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'Tis the season...

Published Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 3:01 PM EST
Nov 30 2012

"The Wreath of Khan"

Categories: Christmas, Star Trek

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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 6:04 AM EST
Nov 30 2012

Quotes of the day- Oscar Wilde:
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

[A cynic is] A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

A Dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

A map of thw world that doesn't include Utopia isn't worth looking at.

A pessimist is one who when he has the choice of two evils chooses both.

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

A well tied tie is the first serious step in life.

A woman begins by resisting a man's advances, and ends by blocking his retreat.

A woman's face is her work of fiction.

A work of art is useless. So is a flower.

All art is quite useless.

All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.

Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.

Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.

Bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.

Bad artists always admire each other's work.

Be moderate in all things, including moderation.

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

Biography lends to death a new terror.

But the world will never weary of watching that troubled soul in its progress from darkness to darkness.

By persistently remaining single a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation.

Caricature is the tribute that mediocrity pays to genius.

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

Conscience and cowardice are really the same things.

Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative.

Democracy simply means the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

Each class preaches the importance of those virtues it need not exercise. The rich harp on the value of thrift, the idle grow eloquent over the dignity of labour.

Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Every great man has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Fathers should neither be seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.

Find expression for a sorrow, and it will become dear to you. Find expression for a joy, and you will intensify its ecstasy.

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.

Good taste is the excuse I've always given for leading such a bad life.

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

I am not young enough to know everything.

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.

I am tired of my expedition into the dim, the zero abyss of facts.

I can stand brute force but brute reason is quite unbearable.

I couldn't help it. I can resist everything except temptation.

I don't like principles. I prefer prejudices.

I have never come across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity. Moral people, as they are termed, are simple beasts.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.

I like people better than principles, and I like people with no principles better than anything else in the world.

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.

I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.

I suppose that when a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her, except continue to love her.

I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.

If a man needs an elaborate tombstone in order to remain in the memory of his country, it is clear that his living at all was an act of absolute superfluity.

If your morals make you dreary, depend on it: they are wrong.

Imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press.

In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants. The other is getting it.

Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.

It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

It is absurd to say that there are neither ruins nor curiosities in America when they have their mothers and their manners.

It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.

It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.

It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.

It is only the superficial who do not judge by appearances.

It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

It's not what you are, it's what you don't become that hurts.

Life is one fool thing after another where as love is two fool things after each other.

Life is too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell the truth.

Men marry because they are tired, women because they are curious; both are disappointed.

Men represent the triumph of mind over morals, whereas women represent the triumph of matter over mind.

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Morality did not help me. I was one of those who were made for exceptions, not for laws.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.

Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people's.

Never buy a thing you don't want merely because it is dear.

Never give a woman advice: one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening.

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist.

No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

None of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it's too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.

One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.

One should always be a little improbable.

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

One should never make one's debut with a scandal. One should reserve that to give an interest to one's old age.

One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.

One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

Only the shallow know themselves.

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards.

Perhaps, after all, America has never been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.

Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk, rather that drunks are not always poets.

Philanthropy seems to me to have become simply the refuge of people who wish to annoy their fellow creatures.

Pleasure is the only thing to live for. Nothing ages like happiness.

Punctuality is the thief of time.

Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.

Realism is only a background.

Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.

Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief.

Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes; that is always a sign of despair in a woman.

Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.

Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.

The basis for every scandal is an immoral certainty.

The basis of action is lack of imagination. It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

The best way to make children good is to make them happy.

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.

The brotherhood of man is not a mere poet's dream: it is a most depressing and humiliating reality.

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

The London season is entirely matrimonial; people are either hunting for husbands or hiding from them.

The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing.

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a necessity.

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

The only possible form of exercise is to talk, not to walk.

The only thing that men and women have in common, is that they both prefer the company of men.

The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

[T]he only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

[T]he people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty and their fidelity, I call their lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what constancy is to the intellect- simply a confession of failure.

The play was a great success but the audience was a total failure.

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly deceived.

The Soul is born old, but it grows young; that is the comedy of life. The Body is born young and grows old; that is life's tragedy.

The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.

The worst vice of the fanatic is his sincerity.

The youth of America is their oldest tradition.

There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

There are moments when art attains almost to the dignity of manual labour.

There are two kinds of people who are really fascinating- people who know absolutely everything and people who know absolutely nothing.

There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

There is no sin except stupidity.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.

There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is something no married man knows anything about.

There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.

To be really medieval, one should have no body. To be really modern, one should have no soul. To be really Greek, one should have no clothes.

To get back one's youth one merely has to repeat one's follies.

To get back to my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is the proper occupation of the historian.

To have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact, talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you.

To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development.

True friends stab you in the front.

Truth is never pure and rarely simple. Modern life would be tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.

Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.

Vulgarity is the conduct of others.

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.

We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.

We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices.

We live in a age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.

When Liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood, it is hard to shake hands with her.

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing it is always from the noblest motive.

Who, being loved, is poor?

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the attractiveness of others.

With an evening coat and a white tie, even a stockbroker can gain a reputation for being civilized.

Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.

Women are made to be loved, not understood.

Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.

Women give to men the very gold of their lives. Possibly; but they invariably want it back in such very small change.

Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious.

Women inspire men to great undertakings, and then distract us from carrying them out.

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.

Women spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever.

Women treat us just as humanity treats its gods. They worship us and are always bothering us to do something for them.

Work is the curse of the drinking class.

Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.

You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.

Young men want to be faithful and are not; old men want to be faithless and cannot.

Categories: Oscar Wilde, Quotes of the day

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Observation of the day

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 @ 9:33 AM EST
Nov 29 2012

Categories: Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, Observations

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A word from engineering...

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 @ 9:09 AM EST
Nov 29 2012

As Tom Lehrer said (although in a different context), I'm beginnning to feel like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

Thingamablog, the now-orphaned software that powers this blog, continues its flaky behavior and trend toward unacceptable instability.

Sounds like it may mean the inevitable leap to WordPress.

In the meantime, I'll try whacking the database a few times and see if I can keep 'er running...

Categories: KGB Blog News

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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 @ 1:12 AM EST
Nov 29 2012

Quotes of the day- C.S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to as C.S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland. He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and at Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. (Click for full article.)

A little comic relief in a discussion does no harm, however serious the topic may be.

A little lie is like a little pregnancy- it doesn't take long before everyone knows.

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, “darkness” on the walls of his cell.

A man can't be always defending the truth; there must be a time for him to feed on it.

A man is fairly sober as long as he knows he's drunk.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.

As long as one knows one is proud, one is safe from the worst form of pride.

Autumn is really the best of the seasons; and I'm not sure that old age isn't the best part of life. But of course, like autumn, it doesn't last.

But probably every age gets, within certain limits, the science it deserves.

Democracy demands that little men should not take big ones too seriously; it dies when it is full of little men who think they are big themselves.

Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger.

For believers there are no questions, and for unbelievers there are no answers.

For who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

God wants us to grow up.

Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.

He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself.

I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see him.

I sometimes think that shame, mere awkward, senseless shame, does as much towards preventing good acts and straightforward happiness as any of our vices do.

I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad.

If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.

It is clear that there never was a time when nothing existed; otherwise nothing would exist now.

It is quite useless knocking at the door of heaven for earthly comfort; it's not the sort of comfort they supply there.

It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

Justice means equality for equals, and inequality for unequals.

Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.

Never, never pin your whole faith on any human being; not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world. There are lots of nice things you can do with sand, but do not try building a house on it.

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.

No one can deceive you unless he makes you think he is telling the truth.

No one ever told me grief felt so much like fear.

Nothing can deceive unless it bears a plausible resemblance to reality.

Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs.

Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.

Odd the way the less the Bible is read, the more it is translated.

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address.

Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.

Pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain. It is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

She's the sort of woman who lives for others. You can tell the others by their hunted expression.

Suspicion often creates what it suspects.

The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born

The process of growing up is to be valued for what we gain, not for what we lose.

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

There are two kinds of people: those that say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”

There can be intemperance in work just as in drink.

There is no neutral ground in the universe.

Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give some advice.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

[W]e keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. We do not know who are the major and who the minor characters. The Author knows.

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.

What do people mean when they say “I am not afraid of God because I know He is good?” Have they never even been to a dentist?

What sinners remember best is that they were happy while sinning.

When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

Why is it that one can never think of the past without wanting to go back?

You do not “have” a soul- you ARE a soul. You “have” a body.

You must not isolate [sexual] pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.

Categories: C.S. Lewis, Quotes of the day

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Happy birthday, Jon Stewart

Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 @ 10:55 AM EST
Nov 28 2012

Quotes of the day- Jon Stewart:
Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; November 28, 1962) is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian. He is widely known as host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program that airs on Comedy Central. (Click for full article.)

Arizona is the meth lab of democracy.

By the way, when you finish the bottle of Crown Royal, you can still use the pouch to hold your broken dreams.

Divorce isn't caused because 50 percent of marriages end in gayness.

Even the Stock-Pickin' Chicken is right some of the time.

Every country has at least one museum that says “Here's why we chased you out.”

Everyone knows if a Republican comes out of the closet and sees a gay shadow, it means six more years of a Democratic administration.

Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.

I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever's going on.

I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are assholes.

I look at politicians as, they are doing what inherently they need to do to retain power. Their job is to consolidate power. When you go to the zoo and you see a monkey throwing poop, you go, “that's what monkeys do, what are you gonna do?” But what I wish the media would do more frequently is say “bad monkey.”

I view America like this: 70 to 80 percent [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along. And the other 20 percent of the country run it.

If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today. Provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars.

If the presidency is the head of the American body politic, Congress is its gastrointestinal tract. Its vast and convoluted inner workings may be mysterious and unpleasant, but in the end they excrete a great deal of material whose successful passage is crucial to our nation's survival.

If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserve it. If you get a break, it's a handout and an entitlement. It's a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance.

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values- they're hobbies.

If you have too many white people at a rally, then your cause is racist. And if you have too many people of color at a rally, you must be asking for something.

It does not matter what we say or do; it matters only what is reported about what we say or do.

It doesn't make it a gotcha question just because it got ya.

It feels like all the people who want limited government really just want government limited to Republicans.

No one's going to march in the streets carrying a sign that says “Be Reasonable!”

Religion is kinda like nuclear power: you split the atom this way, you get electricity; you split it that way, you get an atomic bomb.

Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion. If America leads a blessed life, then why did God put all of our oil under people who hate us?

The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom. That's all it is. All those media companies say, “We're going to make a killing here.” You won't because it's still only as good as the content.

The Jews celebrate Passover by eating unpalatable food to remind them what will happen to their people if they ever leave New York City.

The reason I don't worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I'll take those odds every day.

The Senate seems like the place where smart people go to die.

The wisdom of the masses is not always... wise.

They always throw around this term “the liberal elite.” And I kept thinking to myself about the Christian right. What's more elite than believing that only you will go to heaven?

We declared war on terror- it's not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I'm sure we'll take on that bastard ennui.

We need religion to give grace and comfort to a world torn apart by religion.

Yes, the long war on Christianity. I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion... perhaps around their necks? And maybe- dare I dream it?- maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.

You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: It wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by The Macarena.

Categories: Daily Show, Jon Stewart, Quotes of the day

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Jesus was a Virgo...

Published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 7:15 AM EST
Nov 27 2012

... and you're all observing pagan rituals.

So it might not be a bad idea to acknowledge that our Christmas traditions are borrowed from a variety of non-Christian sources.

No one knows on what day Jesus Christ was born. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ's birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?

The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.

In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers began. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. The Christmas tradition of caroling was rooted in this practice.

In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Symbolic of the birth of the pagan sun god, Mithras, Yule was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear the following year.

Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means "wheel," the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.

The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.

In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ's birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, with the people knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: "Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ."

The controversy continues even today in some fundamentalist sects.

(From here, via Grace McGarvey on alt.quotations.)

(Incidentally, acccording to this site and several others, Jesus and I share the same birthday. That somehow makes that date -September 11- a bit less onerous.)

Categories: Christmas, Jesus

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14-sided temporal distractions

Published Monday, November 26, 2012 @ 8:13 AM EST
Nov 26 2012

Back in the days when KGB Consulting still existed, the phone calls would start around this time of year... people wanting a KGB Consulting pop-up tetradecagon calendar. (If the business had had as many customers as persons requesting calendars -sigh- but I digress.)

No, I'm not bringing them back; but now you can roll your own. Just go here and follow the instructions.

The site refers to the calendar shape as a "pentagon dodecahedron", but Stan Kelly-Bootle agrees with my nomenclature, since it's a 14-sided polygon, albeit three-dimensional.

