Good Quotes

Collected by Laurie Mann

@lauriedtmann #GoodQuotes on Twitter

These are quotes I think are interesting. I've also noted where corrections are needed (like the famous quote about beer, always attributed to Ben Franklin, was not made by Franklin). Here's a good list of famous debunked quotes From Raw Story. Snopes sometimes debunks fake quotes in addition to hoaxes.

You want to track down quotes before the origin of social media. Check Bartlett's Familiar Quotations if you have a copy. It's possible to research debunked quotes on Google, but it's not as easy as it once was.

  1. Enter a quote in Google and press the search icon on the right.
  2. When Google displays the search results screen, select the Search Tools option.
  3. Select the Any time option.
  4. Select the Custom Range option.
  5. In the Custom date range window, enter a date from a while ago in the From field. I generally enter 1/1/1994.
  6. Enter a later date in the To field; I generally enter 12/31/2004 (a time before fake quotes became very common).
  7. Press the Go button to find older quotes.

Yes, phony quotes existed before 2000, but the trend for making up quotes has gotten much worse since the advent of social media memes. It's a little harder to track correct page dates these days, particularly on Instagram, Pinterest and some blogs. Often material added recently will show up with a much older date in Google. These sites play games with site dates so they are not reliable for checking dates.

Here's another good article on debunking fake quotes.

Good Quotes * * Good Quotes, Fake Attributions * * These Were NOT Onion Quotes * * My Quotes


Good Quotes


Do not resent growing old.
Many are denied the privilege.

— Irish proverb


We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions-bound together
by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality.

Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.

Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races.

Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religion.

So-called racial and religious voting blocs are the creation of designing politicians
who profess to be able to deliver them on Election Day. But every American citizen—
realizing how precious is his right to the sacred secret ballot—does scorn and will scorn
such unpatriotic politicians. The vote of Americans will be American—and only American.

The true attitude of some leaders of the Republican party toward the common man
is not frequently revealed, but occasionally their true feelings break through the restraints
which a political campaign places upon their tongues, and suddenly they misspeak themselves.
We can then see their true sentiments in all their naked unloveliness.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 campaign speech
This was made after WWII had started but before the US was attacked; the US was very isolationist at this point. And, unlike in 1940, these days Republicans attack poor people all the time.

Thanks to Justice Seeker on Twitter for meming part of this quote. It looked too good to be true so I looked it up and it was true!


Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance

Nathan Rutstein

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.
Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying our interests first,
who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest,
what gives it life, what gives it grace,
and what is essential: its moral values.

— Emmanual Macron, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ending of WW I, 11/11/2018.
Former president Trump was present and did not applaud

Patriotism is not obedience to government.
Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which government is supposed to stand.

— While attributed online to Howard Zinn, he didn't exactly say it; he said something a little more complex:

While some people think that dissent is unpatriotic,
I would argue that dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
In fact, if patriotism means being true to the principles for which your country is supposed to stand,
then certainly the right to dissent is one of those principles.
And if we’re exercising that right to dissent, it’s a patriotic act.

— Howard Zinn on July 3, 2002, Interview by Sharon Basco.

If people don't have the facts, democracy doesn't work....
Politics don't corrupt people, people corrupt politics.

— Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson
Part of her sentencing statement for Rick Gates, who once worked for former president Trump as his Deputy Campaign Manager

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me——and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller. Niemoller, despite being a nationalist in Germany, didn't like Hitler and was a political prisoner held by the Nazis from 1938-1945. He survived his imprisonment and lived until 1984. This was written after WWII (urban legends about Niemoller say that he died in captivity and he wrote this poem before the war).

"Once he's [the presidential candidate] made everyone who isn't like him sound evil, then he can blame them for problems he knows they didn't cause. That's easier than trying to fix the problems."

— Lauren Oya Olamina, the protagonist of Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Talents.
Butler wrote the Earthseed books in the early '90s, about a dystopic American in the mid-2020s-2030s. Many aspects of the books, particularly the increasing divide between rich and poor, climate change and fascism in American government, have come to pass. President Jarrett reeked of former President Trump but he was a confederate Christian with even more fanatical followers.


Making somebody salute the flag with your boot on their throat is not patriotism. It’s fascism.

Repeat this until you understand it.

@Stonekettle (Jim Wright) on Twitter, 9/25/2017
(718 replies 44,027 retweets 101,605 likes after 24 hours)


Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent

— Salvor Hardin in Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, 1956.
Meaning Asimov wrote the perfect response to Roger Stone’s threats over 60 years before Stone made them.


Former president Trump, 9/2020: Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation.
Those are not the words of an American President. They are the words of the First American Dictator.

— Lawrence Tribe
Reacting to the most seditious comments an American president has ever made, before the Capitol Insurrection (1/6/2021)


Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.

— Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Talents.
Butler wrote the Earthseed books in the early '90s, years before either W. Bush or Trump became president, but she described them well in "Choose your leaders.."


Extremism thrives amid ignorance and anger,
intimidation and cowardice.

— Hillary Clinton, April 3, 2013, referencing the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban in the “Women in the World” Keynote speech

We are in the headless chicken phase of the pandemic.

The best quote about our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on 3/12/2020 by New York Times journalist Donald McNeil on The Rachel Maddow Show. Meanwhile, former president Trump lied on national TV multiple times that coronavirus testing was happening extensively in the US. In reality, disease testing was hardly happening in the US due to the inept behavior of the Trump Regime until sometime during the summer. No vaccine will be available any time soon, though on 3/13/2020, a Canadian team announced they are testing a possible vaccine. I am glad I was somewhat wrong - safe and effective vaccines were available by mid December 2020 - but distribution has been problematic. By mid-February 2021, over 500,000 Americans had died of COVID-19 due to the incompentence of former president Trump.


What we have witnessed was a total eclipse of the facts.

— Don Lemon, CNN Anchor, in response to former president Trump’s rally speech in Phoenix on August 22, 2017, 10 days after the murder of a Charlottesville anti-Nazi protester and injury of 19 others by a white supremacist in a car. Former president Trump’s post-Charlottesville speech.


Donald Trump, champion and avatar of the shallow state,
has won power because his supporters are threatened
by what they don’t understand, and what they don’t understand is almost everything.
Indeed, from evolution to data about our economy to the science of vaccines
to the threats we face in the world, they reject vast subjects
rooted in fact in order to have reality conform to their worldviews.
They don’t dig for truth; they skim the media for anything
that makes them feel better about themselves.
To many of them, knowledge is not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites
have created to keep power from the average man and woman.
The same is true for experience, skills, and know-how.
These things require time and work and study and often
challenge our systems of belief. Truth is hard; shallowness is easy.

— David Rothkopf, read the whole essay The Shallow State, February 22, 2017, Foreign Policy (remember, this was written just one month into former president Trump's presidency, about the time it started to look like the Trump Administration was really the Trump Regime)


Nazis are like cats.
If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them.

— John Oliver (toformer president Trump) on This Week Tonight 8/13/2017 The day after a white supremacist terrorist murdered 1 & maimed 19 in Charlottesville, VA with his car.


…science is more than a body of knowledge;
it is a way of thinking.
I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s
or grandchildren’s time —
when the United States is a service and information economy;
when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away
to other countries;
when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few,
and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues;
when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority;
when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes,
our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between
what feels good and what’s true,
we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of
substantive content in the enormously influential media,
the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 second or less),
lowest common denominator programming,
credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition,
but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

— Carl Sagan, 1996, The Demon-Haunted World
In which he correctly predicts 2016 back in 1996


Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty.
As long as I have my eyes, I’ll use them.

—Varys Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 2 “Stormborn”


Trumpism is an easygoing belief system that indulges and excuses
the stiffing of contractors,
the conning of students,
the bilking of investors,
the exploitation of women and
the practices of nepotism and self-dealing.

A faith that makes losing a sin will make cheating a sacrament.

—Michael Gerson, Washngton Post, July 13, 2017


We shouldn't ask historians to write a simple history.
The past is not a comic book. It is a rich canvas of struggle.

— Jill Lepore, Writer & Harvard Professor
Speaking on NPR's Morning Edition on 5/23/2017
Granted, some comics books are a rich canvas of struggle, but comics often simplify where history cannot.


I think the biggest goal of history at the Smithsonian
ought to be to help the American public embrace ambiguity
to understand that there's not simple answers to complex questions
And if we can help the public become comfortable with wrestling with
the shades of gray then we've really made a contribution

Lonnie Bunch, III,
Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History, and, as of 6/16/2019, the first African American secretary of the Smitsonian Institution


The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing.
In his world-view, he has absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences.
To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong.
We must agree on what matters:
    Kissing in public places,
    Bacon sandwiches,
    Cutting-edge fashion,
    A more equitable distribution of the world's resources,
    Freedom of thought,
These will be our weapons.
Not by making war but by
The unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.
How to defeat terrorism?
Don't be terrorized.
Don't let fear rule your life.
Even if you are scared.

— Salman Rushdie


The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda.
It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.

— Garry Kasparov, December 2016


I do not understand the mindset of people that think wanting to make America a more equal and just place means you hate it.


David Hogg, Parkland activist
responding to former president Trump after he accused Democrats of hating America



The only way anyone can live in peace is if they can forgive

—"The Zygon Inversion," Doctor Who, initially aired 11/7/2015
written by Peter Harness & Steven Moffat
performed by Peter Capaldi as the Doctor



Let us remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction.
Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated.
Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves.
Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.
In a word, if we want security, let us give security;
if we want life, let us give life;
if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.

