American Culture


The issue of separating yourself from a harmful environment is a recurring theme in the life of black men. It has nothing to do with football, or Sean Taylor or even sports. To frame it as a sports issue is as insulting as it is naive. Most of us, perhaps even the great majority of us who grew up in big urban communities, have to make a decision at some point to hang out or get out.

— Washington Post sportswriter Michael Wilbon on the death of NFL player Sean Taylor, Nov. 28.

The best part: Through the whole nutcracking process, her smile doesn’t change a bit. East or West, right or left, right or wrong for that matter, you gotta love this one. Hillary the Thighmistress has rock-solid stainless steel thighs for getting the job done; details are sculpted in resin. 9″H x 3″W. $24.95

— sales copy at What On Earth for the “Hillary Nutcracker.”

The new two-year cooling off period is encouraging people who have been around for a long time, especially in the minority, to leave. They know that the golden window of opportunity is immediate.

— James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Presidential and Congressional Studies at American University, noting that the resignation of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) “had been influenced by the new ethics and lobbying rules. Senators who retire this year have to wait only one year before lobbying their former colleagues, instead of the two years that go into effect in 2008.”

Q: Dana, I believe that the President is supposed to meet with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas separately tomorrow in the Oval Office. Can you talk at all about the purpose of those meetings?
MS. PERINO: Well, one of the things that we have said is that — that the President has said — and both leaders, the Israeli leader and the Palestinian leader, have said — that today was important because today was the moment where you launched the negotiations, but what’s really important is what happens the day after and the subsequent weeks that follow. And tomorrow will be a chance for the President to meet with them again. There is going to be an addition to the schedule, and the President will also have another trilateral meeting with them, a short trilateral meeting with them, as well, tomorrow.

— exchange between White House press secretary Dana Perino and reporter at a Nov. 27 press briefing.

Families strengthen our communities by teaching important values such as compassion and honesty to their children. Families also offer a supportive environment and help ensure that children grow into responsible members of society. By providing guidance and unconditional love, parents shape the character of their children.

— President Bush in his Nov. 16 proclamation of National Family Week.

Oven Roasted Turkey
Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread Dressing
Jellied Cranberry Molds
Sautéed Green Beans
Zucchini Gratin
Whipped Sweet Potato Soufflé
Buttered Mashed Potatoes
Giblet Gravy
Morelia Style Gazpacho
Fresh Clover Rolls with Honey Butter
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Topping
Apple Pie
Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

— the Thanksgiving Day menu at Camp David.

It is the policy of the United States to use existing Federal programs that serve adults, including new Americans, to strengthen literacy skills, improve opportunities for postsecondary education and employment, and facilitate participation in American life.

— from a Sept. 27 Executive Order by President Bush that establishes a “Working Group” to identify and improve federal programs for the purpose of “Strengthening Adult Education.”

That sort of wanton lust, it’s just not at the surface of their skin anymore. What’s important to me is that Carrie isn’t frivolous and silly, that there is sophistication to her. She’s making a serious attempt at making grown-up decisions about love and about life choices.

— actor Sarah Jessica Parker discussing the aging of her character, Carrie, in what called “The Most Important Movie Ever Filmed in New York” — the movie version of “Sex in the City”; Nov. 25.

Perks for lawyers:

• “milkshakes from a local Potbelly Sandwich Works, a favorite lunch spot,” delivered by the firm’s “happiness committee” — the Chicago office of Perkins Coie.
• “the laptops and BlackBerrys, late-night rides home, Friday beer-and-pretzel fests and sports tickets [are] standard fare at many large and midsize law firms.”
• “On offer now are concierge services, in which a lawyer can have the equivalent of a personal valet pick up theater and sports tickets, the dry cleaning, take a car to the repair shop or even choose a Halloween costume.”
• “associates will receive special payouts of $10,000 to $50,000, in addition to their year-end bonuses up to $35,000” — the New York office of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
• “another old-line firm, with more than 600 lawyers, guarantees the first $100,000 of mortgages of associates who have been with the firm for at least six months” — Sullivan & Cromwell.
• “some firms also offer extended sabbaticals for a wide range of pursuits — to study classical piano, for instance, or work on political campaigns.”
• “the nation’s largest law firm … reimburses employees $2,000 when they buy a hybrid car” — DLA Piper.
• “offers on-site tailoring and reimbursements to employees who buy a Subaru, Nissan or General Motors vehicle” — Fulbright & Jaworski.
• “a 600-lawyer firm based in New York … offers employees a service akin to a personal issues coach and psychotherapist [through a consultant’s] battery of staff psychologists and social workers to provide advice on issues including stress, anxiety, depression and divorce.”
• “Crowell & Moring recently began giving wine parties at its New York office, with tuna tartare, baby lamb chops and vegetable trays.”
• “lawyers who work into the evenings can have dinner delivered, on a silver tray, from the Palm restaurant, a hot spot for media and financial executives” – Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s New York office.
• “provide emergency nanny services, in which the firm will find and send a nanny to a lawyer’s home” — Dechert, a 1,000-lawyer firm based in Philadelphia; Fried, Frank; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Fulbright & Jaworski.

