Does this mean Spitzer’s been a Republican all this time?

— heard in the hallway outside my office.

Message to Gov. Eliot Spitzer: I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to define prostitution for my 11-year-old son.

— letter to the editor of The New York Times by Louise Hochberg of Great Neck, N.Y.; March 12.

Only the lobbyists.

— New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson, when asked by the press “whether he, like [Eliot] Spitzer, had ever patronized a prostitute”; March 14.

Why is his candidacy historic? Can you give me another reason why it is an historic campaign? Why are we afraid to say this? I am absolutely stunned by this whole thing. I’m not saying he isn’t qualified, never did I say that. He is very smart. He has experience issues, but if George Bush can learn to run the country, so can this guy.

— Geraldine A. Ferraro, unapologetic after resigning from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign finance committee for citing Sen. Barack Obama’s race as the decisive factor in his success as a presidential candidate; March 14.

I always wanted to do the most important things, and what can be more important than science and religion? Science gives us knowledge, and religion gives us meaning. Both are prerequisites of the decent existence.

— Michael Heller, 72, a Polish Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist, and philosopher, who was awarded the $1.6 million 2008 Templeton Prize; Prof. Heller’s “career has been dedicated to reconciling the known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God”; March 13.

It’s killing us. Every day, I come in here and wonder if I have enough money to buy fuel.

— Chad Beachler, co-owner of Beachler Trucking, which operates nine trucks in Loudonville, Ohio, after diesel fuel hit a record national average of $3.83 a gallon; March 11.

Q: Oil prices hit a record, above $110 a barrel. How damaging is this, and how much more can consumers tolerate?
MR. FRATTO: Well, I’m not going to try to make predictions for how prices of commodities like oil have in any specific way on the U.S. economy. I think we’ve said for quite a while now that rising energy prices act as a tax on the U.S. economy, and taxes are contractionary; they take money out of the economy and slow growth. And so we’ve been dealing with the headwinds of higher oil prices for some time, and not just very recently — they’ve come to record numbers recently, but they’ve been rising for a number of years. We think it’s largely attributed to rising demand, a rise in global demand for the use of oil and other energy sources.

— exchange between reporter and White House spokesman Tony Fratto; March 13.

It may be the death knell of what, if anything, remains of civilization in this city. In a year or so the phone may be ringing up there all the time, not to mention in saunas, golf carts, hot air balloons, the middle of fox hunts, lovemaking, tennis and whatever else you may have done believing that you were safe from ringing phones.

— a reporter writing about cellphones in January 1982, quoted by The Washington Post‘s Joel Garreau; Feb. 24.

Oil concentrates a country’s wealth in the state, creating a culture where money is made by soliciting politicians and bureaucrats rather than by making things and selling them. Oil states also ask their citizens for little in taxes, and where citizens pay little in taxes, they demand little in accountability. Those in power distribute oil money to stay in power. Thus oil states tend to be highly corrupt.

— Tina Rosenberg in her New York Times story, “The Perils of Petrocracy,” about national oil companies, which own 77 percent of the world’s oil reserves; Nov. 4.

You shoot at men who are fathers. War is completely stupid.

— Lazare Ponticelli, “who outlived more than 8.4 million other soldiers who fought under the French flag in World War I to become France’s last living veteran of the war intended to end all wars” and died this week at 110; March 13.

I have never committed any crime. I pleaded guilty just to get out of jail. A few corrupt individuals were able to keep an innocent man in jail for 11 months.

— Joe Francis, founder of video empire “Girls Gone Wild,” after pleading no contest to child abuse and prostitution charges; March 13.

I cannot sign into law a bill that would prevent me, and future presidents, from authorizing the C.I.A. to conduct a separate, lawful intelligence program, and from taking all lawful actions necessary to protect Americans from attack.

— President Bush about his “veto of legislation that would have prohibited the Central Intelligence Agency from using waterboarding, which simulates drowning, on terrorism suspects”; March 12.

I’ve made the most health-protective eight-hour ozone decision in the nation’s history.

— EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson after lowering the eight-hour ozone standard, “stated in terms of average concentrations of ozone at ground level over an eight-hour period,” from 84 parts per billion to 75, despite his own scientific advisory panel’s recommendation of a still-lower standard of 60 to 70 parts per billion; March 13.

The E.P.A.’s own risk estimates show that between 75 and 70, there will be hundreds more deaths and thousands more visits to emergency rooms, and hundreds of thousands of more lost school days.

— John M. Balbus, a physician and the chief health scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, decrying Administrator Johnson’s decision; March 13.

I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.

— Orlando Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard and the author of “The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America’s ‘Racial’ Crisis,” in a New York Times commentary; March 11.

Do we take a lot of risk? Yes. I think this firm has the capacity to take a lot more risk than it has in the past.

— Morgan Stanley CEO John J. Mack, speaking at his firm’s 2007 annual meeting on “its reliance on risky trades and increased debt to finance these positions” a year before he had to preside over “close to $11 billion in write-offs and a wholesale revamping of Morgan Stanley’s risk management process”; March 11.

You don’t believe that it may be a conflict of interest in a former employee hiring the former boss, or suggesting that he be hired, for a very lucrative contract?

— Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., of the House Judiciary Committee questioning former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft about “the appearance of a conflict of interest in the [Justice] department’s decision last year to steer a monitoring contract worth $28 million to $52 million to Mr. Ashcroft’s firm”; March 12.

The Speaker and leadership have been discussing this issue with members and that those discussions are ongoing.

— Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on complaints that she has left “senior Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee … out of discussions about a moratorium on earmarks, marking a departure from the inclusive leadership style she has employed for much of her reign”; March 11; emphasis added.

You know, maybe if you’re a scholarship football player at Oklahoma, everything is taken care of for you. But most of us are nonrevenue-sport athletes who have to do our own fund-raising just to pay for basics like sweat pants and batting gloves. We miss all these classes, which obviously doesn’t help us or make our professors happy. We give up almost all our free time. Our social life is stripped bare.

— Tim Poydenis, a scholarship baseball player at Villanova University; March 12.

Cellphones are like a dog leash. If somebody wants you, they just yank on the leash. I see it as more of a nuisance.

— Brian Dilley of Mechanicsburg, Pa., the coach of a coed softball team with the proud motto: “It’s not about the winning, it’s about the beer”; Feb. 24.

A model at
Paris Fashion Week

Photo credits:
Ferraro: Ruth Fremson, The New York Times
Cellphones: Julia Ewan, The Washington Post
Model: Lucas Dolega, European Pressphoto Agency

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.

1 reply »

  1. You’ve surpassed yourself yet again, Dr. D.

    So much to comment on, but must focus. Re Tina Rosenberg’s statement that oil “concentrates a country’s wealth in the state, creating a culture where money is made by soliciting politicians and bureaucrats rather than by making things and selling them” — talk about your “Aha!” moments.

    Re the two cellphone quotes — if you guys don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because I’ve ripped the cellphone out of the hand of someone in Manhattan and dashed it to the ground while screaming, “Get off the phone and watch where you’re going!” And been arrested.