Tuesday, 15 January 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a New York Times story about cosmology.

Race and Sex

This op-ed column by David Brooks is fascinating. I’m not the least bit surprised that Hillary Clinton wants to be a woman when that helps her and a person when it doesn’t. To her, the end justifies the means. She will be whatever she needs to be, at any given moment, to get elected. Without power, she is nothing. That’s not true of everyone, but it appears to be true of her.

All Fred, All the Time

Michael Murdock (“Reverend Mike”) is a longtime reader of this blog. He lives in North Carolina. Guess what? Today, Mike met (or at least saw in person) Fred Thompson, who is campaigning across the state line in South Carolina. Check it out!

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

William Kristol is exactly right. The surge in Iraq is working and the Democrats are loath to admit it. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is scrambling to say that her “disbelief” remark last fall about the potential success of the military surge referred only to her disbelief that the Iraqi government would achieve political gains in the wake of a successful surge. Hogwash. She and other Democrats believed that the surge itself would not work. Some of them even said it would make the military situation worse.

Now the tide in Iraq is turning. Say what you will about President Bush, he has been a leader. Under the most adverse conditions, at home and on the battlefield, he has stuck to his guns. Iraq may yet achieve lasting peace and representative government. If so, Mr. Bush may well be regarded in future years like Harry S. Truman—vilified and unpopular while in office, widely praised later.

The Democrats have been calling this Bush’s war and Bush’s loss for years. They will never call it Bush’s victory, but history might.

Mark R. Godburn
North Canaan, Conn., Jan. 14, 2008

Note from KBJ: I like this letter. I’ve posted many of Godburn’s letters over the years. Has anyone noticed the progressive tack of saying that President Bush is the worst president in United States history? First, it’s not up to President Bush’s contemporaries to make such an assessment. It will be up to future generations. Second, even if it were up to President Bush’s contemporaries to make such an assessment, it can’t be done, at least not properly. It takes time for documents to come to light and for the consequences of decisions to unfold. (Maybe we shouldn’t evaluate decisions in light of their actual consequences, but we do.) I suspect President Bush knows things that won’t be known by the public for decades, by which time many of us will be dead. Only now are we beginning to be able to assess the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It’s still too early to assess the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush. So what’s driving this progressive silliness? I think it’s just the latest manifestation of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Progressives know that President Bush cares about his legacy (who doesn’t?), so they attack it prospectively, as if their little voices matter in the end.

A Year Ago



I’ve been complaining about Linda Greenhouse’s biased reporting for years—long before I had a blog. Only someone who shares her progressive biases could read her “reports” without noticing how she skews the facts. See here for Michelle Malkin’s blog post about Greenhouse. Keep in mind that Greenhouse is not a columnist. She is a reporter. She covers law. Her job, qua reporter, is to be disinterested. She is nothing of the sort, and never has been.

Addendum: Please note that my complaint is different from Malkin’s. Malkin is troubled by (1) Greenhouse’s conflict of interest and (2) the fact that Greenhouse is a progressive activist. The conflict of interest is disturbing, but I don’t care what Greenhouse does on her own time. My concern is that she not let her ideology affect her reporting, which it clearly does. I’m concerned, in other words, about the integrity of journalism. Does anyone wonder why journalists are held in such low regard, when they can’t keep their personal opinions out of their reports?

Addendum 2: Here is one of my posts from 2004.

Richard A. Posner on the Concept of Law

I grant that even if the word ‘law’ cannot be defined, the concept of law can be discussed; and that is after all Hart’s title, though he uses the word ‘definition’ a lot. Philosophical reflection on the concept of justice has been a fruitful enterprise since Plato; for that matter, there is a philosophical literature on time. I have nothing against philosophical speculation. But one would like it to have some pay-off; something ought to turn on the answer to the question ‘What is law?’ if the question is to be worth asking by people who could use their time in other socially valuable ways. Nothing does turn on it. I go further: the central task of analytic jurisprudence is, or at least ought to be, not to answer the question ‘What is law?’ but to show that it should not be asked, because it only confuses matters.

(Richard A. Posner, Law and Legal Theory in England and America [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996], 3 [italics in original; footnote omitted])

Note from KBJ: As much as I admire Judge Posner, he is mistaken about the importance of the question “What is law?” The purpose of the inquiry, which has taxed many great minds over a long period of time, is to reconcile a number of our beliefs about law. The philosopher asks: “What could law be, such that all of the following commonly held beliefs are true: (1) Law has authority; (2) there is a prima facie obligation to obey the law; (3) the legal regime of the Nazis was immoral; (4) there can be unjust laws; (5) the responsibility of a judge is to enforce the law; &c.” The pay-off is intellectual coherence. If Judge Posner wants more than that, then he’s asking too much. Do we expect physics to put bread on the table?

Best of the Web Today



If this isn’t the best album ever made, then Bill and Hillary Clinton aren’t ruthless.

Addendum: Here is “Back Street Kids.” Here is “Gypsy” (at 1:33, the bottom drops out). Here is a live version of “Rock ’n’ Roll Doctor.” Here is “She’s Gone.” Here is a live version of “Dirty Women.”