Thursday, May 25, 2017

Quote of the Day (Lee Bollinger, on Free Speech on Campus)



“Anyone with a voice can shout over a speaker. But being able to listen and then effectively rebut those with whom we disagree, particularly those who peddle intolerance, is one of the greatest skills our education can bestow.” —Columbia University President Lee Bollinger quoted in Aubri Juhasz, “At University Commencement, Bollinger Tells Graduates to Protect Free Speech,” Columbia Daily Spectator, May 18, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quote of the Day (George Bernard Shaw, on Silence and Scorn)



“Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.”—Anglo-Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Back to Methuselah (1921)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump: The Sultan of Stamina????



Just how beleaguered might White House staffers be feeling these days? Bad enough that Donald Trump is facing a special prosecutor, that he basically admitted to firing James Comey over “the Russia thing” after aides had sworn up and down only 24 hours before that it was all about the FBI director’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, or that he’d shared classified information with the Russian ambassador within a day of that firing.

But now, aides have scrambled to explain why Trump had gone from slamming "Islamist extremism"— perpetrated by political movements that implement Islamic law and theology—to "Islamic extremism," a slap at millions of adherents to one of the world’s oldest religions that prior Presidents studiously avoided.

It was entirely understandable, they said. The President was “just an exhausted guy" following his 14-hour journey from Washington, a senior White House official said on a CNN report.

You could practically hear the massive groans from Trump supporters. First, their standard-bearer had been photographed bowing to a Saudi prince—the type of act that Barack Hussein Obama might do. Now, he was sucking wind during his very first time on the diplomatic track—what they’d been to conditioned to expect from Hillary Clinton, a.k.a. Lady Macbeth, Killary, and the Lady Who Got Sick at the 9/11 Memorial Service Because She Had Parkinson's.

Someone I know—not a Trump admirer—said to me not long ago, “I’ve got to hand it to him—he has some energy for someone his age! Hillary would never be able to keep up that pace.”

I don’t care for Mrs. Clinton’s Becky Sharp instincts, but I’ve been kicking myself since this conversation that I didn’t dispute this statement more vigorously at the time. Not only is she far more likely to pore over briefing books than The Donald, but as Secretary of State she maintained a punishing schedule: 956,733 miles, 112 countries and 401 days spent traveling in four years, reports the Washington Post.

Contrast that with Trump. Even when traveling inside the U.S., he has been reluctant to stay in non-Trump accommodations that stint on his preferred creature comforts. When it came time to venture abroad for the first time, the President reportedly strongly urged his aides to shorten the trip from nine days to five, according to a New York Times account.

He was right to be concerned. Trump had only made it to his first stop—only his second day abroad, mind you!—when his staff already was offering the exhaustion excuse. All of this from a man who, as a candidate nearly a year and a half ago, tweeted: “Hillary Clinton doesn't have the strength or stamina to be president. Jeb Bush is a low energy individual, but Hillary is not much better!”

Why slime one opponent when you can slime two?

Mrs. Clinton might not be svelte, but her exercise and yoga regimen compare favorably with her victorious opponent, who discounts the value of jogging (and who, almost certainly, hasn’t meditated for 30 seconds in his life). He is lucky to wear a bright cap when he golfs, as it distracts momentarily from his bulging waistline and prominent rear end when he swings a club, as evidenced in the 
accompanying photo.

The touch of an attractive woman has been known to practically turbocharge some politicians. (See, for instance, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, who appeared mummy-like when making political appearances in his 90s—until, that is, he’d be introduced to a young lady.) 

In the past, that might have applied to Trump. But his luck on this first foreign trip has been considered so abominable that even this didn’t work for him. In their first day as President and First Lady abroad, as he reached out for Melania’s hand, she yanked it away--two days in a row!.

Babe Ruth might have been the Sultan of Swat, but Trump, despite his trip to an Arab country, will not be named the Sultan of Stamina anytime soon. If you want to know the truth, though, I care less about the shape Trump’s in than in the shape he’s going to leave the Presidency and country in when he goes—not a moment too soon.

Quote of the Day (Horace, on Order as ‘The Greatest Grace’)



“Set all things in their own peculiar place,
And know that order is the greatest grace.”—Ancient Roman poet Horace, “Art of Poetry,” translated by English poet John Dryden (1631-1700), in “Observations on the Art of Painting” (1695), in Prose Works, edited by George Saintsbury (1893)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Joke of the Day (Wil Shriner, on How Small His High School Was)



"My high school was so small, the mascot was an amoeba."—Actor-comedian-game-show host Wil Shriner, quoted in Duncan Strauss, “O.C. Comedy Review: Will the Real Wil Please Stand Up?”, Los Angeles Times, October 26, 1989