— Pope Francis
Remarks to the US Congress, 9/23/2015; read the whole speech



There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided.
Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg.
Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character -
Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

. . .

What they did here will reverberate through the ages.
Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete;
but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

. . .

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience.
That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance.
It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents:

“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

— President Barack Obama, March 7, 2015 on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, Selma, Alabama
This should have been Obama's Gettysburg Address; read the whole speech



Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier.
We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time,
meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared,
discovering we have the strength to stare it down.

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1960



Life isn't about avoiding the bruises
It's about collecting the scars to prove we showed up

— Uncertain, first used in the early '00s
quoted by Iman online two days before her husband, David Bowie, died.



"...everybody dies. My parents died. Your father died.
Everybody dies. I'm going to die too. So will you.
The thing is, to have a life before we die.
It can be a real adventure having a life."

—Jenny Fields to her 12-year-old son Garp
The World According to Garp by John Irving, performed by Glenn Close in the movie version, 1982.


My atheism is a conscious, confident choice.
Not an error, not simple ignorance of some better way.
A considered position based on a lifetime spent grappling with both faith and reason.
While I am pathologically cynical about religion in the public square
and in politics, I am absolutely respectful of religion as
a private choice and a personal behavior.

— Jay Lake, May 2013
Read his whole great essay "Cancer and Religion and You and Me"
Jay died on June 1, 2014 after a six year war against cancer.



"You've got it all wrong!
You don't need to follow me,
You don't need to follow anybody!
You've got to think for yourselves!
You're all individuals!"

— Written by Monty Python
Performed by Graham Chapman in Life of Brian, 1979.


We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting.

— Ann Druyan
Speaking of her husband, Carl Sagan, during his fatal illness



Religion is regarded by the common people as true,
by the wise as false,
and by the rulers as useful.

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Philosopher



The Question I get asked by religious people all the time is,
Without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want?

And my answer is,
I do rape all I want, and the amount I want is Zero.
And I do murder all I want, and the amount is Zero.

The fact that there people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them
that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.

— Penn Jillette, Illusionist & Writer



"Consensual sex" is just sex. To say that implies that there is such a thing as "non consensual sex," which there isn't.
That's rape.
That's what it needs to be called.
There is only sex or rape.
Do not teach people that rape is just another type of sex. They are two very separate events.
You wouldn't say "breathing swimming" and "non breathing swimming," you say swimming and drowning.

Diane Bowlby, Facebook User



The FBI definition of rape (1/2012)

“The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Which means that states which require sonograms with vaginal probes for non-medical reasons are symbolically raping women.

So a better way to describe Republican legislators in states like Texas, Ohio and Virginia for requiring vaginal propes is rapislators. Rapislators are people (usually men, almost always Republicans) who are using state-sponsored rape to restrict women's rights.

— Coined by @WiseRiseInfo on Twitter, in discussion with @shannynmoore & @lauriedtmann on 7/1/2013



New rule: Anybody making an issue of someone else's sex life is automatically suspect.

— David Gerrold on Facebook, the day that Matthew Pennell, a staffer for homophobic Republican U. S. Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas was arrested on 17 counts of a sex crime against a child.



In my household, being gay was, and is, no big deal.
When my brother came out, we hugged him said we loved him and that was that...
There are people who've said that I'm being brave for being oppenly supportive
of gay marriage, gay adoption.
With all due respect, I humbly dissent.
I'm not being brave.
I'm being a decent human being.
Love is a human experience, not a political statement.

Anne Hathaway



You never know if a movie is going to be a hit or not.
The only thing you can control is the memories you make when shooting it.
So, let’s make some good memories

Garry Marshall to Anne Hathaway, before they started to make The Princess Diaries.



Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:
it is those who know little, and not those who know much,
who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

— Charles Darwin, Introduction to The Descent of Man (1871)



To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason,
and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt,
is like administering medicine to the dead,
or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture

— Thomas Paine, The American Crisis: Lancaster (1778)



Fable should be taught as fable, myth as myth, and miracles as poetic fancies.
To teach superstitions as truth is horrifying.
The mind of a child accepts them and only through great pain, perhaps tragedy,
can the child be relieved of them.
Men will fight for superstition as quickly as for the living truth --
even more so, since a superstition is intangible,
you can't get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, as so is changeable.

— Hypatia, the curator of the Library of Alexandria.
She was a teacher & scholar who was murdered by a mob of Christians.
The mob went on to start to destroy this great, ancient library. though it took hundreds of years for all of its books to be destroyed.
Thus the world entered the Dark Ages.



Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.

— Uncertain, but probably teacher James Corbett in the 2000s (first found online around 2009),
but no evidence it was said by Mark Twain (even though we know he had similar thoughts).


If you can't have a metabolism, at least you can have a cookie.

