Wednesday, 10 October 2007

All Fred, All the Time

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Michael Goodwin.


Richard Posner explains why academia is dominated by progressives.


The National League Championship Series begins tomorrow night in Phoenix. I’m looking forward to watching it, even though the games are on TBS and hence not in high definition. (The ALCS is on Fox, which I get in high definition.) I like both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a slight preference for the Rockies. I consider Todd Helton one of the top five hitters in the game. He has hit .300 or better for 10 consecutive years and has a career batting average of .332, which is second only to Ichiro Suzuki among active players. He is in his first postseason. In the ALCS, I have a distinct preference for the Cleveland Indians over the Boston Red Sox. I’m not going to make any predictions, but this is your chance to do so. Try not to make a fool of yourself.


Here are three essays about our next president. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

President Clinton

How many of you will be tempted to move to another country (such as Canada) if Hillary Clinton is elected president? How many of those of you who will be tempted will succumb to the temptation? But seriously, will it be the end of the world if Hillary is elected? Will conservatives be as vicious toward her as progressives have been toward President Bush? Will we see signs saying “Hillary = Stalin,” for example? I still think Hillary has a conservative streak. For example, I think she will defend this country and its interests. What bothers me is the prospect of her appointing lawless (i.e., result-oriented) Supreme Court justices.

A. P. Martinich on Hobbes’s Death

Those who hated him were dissatisfied that he had died peacefully; it was hard enough for them to explain how God could have kept the wretch alive for more than ninety years. Consequently, they littered London with the lie that he had refused communion on his deathbed.

(A. P. Martinich, Hobbes: A Biography [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 356)


This little essay by law professor Eugene Volokh is brilliant. I wish I had thought of it. (Is Spock the one with the big ears? I don’t get the allusion.)


Here is a review of a new book about the man who invented Tabasco sauce. I love the Green Pepper variety.

Best of the Web Today


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In your Oct. 7 editorial you rightly deplore the Bush administration’s de facto endorsement of the use of torture as incompatible with American values. Inconsistent perhaps, but by no means historically exceptional. The United States helped put the likes of Augusto Pinochet and the shah into power, turned a blind eye to death squads and the widespread use of torture in Central America, and got serious about the ideas of racial equality and justice at home relatively late in its history.

So while President Bush’s defense of torture-by-another-name undoubtedly violates what are supposed to be American ideals, that kind of moral duplicity by a United States administration is, unfortunately, by no means exceptional.

Kimmo Wilska Isokaari
Helsinki, Finland, Oct. 7, 2007

Note from KBJ: Thank you for the lecture. Now get outside and herd your reindeer.


Several Yankee fans have said that the Bronx Bombs don’t need to make drastic personnel changes for 2008. What? The Yankees haven’t played in a World Series since 2003 and haven’t won one since 2000. This year, for the first time in more than a decade, they didn’t win their division. Why should anyone think that tweaking the roster will make a difference? The problem is that the Yankees have the wrong type of player. They have people such as Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui who, by all indications, don’t care whether they win, and they have people such as Alex Rodriguez who have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can’t perform under pressure. A-Rod has always put up gaudy numbers during the regular season. He is a spectacular failure in the postseason. It’s mental, folks; it’s mental! And because it’s mental rather than physical, it’s not going to change. I’ll actually be delighted if the Yankees do no more than tweak their roster for 2008. Next year, they might finish third in their division (behind Boston and Toronto) and not even get to the postseason; and if they do manage to get there with the duds they have, they’ll lose in the first round for the fourth consecutive year and fifth of the past seven.

Hall of Fame?

Kenny Lofton. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

From the Mailbag

Catch the “debate?”

I’d have answered my first question by stating that the “debate” format ill-serves an electorate desperately (?) hoping to learn about the candidates and the issues. 2 minute soirees and 30 second flash answers can hardly lay out any coherent “economic” policies. “So, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll do my best to fill my alloted times with agreeable sound-bites, but I implore the ‘powers-that-be’ to come up with more meaningful forums in the future—along the lines of Speaker Gingrich’s idea of 90 minute give and takes without a stopwatch—unless it is used on the moderators, not the candidates.” A “Newt Moment” of clarity that cuts through the pettifoggery that appeals to those of us who aren’t soap opera fans who have attention spans longer than a bowl of split peas. This isn’t a beauty pageant. Right? Right???

That said, if only Rudy and Fred were 5 years younger and Mitt (fair or not) a little less . . . debonair.

At the end you were left with a “feeling” for the candidates more than their substances. Me thinks, sadly, that is the aim. Style over substance. Everything is spin. Someone stick a fork in the beast’s eye and lift us from the miasma!!! Fred? Rudy? Mitt?

Say goodnight, Gracie.

Will Nehs

Note from KBJ: I didn’t see it, Will. Peg Kaplan probably thought Rudy Giuliani did best and Megan Hunt probably thought Ron Paul did best. I can’t get interested in a “debate” with nine people.

A Year Ago