Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Democrat Party

I leave you this fine evening with a New York Times story about the Democrats’ moonbat problem.

Windows Live OneCare

I’ve used Windows Live OneCare as my antivirus and firewall software for well over a year. I’m happy with it. Today, when I fired up my computer, OneCare updated itself. I was asked to restart my computer. When I did so, I got a message informing me that my computer might be “at risk.” The firewall was on, but the virus protection was off. I rebooted the computer four or five times, but I kept getting the error message. This concerned me, naturally, so I called Microsoft. To make a long story short, I got through right away, got a friendly technician on the line, and got my problem solved. It involved clicking “Start” and “Run” and typing a couple of commands. I just thought I’d put in a good word for Microsoft. Goodness knows I complain when things go wrong. To balance things out, I like to praise people when things go right.


Daniel Henninger wonders whether Hillary Clinton will defend Rush Limbaugh.

Best of the Web Today


A Year Ago


John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 9

As to my private reading, I can only speak of what I remember. History continued to be my strongest predilection, and most of all ancient history. Mitford’s Greece I read continually; my father had put me on my guard against the Tory prejudices of this writer, and his perversions of facts for the whitewashing of despots, and blackening of popular institutions. These points he discoursed on, exemplifying them from the Greek orators and historians, with such effect that in reading Mitford my sympathies were always on the contrary side to those of the author, and I could, to some extent, have argued the point against him: yet this did not diminish the ever new pleasure with which I read the book. Roman history, both in my old favourite, Hooke, and in Ferguson, continued to delight me. A book which, in spite of what is called the dryness of its style, I took great pleasure in, was the Ancient Universal History, through the incessant reading of which I had my head full of historical details concerning the obscurest ancient people, while about modern history, except detached passages, such as the Dutch war of independence, I knew and cared comparatively little. A voluntary exercise, to which throughout my boyhood I was much addicted, was what I called writing histories. I successively composed a Roman history, picked out of Hooke; an abridgment of the Ancient Universal History; a History of Holland, from my favourite Watson and from an anonymous compilation; and in my eleventh and twelfth year [sic] I occupied myself with writing what I flattered myself was something serious. This was no less than a history of the Roman Government, compiled (with the assistance of Hooke) from Livy and Dionysius: of which I wrote as much as would have made an octavo volume, extending to the epoch of the Licinian Laws. It was, in fact, an account of the struggles between the patricians and plebeians, which now engrossed all the interest in my mind which I had previously felt in the mere wars and conquests of the Romans. I discussed all the constitutional points as they arose: though quite ignorant of Niebuhr’s researches, I, by such lights as my father had given me, vindicated the Agrarian Laws on the evidence of Livy, and upheld to the best of my ability the Roman democratic party. A few years later, in my contempt of my childish efforts, I destroyed all these papers, not then anticipating that I could ever feel any curiosity about my first attempts at writing and reasoning. My father encouraged me in this useful amusement, though, as I think judiciously, he never asked to see what I wrote; so that I did not feel that in writing it I was accountable to any one, nor had the chilling sensation of being under a critical eye.

Note from KBJ: Mill says that his head was “full of historical details concerning the obscurest ancient people,” but that he “knew and cared comparatively little” about modern history. I know whereof he speaks. I can draw detailed maps of Custer’s battlefield in southeastern Montana, showing all the troop and Indian movements, and I know a great deal about the American War of Independence and the War Between the States, but I know little about World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, or the war in Vietnam. These wars were too modern for me. (Any war in which internal-combustion engines are used is too modern.) By the way, Mill’s father did right—in my opinion—by not asking to see what his son wrote. It would have turned an enjoyable task into work. This is why I recommend to my students that they keep a journal. The idea is to learn how to write. If you know that nobody will read what you write (unless you decide to share it), you can try things and see what happens. I suspect that many students do no writing outside of their classes. In other words, all of their writing is done with the expectation that their teachers will read and criticize it. This has a stultifying effect. No wonder my students can’t write! I have no regrets whatsoever about keeping a journal for most of my life. It’s how I learned to write.

Note 2 from KBJ: Mill says he regrets destroying some of his childhood writings. Once again, I know whereof he speaks. I began keeping a journal at about the age of 16. One day, I got mad at my mother and wrote some bad things in it. Later, when I saw what I wrote, I felt embarrassed and destroyed the journal. (It was one of those with a little clasp, to keep it shut.) I would give a lot of money to have that journal. Lesson to young people: Save your writings! When you get older, you’ll be glad you did.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Angriest Justice” (editorial, Oct. 5):

You suggest that Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court should recuse himself from any case involving the American Civil Liberties Union because of his presumed bias against it, even though he never names the organization.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the founder of the A.C.L.U. Women’s Rights Project. Up to the time she joined the federal bench, she served as A.C.L.U. general counsel and on its board of directors.

Clearly, by your own editorial logic, you should urge Justice Ginsburg to recuse herself from all cases that involve the A.C.L.U., and also from cases involving feminist issues. I await a vigorous editorial expressing this.

Joan K. Ostling
Ridgewood, N.J., Oct. 6, 2007

Note from KBJ: Touché.