— Jane Pauley, to Candace Bergen after Bergen noted she'd been gaining weight, CBS Sunday Morning, 4/5/2015



On alternative cancer treatments:
Like running into a burning building
and trying to put the fire out
by means of interpretative dance.

— Iain Banks
Great writer after his cancer diagnosis, 1954-2013



Worry is a misuse of imagination

— Dan Zadra



I do not intend to tiptoe through life to arrive safely at death.

M. M. Gavillet



You are a one-time phenomenon in the universe.
Make it count.

Zen Presence



The secret of life is, it's worth the effort.

— Pat Cadigan
January 8, 2015



I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant,
but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want
to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me.
I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature.
I lost the will to please those who do not like me,
to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate.
I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise.
I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance.
I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons.
I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities.
In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal.
I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement.
Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals.
And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.

— Jose Micard Teixeira
Brazilian writer

Editorial Comment: While I love and agree with most of the first paragraph, I find the second paragraph a little odd. In particular, I don't believe in a world of opposites - I believe in a world of subtle gradations. When you miss the middle, then it does look like we're in a world of opposites, but that means you're missing a lot.

This was not written by Meryl Streep despite the fact someone put her name with it and posted it.



Only in America can a dead black boy go on trial for his own murder

— Syreeta McFadden (@reetamac on Twitter), 7/12/2013
The day before George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin
George Zimmerman went on to have a series of run-ins with the law.



Giving the Teaparty control of the fate of the nation in default crisis is like giving Gollum the ring.

— @DCDebbie on Twitter, 10/2013



And it’s not an accident that this faction
[in 2013, Tea Party but after 2015, its successor were Trump Cultists]
is doing everything in its power
to make government appear dysfunctional.

In a democracy, these hostage tactics are the last resort
for those who can’t win their fights through elections,
can’t win their fights through Congress,
can’t win their fights for the Presidency,
and can’t win their fights in court.

But these threats are not working and they will never work because this is a democracy,
and for more than 200 years our democracy has defeated extremists
and rejected the idea that government doesn’t matter.

—"We Are Not a Country of Anarchists" Elizabeth Warren, 10/3/2013



In the United States, persuading the Joads to vote
as if they had a reasonable expectation of someday becoming Gatsbys
has led to more Joads,
richer Gatsbys and
the increasing disappearance of the Cleavers.

— Adam-Troy Castro, 2015



It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion
will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so,
and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education
to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up,
or driving underground all heretics.
This is equally true whether the faith is Communism or Holy-Rollerism;
indeed it is the bounden duty of the faithful to do so.
The custodians of the True Faith cannot logically admit tolerance of heresy to be a virtue.

— Robert A. Heinlein, October 1952
From "Concerning Stories Never Written: Postscript" in Revolt in 2100



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

— Voltaire



The residents of Ferguson do not have a police problem.
They have a gang problem.
That the gang operates under legal sanction makes no difference.
It is a gang nonetheless, and there is no other word to describe
an armed band of collection agents

— "Gangsters of Ferguson", Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, March 2015.
And that's what's wrong with the police in some areas. The question is, why aren't the good cops reaming these guys out?



There is effectively no Republican party any more.
There is a radical movement to destroy the modern American state
and eviscerate its institutions in favor of restoring
a mythical, elysian, majority-white, nineteenth-century past.

What Moderate Republicans?, Andrew Sullivan, October 9, 2013
Just before the Cruz/Ryan Republican government shutdown
Even more true after the installation of the 45/bannon/pence regime, thanks to power-mad Republicans and their collusion with Russian propaganda.



At the end of the day this whole mess is about two spoiled rich boys who hated the 20th century
and dream of being robber barons.

— @TheReidReport on Twitter, 10/15/2013



I came to Washington hoping for The West Wing, but sometimes Buffy sums it up better:
"I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of 'apocalypse.'"

— Anonymous DC staffer, 10/16/2013 (day of the vote to avoid a Republican government shutdown)



Boy, the Federal Government sure does suck yuuuuge asses full of tyranny...
right up until you need it to come in and save your constituents from the giant mess you made.

— Jim Wright (Stonekettle), 1/17/2016
Flint, MI's water was poisoned by lead due to state government malfeasance.
The Federal Government declared Flint a disaster area. The quote is in reference to Gov. Snyder of Michigan whose negligence was responsible for poisoning the water of Flint, MI.
But it could reply to almost any Republican governor after any kind of disaster, whether natural or due to negligence.



What Trump did with Carryn Owens was not presidential at all; it was obscene.
He authorized an attack that killed her husband [[Chief Petty Officer William Owens]],
tweeted during the raid [[Yemen 1/29/17]], shifted the blame for said raid,
unapologetically milked her husband's story for applause, and then proceeded
to brag about the size of applause from the story.
Please stop lowering the bar for this man.

