Well-intentioned liberals impatient with the normal workings of the democratic process will rue the day they supported President Obama’s expansion of executive power when a different administration wields it in a far more malevolent manner.
DAVID SHULMAN Berkeley Heights, N.J., Nov. 21, 2014
Note from KBJ: Bingo. Republicans are taking notes. Whatever Barack Obama does, they will do, and Democrats won't be able to say a word about it. Payback is going to be delicious!
Katherine and I are watching the Academy Award-winning movies in chronological order, beginning with Midnight Cowboy in 1969. Yesterday evening, we watched A Beautiful Mind (2001), which I had never seen. (Katherine has seen just about everything.) I hate to admit it, but we had to skip Gladiator (2000). Katherine wanted to see it (again), but I knew that I'd have nightmares for the rest of my life if I saw bodies being cut up with swords. I barely got through Braveheart (1995). Perhaps some day we'll return to it; I don't know.
I enjoyed A Beautiful Mind, which is based on a book that I have not read. Russell Crowe (who was also in Gladiator) gave a good performance as John Forbes Nash Jr (the Princeton mathematician) and Jennifer Connelly did a serviceable job as his wife Alicia. The plot was intelligible and gripping; the acting was good; the dialogue was interesting; and the scenes of Princeton University (where I had a job interview many years ago) were pleasing.
I didn't know until after the movie was over that Nash is morally retarded as well as schizophrenic. Read his Wikipedia page for some of the sordid details. The movie brought out only snippets of his offensive personal life, which is intellectually dishonest. To put it bluntly, he was a bad husband, a bad father, a bad colleague, and a bad teacher. The man had one good idea (Nash Equilibrium) in 86 years and is lionized for it.
The second of these is an "upset" only in the sense that Utah is lower ranked than Arizona. As for why I think USC willl beat UCLA, you have to understand the long rivalry between these teams and what has happened in recent years.
Addendum: Not a good day for Mr Football:
UCLA 38, USC 14
Arizona 42, Utah 10
Actually, it was a wonderful day. I jinxed both USC and Utah by picking them to win. Arizona now has a chance to win the Pac-12 South. The Cats must beat Arizona State on Friday (in Tucson) and UCLA must lose to Stanford on Friday (in Los Angeles). Both games start at 2:30 Central Time.
Hunting groups seek to solidify their legal right to shoot wildlife. As expected, Alabama and Mississippi voters amended their state constitutions to buttress the right to hunt wildlife (news item, Nov. 6). But such measures ignore scientific findings that should give us all pause.
Animal behaviorists increasingly find that nonhuman animals possess complex social lives and share many human emotions, while molecular biologists have discovered stunning commonalities between humans and other animals on the genetic level.
It is becoming increasingly clear that other species are not really so different from us after all—indeed, that Darwin was correct when he proposed that we are all related. More than ever, it appears arbitrary and self-serving to promote the rights and preferences of members of our own species without considering those of other species as well.
WILLIAM CRAIN New York, Nov. 6, 2014
The writer, a professor of psychology at City College, CUNY, is the author of “The Emotional Lives of Animals and Children: Insights From a Farm Sanctuary.”
As a retired science teacher, I understand the problem of climate change. We need to tackle it soon and vigorously, or most life on this planet is in jeopardy. What I do not understand is why the environmental community decided to make a big push to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The oil in question is admittedly nasty environmentally. But it isn’t American oil; it belongs to Canada. And regardless of how that oil is shipped to refineries, Canada intends to recover as much of it as it can and ship it by the best means it has, whether truck, rail or pipe.
Opposing the Keystone XL pipeline provides no environmental advantage since pipe shipment is statistically the safest of the three methods. Opposing it feels right, but is poorly thought out and wastes political capital. Environmentalists don’t have time and political capital to waste.
Experts believe that we must reduce our carbon emissions rapidly and dramatically if we are to avert disaster. Adoption of a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions will begin that process. This would have the effect of reducing greenhouse gases while encouraging development of alternative, less destructive sources of energy.
So forget about Keystone XL, and get on with the work of saving the planet.
TIM NIXON Iola, Wis., Nov. 19, 2014
Note from KBJ: Thank God this man is retired. Imagine someone so gullible teaching our impressionable children.
Thank you to Carlotta A. Berry for her essay about why, as a black female engineering professor, she insists that her students refer to her as “Dr.”
Although I am white, as a woman in philosophy (which is reportedly barely 20 percent women), I know exactly what Dr. Berry experiences; I’ve had (usually young male) students display open hostility to me.
Oddly, it’s the tendency of young female students to refer to me as “Mrs.,” as if all women older than they must be married (I’m not) and that’s somehow significant information about them.
As a result, I, too, insist on “Dr.” and “Professor,” not because I’m hung up on titles but because, like Dr. Berry, I want to continually normalize for all students alike that their philosophy professor is indeed a woman.
The writer is a lecturer in philosophy at Rutgers University-Camden.
Note from KBJ: Despite her protestation to the contrary, this woman is "hung up on titles." I tell my students on the first day of class to call me "Keith." They learn soon enough who's boss. By the way, if marital status is not "significant information" about a person, then why did the letter writer disclose hers? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to take a course from a person who has a chip on his or her shoulder. I would be particularly concerned if I were a "young male."
I saw this raccoon (click to enlarge) during my bike ride this afternoon. He (or she) moved slowly, as though ill. I kept my distance, in case the little guy was rabid. The bike ride went well. The weather was gorgeous and there were few people on the trail. I averaged 17.00 miles per hour for 30.6 miles. My personal record on this course is 18.62 miles per hour. The temperature was 55º when I started and 63º when I returned to my house. My average heart rate was 119 and my maximum 155. Back to the preparation of lecture notes for tomorrow's courses.