Monday, May 31, 2010

Moments Are Enough

Dennis Hopper 2 June 2008There are moments that I've had some real brilliance, you know. But I think they are moments. And sometimes, in a career, moments are enough. I never felt I played the great part. I never felt that I directed the great movie. And I can't say that it's anybody's fault but my own.

-- Dennis Hopper (17 May 1936 - 29 May 2010), American actor, filmmaker and artist

Friday, May 28, 2010

Investigative Journalists

Journalist deskWe still get most of our information from investigative journalists. If you can't protect sources, there is a lot of public corruption and private malfeasance that will go undetected and unpunished.

-- Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) on a bill to provide greater protections to reporters. New York Times, 31 October 2009

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daring Liars

LiarThe men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.

-- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), journalist, satirist, and freethinker, The Smart set, Volume 68 (with George Jean Nathan) p 49 (1922)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Common Enemy

Dave Barry, November 2008As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.

-- Dave Barry (3 July 1947-), Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and columnist, Knight Ridder syndicate, New York Daily News, 12 December 2004

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Drawing of the Necker cube and impossible cubeIt would be impossible, or perhaps close to impossible, for any energy company that is smaller than the super majors, smaller than the national oil companies, to operate in the OCS. $10 billion in strict liability would preclude their ability to obtain financing, to obtain the bonds or insurance for any exploration.

-- Senator Lisa Kurkowski (R-AK), on the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act, which aimed to increase the liability cap from $75 million to 10 billion, before the vote that defeated the bill, 20 May 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Purest Form

A woman swats away the stork which has brought her her childThe very purest form of birth control ever devised. Ever.

-- Anthony P. Graesch, a postdoctoral fellow who helped videotape nearly every waking, at-home moment of 32 families for a week, New York Times, 23 May 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Drain The Swamp

Alligator, Everglades USA Mr. Secretary, it is long past time to drain the safety and environmental swamp at the Minerals Management Agency, which of course is the lead federal agency over oil drilling. Now, my view is that this agency had been denial about safety problems for years.

-- Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), in a hearing on the Gulf oil spill, regarding BP's exemption from comprehensive environmental review of the project that resulted in the spill, May 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Banner protesting doping at the 2006 Tour de France, 1 July 2006I don't feel guilty at all about having doped. I did what I did because that's what we [cyclists] did and it was a choice I had to make after 10 years or 12 years of hard work to get there, and that was a decision I had to make to make the next step.

-- Disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis in an interview on ESPN admitting he cheated in the 2006 Tour de France, 19 May 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Message

Illustration of 'A Mad Tea Party' in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland<br />I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, a message loud and clear that does not mince words. We've come to take our government back.

-- Rand Paul, the Tea Party candidate, who won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday, New York Times, 19 May 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grudgingly And Suspiciously

James Albert Bonsack's cigarette rolling machine, invented in 1880 and patented in 1881The machine has got to be accepted, but it is probably better to accept it rather as one accepts a drug -- that is, grudgingly and suspiciously. Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous, and habit-forming. The oftener one surrenders to it the tighter its grip becomes.

-- George Orwell (1903-1950), novelist

Monday, May 17, 2010

At Least One

Screenshot of Katharine Hepburn from the trailer for the film Little WomenIf you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.

-- Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003), American actress, writer

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good And Bad Things

Edited Silhouette of a man, similar to the default silhouette FacebookI think Facebook is the next Microsoft in both the bad and the good senses. That's an amazing company that is going to do a lot of good and bad things.

-- Jimmy Wales (8 August 1966-), U.S. Internet entrepreneur, founder of Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation, Orlando Sentinel, 3 November 2007

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Normal State

The enso, a symbol of Zen BuddhismZen is not a particular state but the normal state: silent, peaceful, unagitated. In Zazen neither intention, analysis, specific effort nor imagination take place. It's enough just to be without hypocrisy, dogmatism, arrogance -- embracing all opposites.

-- Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982), Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist teacher, quoted in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Buddhist Wisdom (2000) by Gill Farrer Halls, p. 162

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Game Over?

Screenshot of the freeware video game Torus TrooperThe party that claims to represent all progressive interests in this country proceeds with its impervious, self-interested agenda. The administration's stated priorities for the near future are to balance the budget before a deep recession has abated and to commit the nation to a long-running war in a dysfunctional Asian country that we neither understand nor care about -- thereby promising to repeat, simultaneously, the two worst mistakes made by liberal presidents in the past seventy-five years. As for the long term, the White House will form a commission bent on cutting 'entitlements,' such as Social Security and Medicare, that are the bedrock of retired Americans' prosperity ...

It is increasingly clear that [Obama] never intended to challenge the power structure he had so skillfully penetrated .... There is no longer any meaningful reformist impulse left in our politics. The idea of modern American liberalism has vanished among our elite, and simply voting for one man or supporting one of the two major parties will not restore it.

-- Kevin Baker, "The Vanishing Liberal", in the April 2010 issue of Harper's Magazine, quoted by Morris Berman in his blog of 1 April 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A combination lock with lettersHer open-mindedness may disappoint some who want a sure liberal vote on almost every issue. Her pragmatism may disappoint those who believe that mechanical logic can decide all cases. And her progressive personal values will not endear her to the hard right. But that is exactly the combination the president was seeking.

-- Walter Dellinger, an acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration who is close to Elena Kagan, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, New York Times, 11 May 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010


Henriette-Ronner-Knip-ContentmentThe secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.

-- Lin Yutang (1895-1976), Chinese writer, translator, and philologist

Friday, May 07, 2010

American Phenomenon

Pluto's astrological symbolYou've no doubt figured out my bias by now. I've hardly kept it a secret. In this regard, I take my cue from the late Edward R. Murrow, the Moses of broadcast news. Ed Murrow told his generation of journalists bias is okay as long as you don't try to hide it. So here, one more time, is mine: plutocracy and democracy don't mix. Plutocracy, the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy. Plutocracy is not an American word but it's become an American phenomenon.

-- Broadcaster Bill Moyers signing off for the final time on his weekly PBS series, Bill Moyers Journal, 30 April 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Political Jiu-Jitsu

Berlin, Jiu-Jitsu-SchuleThe main goal of terrorist attacks anywhere is to drive the victims crazy: to goad them into doing stupid, violent things that ultimately play into the hands of those who planned the attacks. Terrorism is a kind of political jiu-jitsu in which a relatively weak group attempts to trick a far stronger enemy into a self-defeating response.

-- Gwynn Dyer, Brisbane Times, 6 May 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Never Wrong

Wrong Magazine Issue 1 Front CoverThe longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.

-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish playwright, letter to H. G. Wells

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.

-- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), scientist and writer, The Roving Mind, page 43, 1983

Monday, May 03, 2010

Center Of The World

Times Square, New York City. The local man, I always thought that it would be a logical place. That it would represent the center of world to the rest of the world.

-- New Yorker Roy Otwell, on Times Square, where a failed car bomb was found Saturday, 1 May 2010, New York Times, 3 May 2010