Friday, October 15, 2021

Trump Traitor Alert

ALERT

You're a traitor...

You abandoned Trump.

We were told you were a tried &
true, lifelong patriot.  But when 
Trump said he'd run for President
if we took back the House from 
Nancy Pelosi....  You did nothing.
Was Trump wrong about you?

This is your final chance to prove
your loyalty or be branded a
deserter.  We're giving you one
final chance to stand with Trump.
You only have 17 min >>>

-- Fundraising message from the National Republican Congressional Committee, October 2021 (Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Should Not Comment

[T]he Parties agree that Executive Branch officials outside the Department of Justice and its components should not comment publicly on ongoing career civil service employee disciplinary matters ... so as not to create any appearance of improper political influence.

-- US Department of Justice in a settlement reached with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in which the DOJ agreed to restore full law enforcement benefits and provide some attorney fees, 14 October 2021

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Ignorant And Free

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), third president of the United States (1801-1809), political philosopher, and one of the most influential founders of the United States, Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (6 January 1816) ME 14:384

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Precondition For Democracy

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.  Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.  At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.

-- Norwegian Nobel Committee, in their official announcement of Nobel Peace Prize 2021 (8 October 2021)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Enjoy Halloween

You're outdoors, for the most part -- at least when my children were out there doing trick-or-treating.  And enjoy it.  I mean, this is a time that children love.  It's a very important part of the year for children.  I know my children enjoyed it. 

If you look at the history of the surges and the diminution in cases over a period of time, they can bounce back.  So we don't want to always be on our edge that it's going to happen because it won't if we do what we should be doing, namely getting more people vaccinated.  But go out there and enjoy Halloween, as well as the other holidays that will be coming up.

-- Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union", 11 October 2021

Friday, October 08, 2021

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures -- safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across the generations.  On Indigenous Peoples' Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government's trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.

On Indigenous Peoples' Day, we honor America's first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today.  I encourage everyone to celebrate and recognize the many Indigenous communities and cultures that make up our great country. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 11, 2021, as Indigenous Peoples' Day.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.  

-- President Joe Biden, A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples' Day, 2021, 8 October 2021

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Overcoming Evil

The good and the bad mix themselves so thoroughly in our thoughts, even in our aspirations, that we must look for excellence rather in overcoming evil than in freeing ourselves from its influence.

-- Anthony Trollope (1815 - 1882), successful and prolific English novelist of the Victorian era, He Knew He Was Right (1869), Ch. 60

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Honest And Honorable

The drafters of the Constitution had made one simple but far-reaching error.  They'd assumed that the people selected by The People to manage the nation would be as honest and honorable as they'd been.  One could almost hear the "Oops!" emanating from all those old graves. 

-- Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. (1947 - 2013), American author of both fiction and non-fiction, mostly related to the military, terrorism, and international affairs, The Bear and the Dragon (2000), Ch. 12 : Conflicts of the Pocket

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

A Melmotte

You can keep your house free from him, and so can I mine.  But we set no example to the nation at large.  They who do set the example go to his feasts, and of course he is seen at theirs in return.  And yet these leaders of the fashion know, --  at any rate they believe, -- that he is what he is because he has been a swindler greater than other swindlers.

What follows as a natural consequence?  Men reconcile themselves to swindling.  Though they themselves mean to be honest, dishonesty of itself is no longer odious to them.  Then there comes the jealousy that others should be growing rich with the approval of all the world -- and the natural aptitude to do what all the world approves.  It seems to me that the existence of a Melmotte is not compatible with a wholesome state of things in general.

-- Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882), successful and prolific English novelist of the Victorian era, The Way We Live Now, Clerical Charities (1875), page 29, h/t @John Dickerson

Monday, October 04, 2021

One Moment

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.

-- Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH (1904 - 1991), prolific English novelist, playwright, and short story writer whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, The Power and the Glory (1940), Pt. I, ch. 1

Friday, October 01, 2021

Annual Bill

A catastrophic failure of US journalism and politics is that something like Biden's 10-year, $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill is not called a $350 billion annual bill...but the Pentagon's budget, which will exceed $7.5 trillion over a decade, is called a $750 billion annual bill

-- Dr. Steven W. Thrasher, journalist and professor at Northwestern University, via Twitter as @thrasherxy, 29 September 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021

That Action Is Best

That Action is best, which procures the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers; and that worst, which, in like manner, occasions Misery.

