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The twisted civics of the Huff Post

by Greg Krehbiel on 9 February 2015

[Two women] hoped to be the first couple to get a marriage license Monday morning as a federal judge’s order overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage goes into effect, making Alabama the 37th state to allow gays and lesbians to wed.

See Roy Moore, Alabama Chief Justice, Makes 11th Hour Attempt To Halt Gay Marriage

So if Alabama outlaws same-sex marriage, and then a federal judge forces them to allow it, that makes Alabama the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage. Huh? Alabama didn’t allow anything.

Update: As you probably know, the Supreme Court has weighed in on this and said that Alabama has to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of a district court ruling, despite what Alabama law and the Alabama supreme court says.

This is a perfect opportunity for a federal-state showdown. The Alabama governor should tell the Supreme Court that the state of Alabama will not follow their decree unless and until the full court rules on the question officially.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-09  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Predicting the strategy of the AGW fanatics once their story goes south

by Greg Krehbiel on 9 February 2015

The real “denialists” in the global warming debate are the people who keep spouting the AGW line as the data pours in, year after year, and now almost decade after decade, showing that the frantic predictions were wrong. The extreme predictions were based on demonstrably incompetent models that used faulty assumptions — mostly, I think, they over-estimated the multiplier effect of water vapor.

The other elements of “denialism” (rightly labeled) are the exaggerations of the so-called consensus and denying that climate science is biased by funding and politics. In most other areas liberals are happy to say “follow the money,” but for some reason … not here.

Anyway, they’ll only be able to maintain this facade a little while longer. Pretty soon it’s going to all come crumbling down and they’re going to have to come up with their explanation for why the “anti-science” skeptics were right after all.

I think their strategy will follow these general lines.

First, they will cherry pick statements from skeptics and dispute the idea that the skeptics were right. That won’t work because the obvious fact is that the AGW people were asserting something that turned out not to be true, and the skeptics were saying “it’s not true.”

Second, they will double down on ocean acidification and other alleged horrors from CO2, saying that even if AGW is wrong, they were still right to call attention to the dangers of fossil fuels and dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. (They will not, of course, offer any practical alternatives. They’ll just wave their hands and give us some fairy dust about alternative energy.)

Third, they will reluctantly admit that the skeptics were sorta kinda right on some of the nit picky details, but they were right for all the wrong reasons, and we can’t promote that kind of thinking.

They will then go on to hype the religion of “science” and how we can’t allow “anti-science denialism” to rule public discussion. Galileo and vaccines will figure prominently in this.

We need to believe the scientists, they will say, even if they happen to get it wrong every once in a while.

Update: Global Warming Pause: Is the End Near?

-- Comments Off  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-09  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Some lies are more important than others

by Greg Krehbiel on 9 February 2015

This is funny.

One rainy evening, three people walked into a bar and sat down. One was grim, another solemn, while the sole woman among them was absolutely giddy. The bartender poured a few shots of whiskey and said to the trio, “Why so grim, so solemn, so giddy?”

The grim man with squinty eyes and a huge forehead went first. “My life is over. I ‘conflated’ a couple of war stories, said I was aboard a helicopter in Iraq that got shot down when I wasn’t. Now, everything I’ve worked for my whole life is gone.”

“Gee, that’s tough,” said the bartender.

The even more-horse-faced solemn man next to him went next. “I said I won a bunch of medals for honor and bravery as captain of a fast patrol boat in Vietnam, but then all my comrades swiftly said I was lying. I lost the job I really wanted.”

“Damn. Rough. What about you, lady?” the bartender said to the broadly smiling blonde.

“Ha! I once lied and said I outran sniper fire in Bosnia. They even had videotape of me walking calmly across the tarmac to meet a little girl who gave me a poem — a poem! And I’m probably going to be the next president of the United States!”

See Forget Brian Williams, it’s Hillary Clinton’s lie that matters.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-09  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Chuck Todd is a disgrace

by Greg Krehbiel on 8 February 2015

He started a segment on Meet the Press saying that two Republican candidates question the value of vaccinating children … “sort of.”

No. Not sort of. It was just a liberal media host following the Democrat playbook.

What they questioned was whether vaccines should be mandatory.

Chris Todd is a liberal hack and should be fired.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-08  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Jealousy, old married couples, and SSM

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 February 2015

One of the arguments against same-sex marriage is that marriage is for procreation, same-sex couples can’t procreate, therefore SSM isn’t really “marriage.”

SSM advocates reply that if this were really the case, we wouldn’t allow old couples (past child-bearing years) or sterile couples to marry.

In my own mind I have always grouped arguments like that as something along the lines of “too precise by half.” They miss the point by trying to be technical.

As an example, consider jealousy. There are all kinds of reasons why men jealously guard the chastity of their wives. I discuss some of them in my Eggs are Expensive book, and Matt Ridley discusses them at great length in The Red Queen. I’m not going to reiterate them here except to say that our feelings of and customs regarding jealousy and chastity have everything to do with pregnancy. It’s not in a man’s interest to expend his time, talents or treasure raising another man’s children.

It’s more complicated than that, and you really should read Ridley’s very interesting discussion on the topic, but that’s enough for the point I have in mind here, which is that men remain jealous of their wives even when their wives are past child-bearing age, and even when the men know the evolutionary / sociological origins and purpose of that jealousy.

