||Quotes that have touched me (page 8 of 16)
|Disclaimer: Citation of a quote,
below, does not necessarily imply that I agree with what it asserts
(under whatever interpretation); it does mean I feel the text says something
seriously worth thinking about.
|"Every sentence that I utter
should be regarded by you not as an assertion
but as a question." --Niels Bohr|
is more to the surface than meets the eye."
|| Go to
more recent entries
|Dr. David Kelly...
[t]he arms expert at the center of a dispute
about whether the British government doctored its intelligence reports on Iraq's weapons
programs to gain public support for going to war was found dead this morning
near his home....
Mrs. Kelly said the police had confirmed... suicide....
A soft-spoken civil servant in the Ministry of Defense accustomed to working behind the scenes,
Dr. Kelly was pressed repeatedly by...
House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs... members about his role in the bitter dispute
that has pitted the government against the BBC....
Mrs. Kelly... said her husband had been "very, very angry about what had happened at the committee"....
"She didn't use the word 'depressed,'" [a friend] Mr. Mangold said, "but she said he was very, very stressed
and unhappy about what had happened and this was really not the kind of world he wanted to live in."....
As a witness, Dr. Kelly sat hunched over the desk in front of him, looking troubled and uncomfortable
under the pointed questioning of members of the parliamentary panel....
"I reckon you're the chaff thrown up to divert our probing," Andrew Mackinlay,
a Labor Party member, said as Dr. Kelly squirmed in the witness chair.
"Have you ever felt like the fall guy? I mean, you've been set up, haven't you?"
Dr. Kelly said quietly that he was in no position to answer the question....
Donald Anderson, chairman of the committee, said today that he did not believe the
questioning was overly aggressive, but said, "It was wholly outside his normal experience,
therefore must have certainly been an ordeal for him."....
A ministry spokesman said Dr. Kelly had at no point been threatened with suspension or dismissal as a
result of his admission that he had spoken to...
BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan..., a technical violation of civil service rules.
||Warren Hoge with Judith Miller,
"Weapons Expert at Center of Dispute on Iraq Arms Data Is Found Dead,
His Wife Says", NYT on the Web, 19Jul03.|
Ed. note: What may be quite acceptable
'rough and tumble' for thick-skinned politicians may indeed be "wholly outside the normal
experience... and an ordeal" for a sensitive and relusive intellectual,
"an intensely private family man" (loc. cit.). The politicians
should have the decency to pick on persons who can 'give it as well as take it'.
Even if they have no sense of decency,
the politicians should be held accountable for wantonly depriving their country of
an important intelligence asset:
"an Oxford-educated former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq with a specialty in biological weapons"
(loc. cit.), whose Obituary in The Guardian includes:
"Kelly was the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific officer and senior adviser
to the proliferation and arms control secretariat, and to the Foreign Office's
non-proliferation department. The senior adviser on biological weapons to the
UN biological weapons inspections teams (Unscom) from 1994 to 1999,
he was also, in the opinion of his peers, pre-eminent in his field,
not only in this country, but in the world." (Nigel Fountain and Sarah A. Smith,
"David Kelly: Biological weapons expert with a reputation for thoroughness",
Guardian Unlimited, 19Jul03)
Alan Turing. Wen Ho Lee. David Kelly....
|"Dr Kelly led the first team of United Nations biological
weapons inspectors to Iraq in 1991....
Beneath a softly spoken façade was a steely individual who wanted only to spend
his final year before retirement hunting weapons in Iraq."
(Sam Coates, Adam Fresco and Dominic Kennedy,
"Lonely death of man who found Saddam's anthrax", The Times Online (UK), 19Jul03)|
|"Kelly told journalists
before he died that he felt he had been 'put through the wringer'."
(Kamal Ahmed and Gaby Hinsliff, "Blair ally blasts BBC's 'obsession'",
Guardian Unlimited, 20Jul03)|
|"He said several times... that he felt totally let down and betrayed," Janice Kelly...
said of her husband....
"He had been led to believe that his name would not come into the public domain from his line manager,
from all his seniors," she said. "He was so very upset about it."
