Friday, October 30, 2009

Recession Over

EconomistAnyone who thinks the recession is over just because the economy grew in the 3rd quarter is an economist.

-- Ron Elving, NPR's "It's All Politics" podcast, 29 October 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

That Great Fiction

Frederic BastiatThe State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.

-- Frederic Bastiat, French economist of the 19th Century

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Don't Know

Uncle Sam's youngest son, Citizen Know NothingI don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I just really don't know.

-- Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), on his health plan's chances of passing, New York Times, 28 October 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Disturb The Peace

James Baldwin photographed by Carl Van Vechten, September 13, 1955Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it's true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.

-- James Baldwin (1924 - 1987), African-American novelist, short story writer, playwright and essayist, "An interview with James Baldwin" (1961)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Marriage

Screenshot from the DVD version of the 1971 film Dirty HarryThere's only one way to have a happy marriage and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again.

-- Clint Eastwood (May 31, 1930-), American actor, film director, film producer and composer; 5-time Academy Award recipient

Friday, October 23, 2009

Too Fatiguing

Chinese character: 'hate' 恨 (U+6068)We ought to hate very rarely, as it is too fatiguing; remain indifferent to a great deal, forgive often and never forget.

-- Sarah Bernhardt (1844 - 1923), French stage actress, My Double Life (1907) Chapter 33

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Frank and Gail Zappa, in their Hollywood Hills home, 1988Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.

-- Frank Zappa (1940-1993), composer, musician, film director

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Mullah Mohammed Omar's 1998-06-15 letter to all TalibanHe's a semi-literate individual who has met with no more than a handful of non-Muslims in his entire life. And he's staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in modern history.

-- Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, on Mullah Muhammad Omar, the reclusive leader of the Taliban, New York Times, 11 October 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Too Many

Motorbikes of the Cuerpo Nacional de PolicíaWhen there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty. When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace. When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.

-- Lin Yutang (10 October 1895 - 26 March 1976), Chinese writer and translator, as quoted in Alexander, James (2005). The World's Funniest Laws. Cheam: Crombie Jardine. pp. page 6

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For The Children

diagram illustrating the changing attitudes toward interracial marriage in the US from 1972-2002I'm not a racist. I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.

-- Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, of Tangihapoa Parish, Louisiana, on his refusal to grant a marriage license to an interracial couple, 6 October 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good Is Dumb

Marcel MarceauWhen good is dumb, evil will always triumph.

-- Jeff Atwood, 28 May 2008, Coding Horror Blog, 23 November 2000

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

World Peace

German postal stamp issued 1st day of death of George C. Marshall (1880–1959)If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.

-- George C. Marshall (1880 - 1959), American military leader and statesman, creator of the Marshall Plan, the only US Army general to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff, US Army, 1 September 1945

Monday, October 12, 2009

They Surely Will Abide

Alfred NobelMy dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.

-- Alfred Nobel (21 October 1833 - 10 December 1896), Swedish chemist, armaments manufacturer, inventor of dynamite, who in his will used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes, as quoted in The Military Quotation Book (2002) by James Charlton, p. 114

[It didn't turn out that way.]

Friday, October 09, 2009

Getting The Demon Out

Stamp of AzerbaijanSongwriting is about getting the demon out of me. It's like being possessed. You try to go to sleep, but the song won't let you. So you have to get up and make it into something, and then you're allowed to sleep. It's always in the middle of the bloody night, or when you're half-awake or tired, when your critical faculties are switched off. So letting go is what the whole game is. Every time you try to put your finger on it, it slips away. You turn on the lights and the cockroaches run away. You can never grasp them.

-- John Lennon (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980), singer, songwriter, guitarist, political activist, humorist, painter, and writer

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Insurmountable Opportunities

Mohuna village, Deobun, Northwest of Landour, Dehradun - 1850sWe are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.

-- Walt Kelly (1913-1973), creator of the Pogo comic strip

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Memories Of Those Who Cared

Hubble Space Telescope, deepest view yet of the universeLike the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.

-- Harlan Ellison (27 May 1934-), American author and media critic, Paladin of the Lost Hour (1985)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Dizzy Ride

Spinning, spoked flywheelTo sum up: 1) The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. 2) Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. 3) Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.

-- H. L. Mencken, twentieth-century journalist, satirist, social critic, cynic, and freethinker, "Coda" from Smart Set, December 1920

Monday, October 05, 2009

Paid For Taking Too Much Risk

Risk board gameThe simple proposition should be that you don't want people being paid for taking too much risk, and you want to make sure that their compensation is tied to long-term performance.

-- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, New York Times, 19 September 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Civil Forfeiture

Radley BalkoWhile few would argue that criminals ought to be able to keep the proceeds of their crimes, civil forfeiture allows the government to seize and keep property without actually having to prove a crime was committed in the first place. ... Proceeds from civil forfeiture at the state and local level usually go back to the police departments and prosecutors' offices, giving them a clear and unmistakable incentive to seize as much property as often as possible.

-- Radley Balko, (1975-), American libertarian writer and speaker,, 8 September 2009