[ Go to lecture about role of books today! ] Quotes that have touched me (page 10 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
[ Notice what's hiding in plain sight! ]"There is more to the surface than meets the eye." --Aaron Beck
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[ Israeli models posing on Palestinean side of 'The Wall' ] ...scandalized Palestinians gaped at fashion models sashaying on behalf of an Israeli designer along the barrier Israel is building to enclose Jerusalem.... Their lacquered faces composed in haughty neutrality, three models struck poses at the foot of the 25-foot-high concrete wall, beneath white graffiti in swirling Arabic. They seemed unaware that the words meant "I Am a Big Donkey.".... one model's shirt flared, unbuttoned, well below her breasts. Most of the other women -- there were five models in all -- wore more modest outfits.... The photo session was dreamed up by two 25-year-old students, Maayan Smoler and Uri Dagan, in an "ideological advertising" class at Bezalel art school in Jerusalem. They called their idea "women crossing boundaries".... The primary audience was Israelis, but Mr. Dagan said there was a message for Palestinians: "We are not ignoring your suffering." Yet Palestinian onlookers thought the Israelis were trying to cash in on their suffering. "They come for fun here to make a fashion show, while we suffer from this and can't go earn a living?" said Naji Sabagh, 26, whose house faces the wall about 50 feet away. "They just want to bring this strange idea to make more money." Asked what he thought of the clothes, Mr. Sabagh said, "They reflect their tastes and their culture. We have a different culture." James Bennet, "Fashionable Protest, Lost in Translation", NYT, 04Mar04, p.A13. Ed. note: This seems a doubly flagrant case of baiting the Islamic bear: (1) Flashing sexually provocative "Western" female attire before Islamic eyes; "a passing Palestinian woman, Umm Muhammad... Umm Muhammad -- the name, the only one she would give, means "mother of Muhammad" -- wore a faded blue dress buttoned to her throat and a brown-and-blue head scarf.... Another model explained... 'We are doing something to show that we are just people who want to have no barriers, peace and, you know, beautiful things like me and the clothes. Not gray walls.'"(ibid.) Western values: Beautiful bodies not women buttoned to the throat even when not wearing chadors or burqas. Plus: (2) Doing this on the Palestinean side of the highly controvertial wall Israel is building to prevent Palestinean terrorists from getting into Israel, but which is also causing much inconvenience and economic hardship to Palestineans. Wouldn't it have been more prudent for the Israeli models to have done their "sasyaying" on the Israeli side of the wall, where the Palestineans could not see what they were doing?
Fourteen years ago this month Adobe introduced Photoshop to the software market, a leap forward in graphic design that allowed any fool to cut, paste, shade and rearrange images with ease. One of the original "killer apps," this widely adopted program has also been widely abused. The temptation to play virtuoso riffs on the keyboard has led to countless pictures that aspire to be "futuristic" but reek of a moldy surrealism better done when scissors were cutting-edge. Photoshop may have been a boon to print advertising, but the compelling artworks it has facilitated have been scarce. Richard B. Woodward, "The Eerily Lovely Children of the Photoshop Generation", NYT on the Web, 29Feb04. Ed. notes: (1) This article is primarily about a different subject: the work of a particular photographer/Photoshop artist: Loretta Lux. (2) I offer my own "Envelope art", from the 1980's, as an example of use of computer to create meaningful art. (3) As Walter Ong once asked: "What is the purpose of a person acquiring perfect French pronunciation, if they have nothing of value to say in any language."
[ Martha Stewart, 09 March 2004, after conviction on criminal charges ] From the beginning, Martha Stewart has made a business of her life -- or at least a lusciously lighted, expertly edited, carefully controlled version of her life. Her books, her television shows and her magazines featured photos of her family, her friends and her homes.... In Ms. Stewart's world, even her pets are public figures.... "Powerful people like to work and play with other powerful people," said Paul Bernard, an executive consultant who works with corporate and Wall Street clients. Indeed, they may not even make much distinction between business and pleasure, he said. "It's all about networking." But seldom are the intimate details of such a world on public display as they have been at the Stewart trial. Her brokerage statements have been entered into evidence (at one point she owned more stock of Wal-Mart than of Kmart, her business partner).... And Ms. Stewart, understandably, has not been enjoying any of it.... "The invasion of privacy has been as unprecedented as the charges," said George D. Sard, a spokesman for Ms. Stewart. To be sure, she has never appeared very comfortable with publicity she could not control. Leslie Eaton, "Web of Friends and Business Blurs Stewart's Glossy Image", NYT, 29Feb04, pp.A1,25. Ed. notes: (1) This seems a "good" example of how persons like Martha Stewart want it both ways: They want to be adulated down to the smallest detail in the public eye, and they don't want to be scrutinized by that same public. (2) As Mr. Bernard points out, for the rich and powerful, there is no difference between their public and private life, and therefore their meals and entertainment (etc.) are business expenses, whereas ordinary workers' lives are sharply split into work life and private life, so that they have to pay for their meals and entertainment (etc.) from personal after-tax income.
