Friday, July 31, 2020


I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016.  I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller.  I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump's impeachment.

But I am frankly appalled by the president's recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election.  Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats' assertion that President Trump is a fascist.  But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president's immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

-- Steven G. Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society and professor at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law in a New York Times op-ed, 30 July 2020

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Change Agent

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.  Voting and participating in the democratic process are key.  The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.  You must use it because it is not guaranteed.  You can lose it.

-- John Robert Lewis (21 February 1940 - 17 July 2020), American politician and civil rights leader, in an op-ed written to be published the day of his funeral, New York Times, 30 July 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Unlovely Things

You accept certain unlovely things about yourself and manage to live with them.  The atonement for such an acceptance is that you make allowances for others -- that you cleanse yourself of the sin of self-righteousness.

-- Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), American writer on social and political philosophy.  Despite rising to fame with the success and popularity of his writings, he continued to work as a longshoreman until retiring at age 65.  Working and Thinking on the Waterfront (1969) Journal entry (30 October 1958, 6:30 am)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Developing And Applying

The real "haves" are they who can acquire freedom, self-confidence, and even riches without depriving others of them.  They acquire all of these by developing and applying their potentialities.  On the other hand, the real "have nots" are they who cannot have aught except by depriving others of it.  They can feel free only by diminishing the freedom of others, self-confident by spreading fear and dependence among others, and rich by making others poor.

-- Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), American writer on social and political philosophy.  Despite rising to fame with the success and popularity of his writings, he continued to work as a longshoreman until retiring at age 65.  The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 115

Monday, July 27, 2020

Good Trouble

Do not get lost in a sea of despair.  Be hopeful, be optimistic.  Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.  Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.  #goodtrouble

-- Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), posting as @repjohnlewis on Twitter, 27 June 2018

Friday, July 24, 2020


Normal is the average of deviance.

-- Rita Mae Brown (1944 -), prolific American writer who became famous with her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle, Venus Envy (1993)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pretend Always

Pretend to be good always and even God will be fooled.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 - 2007), American novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We'll Make It

When things get bad enough, then something happens to correct the course.  And it's for that reason that I speak about evolution as an error-making and an error-correcting process.  And if we can be ever so much better -- ever so much slightly better -- at error correcting than at error making, then we'll make it.

-- Jonas Salk (1914 - 1995), medical researcher and author, inventor of the Salk vaccine against Polio, and the founder of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, "Man Evolving" interview with Richard D. Heffner on The Open Mind (11 May 1985)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Given Reins To Passion

Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.

-- David Hume (1711 - 1776), Scottish philosopher, in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), § 9.13 : Conclusion, Pt. 1

Monday, July 20, 2020

Solve It Aright

We have a given problem to solve.  If we undertake the solution, there is, of course, always danger that we may not solve it aright; but to refuse to undertake the solution simply renders it certain that we cannot possibly solve it aright.

-- Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858 - 1919), American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses (1910)

Friday, July 17, 2020

RIP John Lewis

But as a group, and I know as one person, we were determined to see the end of segregation and racial discrimination in places of public accommodation.  So I lost my sense of fear.  You know, no one would like to be beaten.  No one would like to go to jail.  Jail is not a pleasant place.  No one liked to suffer pain, but for the common good we were committed.

-- John Robert Lewis (21 February 1940 - 17 July 2020), American politician and civil rights leader, interview upon receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Chicago, Illinois, 10 June 2004

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Visualizing Alternatives

What we really mean by free will ... is the visualizing of alternatives and making a choice between them....  The central problem of human consciousness depends on this ability to imagine.

-- Jacob Bronowski (1908 - 1974), British mathematician, biologist, and science historian of Polish origin, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (1978)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Things And Actions

Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why, then, should we desire to be deceived?

