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Here's a place to share quotations from the public sphere of politics and economics and policy. Teddy Roosevelt is a good source to begin with:
"The 'greatest good for the greatest number' applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations."
-- Theodore Roosevelt
I am finally assaulting Gibbon, and he is well worth the effort. Almost every page has something worth quoting.
Here's one: "The narrow policy of preserving, without any foreign mixture, the pure blood of the ancient citizens, had checked the fortune, and hastened the ruin, of Athens and Sparta. The aspiring genius of Rome sacrificed vanity to ambition, and deemed it more prudent, as well as honourable, to adopt virtue and merit for her own wheresoever they were found, among slaves or strangers, enemies or barbarians."
Regarding the Roosevelt quote:
But we don't know what that heritage is: a few years ago oil, for example, was without importance, and it may quickly become so again. The genetic engineers of tomorrow may produce designer tigers for every designer landscape, and be unable to understand any possible dislike of that.
'To assume the economist who is trained in theory and statistical techniques must be an expert in economic policy is similar to assuming that a chemist must be a good cook.' --David Colander
A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery.
A task with a vision is the hope of the world.
- inscription on a church in Sussex 1730
"Economics is all about how people make choices; sociology is all about how they don't have any choices to make." -- James Duesenberry.
The above quote was taken from Mark Granovetter's seminal 1985 paper, Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness (p. 485, PDF). The quote comes off sounding like a slam against sociology, but if you read it carefully, you'll see that it illustrates the false dichotomy of human action ("undersocialized" vs. "oversocialized") of which the social sciences still contends with today.
"Listen, here's what I think. I think we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do. By what we deny ourselves. What we resist, and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
-- from the movie, Chocolat
One cannot enjoy a book by skipping from one great passage to another. --B.F. Skinner
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.
-- Judge Gideon J. Tucker
Read that over lunch and had the same thought, but decided it should come from you. Bingo.
Oh, come on, you crazy kids. It was a thread about how most people are either knavish or stupid. So I said that Sartre is either evil or stupid. I hope you're not telling me that the joke (such as it was) flew over your pointed little heads?!
Because only a knave or a fool would say such a thing.
You underestimate me. I'm knavish and stupid. This is a fast crowd, pal. Try to keep up.
"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds."
Aldo Leopold, 1953
This one is especially current:
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
As H L Mencken said: "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
""The modern nation-state, in whatever guise, is a dangerous and unmanageable institution, presenting itself on the one hand as a bureaucratic supplier of goods and services, which is always about to, but never actually does, give its clients value for money, and on the other as a repository of sacred values, which from time to time invites one to lay down one’s life on its behalf… Iit is like being asked to die for the telephone company." -- Alasdair MacIntyre"
"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."
-Henry Brooks Adams (Democracy: An American Novel)
Or as I'd like to hyperbolize it, political parties are little more than hate groups.
There is no dignity quite so impressive,
and no independence quite so important,
as living within your means.
To reach a port, we must sail--sail, not tie at anchor--sail, not drift.
"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."
"My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now."
Well said JFK!
"Never believe anything until it's officially denied."
"If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote." ~ David Foster Wallace
This is not a quote but a rebuttal of 27. Not voting is not a vote for anyone. Politicians at every level often abstain from voting on an issue. Presidents of the U.S. themselves will not sign a law or veto legislation thus taking no role on the issue.
I do not propose not voting but I do not claim there is a moral authority that places voting over not voting. On many ballots in America there is literally only one candidate without opposition (usually elections determining sheriffs and judges). Whenever that is the case I don't bother casting a vote.
A sound argument can be made that you have a choice but that choice is very limited. If you choose a radical candidate that vote will be vetoed by businessmen, the military elite and secret police (the people that use their second amendment rights to cancel the results of an election). So the two Entrenched Establishments are the only choice you have.
Thomas Jefferson—“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
Abraham Lincoln in 1864—“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” (1864)
Theodore Roosevelt—“The citizens of the United States must control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves call into being.”
Woodrow Wilson—“Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt—“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
Dwight Eisenhower, farewell address—“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Theodore Dreiser—“The government has ceased to function, the corporations are the government.”
(Quoted by Ralph Nader in an article posted at
ETA: Barack Obama—Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010) “gives corporations and other special interests the power to spend unlimited amounts of money -- literally millions of dollars -- to affect elections throughout our country. This, in turn, will multiply their influence over decision-making in our government."
