Monday, August 31, 2020

Public Safety

The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order.

-- White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, describing a campaign strategy that believes Trump benefits from social violence, in an interview on "Fox and Friends", 27 August 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

No One Knows

Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.

-- Martin Amis (born 25 August 1949) is a British novelist, essayist, and short story writer, Einstein's Monsters, "Introduction: Thinkability" (1987)

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Moment Of Crisis

Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation.  The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life.  Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.  Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end.  Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

-- Donald Trump, accepting the Republican presidential nomination, 21 July 2016

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Storm Surge

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

[Sea Rim State Park TX to Intracoastal City LA...10-15 ft] ...

Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes.  This surge could penetrate up to 40 miles inland from the immediate coastline, and flood waters will not fully recede for several days after the storm.

-- US National Weather Service, Hurricane Laura Intermediate Advisory Number 28A, 26 August 2020

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Senate Confirmed

The Department has a long-standing policy of limiting participation in partisan campaigns by its political appointees in recognition of the need for the U.S. Government to speak with one voice on foreign policy matters.  The combination of Department policy and Hatch Act requirements effectively bars you from engaging in partisan political activities while on duty, and, in many circumstances, even when you are off duty. ...

Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.

-- December 2019 memo to all State Department employees, written by a department legal adviser and approved by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, detailing guidelines on if and when State Department employees may engage in partisan activities.  Tonight (25 August 2020) Secretary Pompeo speaks to the Republican National Convention in remarks recorded in Jerusalem while on official travel.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Think They're Thinking

If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.

-- Donald Robert Perry Marquis (1878 - 1937), American humorist, from archy and mehitabel (1927)

Friday, August 21, 2020

On The Ballot

All elections are important.  But we know in our bones this one is more consequential.  America is at an inflection point.  A time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities.

We can choose the path of becoming angrier, less hopeful and more divided.  A path of shadow and suspicion.  Or we can choose a different path, and together, take this chance to heal, to be reborn, to unite.  A path of hope and light.

This is a life-changing election that will determine America's future for a very long time.  Character is on the ballot.  Compassion is on the ballot.  Decency, science, democracy.  They are all on the ballot.  Who we are as a nation.  What we stand for.  And, most importantly, who we want to be.  That's all on the ballot.

-- Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, 20 August 2020

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Profoundly Concerned

We are former national security officials who served during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and/or Donald Trump, or as Republican Members of Congress.  We are profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump.  Through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.

For the following reasons, we have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country ...

[10 enumerated reasons, omitted]

While we -- like all Americans -- had hoped that Donald Trump would govern wisely, he has disappointed millions of voters who put their faith in him and has demonstrated that he is dangerously unfit to serve another term.

-- Statement by former Republican national security officials, 20 August 2020

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

It's A Given

To the young people who led us this summer, telling us we need to be better -- in so many ways, you are this country's dreams fulfilled.  Earlier generations had to be persuaded that everyone has equal worth.  For you, it's a given -- a conviction.  And what I want you to know is that for all its messiness and frustrations, your system of self-government can be harnessed to help you realize those convictions.

-- Former President Barack Obama, in his speech to the Democratic National Convention, 19 August 2020

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Nineteenth Centenary

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

-- Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, proposed by Congress 4 June 1919, ratified 18 August 1920

Monday, August 17, 2020

Tribalism Abhors Reality

Tribalism is now not just one force in American politics, it's the overwhelming one, and tribalism abhors reality if it impugns the tribe.  But you can't have both tribalism and public health.  When you turn wearing a simple face mask into a political and cultural symbol of leftism, when you view social distancing as a concession to your enemies, you deeply undermine the power of millions of small impediments to viral outbreak.  What we are seeing is whether this tribalism can be sustained even when it costs tens of thousands of lives, even when it means exposing yourself to a deadly virus, even when it is literally more important than your own life.

-- Andrew Sullivan (1963 -), libertarian conservative author and political commentator, "With Trump, the Pathology Is the Point", New York magazine (22 May 2020)

Friday, August 14, 2020

Chips Are Down

If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.

-- Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 - 1994), 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974.  Address to the nation on the situation in Southeast Asia (30 April 1970); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, p. 409

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Opposite Of Loneliness

The opposite of loneliness, it's not togetherness.  It is intimacy.

-- Richard Bach (1936 -), American writer, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), The Bridge Across Forever: A Lovestory (1989), p. 184

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Villain

People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other.  But that is not our story.  That is not who we are.  That's not our America.  Our United States of America is not about us versus them.  It's about We the people!  And in this moment, we must all speak truth about what's happening.

-- Kamala Devi Harris (20 October 1964 -), American attorney and politician serving as junior United States Senator for California since 2017, and now Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States, Official announcement as candidate in 2020 Presidential election, Oakland, California (27 January 2019)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Big 10

We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference.  Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult.  While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point.  Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.

-- Big Ten Collegiate Sports Conference Statement, postponing the 2020-21 Fall Season, 11 August 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

Especially When It's Inconvenient

The truth is that, promoting science isn't just about providing resources, it's about protecting free and open inquiry.  It's about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.  It's about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient, especially when it's inconvenient.  Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us.

-- President-elect Obama's Weekly Address (20 December 2008)

Friday, August 07, 2020

More Good Trouble

I'd like to say this is some good and necessary trouble.  

-- Hannah Watters, 15, who was suspended from North Paulding High School in the Atlanta suburbs after she shared images of a crowded campus hallway jammed with mostly maskless classmates.  The suspension was revoked today.  CNN and The Washington Post, 7 August 2020

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

If I had foreseen Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I would have torn up my formula in 1905.

-- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), theoretical physicist, in a conversation of 1948, as quoted in Einstein and the Poet : In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983) by William Hermanns, p. 112

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Same Tale

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth.  "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."  And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered.  Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. 

-- George Orwell (1903 - 1950), pen name of British novelist, essayist, and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Chapter 3

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Ordinary People Matter

In the long run, a society's strength depends on the way that ordinary people voluntarily behave.  Ordinary people matter because there are so many of them.  Voluntary behavior matters because it is hard to supervise everyone all the time. ...  Successful societies -- those which progress economically and politically and can control the terms on which they deal with the outside world -- succeed because they have found ways to match individual self-interest to the collective good.  The behavior that helps each person will, as a cumulative ethos, help the society as a whole.

-- James Fallows (2 August 1949 -), American print and radio journalist.  He was also one of Nader's Raiders at Public Citizen and Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter for the first two years of his presidency, More Like Us : Making America Great Again (1989), p. 13

Monday, August 03, 2020

Thanks For Flying SpaceX

Splashdown.  Dragon Endeavor has returned home.  Welcome back to planet earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX.

-- SpaceX Mission Control as Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley returned to Earth in the first water landing by an American space crew since 1975, completing the first astronaut trip to orbit by a private company, 2 August 2020