(Warren Hoge, "Arms Expert Tied to BBC Report Felt Betrayed, Widow Says",
NYT on the Web, 01Aug03)|
|"We have to remember that this tragedy began with
something utterly unworthy of such an outcome. It was an extremely trivial point...
could Saddam Hussein have launched weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes?
The point that was stirred into turmoil, and then driven towards tragedy, was even narrower:
whether Saddam could do this or not, who was the source of a BBC story saying some
knowledgeable insiders did not believe it?....
The 45-minute detail was hyped by Tony Blair into the essence of the foulest
charge against his sainted integrity, and therefore had to be squashed by every means....
That's how a sideshow came to take over national life. Now it seems to have taken a
wretched, guiltless man's life with it. Such is the dynamic that can be unleashed
by a leader who believes his own reputation to be the core value his country must defend."
(Hugo Young, "Kelly didn't stand a chance against the frenzy of No 10:
Blair has decided his own reputation must be defended, whatever the cost",
OpEd piece, Guardian Unlimited, 19Jul03)|
a columnist for The New York Times who previously served as the newspaper's managing editor...
has been chosen as its executive editor....
[A] number of comments he made... suggested his leadership style would be different from
[his predecessor, Howell] Raines.
Where Mr. Raines had spoken often to staff members about the need for raising their
"competitive metabolism," Mr. Keller... said he did not view journalism as "an endless combat mission."
While saying it was not his intention to "play defense,"
he nonetheless encouraged his reporters and editors to do "a little more savoring" of life,
whether with their families or viewing art, and suggested:
"That will enrich your work as much as a competitive pulse rate will."
"Bill Keller, Columnist, Is Selected as The Times's Executive Editor",
NYT, 15Jul03, p.A1,16. "David W. Chen, a reporter on the paper's metropolitan staff...
said he saw evidence in Mr. Keller of 'a sense of purpose, but also decency.'
'It was pretty evident in the town hall meeting,' Mr. Chen said of the May 14 staff meeting,
at which several reporters openly criticized Mr. Raines's management of the newsroom,
'that a sense of decency was either taken for granted or lost in the rush to
pursue news with that high competitive metabolism rate.'"
|"Keller said in an interview that when huge events
such as 9/11 or the war with Iraq come along, 'I hope we can hit those stories with the
same kind of aggressiveness that Howell did. But there are a lot of stories that aren't
like that, that require patience and craftsmanship and enterprise rather than storming the barricades.
It sounds touchy-feely, but reporters are people, too, and are better reporters
if they aren't constantly worrying about neglecting their families and constantly hunched over a desk.'"
(Howard Kurtz, "Newsroom Favorite Bill Keller Named Times's Top Editor",
The Washington Post, 15Jul03, p.C01)|
|Speed kills -- of course it does.
But slowness tortures.... [A]ccording to a recent
academic study, raising speed limits to 70 miles per hour, and even higher,
has no effect whatsoever on the death rates of young and middle-aged male drivers....
[H]igher speed limits do increase the death rates of women and the elderly....
Common sense would suggest a straightforward correlation
between higher speed limits and the risk of accidents,
but common sense also suggests -- out West, at least --
that when there's nothing to have an accident with, it's not
momentum that matters but simple alertness.
"2 Fast 4 Safety? Our speed limits don't necessarily
make us all safer, just more regulated", NYT Sunday Magazine, 13Jul03, p.9.|
|Ed. notes: Driving (a) requires focused attention over very long periods of time
(b) to something that accomplishes little
and (c) where, much of the time, there are a dearth of relevant stimuli to pay attention to, but
are frequently lots of distractions,
and (e) being distracted for even a few seconds can result in disaster.
I propose driving is a "great" example of a kind of activity -- characterized by items a thru e -- that
should not be part of persons' daily life. Compare, e.g.: walking.|
|For nearly four decades,
[Christopher] Alexander, 66, an emeritus professor of architecture at the
University of California at Berkeley, has been waging a quixotic campaign of
messianic ambition: to heal the world by reforming the way it builds....
Asked as part of one assignment [when he was studying architecture
at Cambridge University] to design a house, he instead submitted a spoof of the
formalist theory he had been taught: a glass box slashed by giant brick walls.
