Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Consequences of Religious Lies and Hypocrisy

Why is it that some in the U.S. Congress thinks it is their job to tell women what to do with their bodies? Do you think that men would tolerate women in Congress telling them what they must do to their bodies? Why is it that men think they know what is best for women? Finally, what gives legislators the right to impose their religious beliefs and moral standard on others?
The U.S. Congress and most state and municipal legislatures and governing councils are mainly made up of men. In fact, only about 20% of the U.S. Congress are women and even fewer among the Republicans in Congress, Yet, for many men in office, their main goal is to penalize women for being women. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said his goal "Is to make abortion a thing of the past". However, it takes two to create a fetus. Women can't do it alone, yet many men are trying to force women to suffer the consequences of an action in which they themselves take part. Let's have a reality check. If religious men are so concerned about the potential of an abortion, why didn't they wear a condom, get a vasectomy and/or insist that their partner practice some type of birth control?
In fact, those who are so-called "pro-life" (who is not pro-life?) are religious hypocrites. They want to protect the unborn, but are willing to kill living people while bombing abortion clinics. They want poor women to not get abortions yet they also want cuts in funding for child medical care, food stamps, government child support, etc., for poor children. Apparently, they skip over the statement by Jesus in which he referred to children when he said, But whoever causes harm to one of these little ones, it would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 ) About that, they do not concern themselves.
Contrary to popular opinion, The United States of America is NOT a Christian nation. It is a nation of many about 700 faiths. The U.S. was in part born out of the desire for religious freedom. So why are so many people on the political right trying to push Christian morals onto people of a variety of faiths? The answer is a simple one. It is because they can do it and get away with it. The conservatives and their Catholic and Christian Fundamentalist allies, quote the Founding Fathers  and take their words literally. Yet, a substantial number of them like Jefferson, Franklin and Paine were Deists, skeptic, and/or opposed to organized religion. They maintained that religion has no place in governance.
The political right are religious hypocrites. The Ten Commandments says, Thou shalt not kill. Yet, they bomb clinics. And, they do not object to wars without a cause, capital punishment, etc. They do not want the U.S. to intervene in feeding both starving children or in genocides in Africa. What Bible are they reading? Apparently one in which it does not says, Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12: 17-21)
It seems to me that the religious right picks and chooses which things are right in the eyes of their God. Men should be able to have all the sex they want but the woman should suffer the consequences. How many so-called "religious politicians'" cheat on their wives which is against their religion? How many have had children as a result of their infidelities?  
How many conservative Christian, Catholic priests  and fundamentalist preachers have been involved in sex scandals? And, they are the tip of the iceberg because they were the ones who got caught. How many never got caught? It is truly a hypocritical and very cruel joke.
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At almost any time in the news, someone has been caught in an outrageous act of hypocrisy. Take, for instance, Ted Haggard, an anti-gay pastor who was the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals until it was found out that he hired a male prostitute for oral sex and bought drugs from him. Haggard was removed from his church and is spending three years in "soul-searching" . He is now starting a new church. Of course, Haggard is not alone. There are many others. The details are often different, but the stories stay the same: a man gains notoriety, a following and makes a great deal of money for decrying the "sins" of others while ignoring that Jesus said, Let he who is perfect cast the first stone.  That is, until he gets caught having illicit sex.  Politicians who come to Washington espousing "family values", like Senator David Vitter of Louisiana (who was caught using the services of  a D.C. Madam) or Senator Larry Craig of Idaho (who was arrested for soliciting male sex in a airport men's room). Both Republican Senators  railed against sexual immorality for religious reasons until they got caught. Then, they went on television with their so-called "supportive" wives and blamed the "liberal media".
People become infuriated by the hypocrisy. Sometimes the anger comes from our own personal memories being betrayed in a relationship. Or, sometimes we work for the rights for same-sex couples and get fed-up when we see that the person on the other side of the issue has a closet the size of a five-car garage. Upon seeing a famous preacher fall into this trap, some people reject Christianity altogether because they say that it's just full of hypocrites. Others see lying politicians, and they lose complete faith in our political process. So, frustration, anger and disappointment cause people to throw the baby out with the bath-water.
