Wednesday, 1 August 2007


I leave you this fine evening with an essay by Michael Specter.

Body Mass

Here is a BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator. My BMI is 21.6, which is smack dab in the middle of the normal range. (I’m five feet, 11 inches tall and weigh 155 pounds.) What’s yours?

Addendum: My friend Hawk has the highest recorded BMI in the history of humanity. Michael Moore is a close second. Brian Leiter is third and gaining ground rapidly. Hawk’s BMI would be even higher if I weren’t his friend.

Yankee Watch

Both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees won today. Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 49. Wasn’t it just in the 60s?

My Salary

I’m paid by the citizens of the state of Texas, so it’s only fair that I disclose my salary to them. Here it is:





















The first column is the effective date. The second column is the salary (for nine months of work). The third column is the increase in salary over the previous year. The fourth column is the rate of increase in salary over the previous year.

Addendum: I should point out that, this past April, my university bought me the 10-volume second edition of Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which retails for $1,025. I would not have purchased the encyclopedia out of my salary, but I’m delighted to have it.


Here is an interesting New York Times story about the use of new technologies by political candidates. Andrew Sullivan is quoted in the story as referring to Republican presidential candidates as “old white men.” What the hell is he? (Sullivan will be 44 years old in nine days. Last time I checked, he was white.)


After nearly four years of blogging, I still don’t understand anonymity. It’s cowardice, plain and simple. If you have something to contribute to public discourse, identify yourself, so that what you say can become part of your record. Someone named “q” has been commenting on my “Global Warmism” post. He or she knows who I am. Why should I not know who he or she is? Why the asymmetry? I’m brave. Why is “q” afraid? From now on, I accept no anonymous comments. If I don’t see a full name (and not an obviously made-up one) in a comment, it gets deleted immediately, without being read. If you don’t like this policy, go elsewhere. I don’t make any money off this blog. In fact, it costs me money. I’d be as happy with 250 readers per day as I am with 1,500. My days of enabling cowardice are over.

Addendum: For the record, I have never written anything anonymously (or pseudonymously) in my life. If I utter a falsehood, I am responsible for it. If I reason fallaciously, I am responsible for it. If I analyze a concept incorrectly, I am responsible for it. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for one’s actions. Evading responsibility is childish.

Addendum 2: It may appear that I made an exception for “JJS.” I did not. If you click “JJS,” you’ll be taken to John J. Sullivan’s website. John is not a coward. He takes responsibility for what he says in this blog. Nobody should take this policy personally. I’m not picking on anyone. I just think I should adopt a policy of openness. When I was replying to “q” yesterday, it felt like I was having a conversation with someone who had a bag over his or her head. That’s creepy. I want to know who I’m talking to. Wouldn’t you?


If you’re thinking of voting Democrat, read this.

Best of the Web Today


Richard John Neuhaus on Judaism

Without denying the universality of the gospel of Christ, I believe it is in the interest of Christians to live side by side with a strong and vibrant Jewish community. We still have a lot to learn from Judaism about what it means to be Christian.

(Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square,” First Things [April 2007]: 55-72, at 63)

All Fred, All the Time

Bob Dole has been a supporter of John McCain, but he says McCain’s presidential campaign is moribund. Dole may throw his support to Fred Thompson. I hope a lot of other McCain supporters follow his lead. In my view, Rudy Giuliani isn’t much better than Hillary Clinton. (Sorry, Peg.)

Hall of Fame?

Kenny Rogers. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

When I came to America from Canada in 1961, I was shocked to find that Americans didn’t have universal health care. It was tragic then, and has become more tragic.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed the unfairness that patients like those featured in your July 29 front-page article unfortunately experience.

I’m still shocked that Americans haven’t yet realized the vital need to remove profit from health care, to move to a single-payer system, to emphasize prevention and to extend access to all regardless of income or status.

Celia Menczel
Walnut Creek, Calif., July 29, 2007
The writer is a retired registered nurse.

Note from KBJ: Replace “health care” with “food,” “shelter,” “clothing,” or “fuel” and see how ridiculous this letter sounds. Is there a relevant difference between health care and these other goods that would make the analogy a poor one? In other words, is health care special? If so, why?

Global Warmism

The average high temperature this past July at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was 92.0º Fahrenheit. See here. That’s the lowest average high temperature for July since I began keeping statistics in 1990. (The highest is 102.3º—in 1998.) Why is this not evidence against global warming? You know damn well that if the average high temperature in this area had been the highest since 1990, it would be considered evidence in favor of global warming. As I said the other day, the sign that global warming has become an ideology (in the pejorative sense) is that nothing is allowed to count against it. That’s why I use the term “global warmism.” The “ism” signifies that it’s a doctrine or ideology rather than a falsifiable scientific hypothesis.