Monday, November 30, 2015


"If you want to inspire confidence, give plenty of statistics – it does not matter that they should be accurate, or even intelligible, so long as there is enough of them."
--Lewis Carroll
"Three Years in a Curatorship, By One Whom It Has Tried", 1886.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


"The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle."
--Hannah Arendt

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Numbers III

"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy.
That used to be a huge number.
But it's only a hundred billion.
It's less than the national deficit!
We used to call them astronomical numbers.
Now we should call them economical numbers."
--Richard Feynman
(1918-1988) American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (1965)

Friday, November 27, 2015


"I returned to the Holiday Inn--where they have a swimming pool and air-conditioned rooms--to consider the paradox of a nation that has given so much to those who preach the glories of rugged individualism from the security of countless corporate sinecures, and so little to that diminishing band of yesterday's refugees who still practice it, day by day, in a tough, rootless and sometimes witless style that most of us have long since been weaned away from."
--Hunter S Thompson
Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)

Thursday, November 26, 2015


"Lets dedicate ourselves to what the ancient Greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that"
--Robert F. Kennedy

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


"To permit every interest group, especially those who claim to be victimized by unfair expression, their own legislative exceptions to the First Amendment so long as they succeed in obtaining a majority of legislative votes in their favor demonstrates the potentially predatory nature of what defendants seek through this Ordinance."
--Sarah Evans Barker
Judge, U. S. District Court
Source: Decision overturning Indianapolis Pornography Ordinance, November 19, 1984

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


"A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?"
--Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
Source: A Pillar of Iron, a novel based on the life of Cicero by Taylor Caldwell (1965), p. 451

Monday, November 23, 2015


"[Some people] have a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom. I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and despotic government amongst a people in which the conditions of society are equal, than amongst any other; and I think that, if such a government were once established amongst such a people, it would not only oppress men, but would eventually strip each of them of several of the highest qualities of humanity. Despotism, therefore, appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic times."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville
[Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859) French historian

Sunday, November 22, 2015


"There's so much bitterness I thought they would get one of us, but Jack, after all he'd been through, never worried about it."
--Robert F. Kennedy
"Brothers", by David Talbot, p. 4, quoting Justice Department spokesman Edwin Guthman, who was with RFK on the afternoon of the JFK assassination.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask 'why not?'".
--John F. Kennedy
Speech delivered to the Dail (Parliament of Ireland), June 28, 1963

Friday, November 20, 2015

Arts III

"The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose...and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization."
--John F. Kennedy
"LOOK Magazine Article 'The Arts in America' (552)" December 18, 1962

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Both III

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms--and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah--to "undo the heavy burdens . . . and let the oppressed go free.

--John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Address

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know what we did not know and enough candor to admit it?

Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which we believed or the men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and comprised of no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?

Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication—these are the historic qualities … which, with God’s help … will characterize our Government’s conduct in the 4 stormy years that lie ahead.

--John F. Kennedy
"The City upon a Hill"
Speech to Massachusetts State Legislature. Delivered on January 9, 1961

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


"But the harsh fact of the matter is that there is also an increasingly large number of young Americans who are neglecting their bodies—whose physical fitness is not what it should be—who are getting soft. And such softness on the part of individual citizens can help to strip and destroy the vitality of a nation. For the physical vigor of our citizens is one of America's most precious resources. If we waste and neglect this resource, if we allow it to dwindle and grow soft then we will destroy much of our ability to meet the great and vital challenges which confront our people. We will be unable to realize our full potential as a nation."
--John F. Kennedy

Monday, November 16, 2015


"Finally, I believe in an America with a government of men devoted solely to the public interests - men of ability and dedication, free from conflict or corruption or other commitment - a responsible government that is efficient and economical, with a balanced budget over the years of the cycle, reducing its debt in prosperous times - a government willing to entrust the people with the facts that they have - not a businessman's government, with business in the saddle, as the late Secretary McKay described this administration of which he was a member - not a labor government, not a farmer's government, not a government of one section of the country or another, but a government of, for and by the people."
--John F. Kennedy: "Speech by Senator John F. Kennedy, Convention Hall, Philadelphia, PA," October 31, 1960

