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Quotes of the day: Paul Newman

Published Sunday, January 25, 2015 @ 9:24 PM EST
Jan 25 2015

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner, environmentalist, social activist, and philanthropist. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, six Golden Globe Awards (including three honorary ones), a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing. Newman married actress Joanne Woodward in 1958, and they remained married for 50 years, until his death. He was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of 2014, these donations exceeded US$400 million. He was also a co-founder of Safe Water Network, a nonprofit that develops sustainable drinking water solutions for those in need. In 1988, Paul founded the SeriousFun Children's Network, a global family of camps and programs for children with serious illness which has served 290,076 children since its inception. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man with no enemies is a man with no character.

Acting is like letting your pants down; you're exposed.

Being on President Nixon's enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received. Who knows who's listening to me now and what government list I'm on?

Building weapons that we don't need, don't work, and aren't necessary, and have no mission- that's not bad politics, that's robbery.

I am confounded at the stinginess of some institutions and some people. I'm bewildered by it. You can only put away so much stuff in your closet.

I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me.

I wasn't driven to acting by an inner compulsion. I was running away from the sporting goods business.

I'm like a good cheese. I'm just getting mouldy enough to be interesting.

Just when things look darkest, they go black.

Men experience many passions in a lifetime. One passion drives away the one before it.

Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.

Once you've seen your face on a bottle of salad dressing, it's hard to take yourself seriously.

People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.

Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser.

The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films.

You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: 'Holy Christ, whaddya know- I'm still around!' It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.


(January 26 is also the birthday of Douglas MacArthur.)

Categories: Paul Newman, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: William Congreve

Published Saturday, January 24, 2015 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 24 2015

William Congreve (January 24, 1670 - January 19, 1729) was an English playwright and poet who wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. Unfortunately, his career ended almost as soon as it began. After writing five plays from his first in 1693 until 1700, he produced no more as public tastes turned against the sort of high-brow sexual comedy of manners in which he specialized. He withdrew from the theater and lived on the residuals of his early work. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little disdain is not amiss; a little scorn is alluring.

Beauty is the lover's gift.

Courtship is to marriage, as a very witty prologue to a very dull play.

Defer not till tomorrow to be wise,
Tomorrow's sun to thee may never rise.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.

I confess freely to you I could never look long upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections.

I find we are growing serious, and then we are in great danger of being dull.

I know that's a secret, for it's whispered every where.

If this be not love, it is madness, and then it is pardonable.

Let us be very strange and well-bred:
Let us be as strange as if we had been married a great while;
And as wellbred as if we were not married at all.

Married in haste, we repent at leisure.

Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

O, she is the antidote to desire.

Say what you will, tis better to be left than never to have been loved.

There is in true beauty, as in courage, something which narrow souls cannot dare to admire.

Though marriage makes man and wife one flesh, it leaves 'em still two fools.

Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure;
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.

Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, through the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.

Wit must be foiled by wit: cut a diamond with a diamond.

Women are like tricks by sleight of hand,
Which, to admire, we should not understand.


(January 24 is also the birthday of Edith Wharton.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Congreve

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Quotes of the day: Édouard Manet

Published Friday, January 23, 2015 @ 1:35 AM EST
Jan 23 2015

Édouard Manet (January 23, 1832 - April 30, 1883) was a French painter, one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.

His early masterworks, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) and Olympia, both 1863, caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today, these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good painting is true to itself.

A painter can say all he wants to with fruit or flowers or even clouds.

Anything containing the spark of humanity, containing the spirit of the age, is interesting.

Black is not a color.

Conciseness in art is essential and a refinement. The concise man makes one think; the verbose bores. Always work towards conciseness.

I am influenced by everbody. But every time I put my hands in my pockets I find someone else's fingers there.

I need to work to feel well.

It is not enough to know your craft - you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.

No one can be a painter unless he cares for painting above all else.

One must be of one's time and paint what one sees.

The country has charms only for those not obliged to stay there.

The only amateurs are the people who do bad paintings.

There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.

There's no symmetry in nature. One eye is never exactly the same as the other. There's always a difference. We all have a more or less crooked nose and an irregular mouth.

You must always remain master of the situation and do what you please.


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Quotes of the day: Lord Byron

Published Thursday, January 22, 2015 @ 4:06 AM EST
Jan 22 2015

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS (January 22, 1788 - April 19, 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron's best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the short lyric She Walks in Beauty.

Byron is regarded as one of the greatest British poets, and remains widely read and influential. He travelled through Europe, spent seven years in Italy and then joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died one year later at age 36 from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi in Greece. Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs with more than one gender, rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile.

Byron also fathered, among others, the Countess Ada Lovelace, whose work on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine is considered one of the foundations of computer science. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great poet belongs to no country; his works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.

A man must serve his time to every trade
Save censure- critics are ready-made.

All farewells should be sudden.

And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but
The truth in masquerade.

Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth a fillip.

Folly loves the martyrdom of fame.

Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.

For most men (till by losing rendered sager)
Will back their own opinions by a wager.

Friendship is Love without his wings.

Friendship may, and often does, grow into love, but love never subsides into friendship.

I am the very slave of circumstance
And impulse- borne away with every breath!

I awoke one morning and found myself famous.

If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.

Knowledge is not happiness, and science
But an exchange of ignorance for that
Which is another kind of ignorance.

Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda water the day after.

Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease!
He makes a solitude, and calls it- peace!

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the virtues of Man, without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
(Inscription on the monument of a Newfoundland dog)

No words suffice the secret soul to show,
For truth denies all eloquence to woe.

Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure;
Men love in haste, but they destest at leisure.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Society is now one polish'd horde,
Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.

The 'good old times'- all times when old are good- Are gone.

The best of prophets of the future is the past.

The dust we tread upon was once alive.

There 's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away.

They never fail who die
In a great cause.

What's drinking?
A mere pause from thinking!

When we think we lead, we are most led.

With just enough of learning to misquote.


(January 22 is also the birthday of Francis Bacon.)

Categories: Lord Byron, Quotes of the day

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On ethics...

Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @ 12:19 AM EST
Jan 21 2015

A civilization has the ethics it can afford.
-Larry Niven

A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to help all life which he is able to succor, and when he goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything living. He does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy as valuable in itself, nor how far it is capable of feeling. To him life as such is sacred. He shatters no ice crystal that sparkles in the sun, tears no leaf from its tree, breaks off no flower, and is careful not to crush any insect as he walks. If he works by lamplight on a summer evening, he prefers to keep the window shut and to breathe stifling air, rather than to see insect after insect fall on his table with singed and sinking wings.
-Albert Schweitzer

An ethical man is a Christian holding four aces.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

An ethicist is someone who sees something wrong with whatever you have in mind.
-Marvin Minsky

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.
-D.H. Lawrence

Ethics change with technology.
-Larry Niven

Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is a limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.
-Albert Schweitzer

Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.
-Albert Schweitzer

Ethics: A set of rules laid out by professionals to show the way they would like to act if they could afford it.
-Gerald F. Lieberman

First, there is the law. It must be obeyed. But the law is the minimum. You must act ethically.
-W.A. (Buck) Rogers

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means 'I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve.' It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help. (on Robert A. Heinlein and libertarian ethics)
-Isaac Asimov

Humanists hold that ethical values are relative to human experience and need not be derived from theological or metaphysical foundations.
-Paul Kurtz

I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket.
-Robert A. Heinlein

I'd like to see people, instead of spending so much time on the ethical problem, get after the problems that really affect the people of this country.
-Richard M. Nixon

In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.
-Earl Warren

In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons.
-Mary McCarthy

In the future, the most important job skill will be a lack of ethics.
-Scott Adams

It is clear that the use of such a weapon cannot be justified on any ethical ground which gives a human being a certain individuality and dignity even if he happens to be a resident of an enemy country.
-Enrico Fermi

Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life- it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion.
-Albert Schweitzer

