Thursday, 17 April 2008

Not Getting It

Barack Obama doesn’t get it. He thinks Americans should be concerned only about their own economic welfare (and not, for example, about what’s best for the country). I have news for him: Americans care about many things besides economics. They care about patriotism, fairness, the moral character and associations of their elected representatives, the tenor of their culture, judicial lawlessness, crime, education, and religion. Obama thinks his refusal to wear a flag pin on his lapel is a nonissue. I’m sorry, but to many Americans, it’s a big issue. What’s funny is that he’s asking these same people for their votes. Good luck with that!

Organic Food

If you don’t think it’s worth it, don’t buy it.

A Year Ago


Yankee Watch

My self-imposed moratorium on bashing the New York Yankees is killing me. As soon as my beloved Detroit Tigers get to .500, I will revert to normalcy. The Tigers are 5-10 as of this morning.

Addendum: I went to ESPN’s website to see how my Tigers are doing. They’re down, 3-0, in the fourth inning. While there, I noticed the following headline: “Votto, Griffey help Reds snap skid, spank Cubs.” Thank goodness they’re not the Chicago Monkeys!


I make fun of soccer, in part because I know Steve Walsh (one of my longtime readers) loves the sport. I want to give Steve a chance to describe the glories of soccer, the way my friend Grant Brown described the glories of ice hockey. I will not append a sarcastic note. I promise! Who knows? Steve may do such a good job of explaining why he loves soccer that I give it another chance. Think of it as a challenge, Steve. Perhaps this will inspire you.


Any chocolate lovers out there? Today, while at Whole Foods Market in Arlington, Texas, I bought $36 worth of dark chocolate. I’m not a chocolate lover, but I’m not indifferent to it, either. I plan to consume 100 calories worth of dark chocolate per day, to go along with my daily banana and my daily ounce of almonds. Apparently, dark chocolate (as opposed to milk chocolate or white chocolate) is a good source of flavonoids, which are good for you. Who says that good things can’t be good for you? Who says that things that are interesting can’t be in your interest?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Guns and Bitter” (editorial, April 16):

One cannot but express the disillusionment of independent as well as Democratic voters about the way Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have been sparring over trivial issues that by and large do not affect the general well-being of America and its present state of affairs.

The early charisma and hopes exuded by these two presidential contenders, both with the possibility of making history on the American political scene, seem to be fading fast with people’s increasing disdain and disregard for this long and seemingly inconclusive battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I am sure many like-minded voters will agree and hope that these two promising candidates do not lose sight of the core issues: the economic malaise, the snowballing subprime mortgage debacle, the growing inequity in income levels and taxation, the spiraling unaffordable health care and the open-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are adversely affecting every American in some way or another.

Atul M. Karnik
Woodside, Queens, April 16, 2008

Note from KBJ: They’re promising, all right. Promising to tax and spend.


I have three comments on this New York Times editorial opinion. First, there is no mention of the pain inflicted by the mass murderers on their victims. Why does the board ignore this? Why does the board care so much about the suffering of mass murderers and not at all about the suffering of the victims of mass murderers? Has the board never heard of retribution or proportionality? Second, why does the board insist on federalizing capital punishment? Let states decide for themselves whether to abolish capital punishment. That’s how federalism works. The progressive mind (i.e., the engineering mind) is uncomfortable with anything other than uniformity. Third, the board tries to make hay of the fact that there were seven opinions among the nine justices:

Rather than producing a crisp decision upholding the constitutionality of lethal injection, the court broke down into warring opinions debating the ugly question of how much unnecessary pain the state may impose.

In Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, there were six opinions among the nine justices, including four by those in the majority. I suppose when the vote is 7-2 against you, as it was yesterday, you have to shift the focus to something irrelevant.

Kenneth Minogue on Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990)

What does it mean to say that Oakeshott was essentially a philosopher? We are not, of course, talking of the Platonic notion that virtue is knowledge and that to be a philosopher is to ascend to higher planes of virtue. We now think that philosophers are no different from your common clay, and that the philosopher with a toothache will behave no better than another. We think of Bertie with his atrocious breath pursuing Lady Ottiline down the paths of Garsington. But in Oakeshott’s case, being a philosopher seems to me to have infused his whole character. His mind was always preoccupied with one curiosity or another, such as how one can breathe and swallow at the same time. What simple people identified with reality seemed to him largely a construction of the imagination. Being essentially a philosopher meant not only that he found the world a mystery, but that he was self-sufficient to a remarkable degree.

(Kenneth Minogue, “Michael Oakeshott as a Character,” Society 39 [March/April 2002]: 66-70, at 67-8)

Animal Ethics

Here is Mylan Engel’s latest post.


Hillary Clinton’s supporters remain optimistic. See here. Did anyone watch the debate yesterday? I enjoyed every second of it. Clinton hit Barack Obama hard. She must sense that unless she wins Pennsylvania by a significant margin, the race is over. The more I see and hear Clinton and Obama, the better John McCain looks. Is anyone else having this experience?

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