April 29, 2010

“Too big to fail” – the 26-year-old origin and some more recent uses


“We have a new kind of bank. It is called too big to fail. TBTF, and it is a wonderful bank.”
       U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney (R-Connecticut)
       Remark on September 19, 1984
       Commenting on the federal government’s $4.5 billion bailout of Continental Illinois  bank, which faced insolvency due to unwise lending practices. His phrase was resurrected during the more recent bank bailout. For more background, see the book Too Big to Fail.


“The whole notion of ‘too big to fail’ is about as anti-capitalist as it gets. When you start  protecting companies that should go under through their own faults, you are removing ‘the invisible hand.’”
       Matt Tellam
       Columnist for the Oregon Daily Emerald
       In his April 28, 2010 column


“Not only are too big to fail financial institutions bad for taxpayers, the enormous concentration  of ownership in the financial sector has led to higher bank fees, usurious interest rates on credit cards, and fewer choices for consumers.”
       U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) 
       Press release, April 26, 2010


“Chill, dudes. We’re too big to fail.”
       Political cartoon by Mike Keefe 
       In the Denver Post, Nov. 12, 2008


“If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big. In 1911 we broke up Standard  Oil – so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that’s what we need to do.”
       Alan Greenspan
       Former Federal Reserve Chairman
       Comment to the Council on Foreign Relations, October 2009. (Expressing a view he didn’t seem have mentioned when he was Federal Reserve Chairman.)

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Quotations Facebook Group.

For more economic quotations see…

The Elgar Dictionary of Economic Quotations

Compiled by Charles Robert McCann Jr.

April 25, 2010

“If not now, when?” – Origin, uses and abuses


“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” 
      Hillel the Elder (c. 60 BC-10 AD) 
      Jewish scholar and religious leader 
      In the Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the Fathers”). The meaning of this bit of ancient wisdom has been translated in various ways and is still debated, but it seems to encourage rational self-interest, compassion for others and social activism.


“Now, since we took this issue on a year ago, there have been plenty of folks in Washington who’ve said that the politics is just too hard...Don’t do it now. My question to them is: When is the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who?” 
      President Barack Obama 
      Commenting on his health care reform legislation 
      Speech in Glenside, Pennsylvania, March 8, 2010


“With the passage of ‘ObamaCare’ coming on the heels of government takeover of industries and taxpayer-funded bailouts of the irresponsible, many are wondering how we can turn the socialist tide...It is time for the few remaining pockets of traditionalism to take control of their culture and destiny. If not now, when?”
      Selwyn Duke 
      Tennis player and Conservative political pundit
      Post on his blog, April 8, 2010


“Someone must step forward. If not us, who will extend, promote, defend, protect, and enforce human rights?” 
      Robert L. Maddex 
      American attorney specializing in international law  
      International Encyclopedia Of Human Rights (2000)


“If not now, Wen?”
      Jim Jubak
      Investment and stock-picking guru
      Headline of his post commenting on the reluctance of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (shown at left) to change China’s monetary policy. On the Jubak Picks site, March 8, 2010.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Quotations Facebook Group.

Recommended collection of philosophy quotes...

A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations

by Alfred J. Ayer and Jane O'Grady

April 16, 2010

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – Origins, quotes, counterquotes and variant versions...


“Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t seek, don’t flaunt.”
       Charles Moskos (1934-2008)
       U.S. sociologist and advisor to Sen. Sam Nunn
       The four-part phrase and policy he suggested in 1993 to Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Nunn, as a way to deal with gays in the military. Adopted by the U.S. military in 1994 as “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue,” then shortened by the media to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and now often referred to by the acronym DADT.


“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? How about...Don’t Lie.”
       Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance website
       Post dated March 27, 2010


“I believe repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will weaken the warrior culture at a time when we have a fight on our hands.”
       General Merrill A. McPeak
       Former Air Force Chief of Staff
       In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, March 4, 2010


“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a joking matter. It is the only law that enforces shame.”
       Lt. Dan Choi
       Openly gay Iraq War veteran
       Remark about DADT in a protest on March 18, 2010 
       Choi’s discharge from the military for publicly “telling” he gay is pending


“‘Don’t ask and don’t tell.’ Isn’t that Oscar Mayers’ response to the question, ‘What’s in a hot dog?’”
       Comedian Jay Leno
       In his monologue on The Tonight Show, April 2, 1993
       Commenting on the announcement of Sen. Sam Nunn's support for the “DADT” policy — and proving that DADT can sometimes be a joking matter.


“It would appear that our ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is no longer working.”

       Political cartoonist Rob Rogers
       In his cartoon about the Catholic Church’s growing sexual abuse fiasco 
       Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 28, 2010


CLAUDETTE WYMS (CCH POUNDER): “What people want these days is to make it to their cars without getting mugged. Come home from work and see their stereo is still there. Hear about some murder in the barrio, find out the next day the police caught the guy. If having all those things means some cop roughed up some spic or some nigger in the ghetto... well, as far as most people are concerned it’s don’t ask, don’t tell.”
       The Shield  
       Pilot episode, first aired March 12, 2002

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on my quotations Facebook group.

April 3, 2010

“As pure as the driven slush.”


“I’m as pure as the driven slush.”
       Actress Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968) 
       Originally quoted in an article published in the Saturday Evening Post, April 12, 1947


“I’m as impure as the driven yellow snow.” 
       Spike, the bad boy vampire (actor James Marsters) 
       In the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
       The “Intervention” episode, Season 5, Ep. 18; first aired on April 24, 2001


“She is so tough,
As pure as the driven slush.”
       The blues rock band ZZ Top
       In the lyrics of their song “Pearl Necklace” (1981)


“Without condoning in any way the execrable conduct of Westerners during the Crusades and in the colonial and post-colonial periods, I suggest that Muslims ought to drop their pretense of having always been innocent victims as pure as the driven sand. Muslims would not like being invaded or pillaged or having their wives and sisters coerced into sexual slavery, and they need not expect other people to feel differently.” 
       American theologist and writer Paul Culp 
       In his book Nothing New Under the Sun: An Introduction to Islam (2007)

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on my quotations Facebook group.

Recommended movie quotations book...

Reel Life 2.0 by Jon Anthony Dosa

1,101 Movie Lines about Life, Death, Love, Marriage, Anger and Humor

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