Monday, 27 August 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Jed Babbin.

Yankee Watch

The Boston Red Sox didn’t play today, but the New York Yankees lost to my beloved Detroit Tigers for the third time in four days. The Tigers crushed the Bronx Bombs like cockroaches, 16-0. Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 24. The Yankees have fallen eight games behind the Sox with a month to play. I expect the Toronto Blue Jays to overtake the Yankees for second place in the next two weeks. It’s almost sad to see the Yankees disintegrate, since they and their obnoxious fans are so desperate to win. How desperate are they? They try to buy titles. How is that not cheating? How can you feel good about a victory if it’s attributable to outspending your rivals?

Addendum: Boston goes to Yankee Stadium tomorrow for a three-game series. The Yankees have to sweep. If the Yankees win only two of the three games, they cut Boston’s lead to seven games, which is still insurmountable. The pressure is on, pinstripe heads!


Now I know why reporters editorialize in their news stories. They can’t get the facts right! See here. The job of a reporter is to get things right, not to set them right. It is to make the words match the world, not to make the world match the words. It is to state the facts, not to make value judgments. It is to be impartial, neutral, or disinterested, which is not the same as being objective. It is to describe, not to prescribe. It is to inform, not to direct. It is to promote understanding, not to motivate to change. Opinions belong on the opinion page, not in news stories. If a person has a hard time doing these things, he or she should find another line of work, just as a judge, a referee, or an umpire who finds it hard to be impartial should find another line of work. Nobody expects reporters to be apolitical or amoral. What we expect—and what we have a right to expect—is that, while they are doing their job, they keep their political and moral views to themselves.


I can’t remember whether I linked to this review, by Marilynne Robinson, of Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion. If I did, I apologize for wasting your time.

Richard John Neuhaus on Sociology

[S]ociology once tried to explain ourselves to ourselves, helping us understand who we are and are becoming. In the past two decades, sociologists typically have been telling us what we ought to do in order to become who they want us to be. Everybody has an opinion on that. For that we do not need sociology departments, although that doesn’t mean they will disappear any time soon.

(Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square,” First Things [May 2007]: 57-72, at 64)

Tempus Fugit

The fall semester started today. It’s my 19th year of teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington. I taught for a year at Texas A&M University (while ABD) before taking a tenure-track job at UTA in the fall of 1989, so this is my 20th year of teaching as a professor. (I taught courses of my own as a graduate student at the University of Arizona from 1983 to 1988, so actually this is my 25th year of teaching.) Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday that I walked into my first class at UTA. I’m looking forward to the fall semester. I teach a sophomore-level undergraduate course on Logic and a graduate seminar on the Moral and Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. In the spring, I teach two sections of Ethics and one section of Philosophy of Law. It’s a great life. I can’t imagine being happy doing anything else.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Stacking the Electoral Deck” (editorial, Aug. 22):

Please rethink your support for the abolition of the Electoral College. The Electoral College is the glue of the two-party system.

Given the requirement of a majority in the Electoral College, the two parties try to find candidates with a broad appeal by occupying the political center and appealing to many regions. Without this system, fringe candidates would have a heyday.

We would inevitably end up with numerous small parties. That, in turn, would leave us with a system in which an ideological fringe or minority party could capture the most votes and win. Moreover, a candidate with overwhelming support in one geographic region of the country could easily garner the most votes.

As we have seen throughout the world, it is easy in an election with numerous parties for a candidate with just, say, 25 percent of the vote to get into a runoff and ultimately win the presidency.

I fear that the abolition of the Electoral College would open the door toward extreme ideological and regionally based presidents. The creation of the Electoral College was an act of genius that promotes and encourages consensus candidates and a stable political system.

Richard S. Hollander
Baltimore, Aug. 22, 2007

Note from KBJ: Beware those who would second-guess James Madison et al.

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