-- Joseph Butler (1692 - 1752), English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher, Human Nature and Other Sermons: "Sermon VII"; as quoted in Matthew Arnold's St. Paul and Protestantism

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Not The Facts

It is not the facts which guide the conduct of men, but their opinions about facts; which may be entirely wrong.  We can only make them right by discussion.

-- Sir Norman Angell, born Ralph Norman Angell Lane, (1872 - 1967), British economist, lecturer, writer, Member of Parliament for the Labour Party, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933, as quoted in American Railway Engineering Association : Proceedings of the Annual Convention, Volume 51 (1950), p. 815

Monday, July 13, 2020

Application Of Science

In this complex world, science, the scientific method, and the consequences of the scientific method are central to everything the human race is doing and to wherever we are going.  If we blow ourselves up we will do it by misapplication of science; if we manage to keep from blowing ourselves up, it will be through intelligent application of science.

-- Robert Anson Heinlein (1907 - 1988), American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer, The Pragmatics of Patriotism, address at the U.S. Naval Academy (5 April 1973)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Nevertheless, The Creek Reservation Persists

Congress established a reservation for the Creek Nation.  An 1833 Treaty fixed borders for a "permanent home to the whole Creek Nation of Indians," 7 Stat. 418, and promised that the United States would "grant a patent, in fee simple, to the Creek nation of Indians for the [assigned] land" to continue "so long as they shall exist as a nation, and continue to occupy the country hereby assigned to them," id., at 419.  The patent formally issued in 1852.

Congress has since broken more than a few promises to the Tribe.  Nevertheless, the Creek Reservation persists today.

-- Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority in McGirt v Oklahoma, upholding an 1852 treaty and ruling that about half the land in Oklahoma remains part of Native American Reservations, 9 July 2020

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Common Duty

Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.  We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need.  The "guard[] furnished to this high officer" lies where it always has -- in "the conduct of a court" applying established legal and constitutional principles to individual subpoenas in a manner that preserves both the independence of the Executive and the integrity of the criminal justice system.

-- Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority in Trump v Vance, ruling that a New York district attorney's subpoena of President Trump's financial records is valid, 9 July 2020

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The Truthful Man

The truthful man is usually a liar.

-- Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833 - 1896), Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer, and inventor of dynamite.  In his last will, he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes, "Aphorisms by Alfred Nobel",, Nobel Media AB 2020

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Most Valuable Trait

Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe.

-- Euripides (c. 480 BC-406 BC), Greek playwright, The Complete Greek Tragedies: Euripides II: Helen. Hecuba. Andromache. The Trojan women. Ion. Rhesus. The suppliant women by David Grene, Richmond Alexander Lattimore (eds.), Modern Library, 1963, p. 73

Monday, July 06, 2020

Born As Many

Every man is born as many men, and dies as a single one.

-- Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), German philosopher, quoted in Journey Through Dread: A Study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre by Arland Ussher (1955)

Friday, July 03, 2020

Unbeatable Determination

America was not built on fear.  America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.

-- Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1972), 33rd President of the United States (1945-53), Special Message to the Congress: The President's First Economic Report (1947)

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Fragile Beings

Numbers are fragile beings which, being tortured, end up admitting all we want them to say.

[Original: Les chiffres sont des êtres fragiles qui, à force d'être torturés, finissent par avouer tout ce qu'on veut leur faire dire.]

-- Alfred Sauvy (1898 - 1990), demographer, anthropologist, and historian of the French economy; he coined the term Third World ("Tiers Monde") in reference to countries that were unaligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or the Capitalist NATO bloc during the Cold War

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Half-Life On Software

Basically, a lot of the problems that computing has had in the last 25 years comes from systems where the designers were trying to fix some short-term thing and didn't think about whether the idea would scale if it were adopted.  There should be a half-life on software so old software just melts away over 10 or 15 years.

-- Alan Curtis Kay (17 May 1940 -), American computer scientist best known for his pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design, ACM Queue - A Conversation with Alan Kay, Vol. 2, No. 9 - Dec/Jan 2004-2005