Author Archives: David

Illegitimi non carborundum

I’ve been gradually working my way through all of the Heinlein corpus, and a year or so back I ran across his list of “things every adult should know” and one that I wasn’t close on was a foreign language. I’m confident that my two years of High School Spanish wouldn’t cut the mustard. So, I chose Latin.

It’s been slow slogging, mainly due to distractions and inertia, but I’m making a little progress, so I thought that I should have been able to make more sense of “illegitimi non carborundum” than I did. “Illegitimi” and “non” were easy, but “carborundum” while familiar as a brand name didn’t appear in any form in any of the Latin dictionaries or word lists that I could find. Continue reading

Regard for Power

“Somewhere in The Power Broker I write that regard for power means disregard of those without power. I mean, we’re really talking about justice and injustice.” — Robert Caro

I found a wonderful interview with author Robert Caro on the Paris Review site about “The Art of Biography” – linked to, from all places, Hacker News! That’s the WWW, good stuff is where you find it. I love surprises.


“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own, a God who is all mercy, but not just—a God who is all love, but not holy—a God who has a Heaven for everybody, but Hell for none—a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a god is an idol of your own, as true an idol as was ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and besides the God of the Bible there is no god at all.” — The Right Reverand John C. Ryles, Bishop of Liverpool (1880-1900)


“There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokeable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.” — Mark Twain

“When they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile word upon—they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!” — Mark Twain

He is also known to have used Bad Words in his published works, which have been widely banned and declared Badthink. Memory hole material.

Unintended Irony Department

Wikipedia has barred citations of The Daily Mail after editors of the online encyclopedia concluded Wednesday that the British tabloid is “generally unreliable.”

Of course, it’s doubly ironic that some won’t understand the irony…

Just to be clear…

Apropos all the recent fuss:
8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), as currently posted by the Government Printing Office is the enabling statute (check it for yourself):

“(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

This is what is called “black letter law” and to this High School Graduate seems pretty straightforward, but I’d be pleased to listen to any argument to the contrary that doesn’t smell like politics.

Truth to Power?

When you tell people what they want to hear, you don’t have to be too careful about premises, facts, and conclusions. — Angelo M. Codevilla

What do we call those people in a society who are licensed or allowed to use violence?
No hints this time. We call these the people in charge. — William M. Briggs

I found the Codevilla quote at Mike Flynn’s The TOF Spot, and the Briggs quote at this Stream page.

The Head Comes Loose…

One character I think of — having known a long time — provides an especially poignant example. Long ago I suspected there was something wrong with him. He was “on my side,” but I could never trust him. And this because, he always thought ahead. “He has more brains than he can handle,” I once said of him. A very full head and a rather empty chest. He had no spiritual anchor, no faith beneath his clouds. His principles were mere thoughts: fluff passing over. Even his religious views were “solidly pragmatic,” i.e. easily revised. He could not understand even his own body, because he was all brain. His views were in a constant state of “evolution”: becoming ever more titched.

The head comes loose, when the heart is not screwed in.

Again from David Warren’s Essays in Idleness.