Whew! What a sense of relief I experienced reading Dr. Aaron E. Carroll’s article laying out the scientific evidence that refutes the need for people to drink eight glasses of water a day.
I can manage about two glasses of water on a good day, and I am never thirsty. My doctor told me a while ago that I get a lot of water from my food so not to worry. But I have lived with a nagging concern that I might be neglecting my health by not downing the recommended eight glasses of water a day.
Most people I know carry water bottles from dawn to dusk. As a good Seattleite, I drink at least three cups of coffee a day, but I had been led to believe that they don’t count because coffee dehydrates. This is another myth dispelled in Dr. Carroll’s article. So my doctor is correct and I can finally relax.
It would be presumptuous to deny that anyone could have a serious desire to have more than one marriage at the same time. It seems perfectly possible for someone to have the most serious religious or personal reasons for wanting this. So, offhand, my version of the fundamental argument for same-sex marriage seems to support a parallel argument for polygamy.
Although it is possible for someone to have such a serious desire to have more than one spouse, it seems (as a matter of brute empirical fact) that this is rarely actually the case. Even among Mormons and Muslims living in the West, there is remarkably little demand for polygamy. This point is not enough to overcome the presumption in favour of allowing polygamy; but it seems to make the presumption easier to rebut.
The presumption in favour of allowing polygamy could be rebutted if there is enough evidence that allowing polygamy would have uncontroversially harmful effects. While there is little historical evidence about what the effects of same-sex marriage would be, there is ample historical evidence about polygamy. This historical evidence clearly needs careful examination, which I cannot provide here. However, in my opinion, there is sufficient evidence to justify a serious concern that polygamy would have uncontroversially harmful effects, especially for women. If my opinion is correct, it would be wrong to allow polygamy until this concern is shown to be groundless.
The difference between same-sex marriage and polygamy then is not an essential difference in kind; it is a purely empirical difference in degree. There is much less demand for polygamy than for same-sex marriage; and there is far more evidence that polygamy would have clearly harmful effects than that same- sex marriage would.
This empirical difference in degree grounds a sharp difference in the requirements of political morality. We should hesitate to allow polygamy until there is serious demand for it, and until an examination of the ample historical evidence lays to rest the suspicion that polygamy would have clearly harmful effects. On the other hand, there is already serious demand for same-sex marriage, and little or no evidence that same-sex marriage would have uncontroversially harmful effects. So justice requires that we press ahead with the struggle to achieve full same-sex marriage.
(Ralph Wedgwood, "The Fundamental Argument for Same-Sex Marriage," The Journal of Political Philosophy 7 [September 1999]: 225-42, at 242 [italics in original; footnote omitted])
Note from KBJ: I have two comments. First, Wedgwood admits that his argument for homosexual "marriage" is also an argument for polygamy. The principle is the same. He simply thinks that polygamy is not an issue at this time, since not many people want it. (This betrays ignorance of how the law works. It is also naive. How many people wanted homosexual "marriage" until a few years ago?) Second, Wedgwood admits that "there is little historical evidence about what the effects of same-sex marriage would be." This is shocking. Why would he advocate a sea change in our understanding of marriage without ample evidence that such a change would have little or no adverse effects (on children, for example)? Oh, wait; he doesn't really care about adverse effects. It's all about making homosexuals feel normal and accepted. What Wedgwood and his ilk don't understand is that no law allowing homosexuals to "marry" can change the way people think or feel about homosexuals, their sexual liaisons, or their unions. Many people share the Roman Catholic view: "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" (from section 3). Only 42 years ago, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Homosexual activists changed that, to the discredit of the "scientists" and "medical doctors" who succumbed to the intimidation.
I attended the High School of Performing Arts from 1956 to 1960 when it was in the Times Square area. I remember the seediness, the pornographic sex shops, the X-rated movie houses and the pimps standing in doorways. I applaud city officials for making the area safer and more tourist-friendly.
Recently I attended a Broadway show in the Times Square area and was taken aback by the throngs milling around on the pedestrian plaza taking endless selfies with half-naked women. While I am not a prude and don’t begrudge New York its tourist trade, it became an effort to get where I was going.
It seems the sexual incivility of the past has been replaced by a different sexual distraction, albeit less offensive. Some might argue that sex is a part of the Times Square mystique and that the women are legally within their rights (which they are), but isn’t it possible for Times Square to still be the “crossroads of the world” without such distractions?
