Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chief Reason

The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.

-- Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook (1960)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Every Day In Every Way

If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts.  We will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us any more.

-- Delaney Tarr, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, where a gunman killed 17 people last month, speaking to a crowd of thousands in Washington DC Saturday, when protests against gun violence took hold in cities across the country, New York Times, 25 March 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Perfectly Legitimate

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in January that Pyongyang was within "a handful of months" of being able to deliver nuclear warheads to the U.S.  How long must America wait before it acts to eliminate that threat?

Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an "imminent threat." They are wrong.  The threat is imminent, and the case against pre-emption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times.  Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute.  That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation. ...

In 1837 Britain unleashed pre-emptive "fire and fury" against a wooden steamboat.  It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current "necessity" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first.

-- Incoming National Security Advisor John Bolton, The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First, Wall Street Journal Opinion page, 28 February 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

In My View

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.  When prime-time hosts -- who have never served our country in any capacity -- dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller -- all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of "deep-state" machinations -- I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove.  To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

-- Retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and Fox News contributor Ralph Peters, in an email to Fox colleagues explaining why he is leaving the network,, 20 March 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Never Die Easy

Never die easy.  To me, there is no age.  Age is something other people put on you.  You put a person in an old folk's home, and this person's gonna die pretty quick because you tell them, "You're old now -- you're ready to go."

-- Dag Aabye, a 76-year-old ultramarathon runner and oldest competitor to complete the 125 Km "Death Race" ultramarathon, who lives entirely off the grid near Vernon, British Columbia, in the documentary "Never Die Easy", March 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The misconception is that the president does not know what he does not know.  In my experience, the reality is that the president knows what he does not know and does not think he needs to know it.

-- Sam Nunberg, a former campaign adviser to President Trump, on Mr. Trump’s management style, New York Times, 22 January 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RIP Stephen Hawking

It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.

-- Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 - 14 March 2018), English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, as quoted in a statement from Hawking's family on the occasion of his death, 14 September 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Badge Of Honor

Let them call you racists.  Let them call you xenophobes.  Let them call you nativists.  Wear it as a badge of honor.

-- Stephen K. Bannon, former chief strategist for President Trump, addressing the party congress of the anti-immigrant National Front led by the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Lille, France, New York Times, 11 March 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Troublesome World

It's a troublesome world.  All the people who're in it
are troubled with troubles almost every minute.
You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot,
For the places and people you're lucky you're not!

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904 - 1991), more famous by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, American writer and cartoonist, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973)

Friday, March 09, 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Not Everything Is What It Seems

Social media is a virtual world that is filled with half bots, half real people.  You can't take any tweet at face value.  And not everything is what it seems.

-- Rami Essaid, founder of Distil Networks, a cybersecurity company that specializes in eradicating bot networks, New York Times, 28 January 2018

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

What Matters

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

-- Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez, (6 March 1927 - 17 April 2014), Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and journalist, attributed

Monday, March 05, 2018

Big Mistakes

Xi Jinping is susceptible to making big mistakes because there are now almost no checks or balances. Essentially, he has become emperor for life.

-- Willy Lam, author of a 2015 biography of President Xi, on China’s moves to abolish term limits, New York Times, 26 February 2018

Friday, March 02, 2018


Illinois Industrial University, later to become the University of Illinois, opened March 2, 1868, with 77 students and 4 faculty members.

The Urbana campus of the University of Illinois now employs 2,548 Academic staff, 7,801 Administrative staff, and serves a student body of 45,813.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

General Principle

The general principle that motivates and binds people is "story".  The universal elements of a story are characters, a clear goal, and impediments to reaching that goal.  Every national story, without exception, is cast in these terms (usually with considerable distortion of the facts).

The best and most compelling stories involve righteous sounding goals and enormous obstacles.  We are fundamentally "wired" to be captivated by such narratives, and it's the most powerful force holding us together, much stronger than profit or self-interest.

-- Duncan McKenzie, in an on-line discussion about national identity, 1 March 2018