Mark Kleiman, World-Renowned Scholar of Drug Policy
Educator, prolific author and blogger provided extensive guidance to policymakers on marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform. Emeritus professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and one of the United States’ pre-eminent experts on drug and crime policy.
Ph.D in Public Policy, Harvard University
M.P.P., Harvard Kennedy School
B.A. in Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science, Haverford College
AREAS OF INTEREST:
Criminal Justice, Drugs/Controlled Substances, Politics
Mr. Kleiman was the author of Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control; of Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results; and of When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, listed by The Economist as one of the “Books of the Year” for 2009. Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) was published in July 2011 by Oxford University Press. He edited the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.
In addition to his academic work, Mr. Kleiman provided advice to local, state, and national governments on crime control and drug policy. Before he came to UCLA in 1995, he taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Rochester. Outside of academia, he had worked for the U.S. Department of Justice (as Director of Policy and Management Analysis for the Criminal Division), for the City of Boston (as Deputy Director for Management of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget), for Polaroid Corporation (as Special Assistant to the CEO, Edwin Land), and on Capitol Hill (as a legislative assistant to Congressman Les Aspin). He graduated from Haverford College (magna cum laude, majoring in political science, philosophy, and economics) and did his graduate work (M.P.P. and Ph.D.) at the Kennedy School.
SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
When Brute Force Fails
Since the crime explosion of the 1960s, the prison population in the United States has multiplied fivefold, to one prisoner for every hundred adults — a rate unprecedented in American history and unmatched anywhere in the world. Even as the prisoner head count continues to rise, crime has stopped falling, and poor people and minorities still bear the brunt of both crime and punishment. When Brute Force Fails explains how we got into the current trap and how we can get out of it: to cut both crime and the prison population in half within a decade.
Excess: Drug Policy for Results
Kleiman, M. Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results. New York: Basic Books, 1992. Kleiman, M.Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Cost of Control. Greenwich, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1989.
ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTSMARRON INSTITUTE OF URBAN MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY
DIRECTOR,CRIME AND JUSTICE Program
Research Interests: deterrence; community corrections; applications of models of imperfect rationality to public decision-making; drug abuse control policy; illicit market economics; crime control; punishment as a social resource to be produced and allocated.
ACADEMIC AFFILIATIONSLUSKIN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UCLA
PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, 1996 – 2015
BATTEN SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
VISITING PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, FALL 2012
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE
VISITING FELLOW, 2011-2013
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
VISITING PROFESSOR, WINTER2012
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
THOMAS C. SCHELLING VISITING PROFESSOR, FALL 2006
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, 1992-1996.
LECTURER IN PUBLIC POLICY,1987-1992
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER
VISITING SENIOR LECTURER IN PUBLIC POLICY, 1985-86.
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIESNATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL, COMMITTEE ON LAW AND JUSTICE
DRUG POLICY ANALYSIS BULLETIN
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS
CO-DIRECTOR, DRUG POLICY PROJECT
BOTEC ANALYSIS CORPORATION (CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS)
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Addiction, American Journal of Public Health, Applications & Methods, California Policy Research Center, Cambridge University Press, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Economic Inquiry, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, & Law, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Industrial Relations, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Milbank Quarterly, Optimal Control, Policy Studies Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Zeitshrift fur Nationalokonomie.
GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS EXPERIENCEOFFICE OF POLICY AND MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS, CRIMINAL DIVISION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Managed a group of eleven professionals (plus support staff) working on policy and management studies and on the development and use of information systems.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR DRUG ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMS, 1979-1982.
Analyzed the impact of drug law enforcement strategies on the structure and operations of the illicit drug industry, and proposed changes in enforcement organization, strategy, and operations to minimize the social cost of drug trafficking given limited enforcement resources.
CITY OF BOSTON--OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR MANAGEMENT, 1978-1979.
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM ANALYSIS, 1977-1978.
Managed a group of five professionals (plus support staff) performing analytic work on resourceallocation decisions and providing management assistance to operating agencies.
SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO EDWIN H. LAND, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, 1975-1976.
Developed, from crude operating data, a profit maximization model to evaluate decisions about pricing, capital allocation, and marketing expenditures. Analyzed the effects of corporate structure and interpersonal relations on decision-making and operations.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO REP. LES ASPIN, 1974-1975.
Advised the Congressman on energy, environmental, and economic issues. Drafted the first legislation to regulate fluorocarbon (Freon) emissions, proposing a market-simulating auction system, and did extensive analyses of the breeder reactor development program and of the risks and benefits of recycling the plutonium contained in spent nuclear reactor fuel.
EDUCATIONHARVARD UNIVERSITY, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, CAMBRIDGE, MA
PH.D. IN PUBLIC POLICY, June 1985.
Thesis title: Allocating Federal Drug Enforcement Resources: The Case of Marijuana.
MASTER OF PUBLIC POLICY, June 1977.
HAVERFORD COLLEGE, HAVERFORD, PA
BACHELOR OF ARTS, magna cum laude, June 1972.
Major fields: Economics (honors), Philosophy (honors), Political Science (high honors). Phi Beta Kappa.
Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know
(with Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer), Oxford University Press, June,2012.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know
(with Jonathan P. Caulkins and Angela Hawken), Oxford University Press, June,2011.
Encyclopedia of Drug Policy, (general editor), Sage Publications(2011).
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 2009. (Named one of the “Books of the Year” for 2009 by The Economist.) Spanish
translation by the Universidad de los Andes(forthcoming).
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results; New York: Basic Books, 1992 (Aaron WildavskyBook Award,
Policy Studies Organization, 1993).
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control; Greenwich, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1989.
JOURNAL ARTICLES, BOOK CHAPTERS
“Quasi-Legal Cannabis in Colorado and Washington: Local and National Implications,” (Angela
Hawken, Jonathan Caulkins, Beau Kilmer, Mark Kleiman), Addiction.
“A New Role for Parole,” Washington Monthly.
“Cooperative Enforcement Agreements and Policy Waivers: New Options for Federal Accommodation
to State-Level Cannabis Legalization,” (Mark A.R. Kleiman) Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.Volume
6, Issue 1. August 2013.
“Smart on Crime,” Democracy Journal, Issue 28, Spring, 2013.
“High Tax States: Options for Gleaning Revenue from Legal Cannabis,” Oregon Law Review, Vol. 94,
“A Voter’s Guide to Decriminalizing Marijuana,” (Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken,Beau
Kilmer, Mark A.R. Kleiman), The American Interest.
“Strategies to Control Mexican Drug-Trafficking Violence,” (with Steven Davenport), Journal of Drug
“Marijuana Legalization 2012: The Brewing Conflict Between State and Federal Law, (with Jonathan
P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, and Beau Kilmer), The American Interest.
“The Pros and Cons of Legalization,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins, Anna Kasunic, Michael A.C. Lee),
In Substance Abuse in Adolescence and Young Adults: A Critical Conundrum for Society, eds. Donald
E. Greydanus, Gabroel Kaplan, Dilip Patel, Joav Merrick(forthcoming).
“Eight Questions for Drug Policy Research,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, and Beau
Kilmer), Issues in Science and Technology pp. 79 – 88, Summer, 2012.
“Targeting Drug-Trafficking Violence in Mexico,” Journal of Drug PolicyAnalysis.
“Targeting Drug-Trafficking Violence in Mexico: An Orthogonal Approach,” Yale Center for the
Study of Globalization, Conference on Re-thinking the “War on Drugs” Through the U.S.-Mexico
Prism, e-book edited by Ernesto Zedillo and Haynie Wheeler, pp. 125 – 36, April,2012.
“Optimizing the Drug-Scheduling Process: Commentary on Coulson and Caulkins,” Addiction, Vol.
107, Issue 4, pgs. 774-775, April, 2012.
“Triage in the Drug War,” The American Interest, online February 21,2012.
“Reducing Crime by Shrinking the Prison Headcount,” Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 9,
No. 1, pp. 89 – 107, Fall, 2011.
“Justice Reinvestment in Community Supervision,” Special issue on Mass Incarceration, Criminology
& Public Policy, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 651 – 659, August, 2011.
“Crime-Minimizing Drug Policy,” (with Lowry Heussler), Special issue on Crime and Addiction,
Journal of Criminal Justice Policy, Vol. 39, pp. 286-288, 2011.
“The Case For a National Frat Tax?” (with Will Godfrey) The Fix (online), April 8,2011.
“Think Again: The Afghan Drug Trade,” (with Jonathan Kulick and Jonathan Caulkins), Foreign
Policy, April, 2011.
“Drugs and Crime,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins), in Handbook of Crimes and Punishment, Michael
Tonry ed., Oxford University Press, pp. 275 – 320, Spring 2011.
“Drugs, Crime and Public Policy,”(with David A. Boyum and Jonathan P. Caulkins), in Crime and
Public Policy, James Q. Wilson and Joan Petersilia eds., Oxford University Press, pp. 368 – 410,
“Toward Fewer Prisoners and Less Crime,” Daedalus on “Mass Incarceration” Glenn Loury and Bruce
Western, eds., pp. 115 – 123, Summer 2010.
“The Minimum Legal Drinking Age: “Leaving it to the States vs. Uniformity at a Lower Age,” in
Natasha A. Frost, Joshua D. Freilich, and Todd R. Clear eds., Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
Policy: Policy Proposals from the American Society of Criminology Conference, Cengage Learning
Inc., November, 2009.
“The Dynamics of Deterrence,” (with Beau Kilmer), Procedings of the National Acaademy ofSciences,
Vol. 106, No. 34, 14230-14235, 2009.
“Machiavelli’s Socratic Dialogue: The Prince as a Seduction into Virtue,” UCLA School of Public
Affairs, Department of Public Policy Faculty Research Paper Series #09-001, 2009.
“An Administrative Remedy for the Crack Mandatory Sentencing Problem,” Journal of Drug Policy
Analysis, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Article 3, 2008.
“Drugs and Drug Policies in the United States,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins), in Understanding
America, Peter H. Schuck and James Q. Wilson eds, Public Affairs Press, pp. 563 – 596, 2008.
“Alcohol As A ‘Drug’: A Moral Revolution ” Addiction Vol. 102 No.8, 1189–1189, 2007.
“Dueling Failures: Comparative Institutional Analysis and the Logic of Policy Choice,” (with Steven
M. Teles), in Robert Goodin, Michael Moran, and Martin Rein eds., Oxford Handbook of Public
Policy, pp. 624 – 650, 2006.
“Religiosity, Piety, Humility, and Democracy.” Society Vol. 42 No.4, pp. 38-39. May/June 2005
“Toward (More Nearly) Optimal Sentencing for Drug Offenders,” Criminology & Public Policy, Vol.
3, No. 3, pp. 435 – 40, July, 2004.
“Costs and Benefits of Immunotherapies or Depot Medications for the Treatment of Drug Abuse,” in
Henrick J. Harwood and Tracy G. Meyers, eds., New Treatments for Addiction: Behavioral, Ethical,
Legal and Social Questions, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Committee on
Immunotherapies and Sustained-Release Medications for Treating Drug Addiction, [Washington, DC:
The National Academies Press], pp. 213 – 240, 2004.
“Drug Court Can Work. Would Something Else Work Better?,” Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 2,
No. 2, pp. 167 – 170, March 2003.
“Lessons of the ‘War’ on Drugs for the ‘War’ on Terrorism,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins and Peter
Reuter), in Arnold Howitt and Robyn Pangi eds., Countering Terrorism Dimensions of Preparedness,
MIT Press, pp. 73 – 93, 2003.
“The ‘Brain Disease’ Idea, Drug Policy, and Research Ethics,” Addiction, Vol. 98, pp. 871-874, 2003.
“An Outcome-Oriented Look at Firearms Policies,” in Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig eds., Evaluating
Gun Policy: Effects on Crime and Violence, [Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press], pp.
404 – 411, 2003.
“Science, Politics, and the Public Health,” Society, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 11-16, May/June 2002.
“The False ID Problem ,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 283- 286,
“Substance Abuse Policy from a Crime-Control Perspective,” (with David A. Boyum), in James Q.
Wilson and Joan Petersilia, eds., Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control, [Oakland: ICS Press],
“Present at the Creation: Jerome Jaffe and Harold Hughes ,” in Griffith Edwards ed., Addiction:
Evolution of a Specialist Field, [Oxford: Blackwell Publishing], 2002.
“Use and Abuse of Science in Drug Abuse Control Policy ,” in Jonathan B. Imber ed., Searching for
Science Policy, [New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers], pp. 51 – 66, 2002.
“Towards Practical Drug Control Policies ,” Social Research, Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 884 – 890, Fall 2001.
“Science and Drug Abuse Control Policy ,” Society, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 7-12, May/June 2001
“Noticing the Micro-Distributional Consequences of Cigarette Taxation and its Equivalents,” (with
Jonathan Caulkins), Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 337-348,
“Controlling Drug Use and Crime Among Drug-Involved Offenders: Testing, Sanctions, and
Treatment,” in Philip H. Heymann and William N. Brownsberger eds. Drug Addiction and Drug
Policy, Harvard University Press, pp. 168 – 192, 2001.
“Drug Testing in Criminal Justice Settings,” (with Adele Harrell), in C. Leukefeld and F. Tims eds.
Clinical and Policy Responses to Drug Offenders, Springer Publishing Co., 2001.
“Getting Deterrence Right: Applying Tipping Models and Behavioral Economics to the Problems of
Crime Control,” Perspectives on Crime and Justice: 1998-1999 Lecture Series, National Institute of
Justice, Vol. 3, November 1999.
“Community Corrections as the Front Line in Crime Control ,” UCLA Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 6,
“Economic cost measurements, damage minimization and drug abuse control policy ,” Addiction, Vol.
94, No. 5, pp. 638-641, May 1999.
“Ambiguities of Harm Reduction in Crime and Drug Policy,” in Edward L. Rubin, ed., Minimizing
Harm: A New Crime Policy for Modern America, Westview Press, pp. 197 – 202, 1999. The
“Crime Policy: Challenge and Opportunities,” in Crime Policy for the 21st Century, National Institute of
Justice, Washington D.C., 1999.
“Principles for Practical Drug Policies: The Case for a Slow Fix,” [London: The Prison Reform
“Addiction, Rationality, Behavior and Measures: Some Comments on the Problems of Integrating
Econometric and Behavioral Economic Research,” in Frank J. Chaloupka, Warren K. Bickel, Michael
Grossman, and Henry Saffer, eds., The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse: An
Integration of Econometric and Behavioral Economic Research, [Chicago: The University of Chicago
Press], National Bureau of Economic Research, 1999.
“Drinking Water Treatment: Balancing Infectious Disease, Cancer and Cost,” (with Ra’anana Levin),
in Stuart S. Nagel ed., The Substance of Public Policy, [Huntington: Nova Science Publishers Inc],
“Drug Policy for Crime Control,” Policy Options, Vol. 19, No. 8, October1998.
“Drugs and Drug Policy: The Case for a Slow Fix.,” Issues in Science and Technology, Vol. XV, No.
1, Fall 1998.
“Reducing the Prevalence of Cocaine and Heroin Dealing Among Adolescents,” Valparaiso University
Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 551 – 564, May 1997.
“Thoughts on the Medical Cannabis Issue,” Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin, No. 2, May 1997.
“Methamphetamine Returns,” (with Sally Satel), Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin, No. 1, January1997.
“Managing Drug-Involved Offenders,” Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin, No. 1, January 1997.