Speaking of some of the biggest corporatists of American history:
"The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these territories. We want them for the homes of free white people." -Abraham Lincoln (corporate railroad lawyer)
“I don’t think that any harm comes from the concentration of power in one man’s hands.” -Theodore Roosevelt
"We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." -Woodrow Wilson
"I don't mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman." -Franklin Roosevelt
I guess Theodore Dreiser was right.
From the Illuminatus trilogy. This is from memory, so probably not verbatim.
George, a young white male, is talking to Stella Maris, a young black female.
Stella: "Your problem is that you just notice skin color."
George: "Oh, yeah, and I suppose you don't notice skin color?"
Stella. "No, I do. But I notice everything else about a person too."
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career.
I've lost almost 300 games.
Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
I've failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed."
- Michael Jordan
Perhaps I'm diluting their potency by posting more than just one, but I can't resist...
Anonymous Texan Truism - You can put your boots in the oven, but that don't make 'em biscuits.
Frederic Bastiat - Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
Milton Friedman - Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
F.A. Hayek - There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.
Adam Smith - What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.
"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."
-Sir Winston Churchill
#30 - "I don't mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman." -Franklin Roosevelt
*gasp* Not the pope!!! ;o)
“Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth.”
There is one in every crowd .
"When there is no middle class, and the poor greatly exceed in number, troubles arise, and the state soon comes to an end."
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”
"Our past does not contain a golden age of courtship, and the 'security' of the postwar era was bought at great price. Besides, we are not those people. We are too far from their understandings of the world. For all the problems with modern relationships, we have made gains in freedom and equality; for all our fears in facing an uncertain world, we have incorporated the revolution into our ways of seeing. And it is a revolution we are still fighting."
Beth L. Bailey, elaborating, in the final paragraph of From Front Porch to Back Seat, on why nostalgia for the social norms of the "good old days" and calls for a return to them are misguided.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover."
"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
One of the past Presidents of the United States. It escapes me which one. I think he must have been before Jan. 20, 2009. You know, before history started.
Context, Gene. He was only channeling Cousin Kevin and Uncle Ernie. A Who moment? A Dr. Seuss moment? Horse's Ass Hears the Who?
You sound like you know who said this. I, like the Republicans, only remember events that took place after Jan. 20, 2009. The same guy also said:
"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
A giant intellect of prehistory.
I know how hard it is for you to put food on [ the table for ] your family.
To err is … .
'We make out of the arguments with others, rhetoric. Out of the argument with ourselves, poetry.' W.B. Yeats
Oh geneg, what have you started now!
"I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America . . .Americans . . . again. There just is. That's the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best."
"I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office."
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
I almost miss him . . . .
"We need doctors (I believe he was referring to gynocologists) to spread their love around to all the women"
Not sure if this is exact, none the less, it was memorable !
#50: You might find that a lot of Democrats agree with you. Not looking too far back prevents one from noticing too many uncomfortable similarities.
"I don't think we want to look in the rearview mirror."
#56 I checked it out; it goes:
"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
GWB alone could keep this thread going for weeks!
How about Dan Quayle, Bush Sr.'s VP? Here's a few:
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."
"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
"It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago."
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
And many, many more.
"You could almost have predicted that before it happened" - Ewen Murray, Sky Sports 2
"Where would this country be without this great land of ours?" -Ronald Reagan
>62 madpoet: I'm no fan of Reagan, but I kind of like that one for its Yogi Berra-ish, zenlike quality.
62 isn't as Berra-ish as it might sound at first glance, if
we can assume that "land"
and "country" are not synonyms. E. g. many in a country's population may have a country but no land.
(There was even a king of England whose French* nickname was "Jean sans Terres"
"I'm no fan of Reagan. . ."
We happened to be visiting Tonga during the week of RR's death, (after having lived there through his entire first term and part of his second) As visiting Americans, we received, to my wife's surprise a total of one "Condolences". (She was surprised that we received that "many".)
*Latin and Norman French were the official languages of
England in his time. English was only for "les Gens du Peuple".
The Latin and French prejudices are why we say things like "sexual intercourse" instead of "fuck", or defecate or feces instead of "To shit" or "shit". Or "Vagina" for "C____". Our most vile curse words were at one time relatively mild bits of language spoken in everyday life by the English. The Norman French made the ordinary everyday English vile.
Another interesting tidbit along the same line is that nearly all early English words for parts of bodies were one syllable. Tooth, lips, mouth, eye, ear, hair, neck, arm, hand, leg, dick, c___, face, oh, just think up a few on your own. There are a few outliers that I don't think were English, but have totally supplanted what went before, tongue and finger come most readily to mind. This is one of the glories of English, simple, easy to understand, lots of short, single syllable words, just ask any non-native speaker how easy English was for them to learn.