What you want God to tell you at the pearly gates: "You see, Jim, you were wrong. I do exist. But you may come in anyway." James Lipton (host of "Inside the Actors Studio"), "Domains: A Film Buff's Town House", interview by Edward Lewine, NYT Sunday Magazine, 15Feb04, pp.25-6. This is apparently a question Lipton asks the actors he interviews on his show. Ed. note: Lipton's response well describes a God who would deserve to exist -- in contrast, e.g., with the God of Job or the God of The Tower of Babel.[fn.31b[ Go to footnote! ]]
For more than 15 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, has locked in overnight employees at some of its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. It is a policy that many employees say has created disconcerting situations, such as when a worker in Indiana suffered a heart attack, when hurricanes hit in Florida and when workers' wives have gone into labor.... [M]anagement... drummed into the overnight workers that if they ever used... [t]he fire exit... for anything but a fire, they would lose their jobs. Steve Greenhouse, "Workers Assail Night Lock-Ins by Wal-Mart", NYT, 18Jan04, p.A1. (See also: Quote #217)
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By 1995, Monsanto revamped its licensing program... for genetically modified seeds... to what some executives called a value capture system to reap bigger profits. Under this system, companies that licensed the technology had to require farmers to sign a grower licensing agreement that forbade them to replant seeds saved from harvest. David Barboza, "Questions Seen On Seed Prices Set in the 90s", NYT, 06Jan04, p.A1,C8. Ed. note: Forbidding farmers to replant seeds saved from harvest seems to me to threaten the very basis of agriculture, and therefore constitutes a potentially fatal threat to our food supply. Also, ironically: "A new report... says that while there are many techniques being developed to prevent genetically engineered organisms or their genes from escaping into the wild, most techniques are still in early development and none appear to be completely effective." (Andrew Pollack, "No Foolproof Way Is Seen to Contain Altered Genes", NYT on the Web, 21Jan04) Must farmers police themselves to not use "windfall" genetically engineered seeds that come their way unbidden? This reminds me of Internet users being arrested for child pornography on their computers that arrives in unsolicited email. It also conjures up images of a world in which the air we breath is private property, and if you don't pay, you die by asphyxiation. Read more: Monsanto vs Schmeiser.
Let us first be clear what Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser was found guilty of. He was found guilty of a) having Monsanto genetics on his land, and b) not advising Monsanto to come and fetch it. He was not found guilty of brownbagging - obtaining the seed fraudulently. Indeed, all such allegations were dropped at the actual hearing, due to lack of evidence. Regardless, in his 29 March 2001 decision ( http://www.fct-cf.gc.ca ;click on decisions), Judge W. Andrew MacKay made it clear that how it got there didn't matter anyway. The guilt was the same. Specifically, "Yet the source of the Roundup resistant canola...is really not significant for the resolution of the issue of infringement..." It also didn't matter that Schmeiser did not benefit - at all - from the RR seed. In order to derive any economic benefit from growing RR seed, you'd either have to... sell it as seed, or... spray Roundup. He did neither. He sold the crop as grain - not as seed, and he didn't spray Roundup.... The harm that has been done to Percy and Louise Schmeiser, now in their 70's, is grievous. But of even greater concern is how this incomprehensible decision will affect all western Canadian farmers.... (E. Ann Clark, Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, "The Implications of the Schmeiser Decision: The Crime of Percy Schmeiser", from Percy Schmeiser website)
When Jacqueline Turner's daughter Riley was only 8 months old, she could let her mother know she was thirsty for milk by pumping her fingers against her palm. Or that she wanted more cereal by touching her fingertips together. Or ask for a ball, or her stuffed dog, or a book -- all without saying a word. She used hand gestures taught to her by her mother. Why teach signs to a baby who is not deaf?... [T]each... signs to babies to help eliminate the[ir] frustration... in not being able to communicate, as well as [their mother's] frustration in not understanding [what the baby wants].... For hearing and deaf children, the ability to gesture tends to develop ahead of words.... Teaching simple gestures, or signs, to babies before they can talk is a way to jump-start the language and communication process, and stimulate intellectual development.... [S]igning with a child is as much about empowerment as about communication. It... and would provide... children, with another tool to get their needs met. Judith Berck, "Before Baby Talk, Signs and Signals", NYT, 06Jan04, p.F5.