“Coerced Abstinence: A Neo-Paternalistic Drug Policy Initiative,” in Lawrence A. Mead, ed., The
New Paternalism, Brookings Institution Press, 1997.
“Commentary on Skolnick: The Ambiguities of Harm Reduction in Crime and Drug Policy,” in
Edward L. Rubin, ed., Minimizing Harm as a Goal for Crime Policy in California, Berkeley,
California, California Policy Seminar, 1997.
“The Factors of Production in Retail Drug Dealing,” (with Rebecca M. Young), Urban Affairs Review
(formerly the Urban Affairs Quarterly), Vol. 30, No. 5, May1995.
“The Medical Use of Marijuana: The Case for Clinical Trials,” (with Richard Doblin), Journal of
Addictive Diseases, Vol. 14 (1), 1995.
“Alcohol and Other Drugs” (with David A. Boyum), in James Q. Wilson and Joan Petersilia eds.,
Crime and Public Policy, Institute for Contemporary Studies, [San Francisco: ICS Press], 1994.
“Organized Crime and Drug Abuse Control,” in Robert J. Kelly , Ko-Lin Chin and Rufus Schatzberg
eds., Handbook of Organized Crime in the United States, [Westport, CT: Greenwood Press], 1994.
“Enforcement Swamping: A Positive-Feedback Mechanism in Rates of Illicit Activity,” Mathematical
& Computer Modeling, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 65-75, January 1993.
“Drug Abuse Control Policy: Libertarian, Authoritarian, Liberal and Communitarian Perspectives,”
The Responsive Community, Winter 1992/93.
“Neither Prohibition Nor Legalization: Grudging Toleration in Drug Control Policy,” Daedalus,
Summer 1992. https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=168406
“Heroin Policy for the Next Decade,” (with Jonathan P. Caulkins) The Annals of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 521, May 1992.
“Taxes, Regulations, and Prohibitions: Reformulating the Legalization Debate,” (with Aaron Saiger),
in Peter H. Smith ed., Drug Policy in the Americas, Westview Press, 1992.
“Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine: A Survey of Oncologists’ Experience and Attitudes,” (with
Richard Doblin), Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 9, No. 7, July 1991.
“The Optimal Design of Drug-Control Laws,” in Melvyn B. Krauss and Edward P. Lazear eds.,
Searching for Alternatives: Drug Policy in the United States, Hoover Institution Press, 1991.
“Drug Legalization: The Importance of Asking the Right Question” (with Aaron J. Saiger), Hofstra
Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, Spring 1990.
“State and Local Drug Enforcement: In Search of a Strategy,” (with Kerry D. Smith), in Michael Tonry
and Norval Morris eds., Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research, Vol. 12, 1990.
“AIDS, Vice, and Public Policy,” Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 51, No. 1, Winter 1988.
“With This Test I Thee Wed: Evaluating Premarital AIDS Testing,” (with Richard W. Mockler),
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 7, No. 3, Spring 1988.
“Liberalism and Vice Control,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter
“AIDS, the Criminal Justice System and Civil Liberties,” (with Richard W. Mockler), Governance,
Harvard Journal of Public Policy, Summer-Fall 1987.
“Vice Policy in Liberal Society,” Nova Law Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, Spring 1987.
“Risks and Prices: An Economic Analysis of Drug Enforcement,” (with Peter Reuter), Crime and
Justice, Vol. 7, 1986.
“Drug Enforcement and Organized Crime,” in Alexander and Caiden eds., The Politics and Economics
of Organized Crime, [Lexington: Lexington Books], 1984.
TECHNICAL REPORTS AND POLICY MEMOS
“Reducing Prison Populations and Crime Rates in California Through Enhanced Community
Supervision Mechanisms,” Policy Matters, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, 2011Fall
Special Issue on Budget and Crime, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 10 -11, October 11, 2011.
“Office of National Drug control Policy Strategy Recommendations,” (with Harold Pollack), note to
Gil Kerlikowske, Director, ONDCP, December 6, 2010.
“Targeted Zero Tolerance and Regulatory Enforcement,” memo to Shelley Metzenbaum, Associate
Director for Performance and Personnel Management at Office of Budget and Management, November
“Why ‘Prevention and Treatment’ Doesn’t Add Up to ‘Demand Reduction,” memo to Carlos Pasqual,
U.S. Ambassador, October 24, 2010.
“International Supply Reduction and Interdiction,” testimony for the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of
the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, July 21, 2010.
“Drug Production and Trafficking, Counterdrug Policies, and Security and Governance in Afghanistan,”
(Jonathan P. Caulkins, Mark A.R. Kleiman and Jonathan D. Kulick), New York University
Center on International Cooperation, June, 2010.
“Managing Drug Involved Probationers with Swift and Certain Sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE”
(with Angela Hawken), Technical Report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, December,
“The Dynamics of Deterrence,” (with Beau Kilmer, Andrew Morral), prepared for 28th Annual APPAM
Research Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, November, 2006.
“Drug Policies to Minimize Aggregate Harm,” prepared for The Beckley Foundation, Global Drug
Policy: Future Directions, London, England. Fall,2005.
“When Brute Force Fails: Strategy for Crime Control,” Final report to the National Institute of Justice,
“Reducing the Contribution of the Drug Problem to Violence in El Salvador,” prepared for Sociedad
sin Violencia, A Project of the United Nations Development Program, San Salvador, El Salvador,
“Opportunities and Barriers in Probation Reform: A Case Study of Drug Testing and Sanctions,” (with
Thomas H. Tran, Paul Fishbein, Maria-Teresa Magula, Warren Allen and Gareth Lacy), Detailed
Research Findings, California Policy Research Center,2003.
“Considerations on Sentencing for Drug Offenders,” Georgia Governor’s Commission on Certainty in
Sentencing, The Sentencing Guideline, Vol. 4, Issue 2, July2002.
“Opportunities and Barriers in Probation Reform: A Case Study of Drug Testing and Sanctions,” (with
Thomas H. Tran, Paul Fishbein, Maria-Teresa Magula, Warren Allen and Gareth Lacy), CPRC Brief,
California Policy Research Center, Vol. 14, No. 4, June 2002.
“Military Tribunals for Accused Terrorists: Procedure, Policy Analysis, and Politics,” prepared for the
Spring Meeting of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar
Association, February, 2002.
“Who Benefits from Better Drug Treatment?,” Prepared for Join Together,2002.
“Illicit Drugs and the Terrorist Threat: Causal Links and Policy Implications,” report prepared for the
Congressional Research Service, 2002.
“Controlling Drug-Related Violence,” prepared for Sociedad sin Violencia, A Project of the United
Nations Development Program, San Salvador, El Salvador, 2002.
“User Sanctions and Supply Control,” prepared for National Research Council’s Dissemination
Workshop on Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs, October 2001.
“Statement of the Drug Policy Project of the Federation of American Scientists to the U.S. Sentencing
Commission,” comment on the Proposed Changes to MDMA (“Ecstasy”) Penalties,2001.
“Repeat Drunk Driving Intermediate Sanctions and Secure Facility Feasibility Project” with Kate
Biebel, Christopher Ferragamo, Michael Forcier and Carol Williams, BOTEC Analysis Corporation,
Prepared for the Office of Community Corrections, July 30,1998.
“The Proposed ‘Global Settlement’ of Tobacco Litigation: A Policy Analysis,” Working Paper, Institute
for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, Madison, Wisconsin, February 1998.
“Principles for Practical Drug Policies,” Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Rehabilitation
and Drug Policy, Europe Against Drug Abuse, Oslo, Norway, January 1998.
“Controlling Drug Use and Crime Among California’s Drug-Involved Offenders: Testing, Sanctions,
and Treatment,” in California Policy Options 1998, The School of Public Policy and SocialResearch,
University of California, and the University of California Anderson Forecast, 1998.
“Corporate Policies Toward Employee Substance Abuse: A Bottom-Line Analysis,” HARRT Quarterly,
University of California Los Angeles, Summer 1997.
“Understanding and Controlling Homicide in San Juan,” (with four co-authors), BOTEC Analysis
Corporation, October 1996
“The Swine Flu Decision: An Analytic Summary,” Case Program #C18-96-1320.0, Kennedy School
of Government, Harvard University, 1996.
“Criminal Justice in Massachusetts: Putting Crime Control First,” (with six co-authors), Massachusetts
Institute for a New Commonwealth, 1996.
“Breaking the Cycle: Direct Demand Reduction in the Criminal Justice System,” (with Jenny W.
Rudolph), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, April 1995.
“Evaluation of the Multnomah County Drug Testing and Evaluation Program,” (with David P.
Cavanagh, Adele Harrell and Merle Frank), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, February 1995.
“Assessing Needle Exchange: The Limits of Benefit Cost Analysis”, (with Jenny W. Rudolph), paper
commissioned by the National Research Council Panel on Needle Exchange and Bleach Distribution,
Working Paper #94-04-18, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November1994..
“Beyond the Drug-Free Workplace: Substance Abuse Policy for Industry,” Working Paper Series #94-
01-23, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, April1994.
“Marijuana Situation Assessment,” (with Andrew Lockwood Chalsma and David A. Boyum), BOTEC
Analysis Corporation, 1994.
“Measuring Heroin Availability: A Demonstration,” (with Ann Marie Rocheleau), BOTEC Analysis
Corporation, January 1993.
“Reorganizing Federal Drug Law Enforcement,” (Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee),
Working Paper Series #93-01-23, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F.
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1993.
“Assessment and Recommendations: Violent Criminal Apprehension Program,” (with Merle Frank and
David P. Cavanagh), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, October1992.
“Heroin Situation Assessment,” (with David A. Boyum, Jonathan Caulkins, Karen Model, David P.
Cavanagh, Merle Frank) BOTEC Analysis Corporation, January1992.
“Controlling Drug Use and Crime by Drug-Involved Offenders: Drug Testing and Treatment in the
Criminal Justice System,” (with Jenny W. Rudolph), paper prepared for the Working Group of State
Drug Control Executives, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University, 1992.
“Modeling Drug Markets: Overview,” John F. Kennedy School of Government, Program in Criminal
Justice Policy and Management, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991.
“Drug Abuse in Jackson County, Missouri: Problem Assessment and Recommendations,” (with Merle
Frank, Sarah Chayes and Jessie Reiber), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, December 1990.
“Cost Benefit Analysis of Prison Cell Construction and Alternative Sanctions,” (with David P.
Cavanagh), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, Prepared for the National Institute of Justice, June 19,
“Heroin Crackdowns in Two Massachusetts Cities: Executive Summary,” Working Paper #89-01-15,
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts., March 28 1989.
“Heroin Crackdowns in Two Massachusetts Cities,” (with Christopher E. Putala, Rebecca M. Young,
and David P. Cavanagh), BOTEC Analysis Corporation, 1989.
“AIDS and Heroin: Strategies for Control,” (with Richard W. Mockler), The Urban Institute,
Washington, DC., October 1988.
“Imprisonment-to-Offense Ratios,” (with Kerry D. Smith, Richard A. Rogers, and David P.Cavanagh),
BOTEC Analysis Corporation, August 1988.
“Crackdowns: The Effects of Intensive Enforcement on Retail Heroin Dealing,” in Marcia R. Chaiken
ed., Street Level Drug Enforcement: Examining the Issues, National Institute of Justice, 1988.
“A Drug Enforcement Program for Santa Cruz County,” (with Mary Ellen Lawrence and Aaron Saiger),
Working Paper #88-01-13, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 5 1987.
“Drug Abuse Control Policy,” Working Paper #88-01-12, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and
Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge,
Massachusetts., August 5 1987.
“Making and Evaluating Drug Abuse Policies,” (Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.)
Working Paper #87-01-05, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts., June1987.
“The Punishment Deficit and the Prosecutor’s Job,” (Report to the Prosecutors’ Executive Session.)
Working Paper #87-02-01, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June1987.
“The Changing Face of Cocaine,” (Report to the Ford Foundation.), Working Paper #87-01-07, Program
in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University, Cambridge, Mass., January1987.
“Survey Research and Drug Enforcement Policy,” Working Paper #87-01-04, Program in Criminal
Justice Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 1987.
“Organized Crime and Drug Abuse Control,” in Herbert Edelhertz ed., Major Issues in Organized Crime
Control, Northwest Policy Studies Center, Bellevue, Wash., 1987.
“The AIDS Epidemic and the Criminal Justice System: Developing a Policy Agenda,”Working Paper
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The Reality-Based Community
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Paying meth users to stay clean: update
Reader Michael Glazer raises a very good question about using small cash incentive payments to encourage drug addicts to stay "clean": Should the payments be fixed or random?
There's good evidence from the psychology lab that intermittent reward has longer-lasting effects on behavior than constant reward. Worth some experimental work with drug abusers, I'd say.
Even More Retribution
Below, Mark makes the argument, which I agree with, for the merits of retribution as a justification for punishment. The argument comes out of a deep aspect of human moral psychology, which is the need for public recognition of injustice. Human beings who are wronged, whether in small or large ways, need those who have committed wrong against them to ackowledge that fact. Without that acknowledgement, the fact of injustice can haunt them, often leaving them damaged and self-destructive.
The importance of this public recognition--and the severity of punishment is the most important form of public recognition--was brought home to my while I've been here in Britain by the sentencing of three young men, Sajid Zulfiqar, 26, Zahid Bashir, 24, and Imran Maqsood, 22, for brutalling killing a man by kicking him in the head until every bone in his face was broken. They were given "life," which is another way of saying 15 years. Despite the fact that there was some indication of racial motivation (the victim was white), the judge refused to sentence them to the thirty years that "racial motivation" would have gotten them. I'm somewhat ambivalent about the idea of higher sentencing for "racially motivated crimes," but I recognize the reason for it--but it isn't the damage to the victim, it's the danger to society, given that a crime done with an explicit racial motivation is intended to intimidate a larger group, not simply harm a discrete person. That said, the very real disappointment of the victim's family was hard to get around. 15 years in prison just seems a mockery when placed beside the incredible brutality of the crime, and the genuine derangment that could produce it. I wonder how the victim's family and friends will be able to move on, or whether they'll be followed around by the thought that, in some ways, his killers got off, and that the balance of justice in the world is just askew.
Pinochet and retribution
I share the glee that I assume most of my Blue friends will feel at the prospect of Augusto Pinochet finishing out his life behind prison bars. (Nor does it seem ironic to me that he will go away for theft rather than murder: it's much harder to argue that his theft was political rather as opposed to purely criminal. Yes, I'd rather see him tried for torture and murder, but like Patrick Fitzgerald I'm not inclined to be picky. As Jane Galt says, it's the Al Capone principle.)
Note, however, that if putting Pinochet away is justified, it must be on some basis other than deterrence or incapacitation. Perhaps it's time to rethink the place of retribution as a legitimate goal of criminal justice policy. Making what remains of Pinochet's life as miserable as possible is something owed to his victims. It proclaims that what he did was wrong, that the victims did not deserve their victimization, and that they were important enough to be worth revenging.
Why should it be so hard to see that, and to apply it to more ordinary cases?
Update I'm glad to find that Steve Teles agrees with me; I've had several emails, all dissenting. One pointed out, correctly, that the phrase "as miserable as possible" is hyperbolic; that should have been "miserable to the appropriate extent." Another suggested that retribution might often get in the way of repentence and restitution. I agree that those, too, are appropriate objects of punishment. My point was that retribution not be dismissed as somehow "primitive" and unworthy of serious consideration. Still a third says that the problem with the American system is that punishment often exceeds desert, and that the pattern of punishment is excessively random; I agree entirely. I claim that if we allow retribution into the discussion, we can than debate what punishment fits the crime.
