Itâ€™s a pleasure to watch Obamaâ€™s mastery of the technique. And Clinton â€” and I didnâ€™t say â€œeven Clintonâ€ â€” uses it much better than McCain does. And just about everybody does it better than the capering loon who does soft-shoe in the White House while young Americans are dismembered and splattered in Iraq. Sometimes when he speaks I can forget who he is momentarily and find myself actually pulling for him; probably from misplaced performer empathy. His speechifying has a strong odor of remedial reading about it, combined with an apparent fear that there might be some hard words ahead.
â€” from a New York Times commentary by Dick Cavett discussing President Bush’s public speaking skills; March 28.
The president views the Olympics as a sporting event and an important opportunity to support Americaâ€™s athletes. He has also made it very clear that the Olympics will shine a bright light on China regarding a variety of issues.
â€” White House spokesman Tony Fratto, responding to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s urging that President Bush skip the opening Olympics ceremony to protest Chinaâ€™s actions in Tibet and its human rights record and trade policies; April 2.
The drums of war are sounding, a decisive battle is at hand. For the sake of the Chinese nationâ€™s image and for the honor of the Peopleâ€™s Armed Police, let us never forget our duty.
â€” from an article in The Peopleâ€™s Armed Police News in China, regarding what it called a â€œpolitical mobilization orderâ€ to security forces telling them to prepare for an arduous time ensuring order and control before and during the Olympic Games; April 2.
Since our acquisition of DoubleClick closed on March 11, we have been working to match and align DoubleClick employees in the U.S. with our organizational plan for the business. As with many mergers, this review has resulted in a reduction in headcount at the acquired company.
â€” a statement from Google on press reports it planned to cut about 300 jobs from the American operations of DoubleClick; April 3.
This report is telling us that the recession started awhile back, in December. It is not like we are starting this month. Weâ€™re in it; weâ€™ve been in it.
â€” Nigel Gault, the chief United States economist at Global Insight, a research firm, on the April 4 Labor Department jobs report that said the economy lost 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment.
Ben Bernanke, the Fed chief, with photographers before testifying to the Joint Economic Committee.
Clearly, weâ€™re looking at asset quality and capital. Weâ€™re looking at liquidity. Weâ€™re trying to make judgments about risk management, earnings quality â€” a variety of things that we look at to try to ascertain whether a financial institution is sound or not. And if not, you know, we need to push them to improve their processes, to raise capital, improve their liquidity.
â€” testimony of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress; April 3.
Hope Now is a failure. Itâ€™s industry-dominated.
â€” Michael Shea, the executive director of the Acorn Housing Corporation, a large counseling agency that is part of the Hope Now alliance designed to assign homeowners with mortgage problems, on reports that “the financial powers behind Hope Now â€” mortgage lenders, loan servicers and big investors â€” are reluctant to change loan terms substantially if doing so hurts them“; “Home Now,” reports The New York Times, “is run out of the Housing Policy Council, which in turn is part of the Financial Services Roundtable, the influential financial services lobby“; April 2; emphasis added.
Today, the New York Times criticized President Bush for failing to generate headlines for his visit to Novadebt counseling center in Freehold, N.J. to meet with mortgage counselors and discuss the housing market, asserting â€œthe papers were awash with the news that Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania had endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.â€ The â€œnewspaper of recordâ€ further claims â€œMr. Bush has sometimes seemed invisible during the housing and credit crunch.â€ … The New York Times neglects to mention that it failed to send a reporter to cover the Presidentâ€™s housing event in Freehold, N.J. â€“ a town inside its own circulation area.
â€” from an April 3 White House press release titled “Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Mistakes Its Own Blindness for Presidential ‘Invisibility'”; emphasis added.
In this case, we have an employee, Mr. Skilling, acting in pursuit of Enronâ€™s interests at all times. Skilling urged risky transactions that were unwise but violated no rules.
â€” Daniel M. Petrocelli, lawyer for former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling, in asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn Mr. Skilling’s conviction “on 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in the collapse of Enron, once the nationâ€™s seventh-largest company”; April 3; emphasis added.
I told him that the American forces are withdrawing from Iraq and that George Bush is going to apologize to the Iraqi people for causing destruction and he will pay one million Iraqi dinars to every Iraqi for compensation within two days. My friend didnâ€™t believe me.
