kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Well, a week of this and not one comment. Have I said how much I really, really, love llamas?

I generally don't have all that much to say, and usually if I do, I say it to my pals at AnnCoulter.com. (or is it .org?) As my non-readers (gentle and otherwise) know, one of my hobbies is to spend far too much time at this chatroom, arguing with people who range from utter Neanderthals (and that may be an insult to the cranial capacity of that proud but extinct race) to well-informed, intelligent, and humorous folks who disagree with everything I say (except possibly the latter claim itself).

Personally, I find it a lot more fun talking--in this way--to people with whom I disagree than with those with whom I agree. The latter is boring, quick: "Yes, you're right. Fabulous. You're a genius [and since you agree with me, I'm a genius too!]." How much of that can keep one's attention? (To be sure, "mega dittoes" has a number of possible interpretations, in spite of Rushbo's own tendentious one.)

On the other hand, death threats, offers to meet for a fight "at any gym or dojo in the US," and being called "the stupidest person in the history of the planet" focus one's mind a bit more, and is, again to my perverse mind, simply more fun. You do need a certain approach, of course; you can't take things too personally, you need a pretty thick skin, and you need to maintain perspective and a sense of humor.

La Coultera--Ann Coulter--herself is a pretty interesting piece of work, getting quite wealthy by serving up carne rojo to her profoundly carnivorous customers. She seems bright enough, and definitely has the rhetorical schtick down; she is also bright enough not to engage in very many serious legal or historical debates with someone--say a good lawyer, legal scholar, or historian--who would be a relevant debating partner. I saw her once on C-SPAN, and Alan Dershowitiz--indeed!--asked her a couple of pointed legal questions about cases and constitutional interpretation. She got that "deer in the headlights" look and was obviously out of her league. I would love to see her debate someone who knew a lot about the history of McCarthyism, or Viet Nam, or original intent and strict constructionism. Perhaps this is mere Schadenfreude or a desire to see her get her comeuppance; more likely, I'd like to see the spin her acolytes would give when it was relatively clear she was getting trounced.

My favorite moment at the Coulter site is when I made an offhand comment about David Horowitz, who is seen by many or most at the Coulter site as some kind of amazing genius. My comment was forwarded to him, and he showed up to debate me. From my perspective, I was nice, and deferential, and simply kept showing why my claim--that, more or less, he was regarded as kind of a joke on the left when he was there, and that I saw no particular reason to change my evaluation simply because he has gone to the (far) right--was the case. He mostly employed the standard equipment from the Horowitz arsenal: invective, irrelevant points, ad hominem arguments, and changing the subject. Somehow the fact that some conservatives view his books as absolutely crucial to their self-conception was a knockdown blow, relative to my original claim. Perhaps he should check out Susan Haack's Deviant Logic, where he might find an approach that could show such an inference to be valid.

What was telling was that after he signed off, having really not addressed any point I made or having offered a particularly coherent one of his own, the Coulter acolytes said he destroyed me, and now, if I threaten to get the better of one in an argument (as if that could happen), his name is trotted out. Evidently, I'm supposed to be quite embarrassed, even though a few people have read through this exchange and scratched their heads, wondering why anyone would view Horowitz as having carried the day. Particularly since the only other point I made: that Horowitz was wrong in claiming--as his column did--that Valerie Plame "sent" Joseph Wilson on his trip to Nigeria--was fixed in the wording, without any indication that he had been wrong (this kind of indication is not in his job description). Of course, if Chomsky had changed "sent" to "involved in sending" or "recommended" in something he wrote, Horowitz would use this as evidence that Chomsky remains on Stalin's payroll.

Knowing my luck, ol' Dave will be my first reader, and then I'll get an earful. At that point, I'll have to 'fess up and tell him that I was the one who wrote the letter suggesting he had very little idea of what goes on in the trenches of academia. He wrote a column about it on his website, and kept addressing me by name. It was only after he posted the column that his readers informed him that my name probably wasn't really Julius Hibbert, given that that is the name of the Simpsons' family doctor. Insert mindless giggle here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I assume everyone who starts doing this wonders if anyone will read it, then starts to just presume that material is being sent out into cyberspace where no one will ever see it, leading to the Berkeleyan kind of worries about its use if it isn't perceived by another (and God doesn't count). This is probably dangerous, in that one may start writing things on the assumption that it is sheer solipsism, and one day start waxing about one's obssessive erotic fixations on llamas; that, of course, will be the post somebody reads.

I like llamas, as far as that goes; I'm probably somewhere between Jack Hanna and the asthmatic kid on Jimmy Neutron.

The Cardinals continue, as I mentioned, to roll. I don't think the loss of Rolen will hurt that much; he obviously has been off his game virtually the entire season. When healthy, he is a potent addition to the lineup, but I think he recognized that a healthy Rolen in 2006 is the best solution. The Cards seem to run into this with some frequency; Coleman and the tarp, Clark and the ribcage; it seems hard for them to have their best team on the field in October. Just imagine the whole team healthy, with Darryl Kile. Then again, they have been relatively healthy, so no doubt Braves fans would say I haven't seen anything.

It is a bit too early to make predictions, but right now I like our chances to get to the Series. But, as we saw last year, the Series is a crap shoot. On the other hand, I hope and expect the players who got swept last year to use that as some kind of motivation to go back and get the job done right.

I'm pulling for a Cardinals victory, in 7, over the White Sox. Typically, the other day on their "50 States in 50 Days" tour, ESPN talked all about the Cubs--18.5 games out of first as of this writing. Of course, ESPN was broadcasting a Cubs game that night, so this was really just a big advertisement, but the Sox seem ignored--in Chicago, in the media, in the baseball world. If you go back and watch or read videos from baseball "experts"--except maybe Harold Reynolds, who I think is very cool, and did when he was playing for Seattle--they were virtually unanimous in May, in June, and some even in July that the Sox couldn't hold on, they were a flash in the pan, etc.. Oops. They have too much good pitching not to worry about, although it should be interesting to see how Hermanson deals with the additional pressure in the ALDS and ALCS.

So: to all my non-readers, I hope you have a nice weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


This is all pretty new to me, and since no one is actually looking at this--we are all bloggers, few of us are readers--then it probably makes little difference.

These days, when I hear the news, the phrase "hell in a handbasket" keeps going through my mind. Our President, peace be upon him, seems to have had nothing but resolve in going into Iraq to get the terrorists (although they were, evidently, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Madrid, London, and Pyongyang), and has nothing but resolve in "staying the course." I have a couple or three questions for my non-readers not to answer:

a) what constitutes "victory" in Iraq?
b) what constitutes "victory" in the Global War on Terror?
c) if staying leads to an unsustainable situation--increasing violence, a greater likelihood of civil war, and general unrest with guns and bombs--and leaving leads to an unsustainable situation, and we must either stay or leave, then isn't the conclusion of this simple constructive dilemma pretty easy to identify? Should we be able to criticize our illustrious maximum leader for generating this dilemma, without being accused, as a Leninist might put it, of being "objectively pro-terrorist"?

Otherwise, the Cardinals continue to roll.

For those not reading this, you will fail to realize that this here blog will focus on three basic things: politics, baseball, and music. And whatever else I feel like talking about.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A feeble attempt

This is a test.

You passed.

More later.