Friday, 31 August 2007

Yankee Watch

Both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees lost today, so Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 23. I have a question for Yankee fans. In all honesty, do you expect your team to make the playoffs?

Does the End Justify the Means?

How many of you think this sort of behavior helps animals, in the long run? How many of you think it hurts them?

Polar CS100

I complain about things when they don’t work as advertised, so it’s only fair that I praise the manufacturers of things that work. I’ve been using a Polar CS100 heart-rate monitor for several months. I’ve had no trouble with it. Yes, I pushed the wrong button a few times and lost valuable data, but that’s my fault. I need to pay more attention to which button I push when stopping and starting. This unit can be used on a bicycle or while running or walking. Obviously, it doesn’t provide distance data unless you’re on a bike, but it does serve as a stopwatch, a heart-rate monitor, and a calorie counter while running or walking. (The calorie count is based on [1] average heart rate, [2] sex, [3] age, [4] height, and [5] weight.) The unit is wireless, so all you do is hook it to the stem or handlebar of your bike, tie a sensor to the front fork, and screw a little gizmo to a spoke on the front wheel. Remember: The more calories you burn, the more you get to ingest! I love watching the calories tick off as I ride.

Karl Rove

Paul Krugman* and his ilk will not like this.

* “Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).

Homosexual “Marriage”

Read this. Mark my words: The citizens of Iowa will do what 27 other states have done, namely, amend their constitution to define “marriage” as the union of one man and one woman. This will prevent polygamy, marrying one’s dog or cat, marrying an object, marrying oneself, and marrying someone of the same sex. Even Massachusetts will amend its constitution. The citizens there have never had a say in the matter. Unelected judges with a progressive agenda have rammed homosexual “marriage” down their throats.

Addendum: Jonathan Martin weighs in on the politics of the case.


The Democrat Party is the feminine/effeminate party. The Republican Party is the masculine party. Kimberley Strassel explains how the Republican presidential candidate can woo women.

Mixed Metaphors

Here is a paragraph from the sports section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“The bottom line, his [Manager Ron Washington’s] consistent message, along with that of the coaching staff, has paid off, and I think we’re starting to see the fruits of those labors,” Daniels said. “The first two months are what they are, and we dug ourselves too deep a hole to where we’re not playing for something meaningful at this point. But . . . I feel confident that we’re headed in the right direction.”

I count five metaphors:

1. “Bottom line.” This is an accounting metaphor.
2. “Paid off.” This is a gambling metaphor.
3. “Fruits of those labors.”
4. “Dug ourselves too deep a hole.”
5. “Headed in the right direction.”

Jon Daniels, who is being quoted by reporter Dave Sessions, is the general manager of the Texas Rangers. Do you suppose he majored in English while at Cornell University?


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

“Long on Anger and Short on Thought”

Here is a review of a new book about the Democrat Party.

Best of the Web Today


Curro Ergo Sum

I had a good month (August) afoot and abike. I ran 15 times (3.1 miles at a time) and did three bike rallies, including the Hotter ’n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls. That’s 18 aerobic activities in 31 days. Running in the Texas heat and humidity is awful, but it must be done. The footracing season begins Monday (Labor Day). As the weather cools, I find that my speed increases. If I didn’t run during the summer, I’d never win any trophies or medals in the fall (although maybe I would by winter). During the past year, I ran 151 times for a total of 501.72 miles. That’s an average of 3.32 miles per run. I had a couple of unfortunate injuries during the fall of 2006 that kept me from racing more than a handful of times. I bruised the top of one of my feet, which made it painful to walk, much less run, and then I had a strange pain in the muscle near my right hip. Both injuries healed, with time. I hope they don’t recur. When you add the 25 bike rallies I do each year to the 151 runs, you get 176 aerobic activities in 365 days, which is about one activity every other day. Many athletes work much harder than this, but I find that my exercise regimen meshes nicely with the other things I do. Neglecting one’s body is just as bad as, if not worse than, neglecting one’s mind. Both need vigorous, regular exercise.

A. P. Martinich on Hobbes’s Science of Politics

According to Hobbes, politics had never been given any kind of scientific treatment by any philosopher from Plato onward until his own work on the subject was published. The principal problem had been that the subject lacked foundations. Hobbes reported that he happened on the foundations when he devised the following sequence of reasoning: Justice is giving every person what is owed to him. Ownership arises from the consent of people. It cannot arise from nature, in which all things are held in common. Rather, the natural condition motivates the institution of ownership. The only way to forestall the fighting that results from things being held in common is for everyone to agree to divide the objects. This consensual division of objects is ownership. In short, Hobbes arrived at two maxims of human nature: People want to take for themselves things that other people also have an interest in; and people do not want to die a violent death.

(A. P. Martinich, Hobbes: A Biography [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 179)

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

It is not uncommon for those whose devotion to God may be public knowledge to have doubts about God or a short- or long-term crisis of faith. This experience is a part of our human history. Moments of religious uncertainty, even in despair, are no less part of faith than they are an aspect of living.

Many people will find it helpful knowing that spiritual models also struggle with doubting God or the value of religious faith. This honesty can assist us in taking more responsibility for how we live.

Much of popular Christian preaching promotes that our goal is to find a purpose to drive us, and then we will prosper. God is not our cosmic bellhop waiting to respond to our beacon call. The importance of faith for many people is too complex and wonderful to have its meaning reduced to how comfortable it makes us feel.

Frederick J. Streets
Stratford, Conn., Aug. 29, 2007
The writer is a former chaplain of Yale University.


If Republicans remained silent about Senator Larry Craig, the editorial board of the New York Times would castigate them for hypocrisy. If Republicans condemn Senator Larry Craig, the editorial board of the New York Times castigates them for intolerance. Heads I win, tails you lose. By the way, note the imputation of homophobia. Why can’t someone want Senator Craig removed from office simply because he committed a crime? And if those who disagree with the editorial board are homophobes, why aren’t the members of the editorial board homophiles? Why the asymmetry?

From the Mailbag


Today I saw my first example of something that appears to be new in academia: a professor assigns to his students not some author’s book to read but someone’s website to look at. In the first case, the author does not know about this, because, for example, he might be long dead, like Aristotle or Karl Marx. But a website proprietor is a still-living person who can quickly become aware that students are being told to visit his site. Moreover, the blogger whom students have been instructed to read can respond if he thinks he is being treated unfairly (rather effectively, in this case).

Maybe some day some college professor will assign your website as the object of an assignment. (Or has this already happened to you?)

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

P.S. The contra-Spencer article (which Professor Ernst has pedagogically included as a good illustration of “judge by the source, not by the arguments” ad-hominem rhetoric), refers to “the review of blind refereed evaluation practiced by university presses.” I understand that articles in scientific journals are refereed “blind” in two senses: (1) the author does not know who the referee is, and (2) the referee does not know who the author is. This blinding seems like a good way to avoid personal animosities. But are most books by university presses really published “blind” in this way?