Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Catching Up: Best of 2004: January

In a continuing effort to review those websites and other items to which I have directed the readers of my private mailing list over the past four to five years, here is a distillation of postings, from that mailing list, that still seem poignant now. To make this a shorter posting (and also to accommodate the increasing numbers of items that my weekly mailings contained), I will be proceeding month-by-month through the archives now.


Political Quotes

"George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States. He was appointed by God." —Lt. Gen. William Boykin, the defense undersecretary in charge of hunting down top terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan

Mikhail Gorbachev was once asked how — in one word — he would sum up the Soviet economy. "Good," he said. Then he was asked how — in two words — he would sum up the Soviet economy: "Not good," he said.

Democratic contender Joe Lieberman brushed off the significance of Al Gore’s endorsement of Howard Dean. “Al’s support is kind of like flying ValuJet. It may seem like a good idea, but then you end up in a fiery wreck in Florida.”

And from a George Bush special:

"My answer is bring 'em on." —President George W. Bush, challenging militants attacking U.S. forces in Iraq

"I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they're well-paid, well- trained, well-equipped." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003

"[A]s you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Oct. 28, 2003

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the — the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2003

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." — George W. Bush, Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003


My Bets on the Direction of the Economy
(January 29, 2004)

"Prices will be rising. They will rise especially quickly if China finally implements a long-overdue revaluation of its currency (upwards)." (Wrong, for domestically produced goods: inflation has been tame. But I still think this is coming. I just thought it would unfold faster than it did.)

"Wages will continue to decline, in nominal and real terms, as labor continues to become globalized at the wage rates prevalent in the lowest-paying nations, particularly China and India." (Possibly true in some regards, not counting the recent rise in the minimum wage.)

"The combination of depressed wages, fewer job opportunities, net rising prices, and rising interest rates will mean great difficulty for many Americans." (Possibly a process now underway, though not primarily because of interest rates.)

"In economic terms, the decades of extremely conservative politics in America will be ending by 2008. There will be too many people who are unemployed, lacking health care, unable to afford education, or otherwise interested in more socialist solutions. ... Churches and other groups that have favored conservative politicians for both economic and social reasons (e.g., prosperity and anti-abortion) may begin to favor a more stereotypically Catholic perspective (i.e., anti-abortion but pro-working class otherwise)." (Seems accurate.)

"Globalization in production will tend to mean globalization in labor as well. It is possible that workers in the U.S., going down, will meet Chinese, Thai, or other Asian workers on the way up. That is, there may be a window of opportunity in which unionization becomes more internationally influential than ever before. ... In net terms, while there may be a better case for unionization than even during the Great Depression within the next ten years, the powerful may enjoy greater opportunities to suppress it than before." (Not sure what's happening in unionization internationally.)

"The value of your house will not rise, in nominal terms, if nobody can afford to buy it, or to pay the taxes on it needed to cover governmental deficits, or to pay dramatically higher rates of interest on a mortgage. It has often occurred that the houses that rise most rapidly in value are those that are marketed to the wealthy; it may be that middle-class housing becomes too expensive to acquire and maintain at current real prices. ... If people come to see that they must take drastic measures to sell a home to buyers who have less money than before, there could be a selling competition in which housing prices are slashed deeply." (Accurate.)


Received from Republicans in January 2004

People are complaining on how long the war is taking but consider this: It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation.



From New York Times, Jan. 1, 2004: The top 400 American earners in 2000 provided nearly 7 percent of all the charitable gifts reported on income tax returns for that year, well in excess of their roughly 1 percent share of overall income, according to data released yesterday by the NewTithing Group, a charity that tracks giving.

The Institute of Medicine for the first time is urging the United States to adopt universal coverage by 2010. Ten years after Congress rejected President Clinton's proposed overhaul of the health care system, the Institute said in a report released Wednesday that only major reform at the federal level will make universal coverage a reality. ... In previous reports, the institute has estimated that the lack of health insurance causes 18,000 unnecessary deaths in the United States and costs the nation $65 billion to $130 billion annually. ... Lack of adequate health insurance "creates insecurity for everyone, because losing that coverage tomorrow is so easy," the report said.

(From the Borowitz Report:) Hours after former Vermont Governor Howard Dean suffered a last-minute defeat in Iowa, Democratic politicians across the country signed up for a special "do not call list" that would prevent Al Gore from phoning them with an endorsement.



These are still valid at this time. If they don't work, use your Internet browser's capability to view the HTML source code for the following links (or just copy the entry that appears in your browser's Address bar) and take a look at what they have for the link in January 2004 in the WaybackMachine.

The "Counting Idiots" Road Rage Intervention
A serious attempt to lower the blood pressure

Free Medication for Low Income People

Bush in 30 Seconds
A contest for political cartoons.


Court Quotes

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are
things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and
now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm
while these exchanges were actually taking place.

Q: Are you sexually active?

A: No, I just lie there.


Q: What is your date of birth?

A: July 15th.

Q: What year?

A: Every year.


Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.


Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

A: Yes.

Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?

A: I forget.

Q: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've


Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?

A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.

Q: How long has he lived with you?

A: Forty-five years.


Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up
that morning?

A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"

Q: And why did that upset you?

A: My name is Susan.


Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or
the occult?

A: We both do.

Q: Voodoo?

A: We do.

Q: You do?

A: Yes, voodoo.


Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he
doesn't know about it until the next morning?

A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?


Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?


Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?


Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

A: Yes.

Q: And what were you doing at that time?


Q: She had three children, right?

A: Yes.

Q: How many were boys?

A: None.

Q: Were there any girls?


Q: How was your first marriage terminated?

A: By death.

Q: And by whose death was it terminated?


Q: Can you describe the individual?

A: He was about medium height and had a beard.

Q: Was this a male, or a female?


Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
notice which I sent to your attorney?

A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.


Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?

A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.


Q: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

A: Oral.


Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.

Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?

A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an


Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?


Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a

A: No.

Q: Did you check for blood pressure?

A: No.

Q: Did you check for breathing?

A: No.

Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
the autopsy?

A: No.

Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing
law somewhere.


Packing Your Parachute

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and arachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked !" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.



I posted another entry in the Budget Traveler's Guide to Sleeping in Airports.