Saturday, July 9, 2016

Smithwick Chapel: Good for What Ales You -- The Colonel Carries On #39

by Rankin Phyle

Epigraph: “We have no choice but fear itself.”

The brain ever strives to find signal amid noise, and has many false negatives and false positives. That is, it often reads signal as noise and noise as signal.

People don’t rebel because government is bad; they rebel because they conclude it can’t be fixed and it doesn’t care to listen.

I seem to recall that when Woody Allen was investigated for possible prosecution, the prosecutor announced that he would not prosecute, but said that he thought the crime had been committed and he could definitely have won a conviction if he had prosecuted. Woody Allen rightly cried foul. If a prosecutor prosecutes, the accused can try to save her reputation by winning an acquittal. A prosecutor should not throw mud and not follow through. To do so is abuse of power.

Query whether FBI director James Comey committed the same sin against Hillary Clinton. He didn’t say “We did a thorough investigation and do not recommend prosecution.” Isn’t that what he should have said? What he did say boiled down to “The crime doesn’t require bad intent as other crimes do. She clearly committed the crime and we can prove it, but we don’t recommend prosecution because she had no bad intent and for other reasons that have nothing to do with innocence.”

Notes for etymology investigation: odd that the homonyms “wroth” (related to “wrath”) and “roth” (=red) come to mean the same thing, “very angry”?

Also, have “more” and “mo,” both meaning “more,” really two different histories?  

“People, like potatoes, fail to flourish if planted too many generations in the same worn-out soil. My children have not shared my birthplace, and if I have my way, they will strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.” --after Nathaniel Hawthorne

“It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.” -Bill Watterson, comic strip artist (b. 5 Jul 1958) [Calvin & Hobbes]

In the word “scent,” which is silent, the “s” or the “c”?

“If a child falls down you first inquire if he is much hurt. If he is merely a little frightened you say, ‘Well, never mind, then; you’ve only upset your apple-cart and spilt all the gooseberries.’ The child perhaps laughs at the very venerable joke, and all is well again.” --Notes and Queries, 1879

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