18 May 2003
Quotes for our time (part of a series)

A couple of gems I came across during routine surfing, which I'm happy to pass on to you.

First, Balloon Juice's John Cole, on the call (by Limbaugh and others) to end affirmative action, citing the Jayson Blair scandal as justification:

[T]here may be a number of plausible and well-founded reasons to get rid of affirmative action. This is not one of them. This is a reason to get rid of lazy editors, disinterested middle management, and lazy fact-checkers at the NY Times. Period.

Has anyone yet set up a Howell Raines Countdown Clock?

And SurlyPundit has this to say about exposing college students to Serious Literature:

[I]f you read and examine what you find in the stacks with something resembling a critical eye, you will discover two things. First, reading Coleridge will not make you eloquent unless you have talent to start with, just as a sharpening steel has little effect on a carrot. Second, 90% of everything is crap, but the remainder is worth dying for.

I read a lot of Coleridge in my younger days, and I think I've proven her point. Pass the slaw.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:01 AM)
30 September 2003
Quote of the week (tie)

Glenn Reynolds, dismissing the sexual crackdown in Indonesia:

I want a country that offers tax breaks for oral sex, not jail time.

What I don't want is to see the inevitable IRS paperwork (Form 69?) one uses to apply for said breaks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:37 AM)
Quote of the week (tie)

The Warrior Monk, dismissing a theme from the first movement of Symphony No. 9 by Dmitri Shostakovich:

[I]t sounds like a chorus of lobotomites attempting to whistle the theme song from Hogan's Heroes.

Of course, as the Monk is keenly aware, given the Soviet requirement that composers be guided by the principles of Socialist Realism, it could hardly sound like anything else.

(Update, 3 pm: The Monk would like you, or at least me, to know that it was not his intention to sound dismissive.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:47 AM)
18 November 2003
Quote of the week

Kevin McGehee, on the motivations of Senate Democrats:

Senate Republicans could offer up a bill nationalizing every single industry in America, but if it includes a provision that would put Ronald Reagan's name on the sewage treatment plant in East Endoscopy, Indiana, the Dems would still filibuster it.

East Endoscopy? Must be near Eerie.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 PM)
13 December 2003
Quote of the week

Courtesy of the Pejmeister:

I'm beyond the point of being puzzled as to why choice is supposedly a good ingredient of just about every policy initiative except for education and retirement savings.

Hmmm. "The anti-choice Democrats, who want the financing of your retirement forever tied to a single government program instead of permitting you to make your own decisions...."

Watch for this sound bite next year. Uncredited, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:47 PM)
19 December 2003
Quote of the week

Tina Brown, for The Washington Post, in a piece called Tough Times for Democrats:

American myths of masculinity draw on the strong, silent archetype — John Wayne and Gary Cooper, later Charles Bronson and Charlton Heston, and more recently the subarticulate comic book action heroes like Sylvester Stallone and, yes, Ahnuld. American portraits of maleness have always favored instinct over intellect, action over reason. Rhett over Ashley. Patton over Marshall. Kirk over Spock. In this context, Bush's frat-boy past and Arnold's "playful" girl groping (never mind that it looks like creepy power-mongering when you really examine it) qualify as youthful expressions of the same testosterone that makes for grown-up action heroes. By comparison, Howard Dean's choleric outbursts look like Elmer Fudd spluttering, and the aristocratic let-us-reason-together authority of John Kerry comes across as lack of muscle tone.

This could almost be an argument for Dick Gephardt — or perhaps Joe Lieberman, if he didn't sound so much like Dr Zoidberg on the late, lamented Futurama.

(Suggested by Stephen Green.)

Addendum, 1:50 pm: At Pyrojection, Lummox JR says:

America was built by men who could think deep thoughts and plan for the future, shoot bears and burglars, raise decent children, treat women with respect, and be loved by their families and communities. These men are aliens to Tina Brown — it makes me wonder, sadly, if her father was any great shakes.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:53 AM)
30 December 2003
Quote of the week

Cam Edwards, contemplating the Democratic front-runner:

I look at Howard Dean and see a guy who's going to invade Mexico because Taco Bell got his order wrong.

Now that's anger management.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:13 AM)
22 August 2004
Quote of the week

From Jennifer's History and Stuff:

I'm sure y'all have seen that bumper sticker that says something to the effect of, "It'll be a perfect world when schools have all the money they need and the military needs to hold a bake sale to buy a new jet."

It'll be a better world when military personnel in war zones have all the body armor they need and politicians can only annoy me with their commercials once a week rather than every fifteen minutes.

The latter is probably coming before the former, but thumbs up to both.

