This represents the final bodies from Katrina, the last unknown victim of Katrina. This represents the pain and suffering.
— New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin; Laura Maggi of The Times-Picayune reported that “[s]even people who died during Hurricane Katrina were interred Friday morning in one of six mausoleums created to hold the remains of those who were not identified after the storm or whose families did not claim them; Aug. 29.
People are bringing five or six suitcases. We want to carry more people and less luggage.
— St. Charles Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Tab Troxler as residents of New Orleans and surrounding parishes begin evacuation of the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Gustav approaches; Aug. 30.
We’re well positioned and we’ve got a good set of plans and now we’re waiting to put them into motion.
—Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, adding that more than 1,000 buses were ready to facilitate evacuation of New Orleans; Aug. 29.
If we seek to understand American foreign policy in terms of a rational engagement with international problems, or even as an effective means of projecting power, we are looking in the wrong place. The government’s interests have always been provincial. It seeks to appease lobbyists, shift public opinion at crucial stages of the political cycle, accommodate crazy Christian fantasies and pander to television companies run by eccentric billionaires. The US does not really have a foreign policy. It has a series of domestic policies which it projects beyond its borders.
— George Monbiotin his Guardian commentary, “The US missile defence system is the magic pudding that will never run out”; Aug,. 19.
Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about 50 or 100 years from now — and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week of all three networks — they will there find, recorded in black and white and in color, evidence of decadence, escapism, and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable, and complacent. We have a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information.
Our mass media reflect this.
But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television, and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.
— from Edward R. Murrow’s address to the Radio-Television News Directors Association & Foundation as depicted in the movie “Good Night and Good Luck.”
Bringing back the brooch
Before the Democratic National Convention, a plethora of questions swirled around the blogosphere. Would Barack Obama finally win over Hillary Clinton’s most loyal supporters? Would Bill Clinton’s speech come off as sincere or forced? And most important of all, what would Michelle Obama wear?
Apparently, Mrs. Obama put considerable thought into that last question, and it really paid off. Her simple blue dress received rave reviews from giddy commenters on this website, and with her jeweled pin, she may have single-handedly brought back the brooch. Grandmas, guard your jewelry boxes.
— teaser copy by Stephanie Lysaght of the Los Angeles Times prefacing a poll asking where Michelle Obama’s convention dress was “too frumpy,” “too matronly,” “flawless first lady,” or “too sexy”; Aug. 29.
During a get-out-the-vote drive, you don’t want to get out the wrong vote.
— Diane Rinaldo, political advertising director at Yahoo, which has worked with both the Obama and McCain campaigns; Washington Post writer Peter Whoriskey reported “Although both the Obama and John McCain campaigns are reluctant to discuss details, the ability to identify sympathetic voters based on their Internet habits, and then to target them with ads as they move across the Web, is one of the defining aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign. Digital advertising networks and large Web companies such as Yahoo and Microsoft are using Web behavior — which news articles people read, which blogs they visit or what search terms they enter — to target voters who may be sympathetic to a certain cause. Using a method known as ‘sentiment detection,’ some companies even boast that they can tell whether the blog you go to is for or against the Iraq war”; Aug. 30.
The separation of church and state can sometimes be frustrating for women and men of religious faith. They may be tempted to misuse government in order to impose a value which they cannot persuade others to accept. But once we succumb to that temptation, we step onto a slippery slope where everyone’s freedom is at risk. … The real transgression occurs when religion wants government to tell citizens how to live uniquely personal parts of their lives. The failure of Prohibition proves the futility of such an attempt when a majority or even a substantial minority happens to disagree. Some questions may be inherently individual ones, or people may be sharply divided about whether they are. In such cases, like Prohibition and abortion, the proper role of religion is to appeal to the conscience of the individual, not the coercive power of the state.
— from an address by Sen. Ted Kennedy at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) in Lynchburg, Va.; Oct. 3, 1983.