Defining mastery down
Predictably, most states have responded to the mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act -- that 100% of their students achieve proficiency in reading and math by the year 2014 -- by dumbing down the tests used to measure proficiency.
The law allows each state to set its own standards. It also, however mandates the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the differences between NAEP scores and state-test scores are instructive. South Carolina is a holdout -- and is being punished for it -- but apparently many of the red states have instituted easy-to-pass tests rather than trying to get their schools to actually teach anyone anything. In Tennessee, 87% of students are proficient by state standards, but only 21% under NAEP; in Mississippi, it's 89-18.
There's a good argument for standards-driven education; we pay for schools so kids can learn, and if you don't measure outcomes its hard to manage for outcomes. On the other hand, there's a good argument for hiring competent teachers and letting them teach, rather than trying to convert classrooms into learning factories with dumb output measures. (If we're going to run out schools by test results, then we ought to spend the money to make sure that the tests measure the right things.)
But surely having test-centered education with low-threshold tests must be the worst of all possible worlds.
I told you so, alas!
Searching my archives for something else entirely, I ran into this paragraph, written in February 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq.
So far, the debate about the invasion of Iraq has involved far less vituperation than was the case about Vietnam. As far as I know, I haven't lost any friends by being pro-war, and I wouldn't expect to lose any if tomorrow I became anti-war. That civility is worth holding on to, and won't be easy to hold onto if the thing goes badly, as well it might.
I claim points for prescience. "The thing" did go badly, and the civility wasn't easy to hold on to.
Since I got married (in 1999), I have picked back up skiing, and in a big way. Just in the last few years, I've skiied Snowbird, Alta, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Copper Mountain, A-Basin, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, Mt. Hood Meadows, Sugarloaf, Stowe, Killington, Jay Peak, Sunday River, Smugglers Notch, Cannon, Sugarbush, Okemo, and some other places that I've forgotten now. I've planned a big trip to Jackson Hole for January, primarily because the legendary tram is closing.
One thing I've noticed is the extraordinary variation in ticket pricing. Copper Mountain in CO, for example, routinely sells 4 day lift passes for as low as $69 or so, to locals, where they then spill out onto ebay. Copper also aggressively discounts its season pass, as do the American Ski Company resorts in the East (Killington, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, etc.). On the other hand, there are resorts that, so far as I can tell, NEVER discount, such as Jackson Hole. And while there is some discounting for the resorts in Utah, it is typically much more moderate than those in CO.
Of course, part of the explanation here is competition. The fiercest competition is for the local's dollar, and where there are numerous resorts competing for that dollar, there will be extensive discounting. This explains why you see so many discount offers for CO resorts, but what can explain the lower intensity of discounting in UT, where they have more resorts per person than CO, and certainly a sufficient absolute number to encourage rather fierce competition? And is the overall cost of a ski trip to a destination resort like Jackson sufficient to make consumers COMPETELY cost-insensitive (as we must be to pay the full $70/day cost of a ticket).
Finally, are lift tickets Giffen goods? That is, are they a good whose consumption increases as price goes up? This is the case when people treat the price of a good as a proxy for its underlying value. For example, let us assume that there is imperfect information as to the quality of different ski resorts (or, at least, high search costs). If I'm planning a destination trip (which is highly likely to be a one-shot), I want to be pretty confident that I'll really get blown away by the place I'm skiing. If I see that a bunch of discount tickets are available for Copper, but Vail is doing no discounting, I'll have to ask myself--is Copper giving skiing away because their resort isn't any good? (for the record, Copper rocks, although some of the discounting can create crowds at the bottom of the mountain). Or is it the case, as my (MBA-student) wife suggests, that some producers will simply refuse completely to discount, because any discounting sends a signal to the consumer that a price other than the list price is available, and thus they will hold out until a discount is found--or not consume at all.
We'll post any interesting/useful insights into the economics of skiing here.
The clown show tours Doha
In addition to making hash of the idea that the United States supports democracy in the Middle East -- since there's no real democracy without independent mass media -- the apparent plot to bomb Al-Jazeera has apparently seriously annoyed the ruling family in Qatar. Not only is Qatar an ally of the U.S., but it has one of the less objectionable regimes in that part of the world: not at all democratic, but not kleptocratic, either, and with a strong liberalizing tendency. (Women were allowed to vote in elections for local councils last year.)
Apparently the Qataris read the situation as any reasonable person would: if the leak of the document is prosecutable under the Official Secrets Act, then the document itself must be genuine. And of course, after his denial that Karl Rove or Scooter Libby had any role in revealing that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, a statement by Scott McClellan that an report is "outlandish" is tantamount to a confirmation.
I'm curious about how the memo leaked. The Daily Mirror claims to have told 10 Downing Street that it intended to publish the story, and claims that no one there tried to wave them off. But the next day the government is invoking the O.S.A. If someone close to Blair wanted to stick it to GWB, that would be about the right sequence, wouldn't it? First leak the story, then let it go forward, and then refuse to comment and invoke the O.S.A. so as to (1) appear to be trying to plug the leak, thus pleasing Washington and (2) actually broadcasting to the entire world that the contents of the leak were accurate.
Note that we aren't at war with Qatar, and that bombing Doha, the Qatari capital and Al-Jazeera HQ, would have been nothing less than mass murder.
Remember, folks, that's our flag -- yours and mine -- that's being dishonored by the current occupant of the White House and his cronies.
Which reminds me: Do you know why Laura Bush always gets on top when the First Couple makes love?
Update: Boris Johnson, the Tory MP who edits the Spectator, calls the invocation of the O.S.A. "redolent of guilt." Exactly so.
(And wouldn't it be nice to live in a political culture where politicians feel free to use words such as "redolent"?)
Lowering the threshold of bribery
Brody Mullins has a long piece in the Wall Street Journal on the significance of the Michael Scanlon plea. Scanlon's lawyer says that the Justice Department inquiry, and Scanlon's "cooperation," will be much wider than the mentions of Abramoff and Ney in the indictment to which Scanlon pleaded guilty.
Update: The WSJ names three Representatives and one Senator as under investigation; the Washington Post says "at least half a dozen," and reports that there are 35 to 40 investigators and prosecutors working on the case.
As if that weren't enough good news for the day after Thanksgiving, the article goes on to suggest that the long history of tolerating quid-pro-quo campaign contributions may be nearing its end:
Mr. Scanlon's guilty plea suggests that prosecutors may be setting a low threshold for bringing bribery charges. Mr. Scanlon pleaded guilty to bribing Mr. Ney by contributing just $4,000 to his campaign account in 2000 and an additional $10,000 to a separate Republican campaign fund. Prosecutors told Mr. Scanlon that if he made the contributions in exchange for some action or public statement by Mr. Ney, the donations amounted to bribery. That argument put pressure on Mr. Scanlon to plead guilty.
Despite the surge in donor-financed campaign spending, the Justice Department, at least in the past 30 years, hasn't charged a lobbyist with bribery based on political contributions. The Justice Department won't discuss its tactics, but Washington lobbyists are watching closely. If it were to use a similar standard for other prosecutions, it might be easier for the Justice Department to bring cases against Mr. Abramoff and his lobbying partners.
A Justice Department argument that political contributions are akin to bribery if the lobbyist is looking for something in return would force a big change in the way lobbyists ply their trade.
And about time, I'd say. Offering a public official "any thing of value" in exchange for an official act is bribery. A campaign contribution is something of value. Ergo, a campaign contribution in return for a vote or a speech or the introduction of a bill is bribery, and both the bribor an the bribee ought to be handcuffed, booked, prosecuted, and imprisoned.
Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.
Footnote Yes, I know that neither "bribor" nor "bribee" is a word. But there's no other single word for either role in a bribery scheme, and I claim we need such words.
The media and the kleptocracy
A reader reflects on a special case of the bribery-and-extortion problem:
I think the Democrats will inevitably come to at least a brief sojourn in political power. The failures of GWB are really all the slogan they need to accomplish this.
But, if they do not take the opportunity to bring about a thorough-going Media reform, they will be swept from power just as quickly. The long Whitewater saga culminating in the Clinton impeachment, the media’s well-orchestrated slander of Gore and long defense of Bush, the reluctance to look at the scandals of the Iraq War and Reconstruction, ought to be object lessons.
Media consolidation has left our political discourse in the hands of a few giant corporations, and those giant corporations depend directly on government for intellectual property, bandwidth licensing and other rents. Big Media and the political class are now in symbiosis, and together they are parasitic on the productive part of the society. Unless their symbiosic relationship is destroyed, it will choke this country’s democracy to death.
Straws in the political wind
Robert Frank, whose argument that tax cuts for the rich aren't even good for the rich I linked to a couple of days ago, writes:
Here's some weak evidence that we're at or near an anti-Bush tipping point: When I've written anti-tax-cut columns in the past, I usually get a pretty strong balance of hate mail over friendly mail. The reaction to today's column has been the reverse.
A reporter friend notes that now show Blue the Truth Laid Bear traffic countsBlogistan dominant over Red Blogistan, though the reverse is still true of the links rankings. I've also heard that right-wing talk radio audiences are slipping. All this is consistent with the theory that the string of events starting with the Schiavo affair and continuing with Iraq, Katrina, Abramoff, Miers, and the Plame affair has demoralized and demobilized Bush's fans and done the opposite for his foes. I hope that turns out to be true when it's time to write checks and make phone calls.
Which reminds me: What campaign checks have you written recently? Remember dear Emily: Early Money Is Like Yeast.
A Missive from the UK: Small Is Beautiful?
Like Mark, I'm in Britain now. Started out in the Home Counties, now up in what the motorway signs around London refer to simply as "The North." The trip so far has made me think, as trips to Britain often do, about smallness.
Smallness isn't necessarily bad. For instance, the Guardian has changed from the full, NYT size paper, to a more compact (but not tabloid) version. Along with a really beautiful new format, it is one of the few unvarnished improvements of ANYTHING I can think of. Also, a large percentage of Britons read the paper on public transport, where the new, smaller size dramatically lowers the probability of sticking your elbow in someone's face when you try to turn the page.
And largeness isn't always so hot either. I have been hearing about how wonderful the Tate Modern museum was. The main attraction of the museum was supposed to be its sheer size--it has the largest open spaces of any museum I have ever been in. This allows the museum to stage enormous installations by contemporary artists. Which begs the question--is there really all that much gargantuan art that is genuinely inspiring being produced, or which should be produced? All I can say is that the installation currently in place was not much of an advertisement for the virtues of enormousness.
On the other hand, everything else in Britain is smaller than in the US. There are cases where this is quite pleasant--some of the most enjoyable pints I have had in Britain, especially in the countryside, have been in pubs where I nearly brained myself walking through the door. But houses are a different story. Even quite pricey houses in Britain tend to be very, very small, with quite low ceilings. There's a good reason for the low ceilings--heating is much more of a priority here than cooling. But coming from the US, small rooms and low ceilings produces a real sense of confinement and agitation. Of course, people can adapt to lots of things, and there is little doubt that the relative dearth of private space leads Britons to spend more of their time in public space--hence the continued significance of pubs and, increasingly, cafes.
But there is a non-cultural reason why homes are so small in Britain--there's not a lot of room and a lot of people. As a result, house prices are just extraordinary. This used to be a purely southern (i.e. London) problem, but as Northern cities are becoming more livable, and companies are relocating up here, they're bringing house price inflation with them. And as a consequence, people up North will have to do without one of the compensating virtues of being away from London, which was greater space (horizontal, of course--as far as I can tell, it's hard to get much vertical space anywhere here).
To sum up, Britain's housing stock is small, both vertically and horizontally, and it's not about to change that much. I've thought about living in Britain permanently (having lived in England for a year or so in bits and pieces) before, and even interviewed for a job here. But could I deal with the low ceilings? Maybe if they decided there wasn't a need for huge installations at the Tate Modern and converted it to lofts instead....
Warning: Paul Hackett
Crooks and Liars helpfully posts Paul Hackett's recent Hardball interview. View it, and you'll see why Hackett has impressed so many, especially in the netroots: he is intelligent and articulate, and avoids just regurgitating talking points. Either he or Sherrod Brown would make an outstanding US Senator from Ohio.
But Hackett's got a problem that he had better correct quickly.
A magazine interview quoted him as accusing George W. Bush of preferring to snort cocaine rather than serve his country during the Vietnam era. That plays well in the netroots, but it will get him in lots of trouble unless he's got a better answer than he gave to Chris Matthews. Matthews pressed him on how he knew that, and all he could say was that he had "heard reports" and "where there is smoke, there is fire."
Well, no. Bloggers might believe it, but a United States Senator doesn't make accusations like that unless he can back them up. More to the point, this is just the kind of thing that, in best Rovian fashion, can completely change the theme of a campaign. Dewine will spend a lot of time questioning Hackett's credibility, when the real issue is Bush's and Dewine's credibility.
At this point, the best retort is something along the lines of: "we know that George Bush lied about the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, and we know that he lied about the evidence of WMD. He and Mike Dewine have a lot to answer for: they're the ones with credibility problems, not me." That works for me, but it might not work for the mainstream media, which will run away from substantive issues as quickly as it can.
This can easily subvert the Senate campaign in Ohio and distract voters from the real issue of Republican mendacity and incompetence. And if you don't believe me, then ask Dan Rather.
UPDATE: A reader writes in and makes a good point:
"Having read the transcript of the interview Jonathan Zasloff mentions, I agree with Zasloff's sense that this exchange made Hackett look unprepared for the tricky job of being a public figure. Matthews let him off easy when he changed the subject after backing Hackett into a corner.
"But my thought at the time was, why doesn't he simply say, 'Well, George Bush has refused several times to publicly deny these rumors. If he never used cocaine, despite the many claims that he did, why doesn't he simply publicly say so? When he does, I'll take him at his word. Until then, it seems an open issue to me.'
"Back Bush into a corner and let's see if he can paint his way out of it."
Bribery and extortion
A reader points out that many of the campaign contributions I described as "legalized bribery" are better understood as extortion. Absolutely right. That's the Rove/Armey/DeLay/Abramoff/Norquist revolution, which if it succeeds will move the country a long way not only toward permanent Republican rule but also toward a kleptocratic "crony capitalist" system to replace not only legitimate politics but also real capitalism.
Sending all of the perpetrators to jail will help, but it won't be enough. They also need to suffer massive electoral defeats in 2006 and 2008.
That should be the Democratic slogan for the next three years:
Clean up the mess in Washington! Throw the rascals out!
If there's to be a Democratic "Contract with America," some of its content should be policy initiatives designed to benefit the bottom 99% of the income distribution at the expense of the top 1%; some of it should be replacing ideology with science and common sense in decision-making; and the rest should be reform of the political and governing processes, including honest vote-counting. Like 1974, this is a moment at which "process liberalism" might have wide public appeal.
Policy-based evidence-making: an example
Rob MacCoun offers an instance of the policy-based evidence-making denounced in this space yesterday. The latest offender is an Army War College study which uses social-scientific-sounding incantations to try to raise the old "unit cohesion" idea from the graveyard of discarded ideas, but produces only a zombie theory, erect and moving but undead rather than truly alive.
The policy in defense of which this evidence was constructed is, of course, the ban on gays in the military. I have it on good authority that while the Pentagon brass still likes "Don't ask, don't tell," junior officers in the field have no time for it. Apparently it's not being paid much heed in Iraq; no one there thinks we have soldiers to spare.
