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Obama High School

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 October 2017

I just saw a headline that a school named after Jefferson Davis is going to be renamed for Obama.

But in 2035, there will be a movement to eliminate all references to anyone who ever opposed same-sex marriage, so it will have to be renamed again.

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Until they turn on you

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 October 2017

Anyone who claims to be surprised that there are abusive creeps in Hollywood immediately loses any credibility.

Think about it for a minute. If you were an abusive creep, wouldn’t you want to be in a position where thousands of gorgeous young women were desperate to get your stamp of approval on their career? Or, to put it another way, even if you didn’t start out as an abusive creep, if you were in that position, wouldn’t it be incredibly easy to start taking advantage of it?

God save me from ever having that sort of temptation.

That there are Harvey Weinsteins in the world is no surprise. (Assuming all these stories are true, of course. I don’t read Hollywood gossip stuff, so I’m just assuming he’s actually guilty.)

The most interesting thing in this story is how quickly a man can fall.

Again, I haven’t read the stories, but from the little that seeps into my awareness (without any intent on my part) — headlines here and there, comments around the water cooler, etc. — it seems that people have known about Weinstein’s “problem” for quite a long time. For years they’ve been silent about it. Now, once the feeding frenzy has begun, everybody has a story about how creepy this Weinstein character is. It’s time to pile on and “show how much you care.”

It’s a bit like the cute but deadly aliens in Galaxy Quest. Once they turn, look out!

Where were these people a year ago?

They were exactly where they are now. Following the herd.

When the herd says “he’s favored, untouchable,” you don’t touch him. When the herd says, “kill him,” the claws come out.

Which raises the question, what’s the tipping point? At some point “we all know this gross and embarrassing thing, but we agree to keep silent about it” transmogrifies into “sharpen your knives.”

Control that and you control the world.

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The internet that cried “me too”?

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 October 2017

People have taken to posting “me too” on their Facebook pages so the rest of us can see how widespread a problem we have. This latest social media outrage was allegedly inspired from a tweet by Alyssa Milano.

“If all the women and men who have been sexually harassed, assaulted or abused wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #metoo”

Maybe. But it seems to me that “harassed, assaulted or abused” is too broad a criterion.

I’m not in favor of people being subjected to any of these things, but “sexually harassed” has become such a loose term, I would have a hard time imagining anyone — man or woman — who hasn’t been subjected to it. And when you universalize an issue like that, it might have the opposite of the intended effect.

In other words, you see that your friend posts “me too” on their Facebook page, and you can’t help but thinking, “Okay, I know I’m supposed to reply with some sort of cry-face emoji, but the ‘barrier to entry’ is so low, it might mean no more than that somebody called you Toots.”

17 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Does universal healthcare stifle innovation?

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 October 2017

This is a thought experiment. I don’t know how this sort of thing plays out in the real world.

Imagine there’s some disease called mancer. It kills 10,000 people a year, and there’s no effective treatment.

Now imagine a doctor comes up with a treatment, but the treatment costs $20 million.

Scenario 1 — No universal health care.

A couple rich people (or their children) get mancer. They gladly pay the $20 million to get the treatment. Through that process they learn how to bring the cost down so it’s only $5 million, which puts the treatment in the range of more people, which allows for continued innovation to drive the price down. Eventually it’s cheap enough that the 10,000 people a year can get it.

Scenario 2 — Universal health care.

There’s no way the country can afford to spend $20 million on 10,000 people each year, so the treatment goes nowhere.

I have a sneaking suspicion something like this is how healthcare actually works. The United States develops all sorts of innovative drugs and therapies, and countries with socialized medicine get the benefit. If the United States goes to socialized medicine, will that be the end of innovation?

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“Gender stereotypes” saved lives in Louisiana

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 October 2017

Pigweed sent along this link: Gender stereotypes are destroying girls, and they’re killing boys

You know the drill. “Toxic masculinity.” The worst thing you can tell a boy is to be a man. Blah blah blah.

When the Cajun Navy hooked up their bass boats, drove 400 miles and went house to house to rescue people from flood waters, why doesn’t “masculinity” get any credit?

When that guy carried a mother and daughter out of harm’s way, why don’t “gender stereotypes” get some credit?

Yes, I know there are female first responders and such, but by and large it’s a man’s business.

Thank God they were raised to be men!

