Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quote of the day

"No law has a right to discourage the practice of truth. A man ought to speak the truth on every occasion, a duty can never be criminal, what is not criminal cannot be injurious." - Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Declaration of Rights"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quote of the day

"You’re an aggressive bully and an arrogant idiot!" - Mike Weinstein, speaking to Bill O'Reilly

Weinstein was responding to O'Reilly having called soldiers who wish to have their First Amendment rights protected by having the military adhere to church/state separation cowards.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quote of the day

"If your newspaper is going to publish a weekly column by Karl Rove, you have already crossed whatever conceptual boundary might stop you from publishing Suzanne Somers." - Jonathan Chait

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My most recent discount book buys

All for a dollar, courtesy of the local library book sale:

That Hideous Strength (pb) by C.S. Lewis

A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons (pb) by Robert Sapolsky

How the Mind Works (hc) by Steven Pinker

Zero History (hc) by William Gibson

Storms of my Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity (hc) by James Hansen

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (hc) by Jon Krakauer

That Hideous Strength completes for me Lewis's Space Trilogy, having long years ago read my copy of the first installment and purchased book 2 in a previous installment of Discount Book Buying. Although I'm happy to obtain a copy of Storms of my Grandchildren in pristine condition, it does dishearten me that this former library copy of a book on such an important subject looks as though it was has never been checked out.

And in tribute to libraries everywhere, a word from author Neil Gaiman on their greatness.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Quote of the day

"Bear in mind that the measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about." - Marcus Aurelius, The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations

I still remember standing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore about nine years ago, flipping through this book and coming across this quote, thinking it fantastic. I would put The Meditations on my must read list of philosophy texts.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Excerpt of the day

From The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology by John Sweeney

I used to be a war reporter. From Algeria, Bosnia and Chechnya to Zimbabwe I have been shelled, shot at, bombed, arrested, threatened and a Serb devotee of Slobodan Milosevic once stuck two sticks of dynamite up my nose. But never, ever, in all my times in all those wars have I felt under such harrowing psychological pressure as I did inside the brainwashing section of the Church of Scientology's exhibition, 'Psychiatry: The Industry of Death' on Sunset Boulevard in LA in the spring of 2007.
I previously wrote about the incident Sweeney is referencing, here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Baleful quote of the day

"I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." - Michael Grunwald

Grunwald is a reporter for Time magazine. His tweet is indicative of a pervasive rot in an American press corps which identifies not with the role of journalism in maintaining/creating an informed public citizenry, but with disseminating and reverberating the images that the national security state would like the public to believe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Baleful quote of the day

"Our NSA stories have been published and discussed in countless countries around the world, where they have sparked shock, indignation and demands for investigation. So revealingly, it is only American journalists - and them alone - who have decided to focus their intrepid journalistic attention not on the extremist and legally dubious surveillance behavior of the US government and serial deceit by its top officials, but on those who revealed all of that to the world." - Glenn Greenwald, e-mail response to Walter Pincus

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quote of the day

"How strange it is to reflect that [Emile Zola's book La Terre] is true. But it is. You have to confess it at last. Then you are aware of a grudge against him. Because he has exposed those odious French people to you? No; but because he has exposed your own people to you. You were asleep, and had forgotten; he has waked you up. You owe him a grudge - and will keep it." - Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quote of the day

"I continue to wonder precisely what Constitution of which nation [President Obama] taught back in his days in law school." - Charles Pierce

Balanced scales of justice is so pre 9/11

If you work for the CIA and torture someone to death, you can get a promotion. If you have access to classified info revealing mass domestic surveillance of United States citizens and reveal it, you can go to prison.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pierce, cutting to the bone

Charles Pierce, responding to an interview with two of the chiefs of the Washington DC insider pseudo-news site Politico

IC: You don't think there is any public calling to be perhaps boring if pensions are being stolen?

JH: I don't know. Maybe if I lived on Long Island, it wouldn't be that boring.

