Tuesday, 22 May 2007


Debra Dickerson won’t like this.


First-class postage is now 41¢. When I was born (on 7 April 1957), a stamp cost three cents. Boy, does that make me feel old!


The moonbats won’t like this. Sure enough, they don’t. See here as well. Here is my favorite comment from the Daily Kos site:

Bending over for a guy who is at 28% in the polls is fucking EMBARRASSING!

When, oh when, in the history of the world has a head of state had so much power when at 28% in the polls? Under no fucking circumstances would a Democratic president who was at 28% get as much as this president gets from an opposition party WHO IS ACTUALLY IN CONTROL OF THE CONGRESS!!! Any Democratic president who was this low in the polls with a Republican majority in congress wouldn’t get a fucking thing he wanted! Yet Bush continues to run around like Mr. BigShit while our party fellates him.

This question is to any member of Congress who may happen to read this (and is NOT rhetorical): What will it take, exactly, for the Democrats to finally treat Bush as the unpopular, hated president that he is? Give us a number or a scenario, please, so I can know what I am dealing with. When he is at 20%? 10%? 5%? When? How fucking low does he have to go for our side to grow a pair?

Hell hath no fury like a moonbat scorned.

Twenty Years Ago

5-22-87 Friday. The subject today [in Sex, Ethics, and the Law] was adultery. For each subject, I tried to include the following in the coursepack: pertinent Arizona statutes, the relevant Model Penal Code provision, a judicial opinion or law-review article, and a philosophical article. Obviously, I was unable to do this for every subject, but that was my goal. Today, we read and discussed the Arizona statutes, the Model Penal Code provision, a case upholding the Massachusetts adultery statute, and a column by Dear Abby. We asked, as we do for each subject, whether a liberal like [Joel] Feinberg can defend the prohibition in question. Some students argued that adultery causes harm, while others denied it. Afterward, during the third of the three hours, I gave the students their first exam. It was fairly straightforward, with one question-cluster on privacy and the other on polygamy. The students were permitted to choose one question-cluster and ignore the other. Now I’ve got to grade them this weekend.

Radical though I am in most respects, I attach great value to character traits like fidelity, loyalty, honesty, and moral commitment. Given this, I have what may strike some readers as a nonradical approach to adultery. In my view, when two people commit themselves to each other, they create a third entity, so to speak—a marital entity. In effect, they bind themselves to be faithful, loyal, honest, and committed to one another. Of course, this does not mean that they must stay together forever, for bonds of love and commitment, like links in a chain, can be broken. But as long as the marriage itself was consensual, and exists, the parties ought to respect their commitments. So my position on adultery is as follows: If the marital relationship exists, one ought not to be unfaithful. That is, other things being equal, adultery is wrong. It’s another question entirely, however, whether the criminal law should embody this moral principle. I see no good reason why it should. As I see it, there is as much need for a marital relationship as there is for a contractual or promissory relationship. It permits us to nail down the affections of others.

There was an interesting exchange during the break this morning. As I walked into the [departmental] office for coffee, I saw Joel Feinberg standing there. A couple of days ago, I gave him a packet of materials from my honors course [Introduction to Moral and Social Philosophy]. Joel is my advisor, and each graduate student is supposed to save copies of syllabi, exams, and other handouts for his or her advisor. Joel apparently read not only these materials, but also the course evaluations from my students, which I had yet to see. I don’t recall his exact words, but he congratulated me on having such good evaluations. “They were uniformly flattering,” he said. “In fact, the students didn’t just like the class; they loved it, and you, too.” That was nice to hear.

Best of the Web Today



Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, won by Italian Leonardo Piepoli.


I’ve probably said this before, but I’d love to see Al Gore run for president, if only to give Hillary Clinton a hard time. There is bad blood between Gore and the Clintons. Gore probably knows things about Hillary (and Bill) that would hurt her chances of becoming the Democrat nominee. Besides, don’t you want to see Gore explode? He is a natural disaster waiting to happen.

