OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 :::

The Last Post

This marks my final entry at OMT.

Leaving this creaking old platform behind isn't easy. I've published here for well over 4 years and in many ways, these digital pages have become as familiar and comfortable as old friends.

But the time has come to move on.

My thanks go out to those who took the time to read my posts, to comment on- and off-line and especially to those whom I've come to know away from the screen.

I'll pop-up in other places now and then. I still have a shingle out at The Cost Cutting Caucus blog and intend to make more use of it in the future. And there are other writing opportunities waiting in the wings. They will be used as well because, Lord knows, someone has to keep Jeff Schapiro in line.

See y'all down the road.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 1/02/2007 20 comments

Friday, December 29, 2006 :::
Movements of Wise Men

The "secret meetings" between various GOP officeholders has generated some interest in the right side of the blog world. And with good reason -- any time someone attempts to get the factions talking with one another, particularly when those factions have been warring like disgruntled in-laws ever since the elopement, it's worthy of analysis.

I've no problem with Bob McDonnell, Frank Wolf, Tom Davis, Ed Gillespie and others starting a dialogue. I'm not sure, however, that anything will come of it.

That House and Senate Republicans have been at odds over new taxes for roads is old news. But unlike the Senate, the House has at least been willing to consider ideas that would address the root of the transportation problem (something Jim discusses here). I don't believe the Senate has done anything close to this, preferring instead to adopt the role of the most hidebound conservative it their defense of the existing system.

It's been explained to me that, in general, the Senate leadership really and truly believes that major budget items like transportation need dedicated revenue streams so they do not have to compete with one another. On one level, this is perfectly understandable. We would not impose a gas tax to fund education (or would we?). But it assumes that the source of all these streams -- taxpayers -- never runs dry. Anyone who has seen what happens when rivers are tapped, re-tapped and tapped again for various uses knows that, eventually, the main stream becomes a trickle and its dependents all suffer. It also assumes that competition among major budget items is a bad thing.

I don't believe that's the case. If anything, they ought to compete fiercely for every dollar they receive. Does transportation come before education? Make the case. Does education come before law enforcement, the environment, Medicare, mental health, the car tax rebate? Make the case. Make them compete. Dedicated revenue sources allow the most difficult decisions to slide by. That's fine if one's source of funds is infinite. But even the taxpayer's pockets have limits.

I stand by my proposal to give the pro-tax forces all they desire in the way of new monies. Give them all they want in the next session -- but sunset those new revenues after a period of years to assess whether they have made a measurable difference in addressing certain region's transportation issues. If they have, fine. Then I'm wrong, the world really is round and I will recant my ways. But if they aren't -- if, even after several years and several new billions of dollars finds NoVans sitting in traffic contemplating a new career in road rage -- then the pro-tax side must admit that new monies alone are not the solution. They must look elsewhere for solutions.

I'll probably grow older, balder and fatter waiting for anything like this to occur. But I'm willing to take the plunge if they are.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/29/2006 1 comments
The Line Forms

Not Buck is looking for contributors to Richmond War Room -- one of the finest blogs to come along in some time.

It's tempting...

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/29/2006 2 comments
What's This?

A note from Chad at CC.

I agree completely.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/29/2006 0 comments

Thursday, December 28, 2006 :::
Some Sense at Last

Aside from comments I've left at Waldo's site during the latest unpleasantness, I've tried to stay out of the increasing silliness that's engulfed portions of the Virginia blog world.

Today, Shaun offers an excellent post on the matter that largely squares with my own thinking (I would differ in that I don't believe Waldo deserved any of insults thrown his way).

There was a time when it seemed that people from both sides could disagree without being disagreeable. And those disagreements could be sharp, indeed. It made things interesting. It made things fun. Now, we have a whole lot less of both and that's terribly sad.

