Friday, January 29, 2021

Busiest People

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time.  It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life.  When we do not do the one thing that we ought to do, we have no time for anything else -- we are the busiest people in the world.

-- Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), American writer on social and political philosophy, Reflections on the Human Condition (1973), section 156

Thursday, January 28, 2021

GameStop

The banks have given us 25% interest rates on credit cards.  They have screwed us on student loans that we can never get out from under.  Then this guy walks into my office and says those same banks got greedy, they lost track of the market, and I can profit off of their stupidity?  Fuck yeah, I want him to be right!

-- Steve Carell, as Mark Baum in the film The Big Short (2015), based on the book by Michael Lewis

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Individuals Frustrated

The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin today after consultation with the intelligence community and law enforcement partners.  There is currently a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks.  DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot; however, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances and ideological causes fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.

-- National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security, 27 January 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Responsibleness

Freedom, however, is not the last word.  Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth.  Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness.  In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.

-- Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 - 1997), Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and philosopher, (1956) Man's Search for Meaning, p. 209-210

Monday, January 25, 2021

To Say Of What Is That It Is

To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false; while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.

-- Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, Definition of Truth, Metaphysics 1011b25, as quoted by David, Marion "Correspondence Theory of Truth" in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005)

Friday, January 22, 2021

RIP Henry Aaron

The way I see it, it's a great thing to be the man who hit the most home runs, but it's a greater thing to be the man who did the most with the home runs he hit.  So as long as there's a chance that maybe I can hammer out a little justice now and then, or a little opportunity here and there, I intend to do as I always have -- keep swinging.

-- Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron (5 February 1934 - 22 January 2021), American Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder for 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL), from 1954 through 1976.  At Atlanta's Fulton-County Stadium on Monday 8 April 1974, Aaron hit his 715th career home run, putting him in first place on the all-time list ahead of Babe Ruth.  He held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and still held several MLB offensive records at the time of his death.  He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and was one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times, I Had a Hammer : The Hank Aaron Story (1990), Ch. 1

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Work Of Noble Note

[Y]ou and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done

-- James Joyce (1882 - 1941), Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic, Ulysses (1922), h/t Clare Malone

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?  The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.  We've braved the belly of the beast, we've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn't always justice.  And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished. ...

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution, we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it.

-- Amanda Gorman (1998-), America's first Youth Poet Laureate, "The Hill We Climb", read by Gorman at the inauguration of President Joseph R Biden, Jr as 46th President of the United States, 20 January 2021

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Beginning

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles.  "Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" he asked.

"Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."

-- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832 - 1898), British author, mathematician, and Anglican clergyman, writing under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Monday, January 18, 2021

Majestic Shores

Before we reach the majestic shores of the Promised Land, there is a frustrating and bewildering wilderness ahead.  We must still face prodigious hilltops of opposition and gigantic mountains of resistance.  But with patient and firm determination we will press on until every valley of despair is exalted to new peaks of hope, until every mountain of pride and irrationality is made low by the leveling process of humility and compassion; until the rough places of injustice are transformed into a smooth plane of equality of opportunity; and until the crooked places of prejudice are transformed by the straightening process of bright-eyed wisdom.

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (15 January 1929 - 4 April 1968), American Baptist minister, doctor, civil rights activist, and 1964 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, "The Quest for Peace and Justice", Nobel Lecture delivered in the Auditorium of the University of Oslo (11 December 1964)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Full Import

We received a lengthy letter from Dominion's defamation lawyers explaining why they believe that their client has been the victim of defamatory statements.  Having considered the full import of the letter, we have agreed to their request that we publish the following statement:

American Thinker and contributors published pieces that falsely accuse Dominion Voting Systems of conspiring to steal the November 2020 election from Donald Trump.  These pieces rely on discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories about Dominion's supposed ties to Venezuela, fraud on Dominion's machines that resulted in massive vote switching or weighted votes, and other claims falsely stating that there is credible evidence that Dominion acted fraudulently.

These statements are completely false and have no basis in fact.  

It was wrong for us to publish these false statements.  We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees.  We also apologize to our readers for abandoning 9 journalistic principles and misrepresenting Dominion's track record and its limited role in tabulating votes for the November 2020 election.  We regret this grave error. 

-- Thomas Lifson, Editor and Publisher at AmericanThinker.com, in a statement of abject capitulation to Dominion's lawyers, who must have a pretty good case for defamation, 15 January 2021

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Dared To Doubt

We should never believe anything we have not dared to doubt.

