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If according to times and needs you should be obliged to make fresh rules and change certain things, do it with prudence and good advice.
    —    St. Angela Merici
[It would be “nice” if politicians (both side) could just vote on issues.  The problem is:  if you vote, you can be held accountable by your constituents.  If you don’t / never vote, you can’t.  The Senate is “supposed” to be a deliberative body.  It is supposed to slow the blood-rush from the House.  It may even deny what the “people” want because it feels the House is acting from exuberance.  This was the initial purpose of the filibuster.  Then, when it started to be used to prevent all activity, it was modified to allow the “paper” (i.e., non-talking) filibuster.  This effectively killed a bill with no explanation, debate or vote – on cloture or on the actual bill.  Perfect non-accountability!  Reverting to the “must talk” prior rule, would be a good start, but the bottom line is we must end the filibuster completely.  It is not in the Constitution and is merely an agreed convention within the particular chamber (the Senate).  At the moment, we allow our political “leaders” to avoid debating the merits of a bill, voting to vote on a bill (cloture), and voting on the actual bill.  And then they say (claim):  “It wasn’t me!  It never came up for a vote!)    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Be Creative, Question Assumptions
By No Means
2020 I’ll Eat To That (Gemütlichkeit)
To The Front
2019 #ContinueToResist
Except Willful Ignorance And Prideful Stupidity
2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
Two Geniuses
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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The high-minded man must care more for what is right than for what people think.
    —    Aristotle
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On This Day In:
2021 DIY: Outdoor Gym Modifications (2)
Inauguration Day 2021
(Hopefully) Good-Bye To The Trump Dark Ages
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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That a thing is true, is no reason that it should be said, but that it should be done.
    —     Cardinal John Henry Newman
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On This Day In:
2021 Tomorrow President Biden Starts Wrestling
Good-Bye #45
2020 The Burden Of Faith
On To Superbowl LIV (54)!!
2019 Are Your Dogs Barking?
Dangerous Waistcoats
2018 And 40+ Years Later?
2017 He Is Alone
2016 Compensation
2015 Charlie Redux
2014 The Crux
2013 Erosion And Rechannelling
Alliance, n.
2012 How Many Thought… (One I Know Of)
Choices And Decisions
2011 Speed Spoils
Simply Intended
2010 A Second 4 Hour Jog

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The house of delusions is cheap to build, but draughty to live in.
    ––     A. E. Housman
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On This Day In:
2021 An Obligation To Condemn Is Not An Obligation To Ban
Caught In The Rain
2020 Me Too
2019 #45: Whitewalkers Tremble, Treason Is Forever
2018 Light Or Darkness
2017 Doubtful Education
2016 Absolute
2015 Still The Best Teacher
2014 Inside The Soul
2013 A Toe In The River
2012 Believe It Or Not
2011 The Road To Recovery (And More Myths)

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Science is … a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.  If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 I’d Argue Wealth, Then Income
Knock Him Off His Feet
2020 Steppin’…
2019 Every Vote Counts
2018 Or A President
2017 Pleasures
2016 Why Not?
2015 Je Suis Charlie
2014 To The Nines
2013 Higher And Truer
2012 Life’s Last Question
2011 A Single Heartbeat
A Little Male Humor – WHY MEN SHOULDN’T RETIRE

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“The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Project.
“Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group.  “But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally.  The system didn’t work magically.  Democracy is not self-executing.”
From an article written by:  Molly Ball
The article is titled:  “How Close We Came:  The secret history of the shadow campaign that saved the election
Appearing in:  Time Magazine
Dtd:  15 February 2021
[This story is not even close to being over.  Unless there is a massive turnout of Democrats this November, the Republicans will likely take both the House and the Senate.  If that happens, the treasonous insurrection of 6 January 2021 will be swept under the rug and the Republicans will use their dominance at the state level to guarantee the election of a Republican nominee, irrespective of the actual vote totals.  They will “find” the votes necessary to win.  Voter suppression and fake ballots?  You ain’t seen nothing yet…  After all, to Republicans it seems it is less important who wins the election at the ballot box than who actually gets to take office and rule.  (And, yes, I said “rule”.  Not “govern”; rule.)    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Elections Have Consequences
It’s Cold Way Down There
2020 Fearless Security
2019 I Prefer A Neat Single Malt
2018 Seeking Finer Fruits
2017 Something That Is Absolute
2016 Animate And Encourage
Out Of Time
2015 In Time
2014 Robust Interconnectivity
2013 What Have We Here?
2012 Tributaries And Eddies
An Honest Politician
2011 Penultimate

