Teddy Roosevelt, Republican

If circumstances are such that thrift, energy, industry, and forethought enable the farmer, the tiller of the soil, on the one hand, and the wage-worker on the other, to keep themselves, their wives, and their children in reasonable comfort, then the State is well off, and we can be assured that the other classes in the community will likewise prosper. On the other hand, if there is in the long run a lack of prosperity among the two classes named, then all other prosperity is sure to be more seeming than real.

Theodore Roosevelt, Republican
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Life and Death

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.
Gandalf
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Maze of Contents

Magazine tables of contents are curious things. A table of contents is supposed to help the reader find his way to a desired section quickly; but in magazines they seem designed instead to purposefully frustrate and bewilder the reader.

I can’t think of a single time in which I’ve opened a magazine’s table of contents and found the article I was looking for faster than if I just flipped through the damn thing. But paradoxically, once I’m invested in using the TOC, I cannot but continue the quixotic search. I suppose it comes from the belief that, having already devoted a chunk of time toward this insane and fruitless endeavor, surely the answer lies just around the nect page (past those ads). And while the entire operation may turn out to be longer than a simple pass through the entire thing, the marginal time left to find it in the TOC must be less by now, right? Oh, such folly!

And if, perchance, you ever do find the page number of that article, good luck finding that page through any mechanism faster than a bogosort.

Designing magazine tables of content and page numbering systems (or rather, page-number-hiding systems) is truly a work of art. Demonic, maddening art.

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Cry For Me Argentina

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been few tyrants getting toppled in the world this year. I felt a little bit (just a little) for Gaddafi, having been dragged out from his hole or wherever he was hiding, and apparently unceremoniously shot by his former subjects (and I mean subjects).

I imagine that dictators like Gaddafi and Mubarak probably spend most of their time in power, especially in their later years, in a bubble of hubris, believing themselves not only indispensable to their people, but beloved by them. I don’t know if Gaddafi actually believed his own bullshit about the rebels being terrorists and brainwashed drug addicts, but I do believe he thought himself loved by his people, and tended to consider those who protested or rebelled against him to be aberrations and hooligans, and thus could justify his regime’s brutal treatment of them.

I imagine that even in his final days, Gaddafi, deserted by all but his most loyal (or most desperate) supporters, with little more left to his name than a bag of luggage and a toupee, believed that he was the rightful leader of Libya, and that he would somehow once again rule. That surely would make his final moments all the more crushing when dragged out from his bubble, he looked around and only saw the hatred of his people.

I imagine there must have been a moment then that the reality struck him: his bubble was a lie, most Libyans detested him, and they couldn’t wait to discard him like day old fish carcass. Had he been kept alive to face trial, no doubt he would have erected that bubble again, but nevertheless, that moment of realization would have happened.

It is thus that just a sliver of sympathy goes out from me to those fallen tyrants in their moment of revelation, whether summarily executed by former subjects, thrown to rot in their own prison, or sent into permanent exile.

And I feel a similar pang of sympathy to any Microsoft executives who might be watching this video:

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Publicly-Traded Stock Is Not An Investmet

My thoughts exactly:

contrary to popular opinion, shareholders of American public corporations are NOT […] investors, as in the contributors of capital. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shareholder

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Thought of the Day

It’s amazing to me how many of the same people who interpret magnificent details of nature as subtle evidence of God’s intelligent power can simultaneously discount the considerably more obvious evidence of human impact on nature.

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The Lord of the Rings vs. Atlas Shrugged

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
John Rogers

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