Sunday, 6 July 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Yale University law professor Stephen Carter. Note that it’s progressives, rather than conservatives, who are harming blacks—by opposing programs that encourage marriage, by opposing school vouchers, and by supporting an increase in the minimum wage. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


Here is good news for athletes. (No, golfers are not athletes.)


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France. Here is tomorrow’s stage.

Yankee Watch

Tampa Bay’s magic number to eliminate the hated New York Yankees is down to 66.

Baseball, Part 2

My beloved Detroit Tigers left 26 runners on base today. I kid you not. The game went 15 innings. The Tigers had only eight hits, but beat the Seattle Mariners, 2-1. The Mariners had only six hits. How’s that for a pitchers’ duel? Fourteen hits in a combined 30 innings! My Tigers are now 44-44, so I can resume my taunting of Yankee fans. I’m watching the Yankee-Red Sox game on ESPN as I type this. I hate both teams with a passion, but I hate Boston less, in part because Yankee fans are more obnoxious than Red Sox fans.

Addendum: The Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves are knotted at six in the bottom of the 17th inning. Let’s play two!

Addendum 2: According to this story, Seattle’s manager, Jim Riggleman, used his catcher as a pitcher, instead of using one of his remaining pitchers. Can you say “shit for brains”?


Some of you will recall that I’m reading the 10-volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy (second edition) at the rate of two pages per day. I’ve been at it since 24 April 2007. Today I finished the letter “B” as well as the first volume. It’s been a hoot. Some of the entries, to be honest, bore me to tears, but others are fascinating. I’m learning a lot about ancient and medieval philosophers, some of whom I’ve never so much as heard of. Among the entries I’ve read are:

Bacon, Francis
Bakhtin Circle, The
Bayes, Bayes’ Theorem, Bayesian Approach to Philosophy of Science
Bentham, Jeremy
Black Holes
Bonaventure, St.
Boole, George
Buridan, John
Burke, Edmund
Byzantine Philosophy

I read the two pages first thing in the morning, with coffee. It takes about 15 minutes.

Thomas Nagel on Liberalism

The radical response to orthodoxy is to smash it and dump the pieces into the dustbin of history. The liberal alternative does not depend on the defeat of one orthodoxy by another—not even a multicultural orthodoxy. Liberalism should favor the avoidance of forced choices and tests of purity, and the substitution of a certain reticence behind which potentially disruptive disagreements can persist without breaking into the open, and without requiring anyone to lie. The disagreements needn’t be a secret—they can just remain quiescent. In my version, the liberal ideal is not content with the legal protection of free speech for fascists, but also includes a social environment in which fascists can keep their counsel if they choose.

(Thomas Nagel, “Concealment and Exposure,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 27 [winter 1998]: 3-30, at 25)

Twenty Years Ago

7-6-88 . . . Odds and ends: (1) Great news! Alan Trammell, shortstop of the Detroit Tigers, has been elected by the fans as a starter in next week’s All-Star game. He’s hitting .330, with ten home runs and forty runs batted in. Last year, he led the Tigers to the Eastern Division title with a .343 batting average, twenty-eight home runs, and 105 runs batted in. He is, in my mind, the premier shortstop in baseball. But unfortunately, Alan has a fractured elbow and was recently placed on the fifteen-day disabled list. That means he won’t be able to play in the All-Star game. Isn’t that ironic? At long last he beats Cal Ripken of the [Baltimore] Orioles, and he can’t play. Ripken will probably start in his place.


My friend Carlos went to a concert yesterday. Here is his review. Here is the kind of music Carlos should be listening to.

A Year Ago



Four Texas Rangers should be starting the All-Star game. At most one Yankee should be starting. See here.

Addendum: Here are the All-Star rosters. Four Rangers—Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, and Milton Bradley—made the team.  They are the first four batters in the Ranger lineup. I am privileged to watch them play every day. Only three Yankees—Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mariano Rivera—made the team. By the way, I can’t find the final vote totals anywhere on the Internet. If someone finds them, please send a link.

Addendum 2: Thanks to Bryan Hoch of, I have the final vote totals. Josh Hamilton finished first among American League outfielders! Unfortunately, Ian Kinsler came up just short at second base.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Police and Tasers” (editorial, June 24):

You are correct in calling for caution in the New York Police Department’s plan to arm officers with Tasers. Tasers are unsafe, misused and a vehicle for racial profiling.

Troubled kids, the mentally ill and political protesters have all received their 50,000-volt shock with disastrous results.

Taser proponents rely upon the myth that these are nonlethal. Amnesty International says more than 300 people have died from Taser injuries.

In practice, Tasers are not used as a deadly force alternative but as a compliance tool against nonviolent persons, without the strict limitations, supervision and accountability we require for deadly force. The United Nations Committee Against Torture concluded that Taser use may amount to torture.

Little attention is being paid to the unfair burden Tasers will place on communities of color. The disproportionate number of people of color stopped, searched and interrogated by New York police will likely lead to more abuse by this potentially lethal weapon especially as the N.Y.P.D. moves Tasers from car trunks to the gun belts of thousands of sergeants.

Studies in five major cities have already found racial disparities in Taser deployment. Given the questions surrounding Tasers and the life-or-death risks Tasers carry, we strongly call on the N.Y.P.D. to rethink its use of these lethal weapons.

King Downing
National Coordinator
Campaign Against Racial Profiling
Racial Justice Program
American Civil Liberties Union
New York, June 26, 2008

Note from KBJ: Don’t tase me, bro!

Safire on Language