Friday, July 30, 2021

The Bond

The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one's country, by retirement in the case of a trade or profession.

-- Primo Levi (31 July 1919 - 11 April 1987), Italian chemist and author of memoirs, short stories, poems, and novels, Other People's Trades (1985), "Ex-Chemist"


Thursday, July 29, 2021

My Retirement Program

Millennials are the first generation of US Americans to have life prospects worse than their parents.  The astronomical student debt load means that many young people put off the major purchases and life events linked to adulthood in the US -- buying a car or a house, getting married.  At the same time, in highly populated cities like San Francisco, LA, Seattle, and NYC, rents are out of control.  And we don't have national healthcare.  So paying for the basics of everyday life has become impossible.  And we are told repeatedly that social security is in crisis and won't survive.  As one young person told me: "My retirement program is socialism".

-- Jodi Dean (1962 -), American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state, "More than a third of millennials approve of communism, YouGov poll indicates", The Independent, 7 November 2019

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Easiest And Most Comfortable

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes.  It may even lie on the surface; but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions -- especially selfish ones.

-- Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918 - 2008), Russian philosopher, novelist, dramatist and historian; 1970 Nobel Laureate in Literature, "Peace and Violence" (1973)


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Scary Recipe

They came up, I think this was maybe their second or third time that they had come up on January 6th.  And even then, as belligerent as they were, it didn't account to this violence.  So the only difference that I see in that is that they had marching orders so to say.  When people feel emboldened by people in power, they assume that they're right.  One of the scariest things about January 6th is that the people that were there, even to this day think that they were right.  They think that they were right and that makes for a scary recipe for the future of this country.  So I think that's why it's very important that you all take this committee seriously and get to the bottom of why this happened and let's make it never happen again.

-- US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, 13-year veteran of the United States Capitol Police and a member of its first responder unit, in testimony to the January 6 House Select Committee, 27 July 2021

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Maker

The poet is, etymologically, the maker.  Like all makers, he requires a stock of raw materials -- in his case, experience.  Now experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss-house.  It is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and coordinating.  Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.  It is a gift for dealing with the accidents of existence, not the accidents themselves.  By a happy dispensation of nature, the poet generally possesses the gift of experience in conjunction with that of expression.  What he says so well is therefore intrinsically of value.

-- Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 - 22 November 1963), British author, most famous for his novel Brave New World, Texts and Pretexts (1932) p. 5


Friday, July 23, 2021

Any Other Olympics

I saw a headline today that read, "Three Czech Athletes Test Positive" and all I could think was: Any other Olympics, and that headline would refer to a test for banned substances.  Not for Tokyo 2020.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

My Position Is Mistaken

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again.  They really do it.  It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful.  But it happens every day.  I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.

-- Carl Edward Sagan (1934 - 1996), American astronomer and popular science writer, Keynote address at 1987 CSICOP conference, as quoted in Do Science and the Bible Conflict? (2003) by Judson Poling, p. 30

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

If We Are Uncritical

If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.  In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.

-- Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902 - 1994), Austrian and British philosopher, and professor at the London School of Economics, The Poverty of Historicism (1957) Ch. 29 The Unity of Method

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Listen Closely

We are all climbing different paths through the mountain of life, and we have all experienced much hardship and strife.  There are many paths through the mountain of life, and some climbs can be felt like the point of a knife.  Some paths are short and others are long, who can say which path is right or wrong?  The beauty of truth is that each path has its own song, and if you listen closely you will find where you belong.  So climb your own path true and strong, but respect all other truths for your way for them could be wrong. 

-- Daniel Arca Inosanto (24 July 1936 -), American martial arts instructor who is best known as a training partner of Bruce Lee, from his website at https://inosanto.com/

Monday, July 19, 2021

Growing

The number of covid cases is climbing surprisingly quickly.

