The Commonplace Book, November 2006

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." (Thomas Jefferson)

"...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." ( Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

“... the very first example of congressional oversight in our history was an inquiry into President George Washington’s deployment of the military. In that case, a committee appointed by the House in 1792 was authorized to investigate the disastrous defeat the year before of Gen. Arthur St. Clair by Indians in the Ohio Territory, with the power to issue subpoenas for “persons, papers and records as may be necessary to assist their inquiries.” (Stanley Brand

“.... One day, Tomasello and Paabo were talking in the institute's cafeteria about a family in England with a remarkable genetic defect. Some members of the family have a mutation in a gene known as FOXP2, which helps direct the development of the brain during infancy and childhood. Every family member with the mutation had great difficulty speaking. Paabo had been thinking about how to identify genes that had changed during human evolution to make speech possible, and FOXP2 seemed like a prime candidate. He and his co-workers sequenced the gene—that is, they figured out the order of the DNA bases that make up FOXP2—in six different species. They found that it was one of the most stable genes they had ever studied; from mice to rhesus macaques to chimps, the protein produced by the gene is almost exactly identical, suggesting that the gene itself plays a fundamental role in animal function. But in humans the gene had undergone a slight modification. About 250,000 years ago, according to the scientists' calculations, two of the molecular units in the 715-unit DNA sequence of the gene abruptly changed. That's not long before modern humans first appeared in the fossil record. Could the changes in FOXP2 have enabled modern humans to speak? And could articulate speech have given modern humans an edge over the Neanderthals and other archaic humans?

“That's certainly what some newspaper stories implied, labeling FOXP2 a "language gene." But Paabo and other scientists are more cautious. FOXP2 "is one of who knows how many genes that affect language ability," says Ken Weiss, an expert on evolution and genetics at Pennsylvania State University. The change in FOXP2 might have been entirely coincidental. Or the gene may be related to language indirectly—for example, by influencing coordination. And some scientists argue that language evolved much earlier than our version of FOXP2, and that archaic humans also had speech....”
(Smithsonian magazine)

“As usual, Cheney's remarks reinforce mistaken notions about terrorism. He suggests to the bomber forces that only taking the fight to terrorists can turn the tide.
“Cheney doesn't talk about stealing the audience from terrorists or robbing from them the ability to exploit grievances that many in the Middle East feel.” (Steve Clemons)

"Many of the governments here in South America are now made up of people who were thrown in prison and tortured in the past, so they're taking a very different look at the role of their armed forces and their military relations with the United States."
(Lisa Sullivan, Caracas-based organizer for SOA [School of the Americas] Watch)

"Look at the JLA; They all map on the chakras. Batman is a human being of ultimate power [and intention.] Flash is communication. Superman is about giving selflessly. He represents the sun. He is that thing that loves us unconditionally. ,,, Batman is like Christ harrowing Hell, because only he can withstand it. He endures everything for us. Batman is a character who was almost brought to the brink of his destruction, but who persevered. Batman is our shadow and we have to look at the shadow and integrate the shadow. ... Mr. Miracle [an escape artist who survived a Dickensinian childhood on a Hell planet] is the transcendent character, the seventh Chakra.”
(Grant Morrison)

“In the 1970s form began to be considered uncool. It represented the rigid establishment. So everything started to become vague and mushy.”
(John Kricfalusi)

“I remember when the famous phrase "Live from Studio 60, it's Friday Night In Hollywood!" used to mean something. Back then, when the show first came out, I'd stay home every Monday night just to make sure I didn't miss an episode. There was such a buzz around the show in the weeks leading up to its premiere because it was something new, something no one had ever seen before. But ever since Judd Hirsch left, * the show's totally gone downhill.” (Review by “Artie Mayer” in The Onion)

[* NOTE: Judd Hirsch’s character only appeared in the first five minutes of the show.]

"I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time." (Orson Welles)

“There are two very separate worlds: the marketplace, and the bustling bazaar that is my brain. The brain place is crowded with goods, ideas, sequels, spinoffs, animated versions, miniseries, radio dramas -- this is just the used goods. All the new wares are in there as well and it's deafening. Once I create a verse I never let go of it. And figuring out how much of my energy should be devoted to reawakening the projects you all love with the actors and characters I all love, and how much should be forging ahead and creating entirely new works (which you are contractually obligated to love) is exhausting. More than you know. You know the horse caught bwtween two pools of water? Add seven pools, and make the horse wicked A.D.D. The other world, the marketplace, I don't even begin to understand or predict.” (Joss Whedon)

“By labeling concerns of American workers [regarding cheap labor from illegal immigrants] “nativism”, you dismiss those concerns as reactionary or invalid. Characterizing those concerns as racist or xenophobic allows you to ignore the economic impact on the working class... You are playing into the multinational corporations’ agenda. Way to go.”
(Les Reed, in a letter to The Nation 11/13/2006)

“If you’re talking about mugging little old ladies, you don’t say, ‘What’s our target for the rate of mugging little old ladies?’ You say, ‘Mugging little old ladies is bad, and we’re going to try to eliminate it.’ You recognize you might not be a hundred percent successful, but your goal is to eliminate the mugging of little old ladies. And I think we need to eventually come around to looking at carbon dioxide emissions the same way.” (Ken Caldeira, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose work for the Department of Energy showed an increasing acidification of the oceans.)


Anonymous said...

I love that quote by Thomas Jefferson. The corporations of today have been able to find an ally in the political process. They have found that through the loopholes of governmental structure that they can manipulate our leaders and rule by proxy.

These aren't dark times so much as they are herald of times to come.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

We should maybe adopt Hunter S. Thompson's "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."