(Yeah, I know, I haven't done enough of these to justify the "...of the week" description. You know where the line for refunds starts.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:04 PM)
5 October 2004
Quote of the week

Dawn Eden, scourge of Planned Parenthood, evaluating where things stand:

You can tell that Planned Parenthood is scared. They know that their position is morally indefensible, so they resort to relativist blather about "perspective." Meanwhile, they hope no one notices that their own perspective gives them a inside view of a certain orifice — the same one they recommend for "virginal" teen sex.

Which fear perhaps explains their desperate attempts to influence the electorate without jeopardizing their 501(c)(3) status.

(Update, 11:30 am: Someone got to this page with the implausible — to me, anyway — search string "how to end a pregnancy kill the fetus". Sheesh.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 AM)
11 November 2004
Quote of the week

You really need to read the entirety of Douglas Kern's dismembering of the hapless Eric Engberg at Tech Central Station, but the choicest bit comes at the point where Engberg complains that bloggers and such like don't have access to the "experts" employed by Big Media, to which Kern replies:

What were you [specifically, Slate] thinking — publishing information without access to the cautions being provided by the [National Election] pool's experts? That's halfway to being a hate crime. Why, journalism without expert gatekeepers is like ice cream without Worcestershire sauce.

I anticipate a rocky road for big-name journos over the next few years.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:48 AM)
29 January 2005
Quote of the week

Andrea Harris, Victory Soap:

I must admit one reason I ceased to want to have anything to do with the Democratic Party was so I wouldn't have to hear the latest sob story about unaffordable medicine from people with $100-a-month cable bills.

By coincidence, $100 will buy one month of my blood-pressure meds.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:38 PM)
9 June 2005
Quote of the week

Chase McInerney, on the newer, svelter Ronald McDonald:

Maybe, just maybe, it's not the responsibility of a burger-joint mascot to dissuade kids from patronizing his boss' restaurants. After all, our hard-working hookers are under no obligation to dispense penicillin.

Okay, it's not precisely the same dynamic, but it sounds good.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:07 PM)
14 July 2005
Quote of the week

Just about any paragraph in this piece by Jen, though at the moment, for perhaps obvious reasons, I liked this one best:

The meaning of life is not in always being sure of where you're going, but rather in never failing to appreciate the journey.

If you're not going somewhere, have your vital signs checked. You have a journey, even when you have no clue as to the destination.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:33 AM)
12 August 2005
Quote of the week

Lots of contenders this week, but this one raises the eyebrows to peak level. From Francis W. Porretto:

Customer-assembled furniture has destroyed more domestic evenings than toddler soccer, medical insurance options, and menstruation combined.

Don't I know it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:49 AM)
3 September 2005
Quote of the week

Almost any paragraph from this piece by Julie R. Neidlinger, though the one I want to single out is this one:

Some of the people you see on TV are survivors and some are victims. The difference is in their head and is easily seen in how they react. The survivors will naturally survive. The victims will never forgive whoever happens to be on their usual list of suspects to blame, and their lives will be permanently stuck on page Hurricane Katrina as an excuse for their future until the day they die. They won't survive this, though they will live.

Truer words have ne'er been spoken.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:08 PM)
1 October 2005
Quote of the week

Found at Ravenwood's Universe:

I wonder if shooting a 20 year old mugger is considered a 63rd trimester abortion.

I suspect it depends on when his birthday falls.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:25 AM)
9 October 2005
Quote of the week

By Lindsay Beyerstein:

Hillary Clinton reminds me why Chuck Schumer is my second-least favorite New York senator.

I couldn't possibly fail to disagree with her less.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:49 PM)
20 October 2005
Quote of the week

McGehee, in a comment to this post:

The collapse of this administration in the last few weeks is just crucking infredible.

For the moment, Googling "crucking infredible" brings you the response: "Did you mean: trucking incredible".

Um, no.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:10 PM)
30 October 2005
Quote of the week

Commenter Merovign, on this Protein Wisdom thread:

Once upon a time, in the vast empty of history, offense was serious, and apology not taken lightly. A grave offense was cause for action, but could be forgiven if an apology was offered.

The problem is, at some point both offense and apology were trivialized by old children, in an unworkable attempt to make the world all balloons and puppies. And now offense is as common as dirt and apologies are seen as insufficient to allay the hurt.

So if you take offense, and no one gives a rat's ass, that?s why.

If anyone should be offended, it's the rats; their very asses are getting short shrift, if indeed any shrift at all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:08 AM)
7 December 2005
Quote of the week

Democratic National Committee Vice-Chair Susan Turnbull, asked by Neil Cavuto if Iraq, as Turnbull's boss Howard Dean suggested, was like Vietnam, responded: "How is it not like Vietnam?"

