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« Quotations and Aphorisms: 2002 | Quotations and Aphorisms Parent | Quotations and Aphorisms: 2004 »

December 29, 2003

The Laughing Stock

"The fact that political candidates, even those of education and intelligence like Howard Dean, are obliged to feign religious faith in order to stand a chance of getting elected, makes the United States the laughing stock of the civilized world."—Richard Dawkins...

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December 12, 2003

Truth

It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth— John Locke...

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December 4, 2003

Talk Back

In a totalitarian system, you aren't allowed to talk back to the government; in a capitalist system you can't talk back to the sponsor. —Adbusters...

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December 2, 2003

Uncertainty

"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." --Richard Feynman...

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November 15, 2003

To The Realists

You sober people who feel well armed against passion and fantasies and would like to turn your emptiness into a matter of pride and an ornament: you call yourselves realists and hint that the world really is the way it appears to you. As if reality stood unveiled before you only, and you yourselves were perhaps the best part of it —O you beloved images of Sais! But in your unveiled state are not even you still very passionate and dark creatures compared to fish, and still far too similar to an artist in love? And what is "reality" for an artist in love? You are still burdened with those estimates of things that have their origin in the passions and loves of former centuries. Your sobriety still contains a secret and inextinguishable drunkenness. Your love of "reality," for example—oh, this is a primeval "love." Every feeling and sensation contains a pice of this old love; Every feeling and sensation contains a piece of this old love; and some fantasy, some prejudice, some unreason, some ignorance, some fear, and ever so much else has contributed to it and worked on it. That mountain there! That cloud there! What is "real" in that? Subtract the phantasm and every human contribution from it, my sober friends! If you can If you can forget your descent, your past, your training—all of your humanity and animality. There is no "reality" for us—not for you either, my sober friends. We are not nearly as different as you think, and perhaps our good will to transcend intoxication is as respectable as your faith that you are altogether incapable of intoxication.—Nietzsche...

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November 12, 2003

Harpo Marx

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November 7, 2003

Differences

The difference between conservatives and liberals is the difference between "buyer beware" and "seller be fair"....

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November 4, 2003

My Papa Said

To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day hero ... assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an un-winnable urban guerilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability. George Bush Sr., in _A World Transformed_, 1998...

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November 2, 2003

Same Old Same Old

The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same seashore. �Albert Camus...

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October 27, 2003

It Breaks Your Heart

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."— A. Bartlett Giamatti...

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October 18, 2003

On Living

"The important thing, therefore, is not, as yet, to go to the root of things, but the world being what it is, to know how to live in it." —Camus...

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October 17, 2003

Solace for the Losers

"I always believed that being a Cubs fan built strong character. It taught a person that if you try hard enough and long enough, you'll still lose. And that's the story of life."— Mike Royko...

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September 4, 2003

So It Goes

"Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer. So it goes." --Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut...

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August 31, 2003

As it Stands...

"Everyone has agreed that we must stop fighting; the trouble is no one wants to surrender his weapons. As it stands now, those who are against wholesale destruction are opposed by those in favor of piecemeal destruction." —Henry Miller...

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August 26, 2003

Liberalism

"Liberal policies made America the freest, wealthiest, most successful and most powerful nation in human history. Conservatism in power always threatens to undo that national progress, and is almost always frustrated by the innate decency and democratic instincts of the American people... If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism -- with the support of the American people. -- Joe Conason...

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August 5, 2003

A George W. Bush Legacy

"This is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign and economic but also in social and environmental policy. This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for people to engage in civil disobedience." - - George A. Akerlof (2001 Nobel Prize Laureate)...

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July 27, 2003

Footsteps

"A stair that has not been deepy hollowed by footsteps is, from its own point of view, merely something that has been bleakly put together out of wood ."—Franz Kafka. via Steve at Splinters If you are not a regular reader at Splinters you're missing a very good read. Fun, witty, and opinionated only begin to describe the pleasures that await you. Joseph Duemer mentioned this site a while ago showing his usual superb taste. Go tell him thanks. Hmm come to think of it I never thanked him. Thanks Joe....

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July 21, 2003

On Speaking Ill

If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: 'He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned'. Epictetus --Enchiridion...

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July 19, 2003

The Religious Hypothesis

Once 'the religious hypothesis' is disengaged from the opportunity to inflict humiliation and pain on people who do not profess the correct creed, it loses interest for many people. Richard Rorty --Religious Faith, Intellectual Responsibility and Romance...

