Friday, 27 July 2007

Yankee Watch

The Boston Red Sox won today, while the New York Yankees split a doubleheader (the first game being the completion of a suspended game). Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 52. I might add that the Yankees are closer to the Orioles than they are to the Red Sox. It’s a great time to be a Yankee hater.


This is one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen. Do not watch it if you’re faint of heart.


There is nothing quite so entertaining as a squabble among libertarians. See here. Please remember that I was a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party in 1980. I voted for Ed Clark for president that year. Libertarians think that they’re conservatives without God. Actually, they’re conservatives without common sense.

Addendum: Here is an interesting blog post by law professor Stephen Bainbridge.

Addendum 2: Here is Ed Feser’s essay “The Problem with Pure Libertarianism.”


The only thing that surprises me about the NBA refereeing scandal is that anyone likes the NBA.

From the Mailbag


Here is a well-written review of Christopher Hitchens’s recent book, “God Is Not Great.” I found this review via Steve Sailer’s site. The review is written by a Tom Piatak, whom I have never read before. I like this comment about Hitchens:

In my years as a schoolmaster, I’ve met many such adolescents. When confronted with an examination’s essay question about which they know nothing, the lower social classes (and the heirs of Nobility with titles going back to 12th Century) have the honesty to write nothing, and thus sadly merit a grade that resembles the shape of an egg. The Upper Middle Class, the Grand Bourgeoisie, and nobility by letters-patent, when in a similar circumstance, habitually write yards and yards of prose—most of it well-written, much of it clever, and some of it witty—and all of it still nothing, and thus meriting the same grade, not only because it is nothing, but also for wasting the examiner’s time and not sparing the tree that provided the paper.

And this comment led me to realize the ambiguity of the term “enemy of God”:

I take issue with the commenter who claims Hitchens is an “enemy of God.” Enemy of God is a Muslim term. We have no such term in Christianity. Christ loves all and desires to save all.

I, and the original commenter, took “enemy of God” to mean “someone who takes God as his enemy.” This commenter, however, takes it to mean “someone whom God takes as His enemy.” (I wonder whether the Arabic term “enemy of God” is ambiguous in the same way.)

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)


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

Addendum: I like Peggy Noonan, but sometimes, as in this column, she rambles—and whines. I get all the whining I can handle from my bicycling buddies. The other day, I told a joke. “How do you know when Randy [one of my buddies] is whining?” Answer: “His lips are moving.” Speaking of whining (why do the British spell it “whinging”?), does anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit about Doug and Wendy Whiner? It was hilarious. I’ll try to find a clip on YouTube.

Best of the Web Today


Richard John Neuhaus on Progressive Dogmatism

“The argument is over,” announced former Vice President Al Gore. The subject was global warming. The television interviewer then asked, “You mean there is no argument about global warming?” Gore solemnly nodded and said again, very much like a judge pronouncing the final verdict, “The argument is over.” When and where, one might well ask, did the argument take place? Who was invited to take part in the argument? There are many very reputable scientists expressing skepticism or disbelief with respect to global warming. Never mind, they’re too late; the argument is over. As the presumed moderator of public discourse, Mr. Gore declares that the argument is over and that his side won. Writing in the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman goes further, comparing global-warming skeptics with Holocaust deniers. They are not only ignorant, they are culpably ignorant. In fact, they are evil. One detects a growing pattern of refusing to engage in argument by declaring that the argument is over. It is not only global warming. Raise a question about the adequacy of Darwinian theory, whether scientifically or philosophically, and be prepared to be informed that the argument is over. Offer the evidence that many who once coped with same-sex desires have turned out, not without difficulty, to be happily married to persons of the opposite sex and you will be told politely—or, more likely, impolitely—that the argument is over.

(Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square,” First Things [April 2007]: 55-72, at 60)


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France, won by Sandy Casar. The French rider averaged 25.09 miles per hour on the 131.1-mile course. Here is the story. Here is the New York Times report. Here is tomorrow’s stage.

Addendum: Tomorrow’s penultimate stage—an individual time trial of 34.4 miles—will determine the winner of the Tour, unless, of course, only seconds separate the first two or more riders, in which case the bonus points on Sunday’s ultimate stage into Paris will be determinative. I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for my prediction, so here goes. After today’s 18th stage, Spaniard Alberto Contador leads Australian Cadel Evans by 1:50 and American Levi Leipheimer by 2:49. Here is how things will stand after tomorrow’s time trial:

Evans, two seconds behind
Contador, 28 seconds behind

That’s right. Leipheimer will do the time trial of his life and take the lead, but only by two seconds. This means that the bonus points on Sunday will determine the overall winner. The winner of tomorrow’s time trial will be . . . David Millar of Scotland.


Here is an essay by Harvard professor Samantha Power. (What a great name for a professor of government!)

Changing Times

I bought my first 10-speed bicycle, a Sears Free Spirit, on 9 August 1981—nearly 26 years ago. I paid $125 for it. That was a lot of money at the time. Today, by contrast, I paid $314 for a tune-up on my Douglas TI titanium bicycle. My friends will never stay with me now.

Addendum: Here is the pertinent part of my journal entry for 9 August 1981 (the bracketed material was added 20 years after the fact, i.e., on 9 August 2001):

The bike I purchased this afternoon cost $125, with state sales tax. It was on sale, marked down from the regular price of $150. It is blue, has twenty-seven inch tires, and rides well. I like it. With any luck, it will survive my “Tour de Michigan.” [I rode this bike until 27 July 1984, when I traded it in for a “better” bike at a Tucson bike shop. During this period of nearly three years, I pedaled it 2,252.1 miles. In twenty years of bicycling (counting that first thirty-mile ride), I have pedaled 51,105.5 miles. That’s the equivalent of 2.05 times around the earth at the equator. Counting leap years (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000), 7,305 days have elapsed, so I have ridden an aver­age of 6.99 miles per day, 48.97 miles per week, and 2,555.2 miles per year for twenty years. I hope I have at least another twenty years abike. It has been fun.]

To show how badly [sic; should be “bad”] I wanted the bike today, it took almost all of my money to buy it. To get enough money for gas during the week, I cashed in $2.70 worth of bottles and rolled up fifty pennies.


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In “The House’s Duty on Energy” (editorial, July 20), you are right to call for an increase in auto fuel-efficiency standards. But you don’t mention another promising energy conservation idea that should be promoted: pay-as-you-drive insurance.

If insurance fees were assessed on a per-mile basis, instead of being charged as a lump sum that is largely independent of miles driven, the change in incentives would reduce miles driven by close to 10 percent.

Given the urgency of global warming, we can’t afford to be too lazy to consider new ideas.

Dean Baker
Washington, July 20, 2007
The writer is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Note from KBJ: I like this proposal. I drive 4,500 miles per year.

A Year Ago