Most people are just selfish and egocentric, wanting what they want, when they want it, without regard to the rest of society. The vast majority of people are cave-men in designer clothes, without morals or ethics.
-Frederick A. Farris

No one is more ethical than someone who's just become so.
-Robert Half

Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.
-Bill Moyers

Secular humanism is avowedly non-religious. It is a eupraxsophy (good practical wisdom), which draws its basic principles and ethical values from science, ethics, and philosophy.
-Paul Kurtz

Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit.
-Freda Adler

The basis of effective government is public confidence and that confidence is endangered when ethical standards falter, or appear to falter.
-John F. Kennedy

The deity who stalked the deserts of the Middle East millennia ago- and who seems to have abandoned them to bloodshed in his name ever since- is no one to consult on questions of ethics.
-Sam Harris

The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence.
-Albert Schweitzer

The irony is that in our decades, the combination of rationalism, asceticism, and individualism (the so-called Protestant Ethic) has produced precisely the system of boondoggling, luxury-consumption, and status.
-Paul Goodman

The needs of a society determine its ethics.
-Maya Angelou

The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment- social, political, or ethical- can raise a storm of protest. We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him.
-John Steinbeck

The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act So As To Elicit the Best In Others and Thereby In Thy Self.
-Felix Adler

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.
-Omar Bradley

There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.
-Jorge Luis Borges

To have a sense of sin means to feel guilty at there being an ethical choice to make, a guilt which, however 'good' I may become, remains unchanged.
-W.H. Auden

We live in a culture of diminished ethics and morality, but there are resources within us we known little about... by searching for the best within ourselves we can create a better society and a better world.
-Christopher Reeve

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.
-Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Categories: Ethics, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Bill Maher

Published Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @ 12:03 AM EST
Jan 20 2015

William "Bill" Maher, Jr. (b. January 20, 1956) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, writer, producer, and actor. Before his role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect, originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC. Real Time has been renewed for its 13th season. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


America is the only country in the world that's still in the business of making bombs that can end the world and TV shows that make it seem like a good idea.

Be a freethinker. One reason our politics is so screwed up is because everyone has become so tribal. As you go down the path of life, ask what's true, not who else believes it.

Being a bastard isn't a lifestyle choice; it's something you're born with, like musical talent or an undescended testicle.

Everything is a slippery slope... the world is a luge.

Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.

Gays are the only people left who want to get married.

Having a computer is like having a small, silicon version of Gary Busey on your desk. You never know what's going to happen.

Hollywood, where the stars are in the sidewalk and the dirt is in the sky.

I don't understand cocaine. If you want to be nervous and edgy, go to work.

I have a problem with people who take the Constitution loosely and the Bible literally.

I think capital punishment works great. Every killer you kill never kills again.

I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder.

If you believe in Judgment Day, I have to seriously question your judgment.

I'm tired of every Republican politician being a medical supergenius on vaginas. I want to hear gynecologists talk about the national debt.

In America, there is no idea so patently absurd that it can't catch on.

It always bugs me when people win awards and thank God. God could give a rat's ass if you win an MTV award.

It takes a village is just a saying. Us other villagers are busy.

It's hard not to be condescending when you're talking to an idiot.

Jews can't eat ham. Jehovah's Witnesses can't buy Girl Scout cookies. The Amish can't drive cars. Catholics can't masturbate. Scientologists can't go to therapy. Baptists can't dance. Sikhs can't shave. And Lord knows, Muslims can't take a joke.

Kids. They're not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex.

Love means having to say you're sorry every five damn minutes.

Men are only as loyal as their options.

No politician is perfect. But in every election in your life, there will be one choice that is better than the others. Go out and vote for that one.

Politics is about compromises... really stupid compromises.

Steven Hawking once said, the thing about smart people is they seem to be crazy people to dumb people. Don't be afraid to be a crazy person.

Suicide is our way of saying to God, 'You can't fire me. I quit.'

The cable TV sex channels don't expand our horizons, don't make us better people, and don't come in clearly enough.

The problem with the free market today is that it's not free, or much of a market.

There's a beautiful, progressive Canadian-European country here in America. It's just surrounded by rednecks.

We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is the Bill of Responsibilities.

What Democratic congressmen do to their women staffers, Republican congressmen do to the country.

When homophobia trumps terrorism as an issue... wow. This country needs to get laid.

Categories: Bill Maher, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Alexander Woollcott

Published Monday, January 19, 2015 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 19 2015

Alexander Humphreys Woollcott (January 19, 1887 - January 23, 1943) was an American critic and commentator for The New Yorker magazine, a member of the Algonquin Round Table. An essayist, playwright, editor, actor, raconteur, and radio personality, he was the inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside, the main character in the play The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A combination of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth. (on Dorothy Parker)

A hick town is one in which there is no place to go where you shouldn't be.

A sensitive, creative artist with a fine sense of double-entry bookkeping. (re: Samuel Goldwyn)

All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening.

Germany was the cause of Hitler as much as Chicago is responsible for the Chicago Tribune.

His huff arrived and he departed in it.

I am tired of hearing that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it.

I have no need of your God-damned sympathy; I wish only to be entertained by some of your grosser reminiscences.
(In a reply to a get well card)

In the world we must be unworldly, in the theatre the actor must be untheatrical.

It comes from the likes of you! Take what you can get! Grab the chances as they come along! Act in hallways! Sing in doorways! Dance in cellars!

Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing.

Nothing risqué, nothing gained.

Reading Proust is like bathing in someone else's dirty water.

The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm.

The scenery in the play was beautiful, but the actors got in front of it.

The two oldest professions in the world- ruined by amateurs. (re: acting and prostitution)

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.

To all things clergic
I am allergic.

You haven't lived until you died in New York.


(January 19 is also the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe.)

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Quotes of the day: Paul Tsongas

Published Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 12:02 AM EST
Jan 18 2015

Paul Efthemios Tsongas (February 14, 1941 - January 18, 1997) was a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1979 to 1985. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1992 presidential election. Tsongas was generally viewed as a social liberal and an economic moderate. He was especially known for his efforts in Congress in support of historic preservation and environmental conservation on the one hand, as well as for his pro-business economic policies on the other. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A commencement is a time of joy. It is also a time of melancholy. But then again, so is life.

America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor.

America is the sum of all our journeys as we search for our national community and our national culture.

Don't fear your mortality, because it is this very mortality that gives meaning and depth and poignancy to all the days that will be granted to you.

I came from a disadvantaged home. They were Republicans.

In this era of the global village, the tide of democracy is running. And it will not cease, not in China, not in South Africa, not in any corner of this earth, where the simple idea of democracy and freedom has taken root.

It was a myth that's often perpetuated at commencement that holds that only hope and promise lie beyond the halls of academe. Don't worry, be happy. Everything is fine.

Journey with me to a true commitment to our environment. Journey with me to the serenity of leaving to our children a planet in equilibrium.

Let's try winning and see what it feels like. If we don't like it, we can go back to our traditions.

No one is immune from the larger events of his or her time- the Depression, World War II, civil rights, Vietnam, the spring of 1989 in China. These events intrude upon our lives and radically affect our directions.

Nobody on his death bed ever said, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'

Seven and half years ago I began my own journey. For me and my family it was a time of adversity. But during that adversity I derived a deeper faith. And born out of that adversity was a commitment to devote myself to those people and to those issues that truly matter to me.

That sense of sacredness, that thinking in generations, must begin with reverence for this earth.

That's a good question. Let me try to evade you.

Thinking in generations also means enabling our young to have a decent standard of living.

This land, this water, this air, this planet- this is our legacy to our young.

Two hundred years ago, our Founding Fathers gave us a democracy. It was based upon the simple, yet noble, idea that government derives its validity from the consent of the governed.

We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.

You are part of that horrid expression, the best and the brightest. It can be a terrible burden if you let it be, but it is the great challenge of your time. And being a warrior in that challenge should be wondrous.