>65 geneg: It also explains why French was the language of international diplomacy in Europe for so long. English and German are too direct. French has more nuance (even the word is French!) and it's easier to conceal your true intentions as 'a mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details.' ( George Orwell )
#65 Can Latin and French prejudices be blamed for Americans saying "tidbit" while on this side of the Atlantic we stick with the original "titbit"?
Let's not forget the religious swear words which French has a preponderance of. Probably the reason "bloody" is frowned upon in the UK much more than in the US. Then there's "gosh" being a euphemism for "God" and "gee" for "Jesus." And the Australian "crikey" being derived from "Christ." And speaking euphemisms, it's amazing how acceptable the term "fucked up" can be among polite company just by changing it to "screwed up."
Strewth, zounds, and gadzooks! How these religious expressions proliferate.
English without French or Latin influences: Poul Anderson's Uncleftish Beholding.
#65 Intestine? Duodenum? Osteosarchaematosplanchnochondroneuromuelous? Nah, I'm not getting this, am I ;-)
The two quotes I enjoy the most are probably apocryphal, namely "Who's the head honcho around here?" attributed to the late great actor Steve McQueen and "Stay tuned!" also another "actor" quote, namely Ronald Reagan's?
I also like "Nobody's perfeck"; "Nothing turns out the way it's supposed to"; "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day" and "It's always the innocent who suffer," the origins of which I don't know but I believe I picked them all up watching William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" in the 1980s...
A very UNfavorite quote to me is the response to just about any exception that might be raised: "That's the EXCEPTION that proves the RULE!" --As if any self-respecting rule MUST have exceptions to it!
I think I'm not being hyper-pedantic to say that an exception can, at most, NOT DISPROVE a rule; or, prove that a rule doesn't always apply. It can do nothing toward "proving" the rule.
The wiki page on this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exception_that_proves_the_rule) agrees that the phrase is frequently misused, and suggests that "The exception that proves the existence of the rule" would be more explicit. "For example, a sign that says "parking prohibited on Sundays" (the exception) "proves" that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule)."
". . .' proves' that parking IS allowed on the other six days* . . ."
Right. Good example, but one that I think doesn't parallel the usual use of the phrase.
I haven't heard it with "the existence OF. . ." included,
but that does seem more logical.
*Reminds me of a sign a store here once had:
ALL Backpacks are NOT ALLOWED in the Store". I don't own a backpack, but, through curiosity I used to wonder if that implied that SOME backpacks ARE allowed!
Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge's approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truthworthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved, that which approves it, in turn, either has been approved or has not been approved, and so on ad infinitum. -- Sextus Empiricus
Scepticism is an ability, or mental attitude, which opposes appearances to judgments in any way whatsoever, with the result that, owing to the equipollence of the objects and reasons thus opposed we are brought firstly to a state of mental suspense and next to a state of "unperturbedness" or quietude. -- Sextus Empiricus
"Sexy emperors? Which ones? (81)
Taking a wide meaning of "sexy": Which ones WEREN'T might be a shorter assignment.
I realize you're kidding, but I can't resist pedantically adding that
the name "Empiricus" has no connection with "emperor"; it is the same root from which we get the term
"empirical" in Science and
Philosophy. The word "sexus" in Latin, b t w, does not mean "sex"; it means "gender".
Closest words to what we
call "sex" are "venus"* and "libido".
*venus: which can also mean
"charm" or a Latin rendition of the Goddess Aphrodite.
I have come across many application forms where one of the questions is, "Sex?", but I have never found sufficient space to write, "Yes please!"
"one of the questions is, "Sex? . . ." (84)
Not sure if that is older than the old Mutt and Jeff
"form" joke, where Jeff
answers "Born: _______"
Good old Mutt and Jeff.
I am currently reading The Eyre Affair and there are two brothers in it called Jeff and Geoff.
The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.
"A shlechter shalom is besser vie a guter
krieg." / "A bad peace is better than a good war."
- - Jewish proverb.
Something to think of especially in 2014 -- the one hundred year anniversary of "The Great War" until there was a "greater" one eh...
Actually, it is "Ein schlechter Frieden ist besser als ein guter Krieg." Even in Yiddish it would not be shalom or is.
'There is no uniquely American criminal class. Except Congress.'
'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.'
