Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Old Sparky from Sing-Sing prisonI refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one.

-- Seen taped to the window of a vehicle in traffic by DemocraticUnderground.com user Earth_First, 18 September 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nothing Left To Eat

Old Mother HubbardOne day the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.

-- Anonymous Occupy Wall Street protestor, in a photo by Gene Taylor at businessinsider.com, 11 October 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bicycle For Our Minds

I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. ... then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle, [who] blew the condor away. That's what a computer is to me... the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.

-- Steve Jobs (1955-2011), in a 1990 interview

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Political Instrument

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hobo.jpgWhen the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise -- to deny the political character of the modern corporation -- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are the students who instruct in error. Let there be no question: economics, so long as it is thus taught, becomes, however unconsciously, a part of the arrangement by which the citizen or student is kept from seeing how he or she is, or will be, governed.

-- John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), Canadian-American economist and author, Power and the Useful Economist (1973)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Long Straws

long straw vs short strawMy wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.)

My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I've worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate's distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.

-- Warren Buffett (30 August 1930), American
investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Letter
for "The Giving Pledge"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Steve Jobs while introducing the iPadRemembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

-- Steven Paul Jobs (24 February 1955 - 5 October 2011), Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Moment Of Truth

Flag of the United NationsIt is a moment of truth, and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world.

-- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, in a speech formally requesting full United Nations membership for his as yet undefined country, New York Times, 24 September 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011


ElopementCongratulations, I think, to my #4 daughter Brittany, who eloped this afternoon with her boyfriend Calvin.