Saturday, February 2, 2019

The source...........................


"The source of everything respectable in man either as an intellectual or as a moral being is that his errors are corrigible . . . The whole strength and value of human judgment, depends on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong.

-John Stuart Mill

via via

Snow stomp art............................


...........................................I guess I knew there was such a thing, but this is pretty cool.  Actually, it's amazing.

The path to financial independence............


..............................................is no secret.  These sentences describe it as well as any:

"We prioritize saving money by treating it as a regular bill payment. Saving is non-negotiable."

-as culled from here

Well, good................



Some of the best advice...............


......................................................available anywhere:

"Just stay warm, look after your neighbour and as always stay grateful. And enjoy every minute."

Yep.....................................


















     via

Fifty years ago............................


Neil Diamond............................................................Holly Holy

Friday, February 1, 2019

Saving grace...............................
























via

I don't usually read Piers Morgan..........


......but when I do, it's because he has written something like this.   Three wee excerpts from his column about Howard Schultz:

"The truth is he thinks the whole Washington system is broken and needs whacking back into shape. And he’s absolutely right."

"He was also very exercised about enabling every American to live the American dream, a motivation driven by his own very underprivileged upbringing in the projects of Brooklyn."

"If the Democrats ignore him and keep going down the shrieking socialist route, they may know the price of Cheerios, but they will also be saying Cheerio to their chances of winning back the White House."

Fifty years ago..............................


Bob Dylan........................................................Lay Lady Lay

Opening paragraphs.........................


Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States without knowing it, at 2:15 in the morning of 14 September 1901.  He was bouncing in a buckboard down the rainswept slopes of Mount Marcy, in the Adirondacks.  Constitutionally, not so much as a heartbeat impeded the flow of power from his assassinated predecessor to himself.  Practically, more than four hundred miles of mud and rails still separated him from William McKinley's death chamber in Buffalo, where preparations for an emergency inauguration were already underway.

-Edmund Morris, from the Prologue to Theodore Rex

John Singer Sargent..................................


Theodore Roosevelt              John Singer Sargent   
 oil on canvass                                  1903


"I don't dig beneath the surface for things that don't appear before my own eyes."


"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth."

"Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend."

"Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation. Wherever you are, be always ready to make slight notes of postures, groups and incidents. Store up in the mind... a continuous stream of observations from which to make selections later. Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen."

-All quotes attributed to John Singer Sargent


On habits.......................................


The labels "good habit" and "bad habit" are slightly inaccurate.  There are no good habits or bad habits.  There are only effective habits.  That is, effective at solving problems.  All habits serve you in some way—even the bad ones—which is why you repeat them. . . . here is a question I like to use:  "Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be?  Does this habit cast a vote for or against my desired identity?"  Habits that reinforce your desired identity are usually good.  Habits that conflict with your desired identity are usually bad.

-James Clear,  Atomic Habits



Thursday, January 31, 2019

The one unbreakable law in the Universe.....



………………………….is the law of unintended consequences.


Steven Novella offers a look at the complexity of human emotions and behaviors, and recommends caution when trying to influence the same.

"Sun dogs"...................................


.........................................................................Who knew?

via

Can we all agree.........................


......................that the world would be a better place if Sippican Cottage and View From the Ledge were open for business again?

I suspect that kind of wisdom.....................


.....................................................is mighty elusive:

In a moment of rare generosity, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who got into hot water for his Davos comment that his "heart is Democratic but my brain is kind of Republican" said he has "no problem" paying higher taxes, as long as government spends that money wisely.

Fifty years ago................................


Sonny Charles & The Checkmates......................Black Pearl

I pray for the day..........................


................when pretty smart people can write simple essays without somehow bringing Trump into the story.  Am I the only one who thinks he is rotting their brains?

When he is right...........................


........................................................he is right.

"What happens to us matters a great deal, but even more powerful are the stories we repeat about what happened."



via


I'm not sure which I like more..........


..............the photography at the Astronomy Picture of the Day, or the educated guesses offered to describe and explain the pictures.


