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Even if Obama is right on substance …

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 November 2014

… he’s dead wrong on process and he should suffer some penalty for it.

I heard most of the president’s lecture last night, and what he is intending to do doesn’t sound all bad. I’ll have to read some of the reaction to hear the other side, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that what Obama did was 100% right.

He’s still wrong to do it.

His justification for acting alone is that Congress hasn’t passed “a bill” — by which he means “comprehensive immigration reform,” which goes way beyond what he did last night. IOW, he’s mixing apples and oranges. He’s saying that since Congress won’t give him the big bill that he wants, he’ll steal a little part of it.

What he should have done is proposed a bill that contained only the things he did last night. If Congress refused to do that, then — perhaps — he could make the case for going it alone.

As it stands he has no justification for doing what he did, even if the policy itself is 100% right.

And before anyone says “Republicans did the same” I will paraphrase Jonathan Swift who says that use of “precedent” means “things done illegally before can be done legally now.”

David Gergen takes a similar position in his column today: Obama’s dangerous move on immigration

Update: This is funny. Flashback: Barack Obama on the “biggest problems we’re facing”

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Storm water is a problem, but government should not be regulating what churches say

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 November 2014

The outgoing governor of Maryland signed a law that’s been derided as a rain tax.

I don’t know all the details of the bill so I won’t pretend to know if it’s good or bad, although I will say that controlling run-off is a very important issue that affects the health of our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Rain that falls in the woods gets filtered before it ends up in a stream. Rain that falls on a parking lot does not, and I’m sure you know that construction sites have been required to create ponds to collect run-off.

It’s a real issue that has to be addressed, although I’m sure there are good and bad ways to handle it.

Churches hold a lot of land in P.G. County Maryland, so it stands to reason that they could have a large impact on controlling storm water run-off. I’ve read a couple stories about this — here and here — and it’s hard to tell whether the county is (reasonably) trying to control run-off from church properties, or (unreasonably) trying to tell churches what to teach.

The Chesapeake Bay is an important economic asset to the state of Maryland and it is entirely appropriate for the state to regulate things that affect the health of the bay. But I don’t trust environmentalists as far as I could kick them, and, generally speaking, I expect them to behave like Nazis. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they are using this law to coerce churches into becoming more “green.”

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Throwing down the gauntlet

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 November 2014

The Republican leadership in the Senate and the House should call a press conference today and remind Obama that they can do things on their own as well. They can refuse to approve any of his appointments. They can cut off funds. They can subpoena heads of every agency and keep them from getting any work done while they’re replying to Congressional demands.

In short, Boehner and McConnell should issue a challenge. “If you choose to act on your own on immigration, there will be consequences, and they won’t be pretty. Your choice.”

Update: If you look at the talk coming out of conservative channels today, you’d think Obama was about to crown himself Holy Roman Emperor. Republicans are in a very precarious position here. If they go along with that language and then let him get away with this, they’ll look like powerless fools who can only whine and complain. Or like the boy who cried wolf.

They either have to back down the rhetoric or be prepared to do something serious. I prefer the latter, but they have to choose one or the other.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

You can’t make this stuff up

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 November 2014

There’s an old joke about God calling all the editors at the major papers and telling them he’s done with the world and will destroy it the next day at noon. He wants the papers to warn people so they can be ready.

The NY Post headline reads, “We’re toast: God”

The Wall Street Journal headline reads, “World to End at Noon, Markets Close Early”

The Washington Post headline reads, “World to End at Noon, Women and Minorities Hurt Most”

I thought of that joke immediately when I saw this article on the Post’s website.

Today is International Men’s Day. It can be a great feminist cause.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Obama’s tyranny rivals Lincoln’s

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 November 2014

This is an interesting article. On immigration, Obama is flirting with tyranny.

The author endorses the occasional exercise of executive tyranny (he approvingly cites examples from Lincoln) and says it’s impossible to decide whether such actions were justified until after the crisis is over. I’m not sure I agree with him, but … he makes an interesting point. He also points out how that creates a serious problem for modern governmental tyranny.

But what if the war or terror — and the state of emergency that goes along with it — never ends? That prospect should send a chill down the spines of civil libertarians everywhere, because it suggests that we may have entered an era in which circumstances demand that the executive be granted extralegal authority on a semi-permanent basis.

Despite the fact that the author makes allowance for “extralegal” actions by the executive, he thinks Obama is way out of line in his proposed actions on immigration because …

… the White House hasn’t even attempted to justify it on grounds of necessity — no doubt because any effort to do so would be risible. The nation obviously faces no immigration emergency that could possibly justify the kind of extralegal action that Obama is contemplating. …

Have we really gotten to the point where the executive can ignore and even violate, on the absurdly open-ended basis of “discretion,” the express intent of a federal law he is constitutionally empowered to execute — not because of an emergency, not because of a national threat, but merely because he wants to be a nice guy?

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What blogs do you read?