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The problem is that people fail to understand that Christians invest too much control over them by the head of their church. They abdicate their ability to think on their own and use the brains that God gave them. Instead, they blindly follow a leader because they assume that the leader has special insights or connections to the Almighty. Then, when the leader says something inane or does something smacking of hypocrisy, they feel let down. People fail to realize that the relations to the Infinite is much bigger than any mere mortal. A case in point is the Pope.
The Pope (Latin: papa, a child's word for father) is the Bishop of Rome and the head of the Catholic Church. Catholics  view the Pope as the successor of Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome. However, Peter never used the title of  Pope and the word came into use three centuries later. Over the centuries, papal claims of spiritual authority have been increasing and more firmly expressed, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals.
From where did the idea that the Bishop of Rome was the head of the church come?  It came from a statement from Jesus in which he supposedly said, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16.18) Peter was the 1st Bishop of Rome and many consider him the first Pope, although the word was never used to refer to Peter nor the questionable authority said to be given to him.
Concerning the quote, first, Jesus is playing a verbal game in this quote because "Peter" (Latin: ) means "rock". So, he is really saying You are now called Rock, and upon this "rock" I will build my church… But, wait a minute. "Church"? There were no "churches" at that time, so why did Jesus use the word, church? Moreover, Jesus also said, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill it, thereby implying "not to create a new religion or "church". Finally, there remain two questions: If the quote was said by Jesus, did he mean that Peter was the only one upon whom his church would be built or was it every person who followed Peter too. And, given the fact that Matthew's gospel was written about 70 years after Jesus died not by St. Matthew who had long since died, but by a non-eye-witness anonymous source, did Jesus ever say the quote at all?
Catholic Church teaching is that the Holy Spirit guides the bishops in the choice of the Pope or that the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals. Jesus never said or implied that. So, where did these notions come from? They came from theologians, bishops and Popes. If the Holy Spirit guides the selection of the Pope, how come many of them were responsible for graft, corruption, self-aggrandizement, licentious behavior, and even murder?  Did the Holy Spirit make mistakes? As to the Doctrine of Infallibility concerning faith and morals, how come so many Popes were wrong on matters faith and morals. Examples: The New Testament clearly says that James was Jesus' brother, but the Church says that Jesus had no brothers. And, how moral was Pope Pius XII who never condemned the Nazis for killing six million Jews. And, why did a former Nazi who became Pope almost immediately re-institute prays for the conversion of the Jews, prayers which smack of anti-Semitism. Finally,  why did two Popes and their surrogates, the bishops, indulge in cover-ups of the pedophile priest scandal? And, why did the Pope reward Cardinal John Law of Boston who part of the pedophile priest cover-up with major position in Rome instead of dismissing and him. How do the Popes and bishops reconcile Jesus' quote harming children (see above) with so-called infallibility in matters of faith and morals?
But, the Catholic Church is by no means unique when it comes to this type of hypocrisy.
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People tend to function using extremes. When they become disillusioned, they gravitated to the opposite. In matters of religion, they tend to be in two camps, hyper-religious or atheists. But, maybe there is a rational middle ground.
Real spirituality does not depend on irrationally following a leader who says he or she knows more than you do. It does not demand that you leave your brain at the church door. And, it is not about angels or talking to the dead. Instead, real "spirituality" involves a never-ending journey of constantly looking within ourselves to see who we are and of striving to make ourselves and world more just. This is hard work and it is much easier to unquestioningly and blindly follow a spiritual leader. And, while religion is certainly not necessary for this process, if it is presented well, it can easily help support that journey through communal support and through language to articulate it.  Maybe rather than rejecting God and religion, it is more valuable to create a hypothesis about how God acts in the world and then check our experience against it. Always remember that religion is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. And, no one has a monopoly on religious truth and religion is much bigger than the views or dictates of any mere mortal.  If all of that means people need to change their world-view and theology, so be it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Popular Myths

