Friday, 24 August 2007

The Democrat Party

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Peter Beinart.


Why anybody would want an iPhone, or a cellphone, for that matter, I have no idea, but for those who do, this may be of interest.

Addendum: Here is the kid’s blog, in which he explains the procedure. What a juxtaposition between this kid and those who don’t know basic algebra!

Alan R. White (1922-1992) on Concepts

In thinking of something in one way, e.g., as a motive, a cause, an example of knowledge, or a piece of recklessness, we necessarily connect it with some of our other ways of thinking about things and disconnect it from still others, somewhat as in taking up a physical position in regard to anything we face parts of our surroundings, turn our backs on other parts, and leave a flank exposed to still others; or in describing one point in space we necessarily link it to some points and separate it from others. Somewhat as the examination of a physical position shows us what other spatial positions it is near to or distant from, included in or excluded from, overlooks or is hidden from, is open to or closed by, so examination of a position in thought shows what other positions are contained in or excluded from it, support or rebut it, are relevant or irrelevant to it. As the relations of physical positions are spatial and of Euclidean points are mathematical, so the relations of concepts are ‘logical’. Just as to discover the spatial or mathematical relations of a point is to discover the identity of that point, so to discover the logical relations of a concept is to discover the nature of that concept. For concepts are, in this respect, like points; they have no quality except position. Just as the identity of a point is given by its coordinates, that is, its position relative to other points and ultimately to a set of axes, so the identity of a concept is given by its position relative to other concepts and ultimately to the kind of material to which it is ostensively applicable. Naming a concept by mentioning the word which in a given language is used to express it merely identifies it in the way that a chalk mark on a blackboard identifies a point or a flag on a map identifies a position. While the different words for two concepts, the chalk mark for two points, or the flags for two positions can easily be interchanged, neither the concepts, the points, nor the positions could be interchanged without becoming different concepts, points, or positions. A concept is that which is logically related to others just as a point is that which is spatially related to others.

(Alan R. White, “Conceptual Analysis,” chap. 5 in The Owl of Minerva: Philosophers on Philosophy, ed. Charles J. Bontempo and S. Jack Odell [New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975], 103-17, at 105-6)


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

John Edwards

One of my readers sent a link to this. Please put your coffee cup down before reading it.


Here is another Wall Street Journal columnist who can’t tell the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration. That’s like not being able to tell the difference between a gift and theft, or sex and rape, or driving while sober and driving while drunk.

Best of the Web Today


From the Mailbag

Let’s assume there is a heaven.

If I die today (and go to heaven), will I spend eternity at my current age?

Will I be allowed to pick which age I want to be? (I was not the same person at age 21. How does that work?)

My father died of Alzheimer’s at age 84. Does he spend eternity confused?

Do dogs go to heaven? As puppies? Do they poop on the grass? What about the old and lame—do they romp again?

What do we DO in heaven? Debate? Float entranced? Mature? Read? Change our minds? Run for office? Follow our favorite baseball team? Keep an eye on the goings-on down on earth?

Are we able to go visit people like Lincoln or Jefferson or Aristotle? Jesus? Can we challenge/debate them? Are visits limited?

Do we eat? Do we require shelter? Do we go by a calendar? Celebrate holidays?

Are there lawns to mow?

Do we have any duties? Do we work? Can we self-improve?

Does it rain? Are there sunsets?

Are there dues? Unions? Condos?

Can we see the future?

Are there newspapers? Computers? Ink cartridges for printers?

Are there stores? Do they make a profit? Is there money?

Is smoking allowed?

Is sex allowed? And is it all safe?

Are there trees? Do they lose their leaves (are there seasons)? Do strong winds thin the branches? Are there storms?

Can we bring lawsuits?

Can God kick us OUT of heaven if we misbehave there?

Are there family reunions? Is so, what age is everyone?

Does God have barbecues? Will I be invited?

Is there pollution?

How do we get around? Is there transportation?

Are clothes worn? Do styles change?

Do people get sick? Take medicine?