7/18/2021: 32,287 new cases / day -- Now (7-day average)
6/22/2021: 11,299 new cases / day -- Nadir
5/17/2021: 32,025 new cases / day -- Previous comparable rate

The climb in cases was so quick, it doesn't show up yet in increased deaths.  The nadir for cases was 13 days before the nadir for deaths.  Presumably the ~3x growth in cases will show up in deaths in the next 13 days.

7/18/2021: 266 new deaths / day -- Now (7-day average)
7/05/2021: 213 new deaths / day -- Nadir for deaths
6/22/2021: 323 new deaths / day -- Nadir for cases

Friday, July 16, 2021

Plant Trees

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

-- Nelson Henderson, WW I veteran and farmer near Minitonas, Manitoba, Canada

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Practice What You Know

Try to put well in practice what you already know; and in so doing, you will in good time, discover the hidden things which you now inquire about.  Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know. 

-- Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 - 4 October 1669), Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker, generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in history, as cited in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) by Tryon Edwards, p. 131

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Alt Tour

As the Tour de France enters its final act after the second rest day, one EF Education-Nippo rider can put his feet up, content with a job well done.  That rider -- Lachlan Morton -- has just completed his Alt Tour, riding the entire Tour de France route, including all transfers, unsupported. 

That meant 5,510 km, instead of the Tour route's 3,383 km.  65,500 metres of vertical gain rather than the Tour's 42,200 m.  18 days of riding without a day's rest, versus the peloton's 21 and two rest days.  And all while sleeping under the stars, fixing his own punctures, taking care of his own mechanicals, and keeping himself fed and watered. 

The Australian rider, who has approached the sport from his own unique perspective throughout his career, set off from Brittany just after the Tour began and quickly built a lead over the race, cycling longer days and banking distance to give him enough of a buffer over the peloton for the final 700 km+ transfer north to Paris. 

-- Iain Treloar, "Lachlan Morton Has Beaten The Tour De France to Paris By Five Days", cyclingtips.com, 13 July 2021

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

We Need Not Travel Far

Let us not, however, deceive ourselves with the thought that vaulting ambition, that lust for power and place is a disease peculiar to great minds, for nothing is more commonly found among ordinary men in the humbler walks of life.  We need not travel very far in any direction to find a little Caesar or a little Napoleon.

-- William Henry Crogman (1841 - 1931), pioneering African American educator and classicist at Clark University of Atlanta in the United States, "The Importance of Correct Ideals", Address To The Students Of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, (June 1892)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Welcome

We're here to make space more accessible to all.  We want to turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow.  We've all us on this stage have had the most extraordinary experience, and we'd love it if a number of you can have it, too. ...  If you ever had a dream, now is the time to make it come true -- and I'd like to end by saying welcome to the dawn of a new space age.

-- Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (18 July 1950 -), British entrepreneur, best known for the businesses he helped create under the Virgin brand name, quoted in "Richard Branson goes to space", by Jackie Wattles, Fernando Alfonso III, and Mike Hayes, CNN (11 July 2021)

Friday, July 09, 2021

Where Empires Go

Afghanistan -- where empires go to die.

-- Michael Dennis Malloy (1942 -), progressive American radio broadcaster based in Atlanta, now self-syndicated, quoted in Humans On The Run, by Kumar Tiku (2018)

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Walking Wounded

Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded.  We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. we have never seen a totally sane human being.

-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932 - 2007), American novelist, essayist, absurdist philosopher, futurist, and guerilla ontologist, most famous for his satirical work (with Robert Shea), The Illuminatus! Trilogy.  Attributed

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Avoidable And Preventable

If you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2 percent of them are unvaccinated.  About 0.8 percent are vaccinated.  No vaccine is perfect.  But when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and death, Chuck, it's really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable

I mean, obviously there are going to be some people, because of the variability among people and their response to vaccine, that you'll see some who are vaccinated and still get into trouble and get hospitalized and die.  But the overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated.  Which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.

