Thursday, 8 May 2008


Is Clintonism dead? See here.

Addendum: George Will has some fun at Hillary Clinton’s expense.


The editorial board of the New York Times never met a tax it didn’t like or a tax cut it did.

Curro Ergo Sum

I’ve been cycling since August 1981—when I bought my first bike—and running since September 1996, when I began training for my first marathon. (Actually, I ran sporadically while in law school in the early 1980s and after buying my Fort Worth house in December 1992, so perhaps I should say that I began running in earnest in September 1996.) If my memory serves me, I’ve done both activities in the same day only once, in November 1996. (I did a long bike ride in the morning and then a 5K footrace in the evening, both with my friend Karen.) I’m a good swimmer (having grown up in Michigan), but I haven’t swum in decades. When I took up marathon running in 1996, I had large thigh muscles from years of cycling. Within a couple of years, these muscles were gone. I acquired girly legs from all the running I was doing. It’s as though my body reshaped itself. Since I ride my bike only once a week, my thigh muscles haven’t returned. This makes it hard for me to climb hills while riding. But I have lots of power and stamina on flat roads. Ask my friends. It’s as though I’m riding on my heart and lungs rather than on my legs. Here is a New York Times story about the difficulty of doing well at all three triathlon sports. In case you’re wondering, I’ve never had the slightest desire to participate in a triathlon, or even a duathlon. Just as I like green olives and raspberries, but would not want to eat them together, I like running and cycling, but would not want to do them together.

Gregory S. Kavka (1947-1994) on Social Welfare Programs

Why should rich and powerful groups in a nation allow the poor opportunities for education, employment, and advancement and provide social welfare programs which benefit the poor, as morality requires? Why shouldn’t they simply oppress and exploit the poor? There are several reasons why, in modern times, it is most probably in the long-term interest of the rich and powerful to treat the domestic poor well. First, some rich individuals, and more likely some of their children, may be poor at some time in the future and thus benefit from programs to help the poor. Second, offering opportunities to members of all groups widens the pool of talent available to fill socially useful jobs, which should provide long-run economic benefits to members of all groups. Third, and most important, there is the reason that has impressed social theorists from Hobbes to Rawls: decent treatment of all promotes social stability and cohesion and discourages revolution. This reason is especially important in contemporary times when ideals of human dignity, equality, and justice are known and espoused virtually everywhere, and when revolution is frequently proposed as a legitimate means of attaining such ideals.

(Gregory S. Kavka, Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986], 441 [footnote omitted])


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then our globe is warming.

Addendum: Here is a live version of “Secret Doors.”

A Year Ago


Baseball Feats, Part 1

Rank the following feats, from most difficult to least difficult:

1. Pitching a no-hitter.
2. Hitting for the cycle.
3. Hitting three home runs in a game.
4. Pitching a perfect game.
5. Striking out 15 hitters.
6. Hitting in 20 straight games.
7. Batting .400 for a season.
8. Batting .350 for a season.
9. Hitting three triples in a game.
10. Stealing home.

I will give the correct ranking soon.

Addendum: Here is the correct ranking.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Exercise Your Brain, or Else You’ll . . . Uh . . .” (Business Day, May 3):

Tens of millions of baby boomers are encountering two problems that are related: the decrease in memory functions described in your article, and a concurrent age-related decrease in the ability to stay asleep during the night.

Most have little difficulty falling asleep because of sleep deficits they sustained during previous nights. What these boomers may not realize is that their memory and sleep impairments are probably connected, and that if they worked at increasing their sleep efficiency—the proportion of each night that they’re actually sleeping—they’d also improve their ability to store and retrieve memories.

Richard Wurtman
Cambridge, Mass., May 3, 2008
The writer, a medical doctor, is a distinguished professor in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at M.I.T.

Note from KBJ: If you want to sleep well, exert during the day.