Think of it as physical therapy. If you print it out on card stock and paste a rubber band inside, you can pretty closely emulate the pop-up quality of the originals.

Categories: KGB, Miscellany

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In the shop

Published Sunday, November 25, 2012 @ 7:52 PM EST
Nov 25 2012

Doing some behind-the-scenes maintenance to the web site. Should be running on all cylniders again tomorrow.

Categories: KGB Blog News

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Quote of the day

Published Saturday, November 24, 2012 @ 7:44 AM EST
Nov 24 2012

Black Friday - when we buy material possessions to give on the birthday of a guy who renounced material possessions.
-John Fugelsang

Categories: John Fugelsang, Quotes of the day

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Weather Sheltie

Published Saturday, November 24, 2012 @ 7:17 AM EST
Nov 24 2012

"Aye, Dad- there be a wee bit o' snoo..."

Categories: Dogs, Photo of the day, Weather

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Some Thanksgiving memories...

Published Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 6:09 AM EST
Nov 23 2012

...are probably best forgotten...

Categories: Holidays, Photo of the day, WTF?

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"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly..."

Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 8:30 AM EST
Nov 22 2012

WKRP in Cincinnati: "Turkeys Away" (Season 1, Episode 7, aired 10/30/1978)
Mr. Carlson is beginning to feel useless at the new formatted rock station so he decides to create a big Thanksgiving Day promotion. His idea? Get a helicopter, with a banner attached to it saying "Happy Thanksgiving From WKRP", and drop live turkeys from the helicopter. What could go wrong?

(YouTube video: "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!")

See the full episode on Hulu.

Categories: Holidays, Hulu, TV, Video, WKRP in Cincinnati, YouTube

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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 5:32 AM EST
Nov 22 2012

Quotes of the day: Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams (née Smith; November 22 [O.S. November 11] 1744 – October 28, 1818) was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth. She was the first Second Lady of the United States, and the second First Lady of the United States.

Adams is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he attended the Continental Congresses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John frequently sought the advice of Abigail on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. The letters serve as eyewitness accounts of the American Revolutionary War home front. (Click for full article)


Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.

We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

When will Mankind be convinced that true Religion is from the Heart, between Man and his creator, and not the imposition of Man or creeds and tests?

How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal!

I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and, like the grave, cries, “Give, give!”

Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.

Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.

Deliver me from your cold phlegmatic preachers, politicians, friends, lovers and husbands.

If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

Luxury, that baneful poison, has unstrung and enfeebled her sons.

Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since.

I hate to complain... No one is without difficulties, whether in high or low life, and every person knows best where their own shoe pinches.

Great necessities call out great virtues.

To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.

Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken.

I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.

If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.

The habits of a vigorous mind are born in contending with difficulties.

Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

A people may let a King fall, yet still remain a people, but if a King let his people slip from him, he is no longer a King.

Many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons.

When will Mankind be convinced that true Religion is from the Heart, between Man and his creator, and not the imposition of Man or creeds and tests?

Categories: Abigail Adams, Quotes of the day

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Tweet of the day

Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012 @ 3:08 AM EST
Nov 21 2012

@Paula_Deen: Years ago, I learned the secret to perfect stuffing from my Grandmother, I want to share it with you: http://t.co/FxlUF52l

(I think Paula's been into the sherry again...)

Categories: Paula Deen, Twitter, WTF?

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Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 4:26 AM EST
Nov 20 2012

I derive pleasure from the suffering of people who don't know what schadenfreude means.
-John Fugelsang

Hamas could confuse the sh*t out of Fox News viewers by changing its name to "Christmas."

The new normal is always worse than the old normal.

You'd think the secessionists could at least wait until the Lincoln movie is out of the theaters.
-Paula Poundstone

News Headline: "NY district attorney admits he acted in 1970s porn films.
And then he fell in with a bad crowd and went into politics.
-Zay N. Smith, QT (The Beachwood Reporter)

Categories: John Fugelsang, Miscellany, Observations, Paula Poundstone, Zay N. Smith - Quick Takes

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Seven score and nine years ago...

Published Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 8:38 AM EST
Nov 19 2012

...on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address" at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery.


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
-Ernest Hemingway

Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, History

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Happy birthday, Dick and Larry

Published Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 12:05 AM EST
Nov 19 2012

Larry King is 79 today; Dick Cavett is 76.

Two legendary talk show hosts with entirely different personalities and approaches; yet the prosaic King and the cosmopolitan Cavett both killed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson earlier this year.

(YouTube video: Larry King inhabits the body of Geoff the Robot. Hilarity ensues.)

(YouTube video: Including such delights as a joke based on an obscure reference to Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)

Categories: Craig Ferguson, Dick Cavett, Larry King, TV, Video, YouTube

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A republic, if you can keep it...

Published Sunday, November 18, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EST
Nov 18 2012

Categories: Barack Obama, Twinkies

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Photo of the day

Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 @ 8:31 AM EST
Nov 17 2012

They are Not Impressed.

Categories: Barack Obama, McKayla Maroney, Photo of the day

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Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 @ 2:19 AM EST
Nov 17 2012

I think America might just have spent all day obsessing over loss of Twinkies. This is why we're not getting a greatest generation book.

What if the Mayan calendar ends in 5105, and we've just been holding it upside down?
-Aaron Karo

Hostess will sell the rights to all their snack cakes, and Twinkies will once again pour off the production line of a different company. I wouldn't be surprised if several years' worth of Twinkies aren't already stockpiled in a warehouse somewhere. I mean, It's not like they're going to go stale or anything...

A blonde walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a double entendre. So he gives it to her.

This new thesaurus isn't just terrible, it's also terrible.
-Justin Shanes

Viagra can cause sight loss. So, you can go blind either way.

(YouTube video: The Big Bang Theory Flash Mob!)

James Bond beat Abraham Lincoln at the box office. Boy, it's really been a lousy week for Republicans, hasn't it?
–David Letterman

No hurry- take all the time you have.
-The Covert Comic

Isn't the Twinkie too big to fail? Where's the bailout, Obama?
-The Beachwood Reporter

If you were born in or after April 1985, you have never experienced a colder than average month. If you've lived in Pittsburgh during that period, you've experienced the highest and lowest temperatures on record as well as the greatest 24-hour rain and snowfall totals. So if grandma or grandpa start to tell you how bad the weather was when they were growing up, tell them to stick a sock in it.

It's also interesting to note that in April 1985 Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

Categories: Aaron Karo, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Climate change, Coca Cola, Covert Comic, David Letterman, Drugs, James Bond, Mayans, Miscellany, Observations, The Beachwood Reporter, The Big Bang Theory, Twinkies, Video, YouTube

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Quote of the day

Published Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 8:14 AM EST
Nov 16 2012

I'm worried that once Texas realizes this secession thing is retarded, they'll execute themselves.
-Johnny McNulty

Categories: Quotes of the day

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You skipped over the good part

Published Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 2:09 AM EST
Nov 16 2012

There are really only two small sections of the Unites States Constitution that I've memorized. There's the last part of Article VI:

"...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public trust under the United States."

The emphasis is mine, and identifies the only place in the entire document where the word "ever" appears. This is handy when dealing with those who refuse to acknowledge the founders' intent to keep religion and government separate. I mean, what part of "ever" don't you understand?

And I also know the Preamble.

Boy, do I know the Preamble.

I recited it for a Veterans Day program in Homestead's Frick Park in 1962. I remember it was cold, and I was wearing my Cub Scout uniform. And I didn't make any mistakes, because I had been studying it, living with it, for an entire month.

I learned the Preamble from Margaret McGeever, the principal of my elementary school. And when Margaret McGeever taught you something, you not only memorized it, mastered it, and could recite it on command, you assimilated it into your very DNA structure. It left a virtual, indelible mark on your psyche, not unlike the actual physical hand print of hers that I still have on my left shoulder, a result of The Bell Telephone Movie Incident In The Auditorium.

Miss McGeever not only principaled, she taught drama. She emphasized that the Preamble was not a jumble of words to be hurriedly recited in a dull monotone. It had to be read correctly, with a combination of zeal, reverence and perfect enunciation. "This is the very foundation of who we are," she rumbled in her high-pitched yet gravelly voice. "Just fifty-two words that define who we are."

And I learned them. Really learned them. I spent a half hour every day finding the words in the huge dictionary in her office and transferring their definitions to sheets of blue-ruled white bond paper, the good stuff we used when taking our penmanship tests.

It took me more than a week. She looked through the sheets. She stacked them, placed her folded hands on the neat pile, then gazed at me over the top of her glasses.

I froze. It was not the look of satisfaction I had expected.

Her brow was furrowed. Actually, it was always furrowed; the woman had the forehead of a Shar Pei. But the creases were even deeper, and her voice was sharp.

"Mister Barkes," she intoned. "Your work is not acceptable. You have forgotten one very important word: Preamble. You've managed to omit the title of the work."

I looked at the copy of the Constitution I held in my pudgy, shaking hands. I didn't see the word "preamble" anywhere.

"You won't see the word 'preamble' anywhere," Miss McGeever said, which was simultaneously comforting and terrifying. "I don't see your name written anywhere on your body, but I know who are, and if I were to write about you, I would certainly put your name at the beginning."

"Preamble," she said. "An introduction. From the Latin 'pre', meaning 'before', and 'ambulare', to walk. Literally, to walk before, or to lead. 'Ambulare' is interesting. So many English words are derived from Latin. What English words come from 'ambulare'?"

"Ambulance?" I asked. She nodded. "Amble?" She nodded again.

I was blank. "Do you know what they call baby strollers in England?,"

"Prams?" I replied. "Right. Pram is English slang for perambulator. 'Per' from the Latin through or for, and 'ambulator' from..."

"Ambulare!" This was fun.

Miss McGeever spent the next half hour listing Latin antecedents ("ante-", before; "cedere", to go) for English words. I was sorry when the end of day bell sounded.

"I'll tell Miss Sullivan she has a prospective Latin student," she said, smiling. Miss Sullivan taught first year Latin in ninth grade at the junior high school.

Then the smile disappeared. The stack of Preamble words reappeared. "Review them. We'll have a verbal quiz on Monday."

Wait. Where was I?

Wow. I hate when I have one of those Billy Pilgrim unstuck in time moments.

Right. The Constitution.

There are a lot of people who say the Constitution has but one purpose: to restrict the federal government and limit its power. Anything not explicitly covered within its original 4,543 words and subsequent amendments should not even be considered.

I think they're missing the big picture. Miss McGeever explained it quite well. I remember her florid cursive writing on the blackboard:

Who are "We"? The people of the United States of America.

What do we want? We want to:

1. Form a more perfect Union. (The Articles of Confederation just weren't working.)

2. Establish justice.

3. Insure domestic tranquility.

4. Provide for the common defense.

6. Promote the general Welfare.

7. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. (We're serious about this.)

How are we going to do this?

We do ordain (from the Latin ordinare, to arrange or order) and establish (from the Latin stabilire, to make stable) this Constitution (from the Latin constituo, to confirm, arrange, decide) of the United (L. unus, one, a union) States (L. status, fixed, set) of America.(Mod.L. Americanus, after Amerigo Vespucci).

Pretty straightforward.

Sometimes I think this guy must have been one of Miss McGeever's students. And after this past election, I know how he feels:

Categories: History, KGB Opinion, Observations, Politics, Star Trek, U.S. Constitution, Video, William Shatner, YouTube

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One tasty burger

Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 @ 12:32 PM EST
Nov 15 2012

As well as being massively impressed with Quentin Tarantino's writing and directing you probably also left Pulp Fiction with a desperate hankering for a burger.

Samuel L. Jackson extolling the virtues of the Big Kahuna burger is one of cinema's most mouth-watering food moments. Since it's not an actual fast food restaurant, we sadly can't try one for ourselves but we've done the second best thing. We chatted with Dave Watts, head chef at The Cotswold House Hotel, who gave us his spin on the Big Kahuna burger so you can try it at home.

Hopefully there'll be less bloodshed straight after...