1. Chocolate causes acne breakouts. No food gives you acne. Acne is mostly due to heredity and hormones. Dairy and sugar, however, trigger an increase in insulin levels, which increases the amount of androgens (male hormones) in your system. These are the hormones that can cause  large, painful cysts that tend to cluster around the jaw-line. However, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in unhealthy carbohydrates will help the body fight the effects of inflammation, one of which is acne. So, although chocolate is not linked to acne, stick to dark chocolate  because it is lower in sugar and dairy content.
2. Bananas grow on trees. Although we all call it a “banana tree” the stem doesn’t contain true woody tissue. In reality it is a herbaceous plant, or “herb”.
3. Vikings had horns on their helmets. There is some truth to this. Archeological finds have discovered helmets with horns and wings, but these have always been designated for the priests to wear during ceremonies. Viking warriors did not wear them into battle. In fact, it is debatable whether Viking warriors wore helmets at all. So where did this myth come from? It most likely started with the ancient Roman and Greek writers like Plutarch, who vividly described the northern tribes as wearing all manner of strange things on their heads.
4. Humans use only 10 percent of their brains. Most people actually use all of their brain.
5. Irregardless is not a word. But, it is a word. All words are words. The word "irregardless" is in the dictionary. It may be considered non-standard and most people would probably prefer "regardless" or "irrespective", but that is a matter of preference.
6. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. The nature of lightning is that it actually tends to hit the same place several times. Something on or in the same place attracts it.
7. Poinsettias are lethal. The myth started sometime in the 20th century shortly after they were brought from their native land, Mexico. The child of a military officer allegedly died after consuming a poinsettia leaf. As a result of this rumor the toxic properties of this plant have been highly exaggerated. however, keep them away from pets because consumption can result in an upset stomach.
8. Hair and fingernails continue growing after death. After death, the skin retracts which  makes hair and nails appear to grow.
9. Bats are blind. While bats cannot see in color, at night they see better than humans do. In addition, bats also use echolocation they can know where they’re going.
10. Sugar makes children hyperactive. There is no scientific evidence to support that notion.
11. Seasons are caused by the distance of Earth from the Sun. Seasons are actually caused by the 23.45 degree tilt of the earth’s axis. This means that different parts of the earth are oriented towards the sun at different times of the year. So, it is all about direct sunlight.
12. Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis in later life. It may be an annoying habit, but it does not cause arthritis.
13. If you cut an earthworm in half it will regenerate into two earthworms. While earthworms do regenerate they will not divide into two entirely new earthworms. So, the front of the worm lives and the back dies. The regeneration happens when the front of the worm replaces the lost half of its body.
14. The United States was founded as a Christian nation. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution  is based on the concept of the separation of church and state.  Many of those who were in the forefront of The Revolution were not Christians. They were deist, skeptics, atheists and agnostics.  In addition, from The Revolution until today, in addition to Christians, there are Jews, Muslims, Wikkens, and those who believed in Voodoo and Native American religions in the U.S.
15. Eating at night makes you fat. The time of day has nothing to do with how fat you will become, that is, unless of course you eat all day including at night.
16. You should drink 8 glasses of water every day. While this is probably good advice for some people, especially if you live in a really dry area, it should not be followed as a rule. Moreover, nobody is really even sure where this advice originated. Just remember, if you’re thirsty, drink.
17. Salt will increase your blood pressure. That is true only if you have a high blood pressure already, or for any other reason are sensitive to salt.
18.  Evolution has been proven false or is only a theory.  Evolution is a fact. What is not proven is macro evolution which deals with the exact steps of the evolutionary process. However, science has proved beyond any doubt that humans have evolved and human evolution can be traced back 3.6 million years.  
19. Sushi is raw fish. Although this may sometimes true, it is not necessarily true. Raw fish is probably the most popular variety but there are several other types. To be even more accurate sushi is actually the “rice-vinegar” whereas sashimi is the raw fish. Usually sashimi is used as a topping but so is nori (dried seaweed) and various other vegetables.
20. The color of a ripe orange is orange. Not necessarily. Many types of oranges are green even when ripe and are sold that way. Oranges are unknown in the wild. They are a cross between tangerines and the pomelo or "Chinese grapefruit" which is pale green or yellow. Vietnamese oranges and Thai tangerines are bright green on the outside and orange only on the inside.
21. You can lengthen or widen your penis with devices or medications. Bad news; you can't.
22. A toilet’s flush will change direction depending upon in which hemisphere it is. This is one of the most ridiculous yet staunchly defended myths to date. Proponents will attribute this to the Coriolis Effect which is derived from the rotation of the Earth. While this effect does influence air masses or other large environmental structures it has absolutely no effect on the direction your toilet drains.
23. Clouds are weightless.  Actually, clouds are heavy. A popular unit of measurement for cloud-weight seems to be the elephant. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, an average cumulus cloud weighs about 100 elephants, while a big storm cloud tips the scales at 200,000 elephants.
 24. Cannabis (marijuana) kills brain cells. Cannabis affects short-term memory and may make you lethargic, but that is only during the effect. After a few hours, the user is back to normal.
25. Nothing can live forever.  Not true. The jellyfish can. Reproduction by budding occurs in thousands of species, and has gone on with few modifications for half a billion years. What makes the jellyfish (Turritopsis nutricula) so special is that once it reproduces, it doesn't die, but transforms itself back into its juvenile polyp state, resembling a stalk with tentacles like a tiny sea urchin. Their adult cells and even their eggs and sperm melt into simpler forms of themselves and so the whole organism becomes "young" again. Barring any sea-borne dangers, there is no biological reason why it can't live forever.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Gun Debate