You cannot be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time. You cannot love employment and hate employers.


(January 18 is also the birthday of A.A. Milne and Daniel Webster.)

Categories: Paul Tsongas, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Benjamin Franklin

Published Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:07 AM EST
Jan 17 2015

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 - April 17, 1790) was one of the founding fathers of the United States and in many ways was "the First American". A world-renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among others. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A false friend and a shadow attend only when the sun shines.

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

A good example is the best sermon.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

A little neglect may breed mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the rider was lost.

A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law.

A Traveler should have a hog's nose, deer's legs, and an ass's back.

An egg today is better than a hen tomorrow.

An empty bag cannot stand upright.

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Beauty and folly are old companions.

Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he will never be disappointed.

Creditors have better memories than debtors.

Distrust and caution are the parents of security.

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

Don't judge a man's wealth- or his piety- by his appearance on Sunday.

Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.

Fatigue is the best pillow.

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.

Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack'd, and never well mended.

God heals, the doctor takes the fee.

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

Half a truth is often a great lie.

He is a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom.

He that cannot obey, cannot command.

He that displays too often his wife and his wallet is in danger of having both of them borrowed.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.

He that speaks ill of the mare will buy her.

He who waits upon Fortune is never sure of Dinner.

He's a fool that makes his doctor his heir.

Hunger never saw bad bread.

I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.

If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment of knowledge always pays the best interest.

If Jack's in love, he's no judge of Jill's beauty.

If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?

If you can't pay for a thing, don't buy it. If you can't get paid for it, don't sell it.

If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.

In rivers and bad governments, the lightest things swim at the top.

Industry need not wish, as Poor Richard says, and He that lives upon hope will die fasting. There are no Gains, without Pains.

It is the eyes of other people that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither a fine house nor fine furniture.

Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.

Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.

Many foxes grow gray, but few grow good.

Many have quarreled about religion that never practiced it.

Many men die at twenty-five and aren't buried until they are seventy-five.

Most fools think they are only ignorant.

Necessity knows no law; I know some attorneys of the same.

Necessity never made a good bargin.

One good husband is worth two good wives; for the scarcer things are, the more they are valued.

One Today is worth two Tomorrows.

Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes.

Praise to the undeserving is severe satire.

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

The absent are never without fault. Nor the present without excuse.

The best is the cheapest.

The cat in gloves catches no mice.

The greatest monarch on the proudest throne, is oblig'd to sit upon his own arse.

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.

There are no ugly loves, nor handsome prisons.

There are three great friends: an old wife, an old dog and ready money.

There is much difference between imitating a good man and counterfeiting him.

There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.

There is nothing so absurd as knowledge spun too fine.

There never was a good war or a bad peace.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.

Think about these things: Whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

To be proud of knowledge is to be blind with light.

Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.

Well done is better than well said.

What maintains one vice would bring up two children.

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

When the well's dry, we know the worth of water.

Where liberty is, there is my country.

Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it.

Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.

You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant.

You may delay, but Time will not.

Categories: Benjamin Franklin, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: The Covert Comic

Published Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 16 2015

John Alejandro King a.k.a. The Covert Comic (b. ca 1960) is a CIA officer, aphorist and self-described "poet and covert activist." His non-classified work has been reviewed in numerous publications including USA Today (their one-word assessment of King's writing: "Spooky") and the Washington Post. The aphorist Robert Brault described King as "an inventive, comic talent." King's classified writings have appeared in various US Intelligence Community publications. John Alejandro King is believed to be the only person ever to have had a poem about the President's Daily Brief published and to have actually published an item (not that poem) in the President's Daily Brief. (Click here for The Covert Comic's website.)


A man without a woman
Is like a bicycle without the fish smell.

According to new research, there are actually gay sheep. If I'm an Australian guy, right now I'm thinking, 'uh-oh...'

All Italians move to New York sooner or later. The name 'Tony' is just an abbreviation for 'To New York.'

Any sufficiently advanced coup is indistinguishable from an election.

Anybody who manages to file a disability claim for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should be rejected on principle.

Ask not what your country can do for you, lest your country get ideas.

Assassination doesn't count as a people skill.

Better over the top, than under the bottom.

Bloom's Taxonomy defines educational objectives in terms of three core domains: knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands. These categories are also useful in dating.

Can I Not Pay Attention And Just Be Outraged All The Time? (bumper sticker)

Christianity is about being positive. A good way to remember this is, every time you look at the crucifix, think of it as a plus sign.

Conductance is utile.

Death before dishonor. One thing at a time.

Don't be too quick to throw a homeless person out of a library. There's a fair chance they're the author of one or more of the books.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because you secretly videotaped it.

Every time I grab some guy's nose with a pair of 4-foot gardening shears like in those Three Stooges films, I think to myself, 'Once again, life imitates art.'

Everything I need to know I learned in the womb: keep my eyes shut, remain in the fetal position, and no matter what happens, don't stop sucking my thumb.

Excluding starches, preservatives, emulsifiers and artificial flavoring, Soylent Green is actually less than 2 percent people.

For a while I thought I was bisexual, but only because I tend to get 'bi-' and 'semi-' mixed up.

Four words every mom dreads hearing: 'You're under arrest, Mom.'

Friends and lovers may come and go. As long as they go.

Guns don't kill people, if people give me their money.

Hell hath no fury like a woman. Why add extraneous details?

Hey, it's not the end of the world. It's just the end of your time in it.

How's my math? Two words: Terrible.

I am no longer flirting with disaster. Disaster and I are now formally engaged.

I bet the saying, 'If you can dream it, you can do it,' probably isn't all that inspiring if you're a bed wetter.

I love you more than wife itself.

I save voicemails from relatives... not in case they die but so that if one of them kills me the police will know who to investigate.

I used to wonder why somebody didn't do something for peace. Then I realized that I am somebody. So now I know why somebody doesn't do something for peace.

I was shocked upon viewing Internet porn while surfing the Web last night. Then I realized my wife must have wired the mouse on our computer.

I'd seen her kind before: two arms, two legs, a brain and spinal column. No doubt about it, this girl was trouble.

I've proven I can succeed in the real world. Now, how do I get there?

If all the world's a stage, America is the shiny vertical pole in the middle.

If America didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it. That's the chief difference between America and Canada.

If brevity is the soul of wit, why does it have more syllables?

If charity begins at home, I bet I know in which room.

If Dr. Moreau had owned a vacuum cleaner, he'd probably be alive today.

If I can be with the one I love, is it still OK to love the one I'm with?

If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have killed a lot more people.

If life is a box of chocolates, that probably explains all the farting.

If the key to her heart is 128 bits or greater, you're probably wasting your time.

If they're fake boobs, is it really pornography?

If you want to read the fortune, you've got to break the cookie.

If you're a vegetarian, should you eat carnivorous plants?

If you're looking for heroes, the Greek deli is down the street.

If you're not scared or angry at the thought of a human brain being controlled remotely, then it could be this prototype of mine is finally starting to work.

In France, one does not refer to nursing home residents as 'vegetables.' They're 'legumes.'

In the land of the blonde, the man with one brain hemisphere is king.

Is it really fair to classify sloth as one of the seven deadly sins, when being slothful can actually help prevent the other six?

It can change every ten minutes, and still be eternal truth.

It's a good thing the local McDonalds has that big 'God Bless America' banner, otherwise I'd probably buy my burgers and fries at the Al Qaeda's across the street.

It's not a matter of principle, it's a principle of matter.

It's not whether you win or lose, it's why you think there's a game.

It's said that a woman must do a thing twice as well as a man to be considered half as good. And I bet I know what that thing is.

It's true you can't go home again, although evidently your relatives can come to your home as often as they want.

Just because women say they want men to talk about their innermost desires, doesn't mean women actually want men to get their innermost desires.

Just because you can't decrypt the cipher doesn't mean there's something wrong with the code.

