Saturday, 12 May 2007


Here is a delightful New York Times story about Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), who was a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), David Hume (1711-1776), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In “Playing ‘Survivor’ in Washington” (Week in Review, May 6), you say that “several key officials in this administration have stayed in their jobs well beyond their perceived expiration dates” and that “Mr. Bush has a reputation for standing firm by his charges—something his supporters laud as loyalty and critics decry as blindness and arrogance.”

There is another explanation for why officials in the Bush administration remain in office so long, which sheds some insight into the defining feature of this administration.

When the will to power trumps all other considerations—competence, effectiveness, even lawfulness—it should be no surprise to find public officials clinging to their jobs with the cold grip of rigor mortis.

Power, after all, was not the means to an end; it was the end.

François Furstenberg
Montreal, May 6, 2007

Note from KBJ: I’m shocked—shocked!—to learn that politics has something to do with power. By the way, did the desire for power begin with the Bush administration? The letter writer makes it seem as though it did. Has he ever heard of the Clintons?


An hour ago, I was driving home from the Cedar Hill bike rally on Interstate 20, in Arlington, Texas. There are four lanes in each direction. As I approached Parks Mall at Cooper Street, the four lanes came to a halt. It’s mall traffic. Think about it. Four lanes, with shoppers exiting to the right; but it brings everyone to a standstill. Why? Well, some people try to get ahead of others and stay in the second lane. This stops the second lane. Drivers in the second lane who want to get through have to move to the third lane. But this disrupts the drivers in the third lane, many of whom move to the fourth or fast lane, which, being clogged with drivers who wouldn’t otherwise be there, comes to a halt. It’s sickening. I hate shoppers.

Addendum: Someone told me that before Parks Mall was built, 30 or so years ago, there was nothing at the intersection of I-20 and Cooper. Nothing. Just prairie grass. It is now so developed that you couldn’t erect an outhouse.

A Year Ago