Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Genuine Courage

I think if human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.  Wouldn't life be more interesting that way?  And now that I think about it, why the heck don't they?  Who made the rule that everybody has to dress like sheep 364 days of the year?  Think of all the people you'd meet if they were in costume every day.  People would be so much easier to talk to -- like talking to dogs.

-- Douglas Coupland (1961-), Canadian fiction writer and cultural commentator, in The Gum Thief: A Novel, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, (2011) p. 23

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Born Or Naturalized

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

-- Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, proposed by Congress in 1863 and ratified in 1868

Monday, October 29, 2018

Screw Your Optics

HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people.

I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.

Screw your optics, I'm going in.

-- Final post of Robert Bowers, @onedingo on Gab, who is accused of murdering 11 at the Tree Of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, in which he refers to a right-wing conspiracy theory regarding the so-called "immigrant caravan" now crossing Mexico and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, posted 2 hours before the shooting on 27 October 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Yi Dan

Tonight I was awarded my second-degree black belt (Yi Dan) in Tae Kwon Do after testing earlier this  month.

I was originally scheduled to take this test in February 2017, but I tore the ACL in my right knee two weeks before the test.  As a result, it was about 19 months before I was finally able to take the test.

Whew!  Glad to get that behind me.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Excess Value

The capitalist does not produce a commodity for its own sake, nor for the sake of its use value, or his personal consumption.  The product in which the capitalist is really interested is not the palpable product itself, but the excess value of the product over the value of the capital consumed by it.

-- Karl Marx (5 May 1818 - 14 March 1883), German political philosopher and economist, in Das Kapital (Capital: Critique of Political Economy), Volume III, edited by Friedrich Engels (1894), Chapter II, The Rate of Profit, p. 41

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Act Or Threats

[A]cts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.

-- President Donald Trump, in a statement after explosive devices were mailed to a number of Democrats including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, 24 October 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


The central issue is we're developing into a plutocracy.  We've got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they're rich because they're smart and constructive.  And they don't like government, and they don't like to pay taxes.

-- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, in an interview with Andrew Sorkin, New York Times, 23 October 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

What We Make

Life consists not simply in what heredity and environment do to us but in what we make out of what they do to us.

-- Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878 - 1969), American Baptist and Presbyterian minister, On Being a Real Person (1943)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Big Bird And Oscar The Grouch

I always thought, How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?  Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life. ...  I don't get to play him -- I get to live his life.

-- Caroll Spinney, who leaves "Sesame Street" this week after nearly 50 years of playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, New York Times, 17 October 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

First Legal Gram

I came out tonight to be the first person in Canada to purchase the first legal gram of recreational cannabis, to help see the end of prohibition in Canada finally.

-- Canadian Ian Power, who with Nikki Rose completed the first legal marijuana sale in Canada, shortly after midnight in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada's easternmost province,, 17 October 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tribal Affiliation

Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation.

-- The Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state, Chuck Hoskin Jr., in a statement Monday in response to a DNA test showing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American, Washington Post, 16 October 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Are You Surprised?

When I speak of the fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming of intellectuals and religious leaders who dare to speak their minds, and then I tell you that I’m from Saudi Arabia, are you surprised?

-- Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (13 October 1958 - ?), missing Saudi journalist and author.  He is currently missing amid allegations that he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October 2018.  "Saudi Arabia wasn’t always this repressive.  Now it’s unbearable." in The Washington Post (18 September 2017)

Friday, October 12, 2018


This is what disasters look like.

-- Former FEMA Chief W. Craig Fugate, on the damage in Florida from Hurricane Michael, New York Times, 12 October 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018


If you can repair your future child's myopia with preemptive genetic tinkering, you might also want to increase her I.Q. by a few dozen points. Will it lead to a world as utopian as Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average? Of course not. It will just add genetic manipulation of embryos and child cloning to the means by which affluent, fussy people try to distance themselves from bad luck, disappointment, menial work, death, and poor people.

-- David Quammen (1948-), award-winning science, nature and travel writer, "Clone Your Troubles Away: Dreaming at the Frontiers of Animal Husbandry", Harper's Magazine (February 2005)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thanks, Mark

I don't have a clever quote tonight, just the fading reverberations of a "China Grove" encore as the Doobie Brothers wrapped their set at State Farm Center in Champaign, IL tonight.


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Girl With(out) Balloon

LONDON -- The British street artist Banksy pulled off one of his most spectacular pranks on Friday night, when one of his trademark paintings appeared to self-destruct at Sotheby's in London after selling for $1.4 million at auction.

The work, "Girl With Balloon," a 2006 spray paint on canvas, was the last lot of Sotheby's "Frieze Week" evening contemporary art sale.  After competition between two telephone bidders, it was hammered down by the auctioneer Oliver Barker for 1 million pounds, more than three times the estimate and a new auction high for a work solely by the artist, according to Sotheby's.

-- New York Times, 6 October 2018

A few years ago, I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction ....

-- British street artist Banksy, in a video explaining how he did it, posted to his Instagram, 6 October 2018

Friday, October 05, 2018

I Will

Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

-- Final line of remarks by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on the Senate floor to announce her decision to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 5 October 2018

Thursday, October 04, 2018

His Performance

At that time, I thought [Kavanaugh] had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected.  I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability ....  I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.

-- Lifelong Republican and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was nominated by Gerald Ford and unanimously confirmed, speaking to a small group of retirees at The Institute for Learning in Retirement in Boca Raton, FL, when asked about praise of Brett Kavanaugh in his 2014 book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.", Palm Beach Post, 4 October 2018

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Presidential alert

Presidential alert

THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.

Oct 3, 13:18

-- Text of the first test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, 3 October 2018 at 13:18

Monday, October 01, 2018


The greatest weakness of all weaknesses is to fear too much to appear weak.

-- Jacques-BĂ©nigne Bossuet (1627 - 1704), French bishop, theologian, and court preacher. Bossuet was one of the first to advocate the theory of political absolutism; he made the argument that government was divine and that kings received their power from God, Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture (1709)