American Culture


I figured: if you want to go look in my mouth, go right ahead.

— Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaking to 250 people inside an Iowa municipal hall that resembled a horse barn.

It’s enough that freshman Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has on display all his favorite animals that he has hunted down, killed and eaten — everything he kills he must eat, according to his hunting philosophy. But now, the office has taken to decorating the animals with fluffy red and white fur Santa Claus caps. ’Tis the season … to dress up your dead quarry.

— a news brief in The Hill, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, Dec. 20.

As we address earmarks, we also must restrain spending, keep taxes low, and continue on a path towards a balanced budget. And that is what the budget I submit in February will do. You work hard for your money and to live within your means. As you provide for your families, the last thing you need is wasteful spending that will lead to a tax hike. My resolution for the New Year is this: to work with Congress to keep our economy growing, to keep your tax burden low, and to ensure that the money you send to Washington is spent wisely — or not at all.

— from President Bush’s weekly radio address; Dec. 29.

If you put “George W. Bush” and “lies” into the Google search engine, you get 250,000 references in nine-tenths of a second.

— the late Molly Ivins, from her June 26, 2003, column titled “Emissions Omissions“; the Dec. 31, 2007, Goggle stats: “about 2,080,000 for George W. Bush lies. (0.36 seconds).”

My theme has been throughout this campaign that I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment. So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials or make people understand that I’ve been to Waziristan. I know Musharraf. I can pick up the phone and call him. I knew Benazir Bhutto. [emphasis added]

— Republican presidential candidate John McCain after CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked “whether or not he actually thinks his campaign can benefit from what happened in Pakistan“; Dec. 28.

Well, first of all, he has done very little to fight terrorism. We’ve given him $11 billion. He has no support from the Pakistani people. 65 percent of them want him out. There is turmoil there. This affects our interests. Pakistan is very important to us. What I would ask him to do, if I were president. I know the region. I’ve been there many times, would be to step aside, to form a caretaker technocratic government. [emphasis added]

— Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson asked by
CNN’s American Morning co-anchor John Roberts: “Why do you believe, after this attack, that Pervez Musharraf needs to go?”; Dec. 28.

I would — well, let’s talk about me for a second, first. I mean, I’m the guy running for president. I served on the Intelligence Committee. I was chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee that has jurisdiction over nuclear proliferation issues and things of that nature. I was the Republican floor manager for the Homeland Security Bill, I’ve traveled the world and met with many of these leaders, including Mr. Musharraf. [emphasis added]

— Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, asked by CNN’s American Morning co-anchor John Roberts: “Who are the people that you would surround yourself with to aid you in handling a foreign policy crisis like this? Can you give us some names?”; Dec. 31.

CHETRY: All right, so there you are at the top of the latest poll. Are you expecting to win Iowa?
EDWARDS: We’ve got an awful lot of momentum now, you know. I can see it in the events we have here. We have overflow crowds, a lot of energy and enthusiasm, people can’t get in the door. This is what you want to see at the end of a campaign. So we feel very encouraged. [emphasis added]

— exchange between CNN’s American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Dec. 31.

CHETRY: What is the strategy if you do not come in first in Iowa?
EDWARDS: Oh, I don’t have a strategy. My strategy is to make sure that caucus-goers and voters in subsequent states know what I want to do as president. What I want to do as president is to stand up for the jobs and the middle class in this country, fight the corporate greed, stop the corporate greed destroying the middle class. We have the potential of losing 30 million jobs over the next decade and that has to be stopped, and as president of the United States I intend to stop it. [emphasis added]

— another exchange between CNN’s American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Dec. 31.

They don’t care if they’re fined. By the time that happens, they’ve disappeared. It’s just a cost of doing business.

— Steve Weissman, associate director of the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C., on how “special interest groups can run ads, distribute mail and set up phone banks to sway voters” but are supposed to have no connection with the candidates the groups’ efforts support.

Alliance for a New America believes that Washington is broken.

Special interests control our government while members of the middle class who work hard and play by the rules are left behind. We have to fix the problems in Washington first if we are going to strengthen the economy and make sure every American has quality health care.

