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)

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Rock

A new analysis of 1,300 films released from 2007 to 2019 found that just 5.9 percent of speaking characters were Asian or Pacific Islander.  Of the 1,300 films, just 44 had a lead or co-lead actor who was API, and in just six of them that lead or co-lead was a woman.  In fact, in 14 of the 44 films where the lead actor was API, that actor was Dwayne Johnson. 

-- Nancy Wang Yuen, Stacy L. Smith, Katherine Pieper, Marc Choueiti, Kevin Yao and Dana Dinh, in a report from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, via Numlock News: May 21, 2021

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Get The Answers

I recognize there are differing views on this issue, which is an inherent part of the legislative process and not something I take personally.

However, as the Republican leader of the Homeland Security Committee, I feel a deep obligation to get the answers U.S. Capitol Police and Americans deserve and ensure an attack on the heart of our democracy never happens again.

-- Representative John Katko (R-NY), who was authorized by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to negotiate a bipartisan deal "to establish the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex, and for other purposes."  The bill easily passed the House with support from 35 Republicans, despite McCarthy's refusal to support the deal, 18 May 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Cocksure Ignorance

Education is man's going forward from cocksure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty.

-- Kenneth G. Johnson, as cited in Michigan Education Journal, Volumes 36-37, page 285 (1958)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Skiing And Thinking

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than to go to church and think of sport.

-- Fridtjof Nansen (1861 - 1930), Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and champion skier as a youth, quoted in The New Yorker 86: p. 56. (15 March 2010)

Monday, May 17, 2021


All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.

-- Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS HonFRSE FLS (1825 - 1895), English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy, Lecture "On the Study of Biology" (1876) at South Kensington Museum, London, published in Collected Essays, vol 3, 1893

Friday, May 14, 2021

Perfect Encapsulation

Fascinated by how the behavior of the people who took 3 pieces of pizza at the pizza party because they thought it would run out and the people who took 1 piece for the exact same reason is such a perfect encapsulation of American beliefs about community.

-- Spencer, tweeting as @NobleSpencer, 12 May 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021

American Renewal

Alongside dozens of prominent Republicans, ex-Republicans and independents, we are announcing "A Call for American Renewal," a nationwide rallying cry against extremist elements within the GOP, and highlighting the urgent need for a new, common-sense coalition.

We urge fellow Americans to join us.

We will not wait forever for the GOP to clean up its act.  If we cannot save the Republican Party from itself, we will help save America from extremist elements in the Republican Party.

America cannot have just one party committed to preservation of its democratic institutions.  There must be at least two, if not more.

We still hope for a healthy, thriving Republican Party, but we are no longer holding our breath.

-- Former Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA), G W Bush Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, former Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, and former Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ), "The GOP has lost its way.  Fellow Americans, join our new alliance", Washington Post, 13 May 2021

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Remaining Silent

Remaining silent and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.

-- Former House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming, quoted by Alex Woodward in "Liz Cheney denounces Trump on eve of GOP vote", The Independent, 11 May 2021

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Purpose Of Aphorisms

The purpose of aphorisms is to keep fools who have memorized them from having nothing to say.

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), Russian-born American biochemist who was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, In Memory Yet Green (1979), p. 188

Monday, May 10, 2021

A Cult

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been.  The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), Russian-born American biochemist who was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, "A Cult of Ignorance", Newsweek (21 January 1980)

Friday, May 07, 2021


Men have been Laughed out of Faults which a Sermon could not reform.

-- Francis Hutcheson (8 August 1694 - 8 August 1746), Irish philosopher, The Dublin Weekly Journal, No. 12 (19 June 1725)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

History Is Watching

The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.  In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened -- we had witnessed it firsthand.

I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law.  Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution.  The electoral college has spoken.  More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president's arguments, and refused to overturn election results.  That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.

History is watching.  Our children are watching.  We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process.  I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.

-- House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming, "The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us", Washington Post, 5 May 2021

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Plot Twist

Since turning 60 a couple of years ago I've had a retirement plan targeted at age 68, six years from now, retiring with 16 years pension credit at the University of Illinois, on top of 26 years of existing credit with Social Security.  The university has been hit hard by costs related to the pandemic, and they're aiming to cut long-term employees with a cash incentive for those already eligible to retire.  As it happens, I'm eligible to repurchase 4 years pension credit from past employment at the Beckman Institute, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and 40 years ago when I worked on the PLATO computer system.  For me, the incentive is pretty much the same as the cost to repurchase that pension credit.  By retiring and taking my pension now, I'll be making more in 6 years than if I waited and retired in 6 years.

As a result of this arithmetic, I will be retiring from the university on July 1st of this year, at age 62.  I'll need to make some money to supplement my retirement, and to delay taking Social Security for a while.  Over the next 6 years, I plan to greatly expand my martial arts practice in Monticello.  I didn't expect an opportunity to reinvent myself at this point in my life, but I'm happy to give it a try.

Today is my birthday, and my last day, June 30th, is 8 weeks from today.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Prayer For Artists

Our idea, which art in the ether, that cannot be named:
Thy vision come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is an abstraction.
Give us this day our daily spark and forgive our criticisms,
as we forgive those who critique against us.
And lead us not into stagnation, but deliver us from ego,
for thine is the vision, the power, and the glory forever.  

-- Nina Paley (3 May 1968 -), American cartoonist, animator, and free culture activist, most famous for her film Sita Sings the Blues, "Nina Paley's Prayer for Artists (2018)"

Monday, May 03, 2021

2020 Census

2020 Census

Census Day was April 1, 2020


331,449,281 U.S. Resident Population

93.8 Population per square mile of land area

7.4 Percent increase of population from 2010 to 2020

50 Number of States

-- Top-line numbers from the 2020 decennial census