Makes 12 patties at 160 gm (5.64383 oz) each

Preparation time: 20–30 minutes

Cooking time: 5-8 minutes

3 large onions (peeled and finely diced)

75 gm (2.64555 oz) Cotswold gold rapeseed oil

1 pinch salt

2 kg (70.54792 oz, or 4.409245 lbs)minced Chuck steak from 21 day dry aged beef

3 large pinches salt. (I know, it already said one pinch above)

Good grind of fresh black pepper

20g (0.705479 oz) Worcestershire sauce

5g or 0.17637 oz or 5 shakes of fish sauce (adds a great salty flavor, don’t let the name put you off)

3 heaped dessert spoons of Dijon mustard

5g or 0.17637 oz or 3 large sprigs Tarragon picked and finely chopped

70g (2.46918 oz) curly parsley (30g (1.05822 oz) picked weight) finely chopped

To finish/garnish

4 gherkins/pickles (thinly sliced lengthways)

Spicy tomato relish

12 large white burger buns (we make our own but you can buy great quality buns from your local baker)

Suitable melting cheese to your taste. I use Ogle Shield which is a fantastic unpasteurised Somerset jersey milk cheese, perfect for that melting, glossy, gooey burger cheese.


Place the oil, diced onion and a pinch of salt into a heavy bottomed pan, place onto a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown. This will take 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to burn the onions; as they start to color they release more sugars and will stick to the pan and burn more easily.

While the onions are sweating prepare the herbs and the other ingredients to add to the mince. Place this all into a large bowl and add the mince. When the onions are golden brown remove them from the heat and allow them to cool to room temperature. When the onions are cool add them to the bowl of mince and mix well with clean hands, as if you were making bread, incorporating all of the ingredients. Cover and allow to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hrs. This allows the mix to rest and helps to gel it all together. Weight the mix into 160gm (5.64383 oz) balls and flatten to your desired thickness.

To finish the burgers I char grill for that "tasty burger" flame grilled richness. Cook for 2 and a half to 3 minutes on each side. Half the buns and grill for a minute or two under a pre-heated grill. Once the burgers are cooked, remove and place onto the toasted buns add the slices of cheese, gherkins and relish. Finally add the top of the bun and serve with an ice cold Sprite... altogether now (and in your best Samuel L. Jackson voice)... "Mmm…this IS a tasty burger."

Dave Watts is head chef at the Cotswold House Hotel. Rooms start from just £120 per person, with main courses at The Cotswold Grill ranging from £9.50 to £23.00. The Dining Room (fine dining restaurant) reopened in May. For further information, hotel and restaurant reservations, visit www.cotswoldhouse.com or call 01386 840330.

From The Shortlist.

(Metric to English conversions by Google. Blame them, not me.)

Categories: Big Kahuna Burger, Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson

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Question of the day

Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012 @ 4:38 AM EST
Nov 14 2012

Categories: Question of the day

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The Wrath of the Whatever from High Atop The Thing

Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 12:55 AM EST
Nov 13 2012

Failure to write a concession speech is what sealed Mitt Romney's fate:

(YouTube video: "Election Night" episode, The West Wing)

Sam Seaborn: You wrote a concession?
Toby Ziegler: Of course I wrote a concession. You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?
Sam Seaborn: No.
Toby Ziegler: Then go outside, turn around three times and spit. What the hell's the matter with you?

Categories: Elections, Mitt Romney, Politics, TV, Video, YouTube

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Planning ahead

Published Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 8:10 AM EST
Nov 12 2012

(Paul Noth, The New Yorker)

Categories: Cartoons, Elections, Politics, The New Yorker

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Okay then...

Published Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 9:52 AM EST
Nov 11 2012

Categories: Animals, Elections, Photo of the day

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"I reject your reality and substitute my own.." redux

Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 @ 10:48 AM EST
Nov 10 2012

"The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
-George Orwell

Or an election...

Diagnosing the Republican Brain
Fact: Conservatives deny science and facts. But there's a reality check that liberals need too.
By Chris Mooney
Mother Jones, Fri Mar. 30, 2012 2:00 AM PDT

We all know that many American conservatives have issues with Charles Darwin, and the theory of evolution. But Albert Einstein, and the theory of relativity?

If you're surprised, allow me to introduce Conservapedia, the right-wing answer to Wikipedia and ground zero for all that is scientifically and factually inaccurate, for political reasons, on the Internet.

Claiming over 285 million page views since its 2006 inception, Conservapedia is the creation of Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer, engineer, homeschooler, and one of six children of Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-feminist and anti-abortion rights activist who successfully battled the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. In his mother's heyday, conservative activists were establishing vast mailing lists and newsletters, and rallying the troops. Her son learned that they also had to marshal "truth" to their side, now achieved not through the mail but the Web.[1]

So when Schafly realized that Wikipedia was using BCE ("Before Common Era") rather than BC ("Before Christ") to date historical events, he'd had enough. He decided to create his own contrary fact repository, declaring, "It's impossible for an encyclopedia to be neutral." Conservapedia definitely isn't neutral about science. Its 37,000 plus pages of content include items attacking evolution and global warming, wrongly claiming (contrary to psychological consensus) that homosexuality is a choice and tied to mental disorders, and incorrectly asserting (contrary to medical consensus) that abortion causes breast cancer.

The whopper, though, has to be Conservapedia's nearly 6,000 word, equation-filled entry on the theory of relativity. It's accompanied by a long webpage of "counterexamples" to Einstein's great scientific edifice, which merges insights like E=mc2 (part of the special theory of relativity) with his later account of gravitation (the general theory of relativity).

"Relativity has been met with much resistance in the scientific world," declares Conservapedia. "To date, a Nobel Prize has never been awarded for Relativity." The site goes on to catalogue the "political aspects of relativity," charging that some liberals have "extrapolated the theory" to favor their agendas. That includes President Barack Obama, who (it is claimed) helped publish an article applying relativity in the legal sphere while attending Harvard Law School in the late 1980s.

"Virtually no one who is taught and believes Relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold," Conservapedia continues. But even that's not the site's most staggering claim. In its list of "counterexamples" to relativity, Conservapedia provides 36 alleged cases, including: "The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46–54, Matthew 15:28, and Matthew 27:51."

If you are an American liberal or progressive and you just read the passage above, you are probably about to split your sides- or punch a wall. Sure enough, once liberal and science-focused bloggers caught wind of Conservapedia's anti-Einstein sallies, Schlafly was quickly called a "crackpot," "crazy," "dishonest," and so on.

These being liberals and scientists, there were also ample factual refutations. Take Conservapedia's bizarre claim that relativity hasn't led to any fruitful technologies. To the contrary, GPS devices rely on an understanding of relativity, as do PET scans and particle accelerators. Relativity works- if it didn't, we would have noticed by now, and the theory would never have come to enjoy its current scientific status.

Little changed at Conservapedia after these errors were dismantled, however (though more anti-relativity "counter-examples" and Bible references were added). For not only does the site embrace a very different firmament of "facts" about the world than modern science, it also employs a different approach to editing than Wikipedia. Schlafly has said of the founding of Conservapedia that it "strengthened my faith. I don't have to live with what's printed in the newspaper. I don't have to take what's put out by Wikipedia. We've got our own way to express knowledge, and the more that we can clear out the liberal bias that erodes our faith, the better."

You might be thinking that Conservapedia's unabashed denial of relativity is an extreme case, located in the same circle of intellectual hell as claims that HIV doesn't cause AIDS and 9-11 was an inside job. If so, I want to ask you to think again. Structurally, the denial of something so irrefutable, the elaborate rationalization of that denial, and above all the refusal to consider the overwhelming body of counterevidence and modify one's view, is something we find all around us today.

Every contentious fact- or science-based issue in American politics now plays out just like the conflict between Conservapedia and physicists over relativity. Again and again it's a fruitless battle between incompatible "truths," with no progress made and no retractions offered by those who are just plain wrong- and can be shown to be through simple fact checking mechanisms that all good journalists, not to mention open-minded and critically thinking citizens, can employ.

What's more, no matter how much the fact-checkers strive to remain "bi-partisan," it is pretty hard to argue that, today, the distribution of falsehoods is politically equal or symmetrical. It's not that liberals are never wrong or biased; in my new book, The Republican Brain, The Science of Why They Deny Science- and Reality, from which this essay is excerpted, I go to great lengths to describe and debunk a number of liberal errors. Nevertheless, politicized wrongness today is clustered among Republicans, conservatives, and especially Tea Partiers. (Indeed, a new study published in American Sociological Review finds that while overall trust in science has been relatively stable since 1974, among self- identified conservatives it is at an all-time low[2].)

Their willingness to deny what's true may seem especially outrageous when it infects scientific topics like evolution or climate change. But the same thing happens with economics, with American history, and with any other factual matter where there's something ideological- in other words, something emotional and personal- at stake.

As soon as that occurs, today's conservatives have their own "truth," their own experts to spout it, and their own communication channels- newspapers, cable networks, talk radio shows, blogs, encyclopedias, think tanks, even universities- to broad- and narrowcast it.

We've been trained to equivocate, to not to see this trend toward anti-factualism for what it is- sweeping, systemic. This is particularly true of reporters. Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, and that's precisely where our country stands now with regard to the conservative denial of reality. For a long time, we've been trained to equivocate, to not to see it for what it is- sweeping, systemic. This is particularly true of reporters and others trained to think that objectivity will out. Yet the problem is gradually dawning on many of us, particularly as the 2012 election began to unfold and one maverick Republican, Jon Huntsman, put his party's anti-factual tendencies in focus with a Tweet heard round the world:

"To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

The cost of this assault on reality is dramatic. Many of these falsehoods affect lives and have had- or will have- world-changing consequences. And more dangerous than any of them is the utter erosion of a shared sense of what's true- which they both generate, and perpetuate.

Consider, just briefly, some of the wrong ideas that have taken hold of significant swaths of the conservative population in the U.S:

The Identity of the President of the United States: Many conservatives believe President Obama is a Muslim. A stunning 64 percent of Republican voters in the 2010 election thought it was "not clear" whether he had been born in the United States. These people often think he was born in Kenya, and the birth certificate showing otherwise is bunk, a forgery, etc. They also think this relatively centrist Democrat is a closet- or even overt- socialist. At the extreme, they consider him a "Manchurian candidate" for an international leftist agenda.

Obamacare: Many conservatives believe it is a "government takeover of health care." They also think, as Sarah Palin claimed, that it created government "death panels" to make end-of-life care decisions for the elderly. What's more, they think it will increase the federal budget deficit (and that most economists agree with this claim), cut benefits to those on Medicare, and subsidize abortions and the health care of illegal immigrants. None of these things are true.

Sexuality and Reproductive Health. Many conservatives- especially on the Christian Right- claim that having an abortion increases a woman's risk of breast cancer or mental disorders. They claim that fetuses can perceive pain at 20 weeks of gestation, that same-sex parenting is bad for kids, and that homosexuality is a disorder, or a choice, and is curable through therapy. None of this is true.

The Iraq War: The mid-2000s saw the mass dissemination of a number of falsehoods about the war in Iraq, including claims that weapons of mass destruction were found after the US invasion and that Iraq and Al Qaeda were proven collaborators. And political conservatives were much more likely than liberals to believe these falsehoods. Studies have shown as much of Fox News viewers, and also of so-called authoritarians, an increasingly significant part of the conservative base (about whom more soon). In one study, 37 percent of authoritarians (but 15 percent of non-authoritarians) believed WMD had been found in Iraq, and 55 percent of authoritarians (but 19 percent of non-authoritarians) believed that Saddam Hussein had been directly involved in the 9-11 attacks.

Economics: Many conservatives hold the clearly incorrect view- explicitly espoused by former President George W. Bush- that tax cuts increase government revenue. They also think President Obama raised their income taxes, that he's responsible for current government budget deficits, and that his flagship economic stimulus bill didn't create many jobs or even caused job losses (and that most economists concur with this assessment). Perhaps most alarming of all, in mid-2011 conservatives advanced the dangerous idea that the federal government could simply "prioritize payments" if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling. None of this is true, and the last belief, in particular, risked economic calamity.

American History: Many conservatives- especially on the Christian Right- believe the United States was founded as a "Christian nation." They consider the separation of church and state a "myth," not at all assured by the First Amendment. And they twist history in myriad other ways, large and small, including Michele Bachmann's claim that the Founding Fathers "worked tirelessly" to put an end to slavery.

Sundry Errors: Many conservatives claimed that President Obama's late 2010 trip to India would cost $200 million per day, or $2 billion for a ten day visit! And they claimed that, in 2007, Congress banned incandescent light bulbs, a truly intolerable assault on American freedoms. Only, Congress did no such thing. (To give just a few examples.)

Science: In a nationally representative survey only 18 percent of Republicans and Tea Party members accepted the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by humans, and only 45 and 43 percent (respectively) accepted human evolution.

In other words, political conservatives have placed themselves in direct conflict with modern scientific knowledge, which shows beyond serious question that global warming is real and caused by humans, and evolution is real and the cause of humans. If you don't accept either claim, you cannot possibly understand the world or our place in it.