Ah, Grasshopper..........................









































































100+ more here

via

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fifty years ago............................


At the book store....................................................


An easterly is the most disagreeable wind in Lyme Bay — Lyme Bay being the largest bite from the underside of England's outstretched southwestern leg — and a person of curiosity could at once have deduced several strong possibilities about the pair who began to walk down the quay at Lyme Regis, the small but ancient eponym of the inbite, one incisively sharp and blustery morning in the late March of 1867.

-John Fowles, being the opening paragraph to The French Lieutenant's Woman

A few of my favorite things.................


1.   Revisiting fatherhood.  Anna Manchin's essay, The Marvel of the Human Dad looks at the evolutionary need for the homo sapien  dad.  "Looking back at our pool of knowledge from 10 years ago and comparing it to what we know today, my conclusion is this: we need to change the conversations we have about fathers. Yes, some fathers are absent, as are some mothers, and some might be the inept characters of marketing ads or cartoons, struggling to work the washing machine or to look after the baby alone. But the majority of fathers are not these people. We need to broaden our spectrum of who we think dad is to include all the fathers who stick around, investing in their children’s emotional, physical and intellectual development, regardless of whether they live with their children or not."

via

2.   The Not-So-Simple Village Undertaker takes a leap of faith.

3.   I suspect optimists really don't understand pessimists (and vice versa),  All the more reason to read stuff you disagree with.

via

4.   Mike Munger talks "laws", "legislation", and muddy paths.   Do follow the link to the  "Pittsburgh left turn".

History re-tweeting........................?


     But the biggest contributor to McKinley's standing in history was Theodore Roosevelt, whose leadership style could not have been further removed from that of McKinley.  Impetuous, voluble, amusing, grandiose, prone to making his territory with political defiance, Roosevelt stirred the imagination of the American people as McKinley never had.  To the Major's solidity, safety, and caution, the Rough Rider offered a mind that moved "by flashes or whims or sudden impulses," as William Allen White described it.  He took the American people on a political roller-coaster ride, and to many it was thrilling.
     But the New Yorker was never one to share the credit with others.  His theatrical self-importance led even his children to acknowledge that he wanted to be "the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

A politician's pledge.................


      As the nation mourned the loss of its leader and grappled with its third presidential murder in just thirty-six years, young Theodore Roosevelt took hold of the government with unbridled self-assurance.  He promptly issued what one biographer called "a solemn pledge" to be "one in purpose" with his predecessor.  "In this hour of deep and terrible bereavement," said the new president, "I wish to state that I shall continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for peace, prosperity, and the honor of the country."  Within twenty-four hours, however, Roosevelt demonstrated that his pledge wasn't so solemnly given after all.  It seems fear of a stock market swoon contributed more to his expression than any sincere regard for the dead leader or the mandate he had extracted from the voters.

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

Fifty years ago.............................


Canned Heat...........................................Going Up The Country

Recommended........................



Reelection.....................


      After all, following Andrew Jackson's second-generation era of American politics, few presidents had managed to vie seriously for a second term.  Since Jackson's reelection in 1832, nearly seventy years before, only three presidents had been elected twice:  Lincoln, Grant, and Cleveland.   Now McKinley also seemed poised to reach the fullest appropriate tenure established by Washington's two-term precedent.

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     With hostilities in the Philippines and global challenges such as the Boxer episode in China, not to mention ongoing troop commitments in Cuba and Puerto Rico, McKinley wanted to maintain a 100,000-troop army well into the future.  But such a standing army, absent major military imperatives, was unprecedented, and anti-imperialists had pressed hard on the issue during the campaign.  "If you are in favor of a large standing army," said Bryan, "you will vote the Republican ticket;  if you are opposed to a large standing army, to make subjects of a people of whom we cannot make citizens, you will vote for the Democratic ticket."  Bryan's plan:  get out of the Philippines and return to a small peacetime army.