When are tax cuts for the rich bad even for the rich?
Robert Frank makes the case: If public expenditure is largely on things consumed non-competitively, such as health and safety, while private expenditure is largely on things consumed competitively, then cutting taxes for the rich won't even make the rich better off.
Newton v. Einstein
The Times of London reports that in a poll of both scientists and public, Isaac Newton crushed Albert Einstein as to the question of who made the greater contribution to science. Among scientists (Royal Society members), Newton got a whopping 86.2%; the public gave him a clear 61.8%.
Even taking into account the nationalistic bias, this result seems right to me. The fact that Einstein's conception of the universe is now more accepted than Newton's misses the point. My understanding is that Newton created the very notion of a universe that can be coherently explained by mathematical laws: Einstein freely admitted that relied on Newtonian concepts in developing his own framework.
Two other things stand out:
1) Einstein quickly fell behind in his own discipline. He never accepted quantum mechanics, and by the late 1920's was something of a dinosaur. (We should all be such dinosaurs!). His famous argument that "God does not play dice with the universe" is something of a misquotation, but it gets the essence of his contention.
2) But for me, here's the trump card: when developing his system of optics, Newton realized that existing mathematical concepts were inadequate for his purposes, so he invented calculus in order to get him over the hump. That's just extraordinary. (Leibniz published first, leading to a pretty ridiculous competition between the two men for the credit when they really both should get it). Einstein used non-Euclidean geometry to develop general relativity: the closest equivalent would be if he had invented it himself.
I suppose it goes without saying that none of this should be taken to diminish Einstein's achievement, and general relativity's notion of cuirved space represents breathtaking creativity. But Newton wins this one. That's why we don't have "Fig Einsteins."
UPDATE: A reader points out that Fig Newtons are in fact named after Newton, Massachusetts, not Sir Isaac. Who knew? (Besides the reader, of course.). I was being somewhat facetious, but suburban Bostonians can rest assured that their honor has not been slighted.
A new Deep Throat?
Steve Clemons does some good reporting and makes what seems to me a sound analytic point:
If, in fact, neither Dana Priest nor Mike Allen was subpoenaed before the Plame grand jury, that creates a strong inference that the prosecutor already knew whatever they could have told him. In particular, the prosecutor must know the identity of their source for the 2 x 6 assertion (that two senior administration officials had told six reporters about Plame's identity) and that source must have told the prosecutor substantially what he or she told Priest and Allen.
It seemed to me at the time that Priest and Allen's original story strongly hinted that Rove was one of the two bad guys. As others have noted, the Libby indictment identifies Rove as "official A," and in the history of Fitzgerald's corruption cases "official A" usually gets indicted eventually.
Sad but true
I've been inactive as a blogger for the past few days because I've been on the road, first in Toronto at the criminology meetings and now in London at a set of drug policy meetings sponsored by the Beckley Foundation. My sleep cycle is still completely shot, but now that the meetings are over with (my only remaining professional responsibility is a talk on drugs and terrorism scheduled for Thursday afternoon at King's College, London) I'll be posting more.
At the drug policy meetings I picked up two aphorisms which I intend to steal shamelessly for the rest of my career. (The ground rules forbid me to name the authors unless/until I get explicit consent.) Though they were said about the drug-policy arena, they have much wider applications.
Does research influence policy? Certainly it does. Especially bad research.
Yes, it would be nice to have evidence-based policy-making. But even if we can't get that, perhaps we can do away with policy-based evidence-making.
Curbing legalized bribery
The criminal cases are all-important in making corruption a political issue. But a genuine anti-corruption campaign needs to look beyond what's currently illegal.
Ponder, if you will, this comment from Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University, as reported by Bloomberg:
"It is not going to be easy for the government to nail members of Congress," said Salzburg. "It is very difficult to decide where the lines are between ordinary campaign contributions that get you access" and illegal gratuities and bribes.
If it's hard to tell a campaign contribution from a bribe, then maybe we need new rules on campaign contributions. If we can't regulate money on the giving end due to the Supreme Court's bizarre "money is speech" decisions, then perhaps we need to regulate it on the receiving end. Why shouldn't the House and the Senate, in their authority to make their own rules, forbid their members from accepting campaign contributions from any registered lobbyist or any lawyer whose practice involves legislative representation?
Update A reader points out that much of the current political money flow is better thought of as extortion rather than bribery. Perhaps one of the new rules ought to forbid any Member of Congress to solicit, directly or indirectly, contributions to anything from anyone, other than via public appeals for contributions.
The Scanlon plea ...
.. is big, big news.
1. What do you think the odds are that Federal prosecutors made a deal with Tom DeLay's former press secretary that didn't involve his providing evidence against DeLay? Pretty long, I'd say.
2. With Scanlon, who was Abramoff's partner in the Indian-gaming racket, working for them, prosecutors are likely to be able to nail not only Abramoff but several-to-many Republican Congressfolk. No fewer than 171 Members received contributions from Abramoff. Can you say "albatross"?
3. As the Bloomberg story notes, the problem in making Congressional bribery cases in the "speech and debate" clause, which means that if a Congressman gets paid off to make a floor speech, introduce a bill, or cast a vote, the speech, bill, or vote can't be used as evidence.
4. "Corruption in Washington" ought to be a winning issue for the Democrats in 2006 and 2008.
5. In that context, a Presidential candidate without experience in trading cattle futures would be a big plus.
Language Police Dept.
Mike's correct pluralization shows him to have impeccable grammar: other authors sometimes fall short in their English language skills. Reading a useful and otherwise erudite tome today, I was struck by the author's repeated use of the word "humankind," as in: "humankind has often produced great cities..."
While honorable in its attempt at gender-neutral terminology, this usage only draws attention to its own awkwardness. There's a perfectly good word here: "humanity." "Of all of humanity's achievements....."
This isn't hard, folks: you don't have to say "policeperson": it's "police officer." "Fireman" can become "fire fighter" etc. I'm not sure that using "man" is such an abomination, but if you don't like it, you don't have to butcher the language.
Just don't ask me what to do with "freshman."
That is all.
On Sunday my wife and I heard a really splendid concert. The UC Alumni Chorus, a fine small pickup orchestra and organist, and the UC Men's and Women's Chorales teamed up to perform one of my long-time favorites and something I'd not heard before (the Poulenc Gloria and the Duruflé Requiem respectively--credits here). The performances were superb, with the ensemble of the enormous double chorus in the Poulenc especialy impressive for an amateur group, much less four of them, but that's not what made the concert such a winner.
This was an example of a kind of art experience that used to be much more important in people's lives than it is now: that is, a serious extended effort by talented non-professionals to enrich their neighbors' lives with something that took some work by listeners, and that paid it back amply. Probably more than half the audience were friends and relatives of the performers, and the rest were part of the Berkeley community, so the listening experience was greatly informed by a web of personal relationships and local pride. You could feel the net of social capital being woven and reinforced with every note.
Wagner, for all his other meshugais, was much concerned that music be a collective enterprise of a community in exactly this way (Die Meistersinger is a template for this idea). The 'program' comprises expert, erudite, semi-pros giving real concerts, along with amateurs playing chamber music and jamming at home, and fans singing popular songs and the odd opera opera aria in the street or the shower. The point of this model is that the performers at formal events are doing their stuff in the name of, and for the well-being of, a larger community that has other groups and bands of talented folks doing other things very well and with similar pride and affection (in the opera, the bakers, tailors, and shoemakers model this diversity). You may not be literally singing at the annual concert of the local masters, but you are part of the performance, maybe because you spent the fall hearing your next-door neighbor endlessly practicing the second alto part, maybe because you paid for the music lessons of your son the first trumpet, maybe just because you're enjoying the discovery of how high your friends can reach.
A chorus is an especially good organization for this kind of art life, because the enterprise itself requires that people get together in person and because a fairly wide range of voice excellence can be accomodated. Berkeley, I am proud to say, also rejoices in a community chorus that has no auditions and every year rehearses and performs a really demanding work at a very high level.
It's harder to use plastic arts in this community-building, attention-intensifying way because painting, photography, and sculpture are intrinsically solitary. But it's not impossible and worth imaginative efforts to pull it off; after all, some of of us are tone-deaf and/or tin-eared.
Will local groups ever reach the technical and insight levels of world-class professional groups? Of course not. So doesn't the artistic experience of loading up the immortal von Karajan Brahms Requiem in a CD player and listening to it on a really good stereo system eclipse hearing your friends and neighbors do it pretty well after a lot of hard work? Nope, not a bit. I have lots of really top-class CDs of lots of different kinds of music, and there's nothing wrong with any of it, but I wouldn't trade Sunday's concert for fifty hours of listening to any recorded music; in fact there are probably not a dozen professional concerts I've ever heard that I got more out of. One reason for this is the sociology of the experience, but another is that we just listen much more intensely and engage more completely when we're tied to an artistic presentation by personal links. The art experience (leave aside its social aspects) inside my head is more complicated, more completely heard, and better understood in a community performance. This improved listening can more than make up for the better chops (and I don't mean in any way to disrespect the importance of excellence in the arts as conventionally understood) of the stars I pay big bucks to hear in professional venues.
Public policy towards the arts almost completely ignores amateur participation of all kinds, and partly as a result (other influences are at work) we spend too little time making art and enjoying our friends doing it. I conjecture that because the experience of the best professionals, especially in recordings and reproductions, subconsciously disappoints us by lacking the snap vouchsafed by personal engagement, we wind up not engaging with art enough overall.
In an effort to promote amity between Left and Right Blogistan, we start a new feature here at the Reality-Based Community, designed to show our appreciation for those on the Right whose work, writings, and efforts deserve our support or respectful attention.
The first installment is The Liberty Fund, whose books you should take a look at, and even buy, if you are so inclined. The Fund publishes many classics of western thought that have gone out of print, and does so in beautifully-produced editions at extremely reasonable prices. Lawyers will be familiar with Philip Kurland and Ralph Lerner's The Founders Constitution, which is a must for those interested in the Constitution. Where else can you get a virtually complete set of The Works of Adam Smith (8 volumes)? A steal for only $74!
So, in the words of every other post at The Corner, why is this conservative? Two reasons.
First, the Liberty Fund takes "liberty" to mean "economic liberty", which in turn it takes to mean completely free market, libertarian economics (in addition to their important works of history, philosophy and political theory). You might want to skip over their editions of the Complete Works of Ludwig von Mises. (I certainly do.). But it's all there if you want it.
Second--and more importantly--for much of the 1970's and 80's, many (although certainly not all) liberals in the academy developed a hatred for political history and philosophy, dismissing them as the products of so many dead white males. What began initially as a laudable and vital attempt to study the neglected history of African-Americans, indigenous peoples, women, gays, immigrants, and other subordinated peoples, later metastasized into a contempt for the western canon and the great tradition of liberal political thought. Part of this was about the bottom line: humanities departments had very limited funding, and so the attacks on traditional learning became more vitupretive as faculty slots became scarcer.
Most of this has since died down, but in the meantime, it was often left to conservatives to keep the flame alive. The Liberty Fund did so, and for that they deserve our thanks and appreciation.
More on the Analog Hole
Michael Malkin, a CS grad student at Stanford, informs me that media files can be "watermarked" with a DRM code that will survive being played into an analog signal unless it is subjected to some degree of degradation. This would mean the copies, even if made by the real-time kludge I described in my earlier post will have protection that precludes their play except in DRM-protective equipment.
Accordingly, Michael says, it's not possible to say at present that the analog hole is or is not certain to trump DRM. However, he adds, "the analog hole will still be a problem for content providers as long as most people have players without DRM. And I'm sure that if DRM becomes ubiquitous, hackers will start distributing programs to strip copy-protection from media and will start hosting DRM-free copies of media on their servers for download. The only way to make a serious dent would be for the companies who make all the hardware and operating systems to include DRM at all levels, so that there would be a completely closed system."
This is an important and dynamic area of technology to watch, with great risk of wrongheaded approaches incurring serious social and economic costs. In the policy/politics context, it's significant because, to the degree that the music and video industry believes DRM can save their bacon, they will probably be resistant to policy reforms of the type I discussed earlier.
Meathead 1, Legislature 0
Anyone who is interested in California politics shouldn't miss Michael Hiltzik's wonderful new blog. Hiltzik's a great writer, extremely knowledgeable, and the author of an important book demolishing Bush's Social Security phase-out plan.
This weekend, Hiltzik rightfully skewers the Governator for authoring an initiative for after-school programs that automatically comes out of the state budget--and then loudly complaining that the state budget is on autopilot.
But Hiltzik goes wrong when he similarly attacks Rob Reiner for authoring an initiative (for the June 2006 ballot) that would establish universal preschool for the state's four-year-olds. The difference is that Reiner's measure (unlike Schwartzenegger's) tells us how to pay for it, namely, with a tax on those making more than $400,000 a year.
Hiltzik thinks that this is just as irresponsible because "the top tax bracket is the most precious stream of revenue we have in California" and it can only be tapped once. While preschool programs might be valuable, he says, the Legislature should be making decisions about priorities; instead, we get ballot-box budgeting that reflects no clear sense of which needs are the most important.
This makes sense theoretically, but practically, it's a losing argument. California is one of only three states that requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, and the current Norquisitian theology has completely infected the state's GOP, which can block any increase due to the two-thirds rule. When Pete Wilson agreed to series of tax increases and budget cuts in order to balance the budget a few years back, he was nearly read out of the party; his desire to get into good graces with the wingnuts was what led him to become a nativist crusader. The Legislature simply cannot set priorities in the current political climate.
Well, then why not just repeal the two-thirds rule by initiative? Been there, done that: it was tried a couple of years ago, and the voters crushed it. California voters might approve higher taxes in some circumstances, but only if they know precisely what it's going for (and only if someone else is actually paying them). The electorate has elected to remain firmly in control of taxes, and that means that the only way to enact important measures like preschool is to do it through the ballot box.
It may say something about California politics that the Meathead is more effective than the Legislature. But whether we like it or not, in this state at least, ballot-box budgeting is an awful idea whose time has come.
Lies Versus Incompetence
You know the noise machine is sputtering when the lies aren't even good anymore. In reaction to John Murtha's call for a phased 6-month redeployment in Iraq, the President said "as long as I am commander in chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground."
Let's put aside for the moment the fact that this is a lie: the "sober judgment" of Gen. Eric Shinseki was that we needed more troops, and he was fired for his sobriety.
Instead, let's assume it's true: it still demonstrates manifest incompetence. Military commanders do not, and should not, determine our "strategy in Iraq" that job is for those who purport to be our political leaders. Iraq is a political problem: if our strategy is being driven solely by the military, it shows that we do not understand it.
A major reason why the Bush-Cheney strategy is so criminally incompetent is that it assumes that if we just blow up enough people, then we'll win. The job of creating a stable Iraq so far transcends that that it's little wonder we have been so unsuccessful. The Marines entered Baghdad, the statue came down, and we figured it was over. There was no political strategy following up because everything was entrusted to the military.
This also points to the wisdom of Murtha's saying that the military has done everything it could do: his point is that the military cannot be expected to solve a political problem. The Administration does not understand this.
Clearly, military necessities have to be an element in developing a coherent political strategy. But the political strategy drives the military, not vice-versa. It's too late to expect the President to read anything, but perhaps someone around him should take a look at this.
