Tuesday, 29 May 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Rich Lowry. I might add that any child of mine would have a solid grounding in military history, the better to appreciate what he or she has.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, won by Italian Stefano Garzelli in wintry conditions. (Notice that he’s not wearing gloves of any kind.) Look at the final climb of tomorrow’s stage. Here is a blurb about the climb from a Cyclingnews story of December 2006:

From Ovaro, the 10.1 kilometre climb contains sections of 22, 20 and 18%, with an average gradient of 11.9%. The Zoncolan, at 11.9%, easily overpowers all the climbs in Italy; the Mortirolo at 10.5% (over 12.4km), the Colle dell Finestre at 9.1% (18.6km) and Passo Gavia at 7.9% (17.3km). The mid-section will bite the hardest; from kilometre 2.1 to 8 the riders will be struck with an average gradient of 14.9%.



Hillary Clinton spinning reality? No way, no how.


John F. Kennedy was born 90 years ago today. I was six and a half years old when he died, so naturally I remember nothing of his presidency. All I know is what I’ve heard and read. How good a president was Kennedy, in your opinion? Suppose he had served out his term or terms. Would he have lived gracefully, à la Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George Herbert Walker Bush, or disgracefully, à la Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton?


I’ve been reading Linda Greenhouse’s reports for The New York Times for many years. She is an advocacy journalist, which is to say, not a journalist at all. Read this story about today’s Supreme Court ruling. The case required that the Court construe Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids, among other things, sex discrimination in the workplace. Greenhouse makes it seem as though the Court’s ruling was raw politics—the conservative majority siding with those nasty old employers rather than with poor, oppressed workers. It was nothing of the sort. The Court’s job is to interpret and apply the statute, which reflects a policy choice made by Congress. It is not to rewrite the statute in accordance with its own values. If Congress doesn’t like the Court’s interpretation, it can amend the statute. That’s how our democracy works. Here is how Greenhouse begins her report:

The Supreme Court made it harder today for many workers to sue their employers for discrimination in pay, insisting in a 5-to-4 decision on a tight timeframe to file such cases.

If she were honest, she would have said this:

The Supreme Court today enforced Congress’s judgment that employees who believe they are victims of workplace discrimination must file a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set.

See the difference? Note that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion is little more than a policy argument. That sort of argument belongs in Congress, not in a court. Justice Samuel Alito was right in pointing this out. Justice Alito understands the role of a judge. Justice Ginsburg does not. Justice Ginsburg is a legislator manqué.

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Dogmatic Progressives

Here is a column by Peter Berkowitz, who is rapidly becoming my favorite public intellectual.


Sometimes I wonder whether I live in the same world as the editorial board of The New York Times. The board is opposed to the immigration bill, as I am, but not for the same reason. The board thinks the bill is too hard on illegal aliens! How hateful—that’s the board’s word—for anyone to think that lawbreaking should be punished rather than rewarded! How hateful for anyone to think that those who have been waiting patiently for a chance to immigrate to this country should not have to wait longer because others have cut in front of them! How hateful for anyone to think that controlling our borders is more important than accommodating lawbreakers! Note the board’s term for those of us who oppose the bill for reasons other than its own: “the restrictionist right.” Two can play this insulting rhetorical game. Those who oppose the bill for the reason that it’s too hard on illegal aliens are “the promiscuous left.”

Addendum: The editorial board thinks it has “reality, justice and decency” on its side in this debate. Ha! What it has are bizarre conceptions of reality, justice, and decency. The reality of the situation is that, if we give lawbreakers a path to citizenship, as the board wishes, there will be even more lawbreakers in years to come. If you want more of something, reward it. Justice consists in giving people their due. Lawbreakers deserve punishment. As for decency, what is decent about thwarting the dreams of those who are waiting in line to come to this country? That is indecent. Does the editorial board even care that it is abusing concepts? I suspect not. The end justifies the means.

H. A. Prichard (1871-1947) on Rightness and Goodness

[T]he rightness of a right action lies solely in the origination in which the act consists, whereas the intrinsic goodness of an action lies solely in its motive; and this implies that a morally good action is morally good not simply because it is a right action but because it is a right action done because it is right, i.e., from a sense of obligation.

(H. A. Prichard, “Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?” Mind, n.s., 21 [January 1912]: 21-37, at 30)


It’s sad that conservatives are willing to throw their principles to the wind in order to retain power. See here. Isn’t that the sort of thing they accuse Hillary Clinton of doing?


It gets worse and worse for the New York Yankees. They’re now 13½ games behind the high-flying Boston Red Sox. Has anyone come back from that big a deficit to win a division? I would be very surprised if anyone has. Say goodbye to New York, A-Rod.

Addendum: Manager Joe Torre does not like his players’ body language. That’s a new one!

Addendum 2: I’m astounded that anyone thinks the Yankees have a chance to win the East Division this year. Here is the awful reality (for Yankees fans). As I write this, Boston is 35-15; New York is 21-28. Suppose Boston splits its remaining games. It will finish 91-71. New York would have to go 70-43 just to tie. That’s a winning percentage of 61.9, which, over the course of a season, is 100 victories. Feasible, you say? But what is the chance that Boston will split its remaining games? Suppose Boston wins 55% of its remaining games. It will finish 96-66. New York would have to go 75-38 just to tie. That’s a winning percentage of 66.3, which, over the course of a season, is 107 victories. Ain’t gonna happen, Yankees fans. Start watching the wild-card race.

Addendum 3: This just in. The Yankees lost to the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays, while the Red Sox beat a tough Cleveland Indians team. The Yankees are 14½ games behind and in last place! It’s a wonderful time to be a Yankee hater.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Legal Status Brings Security to Some Same-Sex Marriages” (news article, May 22):

It is heartening to learn that a judge in Massachusetts has ruled in favor of same-sex couples from New York who went to the state in pursuit of legally recognized unions.

As one of five plaintiff couples in Hernandez v. Robles, Lambda Legal’s historic lawsuit seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in New York State, we are acutely aware of the importance of any level of legal sanction for gay and lesbian relationships.

Same-sex couples in New York seek nothing more than the same recognition and rights as those available to our counterparts in Massachusetts and that heterosexuals take for granted. This will involve, in no small part, working to change hearts and minds.

Let’s hope that the State Legislature does what the Court of Appeals failed to do: grant equal civil marriage protections for all New Yorkers.

Jo-Ann Shain
May Jo Kennedy
Brooklyn, May 22, 2007

Note from KBJ: Different-species couples seek nothing more than the same recognition and rights that same-species couples take for granted.

A Year Ago