Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a New York Times story about white guilt. Any emotion can be exploited for gain: love, fear, hope, guilt, jealousy, anger, envy. If you can make someone feel guilty, you can get just about anything you want from him or her.

Twenty Years Ago

5-28-88 . . . The criminal trial of former [Arizona] Governor Evan Mecham and his brother, Willard, is about to begin. Both are charged with failing to report campaign loans. Today, in the newspaper, there was a list of the twelve jurors who will hear the case, together with summaries of their interests, political affiliations, and other information (but not names). To my horror, six of the twelve jurors admitted to rarely or never reading a newspaper. This astounds me. How can a person stay abreast of political and other events without reading a newspaper? Television and radio news is sketchy at best and sensationalistic at worst. It is cotton candy for the mind. Admittedly, newspapers range in quality from excellent (for example, The New York Times) to fair (The Arizona Republic), but that’s no excuse for not trying to read a good newspaper on a regular basis. We have access to The New York Times out here [in Tucson]. Of the twelve jurors, ten are registered to vote (five as Republicans, four as Democrats, and one as an independent) and seven of the ten voted in the 1986 gubernatorial election (all four of the Democrats and three of the Republicans). I found these summaries interesting.


The Rasmussen Poll shows that Hillary Clinton will do better than Barack Obama against John McCain, at least in terms of the popular vote. So why are the Democrat superdelegates not siding with her? Do they not want to wrest the presidency from Republicans? Here is an interesting column by Chris Cillizza.


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

A Year Ago


Business “Ethics”

This is hilarious! I rolled on the floor laughing (figuratively speaking) when I reached this paragraph:

In his class, Mr. Friedman guides students through exercises to identify their core values and to express ways that they are feeling out of sync with those values. Students then develop experiments intended to create what Mr. Friedman calls “four-way wins,” changes that will have positive effects in all aspects of their lives.

Adolf Hitler had core values. Would Friedman help him get in sync with them?

“The Manufacture of Human Beings”

Welcome to the brave new world of science.

Hall of Fame?

Willie Hernandez. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then 2 > 3.

Addendum: Here is “Holy Man.” Here is “Hold On.” Both have beautiful guitar solos (by Ritchie Blackmore).


It’s all about white guilt, folks. Alleviating it justifies the means. See here for Thomas Sowell’s latest column.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In “Joe Lieberman, Would-Be Censor” (editorial, May 25), you proclaim it “ludicrous” to “claim that the Internet promotes terrorism.” But the fact is that the Internet, through violent jihadist videos posted on YouTube, is being used to recruit terrorists here in the United States. And that is what I have asked YouTube, in the national interest, to stop.

The bipartisan staff of the Senate committee I head, which oversees homeland security matters, has documented that Islamist terror networks rely extensively on the Internet in their continuing war against the American people.

The intelligence community, moreover, sounded the alarm about proliferation of radical Islamist sites in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate: warning that, even absent guidance from established terror organizations, the Internet enables “alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resources to attack.”

What is ludicrous is the claim that YouTube has been pressured to pull down videos just because I don’t like them. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are engaged in a wartime communications strategy to recruit, amass funds and inspire savage attacks against American troops and civilians. Their Internet videos are branded with logos, authenticating them as enemy communications. They are patent incitements to violence, not First Amendment-protected speech. And they fall outside Google’s own stated guidelines for content.

The peril here is not to legitimate dissent but to our fundamental right of self-defense. For those of us in government, protecting Americans is the highest responsibility. Asking private parties operating public communications systems to assist that effort is common sense.

Joseph Lieberman
U.S. Senator from Connecticut
Washington, May 27, 2008

Semper Fi

My friend Carlos is a Marine. I’ve known two other Marines (Norm and Butch) besides Carlos. All are tough as nails. I would trust any of them with my life. Here is Carlos’s loving tribute to the “Devil Dogs.”


The author of this New York Times story doesn’t understand conservatism. Conservatism is realm-specific. There are epistemic conservatives, linguistic conservatives, moral conservatives, legal conservatives, political conservatives, medical conservatives, religious conservatives, and methodological conservatives (among others). A person can be one type of conservative without being some other type of conservative. The author thinks that John McCain wants political conservatives on the Supreme Court. What McCain wants is legal conservatives. He wants justices who defer to Congress and the states on matters of social policy. Deference is not servility. If the Constitution clearly prohibits a piece of legislation, such as a law that punishes political speech, even a conservative will (and should) strike it down. What conservative judges will not do is invent constitutional rights, as was done in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965).

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 45

I have now, I believe, mentioned all the books which had any considerable effect on my early mental development. From this point I began to carry on my intellectual cultivation by writing still more than by reading. In the summer of 1822 I wrote my first argumentative essay. I remember very little about it, except that it was an attack on what I regarded as the aristocratic prejudice, that the rich were, or were likely to be, superior in moral qualities to the poor. My performance was entirely argumentative, without any of the declamation which the subject would admit of, and might be expected to suggest to a young writer. In that department however I was, and remained, very inapt. Dry argument was the only thing I could manage, or willingly attempted; though passively I was very susceptible to the effect of all composition, whether in the form of poetry or oratory, which appealed to the feelings on any basis of reason. My father, who knew nothing of this essay until it was finished, was well satisfied, and as I learnt from others, even pleased with it; but, perhaps from a desire to promote the exercise of other mental faculties than the purely logical, he advised me to make my next exercise in composition one of the oratorical kind: on which suggestion, availing myself of my familiarity with Greek history and ideas and with the Athenian orators, I wrote two speeches, one an accusation, the other a defence of Pericles, on a supposed impeachment for not marching out to fight the Lacedæmonians on their invasion of Attica. After this I continued to write papers on subjects often very much beyond my capacity, but with great benefit both from the exercise itself, and from the discussions which it led to with my father.

Note from KBJ: Mill is distinguishing between logic and rhetoric. The former concerns truth, the latter persuasiveness. A good philosopher needs skill in both. Logic without rhetoric is, as Mill says, “dry,” while rhetoric without logic is pointless at best and misleading at worst. Note also Mill’s claim that there is great benefit from the exercise of writing itself. Great writers are not born; they are made. The more you write, the better you get at it. Most of my students are terrible writers. Why? They don’t write!