Res Ipsa Loquitur

Eta CarinaeBy Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
“Everything that has a beginning has an end.“ – Buddha
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

Perception is a funny thing. So I’m going to make a statement and then address the perceptions.

After many years of writing columns for this blog and participating in its forums, I am taking my leave.

Some might think this is about one thing and really it is about another. Although related to, let us say, miscommunication about how this place operates and a fundamental disagreement about the principles of rule construction, the reason I am leaving is beyond simply the scope of that disagreement. What more, I will not say, but for reasons entirely my own – based in both principle and circumstance – I find that I cannot continue posting or writing columns here at the present time. I have set up a temporary blog (still under construction as of this farewell) at where I have archived some of my writings from here and will post new columns as time allows. Any of the fine people I have met here over the years are encouraged to visit there as you like. Tell your friends. Bring your neighbors. The parameters for commenting there will be similar to here although slightly different. The topics? Many in common, I’m still interested in our systemic dysfunctions and how to possibly mitigate their harms, but some topics of a more eclectic nature are bound to appear. I have varied interests.

As for the rest? I think the following clip says it all. Tonight, I’ll be playing the part of Groucho as Capt. Spalding, but you can figure out who the rest of the cast is on your own.

The road is uncertain and as physicist Niels Bohr once noted, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Travel well, Blog Peoples. Until we meet again . . .

~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger, Signing Off

38 thoughts on “Res Ipsa Loquitur

  1. Gene,

    Sorry that things have ended for you here—your contributions to this blog, both as a guest blogger and commenter have been some of the high points, in my opinion. I’d write more, but I’ve got to go check out a new blog…

  2. A Man’s A Man For A’ That

    Is there for honest Poverty
    That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
    The coward slave-we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
    Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
    The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

    What though on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
    Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
    A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
    For a’ that, and a’ that,
    Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
    The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
    Is king o’ men for a’ that.

    Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
    Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
    Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
    He’s but a coof for a’ that:
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
    The man o’ independent mind
    He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

    A prince can mak a belted knight,
    A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
    But an honest man’s abon his might,
    Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Their dignities an’ a’ that;
    The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
    Are higher rank than a’ that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    (As come it will for a’ that,)
    That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
    Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    It’s coming yet for a’ that,
    That Man to Man, the world o’er,
    Shall brothers be for a’ that.

    – Robert Burns, 1795

  3. Gene, I have a coffee mug that reads, “You can run, but you cannot hide.” Having lived in twelve states growing up, that phrase has special meaning to me. I’m sorry to see you go and regret that you did not feel enough sorrow to remain.

  4. Wow! I don’t know which one is more shocking: Gene’s exodus or Mike A’s response to Gene’s exodus.

    No Mike S, No Gene. 2014 is already start off to be an ‘interesting year’.

  5. Harpo spelled backwards is Ophrah.

    But, why are you leaving? I hope it was not my barking or itchinBayDog’s itchinBay or WordPress or Blackwater or the Koch Brothers or the NSA.

  6. As Gene has announced, he has decided to strike out on his own with his new blog at I am sorry saddened to see Gene leave because he has been such a great contributor to this site and such a fierce friend to many of us. His insight and passion was evident everyday on this site. Our success is in no small measure due to him and we are all in his debt. I am however excited to see Gene create his own site and to continue to contribute to the Internet debate. I wish him the greatest success and will be personally following his site. Thanks again Gene and good luck.


  7. [music]
    There’s a hole in my bucket dear Georgie, dear Georgie..
    There’s a hole in my bucket dear Georgie a hole.

    Then fix it dear Liza, Dear Liza, Dear Liza.
    Fix it Dear Liza, Dear Liza fix it.

    There’s a troll by the river, Dear Georgie Dear Georgie
    There’s a troll by the river Dear Georgie a Troll.

    Then feed him Dear Liza, Dear Liza,
    then feed him Dear Liza, go feed the troll.

    He likes dog food Dear Georgie, Dear Georgie.
    He likes dog food Dear Georgie and none is on hand.

    We’ve got troll food Dear Liza, Dear Liza
    We’ve got troll food for Buster, we’ve troll food for him.


    Word has it, and not from WordPress, that the troll is named Buster and he is joining the blog.

  8. Mike A.,
    I have a coffee cup given to me by a former client. if you pick it up with your right hand, you read an inscription that says, “Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind.”

    Of course, we know what almost everyone thinks on reading that, but when you turn it around, the other side says, “Landing is the first.”

