Friday, August 29, 2014

Diplomats Tell Lies

How is the world ruled and how do wars start?  Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.

-- Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), Austrian writer

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Trouble With Free Elections

The trouble with free elections is that you never know how they are going to turn out.

-- Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), Soviet politician and diplomat, remark at the Berlin  Conference (1954)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nothing More

There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.

-- Unknown, generally misattributed to Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2018 Mindset List

Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.

The College class of 2018, starting their first year on campus this fall, arrives with a grasp of their surroundings quite distinct from that of their mentors.  Born in 1996, they have always had The Daily Show to set them straight, always been able to secure immediate approval and endorsement for their ideas through "likes" on their Facebook pages, and have rarely heard the term "bi-partisan agreement".

1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center. ...

9. Ralph Nader has always been running for President of the U.S. ...

14. FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers. ...

21. Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight. ...

23. Hello, Dolly ... cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction. ...

30. There has always been "TV" designed to be watched exclusively on the web. ...

37. Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S. ...

54. Their collection of U.S. quarters has always celebrated the individual states. ....

Monday, August 25, 2014

Organized Money

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

-- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd US President, Address at Madison Square Garden, New York City, 31 October 1936

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dominant Visual Aspect

[The Cato Institute's Walter] Olson added, "the dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands."

... When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury -- national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture -- we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them.  Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

-- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), in a Time Magazine editorial, 14 August 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

True Peace

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968), Baptist minister, civil rights activist, 1964 Nobel Peace laureate, in a 1955 response to an accusation that he was "disturbing the peace" by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound : A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr (1982) by Stephen B. Oates

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Isn't life the strangest thing you've ever seen?

-- Patricia Rozema (20 August 1958-), Canadian film director and screenwriter, lines written for "Polly Vandersma", in I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our Own House

In our anger, we have to make sure that we don't burn down our own house.

-- Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald S. Johnson, talking to residents of Ferguson, MO after days of unrest over the fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer, 16 August 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014


The nude woman turns toward him.  She's the spitting image of Amber's mother, except for the chelipeds she has in place of hands.  She hisses, "Equity!" and takes a wobbly step toward him, pincers clacking.

-- Charles Stross, in his science fiction novel Accelerando (2005) about the impending technological singularity


When I read this paragraph in Accelerando, I stopped to wonder whether that was the weirdest paragraph ever that still fit within the story line.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sapere Aude!

Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity.  Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another.  Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

-- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher, What is Enlightenment? (1784)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nonsense wakes up the brain cells.  And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age.  Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world.  It's more than just a matter of laughing.  If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.

-- Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel (1904-1991), American writer and cartoonist, as quoted in "Author Isn't Just a Cat in the Hat" by Miles Corwin, Los Angeles Times (27 November 1983)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Life Isn't Fair

Life isn't fair.  It's just fairer than death, that's all.

-- William Goldman (1931-), American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, "The Princess Bride" (1973)

Monday, August 11, 2014


Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.

-- Robin McLaurim Williams (21 July 1951 - 11 August 2014), American actor and comedian, Robin Williams on Returning to TV, Getting Sober, and Downsizing in His 60s", Parade (12 September 2013)

Friday, August 08, 2014

That's Why

My fellow Americans, the world is confronted by many challenges.  And while America has never been able to right every wrong, America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place.  And our leadership is necessary to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend upon.  We do so by adhering to a set of core principles.  We do whatever is necessary to protect our people.  We support our allies when they're in danger.  We lead coalitions of countries to uphold international norms.  And we strive to stay true to the fundamental values -- the desire to live with basic freedom and dignity -- that is common to human beings wherever they are.  That's why people all over the world look to the United States of America to lead.  And that's why we do it.

-- President Obama, announcing limited military action in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), 7 August 2014

Thursday, August 07, 2014


Bureaucracy is the epoxy that greases the wheels of progress.

-- James H. Boren (1925-2010), American humorist and writer, When in Doubt, Mumble: A Bureaucrat's Handbook (1972)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty.

-- Sacha Guitry (1885-1957), French stage actor, film actor, director, and screenwriter, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, 27 July 1986

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Every ZIP Code

I've been to places where there is a poet laureate for every ZIP code.  The country is crawling with them.  I think it's out of control.

-- Billy Collins, former United States and New York State poet laureate, on the proliferation of the official wordsmiths, NY Times, 28 July 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

Turkey Run

I took my youngest (she'll be 16 next month) to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana this afternoon for a long hike.  I like that park.  Good times.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Your Message, Your Words, Your Voice

Yelling silences your message.  Speak quietly so your children can hear your words instead of just your voice.

-- L R Knost, American author, Effective Parenting 101