He Played Each Game as If It Were His Last

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

In both Puerto Rico and Pittsburgh, more than four decades after his untimely death at the age of 38, the name of Roberto Clemente brings a smile to almost every face.

Clemente is number 21 in this “Real Heroes” series — the very number on the jersey he wore during all 18 seasons he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1955 to 1972.

He was one of the greatest right fielders in baseball history. He could run, hit, and throw better than almost anybody who ever played the game. Black and Puerto Rican by birth, he transcended race, nationality, and culture to become American Major League Baseball’s first Latino superstar.

Growing up in western Pennsylvania in the 1960s, I heard his name every day, always wrapped in glowing admiration. He had so much talent and character that Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Maraniss could write a 400-page biography of him, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero.

The youngest of seven siblings, Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker (in Spanish, the last name is the maternal family name) was born in 1934 in Carolina, Puerto Rico. As a young boy, he worked in the sugar cane fields with his father. “I learned the right way to live from my parents,” he said years later.

I never heard any hate in my house. I never heard my father say a mean word to my mother, or my mother to my father, either. During the war, when food was hard to get, my parents fed their children first and they ate what was left. They always thought of us.

The Clemen…


Occupy protester who ditched family loses suit

(New York Post) The Florida mom who ditched her family to join the raggedy Occupy Wall Street crowd turned out to be an even bigger loser on Thursday when a jury rejected her claims that cops violently arrested her during a 2011 protest, after deliberating for just 40 minutes.

Stacey Hessler, 42, sued the city in 2013, claiming the NYPD cops dragged her around by her dreadlocks.

But city attorneys said Hessler blocked pedestrian traffic and refused to move when cops politely asked her to make way, then tried to escape when they finally moved to arrest her.

The Manhattan federal- court jury quickly returned a verdict siding with the city.


If You Haven’t Engaged with the Work, Your Opinion Is Worthless

In one of the greatest works of Western literature, personifications of fear and adventure argue over the dangers of the unknown. For pages, they argue back and forth, caught at a dramatic standstill, until at the book’s great turning point, the personification of adventure (here known as Sam-I-Am) counsels the personification of fear, “You do not like them, so you say. Try them, try them, and you may. Try them, and you may, I say.”

The book is, of course, Dr. Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham. Its debate over the wisdom of trying something new has enchanted children and their parents for decades.

Green Eggs and Ham has been much on my mind of late because of two recent news stories.

First, there is the story about the student at Duke who has declined to complete the assigned summer reading that forms the core of the Duke Common Experience program because he feels the work’s depiction of sex is pornographic and immoral. He wishes to “avoid any titillating content and encourage like-minded students to do the same.”

Second, there is the recent blog post at the Guardian that dismisses the late Terry Pratchett as “a mediocrity” who produced “trash” for “a middlebrow cult of the popular [that] is holding literature to ransom.” The post was written by an arts columnist who smugly confesses to never having read a word that Pratchett produced.

I would like to know when it became an acceptable critical stance to condemn a work of art without ever having engaged with it.

Even the Supreme Court, when debating whether <a href="http://smile.amazon.com/Lovers…


Attorney: Dismemberment abortion a ‘humane procedure’

(Life News) During a Congressional hearing today, a prominent pro-abortion attorney told Congress she thinks dismemberment abortions are “humane” procedures.

Today was the first hearing in Congress’ multi-committee investigation of the Planned Parenthood abortion business after a series of nine videos exposed how it is potentially illegally selling aborted babies and profiting from the sales. The committee heard from Priscilla Smith, an ardent abortion advocate who is the director of Yale Law School’s Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice. But Smith is better-known as the attorney who defended partial-birth abortions at the Supreme Court, which eventually upheld a ban on the gruesome abortion procedure.


3 Stock Market Tips from an Economist

Recent volatility has Americans talking about the stock market — and getting a lot of things wrong in the process. Let’s discuss some general principles to help clear things up.

(Let me say up front that I won’t be disclosing which stocks are going to go up next month. Even if I knew, it would ruin my advantage to tell everybody.)

1. Money doesn’t go “into” or “out of” the stock market in the way most people think.

On NPR’s Marketplace, after the recent big selloff, host Kai Ryssdal said, “That money has to go somewhere, right?”

This language is misleading. Let me illustrate with a simple example.

Suppose there are 100 people who each own 1,000 shares of ABC stock. Currently, ABC has a share price of $5. Thus, the community collectively owns $500,000 worth of ABC stock. Further, suppose that each person has $200 in a checking account at the local bank. Thus, the community owns $20,000 worth of checking account balances at the bank.

Now, Alice decides she wants to increase her holdings of cash and reduce her holdings of ABC stock. So she sells a single share to Bob, who buys it for $4. There is no other market action.

In this scenario, when the share price drops from $5 to $4, the community suddenly owns only $400,000 worth of ABC stock. And yet, there is no flow of $100,000 someplace else — certainly not into the local bank. It still has exactly $20,000 in various checking accounts. All that happened is Alice’s account went up by $4 while Bob’s went down by $4.

