270 Articles


2 years Ago

Down the Ladder

Published by marco on

“If you find yourself angry at someone lower on the economic ladder than you, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re being manipulated by someone higher on the economic ladder than you.”
Sentenced to Live by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

Comedy is Tragedy …

Published by marco on

“There’s an idea I myself have helped spread, that a vegan is someone who doesn’t like food. That’s wrong. But it is accurate enough, and often enough, to be mildly funny to some people. And, what with new dietary restrictions cropping up every day for any number of reasons, it’s tempting to mock the gluten-intolerant, the diverticular and the Celiac sufferer. Suffering is funny! Comedy is tragedy happening to people you don’t care about. (Emphasis added.)”

3 years Ago

Kill the Messenger

Published by marco on

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Oscar Wilde (Seen on a wall in a library in Brooklyn Nine-Nine S04E18)

Nothing has changed in 125 years

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“The whole process of production as well as trade in every kind of goods has been brought almost entirely under the power of a few, so that a very few rich and exceedingly rich men have laid a yoke almost of slavery on the unnumbered masses of non-owning workers.”
From an encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum, on the 'The Condition of the Working Classes' by Pope Leo XIII on 1891

You can’t win a rigged game

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“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”
Malcolm X

How many more lives do we have?

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“We live in one global environment with a huge number of ecological, economic, social, and political pressures tearing at its only dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted and uncomprehended fabric. Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish and narrow interests – patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds – can in fact lead to mass destructiveness. The world simply cannot afford this many more times.”

The more you know, the more you know you don’t know

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“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
Voltaire on 1770

Herding Sheep

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“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen.

“What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed?

“If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history.

“On... [More]”

Costs nothing? Worth nothing.

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“That which can be presented without evidence, can be dismissed without consideration.[1]

[1] Known informally as Hitchens’s razor (Wikipedia), it is actually an English translation of the Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” (“what is freely asserted is freely dismissed”), which was commonly used in the 19th century.

Fakes of fakes

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“All of the news is fake when corporate media connive with the powerful to produce their desired ends.”

A realization

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“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”
The Chaplain in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

A technocratic solution

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“Were I asked to fix the world, I would approach the problem as a software engineer. I would take my best guess at the likely cause of most of the problems, comment out the “USA” module…and see if it runs just fine without it.”

Letting go

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“I used to be snow white, but I drifted.”
Mae West

Untrained Pilots

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“We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are... [More]”

Less well-known Adam Smith

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“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
Adam Smith
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”
Adam Smith

Rage Against the Machine

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“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

Why propaganda works

Published by marco on

“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.[1]
Oscar Wilde

[1] @Nid: This is what I was much less eloquently saying on the phone yesterday.

Capitalism is the engine behind racism

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“If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power. Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.”
Stokely Carmichael

4 years Ago

New England in a Nutshell

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“All the towns up here are just two dirty piles of snow connected by a covered bridge.”
Dan Egan played by Reid Scott (HBO's Veep S05E07)

Ruthless Introspection

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“If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another.”

Spoiler alert: This was the answer to the acrostic puzzle linked above.

Inverse Arrogance

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“America is the only country in the world where failure to promote oneself is considered arrogant.”

Invisible Privilege

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“It’s easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has turned out to your favor.”
Game of Thrones S05E10 by Tyrion Lannister
“Born on third; thinks he hit a triple.”
Bushleaguer by Pearl Jam

Defensive Economics

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“The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

5 years Ago

We are watching and we are Legion

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“The threat is no longer Big Brother, but instead thousands of Little Brothers.”

The main advantage of a type-safe language

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“A type system is the most cost-effective unit test you’ll ever have.”
Peter Hallam

On the inadequacy of language

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“He knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest… Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semitones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce out of his own inside noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies... [More]”
Words by G.K. Chesterton (The Language Log)

XX beats XY

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“Women, my friend, are the new men. They get things done. Our female colleagues are sane and smart, they stick together and they smell a helluva lot better than we do.”
Senator Gil John Biggs (Alpha House S02E09: Will There be Water)

Alpha House is a TV show on Amazon Prime about four Republican U.S. Senators living together in a house in Washington D.C. John Goodman is just fantastic as Gil John Biggs. Definitely worth a watch: it might even be better than Veep.

It’s all relative

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“Relativity is like this: If you have seven hairs on your head, it’s very few but if you have seven hairs in your milk, it’s very many.[1]
Why Life is Absurd by Rivka Weinberg (New York Times)

Excerpt from the comedy routine “Einstein/Weinstein,” by the Yiddish comedy duo Shimon Dzigan and Yisroel Shumacher.

Depose the King

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“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”
Speech at National Book Awards by Ursula K. Le Guin

Invisible violence

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“Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

“But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognized as crimes at all.


“Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place... [More]”

Harold Pinter: Art, Truth & Politics by Harold Pinter on December 7th, 2005 (Nobel Prize.Org)