Samuel Johnson also said (about the American Revolution): 'Why do the loudest yelps for freedom come from the owners of slaves?'
I am corrected re Yiddish -- bist a Yid?
The first Johnson quote is even in Stanley Kubrick's great 1957 anti war film "Paths of Glory" -- Kirk Douglas quotes it to George Macready who doesn't take it well. The second one I've never seen before but very apt...
“And meanwhile war is drifting the way of all good old glad things. The old-fashioned Christmas, the old-fashioned dance, the bright old days of sleigh rides and the log fires are gone, and with them, alas, dear old war has got to go.”
- Some Rotarian dude quoted in The 776 Even Stupider Things Ever Said.
At least P. J. OʻRourkeʻs title of years ago - - "Give War a Chance" was said (I guess?)
"dear old war has got to go"?! If only that were true! (That war was a thing of the past.)
There's a movie "War Takes a Holiday with Fredric March -- oh no that was "DEATH Takes a Holiday" but the difference is only more specific.
This year we "observe" the 100th anniversary of the beginning of "the Great War," WWI; I assume we shall "begin" in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina eh...
Gerasko d'aei polla didaskomenos. /
Throughout old age, I will be doing a lot of learning. -- Solon.
6th c. B. C.
>99 RickHarsch: I believe, at one time, there was a statue of Princip, but it was removed in the 1920s. I could be wrong about this, though.
“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
Video of Jonathan Gruber, an architect of Obamacare:
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing (Obamacare) to pass…. Look, I wish…we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
A few years ago, referencing one Leo Strauss who was supposedly the intellectual author of the invasion of Iraq, this practice was called 'the Noble Lie', and was seen by those who used the term to be a very wicked thing indeed, something only war-mongering neo-conservatives would do. How times change!
“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed
and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half
its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful
and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion
them by saying that “the game belongs to the people.”
So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but
to the unborn people. The “greatest good for the great
est number” applies to the number within the womb of
time, compared to which those now alive form but an
insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the
unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled
present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these
unborn generations. The movement for the conservation
of wildlife and the larger movement for the conservation
of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in
spirit, purpose, and method.”
Theodore Roosevelt (1916)
“This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968),
as quoted by Bernie Sanders, Georgetown U (Nov 19, 2015)
>77 rolandperkins:-79 (If anyone is still reading this thread): "the exception that proves the rule": I think that here the word "proves" is being used in a nearly-obsolete sense, as "tests".
Let no man pull you so low as to make you hate him.
--Booker T. Washington,
I am finally assaulting Gibbon, and he is well worth the effort. Almost every page has something worth quoting.
Yeah. He's really not worth it as a historian now. But he makes up for it in quotability.
"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you
smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The
Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then
get elected and prove it."
- P.J. O'Rourke
> 111 I contest the remark about Gibbon that 'He's really not worth it as a historian now.' I do believe a version annotated by a contemporary scholar would be better, but Gibbons own notes could comprise a well-written volume in themselves. He goes deeply into his topic and where he may be misguided here and there he is more often likely to be correct. But an easier point is that if you read Gibbon you will know a great deal more than if you don't. When I bought the books some 20 years ago I was taken aback by finding the introduction quite critical, primarily, if I recall correctly, that Gibbon gave short shrift to the Slavs. But though that is likely a good point, it does not speak to the information provided where he lingers.
Speaking of long shrifts, Norman Davies is an historian popular today largely because of the extensive shrift he gives the Slavs; but the problem with that is it skews his entire view of the 20th century, which I recommend skipping and replacing with Hobsbawm, or someone else. Better yet would be to read the 20th century event by event.
I had intended to use the Guelfs and Ghibellines as an argument here, but I checked the index in Gibbon and there are only three mentions--so there may be another strike against him.
I'm fond of this fragment of early ecological insight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
In Köln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fanged with murderous stones,
And rags and hags and hideous wenches,
I counted two-and-seventy stenches
All well defined, and several stinks.
Ye nymphs that rule o'er sewers and sinks,
The River Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne.
But tell me, nymphs, what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the River Rhine?
[From memory; it may not be exact.]
"Native Hawaiian groups are opposing the
construction of another (telescope on Mauna Kea),
the massive,sophisticated Thirty Meter Telescope,
because Mauna Kea is considered by (N)ative
Hawaiians to be the islandsʻ most sacred place."
