Saturday, 29 March 2008

“Shrill Ideological Zealotry Coupled with Chilling Ambition”

I leave you this fine evening with a column by James Ceaser. Do you suppose Americans are tired of Hippies and Baby Boomers? Barack Obama was born in 1961, which means he was eight years old at the time of Woodstock. John McCain was 32. Hillary Clinton was 21.


I told my home boys today that I’m starting a company. It will sell T-shirts with “I’m a Typical White Person” on the front. What should go on the back?


The two games in Japan between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics didn’t seem like official games, athough they were. They started at five o’clock in the morning where I live. The regular season begins tomorrow, as far as I’m concerned. I can’t wait. I love baseball more with each passing year, which, if you knew how much I have loved baseball since I was 10 years old, would boggle your mind. I love the game in spite of (1) Bud Selig, (2) Don Fehr, (3) Scott Boras (and other agents), (4) drugs, and (5) commercialization. These things, to me, are ancillary to the game, which will always be about grass, dirt, lime, leather, wood, pine tar, and spit. I love the sounds of the game. I love the pace. I love the drama. But you know what I’m going to love most about this season? It’s going to be another year of futility for Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees.


This puts a kick in my step.

Pascal’s Wager in Reverse

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) argued that it’s prudent to believe in God because (1) there is a nonzero probability that God exists and (2) belief in God if God exists has infinite value. Read this. It’s prudent to disallow the particle accelerator because (1) there is a nonzero probability that it will destroy the Earth and (2) destruction of the Earth has infinite disvalue. Where am I going wrong?

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

To the extent that Neal Gabler is right when he states that John McCain is “a darling of the news media,” it’s not so much because he shares their sense of irony. It’s because he’s a Republican who is not reliably conservative.

So here’s a prediction from someone who’s been a full-time working journalist since 1967: The love affair will end as soon as soon as [sic] the general election begins (if not sooner). That’s when every gaffe by Mr. McCain will be portrayed by the media as “evidence” that he’s old—really, really old. That’s when every grimace will be “proof” that he’s got a hair-trigger temper.

When the Democrats stop beating each other over the head, and one of them starts running in earnest against John McCain, the media will no longer find their “darling” nearly as “ironic”—or nearly as lovable.

From a media point of view, it’s one thing when Senator McCain sticks a finger in a fellow Republican’s eye, quite another when he’s taking aim at a liberal Democrat.

Bernard Goldberg
Miami, March 27, 2008
The writer is the author and former CBS News correspondent.

Note from KBJ: I dislike John McCain, but not as much as I dislike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. By the way, Goldberg is exactly right. Journalists don’t love McCain because he’s a conservative; they love him because he’s an unconventional conservative, i.e., one without a hard ideological (or religious) edge. When he goes up against a progressive, they’ll turn on him in an instant.


This morning, in Aledo, Texas, I did my first bike rally of the year and my 422d overall. It was chilly (by Texas standards) and overcast at the start, but there was no rain, so I wasn’t complaining. This rally, which is in its sixth year, is getting bigger by the year. It took me 31 minutes to drive 27 miles to the entrance of Aledo High School. It took about 20 minutes to travel the final mile. The school is set back from the road, and cars were lined up single file. Luckily, I had time to get my bike ready, ride it to the registration area, and go back to my car with my packet. I made it to the starting line in time (8:00). My home boys Phil and Randy were there, together with Randy’s friend Bryce (who is becoming one of the home boys). After the usual good-natured ribbing, we rolled out.

Our plan was to ride 62 miles. This year, for the first time, there was a 100-mile course. That’s too far for us this early in the season. There was also a 75-mile course, but even that seemed too far. Our goal is to work ourselves into shape with each succeeding rally. The 62-mile course was varied. Parts of it were on highway frontage roads. Most of it, however, was on rural (farm-to-market) roads. We rode around Lake Weatherford, which is always fun. There were so many turns on the route that the wind never bothered us for long. We stopped three times at rest stops, which were well stocked with drinks, fruits, and cookies of various kinds. I ate a PowerBar and a bag of Clif Shot Bloks, which I had carried in my jersey. I probably didn’t drink enough water today. As I say, it was chilly. I just wasn’t thirsty.

Near the end of the rally, Phil, who rode brilliantly for an old man, led us astray. Phil and Bryce crossed Highway 180 ahead of Randy and me. We followed them without giving it much thought. Several miles later, Randy and I came upon them. Phil said he thought we were off course. Everyone who went by was doing 100 miles. Finally, convinced that we had missed a turn, we headed back. Sure enough, we went straight instead of turning left. I ended up with 70.1 miles instead of 62. Oh well, it didn’t kill me. My average speed for the day was 16.17 miles per hour (that doesn’t include stops). My maximum speed was 37.9. My maximum heart rate was 157 (average = 114). I burned 2,191 calories. All things considered, I had a great time. We sat at an outdoor table afterward, rehashing the ride. George Chapman, an old friend from my bike club, joined us. I stopped for Taco Bell burritos on the way home. I hadn’t been to Taco Bell since the most recent rally, in mid-November. I bought five soft tacos for Shelbie. Her meal costs more than mine.

J. A. Brunton on Egoism

And, in conclusion, I would urge, once more, that the fight against Egoism and its extensions cannot, in the main, be waged by pointing out logical inconsistencies. Egoists and their fellow travellers (e.g. doting parents and uncritical patriots), and, indeed, the egoistical part in all of us, will always find rules, reasons, and justifications. . . . We can choose, if we wish, to accept these rules, reasons, and justifications. If, however, we do not like, want, or choose Egoism, we can best fight it by the psychological and persuasive process of trying to get ourselves and others actively to identify ourselves and imaginatively sympathise with other people of all kinds and races.

(J. A. Brunton, “Egoism and Morality,” The Philosophical Quarterly 6 [October 1956]: 289-303, at 303 [ellipsis added])