-- Dr Anthony Fauci, speaking to Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press", 4 July 2021; there were 9,987 deaths in the US in June

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

In A Wind Tunnel

Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them.  And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  Well, that's horsepuckey, of course.  We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions.  Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing.  It's just bibble-babble.  It's like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.

-- Harlan Jay Ellison (1934 - 2018), American writer known for his prolific and influential work in New Wave speculative fiction, and for his outspoken, combative personality, Commentary on Sci-Fi Channel's Sci-Fi Buzz

Monday, July 05, 2021

Booted And Spurred

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.  The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.  These are grounds of hope for others.  For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

-- Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 - 4 July 1826), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776)), founder of the University of Virginia (1819), third President of the United States (1801-1809), Letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining to attend July 4th ceremonies in Washington D.C. celebrating the 50th anniversary of Independence, because of his health.  This was Jefferson's last letter (24 June 1826)


Friday, July 02, 2021

Two Great Ideals

If a single statute represents the best of America, it is the Voting Rights Act.  It marries two great ideals: democracy and racial equality.  And it dedicates our country to carrying them out. 

If a single statute reminds us of the worst of America, it is the Voting Rights Act.  Because it was -- and remains -- so necessary.  Because States and localities continually contriv[ed] new rules," mostly neutral on their face but discriminatory in operation, to keep minority voters from the polls.  Because "Congress had reason to suppose" that States would "try similar maneuvers in the future" -- "pour[ing] old poison into new bottles" to suppress minority votes.  

Maybe some think that vote suppression is a relic of history -- and so the need for a potent Section 2 has come and gone.  But Congress gets to make that call.  Because it has not done so, this Court's duty is to apply the law as it is written.  The law that confronted one of this country's most enduring wrongs; pledged to give every American, of every race, an equal chance to participate in our democracy; and now stands as the crucial tool to achieve that goal.  That law, of all laws, deserves the sweep and power Congress gave it.  That law, of all laws, should not be diminished by this Court.

-- Justice Kagan, with whom Justice Breyer and Justice Sotomayor join, dissenting, in Arizona Republican Party v Democratic National Committee, 1 July 2021

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Lived, Not Taught

The doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist.  Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend.  Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself.  The deity is within you, not in ideas and books.  Truth is lived, not taught.

-- Hermann Karl Hesse (1877 - 1962), German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter; 1946 Nobel Laureate in Literature.  The Glass Bead Game (1943)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

That's A Wrap

It was 1973 that I first had a job that shows up on my Social Security earnings record.  I now have 26 years credit in Social Security, and another 14 years credit at the University of Illinois.  All told, that's 40 years of what society deems to be gainful employment.  

My UI time includes working on the PLATO computer system around 1979, the Imaging Technology Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology in the early 2000s, and the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications around 2009-2011, before 9+ years at CITES/Technology Services.

There were bumps and detours (and working for myself for a few years) along the way, with layoffs, and venture funding that evaporated.  But it seems if you get up and go to work every day, eventually you've got something to show for it.

Today I worked my last day for the UI, turning in my office keys and my laptop.  I'm satisfied with my career.  Tomorrow my retirement officially begins.  But I'll only be semi-retired for the next 6(?) years or so; I've been teaching TaeKwonDo for 6 years in Monticello, and I'll see where that takes me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Worst

Working people have a lot of bad habits, but the worst of them is work.

-- Clarence Darrow (1857 - 1938), American lawyer, most famous for having defended John T. Scopes in the so-called "Monkey" Trial (1925), opposing William Jennings Bryan, quoted in Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography (1931)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Don't Just Go Back

At this point in time, consider this your own, great reset.  This difficult time that all of us went through really upended our routines; it pointed out just how precious were so many of the things we took for granted in 2019.  See this as an opportunity to look at things with brand new eyes.  Don't just go back to your pre-pandemic life.  Don't just go back to doing things the way you did them, because that was the way that you did them.  Look at your life, your routines, your art, your practice, your training, look at it like a beginner -- and make it what you want it to be.