Like 'theatre' and 'theater,' 'cosmic' and 'comics' are just alternative spellings of the same word.

My wife has a sex drive. The problem is, she also has a sex park, a sex neutral, and a sex reverse.

My wife told me 'I need you like the desert needs the rain. Once, maybe twice a year, for no more than twenty minutes.'

Never laugh at a clown with a gun? Shouldn't that be, always laugh at a clown with a gun?

No guts, no gory.

No hurry- take all the time you have.

'None of us is as smart as all of us?' Isn't that the whole problem?

Note to self: work on being less note-to-selfish.

Nothing reminds a person of their own mortality like being killed.

One question I have for homeless people: Who doesn't work for food?

People ask if it's possible to find love after age 40. The answer is yes; you just have to reach your hand down a little lower.

People who live in houses made of antimatter probably shouldn't throw stones either.

Rather than giveth and taketh away, maybe it would be best for all concerned if the Lord just held on to it.

Remember, scientists who say we only use one tenth of our brains are only using one tenth of their brains when they say this.

Remember, Socrates was killed by a committee. So it's not like committees are totally useless.

Scaling doesn't scale.

Science is not an exact science.

Sooner or later, most of us die from complications of being ourselves.

St. Genesius is the patron saint of clowns and lawyers. Clearly, the Lord doesn’t always work in mysterious ways.

Technically speaking, the only things necessary for the triumph of evil are evil and triumph.

That there's a time and a place for everything in no way implies that the two intersect.

The bigger they come, the harder they fall on you.

The danger in seeking to force our beliefs on others isn't that they may someday force their beliefs on us; it's that they may someday force our beliefs on us.

The fact that curiosity killed the cat isn't an argument for not being curious, it's an argument for not being a cat.

The mightiest of weapons is truth. And everyone knows you're not permitted to bring a weapon into a Government building.

The only way to win an election by a greater margin than Saddam Hussein in Iraq is to be a Democratic candidate in Chicago.

The pacifier changes, the sucking remains.

The problem with the Peter Principle is that it assumes somebody somewhere is competent in the first place.

The size of a mind is inversely proportional to the amount of indignation that will fit inside it.

The Super Bowl has become so commercialized, its religious meaning is in danger of being lost completely.

(T)he two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen, and quotes about hydrogen and stupidity.

There are no menial jobs. But you're welcome to check back next month.

They can't pull the rug out from under you if you're already lying on the floor.

They say power corrupts, but most of the time it's actually faulty storage media.

Thomas Wolfe was wrong- you can go home again. For example, if you forget to wear pants to work.

Those who cannot remember the past are invited to come over to my place.

To build character, use a 4D printer.

Wait a minute. Isn't the glass half empty and half full?

When choosing between two evils, be advised: if you use the 'eeny- meeny-miny-mo' method, you'll always end up with the second one.

When he tells you, 'I love you more than life itself,' make sure he's not saying he'd rather be married to you than have a life.

When Jesus told us to love one another, He never said we had to like it.

When two secrets contradict each other, believe them both.

When William of Ockham stated his famous principle 'Ockham's Razor' in his book Summa Logicae, he waited until chapter twelve to say it.

Whenever one orifice closes, another opens.

Where I come from, being bisexual means using both hands.

Whoever said 'Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting' obviously never licked one.

Whom the gods would destroy, they first grant security clearances.

Why can't things be like they weren't?

Why did I get married? Well, I wasn't getting any sex, and I wasn't making a woman happy, so I figured: why not make it official?

Why does a woman want a man who's 'not afraid to cry?' Probably so she can know for sure that the torture is working.

Win The War, On Drugs (bumper sticker)

With great power comes great denial of responsibility.

You can't fool enough of the people enough of the time.

You could do worse than have the CIA infiltrate and control Third World peasant cooperatives. For example, the CIA could infiltrate and control Third World peasant cooperatives, and make all the peasants wear clown suits.


(January 16 is also the birthday of Susan Sontag)

Categories: Covert Comic, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Molière

Published Thursday, January 15, 2015 @ 12:04 AM EST
Jan 15 2015

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (January 15, 1622 - February 17, 1673), was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one.

A witty woman is a devil at intrigue.

A woman always has her revenge ready.

All that is not prose is verse; and all that is not verse is prose.

Anyone may be an honorable man, and yet write verse badly.

Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths.

He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.

Heaven forbids, it is true, certain gratifications, but there are ways and means of compounding such matters.

I prefer an accommodating vice
To an obstinate virtue.

If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us bear with patience the injustice of our fellows.

It is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love.

It is not reason that governs love.

Nearly all men die of their remedies, and not of their illnesses.

On some preference esteem is based;
To esteem everything is to esteem nothing.

One is easily fooled by that which one loves.

People do not mind being wicked; but they object to being made ridiculous.

Solitude terrifies the soul at twenty.

The envious will die, but envy never.

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.

The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them;
It is by excusing nothing that pure love shows itself.

The world, dear Agnes, is a strange affair.

There is no rampart that will hold out against malice.

Things are only worth what one makes them worth.

To create a public scandal is what's wicked;
To sin in private is not a sin.

We die only once, and for such a long time!


(January 15 is also the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Naisbitt.)

Categories: Molière, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Albert Schweitzer

Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 14 2015

Albert Schweitzer, OM (January 14, 1875 - September 4, 1965) was a German- and later French- theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa, also known for his interpretive life of Jesus. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to help all life which he is able to succor, and when he goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything living. He does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy as valuable in itself, nor how far it is capable of feeling. To him life as such is sacred. He shatters no ice crystal that sparkles in the sun, tears no leaf from its tree, breaks off no flower, and is careful not to crush any insect as he walks. If he works by lamplight on a summer evening, he prefers to keep the window shut and to breathe stifling air, rather than to see insect after insect fall on his table with singed and sinking wings.

Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.

Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it.

Don't let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.

Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is a limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.

Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.

Every start upon an untrodden path is a venture which only in unusual circumstances looks sensible and likely to be successful.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

Faith which refuses to face indisputable facts is but little faith. Truth is always gain, however hard it is to accommodate ourselves to it.

Grow into your ideals, so that life can never rob you of them.

If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine.

In resigning ourselves to our fate without a struggle, we are guilty of inhumanity.

It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won't realize until it will be too late.

It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed.

Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life- it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion.

Let no one measure himself by his conclusions respecting someone else.

Man can no longer live for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable, and that we are united to all this life.

May the men who hold the destiny of peoples in their hands, studiously avoid anything that might cause the present situation to deteriorate and become even more dangerous.

Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage.

Only when an ideal of peace is born in the minds of the peoples will the institutions set up to maintain this peace effectively fulfill the function expected of them.

Service: Never have this word on your lips, but keep it in your hearts.

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.

Start early to instill in your students awareness that they are on this earth to help and serve others; that is as important to pass on to them as knowledge.

The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics.

The disastrous feature of our civilization is that it is far more developed materially than spiritually.

The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence.

The fundamental principle of morality is that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.

The good conscience is an invention of the devil.

The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up. That is possible for him who never argues and strives with men and facts, but in all experience retires upon himself, and looks for the ultimate cause of things in himself.

The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery.

The last fact which knowledge can discover is that the world is a manifestation, and in every way a puzzling manifestation, of the universal will to live.

The most important thing in education is to make young people think for themselves.

The one essential thing is that we strive to have light in ourselves. When people have light in themselves, it will shine out from them.

The only way out of today's misery is for people to become worthy of each other's trust.

The result of the voyage does not depend on the speed of the ship, but on whether or not it keeps a true course.

The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive- it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle.

The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo.

To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.

True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness: 'I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.'

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit.

We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government. 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Most certainly I am! I cannot escape my responsibility by saying the State will do all that is necessary.

We must indeed attempt the limitless ocean, but we may set our sails and steer a determined course.

What has been presented as Christianity during these nineteen centuries is only a beginning, full of mistakes, not full blown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.

