Tuesday, 27 November 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Pat Buchanan, who was right from the beginning.


If Hillary Clinton is elected and reelected, there will be 28-year-olds who’ve had no president other than a Bush or a Clinton. By then, Jeb Bush should be ready to make it 36 years. By the time he leaves office, in January 2025, Chelsea Clinton will be 44 and ready to assume the responsibilities of office. God, this is depressing.

Addendum: Here is Dick Morris’s latest column.


Here is a New York Times blog post about a cellphone in a courtroom, and a judge’s (over)reaction to same. The comments are interesting, and in some cases funny. Next time a cellphone goes off in my classroom, I’m going to talk about this incident. Hell, I may follow the judge’s example and threaten every student with an F if I don’t get the offending cellphone, which I will duly destroy with the hammer I will have brought to class for that purpose. Okay, sorry. Got a little out of control there. Cellphones are the bane of civilization.

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

Here, courtesy of Mark Spahn, are the 10 most ridiculous inventions ever patented.

A Year Ago


Global Warmism

Here is a review, by law professor Jonathan Adler, of a new book about climate change. Progressives don’t realize that they’re shooting themselves in the foot by (1) making exaggerated (often hysterical) claims about the extent of global warming and the degree to which human beings are causing it, (2) using scientists as tools (thus undermining the authority of science and making people wonder whom they can trust), and (3) insisting that only government can solve the problem. More often than not, government is the problem.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Paul Davies asserts that, at present, science’s “claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.” But neither the viability nor the dignity of science depends upon any such whole-cloth repudiation of faith. Rather, what science rejects is any kind of faith that demands the sacrifice of intellect, rational judgment or consciousness.

If it turns out to be impossible to find an explanation for physical law from within our universe, which Mr. Davies rightly advocates seeking, if nature in effect declares, this far and no farther, as in particular the multiverse hypothesis implies, this will not have made a “mockery of science”: science will simply have reached its rational limit. The correct response to this is awe, not shame.

The very greatest scientists, such as Newton and Einstein, have always been individuals in whom science and faith have coexisted amicably and synergistically, individuals who have valued conscious understanding of creation, and the human drive to pursue it, as bounty and blessing.

Michael L. Brown
Boston, Nov. 25, 2007
The writer is a professor of mathematics at Simmons College.

Note from KBJ: It’s good to see an acknowledgment that science has rational limits. To repeat something I have said many times: Science is an attempt to explain the natural world in naturalistic terms. It has nothing to say about the supernatural realm, including whether there is a supernatural realm. When scientists such as Richard Dawkins deny the existence of God, they have ceased being scientists. By the way, no religion of which I’m aware “demands the sacrifice of intellect, rational judgment or consciousness,” so that can’t be what distinguishes science from religion.

Best of the Web Today



If this isn’t the best album ever made, then birds don’t fly.

Having My Cake and Eating It

I’m on an austere diet of 2,200 calories per day. On the way home from school this morning, I bought a small white cake with pink flowers and green leaves. It’s beautiful. I almost don’t want to eat it, but you can bet your sweet ass I’m going to.

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 24

One of the evils most liable to attend on any sort of early proficiency, and which often fatally blights its promise, my father most anxiously guarded against. This was self-conceit. He kept me, with extreme vigilance, out of the way of hearing myself praised, or of being led to make self-flattering comparisons between myself and others. From his own intercourse with me I could derive none but a very humble opinion of myself; and the standard of comparison he always held up to me, was not what other people did, but what a man could and ought to do. He completely succeeded in preserving me from the sort of influences he so much dreaded. I was not at all aware that my attainments were anything unusual at my age. If I accidentally had my attention drawn to the fact that some other boy knew less than myself—which happened less often than might be imagined—I concluded, not that I knew much, but that he, for some reason or other, knew little, or that his knowledge was of a different kind from mine. My state of mind was not humility, but neither was it arrogance. I never thought of saying to myself, I am, or I can do, so and so. I neither estimated myself highly nor lowly. I did not estimate myself at all. If I thought anything about myself, it was that I was rather backward in my studies, since I always found myself so, in comparison with what my father expected from me. I assert this with confidence, though it was not the impression of various persons who saw me in my childhood. They, as I have since found, thought me greatly and disagreeably self-conceited; probably because I was disputatious, and did not scruple to give direct contradictions to things which I heard said. I suppose I acquired this bad habit from having been encouraged in an unusual degree to talk on matters beyond my age, and with grown persons, while I never had inculcated in me the usual respect for them. My father did not correct this ill-breeding and impertinence, probably from not being aware of it, for I was always too much in awe of him to be otherwise than extremely subdued and quiet in his presence. Yet with all this I had no notion of any superiority in myself; and well was it for me that I had not. I remember the very place in Hyde Park where, in my fourteenth year, on the eve of leaving my father’s house for a long absence, he told me that I should find, as I got acquainted with new people, that I had been taught many things which youths of my age did not commonly know; and that many persons would be disposed to talk to me of this, and to compliment me upon it. What other things he said on this topic I remember very imperfectly; but he wound up by saying, that whatever I knew more than others, could not be ascribed to any merit in me, but to the very unusual advantage which had fallen to my lot, of having a father who was able to teach me, and willing to give the necessary trouble and time; that it was no matter of praise to me, if I knew more than those who had not had a similar advantage, but the deepest disgrace to me if I did not. I have a distinct remembrance, that the suggestion thus for the first time made to me, that I knew more than other youths who were considered well educated, was to me a piece of information, to which, as to all other things which my father told me, I gave implicit credence, but which did not at all impress me as a personal matter. I felt no disposition to glorify myself upon the circumstance that there were other persons who did not know what I knew; nor had I ever flattered myself that my acquirements, whatever they might be, were any merit of mine: but, now when my attention was called to the subject, I felt that what my father had said respecting my peculiar advantages was exactly the truth and common sense of the matter, and it fixed my opinion and feeling from that time forward.

Note from KBJ: There’s something heartbreaking about this paragraph, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s this. Young John was being deprived of something that many people today view as essential: self-esteem. He was told, in effect, that he was ordinary. Today’s children, whatever their merits, are told that they’re special. Is there a connection between (1) being told that you’re special, when you’re not, and (2) low achievement? You be the judge.

Temperature Check

John Hawkins of Right Wing News polled right-of-center bloggers. Here are the results. My choices were as follows:

1. Fred Thompson
2. Fred Thompson
3. Fred Thompson
4. Fred Thompson
5. Mike Huckabee
6. Fred Thompson
7. Fred Thompson
8. Fred Thompson

All Fred, all the time!