Sunday, 24 June 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Michael Barone.

All Fred, All the Time

This is interesting.


My beloved Detroit Tigers are starting to roar. They swept the Braves this weekend in Atlanta, winning 5-0, 2-1, and 5-0. I’ve been predicting that the Tigers will beat the Braves in the World Series. If that’s to happen, the Braves must turn things around. Andruw Jones must start hitting; Chipper Jones and John Smoltz must stop squabbling; and the young players must start performing to their abilities. The Tigers have pulled two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians.

Addendum: Here is a paragraph from ESPN’s account of the game:

The Braves (38-38) have lost five straight, including four by shutout, to fall to .500 for the first time this season. The Braves have been outscored 27-1 in the five losses, their longest losing streak of the season.

One run in five games. Ouch!


Here is a scene from today’s final stage of the Tour of Switzerland, won by Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who averaged 30.08 miles per hour in the individual time trial. Russian Vladimir Karpets was the overall winner. The Tour de France begins in 13 days—in London. Could there be another American winner? Americans have won 11 of the past 21 Tours (Greg LeMond in 1986, 1989, and 1990; Lance Armstrong in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005; and Floyd Landis in 2006). Levi Leipheimer is among the contenders. If he falters, George Hincapie may assume the mantle of team leader.

Cyber War

Here is a New York Times story about the latest military tactic: taking out the enemy’s computer network.

Global Warmism

I continue to be fascinated by the debate over climate change. It’s fascinating because it’s not clear where science ends and politics begins. We know that progressives want to redistribute wealth from rich countries to poor, and from rich individuals to poor individuals. Is global warmism merely the means to accomplish these goals? In other words, is it a pretext for doing what progessives want to do for other reasons? Are scientists being used by ideologues? If so, will they ever recover from the harm they are doing to themselves and to science? (Remember Keith’s Law: Authoritativeness is inversely proportional to partisanship.) Global warmism also has many features of religion, which is anathema to secular progressives such as Richard Dawkins. Is it, in fact, the new secular religion? Are we seeing the emergence of a rival to Christianity? Will Nehs sent a link to this interesting essay.

Addendum: One of my students, Justin, sent this.


Yesterday, in Waxahachie, Texas, I did my 10th bike rally of the year and my 406th overall. Although it was overcast and threatening at the 7:30 start, it never rained. I rode the entire way—76.9 miles—with my home boys Phil and Randy. For the fourth time in five weeks, Joe wimped out. Actually, Joe has children, so I can’t blame him for spending time with them. Then again, nothing should interfere with doing bike rallies. Children should be scheduled around them.

There were several hundred riders in attendance, so it was not hard to find packs to ride in. We rode 18.4 miles the first hour, despite rolling hills, lots of turns, and a headwind. We did even better during the second hour, covering 19.4 miles. I knew that once we reached the southernmost point of the course, in Milford, we’d have a tailwind all the way back. The trick was to have enough strength left to take advantage of it. We covered only 16.5 miles during the third hour, as a result of the wind and hills. But once we made a hairpin turn in Milford, we flew. It was incredible. I felt strong as a bull, cruising along at 25 miles per hour for miles on end. By then, the clouds had dissipated and the sun come out. I love the sun. Five years in Tucson spoiled me forever.

Our average speed for the final 1:10:49 of riding was 19.14 miles per hour. That gave us an overall average speed of 18.39 miles per hour. Going in, I said I’d be happy with 17 miles per hour. This was my longest ride of the year (three miles longer than Flower Mound) and my third-fastest of 10. I’m committed to riding 100 miles in Wichita Falls, having done only 74 miles for the past few years. I expect Phil and Randy to join Joe and me. We’ll have fun. Yes, we’ll suffer, especially if the wind is stiff, but that’s part of the fun.

In other statistics, I burned 2,230 calories; my maximum heart rate was 153; my average heart rate was 118; my maximum speed (on Mountain Peak) was 34.8 miles per hour; and the high temperature for the day was 92° Fahrenheit. Afterward, Phil, Randy, Mark, and I ate lunch at a nearby Taco Bell. I had my usual bean burritos. As incredible as it may sound, the ride did not tire me out. I wasn’t even sore afterward. This is a sign that all of my cycling muscles are developed. Could I have ridden harder and faster? Yes, but it’s not a race. I try to find a balance between going fast, having fun, and staying safe.

How many of you ride a bicycle on a regular basis? Do you enjoy it? I’ve been cycling since August 1981, when I bought my first 10-speed bike (a Sears Free Spirit). I’ve not only not gotten sick of riding during the past 26 years; I seem to enjoy it more with each passing year. It’s a great way to stay in shape, to get out into the countryside, and to socialize. Compared to running, it’s almost civilized.

Addendum: This was the 21st Cow Creek Country Classic. I’ve done 15 of them, dating to 1990. I missed one of them because I was doing Pedal the Peaks in New Mexico. I missed the 2004 rally because of a sore back. I missed another one for some reason I can’t remember.

Karl R. Popper (1902-1994) on Life and Death

All men are philosophers, because in one way or other all take up an attitude toward life and death. There are those who think that life is valueless because it has an end. They do not think that the opposite argument might also be proposed: that if there were no end to life, it would have no value; that it is, in part, the ever-present danger of losing it which helps to bring home to us the value of life.

(Karl R. Popper, “How I See Philosophy,” chap. 1 in The Owl of Minerva: Philosophers on Philosophy, ed. Charles J. Bontempo and S. Jack Odell [New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975], 41-55, at 55)

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Presidential Stone Walls” (editorial, June 17):

George W. Bush volunteered for public office with all its conditions and ramifications when he decided to run for president. And having won not once, but twice, the most coveted public office our country has to offer, he is now denying public access to his records and wants to turn his presidential years into a private, as opposed to a public, tenure.

Mr. Bush and his administration have made such a colossal mess in so many areas that it’s no small wonder that he wants to keep the administration’s records private. But that’s exactly why we, the people, along with historians and future administrations need access.

The country must know how so many bad decisions were made. What was the process? Who gave advice? Who, if anyone, spoke out against it? Was President Bush, as “the decider,” incapable of heeding any opinions that opposed an already made-up mind?

This administration’s documents need to see the light of day, if for no other reason than to recognize that those who do not heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat them.

We as a country can’t afford to repeat the Bush administration’s mistakes.

Robert Brandes
Fredericksburg, Tex., June 19, 2007

Note from KBJ: You don’t have to be a Bush hater or a progressive ideologue to agree with The New York Times on this one. Presidential papers should not be accessible to the public during a president’s term of office, especially during this era of ambush journalism. But within a dozen or so years of a president’s departure from office, they should be unsealed.

Safire on Language