American Liberal Newspaper Columnist, Populist, Political Commentator, Humorist and Author
" In the real world, there are only two ways to deal with corporate misbehavior: One is through government regulation and the other is by taking them to court. What has happened over 20 years of free-market proselytizing is that we have dangerously weakened both forms of restraint, first through the craze for "deregulation" and second through endless rounds of "tort reform," all of which have the effect of cutting off citizens' access to the courts. By legally bribing politicians with campaign contributions, the corporations have bought themselves immunity from lawsuits on many levels."
" The problem with those who choose received Authority over fact and logic is how they choose which part of Authority to obey. The Bible famously contradicts itself at many points (I have never understood why any Christian would choose the Old Testament over the New), and the Koran can be read as a wonderfully compassionate and humanistic document. Which suggests that the problem of fundamentalism lies not with authority, but with ourselves."
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."
"Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world."
"There is no inverse relationship between freedom and security. Less of one does not lead to more of the other. People with no rights are not safe from terrorist attack."
"It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America."
"All anyone needs to enjoy the state legislature is a strong stomach and a complete insensitivity to the needs of the people. As long as you don?t think about what that peculiar body should be doing and what it actually is doing to the quality of life in Texas, then it?s all marvelous fun."
"All of which indicates that he's quite a fast learner. When you approve of a politician, this is known as flexibility; when you don't, it's called lack of principal - but in fact, politics requires accommodation."
"Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts."
"And the funny thing is, I've always been an optimist - it's practically a congenital disorder with me."
"Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory."
"As a veteran of many an electoral defeat at the polls, may I remind you of the proper Texan attitude toward slaughter at the polls? A few years before Billie Carr died this September at age 74, a friend called to ask how she was doing. "Well," she said, "They just impeached my boy up in Washington, there's not a Democrat left in statewide office in Texas, the Republicans have taken every judgeship in Harris County, and yesterday I found out I have cancer." Pause. "I think I'll go out and get a pregnancy test because with my luck, it'll come back positive.""
"As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you can't drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against 'em anyway, you don't belong in office."
"Behind a smoke screen of high-profile female appointees and soothing slogans, George W. Bush is waging war on women."
"Conservatives have been mad at the Supreme Court since it decided to desegregate the schools in 1954 and seen fit to blame the federal bench for everything that has happened since then that they don?t like."
"During a recent panel on the numerous failures of American journalism, I proposed that almost all stories about government should begin: "Look out! They're about to smack you around again!""
"Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate. [on George W. Bush]"
"Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented."
"Havin' fun while freedom fightin' must be one of those lunatic Texas traits we get from the water - which is known to have lithium in it - because it goes all the way back to Sam Houston, surely the most lovable, the most human, and the funniest of all the great men this country has ever produced."
"Having breast cancer is massive amounts of no fun. First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that."
"I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives."
"I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, 'Horrible three-way civil war?'"
"I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything."
"I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults."
"I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying - it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off."
"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."
"I just finished with nine months of treatment for cancer. First they poison you, then they mutilate you, then they burn you. I've had more fun. And when it's over, you?re so glad that you're grateful to absolutely everyone. And I am. The trouble is, I'm not a better person. I was in great hopes that confronting my own mortality would make me deeper, more thoughtful. Many lovely people sent books on how to find a more spiritual meaning in life. My response was, "Oh, hell, I can?t go on a spiritual journey?I'm constipated.""
"I know vegetarians don't like to hear this, but God made an awful lot of land that's good for nothing but grazing."
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag."
"I should confess that I've always been more of an observer than a participant in Texas Womanhood: the spirit was willing but I was declared ineligible on grounds of size early. You can't be six feet tall and cute, both. I think I was first named captain of the basketball team when I was four and that's what I've been ever since."
"I still believe in Hope - mostly because there's no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas."
"I think provincialism is an endemic characteristic with mankind, I think everybody everywhere is provincial, but it is particularly striking with Texans, and we tend to be very Texcentric."
"If he gets even more sedate, we will have to water him twice a week. [about then-President Ronald Reagan]"
"If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want drillin' rights on that man's head. [on Dick Armey]"
"If left to my own devices, I'd spend all my time pointing out that he's weaker than bus-station chili. But the man is so constantly subjected to such hideous and unfair abuse that I wind up standing up for him on the general principle that some fairness should be applied. Besides, no one but a fool or a Republican ever took him for a liberal. [on Bill Clinton]"
"If you grew up white before the civil rights movement anywhere in the South, all grown-ups lied. They'd tell you stuff like, "Don't drink out of the colored fountain, dear, it's dirty." In the white part of town, the white fountain was always covered with chewing gum and the marks of grubby kids' paws, and the colored fountain was always clean. Children can be horribly logical."
"If you really wanted to settle down the Middle East, if what you wanted was change in the Middle East, it is perfectly obvious that the first step is resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict."
"In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the [governor's] office; it's mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose."
"It's a low-tax, low-service state--so shoot us. The only depressing part is that, unlike Mississippi, we can afford to do better. We just don't."
"It's all very well to run around saying regulation is bad, get the government off our backs, etc. Of course our lives are regulated. When you come to a stop sign, you stop; if you want to go fishing, you get a license; if you want to shoot ducks, you can shoot only three ducks. The alternative is dead bodies at the intersection, no fish, and no ducks. OK?"
"It's hard to argue against cynics -- they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."