There was a time when the following news story would be the lead story in newspapers and on television nightly news. But now, this story is almost neglected and under-reported.
On Sunday, January 20, 2013, a 15-year-old boy is in custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A., as police detectives tried to piece together what led to the shooting of his parents and three of their children who were found dead in a New Mexico home. The teenager was arrested on murder and other charges in connection with the shootings, which happened Saturday night at the home in a rural area southwest of downtown Albuquerque, said Lt. Sid Covington, a Bernalillo County sheriff's spokesman. Authorities identified the victims late Sunday as Greg Griego, 51, his wife Sara Griego, 40, and three of their children: a 9-year-old boy, Zephania Griego, and daughters Jael Griego, 5, and Angelina Griego, 2. Word of the shootings traveled quickly through the law enforcement community, and officials began offering their condolences for Greg Griego, a spiritual leader known for his work with firefighters and the 13 years he spent as a volunteer chaplain at the county jail. Chaplin Griego was a dedicated professional that passionately served his fellow man and the firefighters of this community, Fire Chief James Breen said in a statement. His calming spirit and gentle nature will be greatly missed. Authorities said each victim suffered more than one gunshot wound, and several guns were found at the home, one of which was a semi-automatic military-style rifle. Investigators were trying to determine who owned the guns. The Associated Press is withholding the suspect's name during the initial investigation because he is a juvenile.
This story did not make the headlines. It was buried in sub-reported news items. Why was this story so unreported and neglected? Is it possible that the reason is because this is the "new normal" in America? Is it because the number of dead did not surpass those of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater killings or the horror of the mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut? Has the average American become so indifferent to gun violence that the deaths of 5 people in one family by a 15 year-old using a gun is of no interest to the news media and or to the average person? Finally, why does the a made-up story about a non-existent dead girlfriend of a football player or the antics of talentless reality shows pseudo-celebrities get more news coverage than gun violence?
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The current gun debate is full of rhetoric, paranoia, hysteria, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and outright lies. Typical of this is a demagogic statement by the Minority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky. He said, You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom. They're coming for your guns.

