Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Decreased Substantially

I look at it this way.  The first time we have an excuse.  There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge.  All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.

-- Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator under the Trump administration, in an interview with CNN, 27 March 2021

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Crime Pays?

Obviously, crime pays, or there'd be no crime.

-- George Gordon Battle Liddy (30 November 1930 - 30 March 2021), chief operative for President Richard Nixon's White House Plumbers unit when they broke into the Watergate complex, which at the time was the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, in 1972, as quoted in "Does Crime Pay" in The Scandal Annual (1987) by the Paragon Project, p. 7

Monday, March 29, 2021

Every Blade Of Grass

I remember every blade of grass from my childhood.

-- Beverly Atlee Cleary (12 April 1916 - 25 March 2021), American writer of children's and young adult fiction, Columns magazine interview, September, 2008

Friday, March 26, 2021

Art Of The Possible

Die Politik ist die Lehre vom Möglichen (Politics is the art of the possible).

-- Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1815 - 1898), German aristocrat and statesman; he was Minister President of Prussia (1862-1890), and the first Chancellor of Germany (1871-1890), interview (11 August 1867) with Friedrich Meyer von Waldeck of the St. Petersburgische Zeitung

Thursday, March 25, 2021

That's Heroism

I'm proud of what I did, but at the same time, I'm surprised by it.  My guess is that you have surprised yourself, too -- that there have been times when you didn't put much forethought into the moment but, looking back, you realize how boldly you acted.  It may have been the action of a moment or it could have been the strength and persistence of weathering a particularly difficult season in your life.  As you reflect on it now, you are probably surprised at what you were capable of doing.  The fallout of that time for you might not be as readily obvious as mine was, but the idea is the same: You did what you had to do and you made your world -- our world -- a little bit better.  That's courage.  That's heroism.  That's honor.  Thank you for your service.

-- William Kyle Carpenter (17 October 1989 -), medically retired US Marine who received the United States' highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010.  Carpenter is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient.  You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For (2019) p. 304

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Substance, Quality, Or Relation

But suppose we take the noun "truth": here is a case where the disagreements between different theorists have largely turned on whether they interpreted this as a name of a substance, of a quality, or of a relation.

-- John Langshaw Austin (1911 - 1960), English philosopher of language and speech theorist, remembered primarily as the developer of the theory of speech acts, Philosophical Papers (1979) edited by James Opie Urmson and Geoffrey James Warnock, 3rd edition, p. 73

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

In America, We Can't

In so many ways, our lives may soon start to return to normal after a long, difficult year filled with so much loss.  But in a normal life, we should be able to buy groceries without fear.  We should be able to go to school, or go out with our friends, or worship together without mentally planning our escape if someone shows up with a gun.  We should be able to live our lives without wondering if the next trip outside our home could be our last.

We should.  But in America, we can't.

A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country. ...  [T]his is a normal we can no longer afford.

-- Former president Barack Obama, in a statement about yesterday's mass shooting in Boulder, CO, 23 March 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021

Greatest Barrier

The greatest barrier to consciousness is the belief that one is already conscious.

-- Peter Dimianovich Ouspensky (1878 - 1947), Russian mystic philosopher, The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution (1950)

Friday, March 19, 2021

Grim Reaping

  • Total US deaths due to covid since 18 March 2020 : 547,510
  • Number of minutes in a year : 525,600
  • Deaths per minute over that 525,600 minutes : 1.04
  • Average rate at which Americans died of covid : 57.5 sec

I have to say, I'm impressed by these numbers.  For me that death rate was unimaginable 13 months ago.  I knew that it got high during the peaks, but until the anniversary of the shutdown I didn't think to notice that total deaths exceeded the minutes in a year.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Future Self

Your future self is watching you right now through your memories.

-- Aubrey de Grey (1963 -), English author and biomedical gerontologist

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Emotional Stress

I got my first Pfizer shot last week.  It's amazing how much emotional stress and baggage we carry around from this pandemic.  That shot is not only a vaccine, it's a cathartic.

