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If Roberts saves Obamacare yet again …

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 March 2015

… he should be removed from office.

The first time was bad enough. The law was sold as not being a tax. The defenders of Obamacare insisted it was not a tax in their arguments before the court. But if it wasn’t a tax it would have been overturned. So Roberts decides that it’s a tax. Presto. Disgusting judicial activism.

Now the law has a new problem — which is completely unsurprising, by the way. You can’t throw together a billion page long bill, where people are adding things in the middle of the night to win over some constituency or other, and not have problems. But anyway, the law clearly states that subsidies only apply to exchanges created “by the states.” That’s what it says.

But I suspect that Roberts will pull another trick and find a way to decide that it depends on what the meaning of “is” is, and rescue the bill.

If he does so he should be removed from office. I realize that would allow Obama to appoint his replacement, and we need that like we need a hole in the head, but … even so. We can’t have Supreme Court justices simply inventing things.

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





The problem with perfection

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 March 2015

A few discussions here, along with some things going on in my professional and personal life, have made me think about the concept of perfection. Simply put, perfection is my enemy. Or, as I like to say in a slightly different context, perfect is the enemy of done.

In the business world you do your due diligence on a new acquisition or a new vendor, but you realize there will be surprises — because you can’t think of everything, and some things are unknowable. You still have to make a decision.

That’s the way things work in the real world all the time. Planes aren’t safe, but they’re safer than driving, which is safer than biking. Vaccines aren’t perfectly safe, but they’re safer than no vaccines. There are no safe choices, but you still have to make a choice. Life requires something like a “leap of faith” quite often.

However, it’s easy to think that things are different in our thought lives. There we can entertain (or we think we can entertain) the idea of the perfect.

I’m pretty sure we can’t actually do that. We don’t have disembodied spirit brains that work on some ideal principle of logic and reason. Rather, we have lots of very predictable biases. We justify ourselves. We prefer things and people that are like us. And while I don’t agree with a lot of modern psychology, they do a half decent job of uncovering some weird things about the way we think.

Still, we cling to the idea of the perfect, and that can create some real-world problems.

Think of the overly scrupulous person who can never be satisfied with his own behavior. The poor fellow realizes he can never actually do enough, that all his attempts fall short, and because of that he can never get off his own back. (Clue to the Luther haters out there: think of “sinning boldly” in that context!!!)

Imagine the person who is told “seek and you will find,” and he seeks and seeks and never finds. His nagging conscience can always criticize him for not seeking enough, or not with a whole heart, or not diligently, or with bad motives. There’s no end to how far you fall short of perfect.

Huck: I tried to pray and it didn’t work.
Widow Douglas: You didn’t pray enough.

My bet would be that Huck didn’t actually try very hard, but you get the point. Perfection is the enemy. It’s an inhuman standard. At some point, right or wrong, Huck has to say that he’s tried hard enough.

There are no airtight arguments — except maybe in math. We simply have to come to a point where we’re comfortable with our decision and then live with it.

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





Obama’s got a point re: Iran

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 March 2015

There’s no deal yet. Once there’s a deal, Obama says, then we can all debate its merits.

I agree with him (1) up to a point, and (2) if that’s actually the way it’s going to work.

There’s nothing wrong with people discussing what sorts of terms would or would not be acceptable in advance of the deal. In fact, it’s often good to know those things before you try to finalize a deal.

It’s also incredibly arrogant of Obama to expect Israel to sit quietly by while the grown-ups go off in the next room to discuss things. Iran getting a nuclear bomb is of more concern to Israel than it is to us.

Also, given that we’re dealing with Obama, we have to wonder if he actually intends to allow public discussion and debate, and after that to subject the deal to any sort of Congressional approval. He’s shown a tendency to go off on his own and to contravene Congressional authority, and he’s been exceptionally good at getting away with that.

So he has a point, but given who we’re dealing with, we have to take it with a lot of caveats.

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





Quit educating mothers!

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 March 2015

I’m kidding, but take a look at this: Who are the anti-vaxxers?

Anti-vaxxers don’t fit into just one political mold. Democrat and Republican respondents to a February Pew Research Center poll were about equally likely to say vaccines are safe for children who are healthy. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats agreed with that statement.

But they do tend to share some characteristics, like being wealthier and having more formal education, says Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist in San Diego. It’s that group where he sees the most vaccine resistance. Vaccination rates have sunk in mostly white, wealthy neighborhoods in places such as Los Angeles and Orange County. …

The biggest camp by far are the highly educated, mainstream upper-class people who don’t reject modern medicine, who go to the doctor, but have gotten on this theme of distrust of the information that’s being provided by doctors about vaccines,” Sawyer said. (emphasis supplied)

Not in My Back Yard has become Not In My Child. Rules are for the little people.

“You would think highly educated people would be able to step back and look at the claims that are being made, but it’s all being run on anecdotes,” Sawyer said.

No, I would not think that. In fact, I would think the opposite. It is often the educated people who are more easily led by the nose.

-- 19 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“Green” wise and dollar foolish

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 March 2015

A little while ago at my office the building management decided to install new faucets that severely restrict the flow of water. It’s a “green” initiative to save water. Of course the dribble of water was annoying, but … it was for the environment. (All bow.)

The fact that this area used to be a swamp and there’s no shortage of water doesn’t seem to factor in. “Saving water” is some sort of holy virtue.