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     Hanna revived the super-efficient organizational engine of four years earlier.  By late September it produced seventy different documents (brochures, letters, pamphlets), as well as ten or more different posters and lithographs.  It distributed 110 million individual items.  Newspaper inserts and supplementary materials amounted to two million copies per week.  McKinley speeches and utterances were translated into German, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Dutch, "and four or five other languages."  The aim was to break the electorate down into discrete ethnic groups for targeted messages.  The speakers bureau was revived to ensure that McKinley's message got to precisely the right location at the right time.

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McKinley carried Nebraska and South Dakota on his way to an Electoral College victory of 292 to 155.   Bryan carried the Solid South and four Western states, but the president captured the entire rest of the country.  His popular vote plurality was 859,694, some 200,000 more than his 1896 margin,

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

It's a choice...........................




"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

-attributed to Judy Garland

A straight course.....................


3.   Reserve your right to any deed or utterance that accords with nature.  Do not be put off by the criticisms or comments that may follow;  if there is something good to be done or said, never renounce your right to it.  Those who criticize you have their own reason to guide them, and their own impulses to prompt them;  you must not let your eyes stray toward them, but keep a straight course and follow your own nature and the World-Nature (and the way of these two is one).

-Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations, Book Five

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Except ...........................


..........................without a constitutional amendment that is:

“The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.” 

-Albert Gallatin

Hey Sweetie.................................


Problem solving....................



On respect...........................


     One of the most influential ethical theories, developed initially by the great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) says (among other things) that you should always treat people, including yourself, with the utmost respect, and never merely as a tool to get something you want.  If you treat someone merely as a tool, according to Kant, then you fail to treat them as a reasoning, self-directed person, and that is ethically wrong.  This is an ethical theory, or a proposal about what makes actions good or bad.  Roughly, an action is good only when it is respectful and bad when it is disrespectful.  For example, failing to pay someone for their work is bad because it fails to respect them and treats them as a mere tool.

-Nick Riggle, On Being Awesome:  A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck


Fifty years ago.................................


The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band.................Do Your Thing

Warren Weaver..........................


     Warren Weaver is not a household name, but he may be the most influential scientist you've never heard of, actively shaping three of the most important scientific revolutions of the last century—life sciences, information technology, and agriculture.   In 1932 Weaver joined the Rockefeller Foundation to lead the division charged with supporting scientific research.  Funding was scarce during the Great Depression, and the Rockefeller Foundation, with an endowment nearly twice the size of Harvard's at the time, was one of the most important patrons of scientific research in the world.  Over his nearly three decades at the Rockefeller Foundation, Weaver acted as a banker, talent scout, and kingmaker to support the nascent field of molecular biology, a term he himself coined.  Weaver had an uncanny knack for picking future all-stars.  Eighteen scientists won Nobel Prizes for research related to molecular biology in the middle of the century, and Weaver had funded all but three of them.

-Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt,  Simple Rules:  How To Thrive In A Complex World

Our essential ignorance................


Is science really gaining in its assault on the totality of the unsolved? As science learns one answer, it is characteristically true that it also learns several new questions. It is as though science were working in a great forest of ignorance, making an ever larger circular clearing within which, not to insist on the pun, things are clear... But as that circle becomes larger and larger, the circumference of contact with ignorance also gets longer and longer. Science learns more and more. But there is an ultimate sense in which it does not gain; for the volume of the appreciated but not understood keeps getting larger. We keep, in science, getting a more and more sophisticated view of our essential ignorance.

-Warren Weaver

This all seems very familiar..............


