[ Go to lecture about role of books today! ] Quotes that have touched me (page 11 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[ Always reflect yet one more time! ]
[ Notice what's hiding in plain sight! ]"There is more to the surface than meets the eye." --Aaron Beck
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Wal-Mart lives in a world of supply and command, instead of a world of supply and demand. Bruce Hudson, a retail analyst at the Meta Group, quoted in: Constance L. Hays, "What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Behavior", NYT on the Web, 14Nov04. "Eventually, some experts say, Wal-Mart will use its technology to institute what is called scan-based trading, in which manufacturers own each product until it is sold. 'Wal-Mart will never take those products onto its books. If you think of the impact of shedding $50 billion of inventory, that is huge.' The impact will probably be felt by suppliers, [Hudson] added, but none are likely to complain. 'You can see the pattern of Wal-Mart's mandates, and as Wal-Mart grows in power, it is getting more dictatorial. The suppliers shake their heads and say, "I don't want to go this way, but they are so big."' (loc. cit.) (See also: Quote #198)
Dr. David Arnett, a supernova expert at the University of Arizona, said that [computer] simulations were a way to test ideas and that watching them was a prod to theorists' intuition. "Massive computing does not provide the answers so much as it provides an extension of our imagination," he wrote in an e-mail message. Dennis Overbye, "Life-or-Death Question: How Supernovas Happen", NYT on the Web, 09Nov04.
[ Detail from Duccio painting acquired by Met, 2004 ] [ ] [ ]
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Met Museum Flag. BMcC, 20Dec04.
In its most expensive purchase ever, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to pay more than $45 million for a painting by the early Renaissance master Duccio di Buoninsegna.... That would top the Met's previous record purchase, of Jasper Johns's "White Flag" (1955) for more than $20 million in 1998.
Carol Vogel, "The Met Makes Its Biggest Purchase Ever", NYT on the Web, 10Nov04. Ed. note: I don't have a problem with the $45 million for a very rare and very old painting. But $20 million for a Jasper Johns white flag? That strikes me as a surrender to the fashion du jour: JJ * 2.25 = Duccio?
Some U.S. government agency or watchdog group has proposed that automobile tires should be marked with their manufacture date (aka: "birthday"), because, after 6 years, tires start to deteriorate -- i.e., become unsafe -- even if they have never been used. The tire industry opposes this, because they say it might give consumers a false sense of security. Ref. lost -- probably heard on Monday, 08Nov04 NPR Morning Edition or Marketplace morning report.
[ U.S. captured Afghani fighters detention camp, Guantanamo, Cuba ]In early November 2001, with Americans still staggered by the Sept. 11 attacks, a small group of White House officials worked in great secrecy to devise a new system of justice for the new war they had declared on terrorism.... [President George W.] Bush played only a modest role in the debate, senior administration officials said.... The plan was considered so sensitive that senior White House officials kept its final details hidden from the president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, officials said. It was so urgent, some of those involved said, that they hardly thought of consulting Congress.... "We think it guarantees that we'll have the kind of treatment of these individuals that we believe they deserve," said Vice President Dick Cheney, who was a driving force behind the policy.... Military lawyers were largely excluded from that process.... They have since waged a long struggle to ensure terrorist prosecutions meet what they say are basic standards of fairness. Uniformed lawyers now assigned to defend Guantánamo detainees have become among the most forceful critics of the Pentagon's own system. Tim Golden, "After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law", The New York Times on the Web, 24 Oct 04. Ed. note: This is an example of why I honestly think the United States today would be in better -- or at least less bad -- shape, if a military coup ousted the Bush administration. "Many of the Pentagon's uniformed lawyers were angered by the implication that the military would be used to deliver 'rough justice' for the terrorists. The Uniform Code of Military Justice had moved steadily into line with the due-process standards of the federal courts, and senior military lawyers were proud and protective of their system. They generally supported using commissions for terrorists, but argued that the system would not be fair without greater rights for defendants. 'The military lawyers would from time to time remind the civilians that there was a Constitution that we had to pay attention to,' said Admiral Guter, who, after retiring as the Navy judge advocate general, signed a 'friend of the court' brief on behalf of plaintiffs in the Guantánamo Supreme Court case.... In the end, [Secretary of Defense] Rumsfeld compromised. He granted defendants a presumption of innocence and set 'beyond a reasonable doubt' as a standard for proving guilt."(ibid.) (See also: Quote #109, #221)