"While I don't believe G.M. intentionally designed [OnStar] to facilitate Orwellian activities, they sure have made it easy"... a Chevrolet Blazer [owner] with one of the most popular new features in high-end cars: the OnStar personal security system... said.... [T]he "black box" sensors that have already been placed in millions of cars nationwide... capture the last few seconds of data -- like vehicle speed, seatbelt use and whether the driver applied the brakes -- before a collision.... People's cars have already started turning their owners in.... Ian Ayres of Yale University, a law professor who has examined the issue, predicted that... "within a decade all our car insurance companies will be offering us discounts if we... agree not to speed." and the use of tracking technology will grow "even if they don't give us a discount," he said, because "all the parents will want these boxes in their cars to know whether their kids are speeding." [ Why does everybody like cellphones? ]John Schwartz, "This Car Can Talk. What It Says May Cause Concern.", NYT on the Web, 29Dec03. The article concludes: "Aviel D. Rubin, the technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said that every new technology with the potential to invade privacy was introduced with pledges that it would be used responsibly. But over time, he said, the desire of law enforcement and business to use the data overtook the early promises. 'The only way to get real privacy,' he said, 'is not to collect the information in the first place.'"
Nervous tissue from... bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or B.S.E... infected cattle can spread the disease from one cow to another. Such tissue from slaughtered cows, which is barred in the manufacture of cattle feed, is diverted instead to the making of food for poultry and house pets. Chaudia H. Deutsch, "Makers of Pet Foods Voice Little Worry", NYT on the Web, 26Dec03.
"...as the American beef industry struggles with its first case of mad cow disease.... How many 'downers' -- cows too sick to walk -- are slaughtered each year is in dispute. The beef industry says the number is only about 60,000 among older animals, while animal rights advocates cite figures based on European herds that suggest the number is nearly 700,000.... In any case, only 20,526 animals were tested last year; through the 1990's, only a few hundred were tested annually. Which downers might have mad cow disease is also in dispute.... The beef industry argues that many animals that are falling down are merely lame." (Donald G. McNeil, Jr., "Mad Cow Case May Bring More Meat Testing", NYT on the Web, 26Dec03)
Ever since he identified the bizarre brain-destroying proteins [aka: prions] that cause mad cow disease, Dr. Stanley Prusiner, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, has worried about whether the meat supply in America is safe.... The only reason mad cow disease had not been found here, he said, is that the... U.S.D.A.'s... animal inspection agency was testing too few animals. Once more cows are tested, he added, "we'll be able to understand the magnitude of our problem.... We want to keep prions out of the mouths of humans.... We don't know what they might be doing to us." Sandra Blakeslee, "Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent", NYT on the Web, 25Dec03.
"President Bush is receiving regular updates on the outbreak from Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and her top aides, the chief White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told reporters aboard Air Force One today [26Dec03] as the president headed for his ranch in Texas. And, Mr. McClellan said, Mr. Bush has 'continued to eat beef.'" (Donald G. McNeil, Jr., "Tracing Source of Mad Cow Case Could Take Months, U.S. Says", NYT on the Web, 26Dec03)
Historical photograph: British agriculture minister eats hamburger to show British beef is safe (1990).
See also: U.S. Dept of Agriculture prohibits meat packer to test their meat for B.S.E. (18Apr04, Quote #208).
"Microsoft has learned of a mistake in the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font included in the Microsoft Office System client applications. Due to an unintentional oversight, we failed to identify, prior to the release, the presence of two swastikas within the font. We apologize for this and for any offense caused. Microsoft is taking immediate measures to remedy the issue for all customers." [ Korean Buddhist temple with reversed swastika symbol ]"An Open Letter from Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky: Microsoft Releases a Utility to Remove Inappropriate Symbols from the Microsoft Office System", Microsoft Press Release, 12Dec03. Ed. Note: How can we refer to what is evil if we do not have specific words and symbols for its specific manifestations? I also thought that the Nazi symbol was turned in the opposite direction of an ancient Buddhist symbol (See picture of Korean Buddhist temple, at right; Click here to learn more about swastika symbol; Click here to see Bookshelf Symbol 7 font).