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Progress is what happens when impossibility yields to necessity.
    —    Arnold H. Glasow
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On This Day In:
2020 Boxing Day 2020
Fractal Branches
Advice For Sons, Too
2019 Almost Soulful Pleasure
2018 Cursive In The News
2017 Coffee Crunch
2016 Preparation
2015 Scarcely Asked
2014 They Resemble Us
2013 Both
2012 That’s Success!
2011 Losing At Dominoes
2010 1,001

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Black people, like all racial groups, are knowledgeable and ignorant, law-abiding and lawbreaking, secure and insecure, hardworking and lazy.  The racial groups are equals, and what makes the racial groups equals is our common humanity;  and our common humanity is imperfect and complex.
Mobs have amassed in front of our Capitol and told us we are stealing their country, and told us to go back to our “sh-thole” countries, which caused us to lean in and create more unapologetically.  When the violence and intimidation did not work, the discrediting began, saying we hated white people since we didn’t worship white people;  saying we hated America because we didn’t worship America as exceptional.  Because in racist minds Black people either worship white people or hate white people.  In racist minds, white people can’t just be people like we are.  Black people can’t just be ourselves, like they are.
    —    Ibram X.  Kendi
From the essay / article:  “The Renaissance Is Black
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  15 / 22 Feb. 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 At The Very Least Smile More
Your Touch
2019 Still Working On Both
2018 Two Jordans To Heaven
Speaking Of #45
2017 All Greek To Me
2016 Judgment
2015 I Love Bacon, Too
2014 The Wee Bit
2013 Reading Rules
2012 Cadet Prayer
2011 Easy To Tell
2010 A NEW Lion In The Senate (Channeling Mr. Smith)
Inception Redux
A Quick Hit Of Stats

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Conversations about democracy, technology and the economic dominance of surveillance capitalism are now inseparable.  Looking ahead to the year 2030, I put my bet on democracy because it’s the best idea humanity has ever had, despite all of its obvious imperfections.  When I wake up every morning, I’m thinking about what I can do to contribute to this so that our societies mobilize to double down on democracy.  This begins with saying out loud that the current state of affairs is intolerable.  As citizens, we begin by joining together in our communities, organizations, associations, political networks to demand an end to commercial surveillance.  Our lawmakers hear from the tech lobbyists every day.  They need to feel us at their backs instead.  We are poised at a new beginning, and not a moment too late.
    —    Shoshana Zuboff
From her interview:  “Living up to the promises of the digital age
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Still On The Obstacle Course?
Thunder
2019 Expecting A December Correction
2018 Dominoes II (Update From Last Year’s Post)
2017 Dominoes
2016 Itchin’
2015 In The Not So Distant Future
2014 Sources
2013 Three Essentials
2012 Just Looking
2011 Religious Lessons
2010 View From Under The Bus… (A mid-term report card on the Obama Administration. Long, but still worth reading for historical perspective.)

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A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize;  it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.
    —     Sir Winston Churchill
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On This Day In:
2020 #45: And State Prison Waits When You Leave Office
I Keep Getting Up
Difficult To Relax
2019 Looking For A Republican With A Profile In Courage
2018 Hammers, Bells And Songs
2017 My Friends
2016 In Need Of Some Work
2015 Elections Have Consequences
2014 An Ear Of Happy Accidents
2013 Powerful Substitute
2012 Heroes Restored
2011 As You Should