-- Shihan Kendall Buhl, martial arts instructor and founder of The Dojo Salisbury, on the Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio podcast, episode 618, 28 June 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

180ism

180ism has three core components.

The first and most obvious is that the primary question most participants in public debate ask themselves is not "How do my values inform my views on this matter?" or "What is the evidence for what is being asserted?"  Rather, it is "How do I demonstrate that I am a loyal member of my political tribe?"  As it happens, the easiest way to do that is simple: Look for what the enemy says on any one issue and stake out the opposite position.

The second component is that public discourse becomes dangerously narrow when a lot of individuals with big platforms reflexively contradict whatever their adversaries say.  Complex questions that should, in principle, allow for a large number of different answers are then flattened into a simple referendum between diametrically opposed sides. 

The third component is that the dynamics of 180ism exert enormous pressure on anybody who does not behave as expected.  If, unwilling to let the discourse shoehorn you into one of two sanctioned positions, you insist on giving a third answer, you are denounced as an attention-seeking contrarian.  And if, following your long-held values or principles, you come up with an answer that your political adversary happens to agree with, you are denounced as a traitor.  In a discourse dominated by 180ism, occasionally disagreeing with your friends -- a sign that you are willing to think for yourself -- is widely interpreted as proof of bad faith.

-- Yascha Mounk (1982-), German-American political scientist, The Perils of 180ism, 25 June 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The American People

First of all, on the issue of critical race theory, etc., I will obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it is important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. ...

What is it that that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America?  What caused that?  I want to find that out.  I want to maintain an open mind here and I do want to analyze it.  It's important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people.  So it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it.

I've read Mao Zedong, I've read Karl Marx, I've read Lenin, that doesn't make me a communist.  So what is wrong with understanding -- having some situational understanding about the country that we are here to defend?  And I personally find it offensive that we are finding the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers of being ‘woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there.

-- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley at a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing, responding to questions from two Republican lawmakers about the teaching of critical race theory at West Point, the United States Military Academy, 23 June 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

School Softball Cheer

F--- school, f--- softball, f--- cheer, f--- everything

-- 2017 Snapchat post by Pennsylvania cheerleader Brandi Levy which prompted a one-year suspension from the cheerleading program, and which was ruled constitutionally protected speech by the Supreme Court today, 23 June 2021

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Not Paying

The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels.  But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.  

-- Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion in National Collegiate Athletic Association v Shawne Alston, et al, which ruled unanimously that some NCAA restrictions on student athlete earnings are violations of antitrust law, 21 June 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021

We Convince Ourselves

There is a holy mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion.  By persuading others, we convince ourselves.

-- Junius, pseudonym of a writer who contributed a series of letters to the London Public Advertiser (published by Harry Sampson Woodfall) from January 21, 1769 to January 21, 1772, No. 35 (19 December 1769)


Friday, June 18, 2021

Holding Nothing Back

To be a good father means to offer everything, holding nothing back; to protect without suffocating; to pardon without asking anything in return; to wait patiently and trustingly.  It means following the example of the "Good Father" who is in heaven.  May God bless all fathers!

-- Pope Francis, via Twitter as @Pontifex, 19 March 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

ACA Still Stands

[W]e conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants' conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional.  They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision.  Therefore, we reverse the Fifth Circuit's judgment in respect to standing, vacate the judgment, and remand the case with instructions to dismiss.

It is so ordered.

-- Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the 7-2 Supreme Court majority in California v Texas, which challenged the constitutionality of the zeroed-out tax mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, upholding Obamacare for a third time, 17 June 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

S. 475 -- AN ACT To amend title 5, United States Code, to designate Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act".

SEC. 2. JUNETEENTH NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY AS A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY.

Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to Memorial Day the following:

" Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19.".

