Wednesday, 6 February 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a blog post by John Podhoretz.


This is about as close as I come to having a religious experience. At 3:00, all hell breaks loose.

This is inexplicably good.

This is another reason to love Australia.

This is heartbreaking, given what happened to Stevie.

This is classic rock ’n’ roll.


Should there be a presidential debate focused on science? See here. I think there should be a presidential debate focused on baseball. Among the questions I’d want asked are these:

1. Do you favor the designated hitter?
2. Should there be an asterisk next to Barry Bonds’s name in the record book?
3. Does Pete Rose belong in the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
4. Is it good for baseball that the New York Yankees spend so much money on players?
5. Should batters be allowed to wear armor?

What do you think?


Roger Clemens walked into a trap. This case is getting interesting.

Twenty Years Ago

2-6-88 Saturday. While waiting at the [Sun Tran] bus stop this afternoon, I saw a small pickup truck with a large, shaggy dog in back. The dog’s tail was wagging, its tongue was out, and its head hung over the edge of the bed. It looked happy and carefree, which stimulated some thoughts on the subject. One reason we like dogs, I think, is that they have no plans. Unlike people, who have things to do, places to go, and people to see, dogs are always ready and willing to go along. If I say to my dog “Let’s ride up to Mount Lemmon”, the dog will be in the truck in no time. If I want to walk to the store for a newspaper, the dog will be happy to tag along. If I want to play with a frisbee, I’ve got a ready companion. Compare this with a cat. If you say to a cat “Let’s take a walk”, the cat is likely to say “No, thanks; I’ll just lie right here on the sofa; have a good time”. The difference is willingness, which in turn translates to lack of plans. Our plans become dog plans. Our interests become theirs. That, more than anything, accounts for the close relationships people have with dogs.

Best of the Web Today


Twenty Years Ago Yesterday

2-5-88 The biggest and best news of the day is that Arizona Governor Evan Mecham (pronounced “MEE-cum”) has been impeached. That’s right. He was impeached by the State House of Representatives for committing “high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office” (article VIII, part 2, section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Arizona). Now the matter goes to the State Senate, where a two-thirds vote (twenty or more of the thirty senators) is needed to convict him. The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Frank X. Gordon, will preside over the proceedings. If convicted on any of the three charges (obstructing justice, misusing an inaugural fund, and failing to report a $350,000 campaign loan), Mecham will be removed from office and disqualified “to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit in the State”. In other words, if convicted, Mecham will be kicked out of office for good. Meanwhile, during the proceedings, Rose Mofford will be our governor. She’s a Democrat and the Secretary of State.

The proceedings in the House of Representatives were emotional. Several local television stations broadcast the floor debate leading up to the vote. (I called one of them to thank the station manager. “You performed an important public service”, I said.) Some of the representatives, such as Mark Killian of Mesa, cried, while others castigated the governor. Still others announced that this was the most difficult decision of their lives. It was a great show for a political animal like me. During the Watergate hearings in 1974, I was only seventeen years old and not yet interested in the political world, so I missed out on [Richard] Nixon’s near-impeachment. Now, with many years of political study and experience under my belt, I know the ins and outs of legal and legislative processes and the little battles that go on between and within parties. I got the sense that there was a holy war in the House. Some people, it seemed, were determined to throw Mecham out of office, though they expressed reluctance to do so, while others were determined to defend him to the death, though they criticized him for political gaffes. As I say, it was great theater.

Michael Fox on Vegetarianism

The strongest part of [Peter] Singer’s case against meat eating is his brief discussion of the world food crisis. It is a patent truth that by any conceivable health standards most North Americans are overfed. More specifically, they eat far more meat than is necessary to maintain adequate nutrition. Surely some of the excess food they consume should be distributed, in some form, to the starving millions of the world. One can only agree. Modern livestock farming on a grand scale also wastes a colossal amount of feed grains on animals which, in times past, would simply have fed off the land. Even if, contrary to fact, none of this feed grain could be used to nourish humans elsewhere in the world, at least the land which yields the grain could be sown with high-protein-yielding crops, such as soybeans, according to Singer. There is no doubt a good deal of truth in this last point as well, and we are here presented with a serious moral problem concerning the world food supply. But even this fails to establish a case for vegetarianism. All it establishes is that we should eat far less meat so that factory farms become obsolete and that, in conjunction with this, arable land should be turned over to the production of high-protein crops, where possible, so that world hunger can be alleviated somewhat.

(Michael Fox, “‘Animal Liberation’: A Critique,” Ethics 88 [January 1978]: 106-18, at 116-7)

Hall of Fame?

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


My fellow conservatives and I are going to have to settle for John McCain. It’s disappointing, but look at it this way. Is he any worse than George W. Bush? They have the same position on illegal immigration; they have the same position on the war in Iraq and the larger war on terrorism; they have the same position on federal judges; they have the same position on abortion; and they have the same positions on the economy (as far as taxing and spending go). We tolerated, and sometimes supported, President Bush. We can tolerate, and sometimes support, President McCain. Just the other day, as you may recall, I wrote that I won’t vote for McCain; but the prospect of a Clinton or an Obama administration is making me queasy. Is this happening to anyone else?

From the Mailbag


Lee Harris writes:

We may agree with Ron Paul that our interventionist policy in the Middle East has led to unintended negative consequences, including even 9/11, but this admission offers us absolutely no insight into what unintended consequences his preferred policy of non-intervention would have exposed us to. It is simply a myth to believe that only interventionism yields unintended consequence, since doing nothing at all may produce the same unexpected results. If American foreign policy had followed a course of strict non-interventionism, the world would certainly be different from what it is today; but there is no obvious reason to think that it would have been better.

The entire article can be found here.


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Nicholas D. Kristof writes that liberals should reach out to evangelicals whose focus has shifted from stopping abortions to helping fight poverty, AIDS and climate change. But these same new efforts to help, while admirable, are undertaken with the intention of obtaining new converts to Christianity.

This type of missionary zeal, with Bibles and crosses in hand, reflects the same colonial mind-set that angered the third world to begin with.

We liberals aren’t deriding true religious faith, only the self-serving idea that Christians must spread their ways and beliefs upon those they deem not yet civilized.

Daniel Vinkovetsky
Brooklyn, Feb. 3, 2008

Note from KBJ: The letter writer confuses civilization with salvation.

A Year Ago