"Military trials set up to determine the guilt or innocence of enemy combatants imprisoned at a U.S. military prison in Cuba are unlawful and cannot continue in their current form, a federal judge ruled this afternoon. In a major setback to the Bush administration, U.S. District Judge James Robertson found that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may legally be prisoners of war entitled to the protections of international law and should be allowed a hearing on whether they qualify for those protections.... The judge ruled that unless and until the military gives detainees a fair hearing before a 'competent tribunal' on whether they are prisoners of war, the government can only try them for enemy offenses in military courts martial, under long-established rules of military law." (Carol D. Leonnig, "Judge Rules Guantanamo Trials Unlawful", The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com), 09Nov04; 3:13PM) "The judge also said that in asserting that the Guantánamo prisoners are unlawful combatants and outside the reach of the Geneva Conventions, 'the government has asserted a position starkly different from the positions and behavior of the United States in previous conflicts, one that can only weaken the United States' own ability to demand application of the Geneva applications to Americans captured during armed conflicts abroad.'" (Neil A. Lewis, "U.S. Judge Halts War-Crime Trial at Guantánamo", NYT on the Web, 09Nov04)
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said yesterday that federal courts have endangered national security by ruling against the Bush administration on issues related to the war on terrorism.... Ashcroft... [said] that court decisions limiting President Bush's powers are part of "a profoundly disturbing trend" in which the judicial branch is injecting itself into matters that should be up to the executive branch. "The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war".... He added later: "Our nation and our liberty will be all the more in jeopardy as the tendency for judicial encroachment and ideological micromanagement are applied to the sensitive domain of national defense. (Dan Eggen, "Ashcroft Decries Court Rulings: 'Second-Guessing' Bush on Security Raises Risk, He Says", The Washington Post, 13Nov04, p.A06)
The Central Intelligence Agency has used coercive interrogation methods against a select group of high-level leaders and operatives of Al Qaeda that have produced growing concerns inside the agency about abuses.... In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including... "water boarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.... Defenders of the operation said the methods stopped short of torture, did not violate American anti-torture statutes.... The tactics simulate torture, but officials say they are supposed to stop short of serious injury.... "Some people involved in this have been concerned for quite a while that eventually there would be a new president, or the mood in the country would change, and they would be held accountable," one intelligence source said. "Now that's happening faster than anybody expected."... James Risen, David Johnston and Neil A. Lewis, NYT, 13May04, pp.A1,A13 (emphasis added). Ed. note: Concerning George W Bush's responsibility in these matters, the article says: "So far, the agency has refused to grant any independent observer or human rights group access to the high-level detainees, who have been held in strict secrecy. Their whereabouts are such closely guarded secrets that one official said he had been told that Mr. Bush had informed the C.I.A. that he did not want to know where they were" (emphasis added). What is going to happen to these persons? "So far, the Bush administration has not said what it intends to do over the long term with any of the high-level detainees, leaving them subject to being imprisoned indefinitely without any access to lawyers, courts or any form of due process."(loc.cit.) (See also: Quote #109)
Guard to inmate in Abu Ghraib prison: "We will make you wish to die and it will not happen."(inmate's sworn statement) These words resonate with Werner Herzog's quasi-documentary about the First Gulf War: "Lessons of Darkness". As voiceover to a hellish conflagration of burning oil wells, Herzog says a time will come when men will seek death but death will flee from them -- with the difference that Herzog refers to all ranks and sides, not just to those incarcerated by the victors.[ >> ]