Sunday, November 15, 2015


"Most curable sickness can now be diagnosed and treated by laymen. People find it so difficult to accept this statement because the complexity of medical ritual has hidden from them the simplicity of its basic procedures. It took the example of the barefoot doctor in China to show how modern practice by simple workers in their spare time could, in three years, catapult health care in China to levels unparalleled elsewhere. In most other countries health care by laymen is considered a crime. A seventeen-year-old friend of mine was recently tried for having treated some 130 of her high-school colleagues for VD. She was acquitted on a technicality by the judge when expert counsel compared her performance with that of the U.S. Health Service. Nowhere in the U.S.A. can her achievement be considered "standard," because she succeeded in making retests on all her patients six weeks after their first treatment. Progress should mean growing competence in self-care rather than growing dependence."
--Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality

Saturday, November 14, 2015


"People have become as processed as food."
--Astrid Alauda

Friday, November 13, 2015

Distinguish II

"Children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education."
--Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World Revisited"

Thursday, November 12, 2015


"How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself."
--Gore Vidal, "Julian" (1964)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


"Damn the wars but bless the soldier."
--T.L. Moffitt

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


"How did it happen? How did our national government grow from a servant with sharply limited powers into a master with virtually unlimited power? In part, we were swindled. There are occasions when we have elevated men and political parties to power that promised to restore limited government and then proceeded, after their election, to expand the activities of government. But let us be honest with ourselves. Broken promises are not the major causes of our trouble. Kept promises are. All too often we have put men in office who have suggested spending a little more on this, a little more on that, who have proposed a new welfare program, who have thought of another variety of 'security.' We have taken the bait, preferring to put off to another day the recapture of freedom and the restoration of our constitutional system. We have gone the way of many a democratic society that has lost its freedom by persuading itself that if 'the people' rule, all is well."
--Barry Goldwater
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Second II

"Second star to the right...and straight on 'til morning."
--Peter Pan

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Product II

“Today’s European politicians . . . are ‘test-tube politicians,’ who haven’t emerged from a process of significant political battles with worthy political oppnents, but have instead risen to power through the manipulations conjured by the strong players of the financial capital system, with the objective to control the political elite of the European continent. They are more employees than they are politicians. Moreover, their programme is not for public disclosure.  Should they discuss in public what they really want to achieve, or rather what the bankers who appointed them want to achieve, even the stones will cry out in Europe in protest against them!
“Today’s European politicians are the product of a very particular historical period which started with the collapse of the European left and its integration into the established status quo and especially with the collapse of the USSR. They are also the product of decades of successful ‘filtering’ of European politics and of a very successful strategy of ‘entryism’ into the political elites, using in particular generalized corruption and the possibility to blackmail anybody, by the financial capital and by the most extremist representatives of the deep American state, organised around a ‘neoliberal’ and ‘neoconservative’ core respectively.”
Athens, 3 July 2015

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Gang II

"Government is a gang, but not merely as meritorious as a private gang because it claims legal legitimacy. It pillages and uses violence but under the cover of law, and seeks legitimacy not through competition but through the myth of the social contract."
--Jeffrey Tucker

Friday, November 06, 2015


"In sci-fi convention, life-forms that hadn't developed space travel were mere prehistory -- horse-shoe crabs of the cosmic scene -- and something of the humiliation of being stuck on a provincial planet in a galactic backwater has stayed with me ever since."
--Barbara Ehrenreich 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Faith V

"These days I see America identified more and more with material things, less and less with spiritual standards. These days I see America acting abroad as an arrogant, selfish, greedy nation interested only in guns and dollars, not in people and their hopes and aspirations. We need a faith that dedicates us to something bigger and more important than ourselves or our possessions. Only if we have that faith will we be able to guide the destiny of nations in this the most critical period of world history."
--William O. Douglas,
Essay for "This I Believe" (1952).

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


"Unless they are immediate victims, the majority of mankind behaves as if war was an act of God which could not be prevented; or they behave as if war elsewhere was none of their business. It would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination."
--Martha Gellhorn

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Function III

"The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power."
--Gerry Spence
"From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America" (1996)

Monday, November 02, 2015


"An unexamined idea, to paraphrase Socrates, is not worth having
and a society whose ideas are never explored for possible error
may eventually find its foundations insecure."
--Mark Van Doren
(1894-1972) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, professor, and critic
Source: Man’s Right to Knowledge, 1954

Sunday, November 01, 2015


"Knute Rockne liked bad losers. He said good losers lose too often."
-- George E. Allen