The sniping has gotten to the point where folks like Ward may stop blogging entirely. Another loss. And for what? Blogging is not journalism. Nor is it a blood sport. The sooner we remember that, the sooner we might be able to reclaim at least the patina of civility.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/28/2006 3 comments

At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux remains cool (or sanguine) while the rest of the world heats up over global warming and a series of tax schemes to combat it:

Even if global warming is a reality, another reality -- one with a much more consistent track record throughout history and across different countries -- is the perversity of political incentives. Given these perverse political incentives (not to mention the inevitiable scrawniness of government's access to information and knowledge), I don't trust government to impose and administer a Pigouvian tax with sufficient disinterestness and skill to make such a tax a plausible policy option.

Like the Professor, I'm perfectly willing to accept the reality of global warming and its possible effects. But as the Jeff Jacoby piece Boudreaux links to points out, there is more afoot to global warming/cooling, whatever than first meets the eye:

Still, there is always a market for apocalyptic forebodings. Paul Ehrlich grew rich predicting the imminent deaths of hundreds of millions of human beings from starvation and epidemic disease. "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome's 1972 bestseller, warned that humankind was going to experience "a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline" as the world's resources -- everything from gold to petroleum -- ran dry. Jonathan Schell and Carl Sagan forecast a devastating "nuclear winter" unless atomic arsenals were frozen, or better still, abolished. Those doomsday prophesies never came to pass. Neither have the climate-change catastrophes that have been bruited about for a century.

"The whole aim of practical politics," wrote H.L. Mencken in 1920, "is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Some things never change.

The idea that there is a ready and growing market for doom and gloom is quite real. It's one of the things that keeps environmental/gun/abortion/you name it groups, political parties and TV preachers going strong. That's why, regardless of the supposed crisis (whether it's climate change, transportation, education or any number of topics) I've always found it better to question the conventional wisdom than adopt the latest fashion. That doesn't mean ignoring what's being said - that would be foolish. Rather, let the opinions flow, the data build (on all sides) and then make the decision. Preferably after lunch.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/28/2006 3 comments
CrimLaw Closes Its Doors

Ken Lammers is shutting down CrimLaw in favor of his new and very interesting effort, The Direction.

Ken was an early linker to this rattling old blog of mine and for that I will always be grateful. However, "The Direction" is an excellent second act. If you haven't watched it yet, I urge you to do so.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/28/2006 2 comments
Charities on the Dole

For the longest time, I've been harping on the General Assembly's practice of funding nonprofits which is does not control from the general fund.

At the blogger conference last August, Bob McDonnell said his office has looked into the practice. Later, Chris Saxman said he had requested the review. I hope that if and when an opinion is available, it will be made public. But until then, consider this WSJ editorial on the effects of government funding on private charities. The conclusions ought to give at least some legislators reason to think:

But the problem with government money goes beyond just its volatility: Studies by economists over the past decade have demonstrated that government spending on nonprofit activities actually lowers private charitable giving. In the case of social welfare services, a dollar in government funding to nonprofits generally suppresses private giving by 25 cents or more. Part of this is due to a lower perception of need among charities when they get public money. There is also evidence, however, that charities spend less effort fundraising after governments give them money.

The bottom line is that there is nothing free about cash from the government. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, given what we know about the effects of public subsidies to individuals, such as welfare recipients. I would not argue that the destabilizing effects of government subsidies and the downward pressure on giving are reasons to eliminate public funding to nonprofits. But these effects do represent serious unintended consequences of nonprofit reliance on the government.

My personal experience with nonprofits who actively seek and receive public funding is that is does make asking for private funds more difficult. In many cases, the public funding is ether downplayed or not mentioned at all -- for the very reason described in the above quote.

Nonprofit fundraising is very competitive and becoming even moreso as the number of nonprofits increases. Turning to local, state or federal funding sources may seem like effective fundraising. But in the long term, I think it weakens the organizations far more than it helps.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/28/2006 0 comments

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 :::
Ford's the One

By now, everyone knows that former President Gerald Ford has died. While I will leave it to others to write more specifically about his legacy, there's one personal moment I'd like to add to the general discussion:

In the 1976 election year, a classmate and I were asked to address the masses at Greenwood Elementary School over the p.a. system. Our topic was "Who are you supporting for president and why?"

