Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leap Day

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February eight-and-twenty all alone,
And all the rest have thirty-one:
Unless that leap-year doth combine,
And give to February twenty-nine.

-- Return from Parnassus (London, 1606)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Undefeated

But Father Time remains undefeated.  I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name.  It is time for the next generation of leadership.

So time rolls on.  There will be a new custodian of this great institution.  There will be other times to reminisce.  I'm immensely proud of the accomplishments I have played some role in obtaining for the American people.

Today is not the day to discuss all of that because, as I said earlier, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.  I still have enough gas in the tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm which they have become accustomed.

To my colleagues, thank you for entrusting me with our success.  It has been an honor to work with each of you.  There will be plenty of time to express my gratitude in greater detail as I sprint towards the finish line, which is now in sight.

-- Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announcing on the Senate floor that this will be his last term as Republican Leader (28 February 2024)

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Necessity

Money is the necessity that frees us from necessity. 

-- Wystan Hugh (W. H.) Auden (1907 - 1973), Anglo-American poet known for his vast poetic work in many forms on many themes, "A Poet of the Actual", p. 266

Monday, February 26, 2024

Standing Up

[F]orgive me if this sounds pompous, but it's better to die standing up than live on your knees.

-- Alexei Anatolievich Navalny (4 June 1976 - 16 February 2024), Russian opposition leader, dissident, lawyer, and anti-corruption activist, as quoted in "Net Impact: One man's cyber-crusade against Russian corruption" (4 April 2011), by Julia Ioffe, The New Yorker

Friday, February 23, 2024

Of Many Persuasions

But we must not forget that in our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic, and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds -- that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous.

-- Robert H. Jackson (1892 - 1954), United States Solicitor General (1938-1940), United States Attorney General (1940–1941) and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941–1954), American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 438 (1950)

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Odysseus

What we can confirm, without a doubt, is our equipment is on the surface of the moon and we are transmitting.  So congratulations.  Houston, Odysseus has found its new home.

-- Intuitive Machines Chief Technology Officer Tim Crain, on the success of their lunar lander Odysseus, which today became the first US vehicle on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, New York Times, 22 February 2024

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Beyond My Power

Of all the things that are beyond my power, I value nothing more highly than to be allowed the honor of entering into bonds of friendship with people who sincerely love truth.  For, of things beyond our power, I believe there is nothing in the world which we can love with tranquility except such men.

-- Benedictus de (Baruch) Spinoza (1632 - 1677), social and metaphysical philosopher known for the elaborate development of his monist philosophy, Spinoza, Correspondence, 146, Letter xix

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Liberty With Order

The choice is not between order and liberty.  It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either.  There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.

-- Robert H. Jackson (1892 - 1954), United States Solicitor General (1938-1940), United States Attorney General (1940–1941) and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941–1954), dissenting in Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949)

Monday, February 19, 2024

What Happens

That's what happens with guns.  Parades, rallies, schools, movies, it seems like almost nothing is safe. ...  We had over 800 officers there, staffed, situated all around Union Station today.  We had security in any number of places, eyes on top of buildings and beyond -- and there still is a risk to people.

-- Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, in comments after a shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl parade that killed 1 and injured 21 others, including 11 children, Vox, "How the Kansas City shooting proves the 'good guy with a gun' idea is a fallacy" (15 February 2024)

Friday, February 16, 2024

A Venial Sin

The English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) first declared, "To err is human, to forgive is divine."  Defendants apparently are of a different mind.

After some four years of investigation and litigation, the only error ("inadvertent," of course) that they acknowledge is the tripling of the size of the Trump Tower Penthouse, which cannot be gainsaid.  Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological.  They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money.  The documents prove this over and over again.

This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.  Defendants did not commit murder or arson.  They did not rob a bank at gunpoint.  Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff.  Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways.  Instead, they adopt a "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" posture that the evidence belies.

-- New York Judge Arthur Engoron ruling in People of the State of New York v Donald J. Trump and The Trump Organization, fining defendants roughly $350,000,000, 16 February 2024

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Every Single One

Every argument against this is wrong.  Every single one of them.   Most of the money's being spent here.  Europeans have done as much, and, after the $55 billion from the EU, more than we have.  Not a single American soldier has lost their lives in this fight -- we've got a bunch of people willing to kill Russians.  I can't find any argument against this that makes any sense.

-- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in an interview on CNN regarding a bi-partisan Senate bill providing more funding to Ukraine which is being blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives (14 February 2024)

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Greatest Of These

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

-- Paul (born Saul of Tarsus; c. 5 - c. 67), commonly known as Paul the Apostle and Saint Paul, Christian apostle (although not one of the original Twelve Apostles) who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world, I Corinthians Ch. 13 (KJV)

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Knowledge Of A Lifetime

John Ruskin: The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?