-- Christina (1626 - 1689), Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654, Maxims of a Queen, selected and translated by Una Birch (London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1907), p. 27

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Queens Man Impeached -- Again

A Queens-born real estate developer made history Wednesday when he became the first U.S. president ever impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

Donald Trump, a 74-year-old lame duck Republican, is accused of inciting a lethal mob of far-right supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to prevent Congress from certifying the results of his resounding loss in the November 2020 election.  President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, recorded 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232.

With Trump's encouragement, Confederate-flag bearing white supremacists and fascist agitators besieged the Capitol, threatening to kill Vice President Mike Pence, breaking into lawmakers' offices, stealing public property and smearing feces on the wall.

Ten Republican members of Congress joined the Democratic majority in voting to impeach the Jamaica Estates native for the second time.

In December 2019, Trump became the third president impeached by Congress -- and the first from Queens. 

-- David Brand, "Queens man impeached -- again", Queens Daily Eagle, 13 January 2021

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Please Wear A Mask Redux

Here's the trvth I posted on 24 November (just 7 weeks ago today), updated with new numbers.  Parenthetical old numbers remain for (frightening) comparison.  It's hard to believe this isn't the top news story, until one considers the actual top news story.

In the last week (604,800 seconds), through this morning at midnight, the United States saw 1,762,903 (1,221,179) new covid cases.  For a little perspective, that's 2.91 (2.02) positive cases *per second* for a week.

Over the same period, there was a covid death in the United States every 27.55 (55.90) seconds.

Last Friday 8 January (20 November), there were 303,022 (204,580) new cases and 3893 (1968) new deaths.  That works out to 3.5 (2.4) new cases per second over a 24-hour period, with a death every 22 (44) seconds.

I see the weekly death rate has doubled (10,833 to 21,950 deaths), while the new-case rate has increased only ~50% (1,221,179 to 1,762,903 cases).  That doesn't sound good either.

Please wear a mask around others.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Absurdities And Atrocities

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.  If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil.  Once a single faculty of your soul has been tyrannized, all the other faculties will submit to the same fate.

-- Fran├žois-Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778), most famous under his pen name Voltaire, French writer and philosopher, Questions sur les miracles (1765)

Friday, January 08, 2021

Basic Bargain Of Democracy

In concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch.  The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory.  When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off.  When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint.

If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign.  This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr. Pence.  And it would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate.

We know an act of grace by Mr. Trump isn’t likely.  In any case this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure.  He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate.  Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it.  He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose.

It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.

-- Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal, "Donald Trump's Final Days" (no pay wall - they want you to read it), 7 January 2021

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Seditious Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 2384 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 18.  Crimes and Criminal Procedure, section 2384.  Seditious conspiracy

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

-- Formal definition of "Seditious Conspiracy" in the federal criminal code, courtesy of findlaw

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Sedition

[I]f Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.  All he has to do.  This is from the number one or certainly one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country.  He has the absolute right to do it.  We're supposed to protect our country, support our country, support our constitution, and protect our constitution.  States want to revote.  The States got defrauded.  They were given false information.  They voted on it.  Now they want to recertify.  They want it back.  All Vice-President Pence has to do is send it back to the States to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people. ...

We're going to have to fight much harder and Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us.  If he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country because you're sworn to uphold our constitution.  Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy.  After this, we're going to walk down and I'll be there with you.  We're going to walk down.  We're going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here.  We're going walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women.  We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you'll never take back our country with weakness.  You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.

-- Outgoing president Donald Trump, in a speech (rev.com) that was followed by a march on the Capitol by thousands of rioters who interrupted Congress, vandalized property, and engaged in violence that resulted in injuries and at least one death, 6 January 2021

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Oath Of Office

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: -- "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

-- Presidential oath of office, from the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 1

This oath differs from the oath of office used since 1884 by the vice president, senators, representatives, and other federal employees, including your humble editor 4 decades past, to wit, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

Monday, January 04, 2021

Give Me A Break

And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry.  And there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you've recalculated. ...  So what are we going to do here, folks?  I only need 11,000 votes.  Fellas, I need 11,000 votes.  Give me a break.  You know, we have that in spades already.  Or we can keep it going, but that's not fair to the voters of Georgia because they're going to see what happened, and they're going to see what happened.

-- Another perfect phone call from Donald Trump, this time to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking the latter to fraudulently overturn results of the November presidential election, 2 January 2021

Friday, January 01, 2021

Let's Go Exploring

It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy. ...  Let's go exploring! 

-- William B. "Bill" Watterson II (5 July 1958 -), final strip of Calvin and Hobbes, published 31 December 1995