Monday, 23 June 2008


Here is your entertainment for this Monday afternoon. Jon Butcher is a most underrated musician.

A Year Ago



Every now and then, I come across an op-ed column that is so cogently argued and compellingly written that I curse myself for not having beaten the author to the punch. This column by William Kristol falls into that category.

Addendum: Here is the advertisement to which Kristol refers. Somebody get Alex’s mother a bottle of shampoo.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

I agree with Paul Krugman¹ that “homeownership isn’t for everyone.” Does he agree with me that (1) college isn’t for everyone and (2) parenthood isn’t for everyone? Somehow I doubt it.


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).

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Grass-Roots Grand Juries Become the Latest Abortion Battlefield” (front page, June 17):

Citizen-convened grand jury investigations are only the latest attacks on Dr. George Tiller and on women’s ability to have safe, legal abortions. In his three decades of providing abortion care, antichoice protesters have shot Dr. Tiller, bombed his clinic and harassed him at home.

Nevertheless, he and his staff continue to safeguard women’s health, performing abortions—safely and with great compassion—that few doctors in the country have the training to handle.

As a retired abortion provider and a friend of Dr. Tiller, I know why he presses on: women desperately need his services. Physicians like Dr. Tiller are heroes to every woman they treat. He should be honored for his dedication, not persecuted.

If Dr. Tiller can’t get the credit he deserves, I’d settle for everyone just leaving him alone.

Suzanne T. Poppema
Edmonds, Wash., June 17, 2008
The writer is board chairwoman of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

Note from KBJ: Abortion is hard on women, but it’s hell for their babies.

C. D. Broad (1887-1971) on the Sidgwicks

For some time now Sidgwick had been actively investigating the phenomena of Spiritualism. I shall consider his work in Psychical Research in more detail later; at present the important fact about it is that it led to his marriage. Arthur Balfour, who had been a pupil and friend of Sidgwick at Trinity, and Lord Rayleigh, who had married one of Balfour’s sisters, were associated with Sidgwick in these investigations. Sidgwick met his future wife, Eleanor Mildred Balfour, at the houses of her brother and her brother-in-law, and they collaborated in experiments with mediums. They were both of them also keenly interested in the higher education of women, and they had worked together in connection with Newnham Hall, the institution from which Newnham College developed. They became engaged in December 1875 and they were married on April 4, 1876. Mrs Sidgwick appears to me to have been, not only the ablest woman, but one of the ablest persons, in England during her lifetime. I did not have the privilege of meeting her until she was over eighty, when I became a fellow-member with her of the Council of the Society for Psychical Research. Even then she seemed to me to stand head and shoulders above the rest of us. I am not competent to speak with any authority of the great work which she did, in collaboration with her husband, for Newnham College. But I say without hesitation that her work in psychical research was of absolutely first-rate importance. The numerous and elaborate papers which she contributed to the S. P. R. Proceedings are masterpieces of clear statement, sound reasoning, and balanced judgment, which must be regarded as classics in this most difficult field of inquiry. She survived her husband for many years, dying in February 1936 shortly before her ninety-first birthday. It would be hard to conceive of two people more ideally fitted to each other than Henry Sidgwick and Nora Balfour.

(C. D. Broad, “Henry Sidgwick,” The Hibbert Journal 37 [October 1938]: 25-43, at 30-1 [italics in original])


Here is a story about heart disease. Key paragraph:

“It’s important that each person take responsibility for taking care of themselves,” says Edmund Herrold, a clinical cardiologist in New York City and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Get a regular checkup. Watch your weight and your blood pressure and your cholesterol, and if you have diabetes, keep that under control. Exercise. Take an aspirin every day. Eliminate meat. There’s no guarantee, but you can dramatically lower the risk of a cardiac event if you pay attention to these issues.”

Emphasis added.