Friendly fire and the Order of the Purple Heart
A couple of days ago I asked, incredulously, why there should be a rule denying the Purple Heart to victims of "friendly fire." As usual, things turn out to be more complicated than they first appeared.
The general rule seems to be that the Purple Heart is for being wounded by the enemy.
When contemplating an award of this decoration, the key issue that commanders must take into consideration is the degree to which the enemy caused the injury. The fact that the proposed recipient was participating in direct or indirect combat operations is a necessary prerequisite, but is not sole justification for award. In general, accidents don't quality, nor do combat-related diseases, such as food poisoning, frostbite, or PTSD.
By a special exception, friendly fire injuries "in the heat of battle" are covered. [See clause 6 (b) of the controlling regulation, Paragraph 2-8, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards).] But that exception doesn't apply if there's no battle going on. Then we're back to the "accident" category.
Now that I understand the logic, though, I don't think I agree with it. If we want to have a decoration for those who were wounded defending their country, I can see the justification for a rule that getting hurt through your own negligence doesn't count. But if a soldier in a combat zone catches a piece of shrapnel, it seems to me that he has a war wound, no matter whose shrapnel he happened to catch.
Time to change the rules? Seems that way to me, but I'm open to instruction.
Sony DRM meltdown
We need a new, short pithy word for "unbelievable! no, it's really, completely unbelievable!" I'm tired of saying the phrase and others like it, but it seems lately I have to every time I look at a newspaper. UNOIRCU? Unwarkoo...maybe workable...
The latest repeated stimulus for the sentiment is not from Washington, but from the world of music, art, and all that is good in the world: the unfolding drama that began with Sony BMG's truly stupefyingly bad idea to secretly put a little program on audio CDs--yes, audio--that installed itself invisibly in the darkest middle of Windows if you loaded the CD, and prevented you from doing things like copying songs from the CD more than thrice. This kind of program is beloved of virus malefactors, and called a rootkit. Not surprisingly, their customers were not completely OK with this idea, especially as the CDs were sold at the same price as CDs that permitted copying to files and to iPods, but super-especially when it turned out the program was extremely difficult to remove without trashing the CD drive or the operating system, and super-extra-mega-especially when it turned out to be an open window for malicious programs and viruses.
Couldn't make this stuff up, right? Impossible to imagine a conversation around the executive table among grownups that allowed this lunatic plan to go forward? Ha. It now turns out they have another one out there, on different CDs...but that's not all! With this you get a set of steak knives...no, you get an uninstall program hastily put out by Sony that [pause for emphasis here] opens not a window but a barn door for malware to take over your computer and mess with it to the moon, and--no, really!--another with the same, um, flaw for the second misbegotten protection program!
More tech details here (Nov. 16 post headed "Victory!")
For some reason this story, which has not ended yet, has received relatively little attention in the political blogosphere. It's not just been irresistibly ghastly to regard, like watching a train fall into a river in slow motion as the bridge fails under it, but important. Sony's insouciant idea is that they have such an absolute right to control your use of songs you thought you "bought" that they can proceed with completely callous disregard for your computer (and the victims of the spam and virus it can be coopted to send hither and yon). Their plan embodies the runaway idea of "property" that Lawrence Lessig warns about in his extremely important book, Free Culture, together with an astounding interpretation of what kind of invisible behavior is ethical for software a user doesn't even know he's acquired.
What's happening is that recorded music is on a path from (i) a physical embodiment of a song that was very hard to copy and redistribute, but that you could play over and over again, sell, or give away, to (ii) something you can use as you please because you don't use it up or deny it to others (a computer file). Sony, like other record publishers, is terrified of a world in which the business model they know how to use is becoming unrealistic, and is just the first to experience a corporate brain melt in which common sense, ethics, and prudence are simply driven out of the room by panic and rage. But at the same time, they are sensing an opportunity to seize a large part of the rights to use music that used to be sold with a record or a CD, and actually wind up ahead of the game.
Fortunately, digital rights management (DRM) is regarded by the people I talk to as a doomed strategy: in the war between dozens of publishers' wonks and millions of wonky customers, the latter army will always win and break the protection, probably from anonymous locations where the Digital Millenium Copying Act can't reach. Even if they couldn't, all media can leak through what has been called the "analog hole", the point at which music or video is rendered into an analog signal a human can hear or see (for example, on its way to a loudspeaker) and has therefore shed all digital protection and can be redigitized in unprotected form. This is the path that movies take from a theater screen to a pirated DVD.
The suits in the music (and movie) business are all over the wrong side of this technical revolution, and eventually they will lose unless they can get a grip. But along the way, they will be able to do a fair amount of damage to the social capital stock of arts and culture, damage of which the Sony debacle may only be an early sample.
OUT OF CONTEXT
Mark A.R. Kleiman, David Chu-wen Hsia
October 31, 2000
This document instantiates that old-fashioned and nearly-forgotten genre, the commonplace-book. Two centuries ago, keeping such a book formed part of the routine of every tolerably educated person. Why and how the commonplace-book fell out of favor perhaps deserves some inquiry, but the project of reviving it seems more pressing right now.
While few or no of the contents of a commonplace-book are original with its keeper, neither are its borrowings precise as to form. It consists, not of quotations, but of thoughts the keeper desires to remember, in what seems to him their most memorable form: often not the form chosen by their originator. The world does not lack for books of quotations. This is something else.
An eighteenth-century commonplace-book often included long extracts from its keeper’s reading. The tastes of the compilers running strongly towards the aphoristic, the items below rarely exceed twenty-five words.
Masculine pronouns, and "man" for "human being," occur throughout. English needs neuter personal pronouns, but currently lacks them. We can’t do much about that now without great loss of force. (Those who doubt this sad fact are urged to try their hands at gender-neutralizing "Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.") Our apologies to those offended.
The sayings below often clash with one another. But then all truths expressed in words are at best partial truths, and even falsehoods deserve their best expression.
THE HUMAN COMEDY
War, Politics and other Games
Professions, Disciplines, and Roles
Metaphysics and Epistemology
A1 LIFE AND DEATH
and fear not death.
A living dog
is better than a dead lion.
Better to be alive,
and the slave of a pauper,
than the king of all the dead.
Apologies are useless to a dead man.
Everything a man has
he will give for his life.
Greater love has no man than this:
that he lay down his life for his friends.
Heroism is the choice
of a short and glorious life
over a long, obscure one.
Death is nature's way
of telling us to slow down.
Let the living look to the living
and let the dead past
bury its dead.
Life is unbearable,
but death isn't so pleasant either.
A hero must know when to die.
The unexamined life
is not worth living.
But then the unlived life
is not worth examining.
Life is too short to be small.
A2 HAPPINESS AND SUFFERING
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Happiness cannot be pursued directly.
It comes only as a by-product.
Adversity introduces a man to himself.
Many a man would have been worse
had his fortune been better.
Whoever makes himself a beast
avoids the pain of being a man.
The two keys to a comfortable life
are a good digestion
and a hard heart.
The best antidote
to mental suffering
is physical pain.
Call no man happy
until the day of his death.
Living well is the best revenge.
Living badly is just dying slowly.
Experience is the name
people give their mistakes.
Only slow learners get burned twice.
Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.
Experience keeps a hard school,
but some fools will learn at no other.
Anyone can learn from his mistakes;
it takes a genius
to learn from success.
It’s much cheaper to learn
from someone else’s mistakes.
That’s called "history."
Science is a way of getting experience
without paying the full price.
We make our theories die in our stead.
A ship on the beach
is a lighthouse to the sea.
Experience isn't what happens to you;
it's what you do with what happens to you.
There’s a big difference
Between twenty years’ experience
and one year’s experience
repeated nineteen times.
Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards.
Whatever does not kill me
makes me stronger.
When winter comes,
you know which trees are evergreens.
A4 CHARACTER, MANNER, AND EMOTION
Desire and wrath
are good sevants,
and no man's friends.
Hope is a good breakfast,
but a bad supper.
Hope is good company
but a bad guide.
Hope has a better memory
As we hate
those whom we owe
more than we can comfortably pay,
so we hate
those we have wronged
more than we can comfortably repair.
Fear is a bad counselor,
and anger a worse,
but pity is the worst of all.
A man can no more live
whose desires are at an end
than whose vital motion is at a stand.
One passion never cures another.
You can’t overcome a temptation
by submitting to it.
Some people can resist anything
The best protection
It is not possible
to seduce someone into virtue.
and triviality of purpose
go hand in hand.
is neither a sign of seriousness
nor a substitute for it.
A man is most benevolent
when he has been highly honored
and eaten a good meal.
Boredom is hostility
A bore is someone
who can't change his mind
and won't change the subject.
A fanatic will never admit
that someone who disagrees
might be both well-intentioned
in redoubling your efforts
when you have lost sight of your aim.
When one has no character,
one must employ a method.
Give a man a mask
and he will tell the truth.
Character is destiny.
A5 LUCK AND SKILL
It's bad luck to be superstitious.
No amount of planning
will ever replace dumb luck.
All skill is useless
if an angel pisses in your matchlock.
Success is a matter of luck.
The harder you work,
the luckier you get.
Success is an accident:
ask any failure.
Formula for success:
Attempts – failures = 1.
In the expression
"the law of averages,"
the operative word
is not "law" but "averages."
Fortune is the name
to their ignorance of causes.
A man is called fortunate
whose style of action
accords with his times.
Fortune, being a woman,
prefers young men.
What is obtained by luck
takes great skill to hold.
Eminence is obtained in two ways:
by luck and the power of others
or by virtue and one's own power.
Nothing is truly or securely yours
that is not achieved
by your own virtue,
your own effort,
and your own power.
Nothing fails like success.
A6 AGES, SEXES AND FAMILIES
Marriage has many pains,
but celibacy has no pleasures.
I and my brother against my cousin;
I and my cousin against my tribesman;
I and my tribesman against the world.
An innkeeper loves a drunkard,
but not for a son-in-law.
Confucian ancestor worship?
What do you think
a debutante ball is?
Youth and skill
are no match
for age and treachery.
Youth is wasted
if spent in preparation
for being old.
Youth is wasted on the young.
The difference between
the men and the boys
is the price of their toys.
Youth is a condition,
not a virtue.
To love, a woman gives her whole being.
She receives in return a baby
and some lessons in cooking.
If love is judged
by its visible effects,
it looks more like hatred
than like friendship.
A second marriage
is the triumph of hope
Never trust a man
who lies in bed.
Nothing is more sincere
than a woman telling a lie.
Gray hair is hereditary:
you get it from your children.
Familiarity breeds contempt,
but without a certain amount of familiarity
it is difficult to breed anything at all.
Man is an eternal disappointment
to God and Woman.
It's a poor lover
who blames his tool.
All happy families are alike;
each unhappy family
is unhappy in its own way.
A man with a wife and children
has given hostages to fortune.
A7 GODS AND MORTALS
Who hears the gods
Is heard by them.
The gods in anger grant
the foolish prayers of men.
Whom the gods would destroy,
they first make mad.
If God had forbidden the serpent,
Adam would have eaten the serpent.
The things immortals do in mirth
Are life and death in Midle-Earth.
One who lives alone
must be a god or a wild beast;
he is not a man.
Trying to become
more than man,
we become less.
God is subtle, but not malicious.
If you meet the Buddha
on the road,
If you meet the Buddha
on the information superhighway,
All prayers are answered,
counting "No" as an answer.
A8 SOUND ADVICE
Tomorrow isn't another day.
Tomorrow is today all over again.
He who will not when he may,
he shall not when he would.
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
All good things come
to him who waits.
The wonderful thing
about beating your head
against a brick wall
is that it feels so good when you stop.
A wise man makes
more opportunities than he finds.
Genius is 1% inspiration
and 99% perspiration.
An honor is not without profit.
Nothing is more practical
than a good theory.
No one ever gets enough
of what he doesn't really want.
Worry is the interest
paid by those who borrow trouble.
Never give advice
about matrimony or religion
unless you are prepared
to be responsible
for another's torments
in this world or the next.
A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step:
and a road map.
If you don't know where you're going,
any road will take you there.
The long way around
is the short way home.
You can't drive straight
on a crooked road.
The steeper the climb,
the finer the view.
All departures are alike;
it's the landfall that makes the journey.
Both ends against the middle
is always a winning game.
Whoever dances must pay the piper.
Better to light a candle
than to curse the darkness.
Who laughs best will also laugh last.
He who knows how to tickle himself
can laugh when he pleases.
Even if the cow is black,
the milk is white.
Any cat is a good cat
if it catches mice.
The tallest tree
first feels the axe.
Anything that's any fun
is illegal, immoral, or fattening.
Eat it for a moment,
wear it for a lifetime.
A man who presses his own suit
has a fool for a tailor.
In a disaster,
presence of mind is good,
but absence of body is better.
When the water is over the gunwhales,
follow the rats.
You pays your money
and you takes your choice.
When you have to kill a man,
it costs nothing to be polite.
If you stare too long into the abyss,
the abyss will begin to stare back.
Whoever neglects things as they are
to study things as they should be
learns only to destroy himself.
Speak only when you can improve on silence.
there is a season,
and a time
to every purpose
A9 SAD CONCLUSIONS
Ninety-five percent of everything is crap.
Everyone is his own worst enemy.
Since nothing is free,
to each his price.
There's no point complaining
That the air is bad
when there's nothing else to breathe.
In the country of the blind,
the one-eyed man
is mighty unpopular.
Conscience is the still, small voice
that tells you someone may be watching.
Sic transit gloria mundi:
and Tuesday is usually worse.
The early worm gets the bird.
Where there's a will,
there's a won't.
Whoever lets a smile be his umbrella
must expect to get wet.
Most men would rather
die for their principles
than live up to them.
Everything is funny
as long as it is happening
to somebody else.
You catch more flies with honey
than you want to.
A pencil with no point
needs no eraser.
Blood is thicker than water.
So is whitewash.
Some people kick
even if they're hanged
with a new rope.
It is easy to break eggs
and never make an omlet.
When it comes to evils,
familiarity breeds content.
It's hard to stay drunk long
on the smell of another man's cork.
We are all as God made us,
and some of us
a good deal worse.
The longest distance
between two points
is a short cut.
When Odin sacrificed his right eye
for the secret of victory,
the secret turned out to be:
Watch with both eyes.
God must have loved the poor.
He made so many of them.
Poverty is no disgrace,
but it’s no great honor, either.
More people like to eat
than like to cook.
Blessed are the troublemakers,
for they shall receive
the undivided attention
of the peacemakers.
No good deed goes unpunished.
If you take a dog out of the gutter
and feed him,
he will not bite you.
That is the principal difference
between a dog and a man.
Man is the only animal
Or needs to.
I could pick a better century out of a hat.
B1 GOOD AND EVIL
It is better to suffer evil than to do evil.
The wicked are always surprised
to find that the good can be clever.
The worst sin of the modern age
is its belief that evil is liberating.
does not require impartiality
between the firefighters
and the fire.
one becomes a monster.
By wicked means
one may obtain power,
but not glory.
There is no glory
and no profit
in doing evil badly.
Newness as such
has no moral content:
a new suit is an asset,
a new disease is not.
A ruler must know
how to be able not to be good,
and use that knowledge or not
as the occasion demands.
Anyone unwilling to get his hands dirty
is unfit to rule.
If the ends
do not justify the means,
B2 VIRTUE AND VICE
Virtue is the faculty
of conferring benefits.
The deed is honorable,
not the glory.
Vice is an acquired taste.