We are encouraging voters to ask the candidates how they will make the middle class and working Americans their top priority in Washington, while ensuring that special interests and corporate America lose their stranglehold on our government.

— text from a one-page Web site for Alliance for a New America, which is running Iowa ads supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and which received a “$495,000 contribution … from Oak Springs Farm LLC, which the Associated Press reported is the entity that holds the fortune of 97-year-old philanthropist Rachel Mellon” and which is at the center of a controversy brought about by an e-mail suggesting communication between the group and Edwards’ campaign officials.

I have said over and over again I think 527s should be outlawed. I will fight to outlaw them as president of the United States, for the same reason that I don’t take money from lobbyists or special interests.

— Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Dec. 31; “527” refers to the section of the IRS tax code that governs (or fails to) such groups.

Get ready for total inundation.

— Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at the research firm eMarketer “who estimates that 20 million children will be members of a virtual world by 2011, up from 8.2 million today.” According to The New York Times, “[C]hildren’s entertainment companies are greatly accelerating efforts to build virtual worlds for children. Media conglomerates in particular think these sites — part online role-playing game and part social scene — can deliver quick growth, help keep movie franchises alive and instill brand loyalty in a generation of new customers“; emphasis added.

Section 1206(a) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (the “1988 Act”) (19 U.S.C. 3006(a)) authorizes the President to proclaim modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) based on the recommendations of the U.S. International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) under section 1205 of the 1988 Act (19 U.S.C. 3005), if he determines that the modifications are in conformity with United States obligations under the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (the “Convention”) and do not run counter to the national economic interest of the United States. In 2006, the Commission recommended modifications to the HTS pursuant to section 1205 of the 1988 Act to conform the HTS to amendments made to the Convention. In Presidential Proclamation 8097 of December 29, 2006, I modified the HTS pursuant to section 1206 of the 1988 Act to conform the HTS to the amendments to the Convention.

— from President Bush’s Dec. 27 “Proclamation To Adjust the Rules of Origin Under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.”

Most travelers are understandably frightened off by the shadow of civil war, reports of terrorist attacks like the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in 2000, and stern State Department travel warnings. But for people willing to accept those potential dangers and explore this beguiling country, Yemen offers a pleasure that comes from getting lost in the flow of life, not from visiting long-dead or just-hatched places peopled only by touts and tourists. [emphasis added]

— from a Dec. 31 travel feature by The New York Times’ Tom Downey.

Submit: Starting today, make a video about the Iowa Caucuses, sharing your opinions and your experiences, and submit it here. And on January 3, make sure to document your experience to show the nation what the Iowa Caucuses are all about!

— an invitation from the Des Moines Register to its readers, accompanied by a YouTube video explanation starring the paper’s editor-in-chief, a features writer and a photographer.

I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute.

— 27-year-old Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to 9-year-old Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and “kid reporter” for Scholastic News, after Ms. Rieckhoff asked Ms. Clinton “Do you think your dad would be a good ‘first man’ in the White House?”; Dec. 30.

There are a lot of shady people who want to make money with forgery. More and more I discover photo fakes of me in the world wide web and also more often so-called Heidi Klum signatures. I am really mad about these autograph fakes because unsuspecting fans sometimes buy them for a lot of money or get them at an internet auction. [emphasis added]

— from the Web site of “supermodel” Heidi Klum, who is being sued for $25,000 by luxury jeweler Van Cleef and Arpels, which claims Ms. Klum copied a vintage clover design for her own line of jewelry.

Empty beer bottles and cans, plastic cups and cellophane apparently used to hold marijuana were also found … The vandals vomited in the living room and discharged two fire extinguishers inside the building, located on a dead-end road off Route 125.

— from an Associated Press story about an apparent under-age teen drinking party that resulted in vandalism to a former Vermont home of poet Robert Frost. Said the AP: “The intruders broke a window to get into the two-story wood frame building — a furnished residence open in the summer — before destroying tables and chairs, pictures, windows, light fixtures and dishes. Wicker furniture and dressers were smashed and thrown into a fireplace and burned, apparently to provide heat in the unheated building …”

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

— from Robert Frost’s “Birches.”

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.

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