Friday, 20 June 2008


Would somebody please castrate this man and his brother? Two generations of imbeciles are enough.

Guess the Movie

“General, you go down there.

“You’re advising me to go into the coulee?

“Yes sir.

“There are no Indians there, I suppose.

“I didn’t say that. There are thousands of Indians down there. And when they get done with you, there won’t be nothing left but a greasy spot. This ain’t the Washita River, General, and them ain’t helpless women and children waiting for you. They’re Cheyenne brave, and Sioux. You go down there, General, if you’ve got the nerve.

“Still trying to outsmart me, aren’t you, mule-skinner? You want me to think that you don’t want me to go down there, but the subtle truth is you really don’t want me to go down there!”

Addendum: Don’t watch this until you’re stumped.


Here is a review of George Lakoff’s new book. Lakoff may not realize it, perhaps because he’s in the grip of progressive ideology, but his explanation of why conservatives do so well electorally presupposes that they are brilliant. Key paragraphs:

To Lakoff, this explains why conservatives win elections. They manipulate us more effectively. They’ve been “preparing the seedbed of our brains with their high-level general principles so that when ‘tax relief’ was planted, their framing could take root and sprout.” And “as a result, progressive messages don’t take root.”

Worse, conservatives planted their war-on-terror metaphor in our brains during a moment of “national trauma,” when our synapses were vulnerable. The fear they’ve cultivated has combined with widespread overwork and health care anxiety to “activate the norepinephrine system,” causing a “reduced capacity to notice” President Bush’s misdeeds. We keep voting the wrong way because our brains are “physically affected by stress” and “neurally shaped by past conservative framing.”

I have a better explanation of conservative success: Conservatives understand human nature.

Addendum: Dr John J. Ray replies to Lakoff here.

Twenty Years Ago

6-20-88 This past Saturday I read an article by Thomas Wartenberg entitled “Teaching Women Philosophy”. [Thomas E. Wartenberg, “Teaching Women Philosophy,” Teaching Philosophy 11 (March 1988): 15-24.] Just two years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea that there was any difference between teaching philosophy to men and teaching philosophy to women (or teaching anything else, for that matter). But now I’m inclined to agree with Wartenberg, who argues that because women’s experience differs from men’s experience, they bring different conceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes to the same work. As a white male, I identify immediately with most of the authors whose works I’m reading, whether it’s Aristotle, [René] Descartes, or Thomas Nagel. But if you’re a female, and hence a member of a class that has been oppressed, what do you think or say when Hesiod, for example, writes that women were created to torment men? To make sense of Hesiod, you must enter his conceptual world, and in that world women occupy an inferior status. Perhaps the solution is to make Hesiod’s conceptual scheme explicit. This will in turn make his assumptions explicit and make analysis of his arguments easier. Wartenberg’s article has opened my eyes to a new set of problems in teaching. I worry about things like this.


Here is a scene from yesterday’s stage of the Tour of Switzerland. (There are no images yet of today’s stage.) Here is tomorrow’s penultimate stage (an uphill individual time trial).

Why He Is Not a Christian

Bob Hessen sent a link to this online version of Bertrand Russell’s (1872-1970) famous lecture “Why I Am Not a Christian” (1927).


It must have been hard for the New York Times to publish this, especially in an election year.

From the Mailbag


You are from Michigan. Have you ever heard of the Upper Peninsula War (a.k.a. Canadian-Michigan War)? This Wikipedia article begins with a “humorous” disclaimer, although the article itself is not particularly funny.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

Note from KBJ: Never heard of it, Mark. Here is one of my contributions to the history of the great state of Michigan.

“No Liberal Goo-Goo”

David Brooks has some thoughts about Barack Obama.


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Paul Krugman¹ is aghast that John McCain would pander. Is McCain not a politician? Would he not say or do whatever it took to get elected? Does the end of political power not justify the means?


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


Gary Lee

My baby brother, Gary, is 42 years old today. Just yesterday, I was changing his diapers. Tempus fugit.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then Paul Krugman is intellectually honest.

Addendum:No You Don’t.”

Addendum 2:Fox on the Run.”

Addendum 3:Solid Gold Brass.”

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Let’s see: our entire planet is in danger because of the burning of fossil fuels, our economy is in the tank because of the rising cost of gasoline and diesel while the oil companies are announcing the biggest profits in the history of the planet, and we are going to open the oceans, our biggest source of both oxygen and food, to further offshore drilling. What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Let’s get real. The solution to our energy problems is to find a different source of energy altogether from fossil fuels, not to pollute what’s left of the planet to make a select few richer while the rest of us go down with the ship. The limited amount of oil there will only prolong the agony anyway.

Judith Luber-Narod
Northboro, Mass., June 19, 2008