What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.

When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies.

World-view is a product of life-view, not vice versa.

Categories: Albert Schweitzer, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: James Joyce

Published Tuesday, January 13, 2015 @ 12:44 AM EST
Jan 13 2015

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (February 2, 1882 - January 13, 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he utilized. Other well- known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.

Be just before you are generous.

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.

Does nobody understand? (Last words)

God made food; the devil the cooks.

I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against the English tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul.

I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use- silence, exile and cunning.

If I gave it all up immediately, I'd lose my immortality. I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.

It is as painful perhaps to be awakened from a vision as to be born.

Life is too short to read a bad book.

My mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions.

My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire.

Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.

People could put up with being bitten by a wolf but what properly riled them was a bite from a sheep.

Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.

She respected her husband in the same way as she respected the General Post Office, as something large, secure and fixed: and though she knew the small number of his talents she appreciated his abstract value as a male.

Shut your eyes and see.

There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.

There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present.

Three quarks for Muster Mark!

To say that a great genius is half-mad, while recognizing his artistic prowess, is worth as much as saying that he was rheumatic, or that he suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical expression to which a balanced critic should pay no more heed than he would to the accusation of heresy brought by the theologian, or to the accusation of immorality brought by the public prosecutor.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.

White wine is like electricity. Red wine looks and tastes like a liquified beefsteak.

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.

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Quotes of the day: Edmund Burke

Published Monday, January 12, 2015 @ 5:25 AM EST
Jan 12 2015

Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 - July 9, 1797) was an Irish statesman born in Dublin; author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party. Mainly, he is remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the "Old Whigs," in opposition to the pro–French Revolution "New Whigs," led by Charles James Fox. Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the nineteenth century. Since the twentieth century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of conservatism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.

A definition may be very exact, and yet go but a very little way towards informing us of the nature of the thing defined.

A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.

A very great part of the mischiefs that vex the world arises from words.

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

All who have ever written on government are unanimous, that among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.

Ambition can creep as well as soar.

Applaud us when we run, console us when we fall, cheer us when we recover.

As wealth is power, so all power must infallibly draw wealth to itself by some means or other.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

Corrupt influence, which is itself the perennial spring of all prodigality, and of all disorder; which loads us, more than millions of debt; which takes away vigor from our arms, wisdom from our councils, and every shadow of authority and credit from the most venerable parts of our constitution.

Custom reconciles us to every thing.

Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Falsehood has a perennial spring.

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Hypocrisy, of course, delights in the most sublime speculations; for, never intending to go beyond speculation, it costs nothing to have it magnificent.

I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.

If an idiot were to tell you the same story every day for a year, you would end by believing it.

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.

In doing good, we are generally cold, and languid, and sluggish; and of all things afraid of being too much in the right. But the works of malice and injustice are quite in another style. They are finished with a bold, masterly hand; touched as they are with the spirit of those vehement passions that call forth all our energies, whenever we oppress and persecute.

It is a general error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do.

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

It is the function of a judge not to make but to declare the law, according to the golden mete-wand of the law and not by the crooked cord of discretion.

It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.

Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.

Laws, like houses, lean on one another.

Liberty, too, must be limited in order to be possessed.

Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.

Manners are of more importance than laws. The law can touch us here and there, now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation like that of the air we breathe in.

Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.

Neither the few nor the many have a right to act merely by their will, in any matter connected with duty, trust, engagement, or obligation.

Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair.

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity.

Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.

People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.

Politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement.

Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, friendship, are things almost unknown in high stations.

Public calamity is a mighty leveler.

Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety.

Society is indeed a contract... It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are to be born.

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.

The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.

The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.

The individual is foolish; the multitude, for the moment is foolish, when they act without deliberation; but the species is wise, and, when time is given to it, as a species it always acts right.

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.

There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feeling; none when they are under the influence of imagination.

There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

There never was a bad man that had ability for good service.

There ought to be system of manners in every nation which a well- formed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief.

Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.

Tyrants seldom want pretexts.

We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation.

We must not always judge of the generality of the opinion by the noise of the acclamation.

Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

You can never plan the future by the past.


(January 12 is also the birthday of Jack London.)

Categories: Edmund Burke, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Jim Hightower

Published Sunday, January 11, 2015 @ 5:39 AM EST
Jan 11 2015

James Allen "Jim" Hightower (b. January 11, 1943) is an American syndicated columnist, progressive political activist, and author, who served from 1983 to 1991 as the elected commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Ain't nothin' in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

America was not built by conformists, but by mutineers.

Do something. If it doesn't work, do something else. No idea is too crazy.

Even the smallest dog can lift its leg on the tallest building.

He has put the goober in gubernatorial. (re: Rick Perry)

If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote He Would Have Given Us Candidates
(book title)

If you do not speak up when it matters, when would it matter that you speak?

It's hard for the donkeys to win the race if they're going to carry the elephants on their backs.

Little ol' boy in the Panhandle told me the other day you can still make a small fortune in agriculture. Problem is, you got to start with a large one.

Politics isn't about left versus right; it's about top versus bottom.

So now is the time, more than ever, for those who truly value all the principles of democracy, especially including dissent, to be the most forceful in speaking up, standing up and speaking out.

Some people say we need a third party. I wish we had a second one.

The corporations don't have to lobby the government anymore. They are the government.

The issue isn't just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages.

The only difference between a pigeon and the American farmer today is that a pigeon can still make a deposit on a John Deere.

The opposite of courage is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

The water won't clear up until we get the hogs out of the creek.

When I entered politics, I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism.

When Rick Perry says I can do for America what I've done for Texas, pay attention. That's no idle threat.

You can't do progressive government from the inside. You have to rally those outsiders and make them a force.


(January 11 is also the birthday of Alexander Hamilton and William James)

Categories: Jim Hightower, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Stephen Ambrose

Published Saturday, January 10, 2015 @ 6:41 AM EST
Jan 10 2015

Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a longtime professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


American corporations hate to give away money.

At the core, the American citizen soldiers knew the difference between right and wrong, and they didn't want to live in a world in which wrong prevailed. So they fought, and won, and we all of us, living and yet to be born, must be forever profoundly grateful.

Friendships are different from all other relationships. Unlike acquaintanceship, friendship is based on love. Unlike lovers and married couples, it is free of jealousy. Unlike children and parents, it knows neither criticism nor resentment. Friendship has no status in law. Business partnerships are based on a contract. So is marriage. Parents are bound by the law. But friendships are freely entered into, freely given, freely exercised.

History is everything that has ever happened.

It does you no good to see the number two or number three man in the corporation- you have to get through to number one.

Nothing in the world beats universal education.

The American Constitution is the greatest governing document, and at some 7,000 words, just about the shortest.

The Enlightenment taught that observation unrecorded was knowledge lost.

The great wars of the 20th century made it into the worst century ever.

The more sophisticated we get, the more advanced our buildings and vehicles become, the more vulnerable we are.

The number one secret of being a successful writer is this: marry an English major.

The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future.

Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.

Trial by jury. Live wherever you can make a living. How could a government based on such principles fail?

We know how to win wars. We must learn now to win peace.

When Hitler declared war on the United States, he was betting that German soldiers, raised up in the Hitler Youth, would always out fight American soldiers, brought up in the Boy Scouts. He lost that bet. The Boy Scouts had been taught how to figure their way out of their own problems.

You don't hate history, you hate the way it was taught to you in high school.


(January 10 is also the birthday of John Dalberg-Acton.)

Today is also the birthday of Peter Barnes, author of the 1972 black comedy The Ruling Class. Hey, it's Saturday, it's cold, and you have nothing better to do... give it a look:

Categories: Quotes of the day, Stephen Ambrose

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Quotes of the day: Simone de Beauvoir

Published Friday, January 09, 2015 @ 6:12 AM EST
Jan 09 2015

Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, commonly known as Simone de Beauvoir (January 9, 1908 – April 14 1986), was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiography and monographs on philosophy, politics and social issues. She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism; her novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins; and her lifelong relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.

Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.

I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for the truth; and truth rewarded me.

I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.

If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat.

It is doubtless impossible to approach any human problems with a mind free from bias.

It's frightening to think that you mark your children merely by being yourself... It seems unfair. You can't assume the responsibility for everything you do- or don't do.

Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.

No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.

One is not born a woman, but becomes one.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.

Retirement may be looked upon either as a prolonged holiday or as a rejection, a being thrown on to the scrap-heap.

Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.

Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.

The Communists, following Hegel, speak of humanity and its future as of some monolithic individuality. I was attacking this illusion.

The curse which lies upon marriage is that too often the individuals are joined in their weakness rather than in their strength, each asking from the other instead of finding pleasure in giving.

The present enshrines the past- and in the past all history has been made by men.

There is only one good. And that is to act according to your conscience.

To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job.

What is an adult? A child blown up by age.

Why one man rather than another? It was odd. You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen.

Work almost always has a double aspect: it is a bondage, a wearisome drudgery; but it is also a source of interest, a steadying element, a factor that helps to integrate the worker with society.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Simone de Beauvoir

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Quotes of the day: Lewis H. Lapham

Published Wednesday, January 07, 2015 @ 2:57 PM EST
Jan 07 2015

Lewis H. Lapham (b. January 8, 1935) is an American writer. He was the editor of the American monthly Harper's Magazine from 1976 until 1981, and from 1983 until 2006. He is the founder of Lapham's Quarterly, a quarterly publication about history and literature, and has written numerous books on politics and current affairs. (Clic here for full Wikipedia article)


A certain kind of rich man afflicted with the symptoms of moral dandyism sooner or later comes to the conclusion that it isn't enough merely to make money. He feels obliged to hold views, to espouse causes and elect Presidents, to explain to a trembling world how and why the world went wrong. The spectacle is nearly always comic.

A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.

As many as six out of ten American adults have never read a book of any kind, and the bulletins from the nation’s educational frontiers read like the casualty reports from a lost war.

At this late stage in the history of American capitalism I'm not sure I know how much testimony still needs to be presented to establish the relation between profit and theft.

By the word 'liberty' they meant liberty for property, not liberty for persons.

Construed as a means instead of an end, history is the weapon with which we defend the future against the past.

Except in a few well-publicized instances (enough to lend credence to the iconography painted on the walls of the media), the rigorous practice of rugged individualism usually leads to poverty, ostracism and disgrace. The rugged individualist is too often mistaken for the misfit, the maverick, the spoilsport, the sore thumb.

I never can pass by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York without thinking of it not as a gallery of living portraits but as a cemetery of tax-deductible wealth.

I sometimes think that the American story is the one about the reading of the will.

If a foreign country doesn't look like a middle-class suburb of Dallas or Detroit, then obviously the natives must be dangerous as well as badly dressed.

If we could let go of our faith in money, who knows what we might put in its place?

In the garden of tabloid delight, there is always a clean towel and another song.

It isn't money itself that causes the trouble, but the use of money as votive offering and pagan ornament.

Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.

Let the rabbit of free enterprise out of its velveteen bag and too many people would have to be fired, too much idiocy exposed to the light of judgment or ridicule, too much vanity sacrificed to the fires of efficiency. Such a catastrophe obviously would threaten the American way of life, to say nothing of the belief in free markets.

Most of the ladies and gentlemen who mourn the passing of the nation's leaders wouldn't know a leader if they saw one. If they had the bad luck to come across a leader, they would find out that he might demand something from them, and this impertinence would put an abrupt and indignant end to their wish for his return.

Never in the history of the world have so many people been so rich; never in the history off the world have so many of those same people felt themselves so poor.

Of what does politics consist except the making of imperfect decisions, many of them unjust and quite a few of them deadly?

Once having proclaimed our loyalty to the abstract idea that all men are created equal, we do everything in our power to prove ourselves unequal. Among the world's peoples, none other belongs to so many clubs, associations, committees and secret societies.

People may expect too much of journalism. Not only do they expect it to be entertaining, they expect it to be true.

Power broken into a thousand pieces can be hidden and disowned. If no individual or institution possesses the authority to act without of everybody else in the room, then nobody is at fault if anything goes wrong.

Seeking the invisible through the imagery of the visible, the Americans never can get quite all the way to the end of the American dream.

Since the eighteenth century the immense expansion of the world's wealth has come about as a result of a correspondingly immense expansion of credit, which in turn has demanded increasingly stupendous suspensions of disbelief.

Surely they knew that the very idea of the future came in an American box- complete with instructions for assembling a Constitution, a MacDonald's hamburger franchise, a row of Marriot hotels and a First Amendment.

The genius of capitalism consists precisely in its lack of morality. Unless he is rich enough to hire his own choir, a capitalist is a fellow who, by definition, can ill afford to believe in anything other than the doctrine of the bottom line. Deprive a capitalist of his God-given right to lie and cheat and steal, and the poor sap stands a better than even chance of becoming one of the abominable wards of the state from whose grimy fingers the Reagan Administration hopes to snatch the ark of democracy.

The gentlemen who wrote the Constitution were as suspicious of efficient government as they were wary of democracy, a 'turbulence and a folly' that was associated with the unruly ignorance of an urban mob.

The playing field is more sacred than the stock exchange, more blessed than Capital Hill or the vaults of Fort Knox. The diamond and the gridiron - and, to a lesser degree, the court, the rink, the track, and the ring - embody the American dream of Eden.

The rich, like well brought up children, are meant to be seen, not heard.

The state of perpetual emptiness is, of course, very good for business.

The supply of government exceeds demand.

The world goes on as before, and it turns out that nobody else seems to to notice the unbearable lightness of being.

Under the rules of a society that cannot distinguish between profit and profiteering, between money defined as necessity and money defined as luxury, murder is occasionally obligatory and always permissible.

Unlike any other business in the United States, sports must preserve an illusion of perfect innocence.

Unlike every other other nation in the world, the United States defines itself as a hypothesis and constitutes itself as an argument.

Wars might come and go, but the seven o'clock news lives forever.

We are a people captivated by the power and romance of metaphor, forever seeking the invisible through the image of the visible.

We need not seek our own best selves, and in the meantime we inoculate ourselves against the viruses of age and idealism, which, as the advertising agencies well know, depress sales and sour the feasts of consumption

Well aware of both the continuity and contingency of human affairs, Adams and Madison searched the works of Tacitus and Voltaire and Locke like carpenters rummaging through their assortment of tools, knowing that all the pediments were jury-rigged, all the provisional, all the alliances temporary.


(January 8 is also the birthday of Baltasar Gracián and Elvis Presley.)

Categories: Lewis H. Lapham, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Zora Neale Hurston

Published Wednesday, January 07, 2015 @ 5:39 AM EST
Jan 07 2015

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.

All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.

An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.

Anybody depending on somebody else's gods is depending on a fox not to eat chickens.

Bitterness is the coward's revenge on the world for having been hurt.

Gods always behave like the people who make them.

I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.

I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her.

If we are unwilling to let our ideals cost us anything, our ideals aren't worth anything.

If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.

If you haven’t got it, you can’t show it. If you have got it, you can’t hide it.

It is one of the blessings of this world that few people see visions and dream dreams.

It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it.

Lack of power and opportunity passes off too often for virtue.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.

No, I do not weep at the world. I'm too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board.

Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It is beyond me.

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

There is no single face in nature, because every eye that looks upon it, sees it from its own angle. So every man's spice-box seasons his own food.

There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.

When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.