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There is no other species on the Earth that does science.  It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason:  it works.  It is not perfect.  It can be misused.  It is only a tool.  But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything.  It has two rules.  First:  there are no sacred truths;  all assumptions must be critically examined;  arguments from authority are worthless.  Second:  whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised.  We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
     —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Precarious Fools
A Shining City Upon A Hill
2019 How #45’s Father Raised Him For Incompetence
2018 Describing #45 – “The Loser” – As A Successful Businessman
Raking – #PresidentIdiot Proposes Full Employment For California
2017 Federal Deficit, National Debt And Tax Cuts For The 1%
2016 Picky, Picky, Picky
2015 Another Limitation On Religion
2014 Enduring
2013 Tell Me More…
2012 Passing…
2011 Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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Personal autonomy and democracy are under assault from surveillance capitalism.  And yet today’s tech industry is largely unregulated, having emerged in the midst of an era of deregulation and defunding of enforcement agencies.  This has allowed tech giants to behave as unelected governments.  Their communications systems have become central to our way of life, as the impact of this week’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage underscores, but they have their thumb on the scale, amplifying content that triggers fear and outrage because doing so maximizes profits.
The sad truth is that the unregulated tech industry produces products that are unsafe.  Congress has faced the challenge of dangerous products in the past.  When the food and medicine industries were unsafe, Congress created the Food and Drug Administration.  When petrochemical companies dumped toxic waste indiscriminately, Congress approved a series of environmental laws.  Just like tech companies today, the affected industries claimed they would not be able to operate with regulation, but that turned out to be wrong.  Now we need something like an FDA for technology products, designed to prevent harmful technologies from coming to market.  For qualifying products, it would set safety standards, require annual safety audits and certification as a condition for every product, and impose huge financial penalties for any harms that result.  There should also be amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to create better incentives for Internet platforms.
Congress also needs to protect people’s privacy from relentless surveillance.  My preference would be for Congress to ban surveillance capitalism just as it banned child labor in 1938.  (The many industries that employed child labor complained then that they could not survive without it.)  At a minimum, Congress must ban third-party use of sensitive data, such as that related to health, location, financial transactions, web browsing and app data.
The third area for legislation is competition, where Congress needs to update antitrust laws for the 21st century.  The six-hour outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp illustrated for many one downside of monopoly:  absolute dependence on a service.
All of this may be true in Mark Zuckerberg’s mind, but the design of Facebook’s business model suggests that growth and profits are the only factors driving “the company we know.”
Based on the evidence of the past five years, one might say that Internet platforms have launched an attack against democracy and self-determination.  It is a battle they will win unless voters and policymakers join forces to reassert their power.  We have been losing the battle since 2016, but I would like to believe that this week was a turning point.
We have the power.  The question is whether we have the courage to use it.
     —     Roger McNamee
From the article:  “Facebook Will Not Fix Itself
Appearing in:  Time Magazine; dtd: 25 Oct / 1 Nov 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Two Quotes Which Remind Me Of Our Lame Duck President
Still Running
2019 I’m Up For Trying
60 Day Health / Weight Update (Nov 2019)
2018 #PresidentBoneSpur
2017 My Staggering Confusion
Zapped!!!
2016 And Bloggers?
2015 Ethical Energy
2014 Are You Likely To Defend It?
2013 Might As Well
2012 The Long And Short Of It
2011 Bravery

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A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.
    —    Warren Buffett
[We are a republic because the “Founders” did NOT believe in the shared ignorance of the common man to run a government.  They believed representatives could gain expertise, but would fundamentally vote their conscious for a common good.  It is not at all clear the latter assumption remains true.  It is increasingly difficult to vote out of office ANYONE who no longer represents the electorate, because of the massive amounts of monies required to conduct modern campaigns.  Without the check of a suitable AND viable alternative replacing you at every election cycle, today’s politicians tend to vote in their interest and not in the interest of the electorate.  This is both the power of and threat from office holder incumbency.
In fairness to the “Founders”, it is also highly unlikely they imagined modern medicine would extend the lives (and working careers) of an average politician into their 70’s and 80’s.  The working assumption was political office would be a part-time thing or a crowning lifetime achievement, and not a life-long career.  The expectation was that most would HAVE to go back to look after their families, their farms / land, or their businesses.  This is obviously no longer the case – as long as you can retain the power of your elected office.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 One Is Not Plural
On And On…
2019 I Think I’ve Just Been Argoted
2018 Good-Bye AG Jeff Sessions
2017 On Our Wall (Part 2)
2016 I Beg The Question
2015 By Their Fruit
2014 Proven Worth
2013 From Missouri
2012 Recipe To Write: Start With One Aching Urge
2011 Ip And Rib
Real Things
2010 Final Competition

