Thursday, 23 August 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Victor Davis Hanson.

Reverse Dictionary

Mark Spahn sent a link to this curious thing. Don’t say I never did anything for you.


Here is an essay about our greatest president.


Is there a morally relevant difference between hunting and dogfighting, such that only the latter is wrong? If there is no morally relevant difference between these activities, then either both are right or both are wrong. Which is it?

Addendum: Let me put it formally. The following propositions are inconsistent:

1. Hunting is morally acceptable.
2. Dogfighting is morally unacceptable.
3. There is no morally relevant difference between hunting and dogfighting.

Everyone must reject at least one of these propositions. Which do you reject?

Mind and Body

Ever have an out-of-body experience? See here.

Going Bananas

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. I prefer bananas, which are a good source of potassium. I’ve eaten one banana a day for exactly two years. There have been many times when I drove to the grocery store in the evening because I was out of bananas. I’m glad I did. I’ve gotten pretty good at combining yellow bananas, light green bananas, and dark green bananas so that I have a week’s supply. Does anyone else like bananas?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Bruce Weber, in “Baseball’s Bad Bet” (Op-Ed, Aug. 18), worries that someday a Major League Baseball umpire could be found betting on games he calls and compromise the sport, much like the referee Tim Donaghy has done to the National Basketball Association. But this is unlikely, as the umpire’s tasks in baseball allow many fewer opportunities to unfairly influence the outcome of a game than a referee’s in basketball.

Umpires make binary calls in baseball—ball or strike, safe or out, fair or foul. They function much like a camera, and make very few judgment calls—for example, a balk or checked swing. The plate umpire alone makes nearly all the critical calls in a game. Some nights a base umpire may make no meaningful calls at all. Any pattern of suspicious calls would be obvious.

In contrast, a basketball referee makes hundreds of calls and non-calls each game, many of which are relative judgments. A clever referee could hide his bias, especially with non-calls. The same is true of football.

This may explain why baseball managers are, among the three major sports, the most volatile and vehement in arguing officials’ calls. They can easily see a wrong call.

Thomas Hout
Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 18, 2007

Note from KBJ: Is anyone buying this?

Best of the Web Today


Michael Vick

In case you’re not getting enough news or opinion about Michael Vick, here is a column. Please note that my linking to something does not signify agreement! I may or may not agree with what I bring to your attention.

From the Mailbag

This is probably too “inside baseball” for most readers, but it gives one writer’s take on the U.S. immigration policy debate of the past dozen years and why the recent proposal for immigration-law changes went down to defeat.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

Richard John Neuhaus on the Inevitability of Evil

“If we really wanted to, we could . . .” Complete the sentence with your favored cause: end war, eliminate poverty, achieve educational equality, eradicate racial and ethnic prejudice, or whatever. No, we can’t. We can often contain evils and sometimes reduce evils, but we cannot abolish evil. Nor is it a Christian virtue to think we can. To think we can is a prideful and thoroughly un-Christian idea that becomes particularly odious when joined to self-flattering but empty gestures.

(Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square,” First Things [May 2007]: 57-72, at 62)


Michael Martin is a fellow philosopher and a fellow atheist. I have used his book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990) in a Philosophy of Religion course. It is excellent. Many of Martin’s essays are available free at this site. Enjoy!

A Year Ago