But why? Why are today's liberals usually right, and today's conservatives usually wrong? I devoted a book to trying to understand the science behind the political brain- and though I first wrote about some of my findings in Mother Jones[3] let me touch on a few of its findings here.

One possible answer is what I'll call the "environmental explanation." I've told a version of it before, in my 2005 book The Republican War on Science:

At least since the time of Ronald Reagan, but arcing back further, the modern American conservative movement has taken control of the Republican Party and aligned it with a key set of interest groups who have had bones to pick with various aspects of scientific reality- most notably, corporate anti-regulatory interests and religious conservatives. And so these interests fought back against the relevant facts- and Republican leaders, dependent on their votes, joined them, making science denial an increasingly important part of the conservative and Republican political identity.... Meanwhile, party allegiances created a strange bedfellows effect. The enemy of one's friend was also an enemy, so we saw conservative Christians denying climate science, and pharmaceutical companies donating heaps of money to a party whose Christian base regularly attacks biomedical research. Despite these contradictions, economic and social conservatives profited enough from their allegiance that it was in the interests of both to hold it together.

In such an account, the problem of right-wing science denial is ascribed to political opportunism- rooted in the desire to appease either religious impulses or corporate profit motives. But is this the right answer?

It isn't wrong, exactly. There's much truth to it. Yet it completely ignores what we now know about the psychology of our politics.

The environmental account ascribes Republican science denial (and for other forms of denial, the story would be similar) to the particular exigencies and alignments of American political history. That's what the party did because it had to, to get ahead. And today, goes the thinking, this leaves us with a vast gulf between Democrats and Republicans in their acceptance of modern climate science and many other scientific conclusions, with conservatives increasingly distrustful of science, and with scientists and the highly educated moving steadily to the left.

There's just one problem: This account ignores the possibility that there might be real differences between liberals and conservatives that influence how they respond to scientific or factual information. It assumes we're all blank slates- that we all want the same basic things- and then we respond to political forces not unlike air molecules inside a balloon. We get knocked this way and that, sure. And we start out in different places, thus ensuring different trajectories. But at the end of the day, we're all just air molecules.

But what if we're not all the same kind of molecule? What if we respond to political or factual collisions in different ways, with different spins or velocities? Today there's considerable scientific evidence suggesting that this is the case.

For instance, the historic political awakening of what we now call the Religious Right was nothing if not a defense of cultural traditionalism- which had been threatened by the 1960s counterculture, Roe v. Wade, and continued inroads by feminists, gay rights activists, and many others- and a more hierarchical social structure. It was a classic counter-reaction to too much change, too much pushing of equality, and too many attacks on traditional values- all occurring too fast. And it mobilized a strong strand of right-wing authoritarianism in US politics- one that had either been dormant previously, or at least more evenly distributed across the parties.

The rise of the Religious Right was thus the epitome of conservatism on a psychological level- clutching for something certain in a changing world; wanting to preserve one's own ways in uncertain times, and one's own group in the face of difference- and can't be fully understood without putting this variable into play.

The problem is that people are deathly afraid of psychology, and never more so than when it is applied to political beliefs. Political journalists, in particular, almost uniformly avoid this kind of approach. They try to remain on the surface of things, telling endless stories of horse races and rivalries, strategies and interests, and key "turning points." All of which are, of course, real. And conveniently, by sticking with them you never have to take the dangerous journey into anybody's head.

But what if these only tell half the story?

As I began to investigate the underlying causes for the conservative denial of reality that we see all around us, I found it impossible to ignore a mounting body of evidence- from political science, social psychology, evolutionary psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and genetics- that points to a key conclusion. Political conservatives seem to be very different from political liberals at the level of psychology and personality. And inevitably, this influences the way the two groups argue and process information.

Let's be clear: This is not a claim about intelligence. Nor am I saying that conservatives are somehow worse people than liberals; the groups are just different. Liberals have their own weaknesses grounded in psychology, and conservatives are very aware of this. (Many of the arguments in this book could be inverted and repackaged into a book called The Democratic Brain- with a Spock-like caricature of President Obama on the cover.)

Nevertheless, some of the differences between liberals and conservatives have clear implications for how they respond to evidence in political debates. Take, for instance, their divergence on a core personality measure called Openness to Experience (and the suite of characteristics that go along with it). The evidence here is quite strong: overall, liberals tend to be more open, flexible, curious and nuanced- and conservatives tend to be more closed, fixed and certain in their views.

What's more, since Openness is a core aspect of personality, examining this difference points us toward the study of the political brain. The field is very young, but scientists are already showing that average "liberal" and "conservative" brains differ in suggestive ways. These differences may be related to a large and still unidentified number of "political" genes- although to be sure, genes are only one influence out of many upon our political views. But they appear to be an underrated one.

What all of this means is that our inability to agree on the facts can no longer be explained solely at the surface of our politics. It has to be traced, as well, to deeper psychological and cognitive factors. And such an approach won't merely cast light on why we see so much "truthiness" today, so many postmodern fights between the left and the right over reality. Phenomena ranging from conservative brinksmanship over raising the debt ceiling to the old "What's the Matter with Kansas?" problem- why do poor conservatives vote against their economic interests?- make vastly more sense when viewed through the lens of political psychology.

Before going any further, I want to emphasize that this argument is not a form of what is often called reductionism. Just because psychology seems relevant to explaining why the left and the right have diverged over reality doesn't mean that nothing else is, or that I am reducing conservatives to just their psychology (or reducing psychology to cognitive neuroscience, or cognitive neuroscience to genes, and so on). "We can never give a complete explanation of anything interesting about human beings in psychology," explains the University of Cambridge psychologist Fraser Watts. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from the endeavor.

Complex phenomena like human political behavior always have many causes, not one. Human brains are flexible and change daily; people have choices, and those choices alter who they are. Nevertheless, there are broad tendencies in the population that really matter, and cannot be ignored.

We don't understand everything there is to know yet about the underlying reasons why conservatives and liberals are different. We don't know how all the puzzle pieces- cognitive styles, personality traits, psychological needs, moral intuitions, brain structures, and genes- fit together. And we know that the environment (or nurture) is at least as important as the genes (or nature). This means that what I'm saying applies at the level of large groups, but may founder in case of any particular individual.

Still, we know enough to begin pooling together all the scientific evidence. And when you do- even if you provide all the caveats- there's a lot of consistency. And it all makes a lot of sense. Conservatism, after all, means nothing if not supporting political and social stability and resisting change. I'm merely tracing some of the appeal of this philosophy to psychology, and then discussing what this means for how we debate what is "true" in contested areas.

Now, conservatives won't like hearing that they're often wrong and dogmatic about it, so they may dogmatically resist this conclusion. They may also try to turn the tables and pretend liberals are the closed-minded ones, ignoring volumes of science in the process. (I'm waiting, Ann Coulter.)

But what about liberals? Aren't we wrong too, and dogmatic too?

The typical waffling liberal answer is, "er . . . sort of." Liberals aren't always right, but that's not the central problem. Our particular dysfunction is, typically, more complex and even paradoxical.

On the one hand, we're absolutely outraged by partisan misinformation. Lies about "death panels." People seriously thinking that President Obama is a Muslim. Climate change denial. Debt ceiling denial. These things drive us crazy, in large part because we can't comprehend how such intellectual abominations could possibly exist. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a fellow liberal say, "I can't believe the Republicans are so stupid they can believe X!"

And not only are we enraged by lies and misinformation; we want to refute them- to argue, argue, argue about why we're right and Republicans are wrong. Indeed, we often act as though right-wing misinformation's defeat is nigh, if we could only make people wiser and more educated (just like us) and get them the medicine that is correct information.

In this, we both underestimate conservatives, and we fail to understand them.

To begin to remedy that defect, let's go back to the Conservapedia-relativity dustup, and make an observation that liberals and physicists did not always credit. Whatever else Andrew Schlafly might be- and no matter how hard it is to understand how someone could devote himself to an enterprise like Conservapedia- the man is not stupid. Quite the contrary.

He's a Harvard law graduate. He has an engineering degree from Princeton, and used to work both for Intel and for Bell Labs. His relativity entry is filled with equations that I myself can neither write nor solve. He hails from a highly intellectual right-wing family- his mother, Phyllis, is also Harvard educated and, according to her biographer, excelled in school at a time when women too rarely had the opportunity to compete with men at that level. Mother and son thus draw a neat, half-century connection between the birth of modern American conservatism on the one hand, and the insistence that conservatives have their own "facts," better than liberal facts thank you very much, on the other.

So it is not that Schlafly, or other conservatives as sophisticated as he, can't make an argument. Rather, the problem is that when Schlafly makes an argument, it's hard to believe it has anything to do with real intellectual give and take. He's not arguing out of an openness to changing his mind. He's arguing to reaffirm what he already thinks (his "faith"), to defend the authorities he trusts, and to bolster the beliefs of his compatriots, his tribe, his team.

Liberals (and scientists) have too often tried to dodge the mounting evidence that this is how people work. Perhaps because it leads to a place that terrifies them: an anti-Enlightenment world in which evidence and argument don't work to change people's minds.

But that response, too, is a form of denial- liberal denial, a doctrine whose chief delusion is not so much the failure to accept facts, but rather, the failure to understand conservatives. And that denial can't continue. Because as President Obama's first term has shown- from the healthcare battle to the debt ceiling crisis- ignoring the psychology of the right has not only left liberals frustrated and angry, but has left the country in a considerably worse state than that.

Categories: Chris Mooney, George Orwell, Mother Jones, Politics, Religion, Science

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In which I quote Ann Coulter, hold my nose, and press "publish."

Published Friday, November 09, 2012 @ 1:17 PM EST
Nov 09 2012

Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can't like a band that's popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can't be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates- Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell- take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.

It was the same thing with purist libertarian Barry Goldwater, who... nearly destroyed the Republican Party with his pointless pursuit of libertarian perfection in his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

-Ann Coulter
(No, I'm not going to give a link to her site. I don't want kgbreport.com showing up in her server logs.)

Categories: Ann Coulter, Elections, KGB Opinion, Observations, Politics

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This about sums it up...

Published Friday, November 09, 2012 @ 8:00 AM EST
Nov 09 2012

Rob Ellsworth
(published on his Facebook page).

I'm seeing Americans post photos of our Flag hung upside down because the President won reelection. They're defending this action as a "Naval sign of distress". Let me tell you something: you are not on a battleship, you are a manager at McDonalds in Follansbee, WV, and you are in fact, a lunatic.

I've avoided "spiking the football" over a great night for the President and for common sense in the Senate - Richard Murdock and Todd Akin deserved more than a loss. But I've held off, because I respect, am friends with, and on certain issues agree with, many patriotic Republicans who work hard to make this country a better place and simply disagreed with who should be Commander in Chief. That's fair and healthy.

And, I also didn't spike the football because I've lost elections before and I know how terrible it feels.

It's called maturity and not enough people in either party have it.

The following jaw punch is not directed at common sense Republicans, nor does it condone radicals on the Left. It is directed at the right wing fanatics who put party before country, conspiracy before reality, and ideology before science and intellect.

To Tea Party Patriots and hardcore Religious Engineers:

Republicans lost because their party leadership and most candidates feared you, listened to you, and looked the other way on important issues as you picked the dumbest, craziest nominees in key primaries (Murdock and Akin), or converted otherwise sensible, experienced candidates to Crazy Town (Romney).

There's nothing wrong with wanting limited government. I do. There's nothing wrong with believing in God, the Golden Rule, or wanting to reduce abortions. I do, too. But you've taken it too damn far and scare the shit out of people you could otherwise persuade.

Yes, the message and messenger matter (you're failing at both, BTW), but no Madison Avenue PR firm, K Street lobbying firm, Fox News "analyst", or local chapter of "Freedom Works" can sell the flaming dung you're slinging.

Smart people can lose. But smart people always learn.

You didn't lose because you "weren't conservative enough" or because the country has become full of lazy "takers" who don't want to earn a living or just want America to "turn in to Europe".

You didn't lose because of Hurricane Sandy or because Chris Christie hugged the President on TV- they were both doing their jobs.

You didn't lose because of a liberal media, liberal college campuses, liberal polls that were "weighted to Democrats" (mostly because they were accurate), or because of "election fraud"... actually, that probably benefited you this time.

No. You lost because your policies, tone, conspiracies, rigid inflexibility and irrational rhetoric helped align enough moderates, swing voters, and minority groups whom otherwise could be persuaded by Republicans, to align with Democrats and a beatable incumbent.

It's not that you didn't get your message out, it's that we all actually heard it and threw up a little in our mouths.