Whistler: No.  I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.

-- James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903), American-born, British-based painter and etcher, Whistler v. Ruskin (1878)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Prisoners

People are prisoners of their own perspectives.

-- Ryan Kyle Coogler (1986 -), American film director, producer and screenwriter, "Ryan Coogler On The Pain, Loss, And Triumph Of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'" in Uproxx (7 November 2022)

Friday, February 09, 2024

Words And Theory

Words and theory are not a substitute for the physical and mental training required to polish one's Kung Fu.  Yet, they are an essential part of the learning process, allowing the mind to process commands and concepts that help the body move in a special, Kung Fu way. 

-- Adam Hsu (1941 -), martial artist and essayist known for his expertise in various forms of Chinese martial arts, The Sword Polisher's Record; The Way of Kung Fu (1998)

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Chart Our Future

We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.

-- Adlai Stevenson II (1900 - 1965), American politician and statesman, noted for his skill in debate and oratory; Governor of Illinois; Speech, Richmond, Virginia (20 September 1952)

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Confession

There is a luxury in self-reproach.  When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us.  It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

-- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish dramatist, essayist, novelist, and poet, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) Chapter 8

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Citizen Trump

For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant.  But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution. ...

It would be a striking paradox if the President, who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity.

We cannot accept former President Trump's claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power -- the recognition and implementation of election results.  Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count. 

At bottom, former President Trump's stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches.  Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review.  We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.  Careful evaluation of these concerns leads us to conclude that there is no functional justification for immunizing former Presidents from federal prosecution in general or for immunizing former President Trump from the specific charges in the Indictment.  In so holding, we act, "not in derogation of the separation of powers, but to maintain their proper balance."

-- Ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in USA v Trump concluding that former president Trump is not immune to prosecution for acts related to the January 6th 2021 assault on the US Capitol (6 February 2024)

Monday, February 05, 2024

Do Anything

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

-- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish dramatist, essayist, novelist, and poet, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) Chapter 19

Friday, February 02, 2024

This Is A Test

This is a test.  Take notes.  This will count as 3/4 of your final grade.  Hints: remember, in chess, kings cancel each other out and cannot occupy adjacent squares, are therefore all-powerful and totally powerless, cannot affect each other, produce stalemate.  Hinduism is a polytheistic religion; the sect of Atman worships the divine spark of life within Man; in effect saying, "Thou art God."  Provisos of equal time are not served by one viewpoint having media access to two hundred million people in prime time while opposing viewpoints are provided with a soapbox on the corner.  Not everyone tells the truth.  Operational note: these sections may be taken out of numerical sequence: rearrange to suit yourself for optimum clarity.  Turn over your test papers and begin.

-- Harlan Jay Ellison (1934 - 2018), American author, in the first lines of his novelette, The Deathbird (1974)

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Something Ridiculous

There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.

-- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish dramatist, essayist, novelist, and poet, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) Chapter 7

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Sometimes

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.

-- Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish dramatist, essayist, novelist, and poet, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Monday, January 29, 2024

Too Important

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.

-- Robert R. Coveyou (1915 - 1996), American research mathematician, "Random Number Generation is too Important to be Left to Chance" (1969)

Friday, January 26, 2024

Others Just Gargle

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.

-- Robert Newton Anthony (1916 - 2006), American organizational theorist, and professor of management control at Harvard Business School, as quoted in Knowledge Nirvana (2002), p. 40

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Finding

A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

-- Robert Frost (1874 - 1963), American poet; four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Letter to Louis Untermeyer (1 January 1916)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Make Up Their Minds

The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.

-- Hannah Arendt (1906 - 1975), German-American political theorist whose work deals with the nature of power, authority, and totalitarianism, The Life of the Mind (1978), "Thinking"

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Best

The optimist believes that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that this might be the case.

-- Ivar Ekeland (2 July 1944 -), French mathematician of Norwegian descent, Senior Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), The Best of All Possible Worlds (2006) Introduction, p. 1

Monday, January 22, 2024

Deaf, Dumb, And Blind

It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world.  My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything.  If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind.  It's only possible to see people when one is able to see the world as others see it.

-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932 - 2007), American novelist, essayist, absurdist philosopher, and futurist, "Robert Anton Wilson: Searching For Cosmic Intelligence" - interview with Jeffrey Elliot (1980)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Some Forms

There are some forms of religion that must make God weep.

