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


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


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


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


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


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