The answer, from Matt Drachenberg, commenting at protein wisdom:

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing average rainfall per year and the lack of good hookers.

Seems about right to me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:17 AM)
16 December 2005
Quote of the week

Kim Du Toit, urging that the USA PATRIOT Act not be renewed:

When the government's jackboot is stepping on your face, the boot's manufacturer is of no consequence.

Meaning?

So whether your house is invaded with a no-knock warrant, or your laptop computer is seized and examined without a warrant, it's of little matter to you whether this is being done under the auspices of Drugs or Terrorism.

And you should not assume that it can't happen to you: armed with this act, the government doesn't have to be nice to you — unless, of course, you are a terrorist.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 AM)
7 January 2006
Quote of the week

Found at Ravenwood's Universe:

Bush had the nerve to stock the Mine Safety and Health Administration with people from the MINING INDUSTRY! The horror! What's next, packing NASA with rocket scientists?

Heaven forbid.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:02 PM)
17 January 2006
Quote of the week

The Raving Atheist, commenting to this Dawn Patrol post:

I talked to my Senators, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, last night and they promised to use every euphemism at their disposal to make it appear that they are agreeing with me.

Greater devotion hath no Congressional delegation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 PM)
28 January 2006
Quote of the week

What we can expect from the new Canadian government, from Colby Cosh in, of all places, the Los Angeles Times:

Canada remains in 2006 largely what it was in 2005 — a country where cigarettes are taxed 300% to 400% but heroin is free to addicts; where gay widowers have an easier time obtaining their pension entitlements than World War II veterans; and where a woman can go topless in public unless she has hate literature tattooed on her breasts.

Actually, there's more to it than that:

Canada currently has no laws in force concerning abortion; you can legally perform one in a shop window, though it's hell on lunchtime pedestrian traffic. When asked whether he intends to challenge this status quo, the new prime minister has often been quoted as saying, "Whoa! Look at the time! Hair appointment!"

Well, probably not often.

(Thanks to Matt Rosenberg.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:48 PM)
9 February 2006
Quote of the week

From James Joyner, on a theme I've surely mentioned before:

Not only has it never occured to me that beauty and brains are mutually exclusive — indeed, my experience has almost always been that when it rains, it pours — but I can't even imagine what one might do with a stupid woman on the second night. Well, certainly, the second week.

Suggestions, within reasonable bounds of decorum, are welcomed. (By me, not by James, who is happily spoken for.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:08 PM)
20 February 2006
Quote of the week

From Fametracker, and probably actually written by Wing Chun:

Hi, I'm Hany Abu-Assad, director of Paradise Now. Thank you for including, among your Foreign Language Films, works originating with The Palestinian Authority. I apologize if it means that you get deluged next year with submissions from 'countries' like 'The Sovereign Nation Of Margaret Szykowski' or 'Kensylvania.'

Not to mention the Apartment Nation of Travistan.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:01 AM)
17 March 2006
Quote of the week

Hornets center P. J. Brown, during the "Hornets 101: The Art of Basketball for Women" promotion, was asked what he splurged on after getting his first big NBA paycheck.

"I didn't buy anything," said Brown. "Especially after I saw how much Uncle Sam was taking out."

(P. J., it should be pointed out, is in his thirteenth year in the NBA; those paychecks are bigger now than they were in 1993 when he signed with the Nets.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
24 March 2006
Quote of the week

From Dr. B:

[N]ote to Walgreens: Patients who are bipolar anxious depressed paranoid psychotics tend to get angry if you call them crazy.

Actually, waiting in line at Walgreens makes me crazy, which is why I've been going to Sav-on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:17 AM)
20 April 2006
Quote of the week

A White House staff shuffle gets this evaluation from Chase McInerney:

Scott McClellan is stepping down after three years as spokesman for the White House, a job roughly equivalent to being Rob Schneider's drama coach.

At this writing, McClellan's replacement has not yet been named; I think that a good case could be made for hiring Hans Schultz, who sports both a military background and a style of information dissemination that's demonstrably compatible with the Bush administration.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:25 AM)
7 May 2006
Quote of the week

Paul Zrimsek, commenting at Protein Wisdom, addressing an earlier comment which ended with "What of Ives' 4'33"?":

Ives' intent here was quite clear: he wanted to be mistaken for John Cage. (The giveaway is that Cage's piece is written for piano; Ives would have written it for two orchestras, one not playing "Marching Through Georgia" at the same time the other isn't playing "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean".)

