Sunday, 10 February 2008


It appears that John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama will be our next president. All three are members of the United States Senate. The most recent president who served in the Senate was Richard Nixon.


I finally figured it out. John McCain is running away with the Republican presidential nomination because he’s mean. That’s right: mean. Republicans assume that they’ll be facing Hillary Clinton and know that only a tough, nasty, thick-skinned son of a bitch can beat her. Fred Thompson wasn’t mean enough. Rudy Giuliani wasn’t mean enough (he smiled too often and wore dresses). Mike Huckabee, the preacher boy, isn’t mean enough. McCain is mean enough. See here for Mark Steyn’s column.


Here is a depressing column by Harvard law professor William Stuntz.


The weather in North Texas has been exquisite. I spend my mornings reading in front of the fireplace. By early afternoon, I’ve shifted to the back yard, which is gloriously sunny. I take breaks to walk Shelbie, run, and eat. Forgive me for my sparse blogging. I feel sorry for those of you who are snowed in. You can feel sorry for me in July and August, when it’s 100º and humid.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de Langkawi (in Malaysia).


Spring training begins next week. Here is a New York Times story about David Wright of the New York Mets.

Addendum: Here is the latest on Roger Clemens. If Clemens is lying, he is one evil dude, for he is doing a lot of damage to other people’s reputations.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Time Runs Out for an Afghan Held by U.S.” (front page, Feb. 5) sheds new light on the human rights violations the United States government continues to perpetrate in Guantánamo Bay.

In the meantime, our nation’s political leadership and citizens in whose name this continuing outrage is carried out barely emit a whimper of disgust.

Imagine our reaction if this were a story about an American citizen who was apprehended by another government, spirited out of the country and held for more than five years without any meaningful opportunity to challenge the dubious accusations against him while dying a slow death.

We’d rightly condemn such behavior as inhumane and barbaric, which is what the rest of the world sees in Guantánamo Bay. American values?

Larry Cox
Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
New York, Feb. 5, 2008

Peter Singer on Animal Rights

Why is it surprising that I have little to say about the nature of rights? It would only be surprising to one who assumes that my case for animal liberation is based upon rights and, in particular, upon the idea of extending rights to animals. But this is not my position at all. I have little to say about rights because rights are not important to my argument. My argument is based on the principle of equality, which I do have quite a lot to say about. My basic moral position (as my emphasis on pleasure and pain and my quoting Bentham might have led Fox to suspect) is utilitarian. I make very little use of the word ‘rights’ in Animal Liberation, and I could easily have dispensed with it altogether. I think that the only right I ever attribute to animals is the “right” to equal consideration of interests, and anything that is expressed by talking of such a right could equally well be expressed by the assertion that animals’ interests ought to be given equal consideration with the like interests of humans. (With the benefit of hindsight, I regret that I did allow the concept of a right to intrude into my work so unnecessarily at this point; it would have avoided misunderstanding if I had not made this concession to popular moral rhetoric.)

(Peter Singer, “The Fable of the Fox and the Unliberated Animals,” Ethics 88 [January 1978]: 119-25, at 122)

Safire on Language