Saturday, 17 May 2008


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Bush Assails ‘Appeasement,’ Touching Off Political Storm” (front page, May 16):

It says a great deal about President Bush’s blank incomprehension of the whole concept of diplomacy that he cannot tell the difference between dialogue and “appeasement.” To a man for whom power means no more than brute force, the possibility of winning a victory free of bloodshed, through effective negotiation, is unthinkable.

No wonder the Bush administration’s entire foreign policy has been a failure, and the nation has lost the respect of the international community by miring itself in an unnecessary and immoral war.

Without even attempting to understand the fears and misconceptions that breed terrorism, how can we hope to combat it effectively or achieve a lasting peace?

Louise T. Guinther
Forest Hills, Queens, May 16, 2008

Note from KBJ: For the love of God, woman, what is there to talk about with terrorists? You no more talk to terrorists than you talk to rabid dogs. You put them down.

Homosexual “Marriage”

California citizens will, in all likelihood, get a chance to amend their state constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples, which is how marriage has been understood since time immemorial. The editorial board of the New York Times hates this! It wants four judges, rather than the citizenry, to make this important decision of social policy. Note that the board refers to the proposed amendment as “the antigay ballot measure.” Suppose I opposed a law that allowed homosexuals to commit murder with impunity. Would that make me “antigay”?


Steve Walsh is going to make a soccer fan of me yet. This is one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen just about everything, including Secretariat’s 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series, and Franco Harris’s immaculate reception. Four things happened perfectly—not by happenstance, but by long training, and they happened in a split second: the pass; the touchdown; the tap through the defender’s legs; and the ferocious kick.

J. J. C. Smart on Promise Breaking

Let us consider a much discussed sort of case in which the extreme utilitarian might go against the conventional moral rule. I have promised to a friend, dying on a desert island from which I am subsequently rescued, that I will see that his fortune (over which I have contol [sic]) is given to a jockey club. However, when I am rescued I decide that it would be better to give the money to a hospital, which can do more good with it. It may be argued that I am wrong to give the money to the hospital. But why? (a) The hospital can do more good with the money than the jockey club can. (b) The present case is unlike most cases of promising in that no one except me knows about the promise. In breaking the promise I am doing so with complete secrecy and am doing nothing to weaken the general faith in promises. That is, a factor, which would normally keep the extreme utilitarian from promise breaking even in otherwise unoptimific cases, does not at present operate. (c) There is no doubt a slight weakening in my own character as an habitual promise keeper, and moreover psychological tensions will be set up in me every time I am asked what the man made me promise him to do. For clearly I shall have to say that he made me promise to give the money to the hospital, and, since I am an habitual truth teller, this will go very much against the grain with me. Indeed I am pretty sure that in practice I myself would keep the promise. But we are not discussing what my moral habits would probably make me do; we are discussing what I ought to do. Moreover, we must not forget that even if it would be most rational of me to give the money to the hospital it would also be most rational of you to punish or condemn me if you did, most improbably, find out the truth (e.g. by finding a note washed ashore in a bottle). Furthermore, I would agree that though it was most rational of me to give the money to the hospital it would be most rational of you to condemn me for it. We revert again to Sidgwick‘s distinction between the utility of the action and the utility of the praise of it.

(J. J. C. Smart, “Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism,” The Philosophical Quarterly 6 [October 1956]: 344-54, at 350)

Note from KBJ: Why would anyone associate with, much less depend on, an act utilitarian? If I know that you are an act utilitarian, I know that your promises to me mean nothing—or, if not nothing, then less than what they should mean. To you, I am merely a cog in the causal wheel, to be manipulated in pursuit of the greatest good. Act utilitarians should be shot on sight.


My adopted Texas Rangers blew an 8-2 lead yesterday in Arlington. The Houston Astros came back to tie it. The Rangers then kicked ass, winning 16-8. Rangers television announcer Josh Lewin just pointed out that Lance Berkman of the Astros is 30 for 50 this month. Only Pete Rose has had more hits in a 50-at-bat stretch in the history of Major League Baseball. Think about it. Berkman could go zero for 50 the rest of the month and still hit .300.