I’m 57 years old and have voted in every presidential election since 1976, and for the first time I’m inspired enough by a candidate to donate money and volunteer my time. Last time I checked, the approval rating of Congress was at 15 percent, so I don’t think your readers put much stock in what Mr. Sanders’s colleagues think of him.
Maybe more relevant reporting would be on the thousands of us in the middle class who support Mr. Sanders’s positions, like a $15 per hour minimum wage; access to a college education without crushing debt; overturning the Citizens United decision that allows corporations to buy elections; and taxing the financial transactions of Wall Street speculators.
Maybe we aren’t all grumpy, disaffected outliers; maybe we recognize someone who could give this country the new direction it so desperately needs. Maybe we are what democracy looks like.
Note from KBJ: Progressivism = economic illiteracy.
Seven-Inning Felix (15-8) pitched well today. He made it through eight innings (throwing 105 pitches) and got the victory over the last-place Oakland Athletics (the worst team in the American League). He's on track for 18.5 victories. Will he win 20 for the first time? Time will tell.
My 15-week summer break ends today. Tomorrow morning, at 8:00 sharp, I begin my 27th year of teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington (my 28th year of teaching overall). I'll be teaching Logic and Philosophy of Religion this fall. I had a great time on the bike this summer, pedaling 1,453.9 miles since administering my final exams on 14 May. That's an average of 13.97 miles per day and 97.8 miles per week. It's been hot this summer in North Texas, but not as hot as in years past. In late July and early August, Katherine and I spent eight days in Michigan, where we visited my parents, biked around Mackinac Island, and in general enjoyed the cooler air. Next summer, we're going to Scotland. Here's to a great fall semester!
The way that ethics is taught, especially in introductory courses and in courses in applied ethics, is a matter of serious concern. In these courses, it is standard practice to present moral theories such as those in Mill’s Utilitarianism and Kant’s Groundwork or some textbook variation of these as if they were adequate. Although all philosophers recognize that all of the standard theories, including those by Kant and Mill, are inadequate, they still often put them forward as if students should choose between them. Even worse, students are sometimes told that they should choose the theory that seems to work best for the particular problem with which they are concerned. This results in students being Kantians or Utilitarians depending on the problem they are considering, which is a trivialization not only of these theories but of moral theories in general.
(Bernard Gert, Common Morality: Deciding What to Do [New York: Oxford University Press, 2004], vii)
Note from KBJ: I present 13 normative ethical theories in my Ethics courses. It's not my job to tell students which theory (if any) is correct. In fact, it doesn't make sense to me to say that a normative ethical theory is correct (or true). A normative ethical theory has two functions: (1) to systematize one's beliefs; and (2) to guide one's behavior. My job is to ensure that my students understand each theory. What they do with the theories, if anything, is their business.
According to “Clinton and Black Activist, Raw and Unscripted” (front page, Aug 20), a Black Lives Matter activist, Julius Jones, asked Hillary Clinton “how she would change ‘hearts and minds’ to address what he calls a virulent strain of ‘anti-blackness’ ” in this country. In general, she said, “I don’t believe you change hearts,” adding, “I believe you change laws.”
She could have reminded him of the struggle for the right to vote by Southern blacks during the Jim Crow era. Attempts to do away with such impediments as the poll tax were met with protests by white Southerners saying that laws can’t change the way people think, to which blacks replied, I don’t want you to love me; I just want to be able to vote.
Much has changed since then because although thoughts can lead to actions, the reverse is also true: Actions can change thoughts.
To the Editor:
Your news article describes Hillary Clinton’s response to the Black Lives Matter activist Julius Jones as being “forthright” and “spontaneous.” I see it as slick and studied.
As you report, Mr. Jones demanded that Mrs. Clinton “acknowledge her culpability for supporting criminal justice policies put in place by her husband’s administration that wound up harming black Americans.” Instead, she carefully detoured the conversation to the movement’s supposed failure to propose concrete legislative goals, evincing no regrets about a terrible injustice—the mass incarceration of black men—that has scarred millions, torn apart families and laid waste to communities.
The writer is a civil rights and employment lawyer.
Note from KBJ: If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
The feud between Donald Trump and Fox News Channel bimbo Megyn Kelly continues. Yes, she's a bimbo. A bimbo is a young, empty-headed woman, according to my Oxford American Dictionary and Language Guide (1999). (See here as well.) When Kelly asked Trump, during the Republican debate, whether he has something against women, she was engaged in "gotcha journalism," which is despicable. We conservatives expect this from progressives, for whom the end justifies the means. We do not expect it from Fox News, which claims to be fair and balanced. I'm not saying that we expect Fox News personalities to throw softballs to Republicans. I'm saying that we expect them not to throw hand grenades! I'm done with Megyn Kelly. I'll never watch her again. It disgusts me to see so many Fox people come to her defense. They know who butters their bread. I find myself watching less and less of Fox News and more and more of CNN. (MSNBC is out of the question.) At least with CNN, I don't get stabbed in the back.
Addendum: Here is a transcript of the exchange between Trump and Kelly:
KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.
You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
Your Twitter account…
TRUMP: Only Rosie O’Donnell.
KELLY: No, it wasn’t.
Your Twitter account…
TRUMP: Thank you.
KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell.
TRUMP: Yes, I’m sure it was.
KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.
I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.
And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it’s fun, it’s kidding. We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.
But you know what, we—we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That, I can tell you right now.
This isn't journalism; it's ambush. Megyn Kelly wouldn't have the job she does if it weren't for her "looks." She wants women's looks to be able to help women (as it has her) but never to hurt them. How's that for a double standard? Trump should have asked her whether she opposes the hiring, by Fox, of attractive blondes. Where's the diversity? Why is Fox News not having to defend its hiring decisions? How is Fox News not engaged in a "war against women"?
While is was very satisfying to read that Cardinal Timothy Dolan wanted to make a point of his concern for immigrant labor by choosing three Latino day laborers to craft Pope Francis’s holy chair and is paying the men $20 an hour (“The Pope’s Carpenters,” editorial, Aug. 19), it was just as unsatisfying to read that the women doing the sewing and embroidering for the altar cloths were “donating their skilled labor.”
The project to support immigrant labor reflects the old-fashioned sexism of expecting the men to be compensated for their work and the women to volunteer their talents.
The Left doesn't give a damn about individuals. It cares about abstractions, including the abstractions known as "workers," "the poor," "the disadvantaged," "the oppressed," and "art." Read this. The editorial board of the New York Times cares more about antiquities than it does about living, breathing human beings, especially if they're Christians. It's sick, but that's the Left.
I just watched Donald Trump's press conference and speech in Dubuque, Iowa. Wow. Something profound is happening in this country. We're in the midst of it, so it's hard to see. Trump is single-handedly reshaping American politics. I keep hearing it said, by way of criticism, that Trump is not a conservative, or not a Republican. Why is that a problem? Many people who do not think of themselves as conservatives or Republicans are attracted to Trump's message, which transcends race, sex, religion, party affiliation, and ideology. I picture working-class Democrats flocking to the polls to vote for Trump in November 2016. He believes in America; he thinks we can be great again (with proper leadership); he knows how to negotiate; he doesn't tolerate insults or thuggery (such as we saw this evening with Jorge Ramos); he's unscripted and fresh. I know I've called Trump a buffoon in this blog. I was wrong. I now think he's five steps ahead of everyone else. Get used to saying "President Trump."