Fk you, you smug little prick. People are being ground up like corn meal out in the country but all's well with the world because Chris Matthews has your private number.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Today's discount book buys

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in our Time (hc) by Jonathan Weiner for $1.00.

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming (hc) by Chris Mooney for $1.00.

Baudolino (hc) by Umberto Eco for $1.00.

Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning (hc) by George Monbiot for $1.00.

These are all former library books; the only one that appears to have ever been checked out and/or read is The Beak of the Finch, the other three look more or less brand new (with Storm World looking like it has never even been opened before.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our nation should be ashamed

From Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, in the New York Times

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. 
Yeah, sure the Bill of Rights says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, but no one expects that to apply to Muslims with Muslim sounding names, do they?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

North Carolina Republicans versus the United States Constitution

From a bill proposed by N.C. Republicans:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
From the U.S. Constitution, which, contrary to the ideological wishful thinking of Republican theocrats, asserts:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [Amendment 1] ... No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. [Amendment 14]
Section 2 of the proposed bill is a call for nullification, something that I considered settled by the Civil War, giving some indication as to how radical the current incarnation of the Republican party has become.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Quote of the day

"[S]trange indeed though this may seem, the Istari, being clad in bodies of Middle-earth, might even as Men and Elves fall away from their purposes, and do evil, forgetting the good in the search for power to effect it." - J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales

One might consider this quote a companion to my previous post referencing the work of Tolkien.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Baleful quote of the day

"The man whom the [Obama] administration has put up to head the CIA would not say whether or not the president of the United States has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen within the borders of the United States .. And the [Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation] hearing, remarkably, went on as though nothing untoward had happened." - Charles Pierce

Monday, February 04, 2013

Quote of the day

"I know it is fashionable to argue that MSNBC is just the flip-side of Fox News, but that only appears to be the case if you focus on partisanship. If you focus on whether or not viewers are better or worse informed after watching The Rachel Maddow Show versus The O'Reilly Factor the differences between the two networks is obvious. Maddow explains how things work. O'Reilly inflames people's passions. Maddow presents things that ought to scare her audience, like the way corporations are using Republicans to write legislation verbatim per their instructions, while O'Reilly is telling his audience that liberals want to ruin their Christmas celebration." - Booman Tribune

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reality versus media conservative's deranged perception of reality

Reality

As the right wing continues to rage and sputter about Obama being a socialist and a Marxist who hates capitalism and wants to bring the entire American economy to its knees, Bloomberg News reports that corporate profits have been higher than at any time since WW2 under Obama

Media Conservative "reality"

I think Obama sees himself as correcting historic wrongs in this country, as delivering the fruits of the labor of other people to people who he believes have historically been put upon. I think there’s a lot of perverse thinking that goes on in his mind, radical left-wing thinking. He was indoctrinated with Marx and Alinksy propaganda.
That link has even more hysterical ravings (e.g. President Obama is "hollowing out our military") equally disconnected from reality.

I never cease to be amazed at how many media conservatives appear to be genuinely deranged when it comes to politics.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quote of the day

"... [U]nderstand the arguments of those who are called enemy." - Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam: A time to break silence"

Via Glenn Greenwald

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A culture of impunity

In another of the seemingly never-ending examples demonstrating how the rich and powerful are held to a different standard of justice than ordinary citizens - and why one simply needs to read Glenn Greenwald's Liberty and Justice for Some - liar for unprovoked war (called the supreme crime by the Nuremberg commission) and torture Condoleezza Rice will become a part of CBS news.

Perhaps if Rice had lied about adultery or cheated at bicycle racing our society might have found some outrage at her actions, rather than financial and social reward for them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Blog sabbatical

As you may have noticed, my blogging output has decreased quite a bit as of late and, given my work schedule for the next four or five months, it will likely not increase any time soon.

I will keep putting up posts when the inclination strikes me and the time is available, however. [I still intend to catch up on my backlog of book reviews and Book of the Year picks eventually.]

In the meanwhile, the blogs in the Blog Roll on the left cover just about anything I'd have to say anyways.