To the Editor:
Thanks to the Times editorial board and Michael Kimmelman’s Critic’s Notebook (“A Case for Nurturing Plazas in Times Square,” Aug. 22) for hard-hitting critiques of the frothing over bare breasts in Times Square. I’ve been enjoying the free-for-all atmosphere of Times Square since college days, more than 50 years ago. It’s one of the demonstrations of the city’s ability to handle diversity of all sorts. Freedom of speech surely includes freedom of dress.
Note from KBJ: Interesting that the woman (Bettijane) doesn't like the display of breasts, but that the man (Peter) does.
A lot of people wonder if taking EPO is risky to health. I'd like to reply to that concern with the following list:
Those are the bones I've broken during my racing career. This is not an unusual list in our profession. It's funny: in the States, everybody connects bike racing with health. But when you get to the top level, you see the truth: bike racing is not a healthy sport in any sense of the word. (As my former teammate Jonathan Vaughters likes to say, If you want to feel what it's like to be a bike racer, strip down to your underwear, drive your car 40 mph, and leap out the window into a pile of jagged metal.) So when it comes to the risks of EPO, they tend to feel pretty small.
Your article and editorial (“Abortion and Down Syndrome,” Aug. 25), about proposed legislation in Ohio to prohibit abortions because of a Down syndrome diagnosis, pointed to the lack of prosecutions in North Dakota, the only state with such a law, but did not mention the true purpose and potential impact of the law.
North Dakota enacted its Human Rights Act to protect people with disabilities in 1983. The federal government followed in 1990 with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Nevertheless, protection from discrimination did not extend to the womb.
Until the passage of North Dakota’s prenatal nondiscrimination act in 2013, the message sent to people with disabilities was: Your disability does not make you any less of a person, but it would have been O.K. to kill you in the womb solely because of your disability.
We then inexplicably expected our state’s agencies, businesses and residents to embrace and take seriously policies against disability discrimination. We should not be surprised that wrongful discrimination against people with disabilities continues when society says that such people are so much a burden that it would have been acceptable to kill them, if only their disability had been spotted early enough.
Bans on abortion for reasons of sex selection and genetic abnormalities may not lead to prosecutions. We may never know if they stop any abortions. They do, however, give greater consistency to our laws, and legitimacy to our claims to become a more inclusive society.
The deranged, savage killer who took the lives of two innocent television station employees was no doubt encouraged, aided and abetted by the ability to become infamous through the use of 21st-century technology.
He knew that he would secure a place in history by shooting his former co-workers while they were on the air, posting the murders on social media and providing a major television network with his “manifesto,” certain that it would be analyzed and widely disseminated so that society would focus on him and his trumped-up grievances.
Have we learned anything from the latest atrocity? Many of us have, but as we saw after the slaughter of 26 innocents in Newtown, Conn., any renewed desire to act to prevent future horrors will fade with time and through the persuasion of the National Rifle Association, which reacts hysterically to any proposal to regulate or restrict access to lethal weapons.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So it shall be for us in the United States of America.
Upper St. Clair, Pa.
Note from KBJ: This is mind-blowing. Of all the things to focus on in this criminal act, Oren Spiegler focuses on guns. The murderer could have driven a car into the reporter and cameraman; he could have stabbed them; he could have shot them with a crossbow; he could have detonated a bomb; and so on. Hoplophobia never sleeps.
Here is the setlist for yesterday's Yes concert in Grand Prairie, Texas, which Katherine and I attended:
Onward (“Tormato” recording, with Chris Squire tribute)
Intro / Firebird Suite
Don’t Kill the Whale
Going for the One
Time and a Word
I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Encore: Starship Trooper
I had a great time. Steve Howe is old and frail, but he can still play a mean guitar. The other four members of the band were Alan White on drums, Geoff Downes on keyboards, Jon Davison on vocals, and Billy Sherwood on bass. Nobody who played on the original Yes album (in 1969) was present: Bill Bruford on drums; Tony Kaye on organ; Peter Banks on guitar; Chris Squire on bass; and "John" Anderson on vocals. It occurred to me during the concert that this band has provided the soundtrack of my life. The first Yes album came out when I was 12. I have had Yes albums on eight-track tape, cassette tape, and compact disc. I listened to Yes while in high school in Vassar, Michigan; while in college in Flint, Michigan; while in law school in Detroit, Michigan; while in graduate school in Tucson, Arizona; and during all these years as a professor in Texas. I'm glad I finally got to see this legendary band. I own 19 Yes albums on compact disc.
Addendum: The opening act was Toto, which had a string of hits (such as "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," and "Africa") back in the day. The band was technically clean and, surprisingly, loud. The guitarist, Steve Lukather, whom I watched like a hawk (in order to learn), was very good.