"Ballad of the Paniolo: on the Slopes of Mauna
Kea, Hawaiiʻs Cowboys Developed a Culture of
their own" by Samir S. Patel
(in Archaeology, Jan-Feb 2016)
As Huckleberry Finnʻs dad said of a
pre-Civil war Missouri election, in which
a Black man voted", They CALL this a guvmint!?"
Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled.
-- Richard Feynman, on the Challenger disaster
"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."
actuelly not Everett Dirksen, but heh. It's a good one.
"It's nothing serious. Just a slight temperature I am treating with gin."
Albert Camus - The Fall
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Two parody Christmas songs by Warren Clements from The Globe and Mail, December 24, 2016, p. F12
False T, the showman,
Had a mouth that wouldn't quit.
When he wowed the throng, all
His facts were wrong,
But he didn't give a shit.*
False T, the showman,
Who had mocked Obama's birth,
Said he now had twigged
That the vote was rigged,
Though of proof there was a dearth.
There's really something tragic in
the way his lies trumped fact.
When anyone took issue, he
complained of being attacked.
False T, the showman,
Is the president elect.
And to play his tunes,
He appoints tycoons.
Will the Congress genuflect?
* the original reads "But he didn't care one whit", which doesn't quite work, but then it's a family newspaper.
And . . .
Vexed, the Brits said yes to Brexit.
Fa la la la la, la la ta-ta.
But the court's harsh words may hex it,
Fa la la la la, la flaw flaw flaw.
Parliament must vote, the court said,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
So Theresa May was thwarted.
Fa la la la la, la bah bah bah.
No, she countered with derision.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
We'll appeal that wrong decision.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Unelected courts! How dare they
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Give elected MPs their say?
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
(S)ome texts say the Messiah will come either in the most righteous generation or in the most wicked. Granting that we’ve kind of dropped the ball on the “most righteous” possibility, I think the wickedness option really plays to our strengths.
- Scott Alexander, Unsongbook.com
...To experience the soul-swelling wonder of silence, you must hear it.
Silence is a sound, many, many sounds. I've heard more than I can count. Silence is the moonlit song of the coyote signing the air, and the answer of its mate. It is the falling whisper of snow that will later melt with an astonishing reggae rhythm so crisp that you will want to dance to it. It is the sound of pollinating winged insects vibrating soft tunes as they defensively dart in and out of the pine boughs to temporarily escape the breeze, a mix of insect hum and pine sigh that will stick with you all day. Silence is the passing flock of chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches, chirping and fluttering, reminding you of your own curiosity.
... I believe the unchecked loss of silence is a canary in a coal mine-a global one. If we cannot make a stand here, if we turn a deaf ear to the issue of vanishing natural quiet, how can we expect to fare better with more complex environmental crises?
If you are more fortunate than others,
build a longer table, not a taller fence.
Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace (Sign)
ETA: quick google gives author as "unknown" or "anonymous"
Socialism never took root in America
because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat
but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
– John Steinbeck
Uniformity is neither desirable nor possible in a country the size of Canada. We should not even be able to agree upon the kind of Canadian to choose as a model, let alone persuade most people to emulate it. There are few policies potentially more disastrous for Canada than to tell all Canadians that they must be alike. There is no such thing as a model or ideal Canadian. What could be more absurd than the concept of an “all-Canadian” boy or girl? A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate. A society which eulogizes the average citizen is one which breeds mediocrity. What the world should be seeking, and what in Canada we must continue to cherish, are not concepts of uniformity but human values: compassion, love, and understanding.
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Remarks at the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress, October 9, 1971.
Even those who assert everything is predestined, that we can change nothing, still look both ways before they cross the street.
"Who, after all, remembers the Armenians?" -Adolf Hitler, 1939
Many aspects of the Armenian Genocide were copied by Hitler, and it was seen as a model for the Holocaust. It is still denied by the government of Turkey.
The Future You
Pope Francis (English subtitles)
...Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world.
Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component. Even science—and you know it better than I do – points to an understanding of reality as a place where every element connects and interacts with everything else.
...How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.
How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries.
...To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.
Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life.
And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist.
And that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution...