    As for quotes, I rather like what Satchel Paige said: “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”

  9. Gene

    It’s been a real pleasure reading your posts and comments over these years. I look forward to reading and commenting at the new location (already favorite’d).

    I have held you and Mike S. in very high regard since my earliest readings of your words. I look forward to the next phase of this evolution.

    Thank you for giving your time and energy for our contemplation and enjoyment. Your voice is still needed and I’m thankful you recognize that.

  10. Gene, we have butted heads more than a few times here in friendly banter, and we also have fundamental disagreement about the principles of civil engagement for scholarly discourse. All that aside, I have great respect for the enormous amount of work you have done for this blog. Thank you for that. Your contribution here will be missed. Nevertheless, it is good that you are venturing out with your own blog. There your philosophy on discourse will be realized more fully. You will be able to reap the true fruit of it by virtue of the fact that you are planting in your own field and have full control. I suspect you will make adjustments along the way, but the important thing is that you can see what happens when your views are given full reign without any restraint from others. I like your first topic very much: What Makes a Good Law, What Makes a Bad Law? A fitting testimonial to Res Ipsa Loquitur. I wish you peace and all the best.

  11. Gene,

    Grouch suits you…. Sorry to see you leave…. I’ll check out the new sites…. You do have great insight….

    Not sure why…. But times moves and the sand still rolls on the beaches…. The tide will determine when the sand shall be returned…. Nothing we own is greater than the person with courage and a conviction…. You sir have them both….

  12. David,

    I said I was done here and I am, but for this, I make an exception.

    In re civil discourse. I hold simply this: If one has a position and advocates it, one owns it unless stating the position is some form of Devil’s Advocacy. If it is an abhorrent position that causes recoil and/or social rejection, then the problem lies with the position first and the holder as consequence. If one does not like the consequences of being seen in a negative light, one should revisit their position(s) or live with it.

    But thanks for the well wishes nonetheless.

    Feel free to swing by some time, but be fully prepared that I’ll do nothing to intervene if the slings and arrows consequent to your positions start to fly.

    I don’t mind a hot kitchen so long as the meal gets cooked.

    To All Others,

    Thank you for your kind words and support, especially those of you already following the new venture in its infancy. Please bear with the growing pains as the site is adjusted.

    I’ll see you there.

  13. Gene, you will be missed, and your new blog will certainly be worth a visit. Best of luck to you in that, and all the Very Best.

    To anyone who knows, losing you and Mike wasn’t worth whatever it was.

  14. Thank you for your many fine contributions to this blog. I look forward to visiting your new venue. Watching it grow and change with time and experience ought to prove interesting.

    Best wishes to you in the future.

  15. Gene H:

    “If it is an abhorrent position that causes recoil and/or social rejection, then the problem lies with the position first and the holder as consequence.”

    Not at all, in a society of cannibals, the vegeterian is rejected.

  16. Gene,

    Both you and Mike will be sorely missed. You have always helped to provide the blog with animated discussions and great insight. I am so happy that you have set up your own blog where I can come visit and talk with friends–both old and new–and express my thoughts on varied topics. Best of luck to you!

  17. I’ve enjoyed your insights over the years as a faithful reader of this site. Thank you for your time and contributions. You will be missed. Frank

  18. When through one man
    A little more love and goodness,
    A little more light and truth
    Come into the world,
    Then, that man’s life has had meaning.

    (Alfred Delp)

  19. Oh no, not another one of my favorite GBers. I think it will be very difficult to find two similar men to fill the void.

  20. Gene,

    See you, and hopefully others, there. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to rule of law, fairness, and humanistic tradition.

  21. Good luck, Gene. I’ve always enjoyed your posts, even though at times we disagreed, but is that not the nature of rational discourse? I’m on my way to check out your new effort right now.

  22. GeneH,

    You Basstard:)

    If I was to want to start an argument you’d be the 1st guy I threw a rock through his window with a note attached: Come out & fight like a man, & of course at least double the cash attached to the rock more then enough to pay for the window.

    I’m glad I come to know you a bit, you’re a real human being & I like you.

    Thank you for cleaning up my bad post & I’d be proud to allow you to hold my beer any time.

    Everyone is making changes this time of year, myself included. Seems most everywhere now understand my rants Wallst Banks/Insur…… 15 years ago, not so much.

    I think I’m done with that now, they know.

    I might catch you on your other site when the dust settles.

    Best to you & yours!

  23. I have been too busy the past few months to enjoy the blog and I finally had time to catch up and see that Mike S. and Gene are leaving. Farewell. I have always enjoyed your posts.

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