A nation is destroyed
by an excess of virtue
as well as vice.
Hypocrisy is the tribute
vice pays to virtue.
is always more admired
We are not punished
for our sins,
but by them.
A man without enemies
is a man without substance.
If virtue were not its own reward
it would be much more popular.
A hundred fools
do not make one wise man,
and a hundred cowards
will not do a brave thing.
is the capacity to remember
what you really want.
Too much is never enough.
You know a man is worthless
when his friends criticize him
and his enemies don't.
A nation is in trouble
when many citizens praise virtue
but few practice it.
Before a wildfire.
Courage is the knowledge of what to fear.
Courage is grace under pressure.
Courage is virtue for high stakes.
Absence of fear
in the face of danger
is not courage, but madness.
Courage is right action while afraid.
Every virtue needs courage to make it real.
Pilate was merciful until the chips were down.
The greatest coward
bears without flinching
the pain of another.
Fear has big eyes.
He who runs counts each foeman twice.
Cowardice is the only vice
with no admixture of pleasure.
Cowards die a thousand times
before their deaths;
the valiant never taste of death but once.
A coward can never experience love.
Cooperating with the inevitable
means rolling with the punch,
not stooling for the guards.
A ship in the harbor
is safe from the sea,
but that is not what ships are built for.
B4 THE GREAT AND THE SMALL
THE STRONG AND THE WEAK
No great thing is accomplished
with small men.
and small men
go ill together.
do great mischief
only for great ends.
The difference between a murderer
and a national hero
is the number of victims.
Humor is what the powerful get
in addition to power
and the weak get
instead of power.
The great desire to oppress;
the small desire only
not to be oppressed.
When the warden dies,
the prisoners don't mourn.
Whoever takes credit
for sunshine and rain
will be blamed for flood and drought.
A great man can take a joke,
but whoever mocks a small man
makes a mortal enemy.
No one who cannot fail cheerfully
will ever accomplish anything great.
The reward of military or civil greatness
is the knowledge that,
long after your demise,
pigeons will shit on your head.
The tallest tree
is easy to measure
once it's cut down.
Better the head of a mule
than the tail of a horse.
Even an ordinary horse
can be outstanding in his own field.
The higher a monkey climbs
the better you can see his ass.
When the strong imitate the weak,
expect evil times.
Weak men believe
that evil lends strength.
The moths will orbit a light,
no matter how dim.
The servant is not greater
than the master,
nor the weapon than the cause,
nor the dancer than the dance.
A good servant is always a servant,
and honest poverty stays poor.
NATURAL, DIVINE, AND POETIC
Life is unfair.
Divine justice, like the Peace of God,
passeth all understanding.
Divine justice is to justice
as church history is to history.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked.
Whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.
The mills of God grind slowly
but they grind exceeding fine.
To him that hath, more shall be given.
From him that hath not shall be taken
even that little which he hath.
He that causes dissension
in his own house
shall inherit the wind,
and the fool shall be a slave to the wise at heart.
What goes around, comes around.
Who sheds man’s blood,
by man shall his blood be shed.
B6 LIES AND SECRETS
Whoever said that a lie cannot live
didn't know how to tell one.
The principal difference
between a cat and a lie
is that the cat has only nine lives.
Some people have such great respect
for the truth
that they refuse to use it
on ordinary occasions.
You can fool some of the people
all of the time,
and you can fool all of the people
some of the time.
That should be enough.
Ain’t we got all the fools on our side?
And ain’t that a majority in any town?
Lies are the religion
of slaves and slavemasters
Whoever wishes to deceive
can always find another
who wishes to be deceived.
Fool me once,
shame on you!
Fool me twice,
shame on me.
I'd rather be the man
that bought the Brooklyn Bridge
than the man that sold it.
He who tells a plain lie
is hiding the truth.
He who tells half a lie
has forgotten where he hid it.
If you're telling the truth,
there's no need to shout.
A liar's face tells the truth.
Rumor travels faster than truth,
but it doesn't stay put as long.
Three can keep secrets
if two be away.
If you tell your friends,
they’ll tell theirs.
I can keep a secret.
It's the people I tell that blab.
If I thought my hat knew my secrets,
I would throw it into the fire.
The only safe secrets
are the ones you have forgotten yourself.
In some places,
secrets are told
only to a few friends
and are generally known
within the week.
secrets are shared
with the whole countryside
and remain involate
for a generation.
What is absent cannot be hidden.
Nothing is more obvious
than that which is hidden;
a gentleman therefore
keeps watch over his thoughts
even when he is alone.
A truth that’s told
with ill intent
beats all the lies
you can invent.
C1 FREEDOM AND SLAVERY
Whoever will not rule himself
will be ruled by another.
Freedom isn't free.
Doing what you like
isn't the same as getting what you want.
Freedom is not a gift given
but a choice made.
When you're buying freedom,
don't count your change.
A hungry man is not a free man.
Whoever would be no slave
must consent to have no slave.
Whenever I hear an orator
extolling the virtues of slavery,
I feel a strong urge to see the system
tried out on him personally.
Whoever becomes master of a free people
and does not destroy it
must expect to be destroyed by it.
All laws favorable to liberty
arise from dissension.
Man is born free,
and everywhere he is in chains.
C2 WAR AND PEACE
The first law of nature
is to seek peace,
and follow it.
There never was a good war
or a bad peace.
Victory! Above all, victory!
For without victory
there is no survival.
In war, you must win.
War offers no prize for the runner-up.
War is never avoided,
to your enemy's advantage.
War is diplomacy on horseback.
God fights with the big battalions.
And how many divisions
does the Pope have?
In war, force and fraud
are the two cardinal virtues.
In war, the truth is so precious
that it must be protected
by a bodyguard of lies.
Money is the sinew of war.
An army marches on its stomach.
the moral is to the material
as three is to one.
You cannot always strengthen yourself
but you can always weaken the enemy.
War is too important
to be left to the generals.
Never choose a general
without a reputation for blind luck..
The English find it expedient
to hang an adimiral from time to time
to encourage the others.
A general must not confuse
the white horse of victory
with the pale horse of death.
Divide command and court disaster.
Strategy is the way generals lose battles.
is a contradiction in terms.
Military justice is to justice
as military music is to music.
like eating soup with a knife,
is a long and messy affair.
A fat enemy
is less dangerous
than a hungry enemy.
Nothing is so exhilarating
as being shot at without effect.
The only thing nearly as sad
as a battle lost
is a battle won.
It is fortunate that war is so terrible.
Otherwise we should grow to love it.
All armed prophets succeed;
all unarmed prophets are destroyed.
Live by the sword,
die by the sword.
C3 WINNING, LOSING, AND THE CONTEST
Show me a good loser,
and I’ll show you a loser.
There is no substitute for victory.
Justice is a fugitive
from the camp of victory.
One cannot guarantee success,
only deserve it.
Never risk your whole fortune
using only part of your forces.
No plan survives contact with the enemy.
When a clever enemy
makes an obvious blunder,
watch out for the trap.
Every time you lose,
you die a little.
It doesn't matter
whether you win or lose,
until you lose.
Congratulate the winner
with all the sincerity
you can realistically fake.
In any argument,
the victor is always right.
Coalitions are built by victories,
not by defeats.
gonna bring another.
The race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
but that's the way to bet.
Success has a thousand fathers.
Failure is an orphan.
Choose your enemy carefully;
you will come to resemble him.
Power is present means
for obtaining some apparent future good.
The reputation of power is power.
The desire of the powerful is for power.
A general fights, not for a bigger tent,
but for a bigger command.
Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Power without responsibility
is the prerogative of the harlot.
Abuse of power
is in the nature of power.
Goodness with power is corrupted;
goodness without power is destroyed.
All power corrupts,
and absolute power
The only thing
more corrupting than power
Power means shaping the world
to your beliefs.
Learning means shaping your beliefs
to the world.
Power, therefore, means
not learning from your mistakes.
C5 THE FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
Socialism is like Prohibition.
It's a good idea,
but it won't work.
Socialism would take too many evenings.
Bureaucracy is rule by no one.
Fascism is the exploitation
of man by man.
Communism is just the reverse.
It is essential to totalitarian rule
that the future should be immutable
and the past subject to change.
To a dictator,
a relatively free press
means a press run by his relatives.
No form of government
works nearly as well in practice
as it does in speeches.
Whatever the form of government,
twenty or thirty truly rule.
No Bishop, no King.
Better newspapers without a government
than a government without newspapers.
Democracy is the worst form of government
except for all the others
that have been tried from time to time.
In a republic,
the citizens rule and are ruled in turn.
It is not the task of a republic
to keep its citizens from error;
it is the task of the citizens
to keep the republic from error.
If the public good
is ever attended to,
it’s only in a republic.
C6 THE POLIS, POLITICS, AND STATECRAFT
In a world without government,
the life of man
is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Taxes are the price
We pay for civilization.
But who will guard the guardians?
No regime survives
unless it gives scope
to youth and talent.
A change in the modes of music
always portends a change
in the forms of government.
Let me make the songs of a nation
and let who will make its laws.
Let me make the superstitions of a nation
and I don't care who makes its laws,
or its songs either.
A crop failure is an act of God,
but a famine is a political choice:
There has never been a famine
in a country with a free press.
is a tragedy.
A million murders
is a statistic.
No one is fit for citizenship
who does not resent a fallacy
more than an insult.
In a democracy,
the people get what they want.
They deserve no better.
it only encourages them.
If voting could change anything important,
it would be illegal.
If you have all the fools on your side,
you’ll never lose an election.
There is no free government
without party division.
Party is the madness of many
for the gain of a few.
Liberty is to faction
as air is to fire;
fire is dangerous,
but air is indispensable.
Fascism is the politics
of a barroom brawl.
Rebellion to tyrants
is obedience to God.
The tree of liberty
must be watered from time to time
with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
A sick nation gets
from a revolution
the same relief
a sick man gets
from turning over in bed.
Treason is merely a matter of dates.
Facts are subversive.
Facts are counterrevolutionary.
Whoever wins a civil war,
the facts go to the wall.
Ruling a large country
is like cooking a small fish.
Don’t overdo it.
C7 HUMAN JUSTICE
Justice is the constant will
to give to each what is his own.
Justice is treating equals alike
and unequals differently
in proportion to their inequality.
for the lion and the ox
Justice is among equals;
as between unequals,
the strong do what they will
and the weak suffer what they must.
Justice is the interest of the stronger.
Justice means securing
the greatest good
of the greatest number.
"The greatest good of the greatest number"
contains one "greatest" too many
to be a rule of action.
Even a gang of thieves
needs rules of justice
to hold it together.
The rain raineth alike
on the just and the unjust,
but the rich have better umbrellas.
When there is an income tax,
the just pay more than their share
and the unjust less.
"An eye for an eye"
will leave us all blind.
It is folly to expect mercy
from those that will not do justice.
C8 NATIONS, TRIBES AND LOCALITIES
French justice is to justice
as French music is to music.
How can one rule a country
with a hundred and forty-three varieties
France is such a beautiful country!
What a pity the French live there.
Man is a creature of the middle:
a little below the angels,
but above the French.
President is the rank
God made the world,
but the Dutch made Holland.
England is a nation of shopkeepers.
A Hungarian can enter a revolving door
and leave it ahead of you.
A Cantonese will eat anything on four legs
except the table,
and anything with wings
except an airplane.
Swiss virtue is like Swiss cocoa:
nothing to fight for,
just a part of a comfortable life.
In three centuries of blood and tyranny,
the Italians reinvented architecture and painting.
In six centuries of peace and freedom,
the Swiss invented the cuckoo clock.
not as good as last year,
but better than next year.
Adam and Eve must have been Russian:
they had no clothes,
no place to live,
nothing to eat but one apple for the two of them;
and they were supposed to believe
they were in Paradise.
Dallas is centrally located:
equidistant from everyplace
you'd ever want to be.
Chicago ain’t ready for reform.
It's easy to tell
when spring comes to Seattle.
The rain gets warmer.
In Houston you can wake up
to the sound of birds coughing.
Boston is the only city in the world
where any two parallel streets
intersect at a right angle.
D1 POLITICAL ECONOMY
One man gathers what another man spills.
Every middleman fills a need.
If everyone stands on tiptoe,
no one sees any better.
There ain't no such thing
as a free lunch.
Capitalism without bankruptcy
would be like Christianity without Hell.
Growth for growth's sake
is the ideology of a cancer cell.
Increased means and increased leisure
are the two civilizers of man.
between a rich country
and the Third World
The rich get richer
while the poor get children.
Population tends to increase geometrically,
food supply arithmetically.
Alternative energy sources are cute,
but you can't run an industrial economy
on chickenshit and moonbeams.
No policy will change the fact
that 20% of the population
is in the poorest fifth.
D2 DOMESTIC ECONOMY
Better go hungry
than eat your seed corn.
Poverty doesn't scare me.
I've been rich, and I've been poor.
Rich is better.
Don't underestimate the value
of a comfortable income
until you've tried to live without one.
Poverty is no disgrace,
but it's no great honor either.
is better than no riche at all.
You get what you pay for.
Whatever you get for free
winds up costing more than it's worth.
Cheap is cheap.
is easier than increasing income.
The superfluous is the enemy of the necessary.
Money is a medium of exchange
and a store of value.
"Money" is the current obligaton
of a bank.
Money is its own reward.
Whether you're rich or poor,
it's good to have money.
Money can't buy true love
or homegrown tomatoes.
Sometimes money costs too much.
Behind every great fortune
lies a great crime.
Robbing a bank is a petty crime
compared to owning a bank.
Them as has, gits.
The first million is the hardest.
Save your money.
Some day it may be valuable again.
Bad money drives out good.
A bad penny keeps turning up.
The Golden Rule is that the gold rules.
The golden hammer breaks the iron door.
D4 INVESTMENT, SPECULATION, AND GAMBLING
Consider the short run.
In the long run, we are all dead.
The only sure thing
in the stock market
is that it will fluctuate.
Bulls make money.
Bears make money.
Hogs get slaughtered.
You can't go broke taking a profit.
Every fool who buys stocks
hopes for a greater fool
to whom he can sell at a profit.
To make a small fortune
in the stock market,
start with a large fortune
and follow your broker’s advice.
Taking stock tips
from your broker
is like taking horse tips
from your bookie.
An unfailing supply of amateur speculators
is guaranteed by Barnum's Law.
The stock doesn't know you own it.
It's not the return on your money
It's the return of your money.
Whoever wishes to enjoy wealth
without suffering labor
must study poker
or securities analysis.
Poker is less boring.
For work I’m too lazy,
Investment’s too slow.
Train robbing’s too risky,
So gambling I’ll go.
The money you put in the pot
isn't yours anymore.
if you draw to inside straights,
you will die in jail.
A Smith & Wesson beats 4 aces.
The winners tell jokes,
and the losers pound on the table
and yell, "Deal, dammit! Deal!"
The house will take either end
of any bet.
The odds are not reciprocal.
Nobody is rich enough
or smart enough
to break his own rules.
D5 SYSTEMS AND PROJECTS
to a mismanaged project
makes it later.
to a misconceived system
makes it fail worse.
The way to get back on schedule
is to make a new schedule.
Producing a baby takes nine months
no matter how many mothers are assigned.
A project is making progress
as long as accumulated slippage
is growing more slowly
than elapsed time.
Any construction project
larger than a doghouse
involves a finite probability
of loss of life.
Garbage in, garbage out.