Today they were removing all these goofy faucets because the low water volume caused lots of stopped drains. It wasn’t enough water to flush the system.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“Net neutrality”

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 March 2015

I’m only starting to understand what this fight is all about, but a few patterns are emerging that help me get the general picture.

A bitterly divided part of the government barely passes a complicated proposal championed by the Obama administration, and the public wasn’t able to see the details. Sound familiar?

The proposal hides “more government control” behind a good-sounding but naive premise. In this case “neutrality.” Again, sounds familiar.

It was heavily promoted by left-wing advocacy groups and money bags, like George Soros. (Funny how the media will complain about the influence of the Koch brothers, but forgets to mention Soros.)

It prefers government control to market-based control. It allows the “experts” to make decisions for the masses. It’s the camel’s nose under the tent that will enable ever more government meddling.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Up on Bluehost

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 February 2015

We’re up and running on bluehost now. Sorry it took so long. I foolishly chose to ask them to do the transfer and they are S-L-O-W. I finally just did it myself.

Anyway, a few brief thoughts.

Of course I’m saddened by the loss of Leonard Nimoy. Spock was an influential person in my life, and it was interesting to watch Nimoy’s career over the years. He did some odd stuff.

In other news, what the heck has happened to the country I was born in? I went to Dunkin Donuts this morning to get a coffee, and nobody speaks English any more!

Finally, I was in Tampa the last few days and the cabbie told me they’re doing construction on one of the highways down there to do a demonstration project for self-driving cars! Hurrah! I can’t wait. Cars — or rather, car drivers — are a menace to society.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The media — defending Obama yet again

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 February 2015

Ed Rogers has a fairly tame article in the Post today — The Insiders: Why would anyone think Obama doesn’t love America? Plenty of reasons — that makes a couple of good points, but it also raises some interesting issues, starting with his self-description.

I’m a sufficiently intimidated, mostly tame Republican

That would describe most Republicans, of course, but you have to ask why he would say something like that? We all know why, but some of us hide the truth behind a mountain of excuses.

We all know how it works. If anybody challenges a liberal talking point or questions the (by definition good) motives of someone on the left, the harpies in the media reflexively gang up on that person. As they’re doing right now with Giuliani’s comments. Then they start a McCarthy-style witch hunt asking everyone to distance themselves from the remarks. Then they completely misrepresent the answers they get — as they’re doing right now with Scott Walker.

Funny (as in queer, not amusing) how they don’t report on crazy leftist remarks or badger liberals to distance themselves from them.

The media are in full-throttle attack mode against anyone who gives pause to Giuliani’s statements.

Of course they are. It’s what they do. It’s so normal and expected that the media would defend Obama that nobody even thinks twice about it. It’s become so much a part of our culture that we don’t even notice it any more.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The moral implications of crossing the street

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 February 2015

As a general rule I think it would be better if everybody, including pedestrians, obeyed all the traffic laws all the time. But that’s generally regarded as a hassle in the city and few people do it.

There are times when it’s clearly safe to cross the street, but the light is against you. We expect cars to wait in that situation, so why is it so unreasonable to expect pedestrians to wait? It’s not, IMO, but that’s not the way it us. Everybody seems to accept that pedestrians will break the rules. In that situation — with so many people regularly breaking the rules — it seems unnecessarily scrupulous to worry too much about following them.

In a way it’s like driving 5 mph over the speed limit just because you know the cops won’t enforce the rule that carefully.

But there is another moral aspect to crossing the street that is more interesting to me, and that’s the influence you have on other people. When you cross the street, other people around you assume it’s safe to cross and they go too.

Someone could argue that he’s not responsible for what other people do. “I didn’t tell them it was safe to cross,” the jaywalker might say. “They made that decision themselves.”

Well …. Not really. Whether you like it or not, whether you intend it or not, your actions influence other people. How culpable you are for that influence will vary by the situation, but it’s just being intentionally obtuse to claim that you don’t have some responsibility.

I think that same principle applies in lots of areas.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“No one knows what goes on behind closed doors”? Really?

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 February 2015

This weekend I watched most of Cassablanca. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it all the way through, and the last time I saw any of it was probably 30 years ago. Or more.

Generally speaking I’m an ornery fellow and have an aversion to anything that everybody has to do or has to see. I don’t like to use the hip slang, or follow trends. They irk me. You will never hear me saying “my bad.” I don’t watch the Oscars and I don’t care about bubble-headed water cooler conversation.

Anyway, I didn’t know about some of the undercurrents of Cassablanca — like the similarity between the moral dilemma faced by the Bulgarian gal and by Ilsa. It was very interesting — and they didn’t have to show any skin! There was no sex scene. Even when Ilsa shows up in Rick’s room in the middle of the night, clothes remained where they belong. And nothing about the movie suffers because of it.

In a few decades we have become a nation of voyeurs. In the modern consciousness, if two people have a relationship, we have to see it or it’s somehow “not realistic,” or prudish, or … something.

It’s really quite sick.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-02-22 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Giuliani is right
+ 24 comments
2015-02-20 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Weird anti-Starbucks tea snobbery
+ 1 comment
2015-02-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Site may go dark
+ 9 comments
2015-02-18 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The new coming of age for women
+ 1 comment
2015-02-18 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Get your ash over here”?
+ 14 comments
2015-02-17 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
National concealed carry?