Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Twenty-Four Years Ago

3-14-83 . . . At work, I finished a Motion and Brief to Suppress illegally obtained evidence in a case involving shipment of eleven guns from Detroit to Baghdad, Iraq. Our client is a wealthy young Iraqi, and he is perfectly innocent. The [United States] government evidently thinks that he is a “gun runner” for the Iraqi government. John Davey, who has put the case into my hands, wants me to argue the motion in federal court on 8 April. “Sure,” I said, “I’ll do it.”

The War on Fox

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Jed Babbin. Key paragraph:

The left hates Fox because it reports things that ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times and the Washington Post would otherwise conceal from the public.

I love Babbin. A few years ago, when the French were having a hissy fit about the war in Iraq, Babbin said, “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordion.” It don’t get no better than that, my friends. Have a nice evening.

Standing Up to the Moonbats

You have to give Hillary Clinton credit. She is not cowed by the moonbats, who want the United States to withdraw from world affairs (except, of course, to give our money away). Clinton recognizes that we have national-security interests in the Middle East. She is a realist, not an idealist. I also believe that Clinton loves her country, which puts her at odds with many American progressives, some of whom, such as Noam Chomsky, hate their country.

Golden Earring

George Kooymans of the Dutch band Golden Earring once boasted that he was the best guitar player in the world. Listening to Switch (1975), I’m inclined to agree, or at least not to disagree.

Jacques Barzun on Marxist History

Iannone: What do you think of the Marxist historians, their contributions, their effect on the discipline? How about the psychohistorians?

Barzun: The Marxist historians, like the Freudians later, were flawed by the fallacy of the Single Cause; economic organization in the one case, psychological quirks in the other. You can also call this error Reductionism. History is the very opposite of reduction—it tries to show the scene in full, regrets that that is not humanly possible, and tries to make the chosen portion adequately represent the whole.

(Jacques Barzun, “A Conversation with Jacques Barzun,” interview by Carol Iannone, Academic Questions 19 [fall 2006]: 19-27, at 21)


Here is a scene from today’s stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, won by Australian Robbie McEwen. Here is a jaw-dropping scene from today’s stage of Paris-Nice, won by Russian Alexandr Kolobnev. The red contraption over the road at the back is the one-kilometer marker. Kolobnev had been in a breakaway for 132 miles. At one point, he and his two breakaway companions had a lead of eight minutes, 45 seconds. Kolobnev eventually dropped his companions and held off the hard-charging peloton by 12 seconds. He completed the 133.9-mile course at an average speed of 26.81 miles per hour. I have chills.

Addendum: Just to show you how frenetic things can get at the end of a bike race, Belgian Tom Boonen didn’t know that Kolobnev was ahead of the peloton. He must have seen Kolobnev’s two breakaway companions absorbed and assumed that the entire breakaway had been reeled in. Boonen outsprinted his rivals and raised his hands in “victory.” How embarrassing!


Here are some photographs from Iraq, posted by one of Michelle Malkin’s guest bloggers, Blackfive.


Joseph Bottum prowls the Internet for passages of purple prose.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then I’m a coatimundi‘s brother-in-law.


Here is my latest post at Animal Ethics.


Did you see the videotape of the man mugging the 101-year-old woman? Could there be a better argument for handgun possession? Do you think the thug would have battered and robbed the woman if he knew that she—or others in the vicinity—might be packing heat?

Homosexual “Marriage”

If this keeps up, I’ll have to stop calling the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” In case you’re wondering, I still, to this day, have not seen a good reason to redefine “marriage” so as to allow two men or two women to marry each other. The burden of persuasion is on those who would change the definition, and the burden is extraordinarily heavy, given how entrenched is the traditional understanding of marriage. Progressives have gone no way toward shouldering this heavy burden. Merely invoking equality is not enough, for equality requires that likes be treated alike and unlikes differently. The question is whether, with respect to marriage, heterosexual couples and homosexual couples are alike. They are not. It would be unjust, therefore, to allow homosexuals to “marry.” It’s also inadequate to level a charge of bigotry at those who oppose changing the definition of “marriage.” That begs the question, for it assumes, without argument, that there are no good reasons for retaining the traditional definition. There are many good reasons for retaining the traditional definition. Calling your opponents bigots is also abusive, for the question is not what motivates opposition to homosexual “marriage” (that’s a matter for science) but what, if anything, grounds it (that’s a matter for philosophy). Calling your opponents bigots is simply a tacit admission that you don’t have reason on your side. It’s also, if I may say so, a manifestation of bad moral character.

Best of the Web Today


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Another Kind of Appeal From Death Row: Kill Me,” by Adam Liptak (Sidebar column, March 12):

America divides on the death penalty, but we all agree that the convicted intentional murderer loses virtually all rights to autonomy; society is entitled to set the terms of his (imprisoned) existence for the rest of his life.

He may neither judge the fittingness of society’s death sentence nor dictate our actions—even to express his remorse, however heartfelt. Morally, therefore, the convicted murderer cannot compel his own execution.

He has blood on his hands. He doesn’t get to bloody ours.

Kevin M. Doyle
New York, March 12, 2007
The writer is New York State’s capital defender.

Note from KBJ: Why would giving this man what he deserves bloody our hands? What would bloody our hands, as Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) observed, would be not giving him what he deserves. Let’s not forget that this murderer destroyed someone’s life without authorization. Someone—the letter writer conveniently omitted to mention him or her—was deprived of a future, and thereby all possibility of projects, activities, enjoyments, and experiences. The worst crime (murder) deserves the worst punishment (death).

Hall of Fame?

Chipper Jones. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)