No system becomes operational
before it becomes obsolete.
The one language
all programmers speak
Most cost-benefit analysis
isn't worth the price.
The last nine-tenths
of any cost-effectiveness study
Every problem has two stages:
early, it is hard to spot but easy to fix;
later, it is easy to spot but hard to fix.
The first step in fixing something
is showing that it's broken.
Any idea which is accepted at once
is probably wrong and certainly trivial.
No cure is popular
until the disease has passed away.
Problems tend to expand geometrically,
The main cause of problems
don't have solutions,
The best is the enemy of the good.
Whatever can go wrong, will.
Every possible disaster
will happen at the worst possible time.
Nothing scales up.
Everything takes longer and costs more.
The probability of a computer crash
is directly proportional
to the value of the data.
to exhaust the available resources.
Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.
D6 WORK, MANAGEMENT, AND BUSINESS
Nobody ever drowned in sweat.
The guilty secret of business
is that it's more fun than leisure.
Working hard is easier than starving.
Industry is no substitute for talent.
The world may be divided
into those who do the work
and those who get the credit.
A good man is always hard to find.
It's hard to soar with eagles
when you work with turkeys.
hire first-rate people;
hire third-rate people.
People are more than personnel;
you can't shake hands
with a man-year.
If you can't be replaced,
you can't be promoted.
The boss isn't always right,
but he's always the boss.
A good manager
is the servant of the workers.
The job of the chief executive
is to get the whole herd
moving roughly west.
Anyone who believes
that managing is harder than working
should spend one day with a pick & shovel.
The only difference
between running a plumbing business
and running GM
is the last six zeroes.
Flat surfaces attract paper.
A camel is a horse
designed by a committee.
are only more numerous
Not to decide is to decide.
No convoy is faster
than its slowest ship.
No chain is stronger
than its weakest link.
No work group is smarter
than its dumbest member.
When knaves fall out,
honest folk get their goods.
has no soul to damn and
no body to kick.
has no conscience.
But then again,
neither do most of the people in it.
A corporation doesn't care
who makes the laws of a country
as long as it can make the profits.
Nine-tenths of all maritime disasters
occur on the watch of the third officer.
made by committee
in inverse proportion
to its importance.
Every employee in a bureaucracy
will continue to be promoted
until he obtains a job
for which he is incompetent.
At any given moment,
no one is minding the store.
E1 MEDICINE AND DISEASE
and the doctor takes the fee.
Untreated, a cold will last a week;
but medical science can cure it
within seven days.
Nature, time, and patience
are the three great physicians.
Primitive man had more diseases,
but fewer doctors.
It comes out about even.
No one falsely believes
that he suffers from hypochondria.
A heart attack
is God's way of reminding you
about estate planning.
One night with Venus,
ten years with Mercury.
A patient with a negative wallet biopsy
is beyond the reach of modern medicine.
All successful doctors specialize
in diseases of the rich.
All bleeding stops eventually.
Time heals all non-fatal wounds.
E2 THE LAW
The law is an ass
The law is impartial:
it forbids rich and poor alike
to sleep under bridges,
and to steal bread.
Any idiot can file a lawsuit.
The law is whatever you can convince a judge
to say it is.
is to reasoning
as legal prose is to prose.
on whose ox is gored.
The rules of evidence
are a series of epistemological blunders.
can be rather convincing,
as when you find a trout in the milk.
What is precedent
but hearsay evidence
about the meaning of the law?
The silenced witness speaks the loudest.
Hard cases make bad law.
Bad law makes hard cases.
Legislatures make more bad law
than all the hard cases ever heard.
Dumb judges make more bad law
even than legislatures.
A jury is twelve good men and true
chosen to decide
which party has the better lawyer.
Whoever represents himself in court
has a fool for a lawyer
and an ass for a client.
Law school is where you learn
to turn a bribe into a fee.
When a lawyer swims safely
through shark-infested waters,
it's not a miracle:
just professional courtesy.
Where there's a will,
there's a lawyer.
A law degree
is a license to steal.
Give a courthouse hack a black nightgown
and suddenly he thinks he's Learned Hand.
That which alone is wise and good
consents and does not consent
to be called
[your god’s name here].
Anything with a name
is a god or devil somewhere.
If oxen worshipped,
their gods would have hooves.
To know a god,
do not ask his name,
but what sacrifice he accepts.
Man created God in his own image.
If horses worshipped,
their gods would have hooves.
God improves as man advances.
Religion heightens guilt
without preventing sin.
Even a Black Mass needs a real priest.
Better to burn a heretic
than to curse the darkness.
Saints should always be judged guilty
until proven innocent.
Now that patriotism
has become the first refuge
of a scoundrel,
religion has become the last.
Most modern literature
is a substitute for religion.
So is most modern reliaion.
There is no theory so absurd
that some philosopher reputed wise
has not seriously maintained it.
"Urgent" and "important"
are synonyms to the man of affairs
and antonyms to the philosopher.
Wisdom comes down to earth
as a raven,
drawn by the smell of carrion.
Philosophy comes with decadence.
The owl of Athena spreads her wings
only with the coming of the dusk.
All philosphy is preparation
for a serene dying.
There never was a philosopher
who could endure a toothache patiently.
The great weakness of pragmatism
is that it is of no use to anybody.
Marxism is the opiate of the intelligentsia.
Stoicism is the fallacy that
whatever we can do once,
we can do always.
A cynic, smelling flowers,
looks for the coffin.
An optimist, smelling manure,
looks for a horse.
An optimist is someone
that hasn't had much experience.
Some principles are so absolutely general
that they admit of no application at all.
E5 LITERATURE AND THE ARTS
A book is a mirror:
if an ass peers into it,
he won't see a sage.
A classic is a book
everybody wants to have read
and nobody wants to read.
Just because books are made from trees
doesn't mean that their leaves
have to turn yellow and drop off.
Without music, life would be an error.
"Folk music" runs heavy on the fiddle,
heavy on the sentiment,
and light on the rehearsal time.
Sculpture is art.
Statues are merely dead politicians.
Nowadays any jackass
with a blowtorch and astigmatism
calls himself a sculptor.
The secret of success in acting is honesty.
Once you can fake that, you've got it made.
Satire is what closes on Saturday night.
Opera in English
is like baseball in Italian.
Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
Writing free verse
is like playing tennis without the net.
No, dying isn't hard.
Dying is easy.
Comedy is hard.
History is bunk.
The very ink
in which history is written
is fluid prejudice.
History is written by the winners.
When a man writes an autobiography,
a certain modesty is expected.
When a nation does the same,
there is no limit
to its boasting and vainglory.
Whoever does not study history
is condemned to repeat it.
History is a farce without a laugh.
The dullest history
is the best to live through.
History is a comedy
to those who think,
to those who feel.
History is played twice:
first as tragedy,
again as farce.
History is philosophy
teaching by examples.
Never try to hurry history.
An economist knows the price of everything
and the value of nothing.
is so powerful
that it correctly predicted
seven of the last four recessions.
An equilibrium is not an optimum;
a hanged man is in equilibrium
once he stops swinging.
is the mathematical form
of the post hoc fallacy.
You can’t take the con
out of econometrics.
Econometrics is what you have to do
when you didn’t take the time
to design a good experiment.
E8 TEACHING AND RESEARCH
Accuracy is not validity.
Is there any sight so sad
as a beautiful and noble theory
slain by a gang
of brutal, vulgar, ugly facts?
are torture chambers for fact.
is when you don't know what you're doing.
If we knew the answers in advance,
it wouldn't be research.
Science is a bunch of guys
in bad suits
cutting up frogs
on foundation grants.
A true teacher sees everything
only in relation to his students:
The first time a teacher gives a lecture,
the teacher learns.
The second time, the students learn.
The third time, nobody learns.
Long live pure mathematics!
May it never be of use to anybody.
A dissertation shouldn't be a career:
the purpose of graduate school
is to graduate.
Of course academic politics is vicious:
the stakes are so low.
The university brings out all talents,
The real world is open-book.
E9 THE POLITICAL LIFE
The first mistake in a political career
is going into politics.
When a man fixes his mind on office
a rottenness enters into his behavior.
A bad cause will always be supported
by bad means and bad men.
The average politician
will risk his country's future
on a proposition he wouldn't back
with five dollars of his own money.
An honest politician will not succeed
unless he is stupid enough
to share the prejudices of the majority.
Looking for honesty in politics
is like asking for fish at a fruit stand.
An honest politician
is one who stays bought.
The best man isn't elected,
because the best man won't run.
Whoever thinks himself
too good for politics
will be ruled by his inferiors.
A reformer is someone
who wants to take the politics
out of politics.
Success in politics
requires an ounce of talent
and a pound of gold.
Money is the mother's milk of politics
The few are always
the friends of the few.
The enemy of my enemy
is my friend.
Where you stand
depends on where you sit.
It is far easier to bring a crowd to its feet
than to bring it to its senses.
The vulgar judge entirely by results,
and the world consists
of nothing but the vulgar.
Politics is the art of the possible.
All politics is local.
A week is a long time in politics.
No permanent reform lasts as long
as a temporary emergency regulation.
A politician needs a good memory
and a strong forgettery.
Whatever their names,
the two great parties
are the party of hope
and the party of memory.
is always more royalist
than the king.
The job of the mayor
is to pick up the garbage.
A legislator who wants to be re-elected
will never vote against an appropriation
or for a tax.
The suitor wants his petition heard
as well as granted.
Every time you give a job
or grant a favor
you make nine enemies
and one ingrate.
Politics is an arena
where organized appetites
clash by day and night.
Whoever likes law or sausage
should not watch it being made.
Lofty principles may veil petty causes.
A great politician knows
when to rise above principle.
In war and politics,
take the high ground.
In politics and comedy,
timing is everything.
It does not pay a prophet
to be too specific.
Foretelling wars and famines
is no great trick;
there is always a war
and usually a famine somewhere.
Prophecy is insight, not foresight.
A prophet is not without honor,
save in his own country.
A prophet is not without honor
who predicts what is already so.
E11 OTHER CALLINGS
A consultant is a man
who knows two hundred positions
and no women.
A consultant is someone
who borrows your watch
to tell you what time it is
and then walks off with your watch.
An international banker is not a bandit:
there are limits to a bandit's rapacity.
An auditor is the man
who roams the battlefield
after the battle
to shoot the wounded.
A critic is a eunuch
describing an orgy.
An investment adviser
is someone who manages your money
until you don't have any left.
Diplomacy is like breeding elephants:
It takes place at a high level.
It involves great thrashing and trumpeting.
And it takes two years to produce results.
Thinking is an out-of-body experience
Evil is the consequence
of narrow thoughts.
Most people believe they are thinking
when they are merely
rearranging their prejudices.
Minds, like parachutes,
function only when open.
Whoever looks well into himself
will thereby know all mankind.
I know I dream not,
I often think myself awake.
He that reasons aright in words
can never conclude an error.
More minds are changed
than by argument.
Reason is not so democratic
that the truth is elected
by a majority of facts.
What must be proven
is of little value.
Just because it works in practice
doesn't mean you can do it in theory.
We think in generalities
but we live in detail.
F2 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Finding the right answer is easy.
Asking the right question is hard.
Nothing is more useless
than the right answer
to the wrong question.
Ask a silly question,
get a silly answer.
A profound question
is its own answer.
There are no simple answers,
only simple minds.
Whoever asks a question
he has no right to ask
is begging to be lied to.
A fool can ask more questions in a day
than a sage can answer in a lifetime.
Charm is the ability to get the answer "yes"
without asking any particular question.
"No" is also an answer.
F3 WISDOM AND FOLLY
Men and nations
guard their ignorance
as their greatest treasure.
the gods themselves
contend in vain.
Nothing in the world is more frightening
than ignorance in action.
When ignorance gets started,
it knows no bounds.
Knowledge is expensive,
but no one can afford ignorance.
No nation can remain both ignorant and free.
To know that one is ignorant
is the beginning of wisdom.
Half of being smart
is knowing what you're dumb about.
It's not what you don't know that hurts you.
It's what you know that ain’t so.
We are all ignorant,
only about different things.
Ignorance cannot be pardoned;
it can only be cured.
The appropriate punishment for ignorance
is instruction by the wise.
is demonstrably impossible
until some ignorant son-of-a-bitch
does it anyway.
The greatest fool knows afterwards
exactly what someone else
should have done.
In the country of the blind,
the one-eyed man is mighty unpopular.
Small things please light minds.
Stupidity exacts its own penalty.
F4 KNOWLEDGE, FAITH, AND CERTAINTY
Certainty is generally an illusion.
Often wrong, never in doubt.
To have doubted one's own first principles
is the mark of a civilized mind.
The less evidence there is to support a belief
the more passionately it will be held.
The world is full of vagrant opinions,
existing with no visible means of support.
Doubt is the chastity of the mind.
Solipsism is the frigidity of the intellect.
Faith is like slippers,
Not like climbing boots.
It's a choice between comfort and the ascent.
Faith is the evidence of things unseen.
Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
I believe because it is incredible.
Faith seeks treasure with a dowsing rod,
reason with a pick and shovel.
To expose error
is not always to reveal truth.
F5 WORDS AND THINGS
The word is not the thing.
The intention is not the deed.
The map is not the terrain.
A paradox exists only in words:
one fact does not contradict another.
Words are wise men's counters,
but they are the money of fools.
One man calls wisdom
what another calls fear.
Every man calls what he loves "good,"
and what he hates he calls "evil."
Those who know do not speak;
those who speak do not know.
Eloquence is seeming wisdom.
The end of logic is truth;
that of rhetoric, victory.
What makes no sense in English
makes no more in Latin.
Talk is cheap;
whiskey costs money.
Talkers are no great doers.
When all is said and done,
there's a lot more said than done
A closed mouth gathers no foot.
An injury is forgiven before an insult.
An insult or an accusation hurts
in proportion to its truth.
A really vicious argument
is generally about something else.
Whereof one cannot speak,
Thereupon one must remain silent.
All truth is said first in jest.
Language is politics.
F6 PERCEPTION AND REALITY
Truth is common to all,
but every fool
wants his own private stock.
Even the hawk's majestic flight
is not beautiful to the mouse.
If you want to know about fox-hunting,
ask a fox.
Beauty is only skin deep.
Ugly goes clear to the bone.
When all you have is a hammer,
everything looks like a nail.
What you see
depends on where you stand.
A weed is any plant
growing where it's not wanted.
It's hard to see the picture
when you're inside the frame.
No one knows his own face
or his own voice.
Whoever does not look for the unexpected
will never see it.
Against a diseased imagination
demonstration goes for nothing.
You can't depend on your eyes
if your soul is out of focus.
Naked is the best disguise.
In the dark, all cats are black.
Everything is similar to,
and different from,
and in an infinite number of ways.
A sketch tells as much about the artist
as about the subject.
News is what's printed in the newspaper.
One man killed is a tragedy.
A million men killed is a statistic.
Among the vulgar,
the midwife passes for the mother.
There is no light so lovely
as a candle burning at both ends.
Nothing in nature is absurd,
though much is deplorable.
The mill wheel
does not make the water run.
Thunder is impressive,
but it's the lightning that gets the job done.
If the doors of perception
were swept clean,
we should see all things
as they are,
F7 PROCESS AND OBJECT
Change is the only unchanging reality.
Process is fire;
the object its ash.
Fire exchanges for all things,
As wares for gold
And gold for wares.
A proton is a process.
A mountain is as much a process
as a flame.