Excerpt of transcript and video of Ted talk at
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." - Mark Twain
Happy 4th of July 2017: Top 10 quotes to celebrate US Independence Day
Lara Rebello | July 4, 2017
"The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly." — John F. Kennedy
"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
"We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls." — Robert J. McCracken
"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." — Erma Bombeck
"It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism." — J. Horace McFarland
"Where liberty dwells, there is my country." – Benjamin Franklin
"As mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America amongst the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality." — George Washington
"This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith." — Lyndon B. Johnson
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. — William Faulkner
We need an America with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit. — Hubert H. Humphrey
on the search for the smoking gun:
In the era of the Iran-Contra, Alistair Cooke, the late longtime BBC commentator on American affairs, said that the eternal hunt for smoking guns was a classic bit of misdirection. “We’ve been conducting the wrong kind of search,” Cooke said in a 1996 piece. “The object in question is the body of the constitution. When we find it with a hundred stab wounds, there’s no point in looking for a smoking gun.”
"Mr. President, you should know, self-pardoning is a sin. How do you think justice went blind?” - Stephen Colbert
How far we've come from Past President Dwight D Eisenhower (R), who opined thusly:
The general limits of your freedom are merely these: that you do not trespass upon the equal rights of others.
Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels—men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
All of us have heard this term "preventive war" since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time, if we believe for one second that nuclear fission and fusion, that type of weapon, would be used in such a war — what is a preventive war?
I would say a preventive war, if the words mean anything, is to wage some sort of quick police action in order that you might avoid a terrific cataclysm of destruction later.
A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn't preventive war; that is war.
I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.
… It seems to me that when, by definition, a term is just ridiculous in itself, there is no use in going any further.
There are all sorts of reasons, moral and political and everything else, against this theory, but it is so completely unthinkable in today's conditions that I thought it is no use to go any further.
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
...if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.
Re nuclear war:
You just can't have this kind of war. There aren't enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.
Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible--from the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius of our scientists.
No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice. … No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?
...let no one think that the expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defense can guarantee absolute safety for the cities and citizens of any nation.
Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides.
Character in many ways is everything in leadership. It is made up of many things, but I would say character is really integrity. When you delegate something to a subordinate, for example, it is absolutely your responsibility, and he must understand this. You as a leader must take complete responsibility for what the subordinate does. I once said, as a sort of wisecrack, that leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.
As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."
During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
President Donald J Trump: "covfefe"
Another US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to “the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and His Britannic Majesty” on 1st September 1939:
The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centres of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenceless men, women, and children, has sickened the hearts of every civilised man and woman, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.
Sadly, within a few short years this president failed to honour his own words, that "armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations" as he unleashed first the carpet bombing of German civilians and then the dropping of atomic bombs on Japanese civilians.
While Roosevelt authorized development of the nuclear bomb, I think it was Truman authorized its use in Japan, but point taken. Sad all around:
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
- Winston Churchill (as quoted by James Comey)
“You will always be poor, Aemilianus, if you are poor;
nowadays wealth comes to no one but the rich”.
-Martial, Epigram 5.81
“Often and quite contrarily, we look down on a laborer while delighting in his work”
sententiae antiquae @sentantiq
8 Dec 2017
“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
― Abraham Lincoln
"And reality has a well known liberal bias." -Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
Quoted in the 2017 Christmas message sent out by Pax Christi International.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
In a story reporting Trump's support of Iranian protesters:
Mike Pence had previously responded to hecklers at rallies by telling the crowd, “This is what freedom looks like, and this is what freedom sounds like.”
He dropped that line soon after Trump named him as his running mate.
A bishop from Central America said, in the '80s:
"When I give the poor food, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
Attributed to Don Helder Camara. Wonderful quote.
"Do you not think that religious unity is to be had not by a mechanical subscription to a common creed but by all respecting the creed of each?"
Mahatma Gandhi (see Mahatma Gandhi letter on Jesus up for sale in US (BBC)
"There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal"
– celebrated Inuit artist, Kenojuak Ashevak
(Many Inuit words for snow and reindeer, though: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/there-really-are-50-eskim...)
"I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy."
"READ* Mother India?"
W. C. Fields in The Pharmacist.
Perhaps the unfunniest of many W.C. Fields lines that were, on the face of it, absolutely unhumourous. It was said as he showed the 1930s best seller to a
customer. The condescending, sugary tone of voice and the body language, unproducible on the keyboard, however, did earn it a guffaw from audiences.
* a past tense; rhymes with "said".
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, the reverse is true."
-A Russian joke during the communist era
"If decency was contained in clothes, we would spot a rapist or a corrupt politician from miles away"
Lindsey Kukunda, Ugandan artist and writer, on the controversy in that country about dress codes for women - but applicable elsewhere, one suspects. Source
"The drawback of the reign of opinion, which however procures liberty, is that it interferes in matters with which it has no concern; such as private life" -Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
This topic was continued by Quotations 2.
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