Wednesday, 13 February 2008

“The Paleo-Feminist Mind”

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Camille Paglia.

Capital Punishment

I agree with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: European criticism of this country for allowing the death penalty is ridiculous. We have nothing to learn from Europeans. They butchered each other for so long that they’ve lost their moral bearings. To repeat: We kill murderers because, and only because, we value innocent human life.

Intolerant Progressives

Take a look at this. Someone posted a cartoon about Barack Obama on Democratic Underground. A moderator eventually locked the thread, claiming that it was “divisive,” “extreme,” and “inflammatory.” Had the cartoon been about President Bush or any other Republican, the thread would have gone on and on.

Richard A. Posner on the Solicitor General

The United States has one staff of lawyers that corresponds to the English bar, and that is the staff of the Solicitor General of the United States. The Solicitor General handles all federal government litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in addition must approve the taking of any appeal by the federal government from a lower to a higher court. Because the office is very small (about 20 lawyers), because its staff is salaried rather than paid on a contingent-fee or other incentive basis, and because it appears repeatedly before the same nine-person tribunal, it depends on the trust and good will of the judges to a far greater degree than is typical of American lawyers. The results show. The Solicitor General has been called ‘The Tenth Justice’. His role in screening applications for Supreme Court review (and also appeals to the intermediate appellate courts) by the federal government is quasi-judicial in character, and the briefs and arguments made by the members of the office are on average far more thoughtful, detached, and intellectually honest than those of private law firms.

(Richard A. Posner, Law and Legal Theory in England and America [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996], 27 [footnote omitted])

Vice President

Given his advanced age (currently 71 years), John McCain must choose a running mate who is ready to be president. This is no time to be frivolous, as George H. W. Bush was in choosing Dan Quayle (41). This is not a slam on Quayle; but I think any reasonable person knows that he was not ready, intellectually or emotionally, to be commander in chief. Of the people John Hawkins listed, I prefer Duncan Hunter (59). The man is tough as nails and knows his way around Washington. My second choice is Condoleezza Rice (53), who combines the appeal of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and has about 50 IQ points to spare. My third choice is Fred Thompson (65). He’s six years younger than McCain, but maybe it’s too risky to have two men in their late 60s, each of whom has had health problems. My fourth choice is Mitt Romney (60), for obvious reasons. He’s smart, vigorous, articulate, and ready to govern. John didn’t have Newt Gingrich (64) listed, but I would love to see him on the ticket. Newt may be the smartest person in American politics, and, more importantly, he knows where the Clintons hid the bones.

Addendum: Torsten Kehler drew my attention (in a comment) to this column about Condi Rice. Interesting!


Roger Clemens is in big, big trouble. His attorneys ought to be disbarred for incompetence.

Addendum: When you read this New York Times report about Clemens, you get the feeling that he thinks he’s above the law. People who think they’re above the law usually come crashing down.


It breaks my heart that such a beautiful sport is wracked with scandal. See here for the latest.

Addendum: Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de Langkawi.

Best of the Web Today


Hall of Fame?

Jim Wynn. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)


This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I searched for it on YouTube many times before finding it yesterday.

Addendum: Here is Skipper’s website.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Hate Springs Eternal,” by Paul Krugman (column, Feb. 11):

Mr. Krugman, a consistent critic of Barack Obama, did not produce a shred of evidence for his categorical statement that the “venom” being displayed in the Democratic campaign comes from Obama supporters, “who want their hero or nobody.” And it seems to perpetuate the same bizarre bitterness that he derides in his column.

Even worse is his assertion that “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.” I am surprised and saddened that a thoughtful public intellectual like Mr. Krugman would write such a careless and unfair statement at a moment of critical potential in national politics.

Barack Obama is changing the way we think about race in America. His inclusive message is so refreshing that, in addition to strong backing from blacks, he is drawing unprecedented nationwide support from white voters. It is so upsetting that this remarkable and historic feat is belittled as a “cult of personality.”

William Julius Wilson
Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 11, 2008
The writer is a professor of sociology and social policy at Harvard University.

Note from KBJ: There are three words I would never use in connection with Paul Krugman: “thoughtful public intellectual.” “Hateful partisan hack” is closer to the truth.

Talk Radio

Michelle Malkin gives a spirited defense of conservative talk radio. It’s really quite simple why the goons at the Wall Street Journal despise Rush Limbaugh and his fellow radio hosts: They can’t control them. Establishment newspapers and television networks have lost their monopoly on opinion, analysis, and commentary and are lashing out at those with whom they must now compete for readers, viewers, and listeners. The Wall Street Journal is no different, in my mind, from the New York Times. Both are willing to sell out this country on the immigration issue: the Journal for the sake of profits and the Times for the sake of cosmopolitanism.

Addendum: Let me comment on Helprin’s column. He seems to be daring conservative critics of John McCain to either stay home on election day or vote for the Democrat candidate. He seems confident that they won’t do either of these things. In other words, he thinks they will fall in line, like dutiful sheep. Won’t he be surprised when many of them don’t? People like Helprin should be bending over backward to persuade conservatives to support McCain. Instead, they abuse them. Can you imagine anything more arrogant and stupid? It’s breathtaking. I think it will do conservatism good to lose the White House for four, eight, or 12 years. It would send a message to the conservative establishment that the base is unhappy about the direction of the Republican Party, which, on issues such as globalization and immigration, have put profit before patriotism.

Happy Anniversary, Peg!

She will deny it, but my friend Peg Kaplan in beautiful (but frigid) Minnesota has been blogging for four years. Here is her inaugural post. Peg is one of the many people I have “met” online. She wrote to me out of the blue not long after I began blogging on 5 November 2003. Having received many nasty (or at least testy) e-mail messages, I was delighted to hear from someone nice. Imagine! Peg and I became quick friends, not least because she had done graduate work in philosophy and therefore understood why I wrote such strange things. She loves birds; I love dogs. She plays bridge; I ride a bike. She prefers cold winters to hot summers; I prefer hot summers to cold winters. She wanted Rudy Giuliani as our next president; I wanted Fred Thompson. We don’t agree on everything (who does?), but we respect and admire each other. Peg blames me for getting her started on her blog. Ha! You can’t make someone do something that he or she doesn’t want to do. When Peg entered the blogosphere four years ago (it seems like yesterday), she raised both its civility level and its average intelligence. Keep it up, Peg!

Addendum: For the record, Peg has had 158,383 visits to her blog. I expect her to have three times that many four years from today.

A Year Ago