Wednesday, 18 July 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a video by one of the most underrated musical groups of all time.


I’m 50 years old. I’ve worn glasses since I was in my early teens. The eye doctor told me to wear them only while reading and watching television, but I wore them all the time. That was a mistake, because, before long, I needed glasses for everything. I’ve worn contact lenses during a couple of periods in my life, but grew to hate the daily cleaning. Glasses are much easier to care for. A little over five years ago, my glasses came apart. The little screw fell out, so I replaced it with a paper clip and made an appointment with an eye doctor for an exam and new glasses. During the exam, the doctor asked whether I wanted bifocals. I was speechless. “Aren’t those for old people?” I asked. (This is what I pictured.) He laughed and said I was at the age (45) when most people need them. I passed. I’ll get old later, I thought.

When I got the new glasses, on 3 June 2002, I was horrified. The lenses were much stronger than the ones I had been using. Everything was small, and I found it difficult to read anything close to me. I had to take my glasses off, hold the item a couple of inches from my face, and read it. I decided almost immediately that I was not going to wear them. I put the old ones back on. Before long, the other screw came out, so I replaced it, too, with a paper clip. I wore these glasses, with paper clips clearly visible, for five years. Nobody—even my friends—mentioned the paper clips. I wonder what people thought. Perhaps they thought I was too poor to buy new glasses or have the frame repaired. It wasn’t poverty; it was frugality (or laziness).

Fast forward to three weeks ago. While bending the frame with my fingers, it broke. The lens fell out. This time there was nothing I could do to fix it, so I had to get the 2002 glasses out and wear them. Once again, I was horrified. I decided I’d better get new glasses, this time with bifocals. For three weeks, while the glasses were being made, I suffered. It wasn’t bad when I was outside; in fact, things were clearer than ever. But inside, I felt helpless. Reading was difficult. Looking at the computer screen made my eyes watery and tired. I tried repairing the old glasses with duct tape (I kid you not!), but it didn’t work. I called around to see whether anyone would repair my frames. Nobody would. I decided to gut it out, hoping the new glasses would come soon.

Today, at long last, the new glasses arrived. I know I’ll get used to them, but so far they’re as disconcerting as the 2002 glasses, which, ironically, I was getting used to. Reading is much easier (thank goodness), but things aren’t as clear on the computer screen as they used to be and my eyes feel tired. When I look to the side, things get momentarily blurry. The eye doctor says I’ll get used to the new glasses in four or five days. I hope she’s right!

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “India Tries to Stop Sex-Selective Abortions” (news article, July 15):

India’s latest proposal to stop sex-selective abortion regrettably overlooks a root cause of the discriminatory practice.

It’s a country’s laws, policies and societal practices that relegate women to second-class citizenship, and therefore perpetuate customs that favor boys over girls.

Limiting women’s access to abortion, a basic reproductive health service, won’t stop gender-based abortion; it will only force the service underground and women into the hands of unskilled providers.

Until the Indian government adopts and enforces laws and policies that promote education for women, eliminate discrimination in the family and the community, and ensure women’s access to safe reproductive health services, it will continue to disempower its women.

Luisa Cabal
New York, July 16, 2007
The writer is the director of the International Legal Program Center for Reproductive Rights.

Note from KBJ: You have to give this woman credit for consistency. She thinks women have a right to murder their daughters as well as their sons.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France, won by Cédric Vasseur. The French rider averaged 26.70 miles per hour on the 142.6-mile course. Here is the story. Here is the New York Times report. Here is tomorrow’s stage.

Addendum: Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake (in China).

Hall of Fame?

Ron Santo. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

A Year Ago


Bork and Tort, Part 2

Someone pointed out to me that I’m quoted in the latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education (which I don’t read). Here is the post that’s quoted. Notice how quick people are to assume that Judge Bork is a hypocrite. This isn’t charity; it’s enmity. To make out a case of hypocrisy, one must show that S engaged in the very conduct that S has condemned, i.e., that S doesn’t practice what S preaches. That Judge Bork has criticized aspects of the tort system doesn’t mean that he’s opposed to the tort system. This is the point I made in my post. How many of the critics know precisely what Judge Bork has said about the tort system? Why don’t they quote him? I think you know why. They don’t really care whether Judge Bork is a hypocrite. They just enjoy calling him names.

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