Jon Routson's exhibition of videos at the Team Gallery in Chelsea is... a small eddy in the increasingly roiled waters where art meets the United States' rapidly expanding copyright laws.... Routson makes movies of other people's movies.... [H]e has been going to... movie theaters... and recording what happens on and around the screen with a small, hand-held camcorder. He shows the grainy, oddly distorted results, which he calls recordings, as DVD installations in art galleries.... [F]or example, three highly unstable recordings of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," each made in a different... theater, were being projected simultaneously (but not in sync) on walls in the gallery's three small rooms.... Last week two people were arrested in California for operating camcorders in movie theaters.... (An AT&T Labs Research report... found that most illegal copies were either duplicates of stolen copies or were shot from tripods in projection booths.)... [T]he no-camcorder laws may not do much to stem pirating while making it increasingly difficult for artists to do one of the things they do best: comment on the world around them. Our surroundings are so thoroughly saturated with images and logos, both still and moving.... We are entitled to have artists, as well as political cartoonists, composers and writers, portray, parody and dissect it.... Roberta Smith, "When One Man's Video Art Is Another's Copyright Crime", NYT on the Web, 05May04. Ed. notes: See my I.U.D.T.C.R. (also my: L.H.O.O.Q.), and: Legal representation of copyright protected material. My web/e-art?
L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, said in a speech six months before the Sept. 11 attacks that the Bush administration was "paying no attention" to terrorism. "What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this,'" Bremer said at a... conference on terrorism on Feb. 26, 2001.... Bremer, whose diplomatic jobs included a stint as ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, said a war against terrorism would be unending. "If you call it a war, you suggest there's a victory," he said. "I would argue there is no final victory in the war against terrorism any more than there is in the so-called war against crime." AP News, "L. Paul Bremer, U.S. Administrator in Iraq, Criticized Bush on Terrorism Before 9/11 Attacks", 4/30/04 4:44PM GMT.
LUTON, England, April 24[:] The call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered, counterterrorism officials say.... "Iraq dramatically strengthened their recruitment efforts," one counterterrorism official said. He added that some mosques now display photos of American soldiers fighting in Iraq alongside bloody scenes of bombed out Iraqi neighborhoods.... At a mosque in Geneva, an imam recently exhorted his followers to "impose the will of Islam on the godless society of the West."... Patrick E. Tyler and Don Van Natta Jr., "Militants in Europe Openly Call for Jihad and the Rule of Islam", NYT on the Web, 26Apr04) (See: Quote #127, #85, #65.)
Until a case of mad cow disease was found in the United States on Dec. 23, a tongue from... Creekstone Farms, a high-end beef producer with an ultramodern plant... fetched $17 in Japan. American wholesalers pay $3.50.... But after Dec. 23, foreign countries shut their doors. Creekstone lost 25 percent of its sales, laid off 45 of its 750 workers and idled its plant one to two days a week. Japanese buyers assured... that they would buy again if [Creekstone] tested [their] beef for the disease.... In response... Mr. Fielding, chief operating officer... built a laboratory.... His staff was trained in testing for mad cow, using a machine that gives results in seven hours, while the carcasses are still in the cooler. But on April 9, the United States Department of Agriculture forbade Creekstone to test its cattle, saying there was "no scientific justification" for testing young steers like those Creekstone sells. Certifying some beef for Japan as disease-free, the department said, might confuse American consumers into thinking that untested beef was not safe.... Mr. Fielding... says he only wants the freedom to please a big, fussy customer, and he accuses the department of bending to the will of the big meat companies that control 80 percent of the industry.... Top officials of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which represents 27,000 cattle ranchers, argued strongly in an interview that Creekstone should be stopped.... Terry Stokes, the chief executive, said, "If you let one company step out and do that, other companies would have to follow," at considerable expense.... Workers still on the line at [Creekstone] are worried about their jobs.... Particularly galling to Mr. Fielding is this: In Japan, because of the shortage, Australian producers are getting up to $42 a tongue. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., "Barred from Testing for Mad Cow, Niche Meatpaccker Loses Clients", NYT, 18Apr04. An NYT Editorial on the same day: "A Strange Ban on Testing Beef" (18Apr04, P.WK12) says: "The Bush administration generally frowns on federal regulation and touts the virtues of voluntary efforts to deal with all manner of national problems. So it was quite a shock when heavy-handed regulators at the Agriculture Department refused to let a private company test all the cattle it slaughters for mad cow disease.... Creekstone... was required under a 1913 law to get permission to conduct the tests. The stated reason for the rejection was that the rapid tests are licensed only for surveillance, not to guarantee consumer safety. But critics contend the department is primarily trying to protect the beef industry from pressure to test all 35 million or so cattle slaughtered in this country annually. Such blanket testing would raise production costs, and discovery of a single case of mad cow disease, or even a false positive, might cause American beef sales to plummet.... If the cattle industry has the clout to sway a government department on this kind of issue, it probably has the clout to influence federal officials when it comes to questions much closer to the interests of American consumers. American negotiators are pressing the Japanese to relax their requirements.... If they do not, the government should change its mind and let the market rule. That would be at least a small sign that the people who help protect the safety of American meat have their priorities in the right place." (See also: Quote #194.)
On the evening of Sept. 12, 2001, according to a newly published memoir, President Bush wandered alone around the Situation Room in a White House emptied by the previous day's calamitous events. Spotting Richard A. Clarke, his counterterrorism coordinator, Bush pulled him and a small group of aides into the dark paneled room. "Go back over everything, everything," Bush said, according to Clarke's account. "See if Saddam did this." "But Mr. President, al Qaeda did this," Clarke replied. "I know, I know, but . . . see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred." Reminded that the CIA, FBI and White House staffs had sought and found no such link before, Clarke said, Bush spoke "testily." As he left the room, Bush said a third time, "Look into Iraq, Saddam." For Clarke, then in his 10th year as a top White House official, that day marked the transition from neglect to folly in the Bush administration's stewardship of war with Islamic extremists.... "Any leader whom one can imagine as president on September 11 would have declared a 'war on terrorism' and would have ended the Afghan sanctuary [for al Qaeda] by invading," Clarke writes. "What was unique about George Bush's reaction" was the additional choice to invade "not a country that had been engaging in anti-U.S. terrorism but one that had not been, Iraq." In so doing, he estranged allies, enraged potential friends in the Arab and Islamic worlds, and produced "more terrorists than we jail or shoot." "It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush, chanting 'invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq,'" Clarke writes. Barton Gellman, "Memoir Criticizes Bush 9/11 Response: President Pushed Iraq Link, Aide Says", The Washington Post, 22Mar04, p.A01. (See also: Quote #127.)
That President Bush failed to adequately grasp the threat of Al Qaeda in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, then followed up with "an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq that strengthened the fundamentalist, radical Islamic terrorist movement worldwide."... is the stinging indictment of Mr. Bush's own former top counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, published this week in a memoir. Todd S. Purdum, "An Accuser's Insider Status Puts the White House on the Defensive", NYT, 23Mar04, p.A18 (emphasis added).
Clarke also said the day after the Sept. 11 attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested bombing Iraq, despite the lack of any evidence of Baghdad's involvement. When told al Qaeda's bases were in Afghanistan, not Iraq, Clarke said Rumsfeld responded that there were no good bombing targets in Afghanistan, but there were plenty of such targets in Iraq. Clarke said he thought at first that Rumsfeld was joking, but quickly realized that he was serious "Bush Accused of Ignoring Al Qaeda Until After 9/11", Reuters, Mon Mar 22, 2004 01:16 AM ET.
...minimum apartments of the family-based household type... not fit to satisfy minimum standards of health and decent life. Not capable of providing a socially and psychologically requisite distance between persons and generations. Axiom: The minimum dwelling as an abode purged of the family-based household: a personal sleeping cubicle for one adult individual. Karel Teige, "The Miminum Dwelling", The MIT Press, 2002, p.393 (originally published 1932).