"A completely abstract, pointless notion," he said. To his amazement,
the head of the department called him into his office to congratulate him.
"He said, 'Christopher, my boy, this is exactly what we want,'"
Mr. Alexander recalled. "I thought, Oh my God, I've walked into the nut house."
|Emily Eakin, "Architecture's Irascible Reformer",
NYT, 12Jul03, p.B7,9.|
|The Florida Supreme Court yesterday struck
down a law requiring minors seeking abortions to notify their parents first. The court, in a 5-to-1 decision,
held that the law violated the minors' right to privacy....
"Our decision today," Justice Leander J. Shaw wrote yesterday, on behalf of himself and three other judges,
"in no way interferes with a parent's right to participate in the decision-making process or a minor's
right to consult with her parents. Just the opposite. Under our decision, parent
and minor are free to do as they wish in this regard, without government interference."
||Adam Liptak, "Florida Court Voids a Law on Abortion",
NYT on the Web, 11Jul03. Ed. note: "Conservatives", of course, do not necessarily
agree: "Justice R. Fred Lewis...
said Justice Shaw's statement 'is extraordinarily simplistic, naïve, and contrary to logic.'"
|Mr. Bush sidestepped the specific question about whether his administration
had used fraudulent information to press its case against Mr. Hussein and instead emphasized the
rather than the means, insisting that "the world is a much more peaceful and secure place as a result of the actions."
He added: "There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace.
And there's no doubt in my mind that the United States, along with allies and friends,
did the right thing in removing him from power."
||David E. Sanger and Carl Hulse, "Bush Defends War, Sidestepping Issue of Faulty Intelligence",
NYT on the Web, 09Jul03 (Footnote reference:
#63a, added by BMcC).
(See also: Quots #151.)|
"Mr. Bush... dismissed the criticism of his justification for war as 'attempts to try to rewrite history.'"
(Richard W. Stevenson, "NUCLEAR RATIONALE: Bush Skirts Question on 'Evidence' and Defends War", NYT on the Web,
|WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 [2004:] President Bush declined... to repeat his claims
that evidence that Saddam Hussein had illicit weapons would eventually be found in Iraq,
but he insisted that the war was nonetheless justified because Mr. Hussein posed "a grave and gathering threat
to America and the world."
Asked by reporters if he would repeat earlier expressions of confidence that the weapons would be found
in light of recent statements by the former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David A. Kay,
that Mr. Hussein had gotten rid of them well before the war, Mr. Bush did not answer directly.
(David E. Sanger, "Bush Backs Away From His Claims About Iraq Arms", NYT on the Web, 28Jan04)|
|On Tuesday [16 December 2003], with Mr. Hussein in American custody and polls
showing support for the White House's Iraq policy rebounding, Mr. Bush suggested that he no
longer saw much distinction between the possibilities...
whether Saddam Hussein possessed arsenals of banned weapons, as the Bush administration repeatedly said,
or instead was pursuing weapons programs that might one day constitute a threat.
"So what's the difference?" he responded at one point as he was pressed on the topic during an
interview by Diane Sawyer of ABC News....
"And if he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction?" Ms. Sawyer asked the president....
"Diane, you can keep asking the question," Mr. Bush replied.
"I'm telling you -- I made the right decision for America because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction,
invaded Kuwait. But the fact that he is not there is, means America's a more secure country."
(Richard W. Stevenson, "Remember 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'? For Bush, They Are a Nonissue",
NYT on the Web, 18Dec03)|
|Q: "So what's the difference?"
A: Losing America's credibility.|
with [his new book] 'Under the Banner of Heaven'... has begun his own culture war....
The book 'is a full frontal assault on the veracity of the modern [Mormon] church,'
Mike Otterson, a church spokesman in Salt Lake City, said in a statement.
'His basic thesis appears to be that people who are religious are irrational,
and that irrational people do strange things.'" (Timothy Egan, "What's Left
After Everest", NYT on the Web (Fashion & Style), 13Jul03)|
In 1882, a Hungarian engineer and pianist named Paul von Janko invented a new layout
for the piano keyboard that made fancy runs and leaps much easier to play -- and made transposing
a piece into a different key as simple as slightly shifting the hands.
