Sunday, September 30, 2018


Look at me when I'm talking to you.  You're telling me that my assault doesn't matter!

-- An angry sexual assault survivor berating Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake as he steps into the elevator after a break in hearings on Supreme Court Candidate Brett Kavanaugh.  Flake subsequently forced a delay and an investigation, 28 September 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018


I don't believe it's possible to be neutral.  The world is already moving in certain directions, and to be neutral, to be passive in a situation like that, is to collaborate with whatever is going on.  And I, as a teacher, do not want to be a collaborator with whatever is happening in the world.  I want myself, as a teacher, and I want you, as students, to intercede with whatever is happening in the world.

-- Howard Zinn (1924 - 2010), American historian, political scientist, playwright and social activist, in Howard Zinn: You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004) documentary film

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Difference Between The Two

Free trade consists simply in letting people buy and sell as they want to buy and sell.  It is protection that requires force, for it consists in preventing people from doing what they want to do.  Protective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading squadrons, and their object is the same -- to prevent trade.  The difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading.  What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.   

-- Henry George (1839 - 1897), American economic and social philosopher who popularized the economic policies which have become known as Georgism, Protection or Free Trade? (1886)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

That's OK

Didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK.

-- President Donald Trump, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, after attendees openly laughed in response to his assertions of record accomplishments by his administration, 25 September 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fastest Human On A Bicycle

Denise Mueller-Korenek became the fastest human to ever ride a bicycle, hitting an average 183.932 miles per hour for one mile on a custom bicycle.  This shatters a record set in 1995.  They were only aiming for 175 miles per hour, tops, but ended up obliterating the 167 mile per hour record set by Fred Rompelberg.

-- Bill Chappell, NPR, via Numlock News, 20 September 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Pleasure Of Hating

Scolding bad people makes us feel better about ourselves.  In his essay "On the Pleasure of Hating," William Hazlitt wrote, "There is no surfeiting on gall: Nothing keeps so well as a decoction of spleen.  We grow tired of every thing but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects."  We hate other people as a way to love ourselves.

-- Windsor Mann, quoting William Hazlitt (c. 1826), in The Week, "You'll miss Trump one day", (17 September 2018)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What Happens

But fortunately, we had a good saying that we've held firm to to this day ... which is: What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.  That's been a good thing for all of us, I think.

-- Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in a 2015 speech at Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hereinafter Referred

This letter sets forth the full and complete plea offer to your client Paul J. Manafort, Jr. (hereinafter referred to as "your client" or "defendant") from the Special Counsel's Office (hereinafter referred to as "the Government" or "this Office").  If your client accepts the terms and conditions of this offer, please have your client execute this document in the space provided below.  Upon receipt of the executed document, this letter will become the Plea Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the "Agreement"). 

-- Opening paragraph of the plea agreement between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, filed 14 September 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Complexity And Uncertainty

Accepting and respecting neurodiversity is the key to surviving the transformation driven by the internet and AI, which is shattering the Newtonian predictability of the past and replacing it with a Heisenbergian world of complexity and uncertainty.

-- Joi Ito, in Wired Magazine, The Educational Tyranny Of The Neurotypicals, 6 September 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Original Thought

A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.

-- Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken (12 September 1880 - 29 January 1956), journalist, satirist, social critic, and freethinker, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebooks (1956)

Monday, September 10, 2018

RIP Burt Reynolds

We're only here for a little while, and you've got to have some fun, right?  I don't take myself seriously, and I think the ones that do, there's some sickness with people like that.

-- Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds (11 February 1936 - 6 September 2018), American actor, director and producer, "Burt Reynolds Has Made Mistakes. But He Regrets Nothing" in The New York Times (23 March 2018)

Friday, September 07, 2018

A Spark

We have been through much darker times than these.  And somehow each generation of Americans carried us through to the other side.  Not by sitting around and waiting for something to happen, not by leaving it to others to do something, but by leading that movement for change themselves.  And if you do that, if you get involved and you get engaged and you knock on some doors and you talk with your friends and you argue with your family members and you change some minds and you vote, something powerful happens.  Change happens.  Hope happens.  Not perfection, not every bit of cruelty and sadness and poverty and disease suddenly stricken from the Earth.  There will still be problems, but with each new candidate that surprises you with a victory that you supported, a spark of hope happens.

-- Former president Barack Obama, in a speech at Foellinger Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana, 7 September 2018

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It's not just that the special counsel looms large.  Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump's leadership.  Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma -- which he does not fully grasp -- is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know.  I am one of them.

-- New York Times Op-Ed by a senior official in the Trump administration, published anonymously, 5 September 2018