-- Text of Senate Bill S. 475, which passed the Senate June 15, 2021 and awaits President Biden's signature

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Decent Living

We find our population suffering from old inequalities, little changed by vast sporadic remedies.  In spite of our efforts and in spite of our talk, we have not weeded out the over privileged and we have not effectively lifted up the underprivileged.  Both of these manifestations of injustice have retarded happiness.  No wise man has any intention of destroying what is known as the profit motive; because by the profit motive we mean the right by work to earn a decent livelihood for ourselves and for our families.

We have, however, a clear mandate from the people, that Americans must forswear that conception of the acquisition of wealth which, through excessive profits, creates undue private power over private affairs and, to our misfortune, over public affairs as well.  In building toward this end we do not destroy ambition, nor do we seek to divide our wealth into equal shares on stated occasions.  We continue to recognize the greater ability of some to earn more than others.  But we do assert that the ambition of the individual to obtain for him and his a proper security, a reasonable leisure, and a decent living throughout life, is an ambition to be preferred to the appetite for great wealth and great power.

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945),  American statesman and political leader who served as the President of the United States from 1933, to 1945, Second State of the Union Address (4 January 1935)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Some Other Nonsense

If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again.  There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense.  If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

-- Penn Fraser Jillette (1955 -), American magician, scientific skeptic, actor, musician, inventor, television presenter, and author, best known for his work with fellow magician Teller as half of the team Penn & Teller, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, p. 129 (2011)

Friday, June 11, 2021

Reopening

* Upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

* Under Phase 5, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity.  Phase 5 also marks the return of traditional conventions, festivals, and large events without capacity restrictions.  Large gatherings of all sizes can resume across all industry settings, and Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors.

* All unvaccinated persons should wear face coverings in crowded settings, both indoors and outdoors, especially when youth are present. See CDC guidance for further information.

-- New guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, as Illinois today enters Phase 5 (Reopening) of the pandemic, 11 June 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Cardinal Method

The cardinal method with faults is to overgrow them and choke them out with virtues.

-- John Bascom (1827 - 1911), professor of rhetoric at Williams College from 1855 to 1874, and president of the University of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1887, quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 213

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Old Man

I'm not afraid of growing old.  I'm not sure that I'll ever be an old man.  Maybe in the chronological sense -- but that's all.

-- Solomon "Sol" Kerzner (1935 -), South African accountant and business magnate, "The Miniature Minotaur" by Jani Allan, from the Just Jani column of the Sunday Times (1980s), republished in Face Value by Jani Allan (1983)

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Films For The Blind

All I have to do is make you see this.  This one particular thing here.  That's all.  And sometimes it's impossible.  Sometimes, I know the best odds I can hope for are a thousand to one.  You'll see what you see, what your life has conditioned you to see upon encountering that combination of words, not what I want or need you to see.  Fiction writing is like making films for the blind.

-- Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (1964 -), Irish-born American author, paleontologist, and prolific blogger, blog entry at Unfit for Mass Consumption : The Online Journal of a Construct Sometimes Known as Caitlín R. Kiernan (Caitlín R. Kiernan's LiveJournal), 19 January 2005

Monday, June 07, 2021

Meta 40

Meta.  It occurred to me the other day that the 40th anniversary of the first Trvth note (on the CERL PLATO system, while I was working as a GS-9 Programmer for the Department of Defense at Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, IL (3330th Tech Training Wing)) was at hand.  I recollected it being May 1981, but a check of the archives shows a February 1981 entry as the first.

Anyway, 40 years.  In July 2019 I counted 5450 ish published, and it's been about 500 more since then, so now 6000 ish published.  The most recent 3500 ish (with titles that aren't "trvth", and images for each) are at trvth.org


***** appearances ~appleman / chanute ~2/24/1981 ~13:50
While nothing may seem to be as it first appears, there
are in fact some things which appear to be as they are,
amidst the other things which only appear to be as they
aren't.