Weston Gobar, online in a response to Van Jones.
Despite former president Trump's lies about this raid in Yemen, no intelligence came from the raid that killed Owens and a number of Yemeni civilians (including children)



My constant concern is that the Russians are playing chess, and Trump is playing checkers.

Maria Collins Warren, Democratic candidate for Congress, NC



Women will not be slaves to our anatomy,
simply because conservatives are slaves to their ignorance.

— Casey (@pari_passu on Twitter), 2008
In 2013, it's more true than ever
And in 2017...gaak...


We are all heretics and heathens to someone.

— Woodlandbookshop (on Twitter), Wales, 2013


Along with all the other rising inequalities we’ve become so familiar with —
in income, in wealth, in access to politicians —
we confront now a fundamental inequality of accountability.

Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes, 2013



I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

— Edward Everett Hale, author & Unitarian minister
Rev. Hale married my great grandparents in Boston in 1893; I didn't know that until 2020, but was slightly familiar with his writings.



If members of the Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence,
then we need to change members of the Senate.

— Gabby Giffords, April 17, 2013
after Senators (mostly Republicans) did the bidding of the NRA
instead of the 90% of Americans who wanted background checks for gun purchases.



Teachers stand up to gunmen, but Congress won't stand up to the NRA.

— Unknown, a sign at an NRA protest after the December 14, 2012 Newtown school gun massacre



It took nine months to create my child, and only a few seconds for
a tormented individual to destroy her with a gun.

— Newtown mother



If you believe you live in a country where you need a gun for personal protection at all times you’re implying you live in a failed state.

— Tobias Buckell, 2012



The people who shout the loudest about their all powerful God
protecting them & delivering them from any evil,
also own a gun, just in case.

— Ricky Gervais, 2013



What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.
The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.

— Robert Kennedy, Pursuit of Justice, 1964



The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why.
As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang,
in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK.
To imagine the feelings of the police as they carried the bodies and heard the ringing is heartrending;
to imagine the feelings of the parents who were calling —
dread, desperate hope for a sudden answer and the bliss of reassurance, dawning grief — is unbearable.
But the parents, and the rest of us, were told that it was not the right moment to ask how the shooting had happened —
specifically, why an obviously disturbed student, with a history of mental illness,
as able to buy guns whose essential purpose is to kill people — and why it happens over and over again in America.
At a press conference, Virginia's governor, Tim Kaine, said,
"People who want to ... make it their political hobby horse to ride, I've got nothing but loathing for them...
At this point, what it's about is comforting family members ... and helping this community heal.
And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere."

— Adam Gopnik, New Yorker, April 2007



I’m afraid I don’t believe there is such a thing as blasphemy,
just outrage from those insecure in their own faith.

— Stephen Fry, Twitter, 9/27/2012



Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around.

Variant last line:


And PLEASE don't try to shove it down my children's throats.

— Billboard, 2011



Strength of faith combined with weakness of intellect
are apt to lead to the error of narrow minded dogmatism.

— Digom Sonam Rinchen, Tibetan Yoga Mentor



Be not afraid of life.
Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

— Henry James



To justify slavery, we whites portrayed blacks as subhuman:
primitive, stupid, and servile.

To justify segregation, we whites portrayed blacks as morally corrupt:
ignorant, predatory, and sinful.

After civil rights, we whites portrayed blacks as evil:
drug addicts, gang bangers, and welfare queens.

There has never been a point in our history when we whites have
systematically and institutionally valued blacks lives as we do own own.

That's why #BlackLivesMatter. Period.

American NewsX

Many whites have valued and do value all lives as we do our own.
But the fact that so many do not, do so very loudly, sometimes violently
and while employed by government
makes this utterly correct.

And if you still believe that police are always right to shoot black people,
read this example of yet another cop shooting a black person for no reason.
Grossly incompentent cops must be fired.



The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people
but the silence over that by the good people.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., March on Washington, 8/1963



Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards,
there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine,
a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.

— Benjamin Franklin, who apparently never wrote a similar line about beer



Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— George_Santayana, The Life of Reason Volume 1, Reason in Common Sense, 1905
It seems like American politicians do not read Santayana.



If I could change just one thing, it would be to disassociate the idea of faith from virtue.

— Christopher Hitchens



Can't we all just get along?

— Rodney King, 1992
Rodney King was beaten by cops when he tried to avoid arrest. This beating was famously caught on video and "went viral" (in the pre-YouTube days). He sued the cops and lost. Some people in Los Angeles rioted over this verdict. King, who could have gone home and locked his door that day, went out and made this plea.



If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar.
If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.

— Abraham Lincoln



You don’t find magic or adventure. You go out and you create it.

— Neil Gaiman, 2012
At a lecture in Pittsburgh


The way I see it,
every life is a pile of good things and bad things.
Hey. The good things don't always soften the bad things,
but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil
the good things or make them unimportant.

