Tuesday, 13 November 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a heartwarming story about David Millar, the Scotsman who is trying to clean up the sport he loves.

Character and Action

David Brooks is right that character matters, but wrong if he thinks it’s the only thing that matters. Besides being disposed to act rightly, one must act rightly. John McCain acted wrongly on at least two momentous occasions. First, he spearheaded the movement to limit people’s ability to support candidates of their choosing. Second, he led the charge to reward illegal aliens for their lawless conduct. These are not peccadillos. They are egregious wrongs that strike at the heart of our way of life. That McCain would support such measures shows that his much-ballyhooed character is defective. After all, we don’t perceive character; we infer it from conduct.


Here is the latest volley in the culture war. Which side are you on?


Progressives are fond of pointing out that not everyone in our society (in the world?) has the same amount of income or wealth. They think this constitutes a reason to “redistribute” income and wealth. (I put the word in quotation marks because the prefix “re-” implies that someone already distributed income and wealth, which is false.) It doesn’t, obviously. What matters is not equality but sufficiency. Do people have enough to provide for their basic needs (food, fuel, shelter, clothing, and medical care)? If not, is it because they’re irresponsible? Why should those of us who are responsible be made to subsidize irresponsibility? Is that fair? I don’t think anyone resents providing for those who can’t provide for themselves. Americans are the most generous people on earth. (Do you agree, John?) What many people resent, and rightly so, is having their hard-earned money taken by bureaucrats and given to able-bodied adults who made bad life choices. See here for a Wall Street Journal editorial opinion about the allegedly increasing gap between rich and poor. It appears that progressives don’t even have their facts right.

Best of the Web Today


All Fred, All the Time

Here is a story about the origin of the Fred Thompson presidential campaign. How many of you long for the days when candidates’ spouses stayed home and kept their mouths shut? Who started this awful trend, anyway? Was it FDR?


Does it matter to any of you whether I earn money from this blog? If so, why? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m sincerely interested in this and want to know what you think (and why). I’ll say more after I’ve heard from several of you.

Addendum: I’m stunned by the first five comments. Isn’t anyone concerned that if I find a way to earn money from this blog, my integrity will be compromised? Won’t I be beholden to those who pay me? Won’t I avoid certain subjects in order not to offend or antagonize those who are paying me? How can you trust me to speak my mind, knowing that I might not be speaking my mind? Then again, maybe you read this blog for entertainment rather than edification. Maybe, in other words, you don’t particularly care whether I hew to the truth.


The governor of Georgia is praying for rain. As usual, atheists are upset. Here’s what I don’t understand. God can make it rain without prayers. Why would God wait until people pray? If your child were ill and you had medicine, would you wait until your child requested the medicine before administering it?


C. C. Sabathia is the winner of this year’s American League Cy Young Award. Here is yesterday’s announcement of the Rookie of the Year Award recipients.

A Year Ago



I came of musical age in 1973, when I was 16 years old. I’ve been a headbanger ever since. But that doesn’t mean I like only heavy-metal music. In fact, I like many types of music, as you would surmise if you saw my CD collection. I listen to classical music in the morning while reading at my desk. I fell in love with jazz when I was in law school at Wayne State University in the early 1980s. In Tucson, between 1983 and 1988, I discovered new-age music. About the only type of music I don’t like is country and western. I would add rap and hip-hop to the list, but I don’t consider them music. A fortiori, they’re not music I dislike.

When I lived in Tucson, I recorded songs from the radio to cassette tapes, so I could listen to them while riding my bike. Many of these songs were so good that I tracked them down later on compact disc. One song that I loved is by Leslie Drayton & Fun. I had never heard of Leslie Drayton. All I knew is that the radio announcer said, “That’s Leslie Drayton & Fun, from Innuendos.” I searched for this album for many years, to no avail. The other day, while ordering some books and DVDs from Amazon.com, I typed “Leslie Drayton” into the search box and discovered that an album entitled Innuendos (1987) was available.  I ordered it. Today it arrived. I just popped it into my Bose Music System. The first song on the CD (“Monday Afternoon”) is the one I remember, and I recognized it immediately after 20 years of not hearing it. As you can imagine, it brought back great memories. The rest of the album is superb as well.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Paul Krugman writes, “Diseases that are associated with obesity and other lifestyle-related problems play, at most, a minor role in high U.S. health care costs.”

In fact, chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity account for more than 50 percent of health care costs in the United States and most of the world. Studies show that approximately 95 percent of these chronic diseases are preventable or even reversible just by making comprehensive lifestyle changes.

In contrast, more than $30 billion was spent last year on coronary angioplasties and stents despite evidence from randomized controlled trials showing that they do not prolong life or prevent heart attacks in stable patients. Newer technologies like coated stents may actually increase the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

If we are to make universal coverage available and affordable, then significant resources need to be devoted to teaching people to make comprehensive lifestyle changes, not just to drugs and surgery.

Dean Ornish, M.D.
Sausalito, Calif., Nov. 9, 2007
The writer is founder and president, Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

Note from KBJ: When have facts ever gotten in the way of a Paul Krugman* opinion?

* “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).


I just ate my first CLIF Mojo. It was sinfully good. Check it out.


Will Nehs sent a link to this story about the Clinton machine. One thing Hillary Clinton doesn’t have to worry about is unfavorable media coverage. How many puff pieces have you seen already? How many puff pieces have you seen about George W. Bush? How many do you expect to see about the Republican nominee?

From the Mailbag

You have a glass holding 8 ounces of red wine, and a glass holding 8 ounces of white wine. You take a teaspoonful of red wine, pour it into the white-wine glass, and stir thoroughly. Now you take a teaspoonful of the mixed wine in the white-wine glass, pour it into the red-wine glass, and stir thoroughly. Is there now more white wine in the red wine, or more red wine in the white wine? (One ounce is 8 tablespoonfuls, and one tablespoonful is 3 teaspoonfuls.)

It took me days to solve this problem. (I used it as something to ponder while falling asleep, with visions of differential equations dancing in my head, but I kept falling asleep before reaching a solution.) But some reader will probably solve it within seconds. If no one solves it, I’ll give my solution in a few days.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)