Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Capital Punishment

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Jeff Jacoby.


Like so many other progressives, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. What is it about President Bush that makes so many otherwise normal people deranged? Is it that he’s a normal guy, who loves baseball, dogs, running, cycling, and spending time with his family? It can’t be that he comes from wealth, because so does Ted Kennedy. It can’t be that he’s conservative, because Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were at least as conservative and didn’t make people deranged. It can’t be that he was “selected” by the United States Supreme Court in 2000, because he was elected fair and square in 2004. What is it? After nearly seven years, I haven’t figured it out.


For what it’s worth, Curt Schilling is calling upon Roger Clemens to disprove the cheating allegations or give up his most recent Cy Young Awards. How do you prove that you didn’t take drugs? By the way, how many of you think Clemens is lying?

Addendum: Randy Johnson has already won five Cy Young Awards. He finished second to Clemens twice. If those two awards are rescinded, Johnson will have seven Cy Young Awards and Clemens five, instead of the other way around.


The bowl games don’t start until tomorrow, so this is your Wednesday entertainment.

Addendum: Here is the live version. Are these people talented, or what?

Addendum 2: Here is a song that many of you will remember. The video is homemade.


A porn star is in trouble for using the “N” word. See here for a video report.  (Note: If you’re easily offended, especially by coarse language, do not click the link.)

Best of the Web Today



My mother and stepfather were married on this date in 1970. My mother is 73, so she’s been with my stepfather more than half her life. My stepfather will be 67 in a few days. I’ve always been 22 years younger than my mother and 16 years younger than my stepfather, so why does it feel as though I’m catching up to them in age?

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

J. C. Bradbury wants to reward players who don’t use drugs and financially penalize players who do. But he would still have the drug users be paid millions of dollars and would allow them to keep playing.

It is because the spots these players are vying for are worth millions of dollars that players are using performance-enhancing drugs. And that will continue until baseball players’ salaries reflect those of society in general.

Baseball players shouldn’t make millions of dollars. If they didn’t, there would be no incentive to take these drugs. Making the clubhouse a de facto spy room will create distrust, destroy team spirit and make for lousy baseball.

Bringing salaries back down to earth would create an environment where players play because they love the game and are already good at it. It would also make baseball more affordable for owners and fans alike.

Jim Koeppel
Irvington, N.Y., Dec. 15, 2007

Note from KBJ: Salaries are high (by what standard?) because people want to see talented players. Is the letter writer advocating a legal prohibition on how much money a baseball player may earn? If not, what is he advocating? If he doesn’t like the salaries, he should refuse to pay them. That’s all he can do, and he has every right to do it.

The Culture War

Here is an essay by Ramesh Ponnuru. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

R. M. Hare (1919-2002) on Indoctrination

You can tell what are the aims of a teacher, and whether they are indoctrinatory or not, by studying his methods. Suppose that he carefully arranges for there not to be any free and open discussion of questions of morality until he is absolutely certain that his pupils have, by non-rational methods, been got into a state where they are bound all to give the ‘right’ answers. Or suppose that he takes enormous care that, though his pupils are encouraged to read books, the books are all ones which say the same thing. Then we shall know what his object is; it is to prevent them asking the questions that might cause them in the end to come to a different moral attitude from himself. Suppose that, on the other hand, he really senses that his pupils are perplexed about some moral question—about sex, for example, or pacifism—and, seeing this, is prepared to discuss it with them, with no holds barred and no questions banned, and is himself prepared to ask the questions again—really ask them—and is prepared to answer them in a different way from the way he has up till now, if that is the way the argument goes. Then we know that he is concerned to get his pupils to think for themselves.

(R. M. Hare, “Adolescents into Adults,” chap. 5 in his Applications of Moral Philosophy [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973], 48-66, at 52-3 [essay first published in 1964])

From the Mailbag


To make ends meet, and to help with my continuing project of not working on my dissertation, I work for a small non-profit. As we have an endowment and are in the business of spending money for supposedly good causes, we often receive letters from other organizations that are in the business of raising money for supposedly good causes. Here’s the first paragraph, which, in the original, was all in bold, we recently received from the National Organizers [sic] Alliance:

Imagine a world without organizers. It is the world that George Bush and Dick Cheney dream of everyday; a world of fear, control by elites, lack of accountability, declining quality of life, rising debt, environmental degradation and hopelessness.

Fortunately there is an alternative. We do live in a world with organizers. Community and labor organizers are as important to our society as teachers, architects, engineers, and doctors. They look at the world as it is without lenses of greed, corruption and opportunism. Organizers bring people together to exercise their power, find solutions to problems in the community and workplace, speak to truth to entrenched power and demand change.

Thought you would find that interesting.

Merry Christmas,

Hall of Fame?

David Cone. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)