-- Francis Hutcheson (1694 - 1746), Irish philosopher, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725) Treatise II, Section 3

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Players

[T]his memo reiterates, that the scholarship football players at issue in Northwestern University clearly satisfy the broad Section 2(3) definition of employee and the common-law test.  Therefore, those football players, and other similarly situated Players at Academic Institutions, should be protected by Section 7 when they act concertedly to speak out about their terms and conditions of employment, or to self-organize, regardless of whether the Board ultimately certifies a bargaining unit.

In addition, because those Players at Academic Institutions are employees under the Act, misclassifying them as “student-athletes”, and leading them to believe that they are not entitled to the Act’s protection, has a chilling effect on Section 7 activity.  Therefore, in appropriate cases, I will pursue an independent violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act where an employer misclassifies Players at Academic Institutions as student-athletes. 

-- National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, in a memorandum to all Field offices providing updated guidance regarding her position that certain Players at Academic Institutions are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and, as such, are afforded all statutory protections, nlrb.gov, 29 September 2021



Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bayonets

You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long.

-- Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (1931 - 2007), Russian and former Soviet politician who served as the first President of Russia from 1991 to 1999, Televised speech (4 October 1993), as quoted in A Democracy of Despots (1995) by Donald Murray. p. 8

Monday, September 27, 2021

Tally

I previously posted a few tallies showing the date for each 10K covid deaths, and the number of days between 10Ks.  I stopped at 600K, but I'll post again tonight in observance of the 700,000th covid death in the United States.

This tally is a little deceptive, because the rate of death appears to be accelerating still. However, I expect deaths to plateau, and soon fall.  The peak of cases in the current (delta) wave came 9/1 with an average of ~166K new cases per day. Daily cases have been falling since then, and the current 7-day average of ~100K new cases per day is down 40%. Deaths should soon follow suit.


110,811  6/5  ( 9)  312,120 12/16 ( 5)  510,407  2/23 ( 5)
120,301  6/18 (13)  321,088 12/19 ( 3)  520,913  2/28 ( 5)
130,274  7/1  (13)  331,913 12/23 ( 4)  530,602  3/5  ( 5)
140,631  7/16 (15)  340,385 12/28 ( 5)  540,543  3/12 ( 7)
150,481  7/27 (11)  350,512 12/31 ( 3)  550,414  3/21 ( 9)
160,749  8/5  ( 9)  362,929  1/5  ( 5)  560,948  4/1  (11)
170,942  8/14 ( 9)  370,583  1/7  ( 2)  570,484  4/12 (11)
180,220  8/24 (10)  381,447  1/11 ( 4)  580,202  4/24 (12)
190,165  9/3  (10)  390,654  1/13 ( 2)  590,201  5/9  (15)
200,451  9/16 (13)  402,038  1/16 ( 3)  600,576  5/26 (17)
210,009  9/29 (13)  412,066  1/20 ( 4)  610,339  6/8  (13)
220,834 10/14 (15)  420,584  1/22 ( 2)  620,152  7/12 (34)
230,089 10/26 (12)  431,817  1/26 ( 4)  630,446  8/9  (28)
240,793 11/6  (11)  440,244  1/28 ( 2)  641,842  8/21 (12)
250,242 11/14 ( 8)  450,184  2/1  ( 4)  650,220  8/27 ( 6)
260,675 11/21 ( 7)  462,603  2/4  ( 3)  661,112  9/3  ( 7)
270,685 11/28 ( 7)  470,077  2/7  ( 3)  670,269  9/9  ( 6)
281,046 12/3  ( 5)  482,224  2/11 ( 4)  680,450  9/15 ( 6)
291,384 12/8  ( 5)  491,031  2/13 ( 2)  692,000  9/21 ( 6)
300,418 12/11 ( 3)  500,628  2/18 ( 5)  700,630  9/24 ( 3)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Fragments

No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and even the best of men must be content with fragments, with partial glimpses, never the full fruition.

-- Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet (1849 - 1919), Canadian physician, called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine,  "The Student Life" in The Medical News (30 September 1905)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Mechanism

Science doesn't purvey absolute truth.  Science is a mechanism.  It's a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature.  It's a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match.  And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life.  I should think people would want to know that what they know is truly what the universe is like, or at least as close as they can get to it.

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), Russian-born American biochemist and author of science fiction and non-fiction, Interview by Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers' World Of Ideas (21 October 1988); transcript (pages 5-6)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Interpret Everything

Once you get it into your head that somebody is controlling events, you can interpret everything in that light and find no reasonable certainty anywhere.

