Friday, February 22, 2013


My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Vincent Milay

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thank you

Rest in peace, Herbert Stanley Appleman (24 April 1917 - 21 February 2013)

My Dad was a WW II veteran, a meteorologist, and the father of 4 boys, and he will be missed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The World Is Moved

The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.

-- John Richard Green (1837-1883), Life and Letters of John Richard Green, Leslie Stephen, Ed (1901)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cuts Both Ways

We did not see (as a result of brain scans of partisan loyalists) any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning.  What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts.  None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged. Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones. ...  The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data.

-- Drew Westen, Director of Clinical Psychology at Emory University, regarding a study using fMRI, NBC News, 24 January 2006

Monday, February 18, 2013

Something Of The Youth

As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so am I no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth.  He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Friday, February 15, 2013

We All Like Our Own

One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best.

-- Jane Austen (16 December 1775 - 18 July 1817), English novelist, Persuasion (posthumous, 1818)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Very Long Time

And the thing is, once you're dead, you're dead for a very long time.

-- John Gilpin, on the Champaign County Bikes listserv, 10 February 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bark Of St. Peter

In today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

-- Pope Benedict XVI, announcing his resignation, 11 February 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

For Richer, For Poorer

Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

-- Charles Abrams (1902-1970), creator of the New York Housing Authority, cited in Michael Harrington's "The Other America" (1962)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Whirling Snow And Blinding Mist

Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him.  We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist, through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive.  If we stand still we shall be frozen to death.  If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces.  We do not certainly know whether there is any right one.  What must we do?  "Be strong and of a good courage." Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. ...  If death ends all, we cannot meet death better.

-- Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (1829-1894), English lawyer and judge, in Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, p. 353, 2d edition (London, 1874)

Thursday, February 07, 2013


The United States military, as I've said, is not and, frankly, should not be a 911 service capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every possible contingency around the world. The U.S. military has neither the resources nor the responsibility to have a fire house next to every U.S. facility in the world.

-- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in his opening statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, 7 February 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Basically I'm an optimist.  Intellectually I can see man's balance is about fifty-fifty, and his chances of blowing himself up are about one to one.  I can't see this any way but intellectually.  I'm just emotionally unable to believe that he will do this.  This means that I am by nature an optimist and by intellectual conviction a pesimist, I suppose.

-- Sir William Golding (1911-1993), English poet, novelist, and Nobel laureate, interview with James Keating, Purdue University, 10 May 1962, printed in Lord of the Flies: The Casebook Edition (1964)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

White Paper

[T]he United States would be able to use lethal force against a US citizen, who is located outside the United States and is an operational leader continually planning attacks against US persons and interests, in at least the following circumstances: (1) where an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) where a capture operation would be infeasible -- and where those conducting the operation continue to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) where such an operation would be conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles.  In these circumstances, the "realities" of the conflict and the weight of the government's interest in protecting its citizens from an imminent attack are such that the Constitution would not require the government to provide further process to such a US citizen before using lethal force. ...

Finally, the Department notes that under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations.

-- Department of Justice White Paper, Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or An Associated Force, excerpt, NBC News, 4 February 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013

Hold Still

People tell me I sing the words "love" and "hunger" like no one else. Well, everything I know is wrapped up in those two words.  You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave.

-- Billie Holiday (1915-1959), jazz singer and songwriter, Lady Sings The Blues (1956), p 201

Friday, February 01, 2013

Popular Delusion

It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth.  Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.

-- Patrick Jake (P.J.) O'Rourke (1947-), American political satirist, Parliament of Whores (1991), p 36