Wednesday, November 30, 2022

RIP Christine McVie

For you, there'll be no more crying
For you, the sun will be shining
And I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score

-- Christine Anne McVie (12 July 1943 - 30 November 2022), English musician, singer, and songwriter, lyrics from Songbird, from the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours (1977)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Respect For Marriage Act

This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.

Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)

The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.

-- Summary of S. 4556, Respect for Marriage Act, passed by the US Senate 29 November 2022, expected to pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden

Monday, November 28, 2022

Not What They Appear

Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.

-- Siddhārtha Gautama (c. 563/624 - c. 483/544 BCE) also called the Gautama Buddha, monk, philosopher, teacher, and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded, believed to have lived in ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, Shurangama Sutra, as quoted in 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom (2006) by David Ross

Friday, November 25, 2022

Now It Is Our Turn

Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand.  Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933.  Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics.

-- David L. Goodstein, in the opening sentences of his textbook, States of Matter (1975), as quoted in Kannan Jagannathan's review of Eric Johnson's Anxiety and the Equation: Understanding Boltzmann's Entropy, American Journal of Physics 87, 765 (2019)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

No One Would Be In Need

"But whom do I treat unjustly," you say, "by keeping what is my own?"  Tell me, what is your own?  What did you bring into this life?  From where did you receive it? ...  For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

-- Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great (~329 - 379), Byzantine bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Homily 6, "I Shall Tear Down My Barns," C. P. Schroeder, trans., in Saint Basil on Social Justice (2009), p. 69

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Gratitude Bestows Reverence

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life (is it abundant or is it lacking?) and the world (is it friendly or is it hostile?).

-- Sarah Ban Breathnach (5 May 1947 -), author, philanthropist, and public speaker, in Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude (1996)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.

-- Nathaniel Lee (c. 1653 - 1692), English dramatist, remark after being incarcerated in Bedlam for five years, as quoted in the Introduction of A Social History of Madness : The World Through the Eyes of the Insane (1987) by Roy Porter

Monday, November 21, 2022

Constant Companions

Ignorance and confidence are constant companions.

-- John David McAfee (1945 - 2021), American computer programmer, businessman, and founder of McAfee Anti-Virus company, Into the Heart of Truth (2001)

Friday, November 18, 2022

You Have To Adapt

I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do.  I've tried to get ahead of it.  You can't just try to do the same thing you did the year before.  But yeah, kind of the stigma that as you get older, you're going to keep getting worse.  I mean, nobody likes that.  They don't like being told you can't do something, so it's definitely motivation.

-- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, on being voted the National League MVP, in an interview on MLB Network (17 November 2022).  Goldschmidt led the NL in slugging (.578) and OPS (.981), hitting .317 with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs for the season

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A New Generation

Now, we must move boldly into the future: grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far and open to fresh possibilities for the future.

Scripture teaches us that: "For everything there is a season -- a time for every purpose under heaven."

My friends, no matter what title you all, my colleagues, have bestowed upon me -- Speaker, Leader, Whip -- there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this Floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco.

This I will continue to do as a Member of the House: speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great State of California and defending our Constitution.

And with great confidence in our Caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic Leadership in the next Congress.

For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect.

-- Nancy Patricia Pelosi (1940 -), American politician serving as speaker of the US House of Representatives since 2019, and previously from 2007 to 2011, in a floor speech announcing her future plans, 17 November 2022

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Only Irony

If parody alone can adequately render the reality of our times, only irony offers us the freedom and detachment that are the essential condition of responsible analysis and action.

-- Theodore Ziolkowski (1932 - 2020), scholar in the fields of German studies and comparative literature, in the Foreword of a 1969 edition of The Glass Bead Game (1943) by Hermann Hesse

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

When They See It

Arizonans know BS when they see it.

-- Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake, in a tweet that ironically explains her loss to Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs, 14 November 2022

Monday, November 14, 2022

A Milestone

On 15 November 2022, the world's population is projected to reach 8 billion people, a milestone in human development.  This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine.  It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries.

While it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 to 8 billion, it will take approximately 15 years -- until 2037 -- for it to reach 9 billion, a sign that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing.

-- Statement by the United Nations on their "Day of Eight Billion" web page

Friday, November 11, 2022

You Kept The Faith

Today we pay homage not only to those who gave their lives but to their comrades present today and all across the country.  You didn't forget.  You kept the faith.  You walked from the litter, wiped away your tears, and returned to the battle.  You fought on, sustained by one another and deaf to the voices of those who didn't comprehend.  You performed with a steadfastness and valor that veterans of other wars salute, and you are forever in the ranks of that special number of Americans in every generation that the Nation records as true patriots.

-- President Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004), Remarks at Dedication Ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Statue, 11 November 1984

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Fear Of One Evil

Souvent la peur d'un mal nous conduit dans un pire.

Often the fear of one evil leads us into a worse.

-- Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636 - 1711), commonly called Boileau, French poet and critic, The Art of Poetry (1674), Canto I, l. 64

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The Privilege To Concede

I have a privilege right now, a privilege, as someone who was the Democratic nominee, I have the privilege to concede this race to J.D. Vance.  Because the way this country operates is that when you lose an election, you concede.  And you respect the will of the people.  Right?  We can't have a system where if you win, it's a legitimate election, and if you lose, someone stole it.  That is not how we can move forward in the United States. 

-- Democratic senate candidate Tim Ryan, in his concession speech acknowledging the electoral victory of Republican J. D. Vance, 8 November 2022

Monday, November 07, 2022

What Has Gone Wrong

When citizens are relatively equal, politics has tended to be fairly democratic.  When a few individuals hold enormous amounts of wealth, democracy suffers.  The reason for this pattern is simple.  Through campaign contributions, lobbying, influence over public discourse, and other means, wealth can be translated into political power.  When wealth is highly concentrated -- that is, when a few individuals have enormous amounts of money -- political power tends to be highly concentrated, too.  The wealthy few tend to rule.  Average citizens lose political power.  Democracy declines. 

-- Benjamin I. Page (born c. 1939 -), Gordon S. Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, with Martin Gilens, Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (University of Chicago Press: 2017), p. 19

Friday, November 04, 2022

First Rate

I wrote somewhere once that the third-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the majority, the second-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the minority, and the first-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking.

-- Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne (1882 - 1956), English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, War with Honour, Macmillan War Pamphlets, Issue 2 (1940)

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Poetry Of Words

I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty.

-- Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849), American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic, The Poetic Principle (1850)

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Each Opening Creating Another

The difference between an expert and a novice fighter is that the expert makes use of each opportunity and follows up on each opening.  He makes use of his sensitive and dominating aura and his imposing rhythm.  He delivers his blows and/or kicks in a well-planned series, each opening creating another, until finally a clean shot is obtained.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 208

[This sounds like business advice, pocket billiards, and martial arts all at once.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2022


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

-- Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne (1882 - 1956), English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, Year In, Year Out, page 130 (1952)