February 29, 2008
"It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government."
-- Mercy Warren, 1805 - History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution
February 28, 2008
"It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain the use of it within the limits of its faculties, "never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant for paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given term; and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors on the public faith.""
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Wayles Eppes, 24 June 1813)
February 27, 2008
"Experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can; when we cannot do all we would wish."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Randolph, 1 December 1803)
February 26, 2008
"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787)
February 25, 2008
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-- Thomas Paine (American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
February 24, 2008
"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man."
-- Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, 2 January 1814)
February 23, 2008
"All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.
And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men.
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?""
-- Benjamin Franklin (To Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention)
February 22, 2008
"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 55, 15 February 1788)
February 21, 2008
"There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 35, 1788)
It was an unprecedented mission for the Navy, so extraordinary that the final go-ahead to launch the missile Wednesday was reserved for Defense Secretary Robert Gates rather than a military commander.
Cartwright estimated there was an 80 percent to 90 percent chance that the missile struck the most important target on the satellite - its fuel tank, containing 1,000 pounds of hydrazine, which Pentagon officials say could have posed a health hazard to humans if it had landed in a populated area.
Cartwright showed a brief video of the SM-3 missile launching from the USS Lake Erie at 10:26 p.m. EST, northwest of Hawaii, and of the missile's small "kill vehicle" - a non-explosive device at the tip - maneuvering into the path of the satellite and colliding spectacularly.
He said the satellite and the kill vehicle collided at a combined speed of 22,000 mph about 130 miles above Earth's surface.
Asked about the satisfaction felt among those in the military who had organized the shootdown on short notice by modifying missile software and other components, Cartwright smiled widely.
"Yes, this was uncharted territory. The technical degree of difficulty was significant here," Cartwright said. "You can imagine that at the point of intercept there were a few cheers that went up."
China seemed to be unhappy with our success. . .
The elaborate intercept may trigger worries from some international leaders, who could see it as a thinly disguised attempt to test an anti-satellite weapon - one that could take out other nations' orbiting communications and spy spacecraft.
Within hours of the reported success, China said it was on the alert for possible harmful fallout from the shootdown and urged Washington to promptly release data on the action.
"China is continuously following closely the possible harm caused by the U.S. action to outer space security and relevant countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at news conference in Beijing. "China requests the U.S. to fulfill its international obligations in real earnest and provide to the international community necessary information and relevant data in a timely and prompt way so that relevant countries can take precautions."
If China's unhappy, then it must have been an impressive achievement.
February 20, 2008
"I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous."
-- Benjamin Franklin (The Busy-body, No. 3, 18 February 1728)
February 19, 2008
"It is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Hugh P. Taylor, 4 October 1823)
February 17, 2008
"It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf."
-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
February 16, 2008
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."
-- George Washington (First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789)
February 15, 2008
"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come."
-- Peter Muhlenberg, 1776 - from a Lutheran sermon read at Woodstock, Virginia
February 14, 2008
"It is not necessary to enumerate the many advantages, that arise from this custom of early marriages. They comprehend all the society can receive from this source; from the preservation, and increase of the human race. Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favourable, in the highest degree, to society. In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage."
-- Samuel Williams, 1794 - The Natural and Civil History of Vermont
February 13, 2008
"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."
-- Thomas Jefferson (Summary View of the Rights of British America, August 1774)
February 12, 2008
"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position."
-- George Washington (Farewell Address, 19 September 1796)
February 11, 2008
"One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle."
-- James Otis, 1761 - On the Writs of Assistance
February 10, 2008
"Besides, to lay and collect internal taxes in this extensive country must require a great number of congressional ordinances, immediately operation upon the body of the people; these must continually interfere with the state laws and thereby produce disorder and general dissatisfaction till the one system of laws or the other, operating upon the same subjects, shall be abolished."
-- Federal Farmer, 1787 - Antifederalist Letter
February 09, 2008
"[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."
-- Federal Farmer, 1787 - Antifederalist Letter, No.18
February 08, 2008
"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters."
-- Samuel Adams, 1775 - letter to James Warren
February 07, 2008
"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
-- Samuel Adams, 1749 - essay in The Public Advertiser
February 06, 2008
"The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of its political cares."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 12, 27 November 1787)
February 05, 2008
"And as to the Cares, they are chiefly what attend the bringing up of Children; and I would ask any Man who has experienced it, if they are not the most delightful Cares in the World; and if from that Particular alone, he does not find the Bliss of a double State much greater, instead of being less than he expected."
-- Benjamin Franklin (Reply to a Piece of Advice)
February 04, 2008
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."
-- Fisher Ames (speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 15 January 1788)
Bioengineering fresh breath
Popular Science has an intriguing article about bioengineering S. mutans bacteria to excrete alcohol instead of the acid that causes tooth decay.
Jeffrey Hillman, an oral biologist for-merly of the University of Florida, is a poster child for the kind of biotherapeutic future that Thaler envisions. Hillman has spent a decade lobbying the FDA to let him test a transgenic tooth bug in volunteers. “Fortunately, we had no idea what was ahead,” says Hillman of the gantlet of regulatory requirements he has had to tackle since 1996. That was the year Hillman founded Oragenics, a biotech firm dedicated to commercializing his patented cavity-preventing Streptococcus mutans, a genetically modified organism (GMO) that’s the product of nearly 30 years of research.
Inside the mouth of most every person on the planet, colonies of S. mutans bacteria thrive on leftover sugars. The by-product of their digestion is the acid that eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities. But there are many different strains of S. mutans, and some cause more trouble than others. In the summer of 1976, Hillman was trying to replace cavity-prone strains with those that secrete less enamel-eroding acid. Unfortunately, it seemed almost impossible to permanently eradicate a person’s “native” S. mutans once his or her teeth became colonized in early childhood.
The article goes on to discuss using GMOs to treat Crohn's Disease, tumors, promote general health, and make you feel better.
This is where scientific inquiry is going in the field of biogenetics, and will become an important medical and political issue in the next few years.
I need to study up on this more . . . and I suggest you do the same.
February 03, 2008
"The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most - for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?"
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 28 October 1813)
February 02, 2008
"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
-- George Washington, 1748 - The Rules of Civility
February 01, 2008
"The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."
-- George Washington, 1796 - letter to Alexander Hamilton
Investors Business Daily has a good op-ed piece about permanent ways to bolster our economy.
Like a lot of things in life, the episode made us laugh not only because it was funny but because it revealed a tragic truth — insecurity is the canvas upon which modern American politicians can mix their primary colors: public fear and personal ambition.
That one moment exposed the hearings for what they were — political cover for what is shaping up to be to a grab bag of wasteful government spending and a forum to scapegoat Wall Street all in the name of protecting "working people."
In what must be considered a land speed record for any significant piece of tax legislation in the history of the republic, politicians from both sides of the aisle are desperately attempting to dispose of 12-figure levels of "stimulus" that would include, among other things, an extension of unemployment and food-stamp benefits and a tax rebate check from Uncle Sam.
Sadly, few policymakers would like to admit that no amount of government spending (or Fed easing for that matter) will address the root cause of the current economic slowdown — the unwinding of a housing bubble that started six years ago. The only cure for that malaise is, sadly, time and ensuring that current levels of employment and income remain intact.
What is most remarkable is that Congress, the administration and the Fed can propose $150 billion in new government spending without any meaningful discussion of perhaps the quickest, cheapest and potentially most effective way to restore business confidence and maintain the currently low levels of unemployment — making the Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains permanent.
Unfortunately, once again, our government is racing down the wrong road to put out a fire that will burn itself out. They should be concentrating on the future -- not the past.