But the keyboard never caught on, in part because it took the pain out of performing difficult pieces:
"The music was not only hard, it was supposed to be hard. To remove the tension by making
playing easier and more natural was to break the music's spell." Manufacturers stopped making the Janko piano;
performers stopped using it.
review of Edward Tenner's "Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body
Technologies", NYT Book Review, 06Jul03, p.6 (italics in original).
Ed. note: To juxtapose two cliches, I think everyone should
"pay their dues", but no one should be made to "jump through hoops".|
Michael Ingham... Anglican bishop of the greater Vancouver area... [says]
"On this homosexual issue, we're not dealing with theology. Some people have a pathological dislike
for homosexual sex. It's not rational. It's visceral. It's communicated through our culture,
through myths and legends in which religion of course is a primary agent....
God is active among spiritual traditions outside Christianity....
We have no reason to suppose that any one religion is truer than the others....
The word of God is a person not a text.... I would understand the Scripture as the human record
of the people of God struggling to understand the direction of God in their world,
while others have a tendency to see Scripture as a fax from Heaven....
What you are seeing across the world is a realignment of global religion where the forces of
conservatism are finding more cause with each other across religious boundaries
than within their own religious traditions."
The conservatives, he says, want to roll back the 18th century Enlightenment
"because it brought rationalism and individualism into the Western world....
The fact that it delivered us from superstition and church imperialism is forgotten....
Conservatives say you cannot pick and choose, but that's exactly what they do because the same
texts that condemn homosexuality condemn the eating of shellfish.... I haven't heard any
conservative churchman campaign against shellfish in the last few years."
"In Blessing Gay Unions, Bishop Courts a Schism", NYT, 05Jul03, p.A4.|
|It appears the National Football League is more serious
than ever about returning to Los Angeles. But commentator Bob Cook says....
The NFL, muttering to itself: "Number 2 television market", looks at the city and
sees Cindy Crawford, when the reality is only the mole.
Still no luck in my quest to help the administration find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
But meanwhile, I'm getting the impression that America fought Saddam, and the Islamic fundamentalists won....
An iron curtain of fundamentalism risks falling over Iraq, with particularly grievous implications for girls and women....
Paradoxically, a more democratic Iraq may also be a more repressive one;
it may well be that a majority of Iraqis favor more curbs on professional women and on
[U]nless majority rule is accompanied by legal protections, tolerance and respect for minorities,
the result can be populist repression.
|Nicholas D. Kristof,
"Cover Your Hair", NYT on the Web (OpEd), 24Jun03.|
|See: Quote #127 (right-hand column).|
|More from Kristof's OpEd piece (loc.cit.):
"For a glimpse of the Islamic state that Iraq may be evolving into, consider
the street execution of an infidel named Sabah Ghazali.
Under Saddam Hussein, Christians like Mr. Ghazali, 41, were allowed to sell alcohol
and were protected from Muslim extremists. But lately extremists have been threatening to
kill anyone selling alcohol. One day last month, two men walked over to Mr. Ghazali
as he was unlocking his shop door and shot him in the head -- the second liquor
store owner they had killed that morning."|
|"[A] new federal law...
No Child Left Behind... say[s] all teachers must have a separate college degree in the field
of each major course they teach, or prove through an exam that they are 'highly qualified' in that area of study....
Officials in Helena, Mont., and several other state capitals say the federal law seems
intended to shake up big city schools but includes provisions unsuited to the needs of America's
sparsely populated regions. They warn that among other pernicious effects,
it is likely to accelerate the migration of teachers to urban districts out of struggling communities
from Maine to Alaska [where one teacher with a broadly
defined state certification will teach many different subjects and not
be paid enough to go back to school to get a separate degree in each].
|"'The people in Washington making these rules have no concept of what rural
Montana is like,' said Jolene Shaw, a [Winnett, Montana school] board member....
Chris King... a former board member, nodded in agreement.
