Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Kinds Of Fool

April FoolThere are two kinds of fool. One says, "This is old, and therefore good." And one says, "This is new, and therefore better."

-- John Brunner (1934-1995), science fiction writer, The Shockwave Rider (1975)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

As If

Charles Caleb ColtonIt is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act.

-- Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832), British author, clergyman, and art collector

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be Thankful

Will RogersBe thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.

-- Will Rogers (1879-1935), American humorist and entertainer, as quoted in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations (1998) by Connie Robertson

Monday, March 28, 2011


A woodcut from the Middle Ages showing a rabid dogIf you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the public unions.

-- Indiana prosecutor Carlos Lam, in an email to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Lam resigned 24 March 2011 after first denying, then later admitting to authoring the email

Friday, March 25, 2011

Test Your Memory

A brief schematic depiction of memoryIf you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.

-- E. Joseph Cossman (1918-2002), American direct marketer and entrepreneur, largely known in the marketing circle for selling ant farms and shrunken heads through direct door-to-door sales

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ethnic Cleansing

Israeli and Palestinian flagsAs the report illustrates, the continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, combined with forceful eviction of long-residing Palestinians, are creating an intolerable situation that can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing.

-- U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk, discussing his report to the UN Human Rights Council, 22 March 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wants To Be Stupid

Be Stupid @ AmsterdamSometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.

-- John Steinbeck (1902-1968), novelist, Nobel laureate, East of Eden, 1952

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A depiction of the Invisible Pink UnicornI voted to uphold the death penalty. And I thought, at the time, that if the universe of defendants eligible for the death penalty is sufficiently narrow, so that you can be confident that the defendant really merits that severe punishment, that the death penalty was appropriate. But what happened over the years is the court constantly expanded the cases eligible for the death penalty, so that the underlying premise for my vote in those cases has disappeared, in a sense.

-- Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, reflecting on the court's decision in 1976 to uphold the death penalty, which he now describes as "incorrect" and the "one vote I would change." NPR interview, 4 October 2010

Monday, March 21, 2011

Too Often

Dangerous BendIt is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.

-- Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), 7th President of the US (1829-1837), hero of the Battle of New Orleans (1815), a founder of the Democratic Party, Veto Mesage Regarding the Bank of the United States, 10 July 1832

Friday, March 18, 2011


Fukushima Dia-ichi #4If Fukushima becomes another Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl, then we may never be going back.

-- Akio Sanpei, a 61-year-old acupuncturist who arrived in Yamagata on Thursday from the town of Futaba, within the evacuation zone, New York Times, 18 March 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Comparison

A Libyan rebel fighterThere is no comparison between our weapons and theirs. They're trained, they're organized. They got their training in Russia and I don't know where. We're not an army, we're the people and even if we had weapons, we wouldn't even know how to use them.

-- Mohammad Al-Houni, a fighter in the rebel forces in Libya, New York Times, 11 march 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

He's Done So Much

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (in Dimashq, Syria)We're all ready to die for him. He's done so much for us, after all.

-- Elhadj Maiga, who is recruiting young men in Mali to fight for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, New York Times, 16 March 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Right On Three Counts

Support for Bradley Manning via postcard from Portugal, August 2010What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defence.

-- State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley in remarks at MIT about alleged WikiLeaker Manning's treatment in military prison; Crowley was forced to resign when President Obama backed the Pentagon's handling of the matter, 11 March 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Swaying Like Trees

earthquake damageWhat was scariest was to look up at the skyscrapers all around. They were swaying like trees in the breeze.

-- William M. Tsutsui, a professor at Southern Methodist University, who was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, New York Times, 12 March 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Day Before

Child with laptopPeople learn something every day, and a lot of times it's that what they learned the day before was wrong.

-- Bill Vaughan (1915-1977), American columnist and author

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not Possible

lethal injection roomWe have found over and over again: Mistakes have been made. Innocent people have been freed. It's not possible to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system.

-- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, signing legislation to abolish the death penalty, referring to 13 wrongly-condemned men; Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on death row to life in prison with no hope of parole, 9 March 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

As A Physician Does His Patient

Physician seeing to the sick in a hospitalA physician is not angry at the intemperance of a mad patient; nor does he take it ill to be railed at by a man in a fever. Just so should a wise man treat all mankind, as a physician does his patient, and look upon them only as sick and extravagant.

-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca (The Younger, BCE 3 - 65 CE), Roman philosopher, Morals, Chapter VIII

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Egyptian fruit bat clinging to orangesIt is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power.

-- Buddha (c. 563-483 BCE)

Monday, March 07, 2011

We Don't Have Parties

Party iconOur task isn't easy. We don't have parties, we don't have a constitution, we don't have political organizations, we don't have an effective civil society. We have to create a completely new state and we have to do it in the middle of a war and revolution.

-- Mahmoud Bousalloum, a graduate student and political organizer in Libya, New York Times, 7 March 2011

Friday, March 04, 2011


Uneven scalesIn view of the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity.

-- Konrad Hermann Josef Adenauer (1876-1967), West German Chancellor from 1949-1963, as quoted in Through Russian Eyes: President Kennedy's 1036 Days (1973) by Anatoli-Andreevich Gromyko

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Head Examined

Mental HealthIn my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should "have his head examined," as General MacArthur so delicately put it.

-- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, in a speech to West Point cadets, New York Times, 26 February 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Inside Job

Inside JobForgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail--and that's wrong.

-- Charles Ferguson, director of the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job, about the nation's financial crisis, in his acceptance speech, 27 February 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Don't Lend It

Rudyard KiplingBorrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbors.

-- Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936), English author