Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Anxieties And Burdens

Sometimes, having a name carries with it anxieties and burdens of responsibility.  Thus, people who have power and social status are often not free to do what they want.  Because everyone is watching them, they have to behave in a way that is expected of their reputation.  One error and they will lose their hard-earned reputation.  They are not exactly the happiest people.

Someone with neither social status nor a reputation to uphold may be a freer and happier person.  Why then work so hard to gain social recognition when it will only diminish your freedom and happiness?

-- The Liezi, a Daoist text attributed to Lie Yukou, a c. 5th century BCE philosopher, but Chinese and Western scholars believe it was compiled around the 4th century CE, Part Seven: Yang Zhu, Passage 72: A Name is Nothing and Titles are Empty

Monday, June 17, 2019

Most Important Audience

I think dad jokes begin to pop out of fathers when the most important audience in life becomes our children.

-- Scott Simon, NPR, 15 June 2019

Friday, June 14, 2019


Our own political life is predicated on openness.  We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism.  We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire.  We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption.  We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert.

-- Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967), American physicist and the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, "Encouragement of Science", an address at Science Talent Institute (6 March 1950), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 7, #1 (Jan 1951) p. 6-8

Thursday, June 13, 2019

100% Clear

I would not have thought that I needed to say this.

Let me make something 100% clear to the American people and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.  This is not a novel concept.  Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation.  Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about "foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence."  They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America's.  Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation.  Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

-- Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen L. Weintraub, 13 June 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Penny On The Dollar

The leaders of Pathway Church on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas, had no clue that the $22,000 they already had on hand for Easter would have such impact.

The nondenominational suburban congregation of about 3,800 had set out only to help people nearby pay off some medical debt, recalled Larry Wren, Pathway's executive pastor.  After all, the core membership at Pathway's three sites consists of middle-income families with school-age kids, not high-dollar philanthropists.

But then they learned that, like a modern-day loaves-and-fishes story, that smaller amount could wipe out $2.2 million in debt not only for the Wichita area but all available debt for every Kansan facing imminent insolvency because of medical expenses they couldn't afford to pay -- 1,600 people in all.

-- Roxie Hammill, Kaiser Health News, 31 May 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Apt To Be Painful

The processes of teaching the child that everything cannot be as he wills it are apt to be painful both to him and to his teacher.

-- Anne Sullivan, The Story of My Life: with her Letters by Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, pg 313, letter of 28 March 1887

Monday, June 10, 2019

Memorial Rock

Colorado has a new Instagram-worthy landmark.  An 8.5-million-pound boulder that rolled off a cliff and demolished a section of mountain highway has been renamed "Memorial Rock," Governor Jared Polis said.

It would have cost the Colorado Department of Transportation $200,000 to blow up the boulder with dynamite and haul it away, but instead the department will rebuild Highway 145 to wind around the giant rock described as "the size of a house" between Cortez and Telluride in southwestern Colorado, Polis said.

"We expect that for generations to come, people will have the opportunity to observe this geological masterpiece that we're calling Memorial Rock," Polis said at a news conference earlier this week.

-- United Press International, 5 June 2019

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Thank You, Sir

Woo-hoo!  It went perfect, perfect jump.  I feel great.  I'd go up and do it all again.

-- 97-year-old D-Day veteran Tom Rice, after parachuting into Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and his first jump there, AP, 5 June 2019

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Tank Man

Twenty [now thirty] years ago, on June 5, 1989, following weeks of huge protests in Beijing and a crackdown that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, a lone man stepped in front of a column of tanks rumbling past Tiananmen Square.  The moment instantly became a symbol of the protests as well as a symbol against oppression worldwide -- an anonymous act of defiance seared into our collective consciousnesses.

-- Patrick Witty, "Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen," in The New York Times LENS Blog, 3 June 2009

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Total Sense

We are finite creatures.  Our lives are small and can only scientifically consider a small part of reality.  What's common for us is just a sliver of what's available.  We can only see so much of the electromagnetic spectrum.  We can only delve so deep into extensions of space.  Common sense applies to that which we can access.  But common sense is just that.  Common.  If total sense is what we want, we should be prepared to accept that we shouldn't call infinity weird or strange.  The results we've arrived at by accepting it are valid, true within the system we use to understand, measure, predict and order the universe.  Perhaps the system still needs perfecting, but at the end of day, history continues to show us that the universe isn't strange.  We are.