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We can imagine a modern-day Virgil leading us through the various circles of corporate misconduct.  Perhaps the first circle is for greed and populated by overpaid executives, the second circle contains the polluters, the next for lobbyists for special tax breaks and another for those involved in regulatory demolition.
At the ninth circle, we find the most egregious forms of corporate misconduct — companies who provide misleading or fraudulent information about their own products.  Such behavior is a risk to the public that the company is uniquely positioned to understand.  It is worse than simple thievery because those who are most knowledgeable use their knowledge to mislead their customers.
When Dante wrote Inferno, he described the ninth circle of hell as the deepest one, where treachery resides and where hosts betray their guests:
By effect of his malicious thoughts,
Trusting in him I was made prisoner,
And after put to death.
(Inferno, Canto XXXIII)
So it is with companies in the ninth circle.  We are indeed prisoners when we unwittingly trust malicious companies who invite us as guests into their showrooms.  These firms know about their dangerous products, withhold that knowledge, subvert science to advance their narrow commercial interests and put their guests to death.
    —     William Nordhaus
From his article: “The Ninth Circle Of Corporate Irresponsibility
Sub-titled: “Reassessing The Impact Businesses Have On The Planet
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  Dtd:  26 April 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Resting
A New Day Just Means We Continue The Struggle (With A Smile)
2019 One For Two
Why Trump Insults Pelosi and Schiff
2018 The Worst
2017 #DonTheCon In The Oval Office
2016 Are You Like #AmnestyDon And Sarah Palin?
2015 Begin Today
2014 Look Again (At Life’s Illusions)
2013 None Knows
2012 Yet
2011 No End In Sight
2010 Back At It…

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President Biden is still being criticized for completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.  Here are some quotes and then some of my own passing thoughts about the last twenty years of neo-conservative hawkish foreign “action”…    —    KMAB
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of discussion.
    —     Plato
What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.
    —     Aldous Huxley
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing;  that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
    —     Agatha Christie
Joshua / WOPR:  Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken:  Hello, Joshua.
Joshua / WOPR:  A strange game.  The only winning move is not to play.  How about a nice game of chess?
    —    A conversation between (Joshua) an A.I. system “programmed” to fight a thermonuclear war and its inventor (Falken).  The lines are from the movie:  “War Games“.
Invading Afghanistan was NOT a mistake.  The correct action should have concluded shortly after capturing / killing Bin Laden at Tora Bora, or not.  Either way, we should have withdrawn from Afghanistan within ninety days and told the the Taliban: “We don’t want to occupy or change your country, but you can be darn sure if you harbor terrorist again, we’ll be back.”  Iraq was a war of choice by the Bush / Cheney Administration.  They took advantage of the fear generated by “9/11” and manufactured reasons to invade there (Iraq).  I’m NOT saying either Saddam or the Taliban were “good” for their respective countries.  I am saying we had no business invading one and and trying to “nation build” in the other.  Both countries have a right to self-rule, no matter how poor we may view their choices.  The correct “moves” were “not to play” (in Iraq) and not to stay (in Afghanistan).  Nothing was settled in either country and it was (not) done at a tremendous cost to our military and their families.    —    KMAB
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On This Day In:
2020 I’m Guessing It’s Real
For One More Day
2019 Like Smartphones And FOMO?
Getting Ready For Halloween
2018 Nothing To Build On
2017 This One Is…
2016 Happy Is…
2015 Dare Yourself To
2014 Damned If You Do…
2013 On A Rainy Sunday
2012 Not Sure Anymore
2011 But What Does It Cost?
2009 Another Day, Another Diet…

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