With Winnett's tiny class sizes -- this fall the 7th and 11th grades will have just four students each --
teachers can develop an intimate understanding of each pupil's academic progress without testing,
he said.... 'We're not leaving children behind,' Mr. King said.
'So why don't they just let us alone?'...
Clay Dunlap, Winnett's superintendent and principal [said:] '[W]hat's obvious is that Washington doesn't
understand the needs of a remote community like ours. And that's our concern --
this law is one size fits all. Why is Washington telling Montana how to certify teachers?'"||Sam Dillon, "New Federal Law May Leave Many Rural Teachers Behind",
NYT on the Web, 23Jun03.|
Ed. note: But doesn't George W Bush believe that
people can make their own choices about their lives better than the government can make their
choices for them? Example: "...the president does have faith, fundamentally,
in the ability to people to use their own discretion, make their own judgments."
("Excerpt from July 24, 2002 Press Briefing with
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer", White House website; "to people" is "of people" in full
Press Briefing transcript, loc.cit. Fleischer is responding here to a question about
Bush's desire to partially privatize Social Security, not about the administration's education policy)
Also: "Bush and House Republicans want to give a handful of states the option of taking over Head Start
programs now directed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services....
Critics fear a declining federal role will result in a lowering of standards
and they say the program would lose its comprehensive mission of health,
nutrition and parental involvement. Opponents also worry that states would use the federal dollars to cut state preschool funding."
("Bush Calls for Revamping of Head Start Program", NYT on the Web, 07Jul03, AP Filed at 12:09 p.m. ET)
|"The question is why people understand the limits of
standardized tests when they themselves become the victims of it, with curious lack of empathy for
victims other than themselves." (Alfie Kohn, author of "Schools our Children Deserve",
quoted in: Amanda Paulson ,"What happens when teachers fail the test", Christian Science Monitor,
|But as advertisers have known for a long time, no
audience is easier to beguile than one that is smugly confident of its
own sophistication. The word "Orwellian" contributes to that impression.
Like "propaganda," it implies an aesthetic judgment more than a moral one.
Calling an expression Orwellian means not that it's deceptive but that it's crudely deceptive. [/]
Today, the real damage isn't done by the euphemisms and circumlocutions that
we're likely to describe as Orwellian. "Ethnic cleansing," "revenue enhancement,"
"voluntary regulation," "tree-density reduction," "faith-based initiatives,"
"extra affirmative action," "single-payer plans" -- these terms may be oblique,
but at least they wear their obliquity on their sleeves. [/]
Rather, the words that do the most political work are simple ones --
"jobs and growth," "family values" and "color-blind" not to mention "life" and "choice."
But concrete words like these are the hardest ones to see through.
They're opaque when you hold them up to the light. [/]
Orwell knew that, of course. "To see what is in front of one's nose
needs a constant struggle"....
"Simpler Terms: If It's 'Orwellian,' It's Probably Not", NYT, 22Jun03, p.WK5.
Ed. note: See Aaron Beck quote, at top of this
|On what is called Walking Street,
in the heart of the city's [Pattaya, Thailand]
entertainment district, one open-fronted bar has posted a sign that reads:
"No Arab people to sit down here. We do not want Arab people consuming alcohol or
molesting women. We respect your belief in Islam."
"A Famed Resort Where Tourists Fear to Tread", NYT, 20Jun03, p.A4.|
|"Via the Internet, information scientists
can obtain access to large databases in the 'hidden' or 'deep web.' These databases
are often structured far more than the Internet domains themselves."
