September 13, 2012

“The Powers That Be” — the Celebrity Quotes Edition


“The powers that be are ordained of God…Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” 
       Romans, 13:1-2
       This Biblical quote from Saint Paul’s “Epistle to the Romans” (usually just called Romans) is the origin of the English idiom “the powers that be,” a general term used to refer to the people or organizations who control something.
       “Powers that be” and many others familiar phrases from the Bible were coined by
William Tyndale (1494–1536). He was a feisty English Puritan who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English in the 1520s, a time when such a translation was considered heresy by the Catholic Church’s Powers That Be. The “Tyndale Bible” pre-dated and heavily influenced the King James Version created in 1611.


“The [Screen Actors] Guild was the healthiest, sanest and strongest guild in America, and now it’s run by complete loons and the opposition is made up of complete loons, so the Guild has destroyed itself, and in so doing, has achieved the Powers That Be’s greatest goal, which is to extract every illegal penny that they can from their own work force and deny them the ability of collective power.”  
       Richard Dreyfuss
       American actor
       In an interview on


“The powers that be in Washington, they've got it all wrong...We should not be working for our government. Our government should be working for us.”
Sarah Palin 
       Republican politician and commentator
a speech she gave in Wichita, Kansas on May 3, 2010  
       Providing a possible alternate explanation of why she resigned as Governor of Alaska


“The powers that be within it made a political calculation that we Democrats could raise corporate money and compete with the Republicans…The problem is, when you start taking those corporate checks, on the back is written the corporate agenda. So our party began speaking in different languages.” 
       Jim Hightower 
       Liberal political gadfly and former Democratic politician
an article about him in the Texas Tribune (April 16, 2010)


“Cable channels were built around the notion that as long as the male audience is drooling from one side of their mouth, then the other side of the body won't be able to work the remote. So, it is with a deep understanding of the powers that be, and the powers that eventually will be, that we celebrate cable’s newest ‘It’ girl, and PETA's latest pin-up, Olivia Munn.”  
       Reagan Alexander
       Online columnist and blogger
an article about Olivia Munn on

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September 1, 2012

“We have met the enemy…”


“We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
       Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819)
       American Navy officer
       The immortal message Perry sent
on September 10, 1813 to U.S. General William Henry Harrison about the Battle of Lake Erie. That day, American ships under Perry’s command defeated a British naval squadron and captured all of the British ships. After the battle, Perry scrawled a brief report to Harrison on the back of an envelope. It said: “Dear General: We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O.H. Perry.” The first sentence became one of the most famous U.S. Navy quotations in history.


“We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself.”
       American PFC Robert Leckie (played by actor James Badge Dale
       Comment in a letter written to his stateside girlfriend 
       In the
HBO miniseries The Pacific (2010)


“We have met the enemy and he’s our friend...the friends, brothers, lovers in the counterfeit male-dominated Left. The good guys who think they know what ‘Women’s Lib,’ as they so chummily call it, is all about.” 
       Robin Morgan 
       American author, journalist and pioneering feminist
       In a 1970 editorial piece titled
“Goodbye to All That”
       Published in the January 1970 issue of the underground newspaper Rat: Subterranean News 


“We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint”
       Title of an article about a Pentagon PowerPoint diagram meant to portray the complexity of America’s strategy in Afghanistan. Published
in the New York Times on April 26, 2010. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal commented: “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”


“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
       Walt Kelly (1913-1973)
       American cartoonist
       First used for
his famous 1970 Earth Day poster


“I was stumbling around in a beautiful haze
When I met a little cat in black P.J.’s,
Rifle, ammo belt, B.F. Goodrich sandals...

He said, ‘We’re campin’ down the pass
And smelled you people blowin’ grass,
And since by the smell you’re smokin’ trash
I brought you a taste of a special stash
Straight from Uncle Ho’s victory garden.
We call it Hanoi gold.’

So his squad and my squad settled down
And passed some lovely stuff around.
All too soon it was time to go.
The captain got on the radio, said: 
‘Hello, headquarters. Hello, headquarters?

We have met the enemy
And he has been smashed!’”
       Tom Paxton
       American singer/songwriter 
       From his song "Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues"
       Originally released on his 1968 album Morning Again. (Also on
The Best Of Tom Paxton.)

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