IOW, you’re not going to get very far with a man telling him that his anger about his wife’s infidelity is misplaced because she’s had her tubes tied. There’s a point at which the purportedly logical, rational approach is absurd.

Again, if I know that vidoes of laughing babies are fun to watch because it’s best for mammals to have a positive disposition towards babies, that doesn’t change the fact that laughing babies actually are fun to watch. If someone tricks my brain somehow — by making an animated video of laughing babies, for example — it’s still fun to watch, even though there is no reason in the world why I should have a positive disposition towards animated babies.

These things are deeply embedded in our psychology and you’re not going to change that with “too precise by half” arguments.

The application to SSM should be clear, but let me spell it out. There is a dynamic between a man and a woman that has everything to do with procreation even when they are incapable of having babies.

-- 21 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-06  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Is expertise over-rated?

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 February 2015

From time to time you find a person who has an incredible knack for things. One person might know just the right tie to go with that suit and shirt. Another knows the right words to diffuse a tense situation, and another can take an ordinary-sounding song and make it sound like something special. It’s like that scene in Amadeus where Mozart plays one of Salieri’s pieces and realizes it would be better with a slight change.

There’s no denying that some people have that kind of special whatsit, and if you’re in a business, you really want somebody with that skill on your staff.

A friend is trying to get a book published, and he’s decided to go the traditional route — through the publishers. The reality (so I’ve heard) is that the “slush pile” at the publishing house is triaged by low-level staff. Interns. College kids. You have to get a book past them before it goes to an editor.

The editor may have a knack for spotting a good author, and he may understand the reader expectation in the genre he works in. Or he may not. But the kids working the slush pile almost certainly don’t.

I’m sure they get some instruction, and in some cases there is a kind of institutional knowledge that can almost mimic talent. Even a person who doesn’t have “the knack” when it comes to recognizing good writing, for example, can probably be trained to recognize a few tells, and the longer they stay in the business, the more of a quasi-knack they’ll develop. The full genius version is probably something you either have or don’t have, but the learned, journeyman version is at least … useful.

Or so it seems. But does all this actually work in the real world? That’s not so clear.

How many great books, scripts, songs, etc., were shuffled aside by the institutional process? And how often, on the other hand, has pretty lousy stuff been put out as if it’s the Next Big Thing?

Some of these things may be so chaotic that they are unknowable.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-05  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Twitter: it really is kinda silly

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 February 2015

Wall Street to Twitter: Where are the users?

I’ve been waiting for the “but he’s not wearing any clothes” moment for Twitter. Or maybe the it’s just a tulip, after all moment.

I know some people really like it, but the thing just seems absurd to me, and one of these days I expect the collective consciousness of Twitterdom to wake up and say, “why are we doing this?”

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-05  ::  Greg Krehbiel

I thought I went to Mars in a stolen space shuttle …

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 February 2015

… but … maybe I just heard the story from somebody else. Memory, you know. It can get foggy.

NBC’s Brian Williams recants Iraq attack story

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-05  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The morals of Downton Abbey, again

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 February 2015

There are spoilers here for Downton Abbey episode 5, so if you haven’t seen it, run away quick.

Cora’s relationship with the Earl of Grantham has been deteriorating in the last few episodes, and she’s been shamelessly flirting with Simon Bricker, an art historian, who keeps finding ways to be in Cora’s company.

It finally comes to a head in episode 5 when Mr. Bricker goes into Cora’s room while Lord Grantham is away. Bricker declares his interest in no uncertain terms and Lady Grantham asks him to leave.

The modern viewer might think, yeah, so what? He was in her room. They’re both fully clothed, nothing has happened, and she asked him to leave. There’s no guilt on her part.

The problem is that the show has already established that in the values of the day, the very fact that he is in the room is a scandal. Cora does protest his presence and she asks him to leave, but he persists. Then Lord Grantham arrives unexpectedly, and of course he’s furious.

I think we’re supposed to think that Lord Grantham is being unreasonable. After all, she didn’t do anything wrong, and she told Bricker to leave.

But she did do something wrong (aside from her previous flirting).

The moment Bricker entered her room, she should have screamed, or at least told him to leave in a very loud voice. That would have roused the house, and all the fault would have been on Bricker. She didn’t do that because she wanted to spare him. IOW, her actions show more concern with sparing Bricker than with being faithful to her husband.

Lord Grantham is entirely justified in being angry at her.

-- 16 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-04  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Gird thy sword on thy side O mighty one

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 February 2015

Muslims are starting to stand up against the diabolical madmen in their midst. And it’s not only the democratic nations — it’s the kingdoms.

After ISIS execution, angry King Abdullah quotes Clint Eastwood to U.S. lawmakers

“He’s angry,” Hunter said of King Abdullah. “They’re starting more sorties tomorrow than they’ve ever had. They’re starting tomorrow. And he said, ‘The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.'”

Can we do a kickstarter to buy fuel and bullets for the people of Jordan?

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-02-04  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-02-03 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Who’s anti-science again?
2015-02-02 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Digital publishing, etc.
2015-01-30 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Women don’t do that”
2015-01-30 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Who cares what scientists think?
2015-01-29 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A taste of their own medicine
2015-01-29 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Loretta Lynch and a Republican Senate