Monday, 3 March 2008

Twenty Years Ago

3-3-88 . . . The [Arizona] Wildcats won easily tonight, 79-41 over the Washington State Cougars. That runs our record to 28-2. We have more victories than any other team in the country, and only one team (top-ranked Temple [the Owls]) has fewer losses (one). But we’re still ranked third in the nation in both major polls (AP [Associated Press] and UPI [United Press International]). USA Today, a national newspaper, ranks us second. I should say a few words about this newspaper, since I occasionally buy and read it. It costs fifty cents, compared to fifteen or twenty for the Detroit News and thirty-five for the Arizona Republic. It’s published only five days a week. The thing I like most about it is that it has excellent sports coverage, especially in the way of statistics. But in other respects, it’s no better than a grocery-store rag. The emphasis is on making money and celebrating entertainers and entrepreneurs. In fact, two of the four sections (“Money” and “Life”) are devoted to these subjects. But most importantly, the editorial opinions are lukewarm and uninteresting. One gets the idea that the editorial staff doesn’t want to offend or challenge anyone. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what I look for each day in a newspaper: offense and challenge.


I agree with Stanley Fish: John McCain will have an easier time defeating Barack Obama than he would Hillary Clinton. I want Hillary out. Now. Then the fun can begin.


1. This song by the Australian band Icehouse is another of my all-time favorites.

2. I love 80s music. So sue me. Check this out.

3. I feel sorry for people who missed out on Boston. At 1:58 into the song, time stands still.

4. Jeffrey Ellis is right: Geddy Lee is a tremendous bassist. Put him together with Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart and you get a hell of a band. Here is “Big Money.”

5. My final video of the evening is this one, by Sir Cliff Richard. Anybody remember the song?


One of my readers sent a link to this blog post by Tammy Bruce.


Victor Davis Hanson nails it. Key exchange:

JF: Why is the U.S. allowing this to happen?

VDH: The libertarian/corporate Right likes cheap, exploitable labor, while the identity-politics on the Left wants more constituents. And the majority in between was asleep at the wheel for thirty years, afraid to speak out lest they be called “protectionists” and “nativists” by elites who read the Wall Street Journal and “racists” by the academic and political left.



William Kristol pays homage to William F. Buckley.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Paul Krugman¹ says that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are “more or less in the center of the Democratic Party, rather than in its progressive wing.” Hilarious! Then again, from where Krugman sits on the political spectrum, they would appear moderate.


¹“Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).

Gardner Williams (1895-1972) on Wronging Animals

Love demands, as every interest demands, that it should dominate life completely. And, in a world where there is too much hate, the judgment of many earnest moralists is overwhelmed by the charms of love; and there are those who come to accept it at its own valuation and are thus led to assert that people have an obligation to increase the collective total of all value in the universe. But sound reason denies that love is the whole duty of man. Its validity is limited by other moral imperatives. Two of these are the interests in nourishment and in gustatory pleasure. These are selfish; but they are, within reason, legitimate, important, and usually essential elements in a good life. That is, they contribute to increasing, in the long run, the quantity of satisfaction which an individual experiences.

The interests in nourishment and in gustatory pleasure lead man to kill and eat cattle, fish, and fowl. This cuts down on the long-range satisfactions of the cattle, the fish, and the fowl. But enlightened public opinion in human society approves of man’s carnivorous behavior. And I believe that in most cases man is morally justified in thus reducing the satisfactions of the food animals. Anyone who loves little lambs in a personal way more than he loves lamb chops in a gustatory way ought to forego the latter delicacies. But few people do this. The moral issue, when a man eats lamb chops, is not: Does he gain more value than the lambs have lost by dying so young? The issue is: Does he gain more value than he would experience if he let them live? Letting them live will satisfy whatever personal affection he has for them. And eating them will frustrate this love. An accurate quantitative comparison of the value he gains with that which the lamb loses is really impossible. If a man’s duty depended on that, he never would know what his duty was. But an accurate quantitative comparison of how he feels about eating them and about letting them live is made every time he chooses between these alternatives. And his choice is right from his point of view, in case it and its consequences are more satisfactory to him in the long run than the alternative would be.

Most people eat lamb chops, and their consciences are clear on this score when they demand that slaughter-houses shall kill food animals as painlessly as possible. Moreover, very few ever feel the need of taking active steps to enforce this demand.

Some will say that all true values which have any moral significance are confined to humanity and that reducing the satisfactions of food animals is not really evil. But such an argument is just another expression of man’s ruthlessness toward lower organisms which he has in his power. He often ignores their values and rides roughshod over them. If an animal’s foot is crushed, that is bad for the animal, just as, if a man’s foot is crushed, that is bad for the man. Good and bad, value and disvalue, apply to all conscious organisms which experience satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Whoever deliberately lowers the long-range satisfaction in another conscious being does a wrong to it. Man commits many wrongs against the food animals, but he is usually right, from his own point of view, in doing so.

(Gardner Williams, “The Moral Insignificance of the Total of All Value,” Ethics 55 [April 1945]: 216-21, at 219-20 [italics in original])

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In the late 1980s, while working as managing editor for a publisher in Manhattan, I received an order from the higher-ups that we were no longer to use “black” in our publications. I reluctantly informed my staff that political correctness now dictated that we replace “black” with “African American.”

Almost immediately, the foolishness of this rule became apparent. A black Caribbean poet was not an American, so what should he be called? A character in the manuscript of a novel said, “Black is beautiful,” but according to our orders, this usage was not allowed. And a member of our staff was a white American born in South Africa—was she not African-American?

Obviously, I found myself smiling in agreement with K. A. Dilday.

Patricia Phelan
Freeport, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2008

Note from KBJ: Barack Obama is half white and half black, so why is he “black”? I thought the one-drop rule was racist.

Best of the Web Today



I thought of Barack Obama when I read the following paragraph:

Playing on the emotions of readers and listeners is a central technique in the advertising industry. When the overriding aims are to persuade and sell, manipulating attitudes becomes a sophisticated professional art. Rhetorical tricks are also common in political campaigns, and the choice of words is critical. The best defense against trickery, for voters as for consumers, is an awareness of the real uses to which the language before us is being put. We must be on guard against those who use words to make the worse appear the better cause. “With words,” said Benjamin Disraeli, “we govern men.” (Irving M. Copi and Carl Cohen, Introduction to Logic, 13th ed. [Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009], 80)

Obama isn’t the only politician to appeal to emotions, but he’s good at it, judging from the reactions of those who hear him speak. Here is my question to you: Is there anything wrong with a politician playing on the emotions of voters? If you view politics as a philosophical seminar, then you’ll probably say yes. But is that the proper way to view it? Isn’t politics as much about the heart as it is the head?

Curro Ergo Sum

A week ago today, it was 86º Fahrenheit during my 4.3-mile run. Today, by contrast, it was 40.5º during my 3.1-mile run. It’s a wonder we’re not sick all the time here in North Texas, with such drastic changes in weather. The forecast is for snow in the morning.

A Year Ago