Facts become casualties in this debate.  These are the undisputable facts about gun violence in the U.S.
Gun Ownership
1.     The US has an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands
2.     Each year about 4.5 million firearms, including approximately 2 million handguns, are sold in the United States
3.     An estimated 2 million second hand firearms are sold each year
4.     The percentage of American households with a gun has been steadily declining (high of 54% in 1977 to 33% in 2009)
5.     The average number of guns per owner has increased from 4.1 in 1994 to 6.9 in 2004.
6.     Sources: Injury Prevention (2007); ATF (2000); National Opinion Research Center (2008); Pew Research Center (2009)

Gun Deaths:
1.     More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country
2.     More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day
3.     1/2  of them are between the ages of 18 and 35
4.     1/3 of them are under the age of 20
5.     Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds
6.     And it is the primary cause of death among African Americans of that age group

Comparative Gun Homicides (average annually):
1.     Less than 50: Japan
2.     Less than 150:  Germany, Italy, France, etc.
3.     Less than 200:  Canada
4.     More than 30,000: USA
5.     Source: IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms of the United Nations)

Injuries and Deaths from Guns:
      Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, one is used:
1.     11 times for a completed or attempted suicide
2.     7 times in a criminal assault or homicide
3.     4 times in an unintentional shooting death or injury
4.     Source: Journal of Trauma, injury, Infection and Critical Care (1998)

Per Capita Annual Gun Death Rate in the U.S. (per 100,000 population):
1.     Highest:  Louisiana (19.04, 45.6% households contain guns)
2.     #25 out of 50 states:  Pennsylvania (10.90)
3.     Lowest: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey (4.99); Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii (2.20)
4.     National: (10.32)
5.     Source: Centers for Disease Control

Costs of Gun Violence:
1.     Gun violence impacts society in many ways: medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security precautions such as metal detectors, and reductions in the quality of life because of fear of gun violence.
2.     U.S. lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion
3.     U.S. taxpayers pay for almost half ($1.1 billion or 49%) of lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries

Guns Recovered from Crime:
1.     Only 1% of gun dealer account for almost 60% of crime guns recovered by police and later traced
2.     In one year, at least 30,000 guns were “lost” out of gun dealers inventories
3.     Guns with a short “time to crime” are disproportionately represented among crime guns.  Guns manufactured and sold 3 years or less, prior to recovery by police in crime make up 34 % of recovered and traced crime guns, but only 14% of the US gun stock.
4.     Guns sold as part of a multiple sale at a gun dealer were up to 64% more likely to be used in a crime than guns not part of such sales.
5.     “No background check” sales account for an estimated 40% of gun sales in the U.S.
6.     Sources: ATF (2000); Brady Center; National Institute of Justice (1993, 2007); Police Foundation (1997)
Percent of Recovered Crime Guns First Legally Purchased In-State:
1.     Pennsylvania:  78%
2.     New Jersey:  27%  (18% are from Pennsylvania)
3.     New York:  28%
4.     Source:  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Poll Data
1.     77% of NRA members favor a waiting period for purchase of a handgun
2.     82% of American support limiting the sales of military-style assault weapons
3.     94% of police chiefs favor requiring a background check for all handgun sales.
4.     Support for registration of handguns: 79% of Americans; 69% of police chiefs; 61% of gun owners; 59% of NRA members
5.     Sources: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll (2008); Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (2008); Mayors Against Illegal Guns (2009); National Opinion research Center (2003); American Journal of Preventative Medicine (2006); Violence & Victims (1993)
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Here are some questions that gun advocates of unrestricted gun ownership refuse to answer:
1.     The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Second Amendment is the only amendment to the Constitution which states a purpose, and that purpose is to create a well regulated militia. So, where is the well-regulated militia comprised of gun-owners?
2.     The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights of The U.S. Constitution.  The Bill of Rights was passed in 1791. It was a far-different world in 1791 than today. And, there was no standing army in 1791 and the idea behind the Second Amendment was for every household be prepared to defend individual's homes and the nation against attack and invasion. In addition, the principle firearms were the limited range and single fire pistol and the musket. Within 50 years, a repeater gun known as the  Gatling Gun was invented. It was a state-of-the art rapid-fire repeater rifle killing machine. No ordinary citizen owned a Gatling Gun. It was for military use only. So, why are people allowed to purchase state-of-the art rapid-fire repeater military-style assault weapons now? Is that really what the famers of the Constitution intended?
3.     The National Rifle Association represents between three and four million members. But, 82% of Americans support limiting the sales of military-style assault weapons. So, why do politicians carry out the will of a small fraction of the American population and ignore the will of the majority.
4.     In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision issued two landmark decisions officially establishing this interpretation. A biased Republican majority on the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia. Ever member of the Court swears under oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. The five Republican justices did not comply with their oath.  Yet, there has been no outcry on the part of elected officials or a move to impeach any Supreme Court justice. Why has there been such a tepid reaction even from political liberals?
5.     Automobiles are not intended to be killing machines. And, the number of automobile fatalities in the U.S. is roughly slightly below those from guns. But, the number of auto deaths has consistently fallen since 1990. In recognition that a car can be dangerous for both occupants and pedestrians, automobile manufacturers have made vehicles safer. A car driver has to be of a certain age, take a driving test, have a license, renew that license, take safety courses, take periodic eye-tests, have periodic car inspections, has to take child safety measures, cannot drive after two drinks, etc. And, very few people complain about all of this. Yet, the same regulations, common sense logic and safety standards are not applied to guns. Why?
6.     Guns are not permitted in the Supreme Court, The White House, Congress, Senate or state and city capitals. Yet, by law, they are permitted or politicians have proposed that they be permitted on college campuses,  schools, churches, hospitals, etc. Why do politicians and judges immune  themselves from the very laws they enact? Could it be that they know that these laws are wrong? Could it be that just because they are in positions of power they feel entitled to protection from the carnage the inflict on other people? Or, could it be all of these?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stupid Quotes by Famous People