I honestly can't think of any way to improve on that paragraph.

(The actual Goldstein post is pretty swift, too.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 AM)
13 May 2006
Quote of the week

Feline disdain for humanoids dates back at least as far as the Pharaohs, says Joe Goodwin, and not Sam the Sham's Pharaohs either:

I can see it now. Ramses II, Lord of All He Surveys and the Pyramids too, crooks his Egyptian-crook thingie at his loyal pet and bids him come forth to the throne for a little "scratchy-watchy", at which time the cat slowly turns its head and blinks, exactly once, as if to say "Uh, not in this dynasty, bub" and then proceed to dig scratch marks in the Royal Coffee Table of Ra.

Along these lines, otherwise well-meaning folk have occasionally suggested that I bring a cat into Surlywood. My usual response has been "If I wanted to be spurned, I could just try dating again. Same results, no litter box."

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:13 AM)
18 June 2006
Quote of the week

From Andrea Harris:

Most writers, it is true, are crazy as cats in paper bags, but the really good ones don?t write exclusively about the inside of the bag.

I claim no particular experience with cats, but — hey, who refolded the top? I was enjoying the light. Sheesh.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:03 AM)
25 June 2006
Quote of the week

Mary Stella, trying not to sound like Simon Cowell:

I guess anybody is capable of Oscar-caliber work. Too bad there aren't too many openings for a gig as a garbage can-dwelling Muppet.

Yeah, but the opening's at the top.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:34 AM)
30 June 2006
Quote of the week

An open letter from Heather in New York to a woman in Houston:

Your friends on myspace are really touched by your latest post, Azure and Coincidence. They should be touched. That post came right from the heart. My heart. In 2003. You didn't even change the title of the post. Ballsy. Anyway, one of your friends was so touched he ratted you out. That guy has class. You should keep him around, spend more time with him and maybe pick up a few things. Like, a moral compass.

This is properly credited. I think.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:19 AM)
11 July 2006
Quote of the week

Some of you perhaps have wondered about the criteria for QOTW, since they seem to come from all over the place, and since there are plenty of weeks when there is no QOTW at all. And I must confess, the qualifications are somewhat murky. But in general, a paragraph (or whatever) that gets put in this slot is either something I wish I'd said, or sounds like something I have said.

"Sounds like," needless to say, is highly arguable. But the present QOTW, after I stopped roaring at it, called to mind my 2004 denunciation of an email spam: "[It] isn't worth a pint of marmoset urine."

Contrariwise, the QOTW constitutes praise. I think. Sam Smith got to drive an Audi RS4 for Automobile (August '06), and, he says, this is what happens when you hit the little S button on the dash:

What was a subdued, guttural thrumming suddenly becomes a glorious crescendo. It sounds like an angry, drunken bear being shot from a cannon.

Neither I nor Mr Smith are in the habit of getting bears drunk, let alone propelling them skyward with explosives, but I understood this better than perhaps I ought to admit.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:04 PM)
17 July 2006
Quote of the week

Brian Jackson, Republican candidate for Oklahoma House District 68 (no Democrats are running), in The Oklahoman's Voter's Guide:

I am running for this office because my current representative would not return my calls.

District 68 is presently represented by Chris Benge.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 AM)
29 July 2006
Quote of the week

Don McLean is tired of talking about "American Pie," but he doesn't mind if you make fun of it:

It's supposed to be vague. That's part of the poetry I was attempting. To go in and specify what the song is would dumb it down.

I don't pay any attention to interpretations of the song. It's supposed to be in flux all the time, so any particular interpretation is pointless as far as I can see. What interests me is some of the parodies like The Wall Street Journal's "The Day the NASDAQ Died." They've been pretty good.

(In Discoveries magazine, August '06. I'm reasonably certain McLean would not endorse this.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:19 PM)
5 August 2006
Quote of the week

Reporting for Got Detroit?, it's Princess E.M.:

We as Americans do not like our politicians particularly independent, clear thinking, principled, thought provoking, or even smart. We prefer them a lot like we prefer, say, our remote controls, television sets, toasters and computers — dumber than we are, and easily controlled.

This perhaps explains my ongoing antipathy for Ernest Istook, who isn't notably controllable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:19 AM)
11 August 2006
Quote of the week

The road to Splitsville? Tam considers the possibilties:

P.J. O'Rourke once wittily remarked that Tito had a brilliant strategy to keep Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and all the other constituents of his polyglot ersatz nation from killing each other. His plan was a brilliantly simple one: he did it for them. After he was gone it didn't take long for the denizens of the synthetic republic of Yugoslavia to start rummaging through sock drawers and digging behind loose bricks in their fireplaces to drag out long-dormant grudges and start beating each other over the noggin with them. The country went to pieces so fast that nations as far away as the USA were hit with the shrapnel.

