Saturday, 28 July 2007

Yankee Watch

The Boston Red Sox won today, while the New York Yankees lost. Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 50. The Yankees may finish fourth in the five-team East Division. Time to start rebuilding, George.

Addendum: The Yankees (55-49, .529) trail the Red Sox (64-40, .615) by nine games. If Boston wins 55% of its remaining games, New York will have to go 41-17 (.706) to tie. If Boston wins 50% of its remaining games, New York will have to go 38-20 (.655) to tie. All I want from Yankee fans is an admission that it’s over. Please don’t say that it’s possible for the Yankees to win. I’m not talking about possibility. I’m talking about probability. The Yankees show no signs of winning 55% of their remaining games, much less 65.5%, much less 70.6%. The Red Sox show no signs of losing 40% of their remaining games, much less 45%, much less 50%. The longer Yankee fans deny reality, the more one doubts their mental health.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France, won by Levi Leipheimer. The American rider averaged 32.97 miles per hour on the 34.4-mile course. Here is the story. Here is the New York Times report. Here is tomorrow’s stage.

Addendum: I predicted that David Millar would win today’s time trial. Unfortunately for him (and me), he had bike problems almost as soon as he left the start chute. He finished 87th, 7:53 behind the winner. As for my other predictions, I thought Levi Leipheimer would take the overall lead. He rode the time trial of his life, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit to Alberto Contador or Cadel Evans. Contador now leads Evans by 23 seconds and Leipheimer by 31. One thing we can say for sure is that Leipheimer will not attack his teammate tomorrow. The only question is whether Evans will attack Contador, for there are enough time bonuses on the course to put him into the yellow jersey. I believe that if he were within 10 seconds of the lead, he would try something; but 23 seconds is too much. It would be unseemly to make such a desperate effort. Alberto Contador, the 24-year-old Spaniard, will stand atop the podium tomorrow in Paris. There hasn’t been a Spanish winner since 1995, when Miguel Indurain won for the fifth time.

Addendum 2: To put Leipheimer’s accomplishment in perspective, consider that the 141st and last rider in the time trial, German Robert Förster, averaged “only” 28.03 miles per hour.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “New Leaders Say Pensive French Think Too Much” (front page, July 22):

You report that Christine Lagarde, the new French finance minister, wants the French to be more thoughtless.

And President Nicolas Sarkozy, who likes to be seen as a nonintellectual and whose mantra is “work more to earn more,” is pictured jogging.

Europeans enjoy thinking, so they go on hikes, walks and outings with friends and family on weekends and stroll through old graveyards, pedestrian zones and parks on workdays. All ages—from grandparents to babies—talk, sing, explore and exchange ideas as they enjoy the fresh air.

Jogging with iPods keeps one isolated and unable to hear the birds singing or a train coming. Perhaps it also leads us to suffer an administration that prefers we not think.

Europeans, heed our horrible example!

Jean Kathleen Ranallo
Englewood, Fla., July 22, 2007

Note from KBJ: I feel sorry for this woman. She is stuck in a country she doesn’t like. Perhaps writing bitchy letters to The New York Times helps her cope with her unhappiness.

Note 2 from KBJ: Did you notice the rhetorical sleight of hand? The letter writer says that the new finance minister “wants the French to be more thoughtless.” That’s not what she said. She said (according to the Times story) that the French should think less and act more, i.e., do less theorizing and more productive work. (This is the ancient Greek distinction between contemplation and action.) The word “thoughtless” has a very different (and negative) connotation. Compare:

You should do less thinking and more acting.


You should be thoughtless.

Big difference! The letter writer didn’t just put the worst spin on what was said; she distorted it to serve her own purposes.


What is it with progressives? Why must they demonize everyone who doesn’t share their values? Read this. For a while, it looks as though the editorial board of The New York Times is going to stay focused on the arguments for and against enforcing immigration laws. But then, near the end of the opinion, comes the P-word. The mayor of the town in question is said to be “prejudiced” against immigrants. Two things. First, no evidence is supplied that the man is prejudiced. It’s simply assumed that he is. That’s the opposite of charity. It’s indecency. Second, even if he were prejudiced, it would have no bearing on the merits of his argument for enforcing the immigration laws. As a philosopher, this shift from reasons to motives—from the grounds of belief to the causes of action—is dismaying, to say the least. I would like to think that every philosopher, including those of a progressive persuasion, would condemn this fallacious maneuver. That they don’t do so shows that they are progressives first and philosophers second. If you’re a student of philosophy, take note.

Addendum: The opinion as a whole is filled with vicious, manipulative rhetoric. The mayor is said to be a “vigilante” and to be “cruel.” Those who support enforcement of the law are said to be “harsh” and “inhumane”—and to want to “dehumanize” people. You know the Times is losing the argument when it resorts to abuse.

A Year Ago