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Tom McGhan
Only 97.3% as smart as I think I am
Only 97.3% as smart as I think I am

Tom's posts

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"I must ever believe that religion substantially good which produces an honest life, and we have been authorized by One whom you and I equally respect, to judge of the tree by its fruit. Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our God alone. I inquire after no man's, and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friends or our foes, are exactly the right. Nay, we have heard it said that there is not a Quaker or a Baptist, a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian, a Catholic or a Protestant in heaven; that, on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind, and find ourselves united in those principles only in which God has united us all. Let us not be uneasy then about the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that our last abode; but, following the guidance of a good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that by these different paths we shall all meet in the end."

- Thomas Jefferson, September 26, 1814, in a letter to Miles King

emphasis added by tom mcghan 2017.01.31

An open letter to my representative in congress, Andy Harris (R)
(Maryland 1st congressional district)

Subject: Wrong-headed travel ban

"Dear Dr. Harris:

Although I am a lifelong Conservative Republican, and have supported you through thick and thin, the times are getting thin indeed these last few days.

You have a clear choice on this issue: support our ill-informed, misguided President, or represent your constituents. You cannot do both.

Be guided by sound judgement and an honest conscience, not knee-jerk party loyalty.

In his clumsy attempt to implement a ban on immigrants from predominately Muslim areas, he has alienated all but the most Alt-Right in his rapidly dwindling base of support.

Do not support this insupportable approach.

Not all change constitutes improvement. Replace "change for the sake of change" with carefully crafted revisions that constitute real improvements, not cosmetic appeals or demagogic flim-flam.

Please stay the course, adhere to true conservative values, honor the Constitution that you have thus far served faithfully, and the bedrock principles of American values.

I have no doubt that mature judgement and thoughtful consideration of alternatives will lead you to a sound outcome.

Thank you for your service."

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The White House website (whitehouse[dot]gov) has been revamped, retaining one popular feature: "We The People" petitions.
What was the first petition filed under the new regime?
I thought you'd never ask:

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Living room de-Christmas-ified (mostly), and it's not even Easter yet!

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Happy New Year, happy new tree-redeco-rrangement:

after visiting J & T:


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Something that Vaclav Klaus never actually said:

"The danger to America is not {Donald Trump}, but a {system} capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of {a Trump} presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than {Mr. Trump}, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a {Donald Trump}, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who {exposed serious defects in a badly flawed system and} made him their president."

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At some point, laws against Caller ID spoofing will be enforced, and penalties will be serious enough to make a difference...

(...or not)

"why are terrorists often engineers?"


It seems reasonable to expect engineers as a group to be disproportionately represented because, in general, goal-oriented individuals who see themselves as "problem solvers" tend to choose engineering as a profession. The desire to exert control over elements in their environment in a way that decreases the perceived differential between things as they are and things as they are "meant to be" produces an effective tendency towards "applied idealism".
The strong internal motivation that must be present to persevere, first in a highly challenging academic and intellectual context and then in a highly competitive economic environment is also a common thread found most often in engineers. The rapid social and cultural transitions in the geographical areas of interest produce a climate in which individuals who possess these traits to a marked extent can often more readily find satisfaction operating outside the system than within.

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I'm sure it's not impossible!
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