A few thoughts, none of which are mine: “In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem … That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it … By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth … Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups … When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat … Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience … Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money … Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.” That’s just a sampling of George Carlin lines. He’s been dead for almost 14 years, but he still seems to get America as well as anyone. Today, he’s regularly quoted by political figures. And it happens on both sides of the aisle (which he could probably do a whole routine about). Need a quote for this week’s news? No problem: Conservatives “will do anything for the unborn, but once you’re born, you’re on your own.” As Dave Itzkoff explains, “There’s a strange afterlife that Carlin enjoys, not just as a comic but also as a moral compass. Few of us care in quite the same way if our choices in life would meet the approval of Johnny Carson or Andy Kaufman. That Carlin’s work endures long after him is not only a testament to his talents; it’s a sign that his frustrations, which he expressed humorously but felt authentically, still resonate with audiences, and that the injustices he identified in American society persist to this day.” NYT (Gift Article): The Strange Afterlife of George Carlin. Let’s close with one more Carlin line: “The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ and ‘Thou shalt not lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.”