â€” Ahmed Ali, the owner of a Baghdad shoe store, on the April Fools Day joke he tried to play on a friend; April 2.
We value the need for public input on any potential impact of our border infrastructure plans on the environment, and we will continue to solicit it.
â€” Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff after using, for the fourth time, his waiver authority to bypass environmental regulations to meet a December deadline to construction nearly 700 miles of fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border; April 2.
If you fail to stop the Germans getting our oil, you will be shot. And when we have thrown the invader out, if we cannot restart production, we will shoot you again.
â€” Joseph Stalin, as remembered by Nikolai K. Baibakov, “who oversaw Russian oil production during World War II and went on to become one of the Soviet Unionâ€™s top economic officials“; Baibakov died Monday in Moscow at age 97; April 2.
Q: Did the President â€” our President â€” speak at all during this meeting?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He did. He did.
Q: And what did he say?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It was positive, informal, as you’d expect from our President. He welcomed President Putin, thanked him for coming, indicated he was going to Sochi; said, you know, we’re too old warhorses and we’re both getting ready to step down from our positions; that he emphasized some themes he’s made before, of course, that the Cold War is over and Russia is not the enemy, and that he believes that NATO is a force for good and building democracies is a good thing because democracies and strong democratic states are really the only way to deal with the challenges we have today. And he hopes that these efforts to build democracies of course will continue into the future.
â€” exchange from a press briefing aboard Air Force One en route to Zagreb, Croatia; April 4.
Some of these people still believe the woman should be home taking care of the baby, and they are not going to vote for a black. That’s just what they believe. There’s prejudice in this country that’s never going to go away completely. My stepdaughter’s with a black man and went and had a baby by him. I’m okay with it, but that’s me. I was raised around black people. If they vote Obama in, I won’t lose a wink of sleep because of his color or his policies, but I’m voting for Hillary.
â€” Gary Lampke, 53, sitting at the bar of American Legion Post 420 in Harrisburg, Pa., discussing race in presidential politics; March 23.
It’s not a blitz to close this chapter. If we find the [al-Qaeda] leadership, then we’ll go after it. But nothing can be done to put al-Qaeda away in the next nine or 10 months. In the long haul, it’s an issue that extends beyond this administration.
â€” a senior Bush administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing operations, discussing the likelihood of unilateral strikes inside Pakistan; April 1.
We have always said that as for strikes, that is for Pakistani forces to do and for the Pakistani government to decide. … We do not envision a situation in which foreigners will enter Pakistan and chase targets. This war on terror is our war.
â€” Farhatullah Babar, a top spokesman for the Pakistan People’s Party, whose leader, Yousaf Raza Gillani, is the new prime minister of Pakistan; April 1; emphasis added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms said Tuesday that the United States would soon release some $582 million to the United Nations, as the U.S. moves to incrementally make good on nearly $1 billion in back dues to the world body.
â€” from a Jan. 9, 2001, story on CNN.com; emphasis added.
U.N. administrative costs have more than doubled, to about $2.5 billion a year, since Bush took office, while peacekeeping expenses have increased threefold, with nearly 110,000 peacekeepers in 20 overseas missions at a 2008 cost of about $7 billion.
â€” from a March 21 Washington Post story reporting that “[d]espite long-standing efforts by successive U.S. administrations to rein in U.N. spending, the United Nations this month presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds over the next two years â€” boosting current U.N. expenses by 25 percent and marking the global body’s highest-ever administrative budget”; emphasis added.
MS. PERINO: I’m sorry; I made the mistake of not actually saying that you wanted to be on background.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: On background.
MS. [DANA] PERINO: It was a private meeting, it was on background.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Ever since “hello.”
Q: Senior admin official?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Senior admin official.
MS. PERINO: Sorry, guys.
Q: It’s okay.
â€” exchange from a press briefing aboard Air Force One en route to Zagreb, Croatia; April 4.
There seemed to be two of me. One, onstage, undressing. The other saying, â€˜What are you doing, taking your clothes off for those morons?â€™
â€” Sherry Britton, “whose hour-glass figure, jet-black hair and rambunctious presence made her one of the queens of the burlesque stage in the 1930s and â€™40s” on her internal monologue while stripping; she died April 1 at 89; April 3.
President Bush: Shealah Craighead, The White House
Ben Bernanke: Brendan Smialowski, The New York Times
Sherry Britton: Movie Star News
Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.