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 November 2014

I’m getting tired of the ones I’ve been visiting recently. Any recommendations on news / commentary sources?

My current favorites are Instapundit (although his extreme libertarianism bugs me) and Real Clear Politics. Other daily visits include NPR news and Alexa’s What’s Hot page. I also usually check Drudge and Google News.

Note: don’t be nervous if your post doesn’t show up right away. WordPress automatically holds for moderation any comment with more than two links.

-- 6 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

First, burn all the schools

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 November 2014

That’s the recommendation in this article.

How to rescue the American family and fix the broken school system in one fell swoop.

I think the article exaggerates the “two-income trap” to make a point, although I do believe it would be better for American families to try to live on the husband’s income and have the wife stay at home. Unfortunately, families have a lot of expenses today that they didn’t have in decades past, including cell phones, internet service and cable/satellite TV. Then there are costs that are rising disproportionately, like health care and college.

The article has a few good points, but the real problem with the American family is that we have broken the social equations that make family life a good bargain. We’re not going to be able to fix that with child tax credits or reform to the schools.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Because logic doesn’t apply to feminism

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 November 2014

You’re probably tired of anti-feminist posts. I’m tired of writing them. But I had to link to this.

Liberal Feminists, Stop Smearing Critics As Rape Apologists

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

People don’t respond to what you say

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 November 2014

Years ago I read about a study that involved asking people to read a story and then recording their responses to it. The story involved a single act of incest between a brother and sister, and it said there were never any bad consequences from that act. It then asked people to decide if what they did was okay or not.

I’m pretty sure I read about this in a Steven Pinker book, and as I recall he was indignant that these silly people said this wasn’t okay “even though there were no bad consequences.” Pinker (if it was Pinker) then went on to make all kinds of stupid conclusions from that. The obvious thing the guy missed was that the people who read the story might not have believed that there were no bad consequences!

If you start an argument with “if we suppose that all Irishmen are drunks, …” you can’t expect everybody to simply fall in line and treat your question like math. Some people might be so distracted by the absurdity of the premise that they can’t play along.

I see this same sort of blindness over and over again. For example, look at this example.

A YouGov poll from August found that just 25 percent of Americans surveyed defined themselves as feminists based on what they currently think of what the word means. After being reminded that feminism is supposed to be about the “social, political and economic equality of women,” the numbers flipped, with 60 percent then identifying themselves as feminists.

Who are those 40 percent who don’t believe in equality for women? Who knows; some could have said that because they don’t believe feminism means that anymore, or they were trying to be contrarian.

Imagine if the poll said, “do you approve or disapprove of pederasty — by which we simply mean an adult loving a child?”

The respondent isn’t thinking, “Oh, of course everybody should love children,” he’s thinking, “You’re trying to fool me so you can put up a story that says ’80 percent of adults think pederasty is okay.'”

People who want to insist on strictly logical responses to the literal meanings of words don’t understand human interaction very well. That’s not the way we communicate. We’re always on the lookout for someone trying to mislead us, upstage us, undermine us, or otherwise trick us. We’re not responding to the words in their pristine, perfect, Platonic meaning. Nor should we.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Women in STEM — or, OMG, look at those super-cute shoes!

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 November 2014

Glenn Reynolds has a good column today on the controversy over a geek’s shirt.

A bunch of scientists with the European Space Agency did a fantastic feat of engineering and landed a probe on a comet. I remember when this project was first proposed, many years ago. My dad, who was a NASA engineer, tried to explain how difficult this project would be. The comet is moving through space and spinning. There’s probably junk flying off of it. (Comets have tails, you know.) And it’s not as if there’s a pilot on board to make adjustments.

Getting a probe to set down successfully on that kind of a target is incredibly difficult and this was a huge accomplishment.

But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that the lead scientist was wearing a t-shirt (that his girlfriend made for him) and it had comic-book depictions of women on it. That set off a storm of criticism, and that is why people hate feminism.

From Reynolds’ article.

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches? …

Thus, what should have been the greatest day in a man’s life — accomplishing something never before done in the history of humanity — was instead derailed by people with their own axes to grind. As Chloe Price observed: “Imagine the … storm if the scientist had been a woman and everyone focused solely on her clothes and not her achievements.”

Yes, feminists have been telling us for years that women can wear whatever they want, and for men to comment in any way is sexism. But that’s obviously a double standard, since they evidently feel no compunction whatsoever in criticizing what men wear. News flash: Geeks don’t dress like Don Draper.

Meanwhile, Time magazine last week ran an online poll of words that should be retired from the English language. The winner — by an enormous margin — was “feminist.” [Note: but then they took “feminism” out of the poll and apologized!! Apparently it offended the feminists.] …

Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly, man-bashing and special pleading.

It’s hard to decide whether feminism or malaria is the worse plague on humanity.

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-11-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-11-13 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
6’2″ and 200 pounds
2014-11-08 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A review of The Red Queen
2014-11-07 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The Bircher Left
2014-11-06 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Is this the missing matter?