No one steps twice
into the same river.
The way up is the way down
and the way forward is the way back.
An axe remains the same axe
though it get five new hafts
and two new heads.
God invented time
so that everything wouldn't happen at once.
The torrent and the glacier
both get where they are going.
In a world which operates
almost entirely at random,
coincidence is inevitable.
Eternity is the time required
for every possible event
to happen once.
The ignorant believe
that a mountain is a mountain
and a river is a river.
The sophisticated see
that a mountain is a river
and a river is a mountain.
The wise know
that a mountain is really a mountain
and a river truly a river.
Every sufficiently complex axiom system
is either incomplete or inconsistent.
A circle is the set of all points
equidistant from a given point.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
No number is its own successor,
and zero is not the successor of any number.
Every game has an optimal strategy.
The probabilities always sum to one.
Not all operators are commutative:
a horse-chestnut is not a chestnut horse.
A proposition is necessarily true
if and only if
its negation cannot be held
THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS:
You can t win.
You can't break even.
You can't get out of the game.
You don't even know the score.
All measurement is approximate.
To measure is to alter.
Give me a place to stand
and a lever long enough,
and I will break my lever.
Every body moves suddenly
to its place
and slowly in its place.
Like charges repel.
In a closed system,
entropy always increases.
Current always follows
the path of least resistance.
A body at rest remains at rest,
and a body in motion remains in motion
in a straight line,
unless acted upon by an outside force.
is directly proportional
to the product of the masses
and inversely proportional
to the square of the distance.
A river cannot rise above its source.
Life is motion.
Life is a metastable state
whose stable state is being dead.
Every organism on earth
is descended from a single prokaryote
which never died.
By salivating at the sound of a bell,
a dog can train a behaviorist to bring it food.
Under controlled environmental conditions,
an organism of known genotype
will do just as it pleases.
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
A chicken is an egg's way
of making another egg.
Every ecological niche will be filled.
Only one species can occupy a given niche.
Predators don't travel in herds.
No hares, no lynxes.
The wolves keep the caribou strong.
H1 AMERICAN FOLK WISDOM
Nice guys finish last.
Anything worth winning is worth cheating for
You can't cheat an honest man.
Never give a sucker an even break.
Honesty is a mighty expensive policy.
There's a sucker born every minute.
Nobody ever went broke
underestimating the intelligence
of the American people.
If a man's word is no good,
his oath is no better.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Loose lips sink ships.
Nothing you never say
will ever harm you.
What can't be cured
must be endured.
You can’t be too rich or too thin.
"Close" only counts
in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Lie down with dogs,
get up with fleas.
A good landing
is any landing
you walk away from.
Better a live chicken
than a dead duck.
Better to be tried by twelve
than carried by six.
Success means striking out
with a better class of women.
"standing in the community"
is what people say about him
behind his back.
What's candor to your face
is slander behind your back.
You can't eat prestige.
Fingers were made before forks.
One good turn
gets most of the blanket.
It ain't the meat
it's the motion.
have real enemies.
Even real persecution
is no excuse for paranoia.
Everyone has 20/20 hindsight.
Now and then an innocent man
gets sent to the legislature.
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe
while the legislature is in session.
The United States
has the best Congress
that money can buy.
"Congress" is the opposite of "progress."
Congress is the only insane asylum in the world
where the inmates make the rules.
A Congress is the only animal on earth
with 535 mouths and no brain.
Whether or not the Constitution follows the flag,
the Supreme Court follows the election returns.
isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit.
In America, the press is free.
And no bargain at the price.
No pain, no gain.
No guts, no glory.
is an ideological statement
on four wheels.
No one ever went broke
underestimating the intelligence
of the American people.
Better to have a skunk inside the tent
than outside the tent
who hates women, children, and dogs
can't be all bad.
Even a blind squirrel
finds an acorn
every once in a while.
Reality is a crutch
for people who can't deal with fantasy.
Half a lethal dose of anything
should be a good high.
Cocaine is God's way
of telling you
you need to make more money.
Never eat at a place called "Mom's,"
or play poker with a man named "Doc,"
or sleep with anyone crazier than you are.
Never volunteer for an assignment
or turn down a promotion.
Never get into a pissing contest
with a skunk.
Never draw to an inside straight.
Never give your horse a name:
you don't know how soon
you might have to eat it.
When you're only #2,
you have to try harder.
When you lose your mind,
It’s nice to have a body to fall back on.
When you're up to your ass in alligators,
it's hard to concentrate on draining the swamp.
When you've got them by the balls,
their hearts and minds will follow.
If it's worth doing,
it's worth overdoing.
If some is good,
more is better.
If brute force fails,
you're not using enough.
If it won't fit, force it.
If it moves, salute it.
If it doesn't move,
scrape it down
and paint it green.
If life hands you a lemon,
If you can't stand the heat,
get out of the kitchen.
If you can't do the time,
don't do the crime.
If you can't beat
what you can see,
If it ain't broke,
don’t fix it.
If you can't beat ’em,
If you can't join em,
Don't knock it if you ain't tried it.
Don't mess with the inevitable.
Don’t piss into the wind.
Don’t bet the rent.
Don't get mad,
Don’t mess with success.
Don’t fuck with your luck.
Don't break up a winning team.
Don’t piss in the soup;
everybody has to eat.
Never change horses in midstream.
Between your friend and your enemy,
back your friend.
Between your enemy and a rattlesnake,
back your enemy.
Anybody that says he was et by a lion
is a damn liar.
Trust in God,
but keep your powder dry.
Pay the $2.
Don’t fight City Hall.
Least said, soonest mended.
Love your neighbor,
but build a fence.
Trust your fellow man,
but cut the cards.
Take what you need
and leave the rest.
Dance with who brung ya.
Use it up,
wear it out,
make it do,
or do without.
Tell the truth, or trump.
But take the trick.
NONSENSE, PARADOX, AND OXYMORON:
GOLDWYN, BERRA, AND THEIR IMITATORS
Allgeneral statements are false.
Sometimes you can see a lot just by looking.
Predictions are dangerous,
especially about the future.
Strictly off the record:
I won't even dignify that
by refusing to comment.
We won't even ignore the bastards.
When they're not coming,
you can't stop them.
While he is a poor fielder,
he is also a very weak hitter.
Include me out.
Nobody;goes there anymore.
It’s too crowded.
An oral contract
isn't worth the paper it's written on.
The opera ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.
It ain't over till it's over.
H3 MAXIMS AND OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
Nothing too much.
Anything for a friend.
First, do no harm.
Consider that you may be wrong.
Return from battle
with your shield
or on it.
Thou shalt not follow a multitude
to do evil.
Thou shalt not follow a multitude,
even to do good.
Thou shalt not idly stand
by the blood of thy neighbor.
Before you hear the Sirens,
be sure you're really tied to the mast.
Keep your eye on the ball.
Pass to the open man.
Hit the ground running.
Go for the target of opportunity.
Buy from fear and sell to greed.
Cut your losses, and let your profits run.
Buy low, sell high.
Put all your eggs in one basket,
and watch that basket.
Keep your eye on the main chance.
Don’t make no waves.
Don’t back no losers.
Take the cash, and let the credit go.
Always be sure brain is engaged
before putting mouth in gear.
Measure seven times
rather than cut twice.
Flirt with your homely co-workers
and let the cute ones be.
Don’t get your meat
where you get your bread.
Keep your pecker
off the payroll.
Whatever your grief,
don’t tear you hair out.
Baldness is no cure for sorrow.
Not too much zeal.
First step in making rabbit stew:
catch a rabbit.
Do not increase your means,
curb your desires.
First rule in handling
a small boat in a gale:
Never take a small boat
out in a gale.
Divide and rule.
Make hay while the sun shines.
You get far more cooperation
with a kind word and a gun
than with a kind word alone.
Strike while the iron is hot.
Nothing too much.
Quit while you're ahead.
Never apologize, never explain.
Never offer to do anything in public
unless you can do it well.
Never threaten a fish with drowning.
Never try to teach a pig to sing.
It wastes your time
and annoys the pig.
Never give an order
that will not be obeyed.
Never embark on a journey
unless you want to arrive at your destination.
Never make an extemporaneous remark
without careful preparation.
Never ask a hostile witness a question
unless you already know the answer.
Never argue with a fool.
People might not be able to tell the difference.
Never climb a mountain
you can't climb down.
Never say anything on the telephone
you wouldn't want to see in the newspaper
or hear in court.
Never steal small.
Never add to a losing position.
Never take anything you don't want.
Half the people won't care
and the rest will figure you had it coming.
Never send a boy to do a man's job.
Never look back.
Never say never.
Never argue with Santa Claus.
When you bet on a sure thing,
keep carfare home.
When in doubt,
take the trick.
When all else fails,
read the instructions.
When angry, count to ten.
When very angry, swear.
When telling a story,
start at the beginning,
proceed to the end,
When seeking revenge,
dig two graves.
When baiting a mousetrap,
leave room for the mouse.
When you're up to your chin in sewage,
don't make waves.
When you do business with friends,
put Vaseline in your ear.
That way it won't hurt so much.
When all else fails,
read the instructions.
If you can't prove it,
at least make the bastards deny it.
When you don't know what you're doing,
do it carefully.
When you don't have a good play,
drop back three yards and punt.
Don't strike the rock;
talk to the rock.
Don't confuse genius with a bull market.
Don't send good money after bad.
Don't be too proud to quit while you're behind.
Do not bind the mouths
of the cattle
that tread the grain.
Do not plough
with an ox and an ass
Don’t say more than is likely to be heard.
Don’t write it if you can say it;
don’t say it if you can grunt and nod;
don’t even grunt and nod
if you can just sit there and smile.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
No matter how great your talent
for music, painting, or comedy,
don't quit your daytime job.
Always add concentrated acid to water,
never water to concentrate acid.
Read the fine print.
Present a moving target.
Always be sincere,
whether you mean it or not.
Always spit over the side
before tossing the garbage.
Be ready to put your money
where your mouth is.
Always do right.
This will gratify some people
and astonish the rest.
If you don't like the answer,
If you can't prove what you want,
prove something else
and pretend they're the same.
If you have to share a room
with an elephant,
make sure you get up first.
If at first you don't succeed,
ask yourself why.
If at first you do succeed,
try not to look surprised.
If a thing is worth doing,
it's worth doing badly.
If a horse throws you,
get back up and ride.
If you can't be good, be careful.
Give to every proposition
that degree of assent
warranted by evidence and argument:
and no more.
H4 RULES OF THE GAME
No harm, no foul.
Play the hand you're dealt.
Yon have to pay to see.
Play it as it lies.
One foot must remain on the floor at all times.
If she says no, it's rape.
Silence gives assent.
Everyone packs his own parachute.
Who died and left you boss?
That isn't even wrong.
Yes I do, but not with you.
Don't go away mad.
Just go away.
Would you be terribly offended
if I asked you to take
your silly-assed problem
down the hall?
What matchbook law school
did you go to?
If you didn't have bad taste,
you wouldn't have any taste at all.
Is that my problem,
or God's problem?
The gentleman draws on his memory
for his jests
and on his imagination
for his facts.
He'd have to improve a lot to be worthless.
He’s got a size 9 ego and a size 5 soul.
He's got a great future behind him.
He's got solutions no one else
even has problems for.
He'd be a has-been,
except he never was.
He has all of the characteristics of a dog
He’d steal a hot stove.
His hearing's all right,
but he's uncommonly hard of listening.
He's a man of few words,
but he uses them over and over.
All his taste is in his mouth.
Trade him for a dog
and shoot the dog.
He isn’t skilled at speaking,
just incapable of shutting up.
If he were as tall
as he is dumb
the sun would burn a hole
in his head.
They have learned nothing
and forgotten nothing.
H7 BOASTS, MOTTOES, AND SLOGANS
My country is the world
and my religion is to do good.
I am a man of simple tastes:
I prefer the best.
I may not be perfect,
but parts of me are excellent.
I'm the best there is.
But I'm not available.
I seen my opportunities
and I took ’em.
When I make a mistake,
it's a beaut.
I don't care
what the papers print about me
as long as they spell my name right.
As long as I count the votes,
what are you going to do about it?
The Old Guard dies,
but never surrenders.
Don't give up the ship.
Damn the torpedoes!
Full speed ahead!
There is some shit
I will not eat.
H8 CATCH-PHRASES AND GRAFFITI
If you believe that,
I'll tell you another.
Take two aspirin
and call me in the morning.
If you have to ask,
you can't afford it.
Not tonight, dear.
I have a headache.
Fuck ‘em if they can't take a joke.
We'll burn that bridge
when we're on it.
Things being how they are,
the back of the police station
What is your need to know?
Being a split personality isn't so bad.
At least we have each other.
Heisenberg might have been here.
Round up the usual suspects.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
If you don’t pay your exorcists’ bill,
do you get repossessed?
In God we trust.
All others pay cash.
We have a deal with the bank:
they don't sell groceries
and we don't give credit.
Free the Carbon 14!
3 x 1010 cm/sec.:
it’s not just a good idea,
it’s the Law.
Simultaneity died for our sins.
The sun is a gas.
There is no gravity; the Earth sucks.
One man's mean is another's Poisson.
Water? Never touch the stuff.
Fish fuck in it, you know.
My God, how the money rolls in!
H9 FRAGMENTS AND SIMILIES
A day late
and a dollar short.
Calling untrustworthy witnesses
to implausible facts.
Like curing a headache
by cutting off your head.
Like swatting a fly
with a sledge-hammer.
Like untying your shoelaces
with a buzzsaw.
Food to make a sword-swallower gag.
That’s a good problem.
I’m still equally confused,
but on a much higher level.
…in an odd number of places.
We know how much,
but not what of.
Calling a tail a leg
doesn’t make it one.
I’m a sex maniac?
Who’s got all the dirty pictures?
The court will return $5000
to counsel for the plaintiff,
and we’ll try this thing on its merits.
Yes, but I'll be sober in the morning.
If you were my wife,
I'd drink it.
I was misinformed.
What you mean we, paleface?
We already know that.
Now we're haggling about price.
The smartest man
in the entire world
just jumped out of the plane
with my knapsack.
Madam, you flatter yourself.
It is hanging out.
Seven ayes, one no.
The noes have it.
If it weren't for the honor of the thing,
I'd just as soon walk.
That isn't such a shaggy dog.
You mean life isn't a fountain?
Three years for insulting the Party Secretary,
and twenty for revealing a state secret.
What God wants, He takes.
You're going to do it over,
and over, and over again
until you get it right.
They make it up on volume.
That's where the money is.
Yeah, but I'm not lost.
But I never asked anyone how.
Not if you keep your thumbs
out of the way.
... just a stubborn asshole.
Assume a can opener.
Compared to what?
... thus reducing it
to a previously solved problem.
Sure there is, buddy.
But that's the first time
anybody asked me for it
in the pluperfect subjunctive.
Give him a nickel
and tell him to vote Republican.
... the pleasure is fleeting,
the position ridiculous,
and the expense damnable.
... and tell you
to put the black ten
on the red jack.
Seven to four?
Seven to four
How do you pick up peanuts
with that little thing?
So how do you cause a flood?
They're not eating sardines,
they're selling sardines.
Sell? To whom?
Start with a large fortune
and follow your broker's advice.
What's posterity ever done for me?
No, it don't conflict with my interest.
I’m shocked – shocked! –
to find out
that gambling has been going on
in this establishment.
It might lead to dancing.
It mattered to that one.