Ed. notes: (1) Would that Microsoft was as attentive to remediating its predatory business practices, as to making this symbolic gesture! (2) It is almost impossible to find a picture of the offending font on the Internet. Are "people" trying to make the evil the swastika symbol is associated with impossible by making the symbol itself "unimaginable", "unthinkable", etc. -- like "911", etc.?
Alexander [the Great] died in 323[BCE] at which time the Athenians decided to blame Aristotle for everything Alexander had done to them. As was common with Athenians, a charge was trumped up to bring him to trial. Aristotle exercised discretion and left the City. He is alleged to have said of his departure, "Lest the Athenians should sin against philosophy for the second time." He was, of course, referring to the senseless murder of Socrates in 399 BC. History and Evolution: By William E. Steinman: Part 24, Aristotle's Life: September 1, 2003 (Website: Wesoomi Publishing). Ed. Note: I had long thought Plato was the philosopher who chose not to put his life on the line for the truth. I liked this idea because I don't like Plato, who appears, as Eric Havelock dscribes in: Preface to Plato, to have been a political conservative (a kind of Hellenic William F. Buckley, Jr.), who invented his "Ideas" to hoodwink the citizens of Athens into thinking they should support his favored aristocratic political order. Whoever chose to leave to save the Athenians from committing a second crime against philosophy, however, perhaps Socrates was the one who made the wrong choice -- or at least, considering his advanced age, perhaps he lost little in exchange for making one of history's great "PR coups". Socrates' sacrifice for the truth would have been more convincing had he been under 40; and Galileo Galilei would have set a better example for the most recent 400 years of European civilization, had he followed either Socrates' or Aristotle's example.
President Bush found himself in the awkward position on Wednesday [10Dec03] of calling the leaders of France, Germany and Russia to ask them to forgive Iraq's debts, just a day after the Pentagon excluded those countries and others from $18 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects. David E. Sanger and Douglas Jehl, "Bush Seeks Help of Allies Barred From Iraq Deals", NYT on the Web, 11Dec03. See also: Quote #110.
The United States said on Wednesday its decision to bar Iraq war opponents like France, Germany and Russia from $18.6 billion in U.S. reconstruction projects was appropriate and a reward for U.S. supporters. The decision... suggested President Bush was in no mood to forgive key allies who opposed the war and thwarted his effort to gain United Nations backing to invade Iraq, but would like to cash in on the war's aftermath. "U.S. Calls Iraq Contract Restrictions Appropriate", Reuters, 10Dec03, Filed at 3:45 p.m. ET. See also: Quote #120.
Russia, France, Germany, Canada and other countries barred by the Pentagon from bidding for $18.6 billion worth of prime reconstruction contracts in Iraq reacted angrily Wednesday, noting that the move was all the more astonishing given recent appeals by Washington for help in postwar Iraq. Erin E. Arvedlund, "Allies Angered at Exclusion From Bidding", NYT on the Web, 10DDec03.
"It's very simple. Our people risked their lives. Friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect," Bush said. (Steve Holland, "Bush Rejects Europeans on Iraq Contract Flap", Reuters, 11Dec03, 12:02 PM ET)
In one of the most secretive presidential trips in American history, George W. Bush flew to Baghdad under intense security on Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with United States troops and to thank them for standing up against the "band of thugs and assassins" they are fighting in Iraq.... On the flight over, Air Force One had come within sight of a British Airways plane.... The British Airways pilot radioed over and asked... "Did I just see Air Force One?" There was silence from the Air Force One pilot, who then replied, "Gulfstream 5." There was a longer silence from the British Airways pilot... who, seeming to get that he was in on a secret, then said, "Oh." [/] On the way... the White House communications director... told reporters that if news of the trip leaked out before Air Force One landed in Iraq, the plane would turn around.... Air traffic controllers in Baghdad did not know the plane heading for the runway was Air Force One, and it then landed without its lights in darkness.... [04Dec03 addendum: The British Airways pilot's conversation with Air Force One may be a White House fabrication: See footnote #80[ Go to footnote! ]] [ George W Bush's Thanksgiving sealthy stunt.... ]Air Farce One....