2. Simple strategies can’t be guaranteed to make money.

Suppose your brother-in-law says: “I’ve got a great stock tip! I found this company, Acme, that makes fireworks. Let’s wait until the end of June, and then load up on as many shares as we can. Once the company reports its sales for July, we’ll make a fortune because of the holiday numbers.”

Clearly, your brother-in-law would be…


Jet leaving Las Vegas catches fire

(REVIEWJOURNAL) — At least 14 people were hospitalized after a British Airways plane caught fire Tuesday afternoon at McCarran International Airport.

Passengers used emergency slides to get off the plane, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The fire was reported at 4:13 p.m., the airport said. It was out by 4:18 p.m.

All 159 passengers and 13 crew members on the 275-seat aircraft were off by then, the airport said.


Social Enterprises Are Fixing What Government Destroys

Why should the poor have to live in a blurry world? VisionSpring’s mission is to ensure that “equitable and affordable eyeglass is available to every individual to live a productive life.” The company has sold over a million cheap, ready-made eyeglasses to people throughout the world who typically earn less than $8 per day.

VisionSpring exemplifies the idea of “social enterprise.” But what exactly does it mean to be social, and how do social ventures compare with ordinary businesses?

Enterprises are labeled “social” when they seek to address broad public needs in addition to the narrow needs of their customers. In practice, this usually means running a conventional business in a special way in order to solve a social problem. VisionSpring, for example, is an enterprise in the sense that it operates as a profit-seeking business rather than as a charity. But it’s social in that it prioritizes helping people to regain their sight over maximizing profits.

The varying motivations of social enterprises sometimes clash and often leave them without clear measures of success and failure. As a result, reactions to social ventures are mixed: some see them as exciting alternatives to corporate bureaucracy and greed, while others dismiss them as naïve attempts to replace traditional business with misguided social philosophy.

Neither position captures what social enterprise really does.

It’s true that philosophies of social enterprise are sometimes based on faulty reasoning. One common confusion involves treating the pursuit of profit as if it were at odds with social goals. As economists have argued for centuries, the profit motive is actually a powerful source of peaceful cooperation and human flourishing. Yet, social entrepreneurs frequen…


Kim Davis speaks to supporters from jail

Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Jailed county clerk Kim Davis had a tear-filled message for supporters on Monday: “God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

Liberty Counsel’s Chief Litigation Counsel, Harry Mihet, visited Davis, 49, at the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky. Mihet said Davis, who is be held on oral contempt charges, was moved to tears by the outpouring of prayer support just outside her prison walls.

“I had an amazing visit with Kim. She exudes gentleness and is at peace. Her spirits remain high. She was brought to tears when she heard that so many people outside the jail and around the country are praying for her,” Mihet said in a statement released by the religious nonprofit.

The Christian clerk told Mihet to share 2 Timothy 1:7-8 with her supporters: “God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in the suffering for the gospel and the power of God.”

Attorneys for Davis put in an official appeal with the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sunday. She was sent to jail five days ago under a contempt ruling by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, though the contempt ruling was an oral one and not written. The judge ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples in August, but she refused on religious grounds. Her request for a stay of his order was denied by a U.S. appeals court and by the U.S. Supreme Court, Reuters reported.

“Today is a holiday where most people are spending time with family and friends. But for Kim Davis this is day five of her incarceration. While she is content no matter her circumstances because of her deep faith and Jesus, she should be free,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, in a statement released to the press.

The religious liberty organization also filed a request for an order providing relief for Davis that would set her free.

“The governor’s refusal to take elementary steps to protect religious liberties has now landed Kim Davis in jail. As a prisoner of her conscience, Davis continues to request a simple accommodation and exemption from the governor,” Staver added.

Davis, an elected official, cannot lose her job unless she loses a special session called by the governor or she is impeached by the state legislature, NBC News reported Monday.


Don’t Assume I’m Smarter Than My Contractor

“So, I figured I’d ask you,” said my contractor. “You’re a lot smarter than me and—”

That’s when I stopped him.

Tom knows I am a college professor, and he wanted to ask my advice on his daughter’s education. He’s an ex-Marine who never went to college. It makes sense to ask an educator for advice about education, but why does that make me smarter?

I thought about all the times I’ve asked Tom’s advice about the house we are renovating, and about all the times he answered with a tone that implied, “Well, obviously you should…”

“Tom,” I said, “I wouldn’t say I’m smarter than you. It depends on the topic.”

He smiled politely and moved on to his question.

But even if he dismissed my objection as perfunctory, I can’t let it go. Why does our culture trivialize nonacademic intelligence and knowledge?

I think the existing structure of schooling plays a big part.

Why does our culture trivialize nonacademic intelligence and knowledge?

Fantasy Football

Let me tell another story, this one from my days as a high school special educator. I was teaching a study-skills class to students with learning disabilities. Partly, this course provided students extra time on assignments for other classes. One day, I sent two students to the library to work on a written project assigned for another course. About 10 minutes later, I received a call from the school librarian.

“You should come up here and get these kids, because they are off task and disturbing others!”

When I got to the library, I didn’t want to confront my students immediately. I wanted to see how, exactly, they were being disruptive.

What were they doing? Adjusting their fantasy football rosters.

As anyone who’s really played fantasy football knows, adjusting your weekly roster involves contemplating a lot of statistics: What are this player’s chance…