 
       As he did so often, the president wrapped himself in his country's flag.  Patriotism dripped from his words.  But he added a new element to the American story:  the idea that the nation was venturing into the world not for conquest or exploitation but to lift up less civilized people and foster productive and healthy nations where none before had existed.  There was a certain patronizing tone in these passages, even a condescension.  Perhaps it was inevitable in a world dominated by Western power, technology, mobility, and wealth, and when most other regions untended by Western colonialism seemed backward and helpless by comparison.  And the president's particular brand of idealistic expansionism certainly lent itself to allegations of hypocrisy, given the exploitation that inevitably accompanied most colonial enterprises, as Senator Hoar had noted.  Indeed the anti-imperialists savaged the speech, none more vociferously than Godkin in The Nation.  "There was not a spark of initiative or leadership in it," said the magazine, portraying McKinley as "one of those rare public speakers who are able to take a good deal of humbug in such a way as to make their average hearers think it excellent sense and exactly their idea."
     Perhaps Godkin's underlying complaint was that public sentiment coincided largely with the president's vision and not the anti-expansionist thinking of his magazine.  It was clear, in any event, that the Boston speech gave much of the country precisely what it wanted:  an agreeable rationale fro America's bold new venture into the world.  The anti-imperialists would continue their agitations, but the country's majority sentiment favored the expansionist urge—so long as it was executed smoothly and at an acceptable cost.

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

This too sounds familiar .............


     The war debate turned nasty when McKinley supporters blamed anti-imperialists for energizing Aguinaldo's cause even in the face of repeated defeats.  General Joseph Wheeler, now serving in Manila and sending the president back-channel assessments, said it was "fearful to think of American soldiers being killed by ignorant half savages who are encouraged to do so by expressions of American citizens."  Thomas Platt, in a provocative statement, accused antiwar Americans of taking "immoderate satisfaction" at America's military difficulties and deceiving Aguinaldo's forces into thinking McKinley's political opponents would win the next election and grant Philippine independence.  In this view, Aguinaldo's aim wan't necessarily to win battles but merely to hold on long enough to undermine American war support.

-Robert W. Merry,   President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

Monday, January 28, 2019

to take his hand..........................


     I had still another problem.  So much of my understanding of Christian duty had been framed by violence.  There are two teams and only one can win.  We must take the mountain, kill the giant, win the battle, defeat the enemy, fight for truth.  This language had subtly convinced me that I was just a mercenary for God, nothing else.
     I was tired of the violence.  I had a hard time seeing Christian service any other way.  I started thinking about getting out of the game altogether.  I daydreamed about a very quiet faith, a very private faith.  Maybe Jesus and I could retire.  Get a place down in Florida.  Maybe take up fishing.  Jesus likes fishing. . . .

     At the Horse Brass, voices like Katarina's helped me heal from my yesterdays, ragamuffins like Pope healed my ever-changing todays, and Dennis helped me move into my tomorrows with a belief that the God-life could be something other than mercenary.  Hope returned.  It often felt weak, but sometimes you only need a seed of hope to plant.
     So, I decided to stay in the game.  I tried to see each new opportunity through new eyes, free of violence, full of love.  I looked for opportunities not to fight for God, but to walk with him.  I began to believe that God was the one who was creatively tilling, planting, and harvesting all around me.  The joy was to take his hand as he led me into his eternal play of love.

-Tony Kriz,  Neighbors and Wise Men:  Sacred Encounters in a Portland Pub and Other Unexpected Places

Stark forces..............................


     Here's where McKinley showed the iron resolve normally kept shrouded behind his countenance of magnanimity.  Having explained how the stark forces of reality had imposed upon America the unsolicited duty of receivership, the president made clear there would be no turning back, no wavering, and no hand-wringing.  "Grave problems come in the life of a nation," said McKinley, "however much men may seek to avoid them.  They come without our seeking,—why, we do not know, and it is not always given to us to  know,—but the generation on which they are forced cannot avoid the responsibility of honestly striving for their solution."

-Robert W. Merry, President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

Distrust.........................


My story—I repeat— concerns the tectonic collision between a public which will not rule and institutions of authority progressively less able to do so.  My misgiving is that democracy will be ground to pieces under the stress.  An immense psychological distance separates the two sides, even as they come together in conflict.  This gulf is filled with dark matter:  distrust. . . .

What has changed, then is the public's distrust for authority—and its increased power,  in the age of the Fifth Wave, to translate that distrust into action. . . .

At some moment of 2011, the script went awry.  Toxic levels of distrust sickened democratic politics.  People began to mobilize for "real democracy," and denied that their elected representatives represented them.

