[T]he characteristics derived from an expat childhood may be well suited to the challenges facing the new administration. The economic crisis, for one, demonstrates how interdependent world cultures have become, and its solution will undoubtedly require the unconventional thinking that comes more easily to a Third Culture Kid.
— Ruth E. Van Reken, discussing Obama's cross-cultural childhood and his penchant for picking advisors with similar experiences.
Everything had turned into blacks and whites and misty greys. No colour anywhere. That’s how you know Winter’s started. The colours are the first things to go.
— Neil Gaiman. Lots of color around here still, but I can feel the gray creeping in, slowly but inexorably.
[T]his newspaper is so important to this school—and to me in particular—because it is “the other.” It is the path not taken. It is the excitement and pride and camaraderie that comes with doing good on this campus. It’s the most interesting, most exciting, most rewarding thing I have done as an undergraduate.
— David Pepose, reflecting on his four years with The Brandeis Hoot, the newspaper Igor and I co-founded in 2004. Warms the heart. :)
At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.
— Frank Rich
In its broad strokes, McCains life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. […] In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
— "Make-Believe Maverick" in Rolling Stone discusses McCain's "disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty."
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
— The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget (via Kottke)
For years now, they’ve told us that we can’t afford — that the government providing healthcare to all people is just unimaginable; it can’t be done. We don’t have the money to rebuild our infrastructure. We don’t have the money to wipe out poverty. We can’t do it. But all of a sudden, yeah, we do have $700 billion for a bailout of Wall Street.
— Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
On the plus side, there’s a cow. Far too few science fiction dramas involve cows as regular cast members. I wholeheartedly approve of this bold leap forward for bovine representation on TV.
— Nathan Alderman reviews the disappointing Fringe.
“Palin Power” isn’t just about making hockey moms feel important. It’s not just about giving abortion rights opponents their due. It’s also, in obscure ways, about making yearnings come true — deep, inchoate desires about respect and service, hierarchy and family that have somehow been successfully projected onto the figure of this unlikely woman and have stuck.
— "No Laughing Matter" by Judith Warner
It’s one of the biggest challenges in the digital age: When you can bombard people with everything, it’s tempting to do so. That’s why taste, restraint, and editing are so important. Sometimes it’s about throwing out the 35 bad shots and revelling in the one great shot.
— Matt at 37signals reveals the secret to why people think I am a good photographer. If I take 300 shots, about 10 of them end up on Flickr.
I am not saying that Obama and Biden didn’t take their shots at McCain. However, their speeches in almost all cases said, “I respect McCain, just not his ideas.” This type of civility was completely lacking in Palin’s speech and for me was the most disappointing part. Her speech demonstrated that Republicans want to win the election by dividing the country, where as the Democrats want to win by uniting. I know that this is a vast and unfounded generalization, but the tones of the speeches so far between the two conventions seem to fall that way.
— Dave Birken. That's the feeling I get as well.
The no-fly list — a list of people so dangerous they are not allowed to fly yet so innocent we can’t arrest them — and the less dangerous “watch list” contain a combined 1 million names representing the identities and aliases of an estimated 400,000 people. There aren’t that many terrorists out there; if there were, we would be feeling their effects.
— "The TSA's useless photo ID rules" by Bruce Schneier in the LA Times
Mr. Tow, a former chief executive of Citizens Communications, and Century Communications, said he decided to fund journalism for two reasons: he was worried about the industry, and, as a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Columbia, he was annoyed that an Internet institute at Harvard seemed to dominate new media.
— "Philanthropist Giving Millions to Two Schools of Journalism" in the New York Times. Berkman continues to serve as an inspiration to others!
Beyond the station gates, a priest dreams of a vineyard. A car bursts into flame. An ancient sign in a boarded-up window opposite the platform reads “Wrestling Weight.” A stuffed bear mans a betting window in a struggling OTB parlor. The dead lie in rows uncounted, and the living mourn and wait and work and love and strum guitars on the front stoop, annoying the neighbors.
There are 24 stops on the New York City subway system past which you can ride no farther. For those who get off somewhere else — almost everyone — the end is just a sign on the train.
— The Curious World of the Last Stop in the New York Times
It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.
— John McCain's web site. The amount of official vitriol spewing from the McCain camp would be comical if it wasn't so disturbing.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
We are mysterious creatures, aren’t we? And at the end so much of it turns out not to matter.
— Evening. And a counterpoint (jump to the conclusion).
We have labored long to build a heaven, only to find it populated with horrors.
— Alan Moore, Watchmen
What was most striking about the Obama speech in Berlin was not anything he said so much as the alternative reality it fostered: many American children have never before seen huge crowds turn out abroad to wave American flags instead of burn them.
— "How Obama Became Acting President" by Frank Rich
There’s a reason elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers—holders of power, not its critics. An independent mind is independent of all allegiances, and elite schools, which get a large percentage of their budget from alumni giving, are strongly invested in fostering institutional loyalty. […] The college career office has little to say to students not interested in law, medicine, or business, and elite universities are not going to do anything to discourage the large percentage of their graduates who take their degrees to Wall Street.
— "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" by William Deresiewicz