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July 15, 2003

Two Times Two Is Not Four

Mathematics has the completely false reputation of yielding infallible conclusions. Its infallibility is nothing but identity. Two times two is not four, but it is just two times two, and that is what we call four for short. But four is nothing new at all. And thus it goes on and on in its conclusions, except that in the higher formulas the identity fades out of sight Johann Wolfgang von Goethe --Quoted in Newman's The World of Mathematics...

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July 9, 2003

On Becoming A Writer

Instant obsolesence is why I became a writer. The rate of punctuation in a sentence doesn't double every 18 friggin' months, and you never have some 22-year-old looming over your shoulder, shaking his head, saying "dude... you're still using adverbs...?"—Bob Harris...

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July 8, 2003

How Absurd

How absurd to anguish over our passing into freedom from all anguish. Just as our birth was the beginning of all things for us, so our death will be the death of them all. That is why it is equally mad to weep because we shall not be alive a hundred years from now and to weep because we were not alive a hundred years ago. Montaigne --To Philosophize is to Learn How to Die...

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July 5, 2003

Born Liar

People have a careless way of talking about a 'born liar,' just as they talk about a 'born poet.' But in both cases they are wrong. Lying and poetry are arts--arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other--and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion. Oscar Wilde --The Decay of Lying...

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June 30, 2003

Bamboozled

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge - even to ourselves - that we've been so credulous. Carl Sagan...

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June 19, 2003

Just Say No!

"...Being a Republican is better than being on drugs, but not by much"— Alan Fleischer (Ari's Dad)...

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June 16, 2003

Inspiration

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."—Jack London...

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June 11, 2003

Making A Difference

"Conservative bloggers care most about making a name for themselves, liberal bloggers are merely content to make a difference." Sully Watch...

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June 5, 2003

Praise

The praise of ancient authors proceeds not from the reverence of the dead, but from the competition, and mutual envy of the living. Thomas Hobbes --Leviathan...

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May 26, 2003

Philosophy

Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. Philosophy does not result in philosophical propositions, but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries. Ludwig Wittgenstein --Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus...

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May 20, 2003

Egotism

"Before you decide that an action was unforgivable, make sure that you know how it looked to the agent. You may well conclude that it was indeed unforgivable, but the knowledge of why it was done may help you avoid committing actions that you yourself will later find unforgivable." Richard Rorty REDEMPTION FROM EGOTISM: JAMES AND PROUST AS SPIRITUAL EXERCISES...

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Poison And Antidote

The puritanism of Christianity has played havoc with the moderation that an enlightened and tolerant critical spirit would have produced. I've noticed that in whatever country, county, town, or other region there is a regulation enjoining temperance, the population seems to be entirely composed of teetotallers and drunkards. There's a Bible on that shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire - poison and antidote. Bertrand Russell --An Interview with Kenneth Harris...

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May 14, 2003

History

The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of spirit. Georg Hegel --Phenomenology of Spirit...

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May 9, 2003

Moral Questions

"In our society, all women and all men have a right to make difficult moral decisions and make personal choices. But women will not be equal to men if this constitutionally protected right is denied." — Dennis Kucinich...

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True Believers

"How about we believe the White House because they're the only ones who have been right about the war since the beginning?...So far, everything they said has come to pass." —warblogger...

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Science Is A Pursuit

The routine of custom tends to deaden even scientific inquiry; it stands in the way of discovery and of the active scientific worker. For discovery and inquiry are synonymous as an occupation. Science is a pursuit, not a coming into possession of the immutable; new theories as points of view are more prized than discoveries that quantitatively increase the store on hand. John Dewey --Reconstruction in Philosophy...

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May 2, 2003

Root Of Our Trouble

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. James Baldwin --The fire next time...

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May 1, 2003

Bend Over

The quote of the day courtesy of Janeane Garofalo in The Progressive "I can't stand watching history roll right over us. It's like they're asking you to bend over, put your head in the sand, and put a flag in your ass."...

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April 30, 2003

I hate war

"There had been something so shocking in our sudden fortuitous choice of prey — we had just happened to be passing, one burst only was required, there was no one to return our fire, we were gone again, adding our little quota to the world's dead."— Graham Greene The Quiet American...

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April 29, 2003

Fundamentalism

"Fundamentalism means sticking strictly to the script, which in turn means being deeply fearful of the improvised, ambiguous or indeterminate...Since writing is meaning that can be handled by anybody, any time, it is always profane and promiscuous. Meaning that has been written down is bound to be unhygienic...Fundamentalism is the paranoid condition of those who do not see that roughness is not a defect of human existence, but what makes it work." Terry Eagleton --The Guardian 22 Feb. 2003...

