Thursday, 14 June 2007


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Dauphiné Libéré, won by Frenchman Christophe Moreau. American David Zabriskie, whose specialty is time trialing, had a superb day on the fearsome ascent of Mont Ventoux, which vaulted him into a tie for fourth place, just 26 seconds behind overall leader Andrey Kashechkin.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Looking for Leadership” (editorial, June 7):

Your call for a “full-court sanctions press” on Iran for refusing to forfeit its legal right to an independent nuclear fuel cycle fully monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency is misguided.

Iran has no nuclear weapons ambitions or programs that it would abandon under external pressure. The misguided path of illegal, coercive sanctions will only escalate the tensions and worsen the global perception of a hypocritical double standard aimed at depriving Iran of the rights enjoyed by other nations.

Fortunately, the vast majority of the world community, including the developing nations of the nonaligned movement and the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have recognized Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology. The United States, on the other hand, has already failed a critical test of global leadership by its coercive, discriminatory policies toward Iran and the Islamic world.

Other G-8 states should not emulate the United States and thus allow the misuse of international forums to perpetuate its failed approach toward such issues.

M. A. Mohammadi
Press Counselor
Mission of Iran to the U.N.
New York, June 7, 2007

Bork and Tort

The editorial board of The New York Times thinks former appellate judge Robert Bork is a hypocrite for filing a personal-injury suit. See here. I would need to know more about the lawsuit before reaching that conclusion. Judge Bork has never, to my knowledge, criticized the tort system per se, which exists to compensate individuals for the wrongs they suffer at the hands of others. The aim of tort law is not to punish people (that’s the function of criminal law); it is not to give people a windfall (that’s the function of lotteries); and it is emphatically not to redistribute wealth (that’s the function of legislation). Judge Bork may have criticized the excesses of tort law, or the way in which it is abused by plaintiffs’ attorneys; but I can’t imagine that he has criticized tort law itself. Even libertarians think tort law is justifiable. It is one of the three great branches (with property and contract) of the private law.

Addendum: Here is law professor David Bernstein’s blog post about the case. He quotes Judge Bork.

A Year Ago



Something is screwy with my computer display. The other day, I noticed (and mentioned in this blog) that the screen was brown for a few seconds when I booted up the computer. Then I noticed that the URLs and other characters were faint. They looked like dot-matrix characters. Yesterday, things were fine, but today things seem to be degrading. Characters are getting fainter and fuzzier. Does anyone know what’s going on? I think my monitor is okay, and the computer itself seems to be running normally. What else could it be? The graphics card? What’s a graphics card? How could that go bad, and what can I do about it if it’s going bad? I think I have NVIDIA, whatever that is.

Addendum: Things are neither better nor worse than when I posted this item a couple of hours ago. I just ordered a Dell XPS M1210 notebook computer for $1,387.77 (which includes sales tax; shipping was free). I’ve wanted a notebook computer for some time, and this is a good time to buy it. When it arrives, in three to five days, I’ll get it up and running and begin loading applications and transferring data. (It’ll be fun to see Windows Vista.) If the desktop computer stops working, I’ll have an alternative. I’m starting to wonder whether the monitor is bad. Not everything on the screen is fuzzy, which suggests that something other than the monitor is malfunctioning, but someone told me that it could still be the monitor. I hope it is, actually. I can replace a monitor myself. I wouldn’t trust myself to install a new graphics card. How long do monitors last, anyway? I have a Dell UltraSharp 18-inch flat-panel monitor. It’s about three years old. Every now and then, during the past year or so, I would hear a sharp crack from behind the monitor. Nothing happened on the screen when this occurred, so I ignored it. Could it be static electricity?

Addendum 2: I just ordered a Dell 19-inch SP1908 Silver Flat Panel LCD Monitor with True-Life technology for $215.42 (which includes sales tax; shipping was free). This is one inch bigger than my current monitor, but the same in other respects. I plan to buy a new desktop computer this summer or fall, so even if the problem is not with the monitor, I won’t have wasted my money. I’ll simply order the new desktop without a monitor. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the monitor, rather than the graphics card, is the problem. If so, then by this time next week I should have two computers up and running, one (the desktop) with Windows XP and one (the notebook) with Windows Vista. As I was just telling someone via e-mail, I’m too dependent on computers. I’m not referring just to my blog, although that’s important to me, but to the computer generally. It’s one thing to lose Internet access; it’s quite another not to have a functioning computer! My god, I would have to do my writing by hand. Wish me luck with the new toys.

Best of the Web Today

Here. (Still no mention of immigration, which is the biggest domestic issue of the past decade. James Taranto is trying very hard to avoid the issue. I have no idea why.)


Don’t look now, but the New York Yankees are only eight games behind the Boston Red Sox in the all-important loss column. It’s a no-lose situation for me, since I hate both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yes, one of these teams will win the East Division title, but the other—heh heh—must lose. In any event, even if both teams make the playoffs, neither will get past my Detroit Tigers, who are on a mission to redeem themselves for the debacle of 2006.

Addendum: My adopted Texas Rangers have the worst record (23-42) in Major League Baseball. The Rangers have had good teams (albeit nothing spectacular) since I moved to the Metroplex in August 1989. It’s sad to see them play so poorly. As for what it is, I don’t rightly know. The pitching has always been bad. The team’s defense isn’t as good as it usually is, but that alone doesn’t account for the many losses. The hitting has not been good, especially in clutch situations, but it’s certainly not the worst in baseball. The new manager, Ron Washington, seems to have alienated some of the players, even though he was billed as a player’s manager. (The previous manager, Buck Showalter, was said to be too much of a disciplinarian.) I agree with one of the local sportswriters that the team needs to be rebuilt. Ownership and management have been reluctant to undertake a rebuilding program for fear of losing fans. In places like Detroit, where the team has a long history, fans are patient. They can tolerate a five-year rebuilding program. They know that the Tigers have won the World Series before and will win it again eventually. Here in the Metroplex, I’m not sure there’s any patience for a rebuilding program. So-called fans, many of whom view baseball games merely as entertainment, will go to Wet and Wild, Six Flags over Texas, Lone Star Park, or Texas Motor Speedway rather than to the Ballpark if the team dumps its big names.


Here is inside information about the immigration bill. It appears that the driving force behind the bill is John McCain. He is invested in the bill, and so, therefore, are those senators (such as Trent Lott, John Kyl, and Lindsey Graham) who support his presidential bid. The irony, of course, is that if the bill passes, conservatives will blame McCain. He must be stupid if he thinks this bill will enhance his presidential prospects.

All Fred, All the Time

I didn’t catch Fred Thompson on The Tonight Show, but here is the next best thing: a 14-minute conversation between Thompson and a fellow of the Hoover Institution.