I chose Gerald Ford.

I can't remember a lot of what I said, but it largely boiled down to a choice between a man of vast government experience who, in spite of his mistakes (for some reason, I mentioned the cut-off of aid to South Vietnam, and the troubles in Angola, those "WIN" buttons and more...I think) was far better than an untested, one-term Georgia governor who had no foreign affairs experience.

The nation (narrowly) decided otherwise. They promptly corrected this mistake four years later.

I never really lost the affinity for Ford, believing in 1980 that he would have clinched a Reagan victory if he accepted the vice presidential nomination. When that didn't happen, I became a John Anderson kid (after Kennedy lost to Carter in the Democratic primaries, that is).

Ford was a quiet, effective, decent and under-rated man. We could use someone like him today.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/27/2006 0 comments
The Pork Lifeline

David Keating points to a New York Times story on how pork -- once and still considered to be an incumbent's strongest lifeline -- failed to rescue a number of congressional Republicans this year.

David points out a number of juicy examples, but this is the item that really made me wonder if the GOP has learned anything from November's losses. Regarding Rep. Jeff Flake's contention that pork actually hurt incumbents, an NRCC spokesmodel said:

“Bringing federal projects home to a district helps an incumbent — period,” said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. “Jeff Flake is totally misreading the results.”

He said Mr. Taylor and another member of the Appropriations Committee, Don Sherwood, Republican of Pennsylvania, had lost because of personal problems. Ms. Northup, he said, “was just in a bad district — it’s always been tight.”

He attributed Indiana’s three losses to poorly run campaigns.

But Mr. Flake cited his own state as proof that pork does not ensure re-election. A fellow Arizona Republican member who had embraced earmarks, Representative J. D. Hayworth, lost his seat.

“In the end, the voters saw through it,” Mr. Flake said.

Mr. Forti attributed Mr. Hayworth’s loss to running a single-issue campaign, against immigration.

To be fair, earmarks alone probably ended no incumbent's political career. But it's also probably fair to say that bringing home the bacon isn't as popular as it once might have been. That someone from the NRCC wouldn't even admit this possibility is stunning. Have the campaign committees really learned nothing from November's results? In some news-proof cubicles, it seems so.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/27/2006 2 comments
Demographics as Destiny

Via the Hotline come some census estimates that make for some interesting political discussion. Looking ahead to the post-2010 redistricting, the Hotline cites a Polidata study which estimates that: states are all but certain to lose at least one seat: Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Another six states are all but certain to gain at least one seat: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

A few other interesting projections from Polidata: Texas could pick up as many as 4 congressional seats; New York and Ohio could lose 2 seats. California, for the first time since statehood, may not pick up any seats.

The political center of gravity continues to shift South and West -- with the intermountain West gaining steam as California stagnates.

Of note in the census numbers are the lists of fastest growing states. Virginia doesn't make the cut in either the "Top Ten Fastest-Growing" or the "Top Ten Numeric Gainers." Those states are either to our south or in the West.

But if demography really is destiny, with political fortunes made and lost in the movement of peoples, then it would seem that the schism between religious Southern Conservatives and the more libertarian Westerners won't be going away and may become deeper.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/27/2006 0 comments

Friday, December 22, 2006 :::
Christmas Vacation

Because our employees are our most precious asset, OMT management will be closing early so our beloved staff (yes, they really are...we don't even know what the term "right sizing" means, honestly, so stop looking at us that way when we ask for your stapler and security pass) may spend quality time with their friends, loved ones, hangers on, accountants, analysts, potted plants, wrapping paper, fattening chocolate goodies, overdue library books, unfolded laundry, dust bunnies, leaf blowers and such and such. Merry Christmas to all.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/22/2006 2 comments

Thursday, December 21, 2006 :::
Breaking Byrd

Not Buck points us to a piece from Garren Shipley outlining the House's transportation proposal:

Essentially, House Republicans want to get counties to stop trying to be cities or towns, Athey said. Growth should be focused around urban centers at higher density and around existing utility service.