Is competition allowed? Can we play baseball? Have foot-races?

Can we fish?

Does anyone cry? (Why?) Get depressed? Is there mental illness?

If my wife died and I re-married, who do I spend eternity with?

If I held a grudge against someone, does that vanish?

Do we pay taxes? Or penalize litterbugs? Or speeders?

Are there mosquitoes? Horse flies?

Are there odors? Honey wagons?

Do we ever get gas or indigestion?

Must we take the garbage out? Brush our teeth? Shower? Shave?


(Copyright © 2007 Will Nehs. Reprinted by permission. If you would like permission to reprint this letter, please contact me [Keith Burgess-Jackson] and I will forward your request to Will.)


David Brooks skewers Drew Weston.

Baseball Notes

American League West: The Oakland Athletics are the best second-half team in baseball. They finally kicked it into gear, winning eight of their past 10 games. Unfortunately, they left it too late. They’re 12 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the loss column, and 11 behind the current wild-card leader, the Seattle Mariners. My friend Jeff out in Oakland must be dying. As for my adopted Texas Rangers, they’re already thinking about next year . . . and beyond. Look for this division to supply the wild-card team.

American League Central: The Minnesota Twins are catching my beloved Detroit Tigers, just as they did a year ago (on the final day of the season). If my Tigers can’t win the division, I hope the Cleveland Indians do. I hate the Twins. Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Chicago White Sox, is history. I think there’s a good chance he’ll never manage again. Who would want him? Look for the Kansas City Royals to be competitive in 2008.

American League East: Stick a fork in the New York Yankees. They don’t have the pitching to overtake the Boston Red Sox. The Toronto Blue Jays have underperformed all year. What do you expect from a bunch of Canadians?

National League West: This is going to be a dogfight. The Arizona Diamondbacks prevail. Look for the Colorado Rockies to make a run at them.

National League Central: The Milwaukee Brewers have collapsed like a drunk in an alley. The race is between the Chicago Cubs and the St Louis Cardinals. Albert Pujols has come to life. Expect another Cubs loss and another scapegoat besides Steve Bartman. Phil Garner, the manager of the Houston Astros, is gone. He has run every team he managed into the ground.

National League East: The Atlanta Braves thought the addition of Mark Teixeira would help them catch the New York Mets. Ain’t gonna happen. The Braves should worry about the Philadelphia Phillies, not the Mets. The Braves miss the playoffs again. Terry Pendleton replaces Bobby Cox as manager.

Prediction: The American League playoff teams are Los Angeles, Seattle (wild card), Cleveland, and Boston. Los Angeles beats Boston in the ALCS. The National League playoff teams are New York, St Louis, Arizona, and San Diego (wild card). Arizona beats New York in the NLCS. Los Angeles beats Arizona in the World Series. John Lackey is the Most Valuable Player after pitching two complete-game shutouts, including the clincher in game five.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Spurning Criticism, Rove Puts Blame on Democrats” (news article, Aug. 19):

In a farewell interview, Karl Rove puts a characteristically partisan spin on the record of his years in service to the Bush administration.

Mr. Rove says that the “dividers” over the past six years have been the Democrats, as illustrated by their claim that President Bush “deliberately misled the country.”

The word “deliberately” is an interesting choice. Is it Mr. Rove’s point that in falsely insisting that Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction made him an imminent threat to the United States, the president didn’t know what he was doing?

Mr. Rove’s comments brings us back to what has always been the basic question about President George W. Bush. Is he a knave, a fool or a combination of the two?

William Kenney
Whitestone, Queens, Aug. 19, 2007

Note from KBJ: Are you still beating your wife, Mr Kenney?

Note 2 from KBJ: The letter writer doesn’t know the difference between doing something intentionally and doing something deliberately. Because of his ignorance of this distinction, he reasons fallaciously.


Which of the 50 states is best, and why? Your answer should be no more than 100 words and take the following form:

1. State your criterion.
2. Defend your criterion.
3. Apply your criterion.

No Canadians!

Addendum: How many of you would like to annex Canada?

A Year Ago