-- Karen Armstrong, FRSL (1944 -), British author and commentator of Irish Catholic descent known for her books on comparative religion, NOW Interview with Bill Moyers, at PBS (1 March 2002)

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

First Draft

The first draft of anything is shit.

-- Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961), American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, quoted in With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba by Arnold Samuelson (1984)

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Like A Hedgehog

An aphorism ought to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world like a little work of art and complete in itself like a hedgehog.

-- The Athenaeum Fragments or Aphorisms from the Athenaeum (German Athenäums-fragmente), collection of aphorisms published by Friedrich Schlegel in 1798, #206

Monday, January 15, 2024

Not A Day Off

Dr. King's birthday is a celebration of his life and values, but it is more than that.  The slogan "A Day On, Not A Day Off" is very important.  MLK Day is a day of learning, commitment and service, and I hope a great many students get involved.

-- Gloria Gibson, chair of the campus King Commission and associate vice chancellor of multicultural affairs, quoted in "Civil Rights Commission chair highlights celebration of Martin Luther King's life", Indiana University, (15 January 2002)

Friday, January 12, 2024

A Vacation

Life is a vacation from two eternities, who wants to waste those precious years worrying about what happens when you get back to forever?

-- William S. Burroughs II (1914 - 1997), American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Habituated

I complain about the United States not being Athens.  I certainly say we are a very good Roman republic, and the lies are based upon the most advanced techniques of advertising, which is the only art form my country has ever created -- the television commercial -- and we sell soap and presidents in the same fashion.  Once a country is habituated to liars, it takes generations to bring the truth back.

-- Gore Vidal (1925 - 2012), American writer of novels, essays, screenplays, and stage plays, in the documentary film "Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia" (2013)

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Splendor Of Things

I hate my verses, every line, every word.
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade's curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.
Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
One color, one glinting flash, of the splendor of things.

-- Robinson Jeffers (1887 - 1962), American poet, "Love the Wild Swan" (1935)

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

As Well As You Possibly Can

[G]o into the arts.  I'm not kidding.  The arts are not a way to make a living.  They are a very human way of making life more bearable.  Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake.  Sing in the shower.  Dance to the radio.  Tell stories.  Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.  Do it as well as you possibly can.  You will get an enormous reward.  You will have created something.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 - 2007), American novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, A Man Without a Country (2005)

Monday, January 08, 2024

Laws Of Motion

Laws of Motion, I: Every body perseveres in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed thereon.

Laws of Motion, II: The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impressed; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed.

Laws of Motion, III: To every action there is always opposed an equal and opposite reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.

-- Sir Isaac Newton (1643 - 1727), English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosopher"), Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687)

Friday, January 05, 2024

At Our Best

[O]urs is a country worthy of service, as many Republican presidents and Democratic presidents have shown over the years.  We're not perfect, but at our best, we face head on the good, the bad, the truth of who we are.  We look in the mirror and ultimately never pretend we're something we're not.  That's what great nations do.

We get up.  We carry on.  We never bow.  We never bend.  We speak of possibilities, not carnage.  We're not weighed down by grievances.  We don't foster fear.  We don't walk around as victims.  We take charge of our destiny.  We get our job done with the help of the people we find in America, who find their place in a changing world, and dream and build a future that not only they but all people deserve a shot at.

We don't believe, none of you believe America is failing.  We know America is winning.  That's American patriotism.  It's not winning because of Joe Biden.  It's winning.

-- President Joe Biden, speaking at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA (5 January 2024)

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Better

I've been poor and I've been rich.  Rich is better!

-- Beatrice Bakrow Kaufman (1895 - 1945), American editor, writer, and playwright, in Leonard Lyons' column, The Washington Post, 12 May 1937

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Faithful Adherents

There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), Russian-born American biochemist who was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, The Stars in Their Courses (1974), p. 36

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

The Something

I am only one, but I am one.  I can not do everything, but I can do something.  I must not fail to do the something that I can do.

-- Edward Everett Hale (1822 - 1909), American author and Unitarian clergyman, in a statement published in A Year of Beautiful Thoughts (1902) by Jeanie Ashley Bates Greenough, p. 172

Monday, January 01, 2024

Hello, 2024

The world population grew by 75 million people over the past year and on New Year's Day it will stand at more than 8 billion people, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.

The worldwide growth rate in the past year was just under 1%.  At the start of 2024, 4.3 births and two deaths are expected worldwide every second, according to the Census Bureau figures.

The growth rate for the United States in the past year was 0.53%, about half the worldwide figure.  The U.S. added 1.7 million people and will have a population on New Year's Day of 335.8 million people.

-- Mike Schneider, "World population up 75 million this year, standing at 8 billion on Jan. 1", Associated Press, 28 December 2023