-Martin Gurri,  The Revolt of the Public

Fifty years ago..........................


It's A Beautiful Day...................................................White Bird

A basic truth..........................


"Human affairs aren't like billiard balls or the orbits of the planets."

-Martin Gurri,   The Revolt of the Public

On war...........................


      He began with a brief rendition of the war and its aftermath, emphasizing the "universal and hearty commendation" that greeted the decisions and actions leading to victory.  But wars generate their own logic, often unforeseen and uncontrollable, and America's late war entrusted to the country the lands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.  "It is a trust we have not sought," said the president.  "It is a trust from which we will not flinch."

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century

One measure........................


"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."

-John Foster Dulles

Tougher than it looks....................


..................................identifying presidents by photograph.  Even us history majors missed 8.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

This is..................................



…………………………………………….really good news.

Makes perfect sense to me................


"There’s an old saying that history doesn’t rhyme but it does retweet."

-Ben Carlson, as extracted from this post about delivering on your promises.

A great day.....................................


.................................................................................for Mozart.

Be very careful what you wish for................


      In 1776 the Founding Fathers of the United States established the right to the pursuit of happiness as one of the three unalienable human rights, alongside the right to life and the right to liberty.  It is important to note, however, that the American Declaration of Independence guaranteed the right to the pursuit of happiness, not the right to happiness itself.  Crucially, Thomas Jefferson did not make the state responsible for its citizens' happiness.  Rather, he sought only to limit the power of the state.  The idea was to reserve for individuals a private sphere of choice, free from state supervision. . . . 
      Yet over the last few decades the tables have turned, and Bentham's vision* has been taken far more seriously.   People increasingly believe that the immense systems established more than a century ago to strengthen the nation should actually serve the happiness and well-being of individual citizens.  We are not here to serve the state — it is here to serve us.   The right to the pursuit of happiness, originally envisaged as a restraint on state power, has imperceptibly morphed into the right to happiness — as if human beings have a natural right to be happy, and anything which makes us dissatisfied is a violation of our basic human rights, so the state should do something about it.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow


*"the supreme good 'is the greatest happiness of the greatest number'"

Subjectivity........................


      One of the laws of consciousness is:  We are only subject to a negative thought or belief if we consciously say that it applies to us.  We are free not to choose to buy into a negative belief system.

-David Hawkins, Letting Go:  The Pathway of Surrender

Fifty years ago..............................


Peppermint Rainbow.............Will You Be Staying After Sunday?

On becoming...............................


     Building better habits isn't about littering your day with life hacks.  It's not about flossing one tooth each night or taking a cold shower each morning or wearing the same outfit each day.  It's not about achieving external measures of success like earning money, losing weight, or reducing stress.  Habits can help you achieve all of those things, but fundamentally they are not about having something.  They are about becoming someone.
     Ultimately, your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be.  They are the channel through which you develop your deepest beliefs about yourself.  Quite literally, you become your habits.

-James Clear,  Atomic Habits

Opening paragraphs........................


Lady Jane Grey, a red-haired, freckle-faced grandniece of Henry the Eighth, read, while still a girl, the Old Testament in Hebrew and Plato in Greek.  She was remarkable;  she was untoward.  A royal tutor once found her shut in her room reading an account of Socrates's execution for heresy, "with as much delite, as some jentleman wold read a merie tale."  She was thirteen.  The tutor confessed himself astonished.  Why, he asked, did she closet herself in her chamber to study the philosophy of death when she might instead hunt in the park with the duke and his duchess?
     She looked up from her book.  "They never felt, what trewe pleasure ment," she said.
     This scarcely slaked him.
     "And howe came you," inquired he, "to this deepe knowledge of pleasure?"
     "I will tell you," she obliged:  when she was in the company of other than books, she said, "I thinke my selfe in hell."

Jill Lepore,  Book of Ages:  The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Verse................................


25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

-The Holy Bible, King James Version, Luke 9:25