Daves Favorite Quotations and Adages

Organized by Topic

Don't Worry
I'm Working On It

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"When you're winning, you've got all the answers; when you're losing you've got all the excuses" 
 -- Chris Chelios (Detroit Red Wings, during extended team losing streak) 2/18/08

Corporations and Education:

American competitiveness in international markets does not suffer from an unprepared work force. Rather it suffers from corporations that put their own immediate profitability over the welfare of the nation and its citizens. . . In fact, employers desire most punctuality, sobriety, and compliance in their employees and value least knowledge of mathematics, natural science, and foreign languages. Companies are not clamoring for high academic standards, nor are they eager to pay high wages to anyone but executives.
-- Patrick Shannon, Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society 

Standardized Tests:

What was once educationally significant, but difficult to measure, has been replaced by what is insignificant and easy to measure. So now we test how well we have taught what we do not value.  --Art Costa, emeritus professor, California State University

Justice for Rich and Poor:

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. -- Anatole France:

Liberty, equality - bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness. -- Henri-Frédéric Amiel:

Religous based Politics:

There was a time when religion ruled the world: we know it as the dark ages. -- Ruth Green (from Women without superstition)


"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. "  -- H. L. Mencken

Mainsteam Atheism:

Every religious person disbelieves all the Gods worshiped by all other people (except their own sect). Non believers just believe in one less God than religious people.  --Edward Tabish (paraphrased)

The Religious Right:

I've never understood people who interpret the Bible literally, and the constitution loosely. -- Bill Maher

Freedom of Religion in America:

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects? -- James Madison:

True American Religious Freedom:

There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.  -- Rabbi Sherwin Wine:


Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. -- George Santayana

Encouragement vs Support:

When one is trying to do something beyond one's known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat."  -  Henry Miller


The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education - Martin Luther King

Distribution of Wealth:

I was deeply concerned from my early teen days about the gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty. - Martin Luther King (My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence)

American Political/Economic System:

What we have in this country is socialism for the rich, and free enterprise for the poor. - Gore Vidal 

Social Activism:

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.
--Sydney Smith 

Becoming a Scientist:

 "As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life -- so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."
—Matt Cartmill (http://www.baa.duke.edu/FacPages/cartmill.html)

The Free Marketplace of Ideas:

 "Give light and the people will find their own way"
Motto (with lighthouse) of Scripps Howard Newspapers, attributed to editor Carl Magee 


The only time you can't afford to fail is the last time you try. -Charles Kettering 

Social Order:

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws. (Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged")

On Growing Old:

As we wind down the road, our shadow's taller than our soul. (from "Stairway to Heaven", Led Zepplin)


(Quotes on Happiness)

True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
-Helen Keller:


Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting.  - Alan Dean Foster, To the Vanishing Point


At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past. -- Maurice Maeterlinck


The past always looks better than it was because it isn't here.  -- Finley Peter Dunne

Military Leadership:

The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.  - Sir William Butler


You get what you measure.
You get what you settle for.


 "It's not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it's mankind." - Eugene Ionesco

From Thomas Paine: 

Better fare hard with good men than feast it with bad.

Thomas Paine

The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.

Thomas Paine

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.

Thomas Paine

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.

Thomas Paine

A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice

Thomas Paine, 
"The Rights of Man", 1792

From Winston Churchill:

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Oct 1939 Radio Broadcast

From Settin in Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has desended across the Continent.

Speech 1945

Never Has So Much Service Been Given To So Many By So Few

Speech 1945

The Battle of Britain is about to begin...Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour

Addressing House of Commons June 18, 1940

From Justice Antonin Scalia:

"Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached." --U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Herrera v. Collins 506 US 390 1993

"Since I do not believe my impartiality can reasonably be questioned, I do not think it would be proper for me to recuse." -- Judicial Watch v. NEDPG / Sierra Club v. Cheney


You, bin Laden, are nothing but a hijacker - a hijacker of Islam, a hijacker of other people’s technology, a hijacker of a vast Arab nation’s anger at its own regime. But you have no vision and no plan for your people. Which is why your epitaph will be easy to writer: Osama bin Laden - he destroyed much, he built nothing. His lasting impact was like a footprint in the desert. --Thomas Friedman, New York Times

Honor / Betrayal:

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends - MLK

America's 2-Party System:

There isn't much logic in arguing for a system that pretends to be democratic while actually institutionalizing an amoral, issue-free oligarchy  - Bill Walker; American 'Democracy' (49 percent equals Zero)


Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more. 


Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best. 

Bob Talbert 


Original Web Upload November 2001
Last Update: February 18, 2008