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel


by Greg Krehbiel on 13 October 2017

I am, often unfortunately, a Washington Redskins fan. So this morning when I saw a man wearing a burgundy and gold #17 jersey, I knew that was the number worn by both Billy Kilmer and Doug Williams, who led the Redskins to win Super Bowl XXII. (Are you allowed to say Super Bowl 22, or is that a trademark violation?) That season, Williams was the only starting black quarterback in the NFL, and he was the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

The Redskins didn’t just win that Super Bowl. It was a rout. Williams was incredible, throwing four touchdowns in a single quarter.

His next season wasn’t so good, and the season after that he lost the starting job to Mark Rypien.

A lot of people saw racism in Williams’ rapid decline, and Williams fed that with his book, Quarterblack. (Which I haven’t read, but I just ordered it.)

I have no idea if racism played into the demise of his career, and that’s not my point.

There are lots of potential explanations for why Williams lost the starting position, despite his stunning performance in SB22. The most obvious is that he wasn’t playing as well, but there could be others. Maybe he was making himself a pain, either to management or the other players. Maybe there was a contract dispute.

I don’t know, and I don’t follow that side of football. I like the games, but I don’t get into all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

What’s interesting to me is the way some people react to this story. They assume the answer is racism, and not only that, they then use it as an example of racism.

IOW, they read racism into the situation, and that conclusion bolsters their conviction that racism is rampant.

I’m not saying race had nothing to do with it. It’s possible there is very good reason to believe that race had almost everything to do with it. I’m leaving open the possibility that some people say it’s an example of racism because it actually was. I was alive and aware back then, and there was a lot of racism. People may have solid reasons to believe Williams was a victim of it.

There may be such people, but living in the D.C. area I’ve heard lots and lots of people use Doug Williams as an example of racism in the NFL, and I can guarantee you that most of them do not have solid reasons. They had a suspicion, which became a belief, which became a “fact” in support of that belief.

Confirmation bias. We all do it.

We’re inclined to see something a certain way, and then the very act of seeing it that way feeds our bias.

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The end of the Boy Scouts?

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 October 2017

The Boy Scouts (sic) has decided to admit girls. Is that only girls who identify as boys, or ….

I was only a Boy Scout for a short time, and I’m no expert, but this seems like their death spiral just entered into a sharp downward phase.

Boys don’t want to be in a club with girls. That’s called school.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-12  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“Blaming the victim”

by Greg Krehbiel on 10 October 2017

If some powerful man is harassing women at work, or women who are looking for career advancement, or deals, or whatever it is, and he’s trading sex for favors, then I think most people can agree that he’s in the wrong.

To what extent do the women who gain such favors share in the blame? Calling them “victims” might be a stretch in some cases. They got what they wanted out of the deal — often, as I understand it, they got quite a bit out of the deal. At least to some extent they’re perpetuating the arrangement.

So, for example, in the Weinstein case, should the women who got what they wanted from Mr. Weistein be exposed?

I’m not saying they’re as guilty as Weinstein. But do they share some of the blame?

39 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-10  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Economics for non-rational actors?

by Greg Krehbiel on 10 October 2017

I haven’t read too much about this, so consider this a top of mind comment.

Based on some things I’ve skimmed the last few days, Richard Thaler just won the Nobel Prize for his work showing that people are far from the “rational actors” they are (allegedly) assumed to be in standard economics.

I’ve read a fair bit about how irrational people can be in the context of persuasion. Especially sales and marketing. E.g., there are words and colors and phrases that work better than others.

For example, you probably remember when TV sales pitches for a new product had a line like, “operators are standing by.” Somebody realized that creates a mental image of idle operators who aren’t doing anything because nobody is calling to get the silly product. They changed it to “if it’s busy, please call again,” and results were much better.

Is that the future of “economics”? What’s the best way to trick people into buying things?

13 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-10  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Even a brief respite …

by Greg Krehbiel on 10 October 2017

… can break you of bad habits.

I took a short (2-day) backpacking trip this past weekend with my daughter. I came back with a very different perspective on all the silly things that normally engage my mind.

What are some other ways you find helpful to get out of your own head? Here are some ideas. Please add yours.

  • Prayer (especially with written prayers, like the Psalms).
  • Reading a book that’s very different from what you usually read.
  • Working with your hands.
  • Organizing a messy room.

5 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-10-10  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-10-05 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Those evil Democrats
2017-10-03 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Picking on Facebook
2017-10-03 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Paglia on Hefner
2017-09-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Okay, solar energy, do your thing
+ 1 comment
2017-09-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Governor Hogan, no more toll roads!
2017-09-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Trump does not do diplomatic-speak”