real Civil Rights movement — are grasping about, searching for some contemporary analogy they can latch on to. So they can be civil rights heroes too. Dear things.

This sort of “me too” attitude seems to be a common issue in movements that are based on protest. Modern Protestants are always looking for new ways that Romanism is sneaking into the church. Modern feminists are always looking for new ways that men are oppressing them. Sometimes people get very creative in finding the bogeyman.

The attitude shows a very pessimistic view of human nature, as if there is some permanent threat, latent in humans (or in society), that has to be watched like a hawk. E.g., “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Things are naturally going to slide towards tyranny (or tribalism, or patriarchy, or …), so you have to be on your guard.

What strikes me as slightly odd about this is that people used to say that conservatives held this view of human nature, but that liberals believe man is basically good.

I don’t think so. Both sides see these latent threats. Liberals are always looking for the latest trampling of civil rights, or the latest example of human greed and rapacity devouring the planet and ruining the economy. Conservatives are always on the lookout for various kinds of tyranny, and for Oppressive Government forcing them to worship Caesar.

There is a sense in which liberals tend to fall for naivete about the evil in the world. The guy who thinks he can go live with the bears and hug out all his problems, or the young woman who thinks she can hitchhike across the country without being raped on some lonely road, is pretty likely to be a liberal. Sorry, that’s just the truth. As the saying goes, “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.”

But liberals and conservatives both have a negative view of human nature and see bogeymen hiding in the shadows. At least so far as their political and social principles are concerned.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-04-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-04-27 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Race riots come close to home
2015-04-27 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The line between “cool” and “jerk”
2015-04-26 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Idiot Young Turks
2015-04-26 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Accounts deleted
2015-04-25 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Hillary calls for change
2015-04-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Is a head transplant immoral?
2015-04-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
You know, it was an Adam Sandler film