NBT is right, the items in the proposed bills would pique Jim Bacon's interest. But they also are a step in the right direction, forcing counties to take more responsibility for their own development decisions while also giving them more tools to maintain the transportation systems they already have.

This probably won't satisfy the pro-tax crowd (only "dedicated revenue streams" will do that). But it does show the House is looking for more than stop-gap solutions.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/21/2006 0 comments
Thanks, George

Via Danny Glover comes another piece taking bloggers to task for being...well...bloggers. This time, the lashing comes from the always condescending George Will. His hook is the Time Magazine decision to name "You" the entity of the year:

There are, however, essentially no reins on the Web -- few means of control and direction. That is good, but it vitiates the idea that the Web's chaos of entertainment, solipsism and occasional intellectual seriousness and civic engagement is anything like a polity (a "digital democracy"). Time's bow to the amateurs who are, it strangely suggests, no longer obscure, and in the same game that Time is in, is refuted by a glance -- which is all an adult will want -- at YouTube's most popular videos.

Time's issue includes an unenthralled essay by NBC's Brian Williams, who believes that raptures over the Web's egalitarianism arise from the same impulse that causes today's youth soccer programs to award trophies -- "entire bedrooms full" -- to any child who shows up: "The danger just might be that we miss the next great book or the next great idea, or that we will fail to meet the next great challenge . . . because we are too busy celebrating ourselves and listening to the same tune we already know by heart."

The fact that Stengel included Williams's essay proves that Stengel's Time has what 99.9 percent of the Web's content lacks: seriousness.

There can be little doubt that much of what is posted online is filler. And not very good filler, at that. However, Mr. Williams ought to be more concerned with his disappearing audience than "missing the next great idea."

As for Will's charge that the web lacks "seriousness," I suggest that his understanding of what's online is desperately shallow. It's understandable that with the current size and continued growth of web content, it can seem nearly impossible to sift through the muck and find a gem. But it can be done. Will seems either unable or unwilling to make the attempt. It's his loss. However, I'm sure his research minions find the web an invaluable resource.

If only they could slip him a page devoted to strong, manly handshakes, George might turn out okay.

But there's another thread in Will's argument that I found truly lacking in seriousness:

Richard Stengel, Time's managing editor, says, "Thomas Paine was in effect the first blogger" and "Ben Franklin was essentially loading his persona into the MySpace of the 18th century, 'Poor Richard's Almanack.' " Not exactly.

Franklin's extraordinary persona informed what he wrote but was not the subject of what he wrote. Paine was perhaps history's most consequential pamphleteer. There are expected to be 100 million bloggers worldwide by the middle of 2007, which is why none will be like Franklin or Paine. Both were geniuses; genius is scarce. Both had a revolutionary civic purpose, which they accomplished by amazing exertions. Most bloggers have the private purpose of expressing themselves for their own satisfaction. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is nothing demanding or especially admirable about it, either. They do it successfully because there is nothing singular about it, and each is the judge of his or her own success.

I've argued in the past that bloggers have more in common with 18th century pamphelteers than they do with the modern press. While I'm aware of no blogger who can match his importance, let alone his rhetoric, it's a mistake to dismiss all bloggers as a narcissistic mob. Some offer genuine insight. Even more offer opinions that deserve to be heard because they truly add to public discourse. The greatest value of blogs to date is that they have given these people, who might never have been heard if the old media rules still applied, a platform of their own. While hardly perfect, these platforms and the people who use them are (generally) enriching the discussions we all have about politics and public policy.

And as events have shown, these discussions have real consequences, both in elections and in policy. The online mob made congressional earmarks an issue. This same mob helped defeat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary and exploited George Allen's gaffes with remarkable skill. And in Richmond, a blog run by just two people managed to thwart the best laid plans of the city's monied and political elite over the Performing Arts Center. How can a mob do this? Because their readers are not just basement dwellers and misanthropes, but reporters, editors and others who bring the news to an even wider audience. And even more, when blogs force those same readers to confront their own failings or omissions, change is not only possible, but likely.