There isn't a mandate for Democrats in this election. Liberalism wasn't rewarded in this election. However, calm pragmatism, compassion, working together, compromise and sincerity were rewarded. People may not have agreed with President Obama, but more felt he was sincere and that he understood their daily problems, fears, and dreams. If you don't trust what the polls say, take a look at who is sworn in on January 20th. I thought you'd at least believe in math when it came to counting to 270.

Sincerity is the only thing in politics you can't fake. You can't teach it. No matter how shiny a candidate's bio is, how smooth he is, or how perfect the gray hairs rest on his temples- any average Joe on the street can spot a bullshitter.

Mitt is a generous and good man, but he didn't know who he was or "needed" to be at any given time in that campaign. That's largely his fault for lacking core convictions or personal toughness (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush possessed both traits- that's why they won).

But you, the right wing base of the party, who drove so many of us moderate republicans out the door years ago, were the main catalyst. Your inability to reason, compromise, or let new facts and evidence challenge your predetermined outcomes led millions of moderates to no longer be able to stand on stage with you.

Frankly, you're embarrassing- more so than a crazy family member at dinner, or having your mom drop you off at a high school dance.

You say stupid shit and look stupid saying it.

You pass amendments to ban flag burning and then hang it upside down and post it on Facebook when you lose.

You preach limited government in the economy when Democrats are in charge and then look the other way when you're in charge.

You want a government small enough to stay out of corporations and banks but big enough for bedrooms and hospital respirators (see Schiavo, Terri).

There's a hatred inside of you that burns in a way that scares normal people.

You made unlikely allies in large corporations who are more interested in tax breaks and loopholes even if the government has to cut your Medicare and Social Security or cut education to a point where states and local governments have no financial choice but to educate your children in portable trailer classrooms with 35 other students.

Would these corporations do this just to help pad their quarterly earnings reports with certain tax and regulatory policies? You bet your sweet ass they do. And you better believe they're happy to have you make the "freedom" argument as "concerned citizen patriots" on their behalf.

Yet, after those corporations spent billions on TV adds and herded you like sheep over the last half decade to discredit Barack Obama for everything from being a "Godless communist"- to his "being born in Kenya and hatching a secret plot to take down America"- to Obamacare's "death panels and job killing regulations"-

YOU still lost.

After having a Senate Republican Leader state that his party's top priority in Congress was to make "Obama a one term President" and a House of Representatives that blocked everything he tried to do and then had the brass to criticize him for "not getting anything done"-

YOU still lost.

After attacking gay people who want equal protection under the law (BTW, I'm referring to the 14th amendment to the constitution, I know you forget most of the amendments after the 2nd one)-

YOU still lost.

After attacking the Hispanic community who's tired of being spoken "at" like criminals, attacking low income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services of which 98% have nothing to do with abortion, and attacking relatively trivial things like PBS that children and adults enjoy as "1" damn television channel that doesn't include Honey Boo Boo or a "Fox News Breaking Alert" announcing Obama's latest "Czar" appointment-

YOU still lost.

And after throwing all the red meat in your warped political base out to the rest of the country to eat, the majority of Americans weren't hungry for it and didn't trust ordering from your unhealthy, de-regulated menu-

YOU still lost.

You can read me the constitution, but you clearly don't have a practical understanding of what you've read, heard on television, or forwarded to your entire email list of like minded xenophobes.

This country is great because our founders were smart enough to limit the government's power and give the people enough freedom and authority to correct their own mistakes in pursuit of a "more perfect union" (it's in the first damn line of the Preamble, in case you can't find it in your Tea Party Constitution Cliffs Notes).

Our founders were utterly brilliant and sophisticated. I don't like to speak for them, but I doubt they would have been friends with Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin. Nah, they wouldn't have made the guest list at Mt. Vernon or Monticello.

But let's be clear, our founders weren't perfect. They owned slaves. Only white male property owners had a say in things. Women, blacks, native Americans, and other constituencies had to wait for an American dream and in many cases, are still waiting and working for it. Speaking of work, children were working 12-16 hour days with zero safety protections in statute. Zero.

The constitution, subsequent amendments and Supreme Court rulings and opinions since 1800 aren't perfectly clear (those who think they are tend to have had a healthy serving of Kool-Aid and have never watched oral arguments at the Supreme Court).

The founders knew that they, and the constitution they drafted, weren't perfect. This is why they added a Bill of Rights and why they created a Supreme Court and a process that has allowed us to add 27 amendments to their work of art.

Their imperfection is what led to a Civil War to prove that human and civil rights aren't a "states' rights issue" - they're endowed by our creator, not by legislatures in Mississippi or Alabama, and they're protected equally in our constitution, but also in our democratically passed laws.

I run from the Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial most mornings that I'm in Washington. I may not be fast or smart, but I can read what's carved in stone.

Please. I welcome a challenge to what I've said. If you think because I voted for President Obama that I'm a socialist or that I don't want a better America, I'm happy to take time from running a business I've co-founded and time from money I'm trying to raise for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to pause and give you a fresh one. At no charge.

But I do ask this: be a real Patriot. Look at that flag you've hung upside down. Look at what you've done to it and what that means. Thousands of our bravest men and women, braver than me, just lost limbs and in many cases their lives so that Iraqis and Afghanis could vote however they see fit. I did that on Tuesday and so did you. That's what that flag stands for- equal access to a process, not a guarantee for any of our desired outcomes.

A country that defeated Hitler, Mussolini, and bin Laden won't crumble because the guy you wanted to be President got beat.

You lost. Now learn from it.


A Proud American

Categories: Elections, Politics, Rob Ellsworth

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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, November 09, 2012 @ 7:10 AM EST
Nov 09 2012

Quotes of the day: Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 - December 20, 1996)
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. (Click for full article.)

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.

Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again.

Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.

Humans are very good at dreaming, although you’d never know it from your television.

I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office, rather than to the flag and the nation.

If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.

If we like them, they're freedom fighters... If we don't like them, they're terrorists. In the unlikely case we can't make up our minds, they're temporarily only guerrillas.

If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.

It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.

It is better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however reassuring.

Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.

Nobody listens to mathematicians.

Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence; it's based on a deep seated need to believe.

You have to know the past to understand the present.

Categories: Carl Sagan, Quotes of the day

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"I reject your reality, and substitute my own."

Published Thursday, November 08, 2012 @ 3:00 AM EST
Nov 08 2012

That famous quote by Mythbuster Adam Savage is, simply, the reason why the Republicans were handed their lunch on Tuesday.

Here are two essays which address the issue in a sane, rational manner. The videos that follow, from last night's Daily Show, are a bit more... bombastic.


Ohio really did go to President Obama last night, and he really did win. And really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to over sample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction. And the moon landing was real, and FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in the country are not the same things as Communism.

Listen. Last night was a good night for Democrats and liberals for very obvious reasons. But it was also possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing this country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party and the conservative movement and the conservative media are stuck in a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the Republicans got shellacked. And they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they've been so happy living inside... if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, I'm sure, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right and center. You guys, we're counting on you. Wake up. There are real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican party and the conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we'll all be better off as a nation.

And in that spirit, congratulations everybody.

- Rachel Maddow


If You're Surprised By The Election Results, You're The Reason You Lost, Or: A Plea for Useful Republicans.

Dear Republicans:

I know the despair you feel this morning, and sympathize, because I've been there. In 2004 my stiff, robotic millionaire lost to a President he should have soundly thumped, and I was so hurt I took a week off from the Internet afterwards. I am completely sympathetic with that slow terror that the country is now in the hands of an incompetent, and the voters don't even know it.

But I noticed a weird difference between the way Republicans and Democrats reacted to a losing candidate. In 2004, when the polls turned against Kerry and it was obvious he was going to lose, the Democrats asked "How can we fix that?" Oh, they asked in their glum, incompetent way, but when I personally talked to other Democrats both in real life and online, we were all pretty cognizant of the fact that Kerry was the underdog.

The Republicans of 2012, however, became increasingly convinced that Romney was going to win.

Everywhere I looked on Twitter and Facebook, I saw my Republican friends- not straw men, but actual people- talking about how terrible Nate Silver's methods were, how these Rasmussen polls showed Romney's real strength, and eventually you got the travesty of UnSkewedPolls.com, which cherry-picked the data and even today has their prediction of not just a Romney win but a landslide, Romney 311 to Obama 227. (Actual result: Obama 332, Romney 206.)

It all crystallized for me when my friend Brad Torgerson said, "Liberals and Democrats have Nate Silver and his 538 blog. Conservatives and Republicans have the U of CO guys. It's an epic cage match of predictive numbers geekery!"

Look there. Right at that post- one not too dissimilar from a thousand other dismissals of Nate Silver and the other aggregated polls. See what Brad did there? The way the guy bringing you news he didn't like was automatically assigned a partisan bias, and the only rational solution was to get a guy on your side with better numbers? As if reality was merely a function of getting enough guys on your side?

That's why you lost.

Stop confusing hard reality for partisan opposition.

It's time to step out of the bubble, dear Republicans, because we fucking need you. I don't trust the Democratic party to run the country single-handedly. I want a Republican party I can rely on for real solutions- and you've become lazy, voodoo-like, dismissing any data you don't like as partisan opposition.

Jay Lake is fond of saying, "Reality has a liberal bias." That's not because reality inevitably verifies liberal thinking, but because the Republican response to anything that challenges them is now to write off the data.

And let me repeat: we need you. I want a counterweight to Democratic power, not a deadweight that refuses to acknowledge the issues. I want a Republican party that will look at the numbers for climate change and not go, "I don't like what those scientists are saying, so I'll call it a silly liberal bias!" but say, "We're business experts, we know how to motivate rich people to do what we want, how do we fix this?" I want a Republican party that will realize while yes, we're spending far too much and should cut down, the results of thirty years of trickle-down theory and tax cuts won't actually provide enough revenue, because we are at the lowest effective tax rates we've had in thirty years.

And yes, you can argue all my statements here. But in that, smart person, you're like a driver with an SUV in Alaska. A person with a car in Alaska is going to get stuck in the snow eventually; that's a fact. But if you have an SUV, you're gonna get stuck way the heck out in the woods where no one can get at you, because you have the strength to do it and won't stop when common sense tells you to. I had a ton of Very Smart friends dissecting all the reasons why Nate Silver was wrong, why his methodology sucked, why these pollsters who said what they liked over here had better ways of slicing the data- and all that flurry of so-called "facts" amounted to was an elaborate justification of personal biases that had no basis in reality.

It's time to stop fighting the obvious. It's time to stop assuming that anyone who presents contradictory data is out to get you.

You should have won, guys. You had a President with an economy in the doldrums, a guy who'd lost a lot of his electoral mojo in the realities of politics. But instead of rising from the grave, you chose a candidate who never actually gave us firm numbers on what expenses he'd cut to fix the economy. You chose a candidate who said he'd get rid of Obamacare, but never actually named the parts he'd destroy. You chose someone who, though all politicians lie, lied a lot more than almost any modern Presidential candidate.

You had a guy who should have sliced Obama to ribbons- and he lost, in large part, because he said, "Trust me" instead of giving us a plan. And you let him get away with it.

You let him get away with it because you're indulging in a great deal of magical thinking. You let him get away with it because facts have ceased to matter; as long as someone tells you something you want to hear, you'll find a way to justify it with pseudo-science and trust and spit and baling wire. You don't like to hear how bad a candidate Mitt was, because you came so close this year, but it's true; the problem is that so much of the country has abandoned listening to reality that you can get massive votes and never touch a fact.

If you can't be honest today, in the aftermath of this great defeat, then you're never going to see the truth.

If you seriously thought that Romney had a good chance of winning, then you're part of the problem. Wake up. I implore you: learn from this. Look at your deepest beliefs, and see whether the numbers support them. Start thinking, maybe those people with data I don't like are right.

If you think the lesson to be learned is "We weren't conservative enough," then you're handing me a great victory in 2016. I want to have a real choice then.

T.F. (The Ferret)


Megyn Kelly teaches Karl Rove the power of scientific gobbledygook.

"If only President Bush could have been so lucky as to have a massive hurricane on his watch, then... oh, right..."

It's just arithmetic.

Categories: Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Chick-fil-A, Daily Show, Elections, Fox News, Hypocrisy, Jon Stewart, Karl Rove, Megyn Kelly, Mitt Romney, Nate Silver, News Media, Politics, Rachel Maddow, Sarah Palin, The Ferret, YouTube

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It's official

Published Wednesday, November 07, 2012 @ 5:37 PM EST
Nov 07 2012

(Credit: The Onion)

Categories: Dogs, Elections, The Onion

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Quotes of the day

Published Wednesday, November 07, 2012 @ 10:55 AM EST
Nov 07 2012

Forget economic policy, stances on social issues, lying and flip-flopping. On June 28, 2007 I realized I could never support this man.

Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

I predict no politician will ever tie a dog to the roof of his car again.

Categories: Elections, Mitt Romney, Quotes of the day

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It's finally over.

Published Wednesday, November 07, 2012 @ 2:15 AM EST
Nov 07 2012

Thanks, USA. You're really, really high maintenance. But you're worth it.


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If anyone could do it...

Published Tuesday, November 06, 2012 @ 7:52 AM EST
Nov 06 2012

Neil deGrasse Tyson has found Superman's homeworld, Krypton.

Categories: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Superman

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Quote-A-Palooza: Election Day Edition!

Published Tuesday, November 06, 2012 @ 6:54 AM EST
Nov 06 2012

474 quotations about democracy, elections, politics and voting which will delight and/or enrage you.

A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.

A democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
-Gore Vidal

A democracy needs an opposition, especially in time of war, precisely to keep the government honest, and to point to whatever errors (or possible errors) it finds in the government's actions.
-Eugene Volokh

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

A gaffe occurs not when a politician lies, but when he tells the truth.
-Michael Kinsley

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
-H.L. Mencken

A hungry child knows no politics.
-Ronald Reagan

A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.
-Eric Idle

A lot of people voting for Pat Buchanan say they are doing so to send a message. Apparently that message is, "Hey, look at me, I'm an idiot."
-Dennis Miller

A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.
-Dan Quayle

A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped.
-Norman Mailer

A political convention just is not a place where you can come away with any trace of faith in human nature.
-Murray Kempton

A political leader must keep looking over his shoulder all the time to see if the boys are still there. If they aren't still there, he's no longer a political leader.
-Bernard Baruch

A politician is a guy who would lay down your life for his country.
-Mary Louis Cecelia Texas Guinan

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
-H.L. Mencken

A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.
-Carl Sandburg

A politician will do anything to keep his job- even become a patriot.
-William Randolph Hearst

A politician's willingness to listen to good advice rises in inverse proportion to how badly he thinks he is doing.
-Pat Caddell

A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.
-H.L. Mencken

A society is not "free" merely because the freedoms the people are doing away with are those they voted at the last election to do without.
-William F. Buckley, Jr.

A statesman is a successful politician who is dead.
-Thomas B. Reed

A statesman is any politician it's considered safe to name a school after.
-Bill Vaughan

A statesman makes the occasion, but the occasion makes the politician.
-G.S. Hilliard

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.
-O. Henry

A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
-H.G. Wells

A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.
-Theodore Roosevelt

A week is a long time in politics.
-Harold Wilson

Advertising men and politicians are dangerous if they are separated. Together they are diabolical.
-Phillip Adams

After each war there is a little less democracy to save.
-Brooks Atkinson

Alas, higher education is not necessarily a guarantee of higher virtue, or higher political wisdom.
-Aldous Huxley

All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.
-George Orwell

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph or reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.
-Albert Einstein

All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
-John Arbuthnot

All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.
-James Reston

All politics is a matter of working hard without reward, or with a living wage for a time, in the hope of booty later.
-Ernest Hemingway

All politics takes place on a slippery slope. The most important four words in politics are "up to a point."
-George F. Will

All truly great achievements in history resulted from the actualization of principles, not from the clever evaluation of political conditions.
-Henry Kissinger

Although He is regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.
-George Mitchell

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
-John Quincy Adams

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the Course."
-Lee Iacocca

America is a democracy and has no Hitler, but I am afraid for her future; there are hard times ahead for the American people, troubles will be coming from within and without. America cannot smile away their Negro problem nor Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are cosmic laws.
-Albert Einstein

America is a land where a citizen will cross the ocean to fight for democracy- and won't cross the street to vote in a national election.
-Bill Vaughan

Americans believe that freedom was their invention. They have been known to send peace-corps troops to Athens to teach the Greeks the meaning of democracy.
-Peter Ustinov

Americans have a tendency to think the problem with politics lies with their candidates and not themselves. The truth is Americans deserve the blame for the state of our politics and the state of our media.
-Jonah Goldberg

Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an "inconvenience." We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.
-Frank Zappa

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.
-George Eliot

An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.
-Simon Cameron

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Any sufficiently advanced coup is indistinguishable from an election.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

Applause, mingled with boos and hisses, is about all that the average voter is able or willing to contribute to public life.
-Elmer Davis

As an organized political group, the Communists have done nothing to damage our society a fraction as much as what their enemies have done in the name of defending us against subversion.
-Murray Kempton

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
-H.L. Mencken

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.
-Abraham Lincoln

As people do better, they start voting like Republicans... unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.
-Karl Rove

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
-Gore Vidal

As the master politician navigates the ship of state, he both creates and responds to public opinion. Adept at tacking with the wind, he also succeeds, at times, in generating breezes of his own.
-Stewart Udall

Ask a man which way he is going to vote, and he will probably tell you. Ask him, however, why, and vagueness is all.
-Bernard Levin

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
-George J. Nathan

Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.
-Eugene McCarthy

By sending the contradictory message that the famous are just plain folks on Mount Olympus, America has forged a relentless tension between loftiness and accessibility. Stir in the fact that the inborn talent and intelligence needed to achieve fame are immune to distributive tinkering by government programs and you have a definition of fame certain to produce envious rage: somebody screwed democracy.
-Florence King

Children are the universal scapegoats for any political agenda.

Chinks in America's egalitarian armor are not hard to find. Democracy is the fig leaf of elitism.
-Florence King

Churches are becoming political organizations... It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

Comedians and politicians each tell the audience what it wants to hear. The difference is that the audience laughs at the comedian and the politician laughs at the audience.
-Alexis A. Gilliland

Corruption is nature's way of restoring our faith in democracy.
-Peter Ustinov

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
-Alan Coren

Democracy demands that all of its citizens begin the race even. Egalitarianism insists that they all finish even.
-Roger Price

Democracy demands that little men should not take big ones too seriously; it dies when it is full of little men who think they are big themselves.
-C.S. Lewis

Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions- it only guarantees equality of opportunity.
-Irving Kristol

Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is ignorant.
-John Simon

Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.
-James Russell Lowell

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
-George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is a form of government in which it is permitted to wonder aloud what the country could do under first-class management.
-Doug Larson

Democracy is a genus, not a species. Getting a democracy is rather like getting a "mammal" for a gift. Kittens are nice. Wolverines will lunch on your eyeballs. You don't drop a wolverine in your friend's lap, and then walk away feeling you've done him a favor, since "the best pets are mammals."
-Will Wilkinson

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
-H.L. Mencken

Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
-Laurence J. Peter

Democracy is a small hard core of common agreement, surrounded by a rich variety of individual differences.
-James Bryant Conant

Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
-H.L. Mencken

Democracy is an abuse of statistics.
-Jorge Luis Borges

Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.
-Robert Byrne

Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have to impress people you wish were dead.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy is fine by me, but sometimes I'm not sure about you. (song lyrics)
-Garrison Keillor

Democracy is like a raft. It won't sink, but you'll always have your feet wet.
-Russell B. Long

Democracy is mob rule, but with income taxes.

Democracy is more cruel than wars or tyrants.
-Lucias Annaeus Seneca

Democracy is no harlot to be picked up in the street by a man with a tommy gun.
-Winston Churchill

Democracy is people of all races, colors, and creeds united by a single dream: to get rich and move to the suburbs away from people of all races, colors, and creeds.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
-H.L. Mencken

Democracy is the crude leading the crud.
-Florence King

Democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head. This signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy is the name we give to the people when we need them.
-Robert Pelleve

Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.
-Sydney J. Harris

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
-E.B. White

Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
-H.L. Mencken

Democracy is too good to share with just anybody.
-Nigel Rees

Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto- usually a mop or a leaf blower.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy means free television; not good television, but free.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.
-Clement Attlee

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
-G.K. Chesterton

Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.
-Johnny Carson

Democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman.
-Winston Churchill

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard

Democracy simply means the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
-Oscar Wilde

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
-George Bernard Shaw

Democracy, like any non-coercive relationship, rests on a shared understanding of limits.
-Elizabeth Drew

Did you ever notice that when a politician does get an idea he usually gets it all wrong?
-Don Marquis

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?
-Robert Orben

Don't get mad. Don't get even. Just get elected, then get even.
-James Carville

Don't vote. It only encourages them.

During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa.
-Henry Adams

Elected office holds more perks than Elvis' nightstand.
-Dennis Miller

Elected officials should be limited to two terms: one in office and one in prison.
-Kinky Friedman

Election year is that period when politicians get free speech mixed up with cheap talk.
-J.B. Kidd

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.
-Franklin P. Adams

Engineering is the implementation of science; politics is the implementation of faith.
-Marc Stiegler

Envy is the basis of democracy.
-Bertrand Russell

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
-H.L. Mencken

Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Every politician we have, liberal or conservative, who gets caught drinking or chasing women is thrown out of office. It's backwards. It's more dangerous to have a clean-living President with his finger on the button. He thinks he's going right to heaven. You want to feel safe with a leader? Give me a guy who fights in bars and cheats on his wife. This is a man who wants to put off Judgment Day as long as possible.
-Larry Miller

Everybody believes in democracy until he reaches the White House
-Thomas Cronin

Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics.
-Charles Peguy

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.
-John Adams

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.
-Richard M. Nixon

Florida's number three industry, behind tourism and skin cancer, is voter fraud.
-Dave Barry

Football strategy does not originate in a scrimmage: it is useless to expect solutions in a political campaign.
-Walter Lippmann

For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship's captain complaining about the sea.
-Enoch Powell

Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market means they are on sale to the highest bidder.
-Arundhati Roy

Freedom is when the people can speak, democracy is when the government listens.
-Alasdair Farrugia

Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.
-Frank Dane

Give voters a choice between a Republican and a Republican, and they will choose a Republican every time.
-Harry S Truman

Given a choice between two bald political candidates, the American people will vote for the less bald of the two.
-Vic Gold

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
-H.L. Mencken

Government is too big and important to be left to the politicians.
-Chester Bowles

Half the American people never read a newspaper. Half never vote for President- the same half?
-Gore Vidal

Here's the thing about rights. They're not supposed to be voted on. That's why they call them rights.
-Rachel Maddow

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly, it is not a sufficient condition.
-Milton Friedman

How different the new order would be if we could consult the veteran instead of the politician.
-Henry Miller

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

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy- but that could change.
-Dan Quayle

I didn't vote for change, but that's all I have left.

I don't know a lot about politics, but I can recognize a good party man when I see one.
-Mae West

I hate all bungling as I do sin, but particularly bungling in politics, which leads to the misery and ruin of many thousands and millions of people.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have never found in a long experience of politics that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance.
-Harold Macmillan

I have no use for those- regardless of their political party- who hold some foolish dream of spinning the clock back to days when unorganized labor was a huddled, almost helpless mass.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.
-E.B. White

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
-Thomas Jefferson

I like to remind people the choice the American electorate had in 1796 for candidates for President. You could choose between the chairman of the American Society of Arts and Letters and the founding president of the American Academy of Sciences. There's been a bit of a decline in the standards of candidacy since then.
-Christopher Hitchens

I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.
-Will Rogers

I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.
-William F. Buckley, Jr.

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
-John Adams

I reject the cynical view that politics is inevitably, or even usually, a dirty business.
-Richard M. Nixon

I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough.
-Claire Sargent

I voted for the Democrats because I didn't like the way the Republicans were running the country. Which is turning out to be like shooting yourself in the head to stop your headache.
-Jack Mayberry

I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there.
-Maureen Reagan

I'll be glad to either reply to or dodge your questions, whichever I think will help our election most.
-George Herbert Walker Bush

I'm sorry, but voting for a presidential candidate because you like the choice for vice president is like getting married to a woman because you like her cat.
-Kevin G. Barkes

Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism.
-Bill Moyers

Ideas matter in American politics, but results matter more.
-Dan Balz

If a jerk burns the flag, America is not threatened, democracy is not under siege, freedom is not at risk.
-Gary Ackerman

If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
-H.L. Mencken

If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of [chasing women] and drinking, you'd have no government.
-Barry M. Goldwater

If God had wanted us to vote, He would have given us candidates.
-Jay Leno

If one [political] party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read "Views Differ on Shape of Planet."
-Paul Krugman

If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function, it must have dissent.
-Henry Steele Commager

If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.
-Orson Scott Card

If politicians and scientists were lazier, how much happier we should all be.
-Evelyn Waugh

If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (book title)
-Jim Hightower

If there are twelve clowns in a ring, you can jump in the middle and start reciting Shakespeare, but to the audience, you'll just be the thirteenth clown. (Walinsky's First Law of Political Campaigns)

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.
-Emma Goldman

If you begin by saying, "Thou shalt not lie," there is no longer any possibility of political action.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

If you can't take money from people and then screw them, you have no business being a politician.
-San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.

