Friday, March 31, 2006

Not Lucky To Be Alive

No, I don't feel lucky to be alive! I feel lucky I'm not dead. There's a difference.

-- Paul Dooley as Ray Stohler in "Breaking Away"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fear Is What They're Going To Have

From an interview with Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major of the U.S. Army, and a founding member of Delta Force, the military's elite covert counter-terrorist unit.

Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?

A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and ... pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.

Q: What is the cost to our country?

A: For the first thing, our credibility is utterly zero. So we destroyed whatever credibility we had. ... And I say "we," because the American public went along with this. They voted for a second Bush administration out of fear, so fear is what they're going to have from now on.

Our military is completely consumed, so were there a real threat - thankfully, there is no real threat to the U.S. in the world, but were there one, we couldn't confront it. Right now, that may not be a bad thing, because that keeps Bush from trying something with Iran or with Venezuela.

The harm that has been done is irreparable. There are more than 2,000 American kids that have been killed. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed. ... It has been a horror, and this administration has worked overtime to divert the American public's attention from it. Their lies are coming home to roost now, and it's gonna fall apart. But somebody's gonna have to clear up the aftermath and the harm that it's done just to what America stands for. It may be two or three generations in repairing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Let x be the probability that you look like (and perhaps feel like) hell on a given day. Let y be the maximum value that x can take on. Then we have the following conjecture.

If today is a day on which you must have your picture taken for an ID, then x=y.

-- Josh Paley

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Here we were, begging the world to stop sending any arms to Iran, and there was this horrible proposal that we try to buy the friendship of these fanatics by giving them arms and violating all of the things we were doing in trying to persuade the rest of the world that they shouldn't sell them arms.

-- Caspar W. Weinberger (August 18, 1917 - March 28, 2006), President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Defense

Monday, March 27, 2006

Friday, March 24, 2006

What A Concept

I am responsible for my own well-being, my own happiness. The choices and decisions I make regarding my life directly influence the quality of my days.

-- Kathleen Andrus

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Some Say The World Will End In Fire

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Not Words, Choices

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962, American First Lady, columnist, lecturer, humanitarian)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I Blind Myself

Because you're not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.

-- Madeline L'Engle

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not Understanding

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

-- Upton Sinclair, novelist and reformer (1878-1968)

Friday, March 17, 2006

An Irish Blessing

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

-- An Irish Blessing

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One-Word Description

When asked for a one-word description of Bush, the most frequent response [in an independent Pew Research Center poll] was "incompetent," followed by "good," "idiot" and "liar." In February 2005, the most frequent reply was "honest."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Price You Paid

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.

-- Mignon McLaughlin

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Music Business

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

-- Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, March 13, 2006

Failure To Understand Reality

It's our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq.

-- Retired Army Major General William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Friday, March 10, 2006

Potentially Suitable

We have found an environment that is potentially suitable for living organisms.

-- Carolyn Porco, of the Space Science Institute, discussing a moon of Saturn. NY Times, 3/10/06

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ignorance Of Experts

Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation. ... Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

-- Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, (Perseus Books, New York, 1999), pp. 186-187.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Levels Of Thinking

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

-- Albert Einstein

Monday, March 06, 2006

National Archives

The idea is to let people get on with their research and not reclassify documents unless it's absolutely necessary.

-- Allen Weinstein, the nation's chief archivist, announcing a "moratorium" on reclassification of documents by intelligence agencies.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Absorb The Most

The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.

-- Adam Smith

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Accomplice To The Crime

The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference.

-- Bess Myerson (b. 1924), U.S. government official, columnist. Quoted in: Claire Safran, "Impeachment?" (published in Redbook, New York, April 1974).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Intellectual Labor

Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.

-- Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's "Life of Johnson"