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), Russian-born American biochemist who was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, Foundation’s Edge (1982), Chapter 12 "Agent" section 4, p. 226

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

It Doesn't Have Time

The airplane stays up because it doesn't have the time to fall.

-- Orville Wright (1871 - 1948), American inventor and aviation pioneer who is credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on 17 December 1903

Monday, September 20, 2021

Sufficient

One doesn't have to operate with great malice to do great harm.  The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.

-- Charles McRay Blow (1970 -), American journalist, commentator, and current visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times, I Know Why the Caged Bird Shrieks, New York Times, 19 September 2012

Friday, September 17, 2021

Ends To Be Served

In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it.  These were, -- first, to protect the people against their rulers, secondly, to protect the people against the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led.

-- James Madison Jr. (1751 - 1836), fourth President of the United States, co-author, with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, of the Federalist Papers, traditionally regarded as the Father of the United States Constitution, Remarks on the institution of the Senate, in debates in the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (26 June 1787) Journal of the Federal Convention, edited by E. H. Scott (1893), pp. 241 - 242

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Being Obliged

I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.  For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.

-- Benjamin Franklin, speech in the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (17 September 1787); reported in James Madison, Journal of the Federal Convention, ed. E. H. Scott (1893), p. 741

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

RIP Norm Macdonald

There are two things which a man should scrupulously avoid: giving advice that he would not follow, and asking advice when he is determined to pursue his own opinion.

-- Norman Gene Macdonald (17 October 1959 - 14 September 2021), Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor, Maxims And Moral Reflections, Maxims, Series III, #36, p. 58

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Can We Take Away

Only what we have wrought into our character during life can we take away with us.

-- Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt (14 September 1769 - 6 May 1859), German naturalist and explorer, younger brother of diplomat and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt, as quoted in Seed-grain for Thought and Discussion (1856) by Anna Cabot Lowell, Vol. 1, p. 260

Monday, September 13, 2021

Our Continuing Duty

As a nation, our adjustments have been profound.  Many Americans struggled why an enemy would hate us with such zeal.  The security measures incorporated into our lives are both sources of comfort and reminders of our vulnerability.  And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within.

There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home.  But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.  And it is our continuing duty to confront them. 

-- Former President George W. Bush speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial, 11 September 2021

Friday, September 10, 2021

Species Consciousness

Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" -- something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities.   During this week of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility.  Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear. 

-- Martin Louis Amis (1949 -), British novelist, essayist, and short story writer, on the terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001, "Fear and loathing", The Guardian (18 September 2001)

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Not Reason

He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.

-- William Drummond of Logiealmond (c. 1770 - 1828), Scottish diplomat and Member of Parliament, poet, and philosopher, in Academical Questions (1805), Preface, p. 15

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

A Compact Mass

Men united by error constitute a compact mass.  The compactness of this mass is the evil of the world.  All the intellectual activity of humanity is directly destroying the cohesive power of deception. ...

Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.  Only deeds of truth, by introducing light into the conscience of each individual, can dissolve the cohesion of error, and detach men one by one from the mass united together by the cohesion of error.

-- Lev Nikolayevitch Tolstoy (9 September 1828 - 20 November 1910), Russian writer, philosopher, and social activist, My Religion (1884), Ch. 12

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

There Is Nothing

Some day you will know for yourself that it is almost as true to say that one recovers from all things as that there is nothing which does not leave its scar.

-- Paul Charles Joseph Bourget (1852 - 1935), French novelist and critic, The Age for Love, Pierre Fauchery, as quoted by the character "Jules Labarthe"

Monday, September 06, 2021

Piecemeal

The only difference as compared with the old, outspoken slavery is this, that the worker of today seems to be free because he is not sold once for all, but piecemeal by the day, the week, the year, and because no one owner sells him to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this way instead, being the slave of no particular person, but of the whole property-holding class.

-- Friedrich Engels (1820 - 1895), 19th-century German philosopher, social scientist, and journalist, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845) pp. 114-115


Friday, September 03, 2021

On Our Own Terms

The human desire to be understood is never quite sincere.  It is on our own terms that we desire to be understood, not on the terms of truth.

-- Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge (1900 - 1984), British author of novels, short stories, and children's books, The Child from the Sea (1970), Book 2, Ch. 1.5

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Legal Wine

We have permitted those whom a law threatens with constitutional harm to bring pre-enforcement challenges to the law where the harm is less serious and the threat of enforcement less certain than the harm (and the threat) here. 

I recognize that Texas’s law delegates the State’s power to prevent abortions not to one person (such as a district attorney) or to a few persons (such as a group of government officials or private citizens) but to any person.  But I do not see why that fact should make a critical legal difference.  That delegation still threatens to invade a constitutional right, and the coming into effect of that delegation still threatens imminent harm.  Normally, where a legal right is "invaded," the law provides "a legal remedy by suit or action at law." Marbury v. Madison (1803).  It should prove possible to apply procedures adequate to that task here. ...  There may be other not-very-new procedural bottles that can also adequately hold what is, in essence, very old and very important legal wine: The ability to ask the Judiciary to protect an individual from the invasion of a constitutional right -- an invasion that threatens immediate and serious injury.

-- Justice Stephen Breyer, joining the dissent of Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor in Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson, 1 September 2021

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Darn Quiet

It was so darn quiet you could hear your hair grow.

-- Robert Anson Heinlein (1907 - 1988), popular, influential, and controversial author of science fiction, Farmer in the Sky (1950) Chapter 13, "Johnny Appleseed" (p. 131)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Still Growing A Lot

The number of covid cases continues to climb rapidly.
8/29/2021: 155,575 new cases / day -- Now (7-day average)
8/15/2021: 130,709 new cases / day -- 2 weeks ago
8/01/2021:  79,904 new cases / day -- 4 weeks ago
7/18/2021:  32,287 new cases / day -- 6 weeks ago
6/22/2021:  11,299 new cases / day -- Nadir for cases

Deaths more than tripled over the last 4 weeks, and are up by a factor of 6 since their nadir, 8 weeks ago.  If only 98% of deaths are among the unvaccinated (it was 99.8% in June), then that's one death among the unvaccinated every 68 seconds (and one death among the vaccinated every 55 minutes 23 seconds).  I know which group I'd rather be in.

8/29/2021: 1290 new deaths / day -- Now (7-day average)
8/15/2021:  678 new deaths / day -- 2 weeks ago
8/01/2021:  363 new deaths / day -- 4 weeks ago
7/18/2021:  266 new deaths / day -- 6 weeks ago
7/05/2021:  213 new deaths / day -- Nadir for deaths

Monday, August 30, 2021

America's Longest War

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late Monday, ending America's longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.

-- "Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America's longest war" by Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor, apnews.com, 30 August 2021

Friday, August 27, 2021

Truth In Checkmate

The "ideas" of the average man are not genuine ideas, nor is their possession culture.  An idea is a putting truth in checkmate.  Whoever wishes to have ideas must first prepare himself to desire truth and to accept the rules of the game imposed by it.  It is no use speaking of ideas when there is no acceptance of a higher authority to regulate them, a series of standards to which it is possible to appeal in a discussion.  

-- José Ortega y Gasset (1883 - 1955), Spanish philosopher, The Revolt of the Masses (1929) Chap. VIII: The Masses Intervene In Everything, And Why Their Intervention Is Solely By Violence

Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Thread

You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilization from barbarism.  I tell you the division is a thread, a sheet of glass.  A touch here, a push there, and you bring back the reign of Saturn.

-- John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (26 August 1875 - 11 February 1940), Scottish novelist, poet, and politician, The Power-House (1916) Ch. 3 "Tells of a Midsummer Night"

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I Want Better

People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it.  Better yet, build it.  Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway.  You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same.  To hell with more.  I want better.

-- Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920 - 2012), American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer, Beyond 1984: The People Machines (1979)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Thing

Memory is the thing you forget with.

-- Stuart Alexander Chase (1926 -), American journalist and editor, Perspectives, 1966

Monday, August 23, 2021

Comirnaty

We are issuing Department of Health and Human Services U.S. License No. 2229 to BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH, Mainz, Germany, under the provisions of section 351(a) of the PHS Act controlling the manufacture and sale of biological products.  The license authorizes you to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce, those products for which your company has demonstrated compliance with establishment and product standards. 

Under this license, you are authorized to manufacture the product, COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA, which is indicated for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. 

The review of this product was associated with the following National Clinical Trial (NCT) numbers: NCT04368728 and NCT04380701.