If you don't vote, then you may be leaving the decisions up to someone dumber than you.
-Jesse Ventura

If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.
-Ray Bradbury

If you doubt that it is stinky personality that is the driving force behind conservative politics, look back to your pre-political youth. A dollar to a doughnut everyone of those childhood friends and acquaintances who was an asshole then is a conservative today.
-Rack Jite

If you ever injected truth into politics you'd have no politics.
-Will Rogers

If you make less than $50,000 a year and vote Republican, you are a moron.
-Rack Jite

If you voted for change, you better start counting it.

If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons.
-Alice Cooper

If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign.
-George W. Bush

In 1929 the wise, far-seeing electors of my native Hereford sent me to Westminster and, two years later, the lousy bastards kicked me out.
-Frank Owen

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.
-Senator J. William Fulbright

In a democracy, the votes of the vicious and stupid count. On the other hand, in any other system, they might be running the show. (from The Boston Globe)

In a democracy, you don't look up to people, you look sideways at your fellow citizens.
-Robert Hughes

In a democracy, you say what you like and do what you're told.
-Dave Barry

In a political fight, when you've got nothing in favor of your side, start a row in the opposition camp.
-Huey P. Long

In America the absence of honest passion is a distinguishing feature of both professional wrestling and politics.
-Murray Kempton

In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
-Mogens Jallberg

In every well governed state, wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing.
-Anatole France

In my lifetime, we've gone from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. We've gone from John F. Kennedy to Al Gore. If this is evolution, I believe that in twelve years, we'll be voting for plants.
-Lewis Black

In nature, stupidity gets you killed. In the workplace, it gets you fired. In politics, it gets you re-elected.
-Bill VanRemmen

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
-Charles de Gaulle

In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character.
-P.J. O'Rourke

In our system, at about 11:30 on election night, they just push you off the edge of the cliff and that's it. You might scream on the way down, but you're going to hit the bottom, and you're not going to be in elective office.
-Walter Mondale

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
-George Orwell

In political combat, as in speed contests among horses, the outcome becomes doubtful only after the entry of the second contestant.
-Warren Burnett

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.
-Charles de Gaulle

In politics the middle way is none at all.
-John Adams

In politics there is no honor.
-Benjamin Disraeli

In politics you can't be true to all of your friends all of the time.
-Perry S. Heath

In politics you have no friends, only allies.
-John F. Kennedy

In politics you must always keep running with the pack. The moment that you falter and they sense that you are injured, the rest will turn on you like wolves.
-R.A. Butler

In politics, a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendship.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

In politics, a lie unanswered becomes truth within 24 hours.
-San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
-Margaret Thatcher

In politics, nothing is contemptible.
-Benjamin Disraeli

In politics, nothing is permanent and, therefore, nothing is too late.
-Bill Clinton

In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In the US the people are blinkered by the millions of flags that flutter on the forest of poles and hang from every other window. They block the political view and the thunder of their flapping means that even anxious questions, let alone protests, cannot, will not, be heard.
-Phillip Adams

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued- they may be essential to survival.
-Noam Chomsky

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.
-Ayn Rand

Information is the currency of democracy.
-Thomas Jefferson

Instant analysis is the occupational disease. There are no smokestacks, there's no black lung. Politics is the only industry.
-Kirk O'Donnell

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
-Doug Larson

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn't in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.
-Charles Kuralt

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.

It is difficult for a statesman who still has a political future to reveal everything that he knows.
-George Orwell

It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands, when you have spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment.
-Margaret Thatcher

It is futile to try and win democracy abroad, while we are losing it at home. (in a letter to President Woodrow Wilson)
-Upton Sinclair

It is known, however, that men enter local politics solely as a result of being unhappily married.
-C. Northcote Parkinson

It is simply untrue that all our institutions are evil,... that all politicians are mere opportunists, that all aspects of university life are corrupt. Having discovered an illness, it's not terribly useful to prescribe death as a cure.
-George McGovern

It makes no difference who you vote for- the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.
-Gore Vidal

It's kind of ironic. The only time you can be really be sure that a politician is telling the truth is when he's admitting that he's a crook.
-Jay Leno

It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.
-Tom Stoppard

Just as it would be madness to settle on medical treatment for the body of a person by taking an opinion poll of the neighbors, so it is irrational to prescribe for the body politic by polling the opinions of the people at large.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

Liberal comes from the Latin liberalis, which means pertaining to a free man. In politics, to be liberal is to want to extend democracy through change and reform. One can see why the word had to be erased from our political lexicon.
-Gore Vidal

Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves.
-John Boynton Priestley

Like the effect of advertising upon the customer, the methods of political propaganda tend to increase the feeling of insignificance of the individual voter.
-Erich Fromm

Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.
-Larry Flynt

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
-Reinhold Neibuhr

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.
-Henry Adams

Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be President but they don't want them to become politicians in the process.
-John F. Kennedy

My early choice in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.
-Harry S Truman

My father had a deep and lifelong contempt for politicians in general. "They tell lies," he used to say with wonder, "even when they don't have to."
-Gore Vidal

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.
-Albert Einstein

My political life has been informed by the view that if there was any truth to religion there wouldn't really be any need for politics.
-Christopher Hitchens

Never judge a country by its politicians.
-Alfred Hitchcock

Never pass up an opportunity to appear on C-Span. C-Span viewers vote.
-Lamar Alexander

Never vote for the best candidate. Vote for the one who will do the least harm.
-Frank Dane

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.
-Henry Kissinger

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.
-Lily Tomlin

No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people.
-Walter Lippmann

No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.
-Jacob Bronowski

Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate.
-Mark B. Cohen

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Nothing would induce me to vote for giving women the franchise. I am not going to be hen-pecked into a question of such importance. (in 1910)
-Winston Churchill

Now I know what a statesman is; he's a dead politician. We need more statesmen.
-Bob Edwards

Of course politics is an interesting and engrossing thing. It offers no immutable laws, nearly always prevaricates, but as far as blather and sharpening the mind go, it provides inexhaustible material.
-Anton Chekhov

Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. (At the Nuremberg Trials)
-Herman Goering

On account of us being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
-Will Rogers

Once there were two brothers: one ran away to sea, the other was elected Vice-President- and nothing was ever heard from either of them again.
-Thomas Marshall

Once upon a time my political opponents honored me as possessing the fabulous intellectual and economic power by which I created a worldwide depression all by myself.
-Herbert Hoover

One has the right to be wrong in a democracy.
-Claude Pepper

One of the merits of democracy is quite obvious: it is perhaps the most charming form of government ever devised by man. The reason is not far to seek. It is based on propositions that are palpably not true- and what is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true.
-H.L. Mencken

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

Only a government that is rich and safe can afford to be a democracy, for democracy is the most expensive and nefarious kind of government ever heard of on earth.
-H.L. Mencken

Only lie about the future. (to politicians)
-Johnny Carson

Organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
-Matt Taibbi

Our elections are free, it's in the results where eventually we pay.
-Bill Stern

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
-Bertrand Russell

Our political institutions work remarkably well. They are designed to clang against each other. The noise is democracy at work.
-Michael Novak

People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.
-Will Rogers

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.
-Otto von Bismarck

People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything but against something.
-H.H. Munro Saki

People who are wise, good, smart, skillful, or hardworking don't need politics, they have jobs.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Political campaigns are designedly made into emotional orgies which endeavor to distract attention from the real issues involved, and they actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster.
-James Harvey Robinson

Political figures who talk a lot about liberty and freedom invariably turn out to mean the freedom to not pay taxes and discriminate based on race; freedom to hold different ideas and express them, not so much.
-Paul Krugman

Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion.
-Samuel J. Ervin

Political history is far too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject for study for the young. Children should acquire their heroes and villains from fiction.
-W.H. Auden

Political language- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
-George Orwell

Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
-Hannah Arendt

Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again.
-Woody Allen

Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
-Tom Lehrer

Politically popular speech has always been protected: even the Jews were free to say "Heil Hitler."
-Isaac Asimov

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.
-Gerry Brooks

Politicians and journalists share the same fate in that they often understand tomorrow the things they talk about today.
-Helmut Schmidt

Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers.
-Buckminster Fuller

Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politicians are like ships: noisiest when lost in a fog.
-Bennett Cerf

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
-John Quinton

Politicians are swine. You cannot reason with swine. You must hit them on the nose with a stick.
-Bertolt Brecht

Politicians are the same the world over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river.
-Nikita Kruschev

Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.
-George F. Will

Politicians only get to the top because they have no qualifications to detain them at the bottom.
-Peter Ustinov

Politicians say they're beefing up our economy. Most don't know beef from pork.
-Harold Lowman

Politics and the shape of mankind are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness. Men who have greatness within them don't concern themselves with politics.
-Albert Camus

Politics are a lousy way for a free man to get things done. Politics are, like God's infinite mercy, a last resort.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.
-Winston Churchill

Politics are not the task of a Christian.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Politics are usually the executive expression of human immaturity.
-Vera Brittain

Politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth.
-Paul Krugman

Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with.
-Will Rogers

Politics have no relation to morals.
-Niccolò Machiavelli

Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.
-Albert Einstein

Politics is a science. You can demonstrate that you are right and that others are wrong.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Politics is about compromises... really stupid compromises.
-Bill Maher

Politics is about who wins and loses. The rest is of marginal interest.
-Sean Wilentz

Politics is an act of faith; you have to show some kind of confidence in the intellectual and moral capacity of the public.
-George McGovern

Politics is applesauce.
-Will Rogers

Politics is applied biology.
-Ernst Haeckel

Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.
-Jimmy Durante

Politics is how you live your life, not whom you vote for.
-Jerry Rubin

Politics is just like show business, you have a hell of an opening, coast for a while and then have a hell of a close.
-Ronald Reagan

Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.

Politics is like a race horse. A good jockey must know how to fall with the least possible damage.
-Edouard Herriot

Politics is like the bumper cars at the amusement park. It's a delusion to think that by refusing to move, you can protect yourself from being hit. (From The Weekly Standard)

Politics is like the stock market: it's a bad business for people who can't afford to lose.
-Richard M. Nixon

Politics is made up largely of irrelevancies.
-Dalton Camp

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.
-Ronald Reagan

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Politics is show business for ugly people.
-Sonny Bono

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
-Groucho Marx

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
-Ernest Benn

Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.
-Henri Queuille

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
-Paul Valery

Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
-Frank Zappa

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
-Oscar Ameringer

Politics is the pursuit of trivial men who, when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men.
-George J. Nathan

Politics is the science of who gets what, when, and why.
-Sidney Hillman

Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
-Lester B. Pearson

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

Politics should be limited in scope to war, protection of property, and the occasional precautionary beheading of a member of the ruling class.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people.
-Richard M. Nixon

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
-Henry Adams

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.
-Richard Armour

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.
-Ambrose Bierce

Politics: the art of keeping as many balls as possible up in the air at one time- while protecting your own.
-Sam Attlesey

Politics: where fat, bald, disagreeable men, unable to be candidates themselves, teach a president how to act on a public stage.
-Jimmy Breslin

Practical politics consists of ignoring facts.
-Henry Adams

Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Ralph Nader is as much of politician as Bob Packwood, only he's not as smooth with the ladies.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
-John Adams

Self-esteem is the basis of any democracy.
-Gloria Steinem

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things... a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is always astonished when others do.
-Charles de Gaulle

Some politician some years ago said that bad officials are elected by good voters who do not vote.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Son, if you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against 'em, you don't deserve to be here.
-Sam Rayburn

Son, in politics you've got to learn that overnight chicken shit can turn to chicken salad.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

Television has made dictatorship impossible, but democracy unbearable.
-Shimon Peres

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.
-George Washington

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
-Winston Churchill

The best time to listen to a politician is when he's on a stump on a street corner in the rain late at night when he's exhausted. Then he doesn't lie.
-Theodore H. White

The biggest and most pertinent lesson in history-at least for democracies-is that they cannot take their existence for granted.
-Norman Cousins

The central conservative truth is that is it culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The death of a democracy is not likely to be an assassination by ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
-Robert M. Hutchins

The difference between a politician and a statesman is: a politician thinks of the next election and a statesman thinks of the next generation.
-James Freeman Clarke

The difference between a prostitute and a politician is that there are some things a prostitute won't do for money.