—said by the Doctor to Amy Pond in "Vincent and the Doctor," Doctor Who
written by Richard Curtis, Sydney Newman, 2010
"Vincent and the Doctor" was a very touching episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor goes back to visit Vincent van Gogh. Amy believes they can prevent him from committing suicide, but, when they return to "the present..." they learn that Vincent had committed suicide anyway. The Doctor consoles Amy. Happy times matter, even amidst misery.



remember you only go through life once and you ain't coming back so live it wilth all the gusto you've got.

— Bill "Tuna" Trask (1929-2017), 2015
(My Dad's variant on a classic quote.)



Laughter is the breath of life.

— Ruth Shonyo Trask (1930-2016), 2012
(Yes, it turns out it's an old and obscure quote that's also related to yoga, but I gave Mom props for her unique development of this amusing quote.)



The most wasted of all days is one without laughter

— E. E. Cummings



Being happy with all you have is much nicer.
than unhappily proving you can have it all.

—Ana Gasteyer, 2012
Best Tweets from Women in 2012



Stop saying "You've waited all you life for this."
Everyone's waited all their lives for everything.
That's how time works.

— Caitlin Moran, 2012
Best Tweets from Women in 2012



I'll have what he's having.
(20% higher income, on average +
global reproductive freedom, pretty much)

— Megan Neuringer, 2012
Best Tweets from Women in 2012



And the if the Republican party and the conservative movement and the conservative media
is stuck a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good
and denying the factual, lived truth of the world,
then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate
about competing feasible ideas about real problems.

— Rachel Maddow, 11/7/2012
Day After the 2012 Election Day Reality Check



“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common.
They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.”

— Doctor Who (Tom Baker) to Leela (Louise Jameson)
Written by Chris Boucher for Doctor Who, "The Face of Evil" Part 4 & originally broadcast on January 22, 1977
Maybe time travel is real; this sure sounds like late 20th century Doctor Who channelled early 21st century Republicans, especially the 45/bannon/pence regime.



The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.

— P.J.O'Rourke, 12/21/2012



When you wage war on the public schools,
you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together.
You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.

— Garrison Keillor, Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America, 2004



If only Republicans took their vows to their wives as seriously as they take their vows to Grover Norquist.

— Unknown - popular in 2012, after many Republican sex scandals at the same time the Republicans refused to budge on their "anti-tax pledge" to tax millionaires more to help the country. Many Republicans have taken "their vow" to Grover Norquist much more seriously than their oath of office, which is really rather sick when you think about it.



...vast accession of strength from their younger recruits,
who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76
now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy,
founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations
under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of
manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over
the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.

— Thomas Jefferson, 1825
who did not write
"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution
will occur when government falls into the hands of
lending institutions and moneyed incorporations" on the end of democracy quote attribution



I like paying taxes, with them I buy...civilization.

— @AngieinWAState (Twitter)


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

— Eleanor Roosevelt


Life, she continues unabated.

— Jay Lake, 2012


The power of the people is stronger than the people in power.

— Wael Ghonim, 2011
Arab Spring slogan in Egypt, picked up during #Occupy in the US and after the 2012 US elections. Sadly, history shows that this sentiment is often false...


Ideology is the science of idiots.

— John Adams


Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?

— Fox News Host Megyn Kelly to Karl Rove over his refusal to believe that President Obama had won Ohio on Election Night, 2012. I never thought I'd be quoting Faux News here. This segment was highlighted by John Stewart on The Daily Show the next night, and Slate's Will Oremus wrote a piece called The Five Stages of Fox News Grief. I was shocked when Saturday Night Live did not satirize this amazing bit!



I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires

— Susan B. Anthony, 1896
A quote very much descriptive of politicians over 100 years later.



The problem in society is not kids not knowing science.
The problem is adults not knowing science.
They outnumber kids five to one, they wield power, they write legislation.
When you have scientifically illiterate adults you have undermined
the very fabric of what makes a nation wealthy and strong.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson



I object to religion in science classrooms not because it's religion
but because it's not science.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson



Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Buddha (Siddhārtha Gautama), circa 500 BCE



Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.
Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all His children.
Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.
In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

— Senator Cory Booker, 2015



I have a feeling -- based on my incredibly unsuccessful career as a freelancer back before I was a Jesuit --
that I wouldn't be selling a thing if I hadn't taken that vow of poverty. Finagle's law, you know.

— Brother Guy Consolmagno, 2012
Head of the Vatican Observatory & geek



I mean, really live. Live the life you want, not a life you hate. Make love; make progress; make time.

— Pat Cadigan



Hope is the first moral choice.
It's the thing that allows us to stay in the game and continue to do this work,
which is a lifetime's work, and more than one lifetime...

— Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger
On Being Project Be a Blessing, February 18, 2021



Reality is what it is, regardless of what we think and whether we know it or not.

