Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leap Second

At the very end of the day today, the clock read 11:59:60 Universal Time or 7:59:60 pm ET.

Astronomers at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service in Paris decided earlier this year on the extra tick of the clock at the end of June 30th, just before midnight -- the 26th time that's happened since the world started using atomic clocks.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I think we are just getting started on this merry-go-round. ...  The whole thing is an absolute nightmare.

-- Raoul Ruparel, economist and co-director of London-based research group Open Europe, on the breakdown in negotiations to resolve the Greek financial crisis, New York Times, 28 June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Equal Dignity In The Eyes Of The Law

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.  In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.  As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.  It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.  Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.  Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions.  They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.  The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

-- Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority in Obergefell v Hodges, declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right, 26 June 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

King v Burwell Affirmed

In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people.  Our role is more confined -- "to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803).  That is easier in some cases than in others.  But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done.  A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.  If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress's plan, and that is the reading we adopt.

The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is Affirmed.

-- US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the 6-3 majority in KING v. Burwell, endorsing premium subsidies for Obamacare buyers in all markets, 25 June 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Say It Ain't So, Jack

I must admit I was appalled to hear of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's decision last week to demote Alexander Hamilton from his featured position on the ten dollar bill. ...  Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, would qualify as among the greatest of our founders for his contributions to achieving American independence and creating the Constitution alone.  In addition to those accomplishments, however, Hamilton was without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history.

-- Ben S. Bernanke, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, on his blog, 22 June 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unsuspecting Air Molecules

A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.

-- Frank Vincent Zappa (1940-1993), American musician, composer, and satirist, The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989) p. 162

Monday, June 22, 2015

What Lit The Fire

What lit the fire under this was the tragic death of my friend and his eight parishioners.  It took my buddy's death to get me to do this.  I should feel ashamed of myself.

-- Norman D. Brannon, Republican South Carolina state representative, who plans to file a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds after the massacre of nine African-Americans at a church, including their pastor, Clementa Pinckney, New York Times, 22 June 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Best We Can Do

"Kindness" covers all of my political beliefs.  No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try.  I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

-- Roger Joseph Ebert (1942 - 2013), American film critic and screenwriter, first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Life Itself : A Memoir (2011), Ch. 53 : My Last Words.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days.  He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation.

-- DNC national press secretary Holly Shulman in a statement, 16 June 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

To None

To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice.

-- Clause 40 of The Magna Carta, Latin for "Great Charter", literally "Great Paper"), also known as 'Magna Carta Libertatum, English charter limiting the power of English Monarchs, specifically King John, from absolute rule, 15 June 1215

Friday, June 12, 2015

In My Living Room

There are dead fish in my living room.

-- Sheriff Steve Prator of Caddo Parish, La., which has experienced the worst flooding of the Red River since 1945, New York Times, 12 June 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Just Torture

I'm just glad it's done.  That's the closest I'll ever come to knowing what it's like to have a baby.  It was just torture.

I was constantly looking at the clock, counting down the minutes.  I'm relieved it's done now, it's been such a long build-up since the Paris-Roubaix (race in April) and we've been through a lot as a team.

My wife and children know more about air pressure now than anyone!

When you're out there, you never think it's going to come to an end but it's done now.

-- 35-year-old British cyclist Bradley Wiggins, after setting a new hour record of 54.526 kilometres in London, beating the old world record of 52.937km set by compatriot Alex Dowsett in May.  Extremely high air pressure in London could have cost him as much as one kilometre according to experts, 7 June 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Headless Topless

Vincent Musetto, a retired editor at The New York Post who wrote the most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism -- HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR (15 April 1983) -- died on Tuesday in the Bronx.  He was 74.

-- New York Times obituary, 9 June 2015

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Related To My Limitations

Out of respect for things that I was never destined to do, I have learned that my strengths are a result of my weaknesses, my success is due to my failures, and my style is directly related to my limitations.

-- William Martin "Billy" Joel (1949-), American piano player and singer/songwriter

Monday, June 08, 2015

Don't Sell This Horse

Sell your house, don't sell this horse.

-- Jeff Seder, an expert on racehorses, on how he urged Ahmed Zayat not to sell American Pharoah, long before the horse became a Triple Crown contender, New York Times, 5 June 2015

Thursday, June 04, 2015

To Know And To Dare

To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martyrs or reformers - or both.

-- Elizabeth Charles (1828-1896), English writer

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Populations Rather Than Individuals

It's not that every intelligence agency is evil.  It's not that they never do any good at all.  We want to have some level of intelligence-gathering. We want to be able to investigate criminals; we want to be able to respond to military threats.  But that's a very far cry from watching everyone in society without regard to their guilt or innocence -- to the mass surveillance of entire populations rather than individual people.

-- Fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in a Q&A session with a London audience set up by Amnesty International, 2 June 2015

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Cannot Afford To Make A Mistake

When you get in situations where you cannot afford to make a mistake, it's very hard to do the right thing.  So if you're trying to do the right thing, the right thing might be to eliminate the cost of making a mistake rather than try to guess what's right.

-- Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham (26 May 1949-), computer programmer, inventor of the first wiki, (WikiWikiWeb, now called WardsWiki), and pioneer of software design patterns and Extreme Programming, "Collective Ownership of Code and Text : A Conversation with Ward Cunningham" Part II (1 December 2003), interview by Bill Venners

Monday, June 01, 2015

Security Plus

I see no reason why you can't have security and the Constitution at the same time.

-- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), in his successful filibuster against Patriot Act renewal, 20 May 2015