The difference between a real horse race an election is that in a horse race the whole horse wins.

The difference between corporations and governments is governments have a monopoly on force. It's a lot easier to vote with your feet or your wallet than it is to change a government with your vote.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The difference between politics and baseball is that in baseball, when you get caught stealing, you're out.
-Ron Dentinger

The doctrine that the cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy is like saying the cure for crime is more crime.
-H.L. Mencken

The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. (speech at the 1787 Constitutional Convention)
-Elbridge Gerry

The flood of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy.
-Theodore H. White

The goal in the end is not to win elections. The goal is to change society.
-Paul Krugman

The good news is I'm leading in the polls. The bad news is the election isn't tomorrow.
-George W. Bush

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
-Art Spander

The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

The introduction of religious passion into politics is the end of honest politics, and the introduction of politics into religion is the prostitution of true religion.
-Lord Hailsham

The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
-Aldous Huxley

The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars.
-William C. Westmoreland

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other.
-Will Rogers

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
-Noam Chomsky

The most important political office is that of private citizen.
-Louis Brandeis

The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.
-George Carlin

The office of the president is such a bastardized thing, half royalty and half democracy, that nobody knows whether to genuflect or spit.
-Jimmy Breslin

The only difference between [George W.] Bush and [Adolf] Hitler is that Hitler was elected.
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The only way to win an election by a greater margin than Saddam Hussein in Iraq is to be a Democratic candidate in Chicago.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

The organization of American society is an interlocking system of semi-monopolies notoriously venal, an electorate notoriously unenlightened, misled by a mass media notoriously phony.
-Paul Goodman

The other day, someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people's democracy. It's the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.
-Ronald Reagan

The political arena leaves one no alternative; one must either be a dunce or a rogue.
-Emma Goldman

The political spectrum isn't a line so much as a circle, and no matter which direction you head from 12 o'clock, you eventually wind up on the bottom by the hatch where the cuckoos pop out.
-Tamara K (Indiana blogger)

The politician is an acrobat. He keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does.
-Maurice Barres

The politicians were talking themselves red, white and blue in the face. (on campaigning)
-Clare Boothe Luce

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 problem with political jokes is they get elected.
-Henry Cote

The proposition, that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties, is not true; they are the worst conceivable; they are no keepers at all; they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body.
-John Adams

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not commit adultery," and "Thou shalt not lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
-George Carlin

The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.
-Maureen Murphy

The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work; then they get elected and prove it.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success disgraceful.
-H.L. Mencken

The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.
-James Fenimore Cooper

The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
-Molly Ivins

The thing about politicians is, you have to take the smooth with the smooth.
-Susan Hill

The trouble with politicians debating each other is that there isn't any subject that's any of their business.
-Robert Brault

The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.
-Franklin P. Adams

The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.
-Edward Dowling

The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers.
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The ultimate failures of dictatorship cost humanity far more than any temporary failures of democracy.
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
-H.L. Mencken

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
-Gustave Flaubert

The word "politics" is derived from the word "poly," meaning "many," and the word "ticks," meaning "blood sucking parasites."
-Larry Hardiman

The world of politics is always twenty years behind the world of thought.
-John Jay Chapman

The worst that can happen under monarchy is rule by a single imbecile, but democracy often means the rule by an assembly of three or four hundred imbeciles.
-Robert Anton Wilson

There are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party, and our country.
-John McCain

There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.
-Alan Clark

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

There are worse things than losing an election; the worst thing is to lose one's convictions and not tell the people the truth.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.
-Indira Gandhi

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
-Isaac Asimov

There is but one way for a newspaperman to look at a politician and that is down.
-Frank H. Simonds

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.
-Benjamin Disraeli

There's a true schizophrenia where if you say to voters, you know, do you think the federal government spends too much money and they should spend less, they say yeah, absolutely. Then you name specific things, like Pell grants for students and they say, no, not that. How 'bout NIH, medical research funding? Nah, you really shouldn't cut that. And pretty soon you've proved that what the American public is against is arithmetic.
-Bill Gates

These days many politicians are demanding change. Just like homeless people.
-George Carlin

They'd [politicians] do the right thing, if they thought they could get away with it.
-A. Ernst Fitzgerald

Things get very lonely in Washington sometimes. The real voice of the great people of America sometimes sounds faint, and sometimes sounds distant in that strange city. You hear politics until you wish that both parties were smothered in their own gas.
-Woodrow Wilson

Things on the whole are much faster in America; people don't "stand for election", they "run for office."
-Jessica Mitford

Those against politics are in favor of the politics inflicted upon them.
-Bertolt Brecht

Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them.
-Jean Jacques Rousseau

To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.
-Bertrand Russell

To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as morals.
-William Penn

To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.
-Hubert H. Humphrey

Tolerance is an admirable intellectual gift, but it is worth little in politics.
-Woodrow Wilson

Too often in politics, there are fallacious either/or arguments put up as a justification or an excuse for an action or view which is skewed in such a way as too suggest that there is only one acceptable choice.
-Peter Garrett

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.
-G.K. Chesterton

Truth is a habit of integrity, not a strategy of politics.
-George McGovern

Truth is not determined by majority vote.
-Doug Gwyn

Trying to take money out of politics is like trying to take jumping out of basketball.
-Bill Bradley

Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule-and both commonly succeed, and are right.
-H.L. Mencken

Under every stone lurks a politician.

Unfortunately, you can't vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place.
-Noam Chomsky

Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing.
-Bernard Baruch

Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
-Ambrose Bierce

Voters quickly forget what a man says.
-Richard M. Nixon

Voting is like driving... you choose "D" to move forwards and "R" to go backwards.

We already know the winners of the next election. They'll be old white men who don't care about you or your problems.
-Craig Kilborn

We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.
-Buckminster Fuller

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. (in 1939)
-Louis Brandeis

We elect Democrats to the Congress to give us stuff and we elect Republicans to the White House so we don't have to pay for it.
-Charlie McDowell

We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy.
-Martin L. Gross

We live under a republican form of government. We need forever to remember that representative government does represent. A careless, indifferent representative is the result of a careless, indifferent electorate. The people who start to elect a man to get what he can for his district will probably find they have elected a man who will get what he can for himself.
-Calvin Coolidge

We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. I don't know how wise they were.
-Gore Vidal

We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

We're more than just politicians. We're more than just the cynical, venal, narrow, corrupt profession that all too often is a reflection of the current culture. We are in fact the inheritors and the lifeblood of freedom.
-Newt Gingrich

Well, sure, the government lies, and the newspapers lie. But in a democracy, they aren't the same lies.
-Alexis A. Gilliland

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
-Mohandas K. Ganhdi

What does an actor know about politics?
-Ronald Reagan

What is morally wrong cannot be politically right.
-William Gladstone

What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

What's real in politics is what the voters decide is real.
-Ben J. Wattenberg

When a politician changes his position it's sometimes hard to tell whether he has seen the light or felt the heat.
-Robert Fuoss

When a politician starts preaching, I tend to react the same way as when a preacher starts talking politics. I become very, very wary.
-Madeleine Albright

When a thing defies physical law, there's usually politics involved.
-P.J. O'Rourke

When I die, I want to be buried in Chicago, so I can still be active in politics.
-Charlie Rangel

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

When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers.
-Walter Lippmann

When political ammunition runs low, inevitably the rusty artillery of abuse is wheeled into action.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

When politicians complain that TV turns proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.
-Edward R. Murrow

When politics and religion are intermingled, a people is suffused with a sense of invulnerability, and gathering speed in their forward charge, they fail to see the cliff ahead of them.
-Frank Herbert

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way.
-Frank Herbert

When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.
-Alston Chase

When you get into politics, you find that all your worst nightmares about it turn out to be true, and the people who are attracted to large concentrations of power are precisely the ones who should be kept as far away from it as possible.
-Ken Livingstone

Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me.
-Harry S Truman

Why take a chance on a candidate who might lose? You can always buy them after the election.
-Santo Trafficante, Jr.

Without alienation, there can be no politics.
-Arthur Miller

Without faith we might relapse into scientific or rational thinking, which leads by a slippery slope toward constitutional democracy.
-Robert Anton Wilson

Years ago, fairy tales all began with "Once upon a time..." Now we know they all begin with "If I am elected."
-Carolyn Warner

Yet in all our rejoicing let us neither express, nor cherish, any harsh feeling towards any citizen who, by his vote, has differed with us. Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.
-Abraham Lincoln

You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.
-G.K. Chesterton

You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to.
-Molly Ivins

You know I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office. (In 1989)
-George W. Bush

You know the one group I never criticize? Politicians. Politicians are put there by the public. Garbage in, garbage out. You get the leadership you deserve.
-George Carlin

You live in a democracy. You don't work in one.
-Douglas Dahlberg

You say we [reporters] are distracting from the business of government. Well, I hope so. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.
-P.J. O'Rourke

You will never escape the will of the mob. About the best anyone has ever figured out to do is herd them into voting booths.
-Barry Shein

Categories: Quotes of the day

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Published Monday, November 05, 2012 @ 3:08 PM EST
Nov 05 2012

I'm sitting here upset over not remembering what bit of code I need to change to alter the behavior of the TPU editor on the OpenVMS machine I'm using. After all, I wrote several custom editors for clients in TPU. Then I remembered I originally wrote that code in 1986. So I don't feel so bad about not remembering. I just feel bad about being 26 years older.

Categories: KGB, Observations

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'Tis the season

Published Monday, November 05, 2012 @ 7:11 AM EST
Nov 05 2012

Kerning: it's not for amateurs.

Categories: Photo of the day, WTF?

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Grandpa got run over by a reindeer

Published Monday, November 05, 2012 @ 6:01 AM EST
Nov 05 2012

More accurately, a regular deer.

I let the dogs out Friday night and about a minute later heard them barking frantically.

I ran out to the back yard, but couldn't see them; the sound was coming from behind a stand of seven foot tallgrass that obscured my view. As I got nearer, I saw a flash of brown and white, much larger than a Sheltie, headed directly at me at high speed.

I started turning to get out of the way, but wasn't fast enough- the doe collided with me at full speed. Strictly on the basis of mass, I should have been the winner- but she was going full tilt bozo and delivered a substantial if glancing blow as she shot past me and bounded over the fence.

I was spun in a vector and at a velocity totally inappropriate for someone of my age and decrepitude. To my credit, I somehow managed to stay on my feet. My immediate feeling was relief (my body had not yet determined the precise location and intensity of the pain it was going to begin relentlessly transmitting to my brain).

Then I looked down.

There stood three Shetland sheepdogs with expressions ranging from pity to disgust. I could almost hear their disparaging comments concerning my absymal herding abilities. "We chased it right to you, Dad. You're bigger! You have opposable thumbs! You let it go right by you! We were looking forward to something other than dry kibble!"

The ring of pain pulsing around my pelvic girdle can be numbed with NSAIDs. But it's going to take a lot of pizza crusts slipped under the table to regain my true alpha standing with the rest of the pack.

At least they didn't tell the cats.

Categories: Animals, Dogs, KGB

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Spring forward, fall over a Sheltie while getting out of bed

Published Sunday, November 04, 2012 @ 6:31 AM EST
Nov 04 2012

Clocks are easy to reset. Dogs and young grandchildren, not so much.

I say we split the difference. Adjust the clocks by 30 minutes, once, and be done with it. Let's stop this semiannual foolishness.

Categories: KGB Family, KGB Opinion

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Exchange of the day

Published Saturday, November 03, 2012 @ 5:51 PM EDT
Nov 03 2012

(From Facebook)

Categories: Barack Obama, Facebook, Holidays, KGB Opinion

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"Fly, you fools!"

Published Saturday, November 03, 2012 @ 10:06 AM EDT
Nov 03 2012

(YouTube video: Air New Zealand pre-flight safety video. Really.)

Categories: Video, WTF?, YouTube

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Observation of the day

Published Friday, November 02, 2012 @ 10:49 AM EDT
Nov 02 2012

Categories: Bill Maher, Observations, Politics

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Cartoon of the day

Published Friday, November 02, 2012 @ 12:19 AM EDT
Nov 02 2012

Categories: Cartoons

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Multiple choice

Published Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 7:06 AM EDT
Nov 01 2012

Actual set of random questions presented on the mobile version of the government's disaster assistance site.

In the case of New Jersey, the correct answer is "all of the above."

Categories: Photo of the day, Weather

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