In that way, blogs are almost exactly like their pamphleteer ancestors. Not a bad lineage, even if George Will and a host of others pretend otherwise.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/21/2006 5 comments
Let it Snow

Last year, the Leahys traveled to Denver for Christmas so young Jack could spend time with his grandparents. Good thing we didn't do the same this year.

Yup. It's bad. Really bad. My folks say they've got about three feet of snow at the house and will be trying to cut through the drift across the driveway this morning (of course, Dad bought the snowblower after I left home...). The chain law is in effect on the highways north of town and I-25 in closed from just south of town all the way to the New Mexico border. The National Guard has been mobilized to rescue stranded motorists and to bring supplies to the 5,000 or so people stuck at the airport (some of whom have the gall to complain that the airport is closed. it's a blizzard, people. If you want to fly, sprout wings and go for it).

Interestingly, they still have power. If such a storm happened in Virginia, the lights would be off for a week at the very least.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/21/2006 3 comments
The Expanded Alliance

Alton has greatly expanded the ODBA, adding new members like crazy.

Now I have to go in a fiddle with the damn template on this creaking old blog again. Long ago, Chad created a snippet of code that would do this automatically. But the chewing gum and bailing wire that holds this site together wouldn't accept it. No matter. I'll put it up on blocks and make the changes soon.

But the sentimentalist in me just doesn't want to let go of Sic Semper.

Anyway, this old member wishes all the new ones the very best.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/21/2006 0 comments
New Drift

Jim announces an interesting addition to Bearing Drift -- my one-time Sorensen colleague Brian Kirwin -- and that the next bloggers' conference will be down Virginia Beach way in 2007.

Seems good to me.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/21/2006 0 comments

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 :::
Mark, Not Jim

Jim Gilmore steps into the news void before Christmas, announces a presidential exploratory committee, and a dozen Virginia blog posts bloom.

Well. Settle down, folks. Jim Gilmore will not be the nominee. But if the GOP is still looking for someone who is actually interesting, and (dare I say it?) even a bit of a libertarian, then they ought to consider Mark Sanford:

Unlike most Republican governors who either pushed their state parties to the left or simply acquiesced to tax or spending increases passed by legislatures of either party, Mr. Sanford has battled profligate Republicans at every turn.

When the state House overrode all but one of his 106 spending line-item vetoes in 2004, Mr. Sanford stormed the Capitol the next morning with a piglet under each arm. Red-faced Republicans squealed, but voters loved the bold move. Realizing they couldn't be quite as wasteful as their counterparts, the Senate sustained seven of the vetoes — but still overrode 99.

Mr. Sanford has been rankling fellow Republicans long before arriving in Columbia. As a congressman from 1995-2001, Republican leadership knew that he was beyond their control. In 1999, he and then-Rep. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, used parliamentary procedures to save taxpayers a fortune. The farm spending bill came to the floor with an "open rule" — meaning any germane amendments could be offered. Messrs. Sanford and Coburn together drafted 121 fat-trimming amendments, and after trudging through just a few dozen of them, House leadership pulled the entire bill. It was only reintroduced after $1 billion had been carved out.

Sanford has a reputation in Columbia as being aloof and arrogant. I found him to be engaging and personable. And even more, he has a quality that the overwhelming majority of the political class lacks: Principles.

Sanford has made it fairly clear he does not wish to run. And if he did, the odds would be stacked firmly against him. However, he's overcome similar obstacles before -- in 1994, when he rose from obscurity to beat the GOP establishment's favorite (and went on to beat a Democrat whose campaign was run by a friend of Mrs. Leahy) and again in 2002, when he won the GOP primary over other establishment candidates and then went on to beat an incumbent Democrat.

