Saturday, 11 August 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Alexander Cockburn. Perhaps progressives should form a party of their own. Right-wing extremists have the Libertarian Party; why should left-wing extremists such as Cockburn not have the Progressive Party? Each could receive one percent of the presidential popular vote and feel pure as the driven snow.


Look at these pictures taken by Claire and Lara.

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 42.

A. P. Martinich on Hobbes’s Determinism

Hobbes’s objection to maintaining that people have free will was metaphysical. He thought that nature was a closed system and that every event must have a cause. But proponents of free will standardly think that a person’s will somehow is outside the chain of natural causes and that acts of will are events that are not caused by previous events.

(A. P. Martinich, Hobbes: A Biography [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 124)

Note from KBJ: Here are excerpts from Hobbes.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “First Father: Tough Times on Sidelines” (front page, Aug. 9):

It doesn’t take a cold-hearted person to have less sympathy for former President Bush’s hurt feelings than for the victims of his son’s policies.

I worry more about the next generation of Americans, who will have to pay off the federal debt this president has piled up by giving unneeded tax cuts and tax breaks to America’s wealthiest, than I worry about Father Bush’s “pain” at hearing his son criticized.

Both Presidents Bush will never have to worry about being able to afford their health care or find a way to support their families on a minimum-wage job that includes no benefits.

My heart also goes out to the American military people and the families who lost loved ones in a war that should never have happened, and wouldn’t have been authorized if President Bush had told the American people the truth.

My heart also goes out to the Iraqi people whose lives we have destroyed in a misbegotten war that was started under false assumptions and false pretenses and then waged with colossal incompetence by President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Don’t cry for the Bushes, father and son; cry for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, for whom federal help never came.

I’ll save my tears for those who truly suffer in this world. The rich and powerful can take care of themselves.

Lois Erwin
Waldwick, N.J., Aug. 9, 2007

Note from KBJ: One politically incorrect question: Why do people with minimum-wage jobs have families? Could there be anything more irresponsible; and shouldn’t irresponsibility of this sort be condemned at every turn instead of passed over in silence?

A Year Ago


From the Mailbag


There have been a number of books with titles like “The Physics of Baseball” and “The Physics of Basketball.” Until I saw this article, I was unaware that there is such a thing as “elbow armor” to protect batters from mispitched balls. I have never seen such a contrivance; have you? Apparently it is not just for protection, but to confer a mechanical advantage—something comparable to allowing a pitcher to use a lacrosse stick to throw the ball. To my surprise, according to that article, other players are not allowed to wear such a hitting assistance device.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

Note from KBJ: I addressed the issue of armor here, Mark, but I confess that I hadn’t considered the mechanical advantages of the contraption Bonds wears. Thanks for sending the link. I’m sure the baseball fans who read this blog will find it fascinating, as I did.