(Jamuary 7 is also the birthday of Nikola Tesla.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Zora Neale Hurston

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Quotes of the day: Max Eastman

Published Sunday, January 04, 2015 @ 12:01 AM EST
Jan 04 2015

Max Forrester Eastman (January 4, 1883 – March 25, 1969) was an American writer on literature, philosophy and society; a poet, and a prominent political activist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A joke is not a thing but a process, a trick you play on the listener's mind. You start him off toward a plausible goal, and then by a sudden twist you land him nowhere at all or just where he didn't expect to go.

A liberal mind is a mind that is able to imagine itself believing anything.

A poet in history is divine; but a poet in the next room is a joke.

A smile is the universal welcome.

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end.

Emotion is the surest arbiter of a poetic choice, and it is the priest of all supreme unions in the mind.

History is not an escalator.

Humor is the instinct for taking pain playfully.

I don't know why it is we are in such a hurry to get up when we fall down. You might think we would lie there and rest for a while.

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.

It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.

Laughter is, after speech, the chief thing that holds society together.

People who demand neutrality in any situation are usually not neutral but in favor of the status quo.

The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness

The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them.


(January 4 is also the birthday of Everett Dirksen.)

Categories: Max Eastman, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Mario Cuomo

Published Saturday, January 03, 2015 @ 6:11 AM EST
Jan 03 2015

Mario Matthew Cuomo (June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994, Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982; and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978. Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention where he criticized Ronald Reagan's policies. The speech brought him to national attention, and he was widely considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1988 and 1992, but he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to him being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All around us we have seen success in the world's terms become ultimate and desperate failure.

Decide exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want to help people, or do you want to be powerful?

Entertainers and sports figures achieve fame and wealth but find the world empty and dull without the solace and stimulation of drugs.

Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right.

How simple it seems now. We thought the Sermon on the Mount was a nice allegory and nothing more. What we didn't understand until we got to be a little older was that it was the whole answer, the whole truth. That the way- the only way- to succeed and to be happy is to learn those rules so basic that a shepherd's son could teach them to an ignorant flock without notes or formulae.

I have no plans, and no plans to plan.

I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a Protestant, or non-believer, or as anything else you choose.

I said I didn't want to run for president. I didn't ask you to believe me.

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.

I think it's already apparent that a good part of this Nation understands- if only instinctively- that anything which seems to suggest that God favors a political party or the establishment of a state church, is wrong and dangerous.

If you can manipulate news, a judge can manipulate the law. A smart lawyer can keep a killer out of jail, a smart accountant can keep a thief from paying taxes, a smart reporter could ruin your reputation- unfairly.

In this life, you should read everything you can read. Taste everything you can taste. Meet everyone you can meet. Travel everywhere you can travel. Learn everything you can learn. Experience everything you can experience.

Most of us have achieved levels of affluence and comfort unthought of two generations ago. We've never had it so good, most of us. Nor have we ever complained so bitterly about our problems.

Our public morality, then- the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives- depends on a consensus view of right and wrong.

People expect Byzantine, Machiavellian logic from politicians. But the truth is simple. Trial lawyers learn a good rule: 'Don't decide what you don't have to decide.' That's not evasion, it's wisdom.

The American people need no course in philosophy or political science or church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman.

The closed circle of materialism is clear to us now- aspirations become wants, wants become needs, and self-gratification becomes a bottomless pit.

The Republicans believe the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of our old, some of our young, and some of our weak are left behind by the side of the trail. We Democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact.

The secret to contentment is reducing your needs and aspirations.

The values derived from religious belief will not- and should not- be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus.

The vice presidency is a neglected positive. It is like the word 'inept.' Nobody ever says 'ept.'

There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate Republicans charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory.

There are only two rules for being successful; one, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.

Unless people like you give us a new generation, willing to take on the challenge of self-government, willing to accept its responsibilities, to reform it, to change it, to make it fairer and more responsive- unless you do, the very rich will get richer, the poor will become fired in their desperation, violence will increase and here, as in so many places around the world, the purpose of government will be reduced basically to a matter of maintaining order instead of improving conditions.

Way down deep the American people are afraid of an entangling relationship between formal religions- or whole bodies of religious belief- and government. Apart from constitutional law and religious doctrine, there is a sense that tells us it's wrong to presume to speak for God or to claim God's sanction of our particular legislation and His rejection of all other positions. Most of us are offended when we see religion being trivialized by its appearance in political throw-away pamphlets. permalink

We believe in a government strong enough to use words like 'love' and 'compassion' and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities.

We believe in encouraging the talented, but we believe that while survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order.

We believe in only the government we need, but we insist on all the government we need.

We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might some day force theirs on us. This freedom is the fundamental strength of our unique experiment in government. In the complex interplay of forces and considerations that go into the making of our laws and policies, its preservation must be a pervasive and dominant concern.

We must get the American public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship, to the reality, the hard substance of things

You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.

Categories: Mario Cuomo, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Dixy Lee Ray

Published Friday, January 02, 2015 @ 7:18 AM EST
Jan 02 2015

Dixy Lee Ray (September 3, 1914 – January 2, 1994) was a scientist who served as the 17th Governor of the U.S. state of Washington. Variously described as idiosyncratic, and "ridiculously smart," she was the state's first female governor and was known for her leadership of the state during the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens, for her strident support of atomic energy, and for her personal eccentricities. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year. (1977)

Activist environmentalists are mostly white, middle to upper income and predominantly college-educated. They are distinguished by a vocal do-good mentality that sometimes successfully cloaks a strong streak of elitism which is often coupled with the belief that the end justifies the means and that violence and coercion are appropriate tactics.

Beware of averages. The average person has one breast and one testicle.

Despite all the evidence of our physical well-being beyond the dream of all previous generations, we seem to have become a nation of easily frightened people- the healthiest hypochondriacs in the world!

Given an average life expectancy that exceeds 75 years, we must be doing something right- junk food, nuclear waste, and all.

I was much too old to start at the bottom, so I decided to start at the top.

If our tongues were as sensitive as these radiation detectors, we could easily taste one drop of vermouth in five carloads of gin.

It's awfully easy to get a law passed. It's awfully difficult to get it unpassed.

It's relatively easy to pass regulations, make rules, but they're seldom retracted. I suppose it's human nature. Nobody likes to admit having made a mistake.

Reporters no longer ask for verification, thus they print charges no matter how outlandish they may seem, and once having done that, when the truth comes out, it's buried in the back page or never makes it on the air at all.

The general public has long been divided into two parts those who think science can do anything, and those who are afraid it will.

The popular press tends... to pick out things that are sensational and develop them, and I think they have been responsible, in many cases, for unnecessarily frightening people.

There is clearly a dichotomy between what is known and understood by the mainstream body of scientific experts and what the public believes because of the information it gets.

There's nothing that isn't open to a woman if she has the talent and the interest and the will to do it.

There's one area of the popular press where they report accurately, they never misspell a name, they never give an inaccurate figure, and they report things as they happen quite objectively and that's the sports.

We need to ask our policy makers and those we elect to office who are supposed to make decisions to give us the evidence of the facts that are behind the decisions that we make. We should be skeptical.

We shouldn't accept things just because somebody says so.

Without deliberate human intervention, nature would soon eradicate the world's food producing capacity and unleash plagues of long forgotten virulence. Huge numbers of humans would suffer and die.


(January 2 is also the birthday of Barry Goldwater and Isaac Asimov.)

Categories: Dixy Lee Ray, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: George C. Marshall

Published Tuesday, December 30, 2014 @ 7:13 PM EST
Dec 30 2014

Uniontown, PA native George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American soldier and statesman famous for his leadership roles during World War II and the Cold War. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. Hailed as the "organizer of victory" by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II, Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was appointed Secretary of State by President Harry Truman, who insisted the European Recovery Program, which rebuilt Europe, be named "The Marshall Plan." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A political problem thought of in military terms eventually becomes a military problem.

As to my political faith- I have never voted. My father was a Democrat, my mother a Republican, and I am an Episcopalian.

Avoid trivia.

Don't fight the problem, decide it.

