Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Should Marion Jones be pardoned? If so, on what grounds? See here for the story.

National Security

Here is an essay by Harvard professor Samantha Power. Please note that “She spent 2005 to 2006 working in the office of Senator Barack Obama.”

Joel Feinberg (1926-2004) on Future Generations

We have it in our power now to make the world a much less pleasant place for our descendants than the world we inherited from our ancestors. We can continue to proliferate in ever greater numbers, using up fertile soil at an even greater rate, dumping our wastes into rivers, lakes, and oceans, cutting down our forests, and polluting the atmosphere with noxious gases. All thoughtful people agree that we ought not to do these things. Most would say that we have a duty not to do these things, meaning not merely that conservation is morally required (as opposed to merely desirable) but also that it is something due our descendants, something to be done for their sakes. Surely we owe it to future generations to pass on a world that is not a used up garbage heap. Our remote descendants are not yet present to claim a livable world as their right, but there are plenty of proxies to speak now in their behalf. These spokesmen, far from being mere custodians, are genuine representatives of future interests.

(Joel Feinberg, “The Rights of Animals and Unborn Generations,” chap. 8 in his Rights, Justice, and the Bounds of Liberty: Essays in Social Philosophy [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980], 159-84, at 180-1 [essay first published in 1974])


Here is a scene from today’s epic stage of the Tour de France. Spanish cyclist Carlos Sastre, who has finished highly in the Tour several times (20th, 10th, ninth, eighth, 21st, third, and fourth), won the stage into L’Alpe d’Huez and vaulted into the overall lead by 1:24. Australian cyclist Cadel Evans lost 2:15 to Sastre on the stage and lies in fourth place overall, 1:34 behind. It should all come down to Saturday’s individual time trial. Sastre is said to need two minutes on Evans, who is a superior time trialist, but wearing the yellow jersey does strange things to a man. Here is tomorrow’s stage. Here is the New York Times story.

Academic Sexism

John Tierney’s mistake is assuming that feminists are honest.


Here is the latest propaganda from my long-distance telephone company, Credo:

Stop the Bush Plan to Attack Iran

Is President Bush planning an “October surprise” bombing of Iran? There is mounting evidence that he is. The drumbeat from the White House indicates the attack will be justified by claims that Iran is training militias to kill Americans in Iraq or to shut down Iran’s nuclear program. Experts predict an Iran attack could quickly expand to all-out war, with Israel joining in. It would likely lead to conflict elsewhere in the Muslim world, severe U.S. casualties and gas at $7 a gallon. SB 759 would prevent use of U.S. funds for military operations in Iran without congressional authorization. Urge your senator to cosponsor SB 759 and prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran.

How twisted do you have to be to think that President Bush would bomb Iran (or any other country) in order to get John McCain elected?

A Year Ago


From the Mailbag


In a comment on the Yahoo Human-Animal Studies Group, I saw a book chapter that was saved on your server. I looked for similar works and I was directed to your resume. There, I saw that you have done some work on the crime of rape. Coincidentally, today I also ran across a startling expose of rapes and other forms of crimes committed by members of our military. I’m forwarding that link in case it can be of some use to you, or in case you can be of some use help [sic] to the author or the victims.

Mark L.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Abortion Proposal Sets Condition on Aid” (news article, July 15) quotes only sources opposing draft regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services that would require recipients of aid under federal health programs to certify that they will adhere to federal laws related to abortion and other controversial procedures.

These regulations would enforce existing federal laws that uphold the right of health care professionals to make professional judgments on ethical issues.

The 35-year-old Church amendment, which prevents federally financed institutions from requiring individuals to provide or assist in abortions if they have moral or religious objections, protects religious freedom in the workplace.

The more recent Hyde-Weldon amendment, passed in 2005, prohibits the disbursement of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Department funds to federal agencies and programs and to state and local governments that discriminate against health care professionals who choose not to perform or refer for abortions.

Regulations paralleling these laws are long overdue and sorely needed. Two of every five of our members surveyed report experiencing discriminatory pressure to violate their convictions on controversial health issues. Medical students are eschewing careers in obstetrics for fear of being forced to perform abortions.

Upholding the First Amendment rights of health care professionals to make professional ethical judgments based on objective ethical standards not only protects patients, it also protects the First Amendment rights of us all.

Jonathan Imbody
V.P. for Government Relations
Christian Medical Association
Ashburn, Va., July 15, 2008

Yankee Watch

Both the Rays and the Yankees won today, so Tampa Bay’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 59.

Hall of Fame?

Roger Maris. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)