Thursday, June 28, 2018


There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload

-- @PhilDavis_CG on Twitter, Courts/Crime reporter Phil Davis for the Capital Gazette newspaper, describing a shooting at the newspaper that killed 5, 2:46 PM 28 June 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Notification Of My Decision

My dear Mr. President,

This letter is a respectful and formal notification of my decision, effective July 31 of this year, to end my regular active status as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while continuing to serve in a senior status, as provided in 28 U.S.C 371 (b).

For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court.  Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.

Respectfully and sincerely,
Anthony M Kennedy

-- Resignation letter of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M Kennedy, 27 June 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Animus Rex

Taking all the relevant evidence together, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government's asserted national-security justifications.  Even before being sworn into office, then-candidate Trump stated that "Islam hates us," warned that "[w]e're having problems with the Muslims, and we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country," promised to enact a "total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States," and instructed one of his advisers to find a "lega[l]" way to enact a Muslim ban.  The President continued to make similar statements well after his inauguration, as detailed above. ...

Unlike in Masterpiece, where the majority consid­ered the state commissioners' statements about religion to be persuasive evidence of unconstitutional government, the majority here completely sets aside the President’s charged statements about Muslims as irrelevant.  That holding erodes the foundational principles of religious tolerance that the Court elsewhere has so emphatically protected, and it tells members of minority religions in our country "that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community." ...

I dissent.

-- Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent to the majority opinion upholding President Trump's travel ban in Trump v Hawaii, 26 June 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018


This is an important medical advance.  Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug's uniform strength and consistent delivery.

-- FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb in a statement accompanying FDA approval of Epidiolex, a treatment for some forms of epilepsy, and the first FDA approved treatment derived from marijuana, CNN, 25 June 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Progress Of Science

As Justice Brandeis explained in his famous dissent, the Court is obligated -- as "[s]ubtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the Government" -- to ensure that the "progress of science" does not erode Fourth Amendment protections.  Here the progress of science has afforded law enforcement a powerful new tool to carry out its important responsibilities.  At the same time, this tool risks Government encroachment of the sort the Framers, "after consulting the lessons of history," drafted the Fourth Amendment to prevent.

We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier's database of physical location information.  In light of the deeply revealing nature of CSLI, its depth, breadth, and comprehensive reach, and the inescapable and automatic nature of its collection, the fact that such information is gathered by a third party does not make it any less deserving of Fourth Amendment protection.

-- Chief Justice Roberts in the Supreme Court's majority opinion in Carpenter v US asserting that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain cell phone location data, 22 June 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

RIP Koko

The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko

Woodside, CA Koko -- the gorilla known for her extraordinary mastery of sign language, and as the primary ambassador for her endangered species -- passed away yesterday morning in her sleep at the age of 46.

Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy.  She was beloved and will be deeply missed. ...

The foundation will continue to honor Koko’s legacy and advance our mission with ongoing projects including conservation efforts in Africa, the great ape sanctuary on Maui, and a sign language application featuring Koko for the benefit of both gorillas and children. ...

-- Press release from The Gorilla Foundation, 20 June 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cheese Lover

Origin of turophile

Turophile a rare word not only in meaning but also in its spelling.  The combining form -phile is very common in English, but the combining form turo- is unique: it comes from the Greek noun tȳrós, which is nearly always Romanized as tyro-, as in the technical term tyrosine (an amino acid).  Tȳrós comes from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root tēu, tewe, teu, tū "to swell, coagulate, be or become thick": for the Greeks cheese was "thickened milk."  The Latin word būtȳrum "butter" is a borrowing from Greek boútyron "butter," literally "cow cheese."  Būtȳrum "butter" was adopted by the West Germanic languages, e.g., Old English butere, English butter, Dutch boter, Old High German butera, and German Butter.  Turophile entered English in the 20th century.

-- From's Word of the Day for 19 June 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

Most Important

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

-- Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894 - 1963), British author, most famous for his novel Brave New World; grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley and younger brother of Julian Huxley, "A Case of Voluntary Ignorance" in Collected Essays (1959)

Friday, June 15, 2018

He Lived

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

-- Clarence Budington "Bud" Kelland (11 July 1881 - 18 February 1964), prolific American writer who once described himself as "the best second-rate writer in America"

Thursday, June 14, 2018

13,000 Projects

Microsoft has purchased GitHub.  It cost the multinational behemoth $7.5 billion in stock to acquire the free code and data hosting service that had become the "de facto home of open source software development." More than 13,000 projects left GitHub within an hour of the news, migrating to its competitor, GitLab.

-- Motherboard, by way of FiveThirtyEight's Significant Digits newsletter, 5 June 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Joint Statement

President Donald J. Trump of the United States and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

-- Closing paragraph of the Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit, 12 June 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Chief Deficiency

The chief deficiency I see in the skeptical movement is its polarization: Us vs. Them -- the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; that those other people who believe in all these stupid doctrines are morons; that if you're sensible, you'll listen to us; and if not, to hell with you.  This is nonconstructive.  It does not get our message across.  It condemns us to permanent minority status.

-- Carl Sagan, in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996), p. 300

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Thoughts On Anything

I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.

-- Melania Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham, in a statement after Rudy Giuliani said, "She believes her husband.  And she knows it's untrue," regarding President Trump's alleged tryst with Stormy Daniels, 7 June 2018

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

In One Place

What if we could get every one in the world together to record what they know in one place?

-- Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (1966-), when recruiting Larry Sanger in January 2000, The early history of Wikipedia (part 1) (1:48), Larry Sanger, YouTube, 7 May 2010

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Big Mac Diplomacy

No two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever fought a war against each other.

-- Thomas L. Friedman (1953-), American journalist, author, and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, "Foreign Affairs Big Mac I", New York Times, 8 December 1996