- Benjamin Franklin

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein

Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool,
than to speak and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

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Stupid Quotes by Famous People

1. Thank God, I'm still alive. But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again. -Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator from California, concerning those who survived a San Francisco earthquake

2. I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman. - Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and former governor of California
3. Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that. -Bill Clinton, former U.S. President
4. Facts are stupid things. -Ronald Reagan, at the 1988 Republican National Convention
5. Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do. -Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President
6. The world is more like it is now then it ever has before. -Dwight Eisenhower, former U.S. President
7. Solutions are not the answer. - Richard Nixon, former U.S. President
8. We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe. -Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice President
9. If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure. -Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice President
10. It isn't pollution that is hurting the environment, it's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. -Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice-President
11. It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago -Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice-President
12. It's time for the human race to enter the solar system! -Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice President on the concept of a manned mission to Mars
13. Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas. - Former Australian cabinet minister Keppel Enderbery
14. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted. -Lawrence Summers, chief economist of the World Bank, explaining why we should export toxic wastes to Third World countries.
15. If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very low crime rate. -Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C.
16. I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law. -David Dinkins, NYC Mayor, discussing his failure to pay taxes.
17. I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it's so petty. - Imelda Marcos, former First Lady and a political figure in the Philippines.
18. The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing. -Dizzy Dean explaining to the media how he felt after being hit on the head by a ball in the 1934 World Series.
19. We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees. -Jason Kidd, upon his being selected to with the Dallas Mavericks.
20. Sometimes they write what I say and not what I mean. - Pedro Guerrero, baseball player
21. For most people, death comes at the end of their lives. - GLR broadcaster, UK
22. I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father. - Greg Norman, Golfer22
23. Pitching is 80% of the game. The other half is hitting and fielding. - Mickey Rivers, baseball player.
24. I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me. - Andre Dawson, former professional baseball player.
25. I have a God-given talent. I got it from my dad. -Julian Wakefield, Missouri basketball player
26. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid. -Terry Bradshaw, Former football player/announcer
27. Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life. - Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.
28. Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.. -Mariah Carey
29. I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada. - Britney Spears, American pop singer
30. A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on.- Samuel Goldwyn, former movie producer
31. To me, the greatest book of all time is The Bible because there's some religious stuff in it. - Jim Rosenberg, author
32. I do not like this word ‘bomb.’ It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding. - Jacques le Blanc, French ambassador on nuclear weapons.
33. They misunderestimated me. - George W. Bush, former U.S. President.
34. Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning? - George W. Bush, former U.S. President
35. Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country. - George W. Bush, former U.S. President
36. I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace. - George W. Bush, former U.S. President
37. I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family. - George W. Bush, former U.S. President