Monday, February 28, 2011


Distribution of wealth in the USOf all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

-- Herman Melville (1819-1891), novelist and poet

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DOMA Dumped

DOMA dumpedAfter careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), 1 U.S.C. 7, i as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 530D, I am writing to advise you of the Executive Branch's determination and to inform you of the steps the Department will take in two pending DOMA cases to implement that determination. ...

As described more fully below, the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

-- Letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Speaker of the House John Boehner, in which DOJ abandons defense of DOMA, 23 February 2010

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Libyan rights protestWhat would happen if citizens acted on the assumption that they have rights? If one person did it, he would become a martyr; if two people did it, they would be labeled an enemy organization; if thousands of people did it, they would be a hostile movement; but if everyone did it, the state would have to become less oppressive.

-- Ludmilla Alexeyeva, cited in Benjamin Nathans, "The Dictatorship of Reason: Aleksandr Volpin and the Idea of Rights" (Slavic Review, Winter 2007), p. 631-632.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Colin Powell's UN presentation slide showing alleged mobile production facility for biological weapons. (Subequently shown to be an incorrect allegation.) I had a problem with the Saddam regime. I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance. ... They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. ... Believe me, there was no other way to bring about freedom to Iraq. There were no other possibilities.

-- Former Baghdad-based chemical engineer Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed "Curveball", in an interview with the Guardian newspaper admitting that he fabricated claims of mobile biological weapons and clandestine factories that were used to justify the Iraq War, 15 February 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Daniel Grant Schum

Daniel Grant SchumThis is a little late, but I want to welcome into the world ...

Daniel Grant Schum, born 1 February 2011 during Blizzard 2011, the second child of my eldest daughter, and my third grandchild.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Jennings Watson RutterI for one welcome our new computer overlords.

-- Ken Jennings a former "Jeopardy!" quiz show champion, writing on his video screen as he faced certain defeat by IBM's Watson computer, New York Times, 17 February 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Bit Like A Dog

Two Arabian horse mares frolicking with a dog joined in the funI'm a bit like a dog ... always willing to have a go.

-- Jeannie Longo, 52, reigning French time trial champion, as she contemplates a possible 8th Olympic Games in London 2012

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ignorance Is Vice

ignoranceDuty arises from our potential control over the course of events. Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice.

-- Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 - 30 December 1947), British mathematician who became an American philosopher, The Aims of Education (1929)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Worrying Works

Don't WorryWorrying works. About 90% of the things I worry about never happen.

-- Woody Paige (1946-), sports columnist, on ESPN's "Around the Horn"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak Out

Hosni Mubarak's signatureIn these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic. He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.

-- Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman, on the resignation of Hosni Mubarak after 29 years in power, bowing to an 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands, 11 February 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vote No

Vote No sign, Marianas District Covenant campaignMany members of Congress, including those supported by my friends in the Tea Party, maintain their goal is to get rid of big government, get government out of their lives. Well, how about the PATRIOT Act, which has the broadest reach and the deepest reach of government into our daily lives? Shouldn't we be thinking about that? Some want to get government out of healthcare, some want to get government out of retirement security. How about getting government out of people's bedrooms, out of people's financial records, out of people's medical records? Vote no on extending the PATRIOT Act.

-- Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), speaking to the House of Representatives before a vote on extending provisions of the Patriot Act, 8 February 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Absence Of Leaks

Norfolk, Va. (Mar. 8, 2004)Iraq, Vietnam: those weren't caused by too many leaks, they were caused by an absence of leaks beforehand.

-- Daniel Ellsberg (April 7, 1931-), former US military analyst who, in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann", 10 December 2010

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Go Already!

Army trucks surrounding Tahrir Square, Cairo, 29 January 2011 Photographed by: Ramy RaoofGo already! My arms are getting tired!

-- Sign held aloft by a protester in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, 6 February 2011

Monday, February 07, 2011


Gulliver in Liliput - This picture has been made to a mural at the facade of a toy-shop in Bremen, GermanySatire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own, which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.

-- Jonathan Swift( 1667-1745), satirist, The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)

Friday, February 04, 2011

IPv4 No More

IPv4 exhaustionThis is truly a major turning point in the on-going development of the Internet. Nobody was caught off guard by this, the Internet technical community has been planning for IPv4 depletion for quite some time. But it means the adoption of IPv6 is now of paramount importance, since it will allow the Internet to continue its amazing growth and foster the global innovation we've all come to expect.

-- Rod Beckstrom, Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)'s President and CEO, announcing the assignment of the last remaining block of IPv4 address space, 3 February 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Now Started Yesterday

I want to be clear. "Now" started yesterday.

-- White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on President Obama's call on Tuesday for a political transition in Egypt to begin now, New York Times, 3 February 2011