Friday, 20 July 2007

Yankee Watch

The Boston Red Sox won today, while the New York Yankees were crushed like cockroaches by the worst team (the Tampa Bay Devil Rays) in Major League Baseball. Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 60.

Addendum: Yankee fans may hate me for posting these “Yankee Watches,” but you shouldn’t. I’m merely the messenger, bringing you bad news on an almost daily basis.

All Fred, All the Time

Fred Thompson is going to come roaring out of the starting gate. Mark my words. He should ignore his Republican rivals and go directly to criticizing Hillary Clinton. That will show Republicans that he is serious about defeating her. Here is a column about him.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France, won by Tom Boonen. The Belgian rider averaged 25.06 miles per hour on the 110.9-mile course. Here is the story. Here is the New York Times report. Here is tomorrow’s stage. The winner of the individual time trial will be . . . German Andreas Klöden.

Addendum: Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake (in China). For more images, click here.

Animal Ethics

Here is Mylan Engel’s latest post.


Here is an essay about the late Richard Rorty.


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

Religion and Politics

According to this column by Naomi Schaefer Riley, some Democrats are not happy that the party is reaching out to theists. This is irrational—at least if the goal is to win the 2008 presidential election. Sometimes I think progressives would rather be pure (or, as they see it, right) than powerful. Does anyone think an avowed atheist (understood broadly to include agnosticism) will be elected president in the next century? I don’t see it. I think we’ll have a female president, a black president, a Jewish president, and a disabled president (maybe even a homosexual president) before we have an atheistic president.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

The Bush administration wants to bring democracy to Iraq and claims that keeping American troops on Iraqi soil is a means to accomplish that end. But increasing numbers of Americans, including many Republicans, would like to see the troops brought home soon.

Some people express a legitimate concern that unilaterally withdrawing the troops will give the appearance on the world stage that the United States has cut and run. These conditions pose a dilemma, yet also suggest an honorable solution to it.

The United States should sponsor a referendum in Iraq to ask the Iraqi people if they would like to see the American troops withdrawn. There could be no unfavorable outcome for the United States.

If the majority of Iraqi citizens vote in favor of withdrawal, then the United States can honorably withdraw its forces and redirect its resources to a more effective strategy for fighting terrorism elsewhere.

On the other hand, if the majority of Iraqi citizens vote against withdrawal, then the administration would have a legitimate mandate to stay and a basis for asking the Iraqi people to assist more actively in establishing peace and stability in their country.

Furthermore, holding a referendum would not only provide a fine example of the exercise of democracy in Iraq, but it would also stimulate a debate that would prompt the Iraqi people to weigh carefully the costs and benefits of the American presence. It would help alleviate the feeling that the Iraqi people are the involuntary victims of a foreign military occupation.

Thom Whalen
Ottawa, July 19, 2007

Note from KBJ: What the letter writer ignores is the fact that opponents of the war will never accept a vote that goes against them. If the vote goes their way, it’s a mandate. If it doesn’t, the election was rigged.  Heads I win; tails you lose.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

It’s been ages since I read a column by Paul Krugman*. I do, however, see one-sentence summaries twice a week when I visit the New York Times website. This one shows that nothing has changed. President Bush is evil. President Bush is stupid. President Bush is foolish. President Bush is illiterate. President Bush is selfish. President Bush is incompetent. President Bush is the Worst Person in the History of the World. Paul Krugman needs professional help for his pathological hatred of our president.

* “Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).

A Year Ago


From the Mailbag

Dear Professor Burgess-Jackson,

Let me tell you how much I enjoyed your essay on “Deontological Egoism,” which I discovered earlier this week when, in the course of a Google search, I found your blog. What a rich and compelling piece of work it is, from which I have learned so much. My own work in egoism reflects a certain ambivalence which your fine essay has helped me work through. In an essay on “Is Egoism Morally Defensible?” in Philosophia (1988) I criticized the attempts by Hospers and Regis to provide affirmative answers; but in a recent essay on “Casino, Friendship, and Egoism” (In The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese, ed. Mark T. Conard [University Press of Kentucky, 2007]) I’ve tried to point out misconceptions in various criticisms of egoism. Neither of these essays has the depth, thoroughness, or sheer grandeur of your piece, but I take satisfaction in noting so many points of agreement between us.

I also want to thank you for your kind and gracious words about my Southern Journal of Philosophy essay on “Ethics Without Justification” in your blog entry for 2005.

I wish I had discovered your blog at its inception, but now that I have I’ll return to it often. I particularly appreciate your political commentary and your introduction of such civility and sanity in an area of discussion badly in need of both.

Best wishes,


Steven M. Sanders
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, MA 02325

Note from KBJ: For every creep like Brian Leiter, who tries to destroy the careers of those with whom he disagrees, there is a gentleman like Steven Sanders, who goes out of his way to say kind words to strangers.

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