— Jerome Groopman, The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness, 2003


Rush Limbaugh, bard of white decline

— Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic, 2012 (Fascinating essay on Obama)
The observation on Rush was even more true by the time that Rush died of lung cancer in early 2021



Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

— Winston Churchill



The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure
while the intelligent are full of doubt.

— Bertrand Russell, Mortals and Others 1: American Essays 1931-35
Sixty years before the Republicans proved this on a daily basis, especially former presidents Trump ("The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitve") and W ("Mission accomplished" and "Heackova job, Brownie")



America has had 45 presidents, but we have never before had a president
who is completely indifferent to the truth.
Donald Trump makes Richard Nixon look like Diogenes.

— Dennis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day in 1970, on March for Science, 4/22/2017



Show me a nation with a science-hostile government,
and I'll show you a society with failing health, wealth, & security.

— Neil DeGrasse Tyson, just before the first March for Science, April 2017
Bad science can send countries to the brink of collapse. The Soviet Union believed Lysenko's ill-founded beliefs on genetics as they fit Communist politics. As a result, agriculture failed in the Soviet Union in the '30s leading to mass starvation. Republicans denial of climate change, pollution and the need for basic research can lead to similar catastophes in America over the next decades if their ill-founded beliefs control the federal and state governments.


You're not being oppressed when another group gains the rights that you've always had.

— Mamamantis


...Does feeling that you or someone else has been harassed give you the right to harass someone else? I will tell you that, legally, it does not.

— Robbie Bourget


Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength.

— Eric Hoffer



I fear that at least since 2010 we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’etat whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful — who haven’t been as wealthy or as powerful since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

— Robert Reich, 2012 (Professor, former Secretary of Labor)
In early 2021, he was almost right...



Your life won't begin when you get that job or become a star or have a kid or marry or divorce or get clean. Your life is this second.

— Kristen Johnston, 2012 (actress/writer/Twitterer) Guts


There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the dark ages.

— Ruth Hermence Green The Born Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible



Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated.

— George Washington


A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country's way of life; it's only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage. The more we undermine our own laws, the more we convert our buildings into fortresses, the more we reduce the freedoms and liberties at the foundation of our societies, the more we're doing the terrorists' job for them.

— Bruce Schneier


This administration [W. Bush] reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms somehow has a pre-9/11 world view. In fact, the President has a pre-1776 world view. Our government has three branches, not one. And no one, not even the President, is above the law.

— Senator Russell Feingold


On my last day, I want to have dessert.

— Anne Lamott


Listen to your own voice, learn to be your own judge...You are responsible to no one, except the truth.

— David Chesky, The Agnostic


I really resent the idea that the only reason someone might be good or moral is because they're religious. I do what I do... without hope of reward or fear of punishment. I do not require heaven or hell to bribe me or scare me into acting decently.

— Anne Edwards in Mary Doria Russell's great novel, The Sparrow



I've never been insulted by hateful satanists for not believeing in their devil.
Only by loving Christians for not believing in their God.

— Ricky Gervais


God...loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money!

— George Carlin


I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.

— Robert Frost



Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

— Benjamin Franklin
Or maybe not.



When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force.
When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.

— Dorothy Thompson
(probably in the '30s)
Never more true than during the 45/bannon/pence regime


This is a time for reason to find its voice.

— Teresa Heinz Kerry, 2005
Never more true than in 2017..or on1/6/2021 (a day, when, luckily, reason did find its voice.


(The US government acts) if there's no middle ground between killing everyone in sight and running away. There's a middle ground as wide as the Middle East, but to inhabit it requires attributes our leaders don't have -- intelligence, humility, foresight. Knowledge of the past and vision for the future.

— Joe Haldeman, 2006


Living with offense is the price we have to pay for living in a free and diverse society. Being offended is not the same as being oppressed.

— Irshad Manji


As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God.

— State Senator Nancy Jacobs (Republican, of course, during a hearing on an anti-gay marriage bill hearing in Maryland)


People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution;
they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

— Jamie Raskin (in response to Jacobs; attendees are reported to have cheered Mr. Raskin). Raskin was later elected to Congress and served as the lead manager for the second impeachment of former president Trump.



Good Quotes, Fake Attributions

Interesting quotes with fake attributions is becoming more common as people pass along quotes they agree with without bothering to check to see if the person attributed atually ever said it. I know, I've done it too. There's info at the top of this page to help you check a quote's veracity yourself.



If given the truth, [the people] can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts — and beer.

— Not Abraham Lincoln
Sadly, Politico, which should have known better, may have helped to legitimize this quote. I can't find this quote on a legit Abraham Lincoln site, so while it's an amusing quote, it's probably fake.



No religion greater than truth. No faith greater than fact.

— Author Unknown
While attributed to Malcolm X, there's no evidence (, Malcolm X quotes at African American Quotes) that he said it.