-- Michael Stevens (23 January 1986 -), American educator, public speaker, comedian, entertainer, editor, and Internet celebrity, "The Banach–Tarski Paradox", Vsauce, 31 July 2015

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.  It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made.  We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.  And the report is my testimony.  I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple systemic efforts to interfere in our election.  And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.  Thank you.  Thank you for being here today.

-- Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in remarks to reporters at the Department of Justice, 29 May 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

Theresa May Not

I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold - the second female prime minister but certainly not the last.

I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

-- British Prime Minister Theresa May's statement, announcing her resignation, BBC News, 24 May 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lorem Ipsum

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Nor is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

-- Cicero (106 BC - 42 BC), Roman philosopher, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Extremes of Good and Evil), sections 1.10.32–33 (first-century B.C.), translation by Harris Rackham (1914).  This text is believed closest to the placeholder text, beginning with the line "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit"

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


The kilogram has been officially redefined.  No longer is its mass equal to that of the special platinum-iridium alloy cylinder locked in a vault beneath a building in Paris.  Now it officially weighs the same as 1.4755214×10^40 photons, a type of elementary particle, with frequencies matching a cesium atomic clock.

-- Oliver Roeder, Significant Digits, 21 May 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Not Fathomable

It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct -- past or present -- even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.

Congress plainly views itself as having sweeping authority to investigate illegal conduct of a president, before and after taking office.  This court is not prepared to roll back the tide of history. ...

Thus, it is not the court's role to decipher whether Congress's true purpose in pursuing an investigation is to aid legislation or something more sinister such as exacting political retribution.

-- U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruling in Trump v. Committee on Oversight and Reform that President Trump cannot block the committee's subpoena to Trump's accountant, Mazars, Esquire, 21 May 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Best Trvth Ever?

Betteridge's law (journalism):

An adage stating that any headline ending in a question mark can be correctly answered by the word "no".

-- Ian Betteridge, British technology journalist, "TechCrunch: Irresponsible Journalism", in Technovia‎ (23 February 2009)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

First Method

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

-- Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527), Italian political philosopher, historian, musician, poet, and playwright, The Prince, Chapter 22 (1513)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Too Far

I think Alabama has gone too far.  They've passed a law that would give a 99-year prison sentence to people who commit abortion, there's no exception for rape or incest.  It's an extreme law and they want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose.

-- Televangelist Pat Robertson, reacting on his 700 Club platform to an Alabama law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, 15 May 2019

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Magic Place

This is the school, isn't it.  The magic place?  The world.  Here.  And you don't realize it until you look.  Do you know the pictsies think this world is heaven?

-- Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett (1948 - 2015), English fantasy author, Discworld, The Wee Free Men (2003)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spend The Afternoon

Spend the afternoon.  You can't take it with you.

-- Annie Dillard (30 April 1945-), American author, 1974 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her non-fiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (New York: Harper, 1974), 269

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Acts That Satisfy

Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.

The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming.

In our system, every accused person is presumed innocent and it is always the government's burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.  But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice -- the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution -- runs counter to logic and our experience.

-- DOJ Alumni Statement, signed by 803 (and counting) former federal prosecutors, contesting the judgement of US Attorney General William Barr in his handling of the Mueller report, Washington Post, 6 May 2019

Monday, May 06, 2019

This Is Horse Racing

You know, as far as the win goes, it's bittersweet.  I would be lying if I said it was any different.  You always want to win with a clean trip and have everybody recognize the horse as the very good horse and for the great athlete that he is.  I think, due to the disqualification, probably some of that is diminished.  But this is horse racing.

-- Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, after winning the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Country House via the disqualification of Maximum Security, at Churchill Downs, 4 May 2019

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Faked Test Results

A metals manufacturer faked test results and provided faulty materials to NASA, causing more than $700 million in losses and two failed satellite launch missions, according to an investigation by the U.S. space agency. ...

The bad parts were used in the making of Taurus XL, a rocket that was supposed to deliver satellites studying the Earth's climate during missions carried out in 2009 and 2011.  The launch vehicle's fairing, a clamshell structure that carries the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere, didn't fully open, causing the unsuccessful launch, according to a statement from NASA.

"When testing results are altered and certifications are provided falsely, missions fail," said Jim Norman, director for launch services at NASA in Washington.

-- David Stringer in Bloomberg, 30 April 2019

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

In A Hurry

Never let your tattoo artist get in a hurry.