At noon on Tuesday, two young men walked onto the podium at the Democratic National Convention carrying four women’s suit jackets — red, orange, light blue and teal — and holding each one up to the lights to see which would look best in the hall. It was Hillary Clinton’s night, and nothing was being left to chance.
— from a commentary by Dana Milbank of The Washington Post; Aug. 27.
So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him — use these powers wisely and as a last resort.
— from the floor speech of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, “A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq”; Oct. 10, 2002.
I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn’t go, so send the First Lady. That’s where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me to visit our troops …
— from a speech on Iraq by Sen. Hillary Clinton at at The George Washingon University; March 17.
[A] democracy requires a certain amount of common ground. I don’t believe you can solve complex questions like this at the grass-roots level or at the national level or anywhere in between if you have too much extremism of rhetoric and excessive partisanship. Times are changing too fast. We need to keep our eyes open. We need to keep our ears open. We need to be flexible. We need to have new solutions based on old values. We can’t get there unless we can establish some common ground. And that seems to me to impose certain specific responsibilities on citizens and on political leaders.
— from a speech by President Bill Clinton at Georgetown University; July 6, 1995.
Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.
— President Bill Clinton, challenging Sen. Barack Obama’s claim that the senator had always opposed the Iraq war; Jan. 11.
Pro-and anti-Democrat protesters yesterday besieged the streets of Denver, Colorado, United States (US), venue of the Democratic National Convention. They made their voices heard on issues ranging from the Iraqi war, abortion rights, gay marriage and rights for swingers (a club of people who swap wives, husbands or partners). … Policemen swarmed every block in the city on horses, motorcycles and vans. Helmet wearing cops, armed to the teeth with guns, clubs and combat style outfits patrolled the area.
— from a story by Constance Ikokwu for the Nigerian newspaper This Day; Aug. 26.
Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain at rally. [AP photo]
Here’s what I’m worried about. McCain had to protect his reputation as an opponent of status quo Washington. He had to pick someone with the shortest Washington résumé. He did that. He picked someone the right wing is going to be happy about. But it’s a gamble. The question is, what does it do to the argument that Obama’s not ready?
— Ed Rogers, a Republican lobbyist and former aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, discussing the selection of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Aug. 29.
She really doesn’t have the experience for this job.
— councilwoman Dianne Woodruff of Wasilla, where Gov. Sarah Palin served as mayor, on her performance as governor; Aug. 29.
Go, Sarah. We’re pumped over here. We’re really, really excited. My kids went to school with her. Todd buys his guns here.
— McCain supporter Roy Wallis, owner of Chimo Guns in downtown Wasilla; Aug. 29.
The President is looking forward to the honor of speaking at the Republican Convention on Monday night. The speech expresses gratitude. The President will thank his family, his administration, and most of all, the friends, supporters and volunteers in the convention hall who have supported him and the Republican agenda for these past eight years.
The speech reviews the major issues facing the country, from terrorism and war to the economy and the direction of our culture. Above all, the speech reflects on the role of the presidency and the qualities that are demanded by the job, and makes the case that John McCain is the best qualified to be our next leader and commander-in-chief. In particular, it highlights McCain’s unique judgment, perspective, and experience to deal with the unexpected, to stand firm on his convictions, put the country above himself, and make hard decisions necessary to protect the American people.
— White House press secretary Dana Perino at a press briefing; Aug. 29.
The American workforce continues to be the marvel of the world. Yet many working families have been weathering tough economic times. There are families across our country struggling to make ends meet. There is an understandable concern about the high price of gas and food. And many Americans are worried about the health of our housing and job markets. I share these concerns about our economy.
— President Bush, in his weekly radio address; Aug. 30.
• Edward R. Murrow: The Edward R. Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy at Tufts University
• Michelle Obama and her daughters, Malia and Sasha: Rodolfo Gonzalez, Associated Press
• Sen. Ted Kennedy: Susan Walsh, Associated Press
• Sen. Hillary Clinton: Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.