The fact that president of the United States is no longer trusted and his word is not taken to be America's bond is a serious development. It detracts from our power.... When President Kennedy sent Dean Acheson to Paris to alert De Gaulle that there were Soviet missiles aimed at the United States and that the United States would remove them, and when Acheson finished briefing De Gaulle and said to De Gaulle, "I now want to show you the evidence," De Gaulle responded, "I don't want to see the evidence. I believe the president of the United States. France stands with the United States." Would this happen today? I doubt it very much. Zbigniew Brzezinski ("national security advisor in the Carter administration"), interviewed on "PBS NewsHour: One Year Later: March 19, 2004". Ed. note: George W Bush's opinion about the credibility of his adminstration's statements about this subject: "So what's the difference?"
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT PER CAPITA.... The use of the GDP, not the GDP itself, is harshly criticized as scientifically incorrect, Simon Kuznets himself (the economist that, in the early 1940s, devise GDP), and many other experts of national budgets and accounting tried for years to prevent the GDP being used as an indicator of prosperity and human development. Because GDP does not measure important aspect of develop such as health, crime, poverty, environmental health/decay and destruction of the natural environment, loss of leisure time, lack of civility in communities, lack of concern for future generations, income gap (women/men; poor/wealthy). Due this failings GDP used as an indicator of human development contributes to making Western societies practically blind to fundamental human needs, to environmental emergencies, as well as encouraging politicians to take the wrong decisions. From website: "A DESERTIFICATION INDICATOR SYSTEM FOR MEDITERRANEAN EUROPE; Indicator description sheet; gdp per capita". Ed. note: In other words, GDP measures motion, not progress -- how much stuff there is, not how much good it is. A rising GDP does not necessarily imply a rising quality of life. It comes closer to measuring people's busy-ness [aka business?]. See also: Quote #113.
...Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Islamist father of Pakistan's bomb, peddled [nuclear] materials to Libya and North Korea, and we don't know who else. "It may be that A. Q. Khan & Associates already have passed bomb-grade nuclear fuel to the Qaeda..." warns Paul Leventhal, founding president of the Nuclear Control Institute. It's mystifying that the administration hasn't leaned on Pakistan to make Dr. Khan available for interrogation to ensure that his network is entirely closed. Several experts on Pakistan told me they believe that the administration has been so restrained because its top priority isn't combating nuclear proliferation -- it's getting President Pervez Musharraf's help in arresting Osama bin Laden before the November election.
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Another puzzle is why an administration that spends hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq doesn't try harder to secure uranium and plutonium in Russia and elsewhere. The bipartisan program to secure weapons of mass destruction is starved for funds -- but Mr. Bush is proposing a $41 million cut in "cooperative threat reduction" with Russia....
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To clarify the stakes, here's a scenario from the Federation of American Scientists for a modest terrorist incident: A stick of cobalt, an inch thick and a foot long, is taken from among hundreds of such sticks at a food irradiation plant. It is blown up with just 10 pounds of explosives in a "dirty bomb" at the lower tip of Manhattan, with a one-mile-per-hour breeze blowing. Some 1,000 square kilometers in three states is contaminated, and some areas of New York City become uninhabitable for decades."
Nicholas D. Kristof, "A Nuclear 9/11", NYT on the Web, OpEd piece, 10Mar04. Ed. note: The notion of George W Bush being eager to catch Osama bin Laden before the coming Presidential election reminds me of former President Ronald Reagan's eagerness to have a school teacher orbiting in space when he gave his State of the Union Address. To try to give the President what he wanted, the Space Shuttle Challenger was launched, with that school teacher aboard, despite engineering concerns about possible failure of booster "O-rings" with a launch-time temperature near freezing -- nearly 20 degrees below any previous launch[fn.10d[ Go to footnote! ]]....
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07 April 2006 (2006-04-07 ISO 8601)
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