Tuesday, 4 September 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by George Will.

Yankee Watch

Both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees won today, so Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 17.


Here is a New York Times story about the human element in science. Like any other human institution, science is simultaneously cooperative and competitive. It is cooperative because—and only to the extent that—the interests of its participants converge. It is competitive because—and only to the extent that—the interests of its participants diverge. Anyone who has a family, or who has played a team sport, or who works with others, knows what I’m talking about.

Dissecting Leftism

Dr John J. Ray is picking fights with people.

Health Care

Read this. I have a better idea, although it’s too sensical to be implemented by politicians. Let each person be responsible for his or her health. Nobody is responsible, financially or otherwise, for anyone else’s health, although people are free to subsidize other people’s health care if they wish (just as they are free to subsidize other people’s laziness if they wish). If you eat too much for your exercise level, you get fat, and that kills you. If you don’t want to die prematurely, you either cut back on how much you eat or exercise more, or both. We can call this the Just Desserts plan.


Is there a connection between being conservative and being a baseball fan? Please don’t point to a progressive who’s a baseball fan (or a conservative who isn’t) and say that you’ve proved that there’s no connection. That proves that there’s no necessary connection, and you’ll notice, if you go back to the very beginning of this post, that I didn’t say “necessary connection.” (There are other connections besides necessary connections.) I believe there is a connection, and I’m prepared to make the case for it; but I’m interested in hearing what readers have to say first. Have at it. By the way, I don’t mean conservative in the political sense, as a set of doctrines, principles, or policy prescriptions. I mean conservative in the temperamental or dispositional sense. The opposite of conservatism is progressivism.

Addendum: This essay will stimulate your thoughts on the subject.

Grandpa John’s

Steve Burri’s comments crack me up, so I thought I’d direct readers to his blog. Life is both tragic and comic, in due proportion. We disrespect it if we attend only to its tragedies.

From the Mailbag

As I watch baseball on TV it has become clear that the strike zone is iffy/changeable AND that technology exists to electronically call balls and strikes. Would it not be better for the game? Could it not “fit in” somehow without taking away from the tradition? From little league to the majors, questionable calls abound (at least so it seems from the center field camera . . .). THEN they show the overhead camera which PROVES the ump was wrong . . . Or the rectangle which shows where each pitch landed. Each missed call throws the game out of balance as hitter and pitcher must “adjust.” So . . . is that part of baseball’s charm? Or unnecessary at this point? [I’ve seen too many games decided on bad calls. If correctable, why not correct?]

Will Nehs

Note from KBJ: It ain’t broke, Will, so don’t fix it. You sound more and more like a progressive with each passing day.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then I’m a platypus‘s sister-in-law.

Best of the Web Today


All Fred, All the Time

Fred Thompson’s communications director says that the Thompson campaign for president “will make mistakes.” Fred Thompson’s communications director must not realize that Fred Thompson kills people who make mistakes. See here.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Yesterday I was offered a tech-support job for a publicly traded company. It pays a paltry $9 to $10 an hour. When I squawked that this is not a livable wage, I was hesitantly offered $11.75.

There are no benefits, other than the fact that this is a “great company” and would look “good on my résumé.” Oh, did I forget to mention a company picnic each summer?

I added up the cost of the two-hour-a-day commute, a mortgage on an average home, health insurance that kicks in only if I am at death’s door, home and auto insurance and utilities. The break-even point was $10.35 an hour. Take into account laundry, groceries, clothing and other basic expenses and I am working at a deficit. No more movies, concerts, sporting events, family or friends because I simply cannot afford them.

Why are some in this prosperous nation of ours so challenged when it comes to comprehending something as simple as paying workers a livable wage? Pay workers sufficiently and they will be loyal and dependable. Stiff them with low wages and they immediately begin to look for something better. Workers are this nation’s greatest asset.

Or is this all a ploy to hold workers hostage between their low-pay jobs and debt so they don’t interfere with the lifestyles of those who have more?

Charles McEniry
Stoughton, Wis., Aug. 29, 2007

Note from KBJ: I couldn’t resist posting a second New York Times letter. The letter writer thinks the world owes him a living. With an attitude like that, is it any wonder that he’s un(der)employed?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Americans’ Meager Income Gains” (editorial, Aug. 29) sees a pattern in which “the spoils of the nation’s economic growth have flowed almost exclusively to the wealthy and the extremely wealthy”:

Suppose the wealthy had shared just a little more of the profits with the general working public. Then more of the workers could have paid for their health care, more could have paid their monthly mortgage increases, more consumers would have bought more goods, and the current financial panic might have been averted.

Extreme greed is incompatible with healthy, long-term economic planning.

Roy Freedle
Lambertville, N.J., Aug. 29, 2007

Note from KBJ: I agree with the letter writer that if the wealthy gave away some of their money, the beneficiaries would be better off. I even agree that the wealthy ought to do so. Charity is a virtue. It doesn’t follow that it’s right to coerce the wealthy into giving away their money. That’s the mistake progressives make. They don’t grasp the elementary distinction between justice, which is obligatory, and charity, which is not.

Note 2 from KBJ: Note the imputation of greediness to the wealthy. Are the poor then envious? Why would only one group or class of individuals be badly motivated? Why the asymmetry?

Note 3 from KBJ: The letter writer assumes that if “the general working public” (i.e., “workers,” as if the wealthy aren’t working) had more wealth, they’d use it to pay for health care, their mortgages, and essential commodities. Isn’t it just as likely—if not more likely—that they’d use it for fattening foods (which make them less healthy), more expensive houses, and frivolous items? And what about the workers’ self-respect? How is that affected?


Will Nehs sent a link to this, saying that Democrats are trying to shoot down various Republican vice-presidential candidates. I think Condi would make a good vice president. By the way, what could be better proof that Republicans are neither racist nor sexist than nominating a black woman for vice president?

A Year Ago