Monday, 5 November 2007

Curro Ergo Sum

Lance Armstrong completed yesterday’s New York City Marathon in 2:46:43, which is almost 13 minutes faster than his marathon of a year ago. That’s a mile pace of 6:21.52 (compared to 6:51.00 the previous year). See here for the story. I’m impressed. Just imagine how fast Lance could run if he threw himself into it, the way he threw himself into training for the Tour de France.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Looking at Dutch and Swiss Health Systems” (news article, Oct. 30):

It is refreshing to see American policy makers looking outside our borders for a better way to finance health care. But the Swiss and Dutch health systems, attractive as they are, offer no magic bullets for American health reformers.

Yes, the Dutch moved wholesale from employer-based to individual-based health insurance, and yes, they allow insurance companies to compete for business, but the efficiency and lower costs we seek (the per capita cost of health care in the Netherlands is about half of that in the United States) are not the result of free markets or who is paying the insurance bill.

The Dutch have a governing agency, the Agency for Care Insurance, that controls the costs and content of the basic packet of benefits to clients. This kind of oversight is desperately needed here but will be resisted by those who profit from health care. Dutch citizens, patients and caregivers alike, accept agency management of costs and benefits because they believe in the responsibility of citizens to care for each other.

Americans are also a neighborly people, willing to help others in need, but those who wish to derail reform appeal to another cultural value: independence. They ask, do we really want the government deciding on our health care?

Health reformers take note: the battle for health reform will be won or lost by appealing to our hearts, not our heads.

Who are we as Americans? What do we care about? Do we really want to be the only developed nation that selfishly refuses to care for all its citizens?

Raymond De Vries
Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 30, 2007
The writer is a member of the bioethics program at the University of Michigan and the author of a book about the health system in the Netherlands.

Note from KBJ: Absolutely not! We want to be the only developed nation that treats its citizens as responsible adults.


Why is it “abusive lending” rather than “stupid borrowing”? Oh, wait. It’s because the New York Times is biased. Never mind.

Four Years and Counting

I started blogging four years ago today. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure I’ve posted something every day during this period. On many days, I posted more than a dozen items. When I started, I didn’t know whether I’d like it. I love it. I can’t imagine a day without blogging. Perhaps things would be different if I had children. In fact, I’m sure they would. But I don’t have children. My life is filled with congenial routines, one of which is writing in my blog. Thanks for reading. My readership declined several weeks ago when Michelle Malkin changed her blog format. She used to have her blogroll prominently displayed, and with a name like “AnalPhilosopher,” I got a lot of traffic. Now, her readers have to click a link to see her blogroll, and it shows “Keith Burgess-Jackson.” Bor-ing. Believe it or not, this reduced my readership significantly. I think of my numbers as being inflated before and honest now, but that’s just me, looking at the bright side of things. This blog had an average of 926.4 visitors during the past week. A year ago, with Michelle’s help, it had 1,530.5.

Here, in case you’re interested, is my first blog post. Note that Brian Leiter had not yet attacked me. Once he did, I of course retaliated. (My mother didn’t raise no mouse.) Here is what I wrote on my first anniversary. Here is what I wrote on my second anniversary. Here is what I wrote on my third anniversary. There have been 1,200,751 visitors to this blog in four years. That’s an average of 821.8 visitors per day. The thing I love about blogging is that it allows me to corrupt people on a mass scale. Socrates was able to corrupt only small groups of individuals. I, with this newfangled technology, can corrupt people far and wide.

Addendum: Here is a year-by-year breakdown of visitors:

     Year 1: 131,571 visitors
     Year 2: 246,165 visitors (an increase of 87.0%)
     Year 3: 399,389 visitors (an increase of 62.2%)
     Year 4: 423,626 visitors (an increase of 06.0%)
     Total: 1,200,751 visitors

Once again, thanks for visiting.


I’m grateful for the feedback about comments. It appears that many of you (and not just Will Nehs) have had comments disappear. I had no idea. I assure you that I have rejected only a handful of comments (not counting spam). The ones I rejected were abusive (almost always by someone too cowardly to use a name). How many of you had links in your comment? I had it set to reject comments with three or more links. This is because spam usually has lots of links. I just changed “3” to “5,” which means that comments with up to four links will now go through. I also noticed that comments go through only if the name and e-mail fields are filled in. Was that the problem for any of you? It’s also possible that some of you used a forbidden string of characters. I try to type strings that nobody but a spammer would use, such as “cowlarva.” But it’s possible that there are forbidden strings that appear in some of your posts. I’ll go back over my list and delete strings that might be used by regular readers.

Addendum: I just deleted “sucking,” “pepsi,” and “molecular” from my list. If you used any of those words, your comment would have been rejected. I think you know why “sucking” was on my list.

Addendum 2: Here’s another thing. I’ve noticed that there are times (up to several hours) when no comments come in for approval. This is odd, because I usually get a steady stream of comments. Maybe these are times when your comments disappear into the void. If so, then I don’t know what to do about it. I have no idea why it happens. It must have to do with my hosting company (BlueHost) or my blog company (WordPress). You might want to save a copy of your comment, in case it disappears—especially if it’s long and can’t be rewritten quickly. I know this is extra work for you, but hey, we’re dealing with squirrelly software!

Best of the Web Today