-- Don Appleman, to his youngest daughter, May 2019

[That's not my daughter's tattoo]

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Beautiful Harmony

Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do so.

-- 85-year-old Japanese Emperor Akihito, on the occasion of formally abdicating the Chrysanthemum Throne in a short ceremony at the Imperial Palace, giving way to his son, now-Emperor Naruhito, and ushering in the Reiwa era, meaning "beautiful harmony", Washington Post, 30 April 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019

History Of Evil

[H]e is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.

-- Parents of a 19-year-old college student suspected of attacking Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, in a statement issued Monday 29 April 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Bridge

No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900), German philosopher, Untimely Meditations, "Schopenhauer as educator," 3.1, R. Hollingdale, translator, p. 129 (1983)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Twice Over

To teach is to learn twice over.

-- Joseph Joubert (1754 - 1824), French moralist and essayist; he published nothing during his lifetime; The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert as translated by Paul Auster (1883)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How Far We Have Strayed

It is good news that there was insufficient evidence to charge the President of the United States with having conspired with a foreign adversary or with having obstructed justice.  The alternative would have taken us through a wrenching process with the potential for constitutional crisis.  The business of government can move on.

Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President.  I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia -- including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine.

Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.

-- Senator Mitt Romney as @SenatorRomney on Twitter, reacting to the Mueller report, 19 April 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Weekend

Over Easter weekend I was pleased to host a gathering of 21 in Carlyle, IL.  That would be me, my ex, our five kids, our ten grandkids, two sons-in-law, a boyfriend, and a son-in-law's cousin.  The weather was amazing, and everyone got along as well as they have in years.

Blessings counted.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Magic 55K

I broke the magic 55K.  I was too optimistic at first, and after half an hour I needed to set a new, slower pace.  I worked long and hard for this, and the team was right behind me, and now I paid them back.

-- 27-year-old Belgian time-trial champion Victor Campenaerts, after establishing a new hour record at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico, covering 55.089K (about 34.23 miles) in an hour, beating by 563 meters the previous record of 54.526K set by Bradley Wiggins in June 2015, Bicycling Magazine, 16 April 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


It's my rule never to lose me temper till it would be dethrimental to keep it.

-- Seán O'Casey (1880 - 1964), Irish playwright and memoirist whose works show his socialist and Irish republican sympathies, The Plough and the Stars, Fluther Good, Act 2 (1926)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Your Quarrel

[I]f you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me.  Your quarrel, sir, is with my Creator.

-- Democratic presidential aspirant Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who is openly gay, speaking at a fundraiser, 7 April 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

800 Years

It's been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris.  Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.  We can be only horrified by what we see.

-- French historian Camille Pascal speaking to BFM broadcast channel about the blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, 15 April 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

No Elephants

Power is mostly the illusion of power.  The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications.  We kept publishing.  Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire "international community".  We kept publishing.  I was put in prison and under house arrest.  We kept publishing.  We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum.  Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed.  Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string.  Perhaps there are no elephants.

-- Julian Paul Assange (1971 -), Australian computer programmer, he founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning.  He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 and remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London until his arrest by British police on 11 April 2019, Repubblica.it interview, 23 December 2016

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

We Alone

Each of us believes, quite unconsciously of course, that we alone pursue the truth, which the rest are incapable of seeking out and unworthy of attaining.  This madness is so deep-rooted and so useful that it is impossible to realize what would become of each of us if it were someday to disappear.

-- Emil Cioran (1911 - 1995), Romanian philosopher and essayist whose work is noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, which frequently engages with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism, The Trouble With Being Born (1973)

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Objects Of Desire

And so it is, that both the Devil and the angelic Spirit present us with objects of desire to awaken our power of choice.

-- Jalaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273), Persian philosopher and poet, "By the Sound of Their Voice", Mathnawi V, translated by Kabir Helminski and Camille Helminski, The Rumi Collection, pg 4 (2005)

Monday, April 08, 2019

Absolutely No For Us

LYNETTE HARDAWAY (DIAMOND, FOX NATION PERSONALITY): Listen, you have to realize that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she's reckless, she's clueless, and she have a vacuous mindset.


HARDAWAY: First of all, civil rights have nothing to do with climate change. First of all. And then second of all, her Green New Deal is a green new scam that we must stay away from. Now, I know that she's worried about climate change, but she need to talk to Mother Nature.

RICHARDSON: That's right.