"Researching the Hidden Web: Patents and the Science Base of Technologies" (Abstract),
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR).|
|Q Are you hoping the protesters in Iran will topple the Iranian government? And now that the IAEA report is
out, how are you going to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon?|
|THE PRESIDENT: Well, the international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that
we will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon. Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear
weapon. I brought this subject up in the G8; we had a good discussion on the subject, with near universal
agreement that we all must work together to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.|
|And secondly, I appreciate those courageous souls who speak
out for freedom in Iran. They need to know America stands
squarely by their side. And I would urge the Iranian
administration to treat them with the utmost of respect.||"President Discusses Medicare, Iraq, Iran and the
Middle East", White House Press Release, 18Jun03, 2:23 P.M. EDT|
|"Heeding former President [George H.W.] Bush's call during the
1991 Gulf War to take their destiny into their own hands, millions of
Iraqi Shiite Muslims rebelled against Saddam Hussein after the collapse
of his army. But in towns like Karbala, Najaf and Nasiriyah, Shiites were left to
face Saddam's forces alone. They staged an uprising, but their pleas for
help were ignored by the U.S.-led coalition. The uprising was ruthlessly
crushed by Saddam's Republican Guards." (Salah Nasrawi, AP, "After First Uprising Crushed, Shiites Gun
Shy This Time", 27Mar03)|
|"The...  Hungarian Revolution resulted in some 10,000-20,000 deaths. In
some quarters, RFE's [U.S. sponsored Radio Free Europe] Hungarian broadcasting was held responsible for
encouraging Hungarian resistance.... Although RFE was cleared of provoking the uprising, it was
criticized for giving the impression that Western aid was forthcoming." (Cissie Dore Hill.
"Voices of Hope: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty",
Hoover Digest, 2001, No.4, Hoover Institution Archives)|
|"Epidemiologists can be such killjoys....
Where some people see a cute and cuddly ball of fur, scientists like Dr. Osterholm see a vector: a ball of disease-causing viruses,
bacteria, parasites and who knows what other germs....
[U]ntil recently, his main objection to prairie dogs was that they and their fleas
sometimes carried bubonic plague. He had not even thought about monkeypox,
the disease brought to the Americas for the first time last month, presumably by a
three-pound African rat, which infected its fellow inmates in a pet shop, prairie dogs,
which may then have spread the disease to as many as 82 people in five states....
Not much is known about what microbes...
species that... would never encounter naturally... might spread to each other,
or what the microbes might do inside a new host. Second, the trade has brought people
close to animals and to diseases they had little or no contact with before...."
||Denise Grady and Lawrence K. Altman,
"Beyond Cute: Exotic Pets Come Bearing Exotic Germs", NYT on the Web, 17Jun03.
"Like SARS, which has been traced to a previously unknown coronavirus carried by
and badgers in the jam-packed live-animal markets of southern China..." (loc.cit.).
|Jaguars... meticulously avoid other jaguars. They are extremely solitary and go
to great lengths to mark their territories and to know who lives where. Their vocalizations
carry long distances and further guard against trespassers.
For if there is one thing a jaguar hates, it is a catfight.
In the jungle, where platoons of parasites are perpetually on the lookout for new blood,
even small nicks and bruises can prove fatal. Best to sidestep any encounters in the first place.
||Natalie Angier, "Jaguar, Elusive
Garbo of the Jungle, Could Be the Conservation Movement's Next Star",
NYT, 17Jun03, p.F1,F4. Ed. note: The pleasures of crowding come at a price
in individual well-being for persons as well as for jungle cats..|
|The SAT II writing test is supposed to judge writing....
Thomas Mann said, "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is
for other people." No one can write an essay worth reading in 20 minutes [the time alloted for the
SAT writing test].
||Edgar H. Schuster, Letter to the Editor, NYT, 15Jun03, p.A12.|
|The [rocketry museum at Peenemünde, in the former East
Germany] is in a huge industrial shed that once housed the power plant for the top-secret complex
where the Nazis developed and tested the V-1 missile, or buzz bomb, and the V-2 missile.
The two missiles were, along with the atom bomb, the most momentous weapons devised during the war....
Near the museum's exit, a plaque is inscribed with a celebrated passage
from the philosopher Immanual Kant. It is his sublime crystallization of the two aspects of his experience
that fill him with awe and admiration: "The starry skies above me and the moral law within me."
Most of the visitors, it can be hoped at any rate, get the museum's intended message:
if the quest to reach the stars takes place in the absence of moral law, it will lead to atrocity.
||Richard Bernstein, "Where Rocketry Is Honored, Rubble Is Reminder",
NYT on the Web, 13Jun03|
||If you've read this far, and it has brought to your
mind some quote which is significant to you, I'd appreciate if you'd share it with me: