Friday, October 31, 2014


I was reading a rant by Sarah Hoyt, a rant that's hard to summarize because when she gets going she really gets going, but I came across this:

'...look, “respect” is almost exclusively a liberal word. Usually used in the sense of “respect the office” or “respect me because I have this credential.” When speaking to a blogger or a writer, a conservative/libertarian is more likely to use “I’ve always admired” you.'

I sat upright, puzzling over this, unsure why this might be so, but thinking "Yes, I'm far more likely to write 'admired,' not 'respected,' in that sort of sentence."

So I googled for discussions on the difference shades of meaning, and came across this:

You would have respect for a person in authority- like a policeman, a military officer with a rank above your own, or a teacher, but you may not like that person so you might not admire them.

Isn't there a tendency to respect your adversaries but admire your friends?

There's something rather fussy about a lot of contemporary liberalism, an i-dotting, t-crossing concern with following protocol. You don't really admire someone for being good at following protocol, do you? But you can respect their ability to do so.

And now I will stop attempting to dissect
the difference between admire and respect.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maher vs. Students

Some students at Berkeley are trying to stop Bill Maher from speaking at the Berkeley commencement this year. He has made some pointed statements about what most Muslims believe, statements that have aroused these students' ire.

So far, Berkeley has not rescinded its invitation.

Patrick Popehat writes, perhaps with a trollish spirit:

"If you want to shut down Bill Maher’s hate speech against Muslims, why not invite him to a post-address debate, against your best and brightest? You’re well educated young men and women."

Please. I would pay to watch that.

But hopefully I could see
the whole thing on YouTube for free.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mann and Kaufmann

I'm reading Thomas Mann's long novel, The Magic Mountain, for our reconstituted book club. I got to wondering what my favorite German-American writer, Walter Kaufmann, might have said about Mann.

Kaufmann wrote a lot of appreciation and criticism for 20th century German literature.

But for the life of me I haven't found anything substantial.

Mann did supply a glowing blurb for Kaufmann's book on Nietzsche. And I think they may both have been living in Princeton, New Jersey at one point. It looks like Princeton U. has some of Mann's papers and most of Kaufmann's.

With a bond of culture and speech,
I wonder if they were friends.
But for now I fear I have reached
a research dead end.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Train Meets Truck

Not far from here, today, in Northwest Indiana, a Chicago-bound Amtrak train hit a tractor-trailer rig carrying cement powder.

Great pictures of the truck ripped in two, and the train covered in powder, at the link. Nobody was seriously injured.

The truck driver "told authorities he saw the oncoming train but pulled into its path anyway because he thought he had time to clear the tracks."

If you misjudge the speed of a train,
You may have a lot you need to explain.

Monday, October 27, 2014

No Costume Needed

If you want to be even scarier
this Halloween
tell people you're a carrier
escaped from quarantine.

It might work better yet
if you first work up a sweat.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reflections on Gifts

They said Mozart's talents were merely inherited,
Unfairly come by, and not strictly merited.
They let out an envious wail and bemoaned it.
But Mozart just practiced his gift like he owned it.

Corruption In The Social Sciences

Charles Murray, reflecting after 20 years on the reception accorded to the book he co-wrote about intelligence:

'I’m also thinking of all the other social scientists who have come up to me over the years and told me what a wonderful book “The Bell Curve” is. But they never said it publicly. So corruption is one thing that ails the social sciences. Cowardice is another.'

I've never read the whole book. I've read chunks of it at the library. As he says in this interview, the book doesn't take a strong position on the nature/nurture debate. But he clearly expects that some part of what's going on is biological inheritance. And saying that there's anything on the nature side at all, is hazardous.

I'm not really a big fan of the man. He says: "None of us has earned our IQ." This is said by way of rolling around to justifying redistribution.

None of us has earned our eye color, either. It's not the sort of thing you earn. It's more like a gift. And here's the thing about gifts. You may not have earned them, but once you receive them, you do rightly own them.

What talents you have, do not hide them.
Even if others deride them.

The Mysterious Creation of Jobs

Hillary Clinton, the other day:

"Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs."

So who creates jobs, in point of fact?
Should we say: The Invisible Hand?
Or something abstract
Like Supply and Demand?

No, it's herself:

"I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what, millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were secure."

No one's too sure where those millions of jobs are that she created. They're not in the employment statistics.

Somewhere there's gobs
Of shiny new jobs.
But that isn't here
Or anywhere near.

Friday, October 24, 2014