HARDAWAY: Because with the Earth rotating at 1,000 miles per hour, OK, 365 days of the year, we subject to feel climate changing a little bit. But not to the tune where we have to dismantle everything and start the Earth back over again. It's a absolutely no for us.

-- Fox News' Fox & Friends, 5 April 2019, via Media Matters

Thursday, April 04, 2019


When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly.

-- Donald Wills Douglas Sr. (1892 - 1981), American aircraft industrialist and engineer

Wednesday, April 03, 2019


We have to stop allowing economics to be used as a trump card.  Capitalism is like math.  It is amoral.  It is good at producing wealth; it's bad at distributing wealth.  Unless it operates within a moral framework it will produce an unjust society.

-- Charley Reese (1937 - 2013), American syndicated columnist, "Is Economics All There Is?", 18 July 2003

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Breaking Barriers

Having a Lori Lightfoot who is not only African American, not only a woman, but is an out lesbian becomes a role model for so many people -- each of those communities.  No one has seen that before.  Once you see it, it keeps breaking barriers.

-- Stephanie Sandberg, executive director of LPAC, an LGBTQ political organization that backed the candidacy of newly-elected Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first black female mayor in the city's history, USA Today, 2 April 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

Unable To Say A Word

Lemony Snicket: (narrating) When someone is a little bit wrong -- say, when a waiter puts nonfat milk in your espresso macchiato, instead of lowfat milk -- it is often quite easy to explain to them how and why they are wrong.  But if someone is surpassingly wrong -- say, when a waiter bites your nose instead of taking your order -- you can often be so surprised that you are unable to say anything at all.  Paralyzed by how wrong the waiter is, your mouth would hang slightly open and your eyes would blink over and over, but you would be unable to say a word.

-- Lemony Snicket, pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler (1970 -), from A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second: The Reptile Room (1999)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Giant In Your Neighborhood

It's kind of like living with a giant in your neighborhood.  You know it's there.  You know it could cause you problems, but you live in an uneasy compromise.

-- Joyce Corradi, who still lives in the home she was evacuated from 40 years ago today, March 28, 1979, when Three Mile Island's Unit 2 reactor suffered a partial meltdown after a pump stopped sending water to the steam generators that removed heat from the reactor core, NPR, 28 March 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Alice All The Time

When I go onstage as Alice to this day, I play Alice to the hilt -- I play him for everything he is worth, but when I'm offstage, I never think about Alice Cooper.  He never occurs to me. ... I walk off stage though and I turn away from the audience, I go back to being me again.  Whenever I see an audience, that's when I turn into Alice.  If there was no audience there, there would be no reason to be Alice. ... If I tried to be Alice Cooper all the time -- I'd either be in an insane asylum or in jail or dead.  Alice is just too intense, and you just can't be Alice all the time.

-- Alice Cooper (4 February 1948 -), American rock and roll musician; born Vincent Damon Furnier, in "Kerby's Exclusive Interview with Metal Icon Alice Cooper" at KNAC.com (22 September 2005)

Monday, March 25, 2019

No Collusion

[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

-- Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III in his report to Attorney General William Barr, as quoted by Barr in his summary of the Mueller Report for Congress, 24 March 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019


I write to notify you pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3) that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters.

-- US Attorney General William P. Barr, in a letter to Congress providing notice of the end of the Mueller investigation, 22 March 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Consider this: A parody account pretending to be an imaginary cow owned by Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican, is more popular on Twitter than the congressman, a day after he sued the account (and Twitter) for $250 million.

This is how politics and humor now play out in the strange world of social media.

The parody account @DevinCow had only 1,204 followers on Monday, but it ended Wednesday afternoon with 467,000 [now 610K], surpassing Mr. Nunes's account with its 395,000 followers.

-- Laura M. Holson, "After Devin Nunes Sues @DevinCow, the Twitter Parody Gains a Half-Million Followers", New York Times, 20 March 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Meows Loudly

I've ended up calling my cat Brexit.  It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.

-- France's EU minister, Nathalie Loiseau, joking in an interview with Journal du Dimanche, 17 March 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


He is a terrorist.  He is a criminal.  He is an extremist.  But he will, when I speak, be nameless.  And to others, I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them.  He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.

-- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in an address to Parliament after the slaying of 50 in an attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, New York Times, 19 March 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

Shining City

I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.  But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity.  And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.

-- President Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address to the nation, 11 January 1989