Friday, 1 June 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Charles Krauthammer.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, won by Spaniard Iban Mayo. The riders spent four and a half hours in a cold rain. Mayo lies in 38th place overall, more than an hour behind the leader, Danilo Di Luca. Tomorrow’s stage is a 26.7-mile individual time trial. Will Di Luca hold off Luxembourger Andy Schleck, who is 2:24 behind, and Italian Gilberto Simoni, who is 2:28 behind? Stay tuned.


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.

Best of the Web Today


Hugh Mercer Curtler on Illiberal Education

We tend to defend our own belief systems and it takes real courage and an open mind to consider both sides of a complex issue in a way that will lead us to accept the more reasonable view, especially when it conflicts with our own. To take a group of unprepared young people who know little if anything about their own culture, require them to read like-minded authors who echo the teacher’s views, and encourage them to glean information from those texts, together with a one-sided discussion of those texts, in order to provoke a critical attitude toward their own culture, is not to empower them. Rather, it is to replace their old chains, born of ignorance, with new ones forged by their teachers. This should not be confused with liberal education.

(Hugh Mercer Curtler, “Culture Studies Vs. the Liberal Arts,” Academic Questions 20 [winter 2006-07]: 38-45, at 44)

May Statistics

This blog had 42,813 visitors during May, which is an average of 1,381.0 per day. This is the fourth-best month I’ve had. The best month was January 2007, when 46,116 people visited (an average of 1,487.6 per day). Enjoy your stay. Please come back.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

There is much to agree with in Senator Sam Brownback’s article, particularly when he writes that we should not “drive a wedge between faith and reason.” Unfortunately, he also urges us to “firmly reject” aspects of science when they are inconsistent with religious beliefs. That doesn’t work.

The purpose of science is to tell us about the nature of the natural world, whether we like the answer or not. To thrive in our science and technology-based society, people really can’t pick and choose which scientific facts to accept.

Evolution is a core, well-tested scientific concept that explains how Earth’s life forms gradually arose from common ancestors billions of years ago.

Believing in a god and accepting evolution are not inconsistent for many people. But religion should not be substituted for science, nor the reverse, since they deal with different domains.

Alan I. Leshner
Washington, May 31, 2007
The writer is chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of Science.

Note from KBJ: If this topic interests you, you should read this essay by Stephen Jay Gould.

A Year Ago


Trash Characters

A couple of you have complained about question marks appearing in my posts. Oddly, I see squares instead of question marks. Neither should be there, obviously. Here’s what happened. This past Monday, I upgraded to WordPress 2.2. I’ve upgraded several times and never had a problem, but this time I got trash characters scattered throughout my posts, going all the way back to November 2003.  It upset me, naturally, but I held out hope for a solution that would obviate the need to clean up the posts one by one, which would be time-consuming and tedious. I visited WordPress’s support forum. I saw that other people were having the same problem. Some of them claimed to have a solution, but I didn’t know how to implement it. (As I said the other day, I’m a blogger, not a computer programmer.) I asked for help, using a form. For several days now, I’ve been corresponding, at the rate of one letter per day, with various WordPress technicians. Yesterday, I asked the technician to remove two lines from one of my files. He wrote back this morning to say that he had done it. But now even my latest posts are messed up! I was just about to write back to ask him to reverse what he did when I noticed that all the old posts—those written before the upgrade—are repaired. Hallelujah! I hope you see why I’m happy. Although I have several days’ worth of posts to clean up, it’s better than having several months’ worth of posts to clean up. Bear with me as I do this. In a week or so, everything should be back to normal.

Addendum: I have just completed the clean-up. There should be no trash characters anywhere in the blog. If you see any, please bring them to my attention.