Friday, June 04, 2021

It's For Them

The primary issue is how seriously we take our chosen obligations to people in the developing world who do not have Internet connections. ...  Frankly, and let me be blunt, Wikipedia as a readable product is not for us.  It's for them.  It's for that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she's empowered with the knowledge to do so.

-- Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales (7 August 1966 -), British-American Internet entrepreneur and wiki pioneer who is most famous as one of the founders of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation, Foundation-l mailing list (23 October 2005)

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Cannot Stay Silent

As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard.  I was going to get up here and talk to you about TV and content and media because those are things that are very important to me.  However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas.  Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions that take place after 6 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.  6 weeks.  Most women don't even realize they're pregnant by then.  And so, before they have the time to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human into the world, the decision has been made for them by a stranger.  A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.

I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions.  Every girl here does.  We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us.  I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I'm raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant.  I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.

And I'm talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring the students' efforts in twelve years of schooling, on a day where we're all brought together, on a day where you will be the most inclined to hear a voice like mine, a woman's voice, to tell you that this is a problem.  A problem that can't wait.  I refuse to give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights.  A war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters.

We cannot stay silent.

-- Paxton Smith, Lake Highlands High School Valedictory Address, Dallas, TX, 30 May 2021

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Bony, Labyrinthean Cave

Within a bony labyrinthean cave,
Reached by the pulse of the aerial wave,
This sibyl, sweet, and Mystic Sense is found,
Muse, that presides o'er all the Powers of Sound.

-- Abraham Coles (1813 - 1891), American physician, translator, author, Man, the Microcosm; and the Cosmos, p. 51 


[Today your humble narrator got hearing aids for the first time.  And just like that, I can see the leaves on the trees.]

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Felt Safe

I'm a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre.  Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 107th birthday.  

On May 31, of '21, I went to bed in my family's home in Greenwood.  I felt safe.  I had everything a child could need.  I had a bright future.

Within a few hours, all of that was gone.

I will never forget the violence of the White mob when we left our home.  I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street.  I still smell smoke and see fire.  I still see Black businesses being burned.  I still hear airplanes flying overhead.  I hear the screams.

I have lived through the massacre every day.  Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.  I will not.  And other survivors do not.  And our descendants do not.

-- Viola Fletcher (5 May 1914 -), speaking to members of a House Judiciary subcommittee about one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history, 19 May 2021

Monday, May 31, 2021

Not Just One

As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one.

-- Beth Pennington

Friday, May 28, 2021

Nothing More

When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.

-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778), Franco-Swiss philosopher of the Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism, (probably mis-) attributed

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Second Rate

And here's the reality that we have to face: If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we're not going anywhere.  Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle.

They will not be impressed by the sight of "yes men" and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago.

-- Former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, in the first in a series of addresses the Reagan Library will host this year on the future of the GOP, 27 May 2021

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Suspicions Well Founded

And of even greater importance to this decision, the affidavits are so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence.  The review of the unredacted document in camera reveals that the suspicions voiced by the judge in EPIC and the plaintiff here were well-founded, and that not only was the Attorney General being disingenuous then, but DOJ has been disingenuous to this Court with respect to the existence of a decision-making process that should be shielded by the deliberative process privilege.  The agency's redactions and incomplete explanations obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum, and the excised portions belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time.

There is also a problem with the "pre" portion of "pre-decisional."

-- US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a ruling (recently appealed) ordering the Department of Justice to release an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo that DOJ asserts was legal advice used to support AG William Barr's summary for Congress of the Mueller Report.  Emails in evidence show the OLC memo was in fact completed after the Congressional summary, and written by some of the same people.  3 May 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

My Advice

I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it to you.

-- Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694 - 1773), British statesman and man of letters, Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman (1774), entry for 5 February 1750

Monday, May 24, 2021

A Song, A Poem

Anything I can sing, I call a song.  Anything I can't sing, I call a poem.

-- Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on 24 May 1941), American folk and rock singer-songwriter, and 2016 Nobel laureate in Literature, Liner notes, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)