-- Long-time friend and former bowling partner Patrick O'Halloran, replying to @RageMichelle as TheRealPatrick @TheRealPOH on Twitter, 11 March 2021

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Functionally Illiterate

If you haven't read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren't broad enough to sustain you. 

-- James Norman Mattis (1950 -), retired US Marine Corps general, and 26th US Secretary of Defense, Call Sign Chaos (2019)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Virtue Signalling

virtue signalling

noun: the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.

"It's noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things"

-- Definition of Virtue Signalling from Oxford Languages, via Google Search

Friday, March 12, 2021

Accountability Culture

Cancel culture is not a threat to free speech -- it is a manifestation of it.  Cancel culture is an evolving form of democratic discourse where individuals use their free speech rights to form masses.  These masses exert pressure on people and institutions.  A better term for it would be "accountability culture."

Americans have long used their rights to free expression to hold public officials, institutions and corporations accountable.  Groups, including conservatives, have organized boycotts.  They have called for people to resign.  They have protested.

[T]hose who decry the free speech dangers of cancel culture really just don't like how other people are using their free speech rights.

-- Jared Schroeder and Jessica Maddox, 'Cancel Culture' is just free speech holding others accountable, The Hill, 11 March 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Impediment To Action

In a sense, people are our proper occupation.  Our job is to do them good and put up with them.  But when they obstruct our proper tasks, they become irrelevant to us -- like sun, wind, and animals.  Our actions may be impeded by them, but there can be no impeding our intentions or our dispositions.  Because we can accommodate and adapt.  The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.  The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.

-- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 - 180), Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher, Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book V, 20  (Hays translation)

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Protect These Values

[A]s our state legislators seek to turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting for many Georgians, I am disheartened, saddened, and angry.  Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced -- allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures.  The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters.

American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure.  It should be flexible enough to meet the electorate's changing needs.  As Georgians, we must protect these values.  We must not lose the progress we have made.  We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others.  Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.

Statement by former President Carter on Efforts to Restrict Voting Access, 9 March 2021

Monday, March 08, 2021

Consequences And Rules Of Action

The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning.  This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point.  It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it.

-- Albert Camus (1913 - 1960), French Pied-Noir author, absurdist philosopher, and 1957 Nobel laureate in Literature, review of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, published in the newspaper Alger Républicain (20 October 1938), p. 5

Friday, March 05, 2021

Two Things

Two things have always been true about human beings.  One, the world is always getting better.  Two, the people living at that time think it's getting worse.

It's because you get older, your responsibilities are different.  Now I'm taking care of children instead of being a child.  It makes the world look scarier.  That happens to everyone.

-- Penn Fraser Jillette (5 March 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, "Honest Questions with Penn Jillette" (2 November 2007), CNN

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Proud To Remember

You have many years to live -- do things you will be proud to remember when you're old.

-- John Kilian Houston Brunner (1934 - 1995), British author of science fiction novels and stories, in his Hugo Award winning novel Stand on Zanzibar (1968), continuity (27) "Manscape"

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

The Laborer Can Strike

I am glad to know that there is a system of labor where the laborer can strike if he wants to!  I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world.

-- Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), 16th President of the United States, speech at Hartford, Connecticut (5 March 1860), Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 4, page 7, h/t Steve Inskeep @NPRinskeep

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Make A Few Changes

But if I ran the zoo,
    Said young Gerald McGrew, 
I'd make a few changes.
    That's just what I'd do.

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss (2 March 1904 - 24 September 1991), "If I Ran The Zoo", stanza 2, lines 1-4 (1950)

Monday, March 01, 2021

Focused On Process

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best.  It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough -- that we should try again.  No.  We should not.  Focused on process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure.  Focused on product, the same creative life can feel foolish or barren.

-- Julia Cameron (4 March 1948 -), American teacher, author, and artist, Inspirations : Meditations from The Artist's Way (2001)