Saturday, 19 April 2008

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

This is interesting. I repeat something I have said many times, viz., that Paul Krugman¹ is the most intellectually dishonest person I have ever known.


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).

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

This week’s presidential debate is a perfect example of the devolution of our society and culture. Being smart is now dumb. Being well informed is now elitist. And debating about substantive issues is too difficult for Americans to comprehend.

Never mind that more than 4,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Never mind that at least half a dozen or more homes in my subdivision are vacant and waiting for buyers. Never mind that paying nearly $4 a gallon for gas is squeezing the pockets of millions of Americans. Nooooo.

The most pressing, earth-shattering and all-important question is about . . . lapel pins. Good grief.

Maria Padilla
Oviedo, Fla., April 18, 2008

Note from KBJ: Perhaps I can explain it to you, Maria. Most Americans love their country and are not ashamed to admit to doing so. Their patriotism is wide, deep, and heartfelt. They want a president for whom the same is true. Barack Obama’s patriotism seems narrow, shallow, and affected. That he would so much as hesitate to wear a flag lapel pin is disturbing to most Americans, and his explanations of why he doesn’t do so ring hollow. Please remember that nobody owes him a vote. He must earn every vote he gets.


This morning, in Granbury, Texas, I did my third bike rally of the year and my 424th overall. North Texas is a beautiful place, but Granbury is stunning. I did a training ride there two weeks ago and couldn’t wait to get back for the rally. At one point today, as I was climbing a hill with two strangers, I mentioned how peaceful it was. There were no cars or city noises; the only sounds were our wheels swooshing and the birds chirping. The foliage is lush at this time of year. It was truly magical. I cherish these memories, because you never know when you’ll do your last rally. Having friends along makes it all the more precious, and I have good friends.

Joe and Julius didn’t show up, but Phil, Randy, Bryce, Rusty, and Mark did. (The announcer said at the start that more than 600 people had registered. I’ve done all five of the Granbury rallies, going back to 2004, and this was by far the best turnout. It’s great to see so many people out on their bikes, although, truth be told, I hate the traffic.) It was another gorgeous day: sunny, not humid, and with a gentle breeze. Actually, I lie. The wind was brutal. Fortunately for us, the first half of the ride was into the wind. We knew we would have an easy time of it on the way back, provided we saved enough energy. I was ahead of my home boys when I reached a rest stop near the southernmost point of the course. I thought we were stopping there, so I got off my bike and went into the porta-potty to do my duty. When I came out, a minute or so later, I saw Phil and Randy tooling down the road. I yelled, but there was no reaction. I jumped on my bike and raced after them, catching them within a mile. They didn’t know I was behind them, so I sat in. We must have ridden four miles before they noticed me. I think they knew I was at the rest stop. They were mad at me for dropping their sorry asses on the hills and wanted to get back at me by making me chase them. Like I said, good friends.

The tailwind was wonderful. Imagine flying along at 25 to 30 miles per hour without working. I often feel guilty when I have a tailwind, but not today. We earned it during the first half of the rally. Before long, we were back at our cars and off to a local restaurant (Grump’s) to replace some of the calories we expended. To show you how stiff the wind was, I rode 31.2 miles during the first two hours, which is an average speed of 15.6 miles per hour. I averaged 18.8 miles per hour for the remaining 1:42:25, and that’s on a hilly course with a few additional miles of headwind. I ended up with 17.07 miles per hour for 63.3 miles. I reached a speed of 39.1 miles per hour on one of the many hills. My maximum heart rate was 157 and my average heart rate 131. I burned 2,402 calories. Randy said he’d give me the altitude gain by e-mail, but I don’t trust his computer. It has malfunctioned many times. Randy himself is one big malfunction.

Phil is riding like a demon this year. If he keeps it up, I’ll have to stop thinking of him as a wimp.

C. D. Broad (1887-1971) on Motives

Common sense attaches a very great weight to motives, though not, I think, an exclusive one. This is quite in accordance with our theory. The fact that an agent does a certain act from a certain motive may be so valuable as to outweigh the badness of its consequences in Moore’s and Russell’s more restricted sense of that word. The total state of the universe may be much better if I do an action which will have very bad effects from a sense of duty, than if I do an alternative which will have much better effects from a desire to give pain. On the other hand, it is always possible to imagine consequences so bad that no goodness of motive will balance them. This seems to me in complete accord with common sense.

(C. D. Broad, “The Doctrine of Consequences in Ethics,” International Journal of Ethics 24 [April 1914]: 293-320, at 316)

Note from KBJ: It’s the thought that counts. Then again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then Barack Obama will be our next president.

Addendum: Here is a live version of “Locomotive Breath.” Here is a live version of “Wind Up.” I feel sorry for young people today; they have no good music. There was magic in the air in the 1960s and 1970s, and even in the early 1980s, before MTV shifted the focus from the music to what the musicians were wearing.

From the Mailbag


Here is a commentary on Keith Olbermann. The writer sees Olbermann as a journalist manqué, but I think this assessment is wrong. Olbermann is in the same category as Jon Stewart or Steve Colbert: a comedian who takes the news as his raw material. But Olbermann is subtle: he does not use a laugh track or a studio audience to clue in viewers about where to laugh. Even his rimless eyeglasses and the way he combs his hair are part of his portrayal as a self-important newsman.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

Note from KBJ: I hope Olbermann is making a lot of money at MSNBC, because he has destroyed his reputation (such as it was) as a journalist. Olbermann has become the mouthpiece of the moonbats. We know that moonbats will turn on a person for the slightest deviation from progressive orthodoxy. (Ask Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, George Stephanopolous, et al.) Wouldn’t it be fitting for Olbermann to anger them and find himself out of work? In fact, how must he feel, knowing that he is at their mercy?