Religious Tolerance

Religious toleration is one of the West’s oldest and most cherished institutions, one that is enshrined in our First Amendment. Unfortunately, the concept of tolerance is widely misunderstood, in large part because it has been commandeered by multiculturalists. To tolerate something is not to accept it, agree with it, endorse it, embrace it, or affirm it. It is to put up with it. Toleration is the practice of not persecuting those who have different beliefs. A tolerant person says, “Your beliefs are false, and I regret to say that they are going to cause you to burn in hell forever; but I’m not going to burn you at the stake (or otherwise harm you) for having them.” Some people think that tolerance means not being judgmental. This is exactly backwards. Tolerance presupposes that some beliefs are true and others false. To tolerate another is to judge that his or her beliefs are false. See here for an interesting and readable essay on religious tolerance.


Somebody explain this to me.


John Tierney is special, and he wants to be treated that way.


Suppose, for the sake of argument, that abortion harms women. Does that have a bearing on whether abortion should be criminalized? If you answer yes, then you’re a legal paternalist. You think that it’s a good reason to prohibit a type of conduct that it harms (or threatens harm to) the person who engages in it. Note how this rationale differs from the usual rationale, which is that abortion is harmful to the fetus. Note, too, how it differs from the rationale that abortion is immoral. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas (the 2003 homosexual-sodomy case) that the immorality of a type of conduct is not a good reason to criminalize it. In effect, the Court read John Stuart Mill’s liberalism into the Constitution. See here for a discussion.

Richard Swinburne on Christianity

If a man is virtually certain in his own mind that Christianity in all its detail is true, there is little point in his even considering any rival religions, since if Christianity is true and they are rivals, they must be false.

(Richard Swinburne, Faith and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981], 195)

Worst President Ever

Two words came to mind when I learned that Jimmy Carter had described George W. Bush as the worst president in United States history: “pot” and “kettle.” Here is Christopher Hitchens on the adulterer from Plains. Here is Amity Shlaes on the incompetence and ineptitude of the Carter administration.

From the Mailbag

Girls learn in their early teens that boys have one thing on their minds: M&M’s. They’ll do or say ANYTHING for M&M’s. In fact, it staggers girls when they fully realize how much boys love M&M’s and the power derived from artfully supplying them. Coincidentally, girls discover they’ve got their very own chocolate factories in their basements. He wants ’em? Well, she’s GOT ’em!!! Handy, no?

And so life goes on until either men no longer think of nothing but M&M’s or women’s chocolate is no longer up to snuff (or, egad, her factory goes out of business . . .). It is then—when all the gamesmanship gets tossed—that men and women see each other unmasked and life begins anew. (Or stops dead in its tracks. . . .) Either way, we’re on our own. Mother Nature no longer gives a damn. Fecundity is all She cares about. Whether two people get along matters not. Boy want M&M. Girl supply M&M. Lots of little Milk Duds running around.


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Immigration Deal” (editorial, May 20):

Your arguments are sound and clear. The progressive bloc has yielded entirely too much to the anti-immigrant and produced an accord that is unjust and unworkable. I would add here, also, that comprehensive immigration reform must include discussion on issues of trade and serious economic assistance to poorer countries that will genuinely help them develop viable economies and other social structures.

Until that happens, nothing will change the flow of men and women into our country in their effort to maintain their human dignity and that of their families. Until that happens, we owe them whatever assistance we can offer. The legality of their presence is irrelevant to the more basic human and divine demand that we look after our brothers and sisters in need.

(Rev.) Andrew P. Connolly
Manorhaven, N.Y., May 20, 2007

To the Editor:

Most of the “braying” you accuse illegal immigration opponents of doing is present in this editorial. “Brittle hard-liners,” “Know-Nothings” and “homegrown zealots” demonizes anyone with legitimate concerns about illegal immigration, a process that has contributed to overcrowded schools, prisons, unreimbursed health and social services, and has increased our population of poor people. But it has provided a bonanza for slumlords and employers who want a constant stream of low-paid workers.

Those are not American traditions, and where is it written that it is the nation’s “duty” to welcome people who do not respect our borders or immigration policy?

Keith F. Kramer
Green Bay, Wis., May 20, 2007

Note from KBJ: If you’re a poor person in the vicinity of Manorhaven, New York, do break into the Reverend Andrew P. Connolly’s house to get the resources you need to sustain yourself. He owes you (and your family) whatever assistance he can offer, and he would be the first to point out to you that the legality of your presence in his house is irrelevant to the more basic human and divine demand that he look after his brothers and sisters in need.