Category Archives: “quote”

What she said

Arianna Huffington is zeroing in on the crucial issue – the consquences of the Bush powergrab for years after the administration leaves office. Who among the current candidates, once elected, will have the courage or the understanding to give some of that power up. Once upon a time George Washington was offered the highest office for life — a Crown if he wanted it. He said no. Who today is capable of saying no to sweeping powers of the executive once they begin to feel the draw of that power January 20, 2008? Anyone?

[snip]

Looking back over the last year, it’s one of the most important issues America faced. Looking ahead, it could turn out to be the “sleeper issue” of the 2008 presidential race.

I’m talking about executive power, the way it is used — and has been abused over the last 7 years.

In a very revealing piece in the Boston Globe, Charlie Savage lays out the results of a questionnaire the Globe sent to the presidential candidates on the limits of executive power, asking their views on the Bush administration’s expansive view of presidential authority.

It’s hard to overstate how vital this issue is, or how far off the media radar screen it remains. Indeed, it’s hard to think of another issue in which the importance-to-the-public/attention-paid-by-the-media ratio is as out of whack.

[…]

It’s easy to imagine the next president saying: Sure, Bush used his increased prerogatives to do damage but, trust me, I’ll use them to do good.

LINK.

And for a 150-page primer on the current threats to our rapidly-vanishing open society check out Naomi Wolf’s July 2007 book: The End of America: Letter’s of Warning to a Young Patriot. Not a cheery read — though Wolf does attempt to remain optimistic, and never attempts to seduce by overstating her case. It’s a disturbing work, but perhaps being disturbed is preferable to the increasing anxiety and feelings of helplessness that come of not admitting to myself what is really going on in this country.

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The Study of Cause and Effect

It is hard to have one’s watch stolen, but one reflects that the thief of the watch became a thief from causes of heredity and environment which are as interesting as they are scientifically comprehensible; and one buys another watch, if not with joy, at any rate with a philosophy that makes bitterness impossible. One loses, in the study of cause and effect, that absurd air which so many people have of being always shocked and pained by the curiousness of life. Such people live amid human nature as if human nature were a foreign country full of awful foreign customs. But, having reached maturity, one ought surely to be ashamed of being a stranger in a strange land!

— from How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

Music/Youth/Study

And therefore, I said, Glaucon, musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.

– Plato’s Republic Book III

“the bubble bursts”

[snip]

We sometimes see men who have obtained fortunes, suddenly become poor. […] Frequently it occurs because a man has been engaged in “outside operations,” of some sort. When he gets rich in his legitimate business, he is told of a grand speculation where he can make a score of thousands. He is constantly flattered by his friends, who tell him that he is born lucky, that everything he touches turns into gold. Now if he forgets that his economical habits, his rectitude of conduct and a personal attention to a business which he understood, caused his success in life, he will listen to the siren voices. He says:

“I will put in twenty thousand dollars. I have been lucky, and my good luck will soon bring me back sixty thousand dollars.”

A few days elapse and it is discovered he must put in ten thousand dollars more: soon after he is told “it is all right,” but certain matters not foreseen, require an advance of twenty thousand dollars more, which will bring him a rich harvest; but before the time comes around to realize, the bubble bursts, he loses all he is possessed of, and then he learns what he ought to have known at the first, that however successful a man may be in his own business, if he turns from that and engages ill a business which he don’t understand, he is like Samson when shorn of his locks his strength has departed, and he becomes like other men.

If a man has plenty of money, he ought to invest something in everything that appears to promise success, and that will probably benefit mankind; but let the sums thus invested be moderate in amount, and never let a man foolishly jeopardize a fortune that he has earned in a legitimate way, by investing it in things in which he has had no experience.

The Art of Money Getting, P.T. Barnum
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