— from a Nov. 22 New York Times story about changes in benefits and compensation for lawyers.

A woman who graduated from here in 1971 learned how to build a treehouse before she was 9. And a multi-million-dollar company before she was 40.

You didn’t find it at the end of a rainbow. Nor did the tooth fairy leave it under your pillow. The wealth you have today exists because you worked harder and dreamed bigger. And because you never forgot where you started. Born from an understanding of the values that drive you, we offer a personal approach to structuring and managing wealth, designed to maximize opportunity and supported by a depth of financial and intellectual capital rooted in over 200 years of experience.


— from a full-color, two-page ad for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Wealth Management, in the Nov. 26 New York Times.

$45.9 million
Francis Bacon
Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1
Highest price paid at auction in fall 2007

$7.4 million
Donald Judd

$23.6 million
Jeff Koons
Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)
Auction record for a living artist

$4.6 million
John Chamberlain
Big E
Auction record for the artist

$5.2 million
Ellsworth Kelly
Spectrum VI
Auction record for the artist

The best works. The best prices.
Contemporary Art

— from a full-color, two-page ad for auction house Sotheby’s in the Nov. 27 New York Times.

The oil-producing countries simply cannot absorb the amount of wealth they are generating. We are seeing a transfer of wealth of historic dimensions. It is not just Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Investment funds are being set up in places like Kazakhstan and Equatorial Guinea.

—J. Robinson West, chairman of PFC Energy, in a Nov. 28 New York Times story that notes “[e]xperts estimate that oil-rich nations have a $4 trillion cache of petrodollar investments around the world. And with oil prices likely to remain in the stratosphere, that number could increase rapidly.” [emphasis added]

I applaud your wording of the headline “Study Links Drop in Test Scores to a Decline in Time Spent Reading,” because only the evidence of lower test scores will move the myopic beast loosed by No Child Left Behind to change its course.

My son attends arguably the best public middle-school program in Baltimore, and the language arts teachers there have been told not to teach novels until the spring, after the state testing is over.

The absurdity might almost make me laugh, if it weren’t so horrifying in its implications.

— from a Nov. 19 letter to the editor of The New York Times by Christina Myers of Baltimore.

I am resigning my position for personal and family reasons and deeply regret it is impossible for me to continue in a job so recently undertaken. . . . I leave with extraordinary admiration for the American Red Cross, the service its men and women provide our nation, and for the humanitarian work of the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement across the world.

— from the resignation statement of American Red Cross president and chief executive Mark W. Everson, a former IRS commissioner, after he admitted a personal relationship with a subordinate female employee; Mr. Everson, 53, is married with two children.

The rigors involved in touring and the intense emotional strain that Amy has been under in recent weeks have taken their toll.

— Tracey Miller, a representative of entertainer Amy Winehouse, on the cancellation of Ms. Winehouse’s remaining 2007 tour dates amid reports of “sub-par performances, health fears and … alleged drug use” as well as a stint in rehab.

Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom.

— a demand during “two hours of inexplicable madness” by Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert M. Restaino to the 70 people in his courtroom that a cell phone that rang be turned over to him; a state Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended the judge’s removal.

I’ve recommended this treatment to our pediatrician — it’s a natural remedy that will never be recalled by the FDA.

— Adam Sharon, press secretary to Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), saying his 2-month-old daughter, Eden Rose, falls asleep watching C-SPAN.

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.

2 replies »

  1. You would have got that nutcracker as a perk, though – you wouldn’t have had to buy it yourself.

    Having watched C-SPAN myself, I understand how it could be used to cure insomnia. Sometimes I’m amazed you don’t hear about more of our Reps and Senators falling asleep during hearings. They must serve really, really, really, really, really strong coffee.