I've searched President James Madison's writings for this specific quote:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

is false.

However there is a similar sentiment in part of a longer quote

The Writings, vol. 2 (1783-1787) (James Madison) the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms.
11. Because, it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion,
has produced amongst its several sects. Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world,
by vain attempts of the secular arm to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinions.
Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous...

All of Madison's collected writings are searchable here:

Some fine sentiments are just not easily "memable." If a meme sounds too good to be true, it probably is, except that sometimes a quote just isn't that easy to shorten. Check this file for verified quotes or Snopes.



One failed attempt at a shoe bomb, and we all take off our shoes at the airport;
31 school shootings since Columbine, and no change in our regulation of guns.

— John Oliver, 2012
John Oliver seems to have denied saying this quote on his 10/18 show.
Am trying to confirm what he said very, very quickly.
Someone who mumbles faster than I do!



Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

— Wendell Phillips, 1852
This seemed to be a lesson relearned by millions of American voters in 2012.
Commonly (and incorrectly) attributed to Thomas Jefferson and Ida B. Wells.
More info about variants of this quote.



Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told.
Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.

— Anonymous
No evidence that H. L. Mencken said it, though he may have thought it



A man is accepted into church for what he believes - and turned out for what he knows.

— Unknown, sometime after 1/1/2000
Aparently NOT Mark Twain; this quote was not found on the Web before 1/1/2000.



Religious freedom doesn't mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.

— Uncertain - seems to be a Topix user named anneutral (but not President Obama), early 2012



When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

— Author unclear [[Sinclair Lewis probably did not say it, though he said similar things.]] (Channeling Cruz, Bachman, W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Ernst, Palin, Huckabee, Ryan, Akin, Santorum and Perry decades early)
But, until 2016, who could have guessed that former president Trump/Pence/Miller would become the fascists-in-chief in 2017? And how close the nut-jobs at the Capitol Insurrection on 1/6/2021 came to making Trump's dream come true?



These Were NOT Onion Quotes

Due to the sheer ludicrousness of many politicians these days (especially Republicans), The Onion keeps threatening to cease publication because they can't be funnier than the actual news today.


Tampons Confiscated, Guns Still Allowed At Texas Capitol Ahead Of Abortion Vote


7/12/2013, probably first written by the Huffington Post, when observers were prevented of having tampons with them in the Texas legislature gallery - yes, there's a photo:

Photo by Shelby Alexander



My Quotes - Laurie Mann (1957-)

They might not be good, but they are my own. The older ones are some of my USENET signatures over the years, but the newer ones are mostly from Twitter.



Being fat only means you fail at dieting, not at life.




COVID-19 proves you can't fight science;
Science always win.




Wearing a facemask is not a political statement; It's an IQ test




You are the star of your own life, and an extra in the lives of almost everyone else.



When Hillary Clinton said some Trumpies were a Basket of Deplorables,
she didn't know she'd be predicting his top advisors and Cabinet.




Doctors can't prevent death, they can only delay it.
How much can people truly live during the delay?



Republicans never apologize,
because they never view themselves as wrong
and only see things in black and white.
They hate Democrats because we will apologize,
we understand that we can be wrong
and most of us can see many shades of gray.




Hoarders are bad for economies.
And I'm talking about the corporate hoarders who sit on money
and refuse to pay all employees fairly.




Game of Thrones - "Dance with Dragons" (S5, E9) - An episode so intense and so disturbing that
a decapitation was comic relief.

(6/7/2015) And it got picked up by The Hollywood Reporter!



Republicans are the dinosaurs and Democrats are the asteroid that helped make them extinct.




This should be a scandal: Congressional Republicans shield rapists by refusing to fund the processing of of rape kits.




We must treat the NRA the way we're starting to treat Grover Norquist -
as a pariah whose influence over government must be utterly and legally destroyed
by our advocacy, votes and money.

— December 14, 2012, after yet another mass murder of 20 children and 6 adults by a disaffected man in a year with way too many mass-shootings by semiautomatic weapons. We need a semi-automatic gun ban now.



In a true democracy, citizens do not threaten their legislators with guns,
only with unemployment over their failure to lead.




It is more important to let the people vote than to permit government to suppress the vote.
People vote in a democracy; repressive governments supress the vote.



The American justice system makes convicting a person more important than convicting the person guilty of the crime. That isn't justice.

(early 2000s)


Just because I've stopped arguing with you, does not mean that I agree with you. If I agree with you, I'll tell you so.

(early 2000s)


Claiming that sex education leads to irresponsible sex is like
claiming that driver education leads to car accidents.

(late 1980s)


The Extra's Creed:
You can talk back to God, but never sass the AD...


Living is the important thing.
Dying will take care of itself.


The more info provided, the less people read.


Physically, we're all slow-moving, unidirectional time travelers.
Mentally, most of us can imagine time in many different directions.

My signature history.