Could Sanford be the one? I've always thought so.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/20/2006 1 comments
Mob Mentality

Another day brings another pressie slapping around blogs for hastening the end of civilization. Or at least the press.

WSJ assistant editorial features editor Joseph Rago burns a lot of column inches and ten cent words to make this point:

Certainly the MSM, such as it is, collapsed itself. It was once utterly dominant yet made itself vulnerable by playing on its reputed accuracy and disinterest to pursue adversarial agendas. Still, as far from perfect as that system was, it was and is not wholly imperfect. The technology of ink on paper is highly advanced, and has over centuries accumulated a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness.

Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress.

Blogs, it seems, are just a manifestation of the collapse of the established media. Rago blames conservatives for this, in part, due to their pell-mell search for alternatives to what they perceived to be a dysfunctional and outright hostile medium. Blogs may have given them what they wanted. But the price has been high, indeed -- mediocre content, based upon minutiae, peddled by the mob.

A stark contrast, no doubt, to the all-day, every-day rush of cable news to discover Jon Benet's killer, the O.J. Simpson farce, and Lord knows what other "news" that sacrifices helpless electrons in the pursuit of ratings. And that's merely what's on television. We ought not forget that newspapers, too, have embraced the race for the bottom (witness the RTD's nearly wall-to-wall coverage of Eliot Yamin's "American Idol" experience. Real news, vetted within an inch of its life, we can be sure).

Bashing blogs is nothing new. If anything, it has become an old media trope. But to dismiss blogs as simply the unsettled rumblings of the mob, is to ignore their reality and potential. Ask George Allen if blogs are a sign of decay. Ask Dan Rather if they are the mutterings of the mob. And for that matter, ask Mr. Rago to read a bit more of his own newspaper.

Like this review of "Citizen Marketers," a new book that describes how people use the new media to cut through the marketing pitches and PR campaigns of the largest companies to change the corporate landscape:

The real story of "Citizen Marketers" is the rise of the activist amateur -- "amateur" meaning not only a nonprofessional but also, in the original sense, one who loves. We're seeing a fusion -- a mashup, if you will -- of two formerly distinct spheres, the private and the public. Privately held brands are being defined not by their owners but by unpaid, and often unwanted, public guardians. In an age when most discussion of the public weal can be filed under "commons, tragedy of," this is a remarkable development.

Even more remarkable is the realization that consumers are now able to blow a raspberry heard 'round the world, whether in response to inane corporate spirit-building or customer-service doubletalk. In a perfect world, every business would take note.

Every business should take note. Including Dow Jones and its editors, both great and small.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/20/2006 0 comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 :::
More on RPV Blog Outreach

Both Jim and Jerry have noted this Wash Times piece on Ken Cuccinelli's idea to get the RPV involved with blogs.

I think Jim is exactly right when he says:

It seems the GOP right now is reeling from a rash of losses and looking for something, anything, that can bring them a win; today's flavor: the blogosphere.

What they should be looking for is a consistent message that a majority will rally behind. Communicating that message will then take care of itself.

It's an old principle: Supply creates its own demand. Supply a message that's worth discussing and it will be discussed over and over again.

However, Del. Dave Albo simply doesn't really get it:

"The problem is most of the people who monitor these blogs are hobbyists who already know who they are going to vote for," he said. "I don't think the average Joe who doesn't know whom he is going to vote for is monitoring blogs."

So we've all made up our minds and voters don't pay attention to us anyway so why bother. It's the sort of thinking that makes all those stories I've heard about Albo ring true.

While blogs do not and cannot equal the reach of a single television spot, that's not really the point. Blogs reach those who shape the news -- opinion columnists, editorial writers, reporters -- and those who run, work for or closely follow the campaigns. They aren't the mass of undifferentiated, undecided voters. However, they are the very same people Albo and others depend on to reach those same voters.

This does not mean blogs are silver bullets. But politicians ignore blogs at their own peril. So again -- craft a message. Believe in it. Work for it. The blogs will pay attention. And the voters will, too.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/19/2006 4 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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