The situation in post-Saddam Iraq is starting to look depressingly similar. Now that Saddam is no longer available to kill them wholesale, his liberated subjects (liberally goaded by outside agents provocateurs from various Muj factions) are happily back to slaying each other on a more retail scale. This of course raises the troubling question as to which is the proper approach for us: Do we keep applying splints and bandages and hope the country knits itself together stably over the long term? Or do we accept the centripetal forces at work and try to manage the fragmentation, letting the country split itself into the three chunks it's so desperately trying to fragment into, and thereby focus our attention on the breakaway republics that need it most? Either way is a gamble, and the potential payoff for each path has its upsides and downsides.

Iraq's borders are just as synthetic as Yugoslavia's were. It may be that partition might work: certainly the Czechs and the Slovaks aren't shooting at one another, but then they weren't shooting at each other to any great extent during the brief existence of Czechoslovakia. If the Bush administration is wise — a lot to hope for, I suppose, but work with me here — they're already thinking about the possibilities.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:01 AM)
18 August 2006
Quote of the week

How efficient, really, is the Efficient Market Hypothesis? Lance offers some illustrative dialogue:

Economist: That looks like a $20 bill lying on the ground over there.

Other Economist: It couldn?t be. If it were, somebody would have picked it up already.

And they call it a "dismal" science.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
25 August 2006
Quote of the week

Dawn Eden, on the FDA approval of "Plan B":

[R]iddle me this: Why do oral contraceptives still require a prescription, seeing as they're so safe that you can take 40 times the prescribed amount anytime you want?

My guess is "It's a guaranteed revenue stream," but then I'm not part of the target market.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:43 AM)
1 September 2006
Quote of the week

Actually, I have two this week, and they're both storm-related; I simply couldn't pick between the two.

Dave picks up on a nomenclature update:

In a move to foster improved relations between the meteorological community and the news industry, the National Hurricane Center announced today that it is lowering the requirements for a storm to be officially named as a hurricane. The previous standard was sustained winds of 74 miles per hour, but the recent brush with Ernesto, and subsequent inability of reporters to say the word "hurricane" in conjunction with every reference to Ernesto, began to cause some friction between the two groups. "It was very frustrating, having to watch my colleagues in the field use the term 'tropical storm' when referring to Ernesto, when it had once carried the formal title of 'hurricane'," said news anchor Troy McDonald of station WECT in Wilmington, NC. Other news industry leaders echoed his concern, with John Zarella of CNN pleading with Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, to do something that would enable reporters to use the word "hurricane" in as many situations as possible.

After a two-day summit between the two communities at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, Mayfield announced that the new criteria for a Category One hurricane would include sustained winds of only 25 miles per hour, and storm-surge levels of only six inches. In a prepared statement, Mayfield expressed confidence that the revised standards would not only enable the news industry to use flashier graphics more often and increase Nielsen ratings, but would also allow the National Hurricane Center to take a more active role in educating the public about the dangers of powerful storms.

Meanwhile, a year after a Category 5 17 storm hit New Orleans, E. M. returns to the scene:

The night closes out at Pat O?Brien's, who had an entrance on Bourbon, but prefers its more respectable address on St. Peter's, the only one that?s open. It's massive inside, a huge courtyard at the end of a brick alleyway, with two spiral staircases leading up to private second floor areas with plush emerald carpeting. Appropriately, [they] invented a drink called the Hurricane — anywhere else in the country, the bartender mixing the drink has to use Pat O?Brien's patented mix — and the glass that it goes in, and my friend buys me one to celebrate an excellent week. We toast to the future, to the people we?ve met, and to the city itself, our faces and glasses lit up only by Pat?s famous flaming fountain, a huge Parisian fountain that shoots water, lit with fiber optics, towards the sky in a ring around blue and yellow flames. No locals tonight, just us and the cool air, and the noise from Bourbon. The rest of the world could be a mile, or a century, away. New Orleans is a little like that. It's far removed from the country in its history, its mannerisms, its outlook, and really, its feel. There?s no place like it, and I?m in love. I?m pleased with that assessment of my feelings, because it means that despite the destruction I?ve seen, despite the depression that the news claims haunts the flood plains and the citizens, there must still be something to the city to fall in love with. There must still be a heart, a soul, a life.

Now to get ready for some local stormage.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:14 PM)
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