Tuesday, 25 March 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a sad but inspiring story about American cycling legend Davis Phinney.


I taught my Philosophy of Law course outside, on the grass. The topic was terrorism.

A Year Ago


“A Steady Rifle Fire of Character Assassination”

Here is David Brooks’s latest op-ed column. I don’t see Hillary Clinton withdrawing. Do you? I think that if she can’t win the Democrat nomination, she’ll sabotage Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency. That would give her another chance in 2012. Remember: These are the Clintons. When you look up “ruthless” in the dictionary, you see their picture.

Addendum: Not five minutes after I posted this item, I happened upon this.

Guess the Movie

“I know we’ve only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it.”

Daniel Johnson on Islam

From its very inception, Islam has defined itself by what it is against. It divides the world into two camps: those who submit to the will of Allah, the Muslims, and the rest, who are presumed to be damned—including the other “peoples of the book.” As one British imam told Muslims in his Birmingham mosque: “Those whom the wrath of Allah is upon, is [sic] the Jew and the Christian.” (Interestingly, the West Midlands police showed less interest in prosecuting the imam than in complaining to the TV regulator about the Channel Four program Dispatches, which had secretly filmed his sermon.) The only hope for the non-Muslims is conversion, an irrevocable decision that reflects the existential gulf between the inhabitants of the two metaphysical abodes, the earthly equivalents of heaven and hell: the House of Islam and the House of War. Muslims cannot leave the House of Islam for another faith with impunity: as a recent Dispatches program on Channel Four showed, even in Britain, such apostates live in fear of their lives. Islam is a faith that demands unconditional allegiance. Muslims must be ready to kill or be killed if necessary for their faith. Sharia, the law of Islam, takes precedence over all other laws. Likewise, jihad, the war of Islam, takes precedence over all other wars. When confronted by these stark, unchanging ordinances, the equivocations of supposedly liberal Islamic scholars such as Tariq Ramadan tell their own story. Nothing that mere men say can ameliorate or mitigate a code handed down unaltered from seventh-century Arabia.

(Daniel Johnson, “The Conservative Response to Islam,” The New Criterion 26 [January 2008]: 13-8, at 14 [brackets in original])


George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln. Woodrow Wilson. Harry Truman. Ronald Reagan.

“Barack Obama”? Ain’t gonna happen, folks.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then I’m not a philosopher-king.

Addendum: You’re welcome.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Nicholas D. Kristof doesn’t feel that he is getting his money’s worth from our investment in Iraqi security because it could be spent on other laudable things. True. But he doesn’t mention the possible benefits of a successful effort in Iraq, among the most important:

Dealing a decisive defeat to radical jihadists; the establishment of a stable pro-Western government in the Arab heart of the Middle East; checking the regional ambitions of Iran; reinforcing America’s reliability as an ally, which will have implications worldwide; and having found a successful template to oppose further efforts to duplicate Al Qaeda’s early success in Iraq.

Yes, security is costly, but so is defeat.

Stanley Renshon
New York, March 23, 2008
The writer is a professor in the Ph.D. program in political science, CUNY Graduate Center.

Yankee Watch

Boston’s magic number to clinch the American League East Division title is 162.


Here is a summary of a ruling handed down today by the United States Supreme Court:

Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Thomas, Ginsburg, and Alito, JJ., joined, and in which Scalia, J., joined as to all but footnote 7. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Kennedy, J., joined. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Don’t you love Justice Scalia?

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