Go right straight down the road, to do what is best, and to do it frankly and without evasion.

If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.

It is hard to believe that a man familiar with the history of the centuries could fail to guide his course somewhat by the lessons of the past.

It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory.

Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars.

Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.

Passive inactivity, because you have not been given specific instructions to do this or to do that, is a serious deficiency.

Sincerity, integrity, and tolerance are, to my mind, the first requirements of many to a fine, strong character.

The day for bickering has passed... These are days for courageous men with unselfish purpose.

The maintenance of large armies for an indefinite period is not a practical or a promising basis for policy.

The one great element in continuing the success of an offensive is maintaining the momentum.

The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.

When a general complains of the morale of his troops, the time has come to look at his own.

When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective.

Categories: George C. Marshall, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Stephen Leacock

Published Monday, December 29, 2014 @ 7:50 PM EST
Dec 29 2014

Stephen P. H Butler Leacock, FRSC (December 30, 1869 – March 28, 1944) was a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humorist. Between the years 1910 and 1925, he was the most widely read English-speaking author in the world. He was known for his light humor and criticisms of human follies. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A friend is a man who has the same enemies you have.

A sportsman is a man who, every now and then, simply has to go out and kill something.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Anybody can start a movement by beginning with himself.

Anybody who has listened to certain kinds of music, or read certain kinds of poetry, or heard certain kinds of performances on the concertina, will admit that even suicide has its brighter aspects.

By conscientious smoking and drinking they had kept themselves from the horror of thinking.

Death, you know, to the clergy, is a different thing from what it is to us.

Each of us in life is a prisoner. The past offers us, as it were a door of escape. We are set and bound in our confined lot. Outside, somewhere, is eternity; outside, somewhere, is infinity. We seek to reach into it and the pictured past seems to afford to us an outlet of escape.

Eternal punishment should be reserved for the mortgagees and bondholders.

Golf may be played on Sunday, not being a game within the view of the law, but being a form of moral effort.

Good jests ought to bite like lambs, not dogs: they should cut, not wound.

He had grasped as but few men have done the great truth that nothing really matters very much.

Higher education in America flourished chiefly as a qualification for entrance into a moneymaking profession, and not as a thing in itself.

Humor in a world of waning beliefs remains like Hope still left at the bottom of Pandora's box when all the evils of the Gods flew out from it upon the world.

Humor may be defined as the kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life, and the artistic expression thereof.

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so.

I have always found that the only kind of statement worth making is an overstatement. A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries better.

I would sooner have written 'Alice in Wonderland' than the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica.

If I were founding a university I would begin with a smoking room; next a dormitory; and then a decent reading room and a library. After that, if I still had more money that I couldn't use, I would hire a professor and get some text books.

In art one must judge a man by his best, never by his worst; by his highest reach, not by his lowest fall.

In earlier times they had no statistics and so they had to fall back on lies. Hence the huge exaggerations of primitive literature, giants, miracles, wonders! It's the size that counts. They did it with lies and we do it with statistics: but it's all the same.

It is the times that have changed, not the man. He is there still, just as greedy and rapacious as ever, but no greedier: and we have just the same social need of his greed as a motive power in industry as we ever had, and indeed a worse need than before.

It is the wishes and likings of the mass which largely dictate what the rest of us shall see and hear.

It is to be observed that 'angling' is the name given to fishing by people who can't fish.

It may be those who do most, dream most.

Laughter is the last refuge of sorrow.

Life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour.

Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl.

Men are able to trust one another, knowing the exact degree of dishonesty they are entitled to expect.

One-sided love lasts best.

People who have never married have not really lived. People who have married and had no children have only half-lived. People who have one child only are a long way from the crown of human life.

Scholars who love minutiae deny everything.

Silence, if deliberate, is artificial and irritating; but silence that is unconscious gives human companionship without human boredom.

The chief immediate direction of social effort should be towards the attempt to give to every human being in childhood adequate food, clothing, education, and an opportunity in life. This will prove to be the beginning of many things.

The landlady of a boarding-house is a parallelogram- that is, an oblong figure, which cannot be described, but which is equal to anything.

The Lord said 'Let there be wheat' and Saskatchewan was born.

The minute a man is convinced that he is interesting, he isn't.

The obligation to die must carry with it the right to live. If every citizen owes it to society that he must fight for it in case of need, then society owes to every citizen the opportunity of a livelihood. 'Unemployment,' in the case of the willing and able becomes henceforth a social crime. Every democratic Government must henceforth take as the starting point of its industrial policy, that there shall be no such thing as able bodied men and women 'out of work,' looking for occupation and unable to find it.

The real thing for the student is the life and environment that surrounds him. All that he really learns he learns, in a sense, by the active operation of his own intellect and not as the passive recipient of lectures.

The world's humor, in its best and greatest sense, is perhaps the highest product of our civilization.

There are two things in ordinary conversation which ordinary people dislike- information and wit.

There is no man living who can overcome the ingrained prejudice of social disadvantages.

To few it has been given to see things as they are, to know that no opinion is altogether right, no purpose altogether laudable, and no calamity altogether deplorable.

Try to buy happiness, by the quart or by the yard, and you never find it. Motion it away from you while you turn to Duty and you will find it waiting beside your chair.

We're so much alike that we can't discuss. We can only fight.

When we in touch with heathens come
We send them first a case of rum
Next, to rebuke their native sin
We send a missionary in.

With perfect citizens any Government is good.

With the thermometer at 30 below zero and the wind behind him, a man walking on Main Street in Winnipeg knows which side of him is which.

Work must either be found or must be provided by the State itself. It grows upon what it feeds on. Each time a worker is thrown out of employment, there is a loss of purchasing power; with each loss of purchasing power, another man is thrown out of work. There is no end, no stop.

You can never have international peace as long as you have national poverty.

You know, many a man realizes late in life that if when he was a boy he had known what he knows now, instead of being what he is he might be what he won't; but how few boys stop to think that if they knew what they don't know instead of being what they will be, they wouldn't be?


(December 30 is also the birthday of Rudyard Kipling )

Categories: Quotes of the day, Stephen Leacock

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Quotes of the day: William Gaddis

Published Sunday, December 28, 2014 @ 8:57 PM EST
Dec 28 2014

William Thomas Gaddis, Jr. (December 29, 1922 - December 16, 1998) was an American novelist. The first and longest of his five novels, The Recognitions, was named one of TIME magazine's 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005 and two others, J R and A Frolic of His Own, won the annual U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. A collection of his essays was published posthumously as The Rush for Second Place (2002). The Letters of William Gaddis was published by Dalkey Archive Press in February 2013. Gaddis is widely considered one of the first and most important American postmodern writers. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I mean why should somebody go steal and break the law to get all they can when there's always some law where you can be legal and get it all anyway!

I see the player piano as the grandfather of the computer, the ancestor of the entire nightmare we live in, the birth of the binary world where there is no option other than yes or no and where there is no refuge.

I'll tell you why yes, because why people lie is, because when people stop lying you know they've stopped caring.

If it is not beautiful for someone, it does not exist.

If you want to make a million you don't have to understand money, what you have to understand is people's fears about money.

It is the bliss of childhood that we are being warped most when we know it the least.

Justice? You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

Merry Christmas! the man threatened.

Most people are clever because they don't know how to be honest.

Order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos.

Originality is a device that untalented people use to impress other untalented people to protect themselves from talented people.

Power doesn't corrupt people, people corrupt power.

Stupidity's the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.

There’s much more stupidity than there is malice in the world.

We're comic. We're all comics. We live in a comic time. And the worse it gets the more comic we are.

We've had the goddam Ages of Faith, we've had the goddam Age of Reason. This is the Age of Publicity.

Where would Christianity be today if Jesus had been given ten to twenty with time off for good behavior?

Women get desperate, but they don't understand despair.


(December 29 is also the birthday of William Gladstone and Paula Poundstone.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Gaddis

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