Elisabeth Bumiller, "On Secret Iraq Trip, Bush Pays Holiday Visit to G.I.'s", NYT on the Web, 28Nov03. Ed. note: I recall that in the movie "Air Force One", Harrison Ford plays the role of a President of the United States who overcomes a bunch of terrorists on Air Force One and then does a mid-air transfer of his family and finally himself to another plane. After the President himself transfers over (he saves himself last...) to the rescue plane, the plane's pilot announces that he is changing his call letters to: "Air Force One". What a contrast with George W Bush's fraidy-cat bravado! A White House photo shows Geoge W Bush wearing a U.S. Army exercise jacket with a big "Old Ironsides" patch on the chest, addressing troops during his two and a half (2h30m) hour visit which was only made public after Air Force One was safely out of Iraq airspace on its way back to the U.S.A. (03Dec03 addendum: There is a word I didn't know I was looking for here, but which a conservative newsletter's reference to it in denial discovered to me: coward.)
Air superiority: America had Tail-gunner Joe McCarthy (who never flew except in press photos), and, now, George W Bush who seems to have gone AWOL (albeit unpunished) from the Texas Air National Guard which he had joined to avoid the Vietnam War draft. Contrast these intrepid aviators with Jordon's recently deceased King Hussein, who piloted his own jumbo jet (a Lockheed L-1011).
The surprise visit produced upbeat, sometimes gushing coverage on the cable networks, which kept rerunning video of Bush with a turkey platter and his pep talk to the troops. "This is a show of power. . . . This has significance in terms of showing the power of the presidency," Fox anchor David Asman said... The message, retired Col. Ken Allard said on MSNBC, is that "you underestimate George Bush at your peril. It was a gutsy call, a Hail Mary pass, and he pulled it off." (--Howard Kurtz, "Media Notes" (OpEd piece), The Washington Post, 28Nov03, p.A44)
The ["911"] hijacking and crashing of the planes was "a foreseeable risk," said United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein... in a decision that allowed victims' families and those injured to proceed with their lawsuits against airlines, aircraft makers and the owners of the World Trade Center. Kirk Semple, "Judge Allows 9/11 Suits to Proceed", NYT on the Web, 09Sep03.
The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the defendants, who include the airlines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owner of the World Trade Center, had a duty to protect the lives of people on the ground, as well as on the hijacked aircraft.... [Judge Hellerstein wrote:] "We live in the vicinity of busy airports, and we work in tall office towers, depending on others to protect us from the willful desire of terrorists to do us harm. Some of those on whom we depend are the police, fire and intelligence departments of local, state and national governments. Others are private companies." Calling the possibility that a hijacked jet might crash and cause deaths on the ground "a foreseeable risk," the judge refused to dismiss the lawsuits already filed on behalf of those killed and injured at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon -- and thereby opened the door to others who have not yet sued. Diana B. Henriques and Susan Saulny, "Judge's Ruling Opens Door for More Families to Sue Airlines and Port Authority", NYT, 10Sep03, p.A16. Ed note: As I [BMcC] read it, while the judge is not saying we necessarily could have expected terrorists to fly passenger jets into large skyscrapers with the specific intent of destroying those buildings, he is arguing that, by being alert in a general way that could reasonably have been expected, we might have prevented the not specifically anticipated disaster nonetheless. This should be weighed against widespread protestations that the attack was "unimaginable" and therefore there was nothing we could have done to prevent it (See, e.g., Quote #106).
Q Dr. Rice, can I clarify something you said a couple weeks ago? When the August 6, 2001 memo came out, you came here and said that nobody -- I don't have the quote in front of me, but nobody could have imagined a plane being used as a weapon and being driven into one of our buildings. But the hearings revealed some intelligence --
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DR. RICE: Somebody did imagine it. Right.
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Q Did imagine it and did report on it. Did you know about that intelligence?
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DR. RICE: I did not know about that intelligence. You might note that report is from 1998. We came into office in 2001. And we did not know about the report.
"Remarks by the National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice", White House Press Release, 20Sep02. Ed note: I can't find Dr. Rice's original remark, either, but this should serve to document the "nobody could have imagined" exculpatory rationalization about "911", which Judge Hellerstein's ruling may help situate in an overall context of expectable official oversight and accountability. (See, e.g., Quote #106.)
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