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April 23, 2003

Education

We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free. Epictetus --Discourses...

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April 17, 2003

The Only Patriot

" Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries." Mark Twain - "The Lowest Animal," Letters from the Earth, pp.226-227...

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April 8, 2003

Morality Makes Stupid

"Custom represents the experiences of men of earlier times as to what they supposed useful and harmful—but the sense for custom (morality) applies, not to these experiences as such, but to the age, the sanctity, the indiscussability of custom. And so this feeling is a hindrance to the acquisition of new experiences and the correction of customs: that is to say, morality is a hindrance to the creation of new and better customs: it makes stupid. " — Nietzsche Daybreak 19...

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April 4, 2003

Habits

It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Alfred North Whitehead --An Introduction to Mathematics...

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April 3, 2003

Impulses

"Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!"— Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra...

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March 30, 2003

There Is No End To This

"There's no end to this. What we are dealing with is guerilla warfare. Are we prepared to obliterate the whole country. You can call it 'Search and Destroy' or 'Seize and Destroy'— Either way it's 'Destroy and Destroy'. There is no good way to end it. &mdash John Irving "A Prayer for Owen Meany" p.408...

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March 29, 2003

Senseless Violence

"This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!" — Albert Einstein...

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March 28, 2003

Quote of the Day

" What good is a smart bomb if you have a dumb president"—BOONDOCKS...

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March 27, 2003

Basic Rules

"We tend to overlook a basic rule: that people prefer bad rule by their own kind to good rule by somebody else" — Boston University historian David Fromkin...

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March 20, 2003

Dupes

PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors. -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary...

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March 10, 2003

The Art of War

"So to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; the highest excellence is to subdue the enemy's army without fighting at all."— Sun Tzu The Art of War...

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March 5, 2003

There Is An Evil

"There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by � corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses." -- James Madison...

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February 27, 2003

An Ugly Word

"...I very well know that in many minds 'criticism' has today become an ugly word. It has become almost lese majest�. It conjures up pictures of insidious radicals hacking away at the very foundations of the American way of life. It suggests nonconformity and nonconformity suggests disloyalty and disloyalty suggests treason, and before we know where we are, this process has all but identified the critic with the saboteur and turned political criticism into an un-American activity instead of democracy's greatest safeguard."—Adlai Stevenson "via (thanks Mark)":http://www.cheap-date.org/...

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February 22, 2003

Under A Cloud

"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. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."—Dwight D. Eisenhower Speech given in 1953 at the end of the Korean War...

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February 21, 2003

Preventive War

"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...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." --President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953, upon being presented with plans to wage preventive war to disarm Stalin's Soviet Union...

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February 20, 2003

Critical Thinking

"For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things … and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture."—Francis Bacon...

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February 19, 2003

Rat Pack

I often receive interesting comments on old posts, alas I'm the only one who knows they're there except for an occasional search engine hit. As soon as I figure out Now that I have figured out Shelleys instructions on how to add recent comments I will have solved that problem. In January of 2002 I posted the following quotation, one of my favorites. "It is more convenient to follow one's conscience than one's intelligence, for at every failure, conscience finds an excuse and an encouragement in itself. That is why there are so many conscientious and so few intelligent people."— Nietzsche Today someone posted two anonymous comments, a good reason for allowing them, that I found quite amusing. Since I still am hiding in the bunker can anybdoy explain who all these people are...other than you all...see I am like a Proust novel...in this case Le Prisoner, except I wont know when I am actually biting into the mint. That should all bring you to a screeching halt...well except Collins who is looking for the appropiate quote...Kirkkegard, Wittgenstein, Babe Winklemann. First of all Marcel Proust was nothing but a Romain Rolland wannabe...his writing style was a 19th century version of Chicken Soup for the Soul, but written with three and a half million words. Secondly, Wittgenstein, while an accomplished philosopher, was certainly no Soren Kierkegaard. It is easy to lump Wittgenstein into the philosophical "rat pack" (if you will allow me the analogy), where Kierkegaard (Martin), Nietzsche (Sinatra), Wittgenstein (Sammy), Adorno (Bishop), and Derrida (Lawford) act as gadflies to create a counterculture of heretical philosophy where they could only say what they meant by abandoning the conventional wisdom of the day and inventing a whole new irreverent form of writing through the use of humor, satire, and parody (all generally regarded as deconstructive techniques) in order to make the accepted forms of wisdom and value untenable. Kierkegaard had (in my opinion) a far more profound impact on modern day (not to be confused with postmodernism) philosophy than did messrs. Wittgenstein & Winkelman (although The Babe wins hands down in the shore lunch department). As proof of this postulate (redundant), I draw to your attention the fact that Wittgenstein was reduced to a mere caricature of himself (which some may argue was the ultimate homage, but I digress) where he appears as a fictional character in numerous writings following his death. His significance is inflated by the mystical adventures of the fictional character Wittgenstein and his encounters with evil foe the likes of Mothra and The Wolfman. In closing, I will leave you with the words of our good friend Sinatra (well...our Sinatra character in our humor-laden rhetorical hypothetical theoretical satirical paradoxical pack of rats)...It is more convenient to follow one's conscience than one's intelligence, for at every failure, conscience finds an excuse and an encouragement in itself. That is why there are so many conscientious and so few intelligent people....

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February 11, 2003

Merely Stupid

What a wonderful resource the Internet is. I posted a remembrance of my Uncle Merle Borrowman sometime ago and as a result met Debra who was kind enough to leave a comment relating how she had the opportunity in the 70's to hear my uncle speak. She is also sending me a copy of the cover of the program for that engagement, wow. I was gratified when Debra left kind words about this site and she recommended a couple of her favorite links Take Back The Media and Democratic Underground which she finds entertaining. She even expressed her opinion of our so called leader by way of the following quotation and a gem it is: "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid"—Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) Thanks Debra...

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February 6, 2003

Empty Warheads

I am much more frightened by the empty warhead we have sitting the the White House than the empty ones recently found in Iraq— Doug Wildfoerster letter to the editor Salt Lake Tribune...

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February 4, 2003

I Shall Use My Time

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. —Jack London...

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January 31, 2003

The Tao of Government

Not promoting those of superior character Will save the common people from becoming contentious Not prizing property that is hard to come by Will save them from becoming thieves Not making a show of what might be desired Will save them from becoming disgruntled It if for this reason that in the proper governing by sages: They empty the hearts-and-minds of the people and fill their stomachs, They weaken their aspirations and strengthen their bones, Ever teaching the common people to be unprincipled in their knowing And objectless in their desires, They keep the hawker of knowledge at bay It is simply doing things non-coercively That everything is governed properly Lao Tzu Interpretations solicited Line numbers provided for purpose of exegesis...

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January 25, 2003

Understandings

"Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed & govern'd their Passions, or have no Passions, but because they have cultivated their Understandings"—.William Blake...

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January 24, 2003

I Change My Mind

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?"— John Maynard Keynes...

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January 22, 2003

Pleasant Dreams

"How is the world supposed to make decisions, especially about Iraq, when we don't get relevant information? The information we get includes words like 'evil-doers' � is this a fucking bed-time story?"—Janeane Garofalo...

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January 17, 2003

Mind-forg'd Manacles

"In every cry of every man In every Infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear." From 'London' by William Blake...

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January 16, 2003

Passion

We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." -- Henry James...

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January 12, 2003

Beliefs

"The beliefs which we have most warrant for, have no safeguard to rest on, but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded. If the challenge is not accepted, or is accepted and the attempt fails, we are far enough from certaintainty still, but we've done the best that the existing state of human reason admits of; we have neglected nothing that could give the truth a chance of reaching us... This is the amount of certainty attainable by a fallible being, and this is the sole way of attain it"— (Mill, J. S. 1978)...

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January 10, 2003

Inspiration

In answer to the question where do you get the inspiration for your books. "I tell myself that I cannot have another cup of coffee until I've thought of an idea"—Douglas Adams...

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January 9, 2003

Errors

"One rarely rushes into a single error. rushing into the first one, one always does too much. So one usually perpetrates another one—and now one does too little" — Frederich Nietzsche Twilight of the Idols...

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January 8, 2003

Americana

"Hurry, hurry get me a basket so I can buy some stuff. Hurry! I can't buy stuff without a basket. I like buying stuff it's fun.—Anonymous Wal-Mart Shopper...

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Cause And Effect

"The error of confusing cause and effect. There is no more dangerous error than that of mistaking the effect for the cause: I call it the real corruption of reason. Yet this error belongs among the most ancient and recent habits of mankind: it is even hallowed among us and goes by the name of 'religion' or 'morailty.'"— Frederich Nietzsche Twilight of the Idols...

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January 5, 2003

The Nature of Things

"Physical science makes claim to disclose not the inner nature of things but only those connections of things with one another that determine outcomes and hence can be used as means."—John Dewey...

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January 4, 2003

Language

"If reality is the night sky then words are the constellations."— Anonymous...

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