-- Approval Letter addressed to Pfizer-BioNTech from the US Food and Drug Administration authorizing the used of Comirnaty, the Pfizer covid vaccine, 23 August 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021

Intellectual Integrity

I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive.  This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs.

-- Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872 - 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic, The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959 (1992), p. 598

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Often Unintended

No wars are unintended or "accidental".  What is often unintended is the length and bloodiness of the war.

-- Geoffrey Norman Blainey, AC, FAHA, FASSA (1930 -), prominent Australian historian, academic, philanthropist, and commentator with a wide international audience, The Causes of War (1973)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

New Variant

But even if you were such a libertarian extremist that you opposed vaccine requirements, there's no conceivable justification for banning private business from requiring vaccinations.  When Cruz insists, "No one should force anyone to take the vaccine -- including the federal government or an employer,” he is trampling on property rights and freedom of association, principles a small-government conservative like Cruz usually defends fanatically.  Suppose, for instance, you want to enjoy a cruise with the peace of mind that everybody onboard has gotten a vaccine, and a cruise line wants to sell you that experience.  A traditional conservative or libertarian would describe that as a capitalist act between consenting adults.  DeSantis believes the heavy hand of government should step in and make that contract illegal.

Let's not pretend Republicans would care about rights for anti-vaxxers if their ranks didn't include disproportionate numbers of Republicans.  Only the identity-politics aspect of the anti-vaxx, anti-mask crusade has driven Republicans to turn against their customary reverence for freedom of contract.  DeSantis hinted at the logic in unusually revealing terms two weeks ago.  "I'm sick of the judgmental stuff.  Nobody's trying to get ill here,” he lectured reporters.  "Let's not indulge that somehow it's their fault for not [getting vaccinated].”

Of course nobody wants to get sick.  Nobody wants to die in a car crash or go to prison, either, but some people drive drunk or commit felonies anyway, and generally people like DeSantis judge their behavior. ...  What principle grants somebody the extraordinary right to walk onto another person's property and spread a deadly virus?

-- Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer, A New Variant of COVID Denialism Has Emerged, 16 August 2021

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

On Average

There are, roughly speaking, an equal number of vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans.

This week, on average, a vaccinated American died of covid every day.  Some days it was 2 vaccinated Americans.

This week, on average, an unvaccinated American died of covid every 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

7-day average daily deaths as of 08/15/21: 678
Percentage of deaths among the unvaccinated: 99.8%

Please get vaccinated if you can.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Highly Unlikely

Well, first of all, the mission hasn't failed, yet.  There is in Afghanistan -- in all parties, there's been corruption.  The question is, can there be an agreement on unity of purpose?  What is the objective? 

For example, it started off -- there were going to be negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan government.  That -- it didn't come to fruition. 

So the question now is, where do they go from here?  That -- the jury is still out.  But the likelihood there's going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely. 

-- President Joe Biden, responding when asked, "Mr. President, how serious was the corruption among the Afghanistan government to this mission failing there?", Remarks by President Biden on the Drawdown of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, 8 July 2021

Friday, August 13, 2021

Matthew & Adriana!

Congratulations to the newlyweds, my nephew Matthew Appleman, and his lovely bride Adriana. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Rationalist

A rationalist, as I use the word, is a man who attempts to reach decisions by argument and perhaps, in certain cases, by compromise, rather than by violence.  He is a man who would rather be unsuccessful in convincing another man by argument than successful in crushing him by force, by intimidation and threats, or even by persuasive propaganda.

-- Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902 - 1994), Austrian and British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics, Utopia and Violence (1947)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Progressively Adequate

Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality.  They are more or less isomorphic to transformations of reality.  The transformational structures of which knowledge consists are not copies of the transformations in reality; they are simply possible isomorphic models among which experience can enable us to choose.  Knowledge, then, is a system of transformations that become progressively adequate.

-- Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980), Swiss developmental psychologist, famous for his work with children and his theory of cognitive development, Genetic Epistemology (1968) -- First lecture

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Too Familiar

I have been too familiar with people.  My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting.  I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men.  I have done it all my life.  It's who I've been since I can remember.  In my mind, I've never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.  There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn't fully appreciate, and I should have.  No excuses.

-- New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's, announcing his resignation, 10 August 2021

Monday, August 09, 2021

To Blink Facts

It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink facts because they are not to our taste.

-- John Tyndall (1820 - 1893), Irish physicist, Fragments of Science, Vol. II (1879), Science and Man