If our profits are taxed, that means we’ll have less capital to invest in new production.
â€” John Hofmeister, president of Shell U.S., to CNNMoney.com; May 6.
These companies are spending a very small amount of their operating cash flow on exploration. They are spending the majority of their funds buying back stock.
â€” Amy Myers Jaffe, a fellow in energy studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, discussing results of her just-finished a two-year study looking at oil companies and how they spend their money; May 6.
Q: [The] President is more excited, or you are more excited?
MRS. BUSH: We’re both really, really excited. We’re very thrilled, and of course Jenna is so happy and Henry is very happy. And that makes their mother and dad really happy.
Q: Why the wedding didn’t take place here at the White House?
MRS. BUSH: Well, she just wanted to get married at home. She just feels a lot more comfortable there. And it will be really beautiful. This is the time when the wild flowers are all blooming. And I think it will be a very, very lovely wedding, and it will be very like Jenna and Henry. And of course, that’s what we want. We want what she wants.
â€” exchange at a White House press conference in which first lady Laura Bush admonished the Burmese government “to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm’s path” and “to meet its people’s basic needs” after a cyclone killed tens of thousands and left many thousands more missing; May 5.
Q: Dana, speaking of Mrs. Bush, what was the motivation behind having the First Lady speak out yesterday on Myanmar, instead of the President? Whose idea was it? And was there any concern at all that one part of that dual message, the criticism of the military junta, could be hindering the other part, which was the offer of U.S. aid?
MS. PERINO: No. Mrs. Bush â€” it is no surprise that Mrs. Bush feels very strongly about Burma, and she and the President have been working as partners on this issue for a long period of time. And we were very happy to have her here in the briefing room, and I think it sent a really good message, especially to the people of Burma â€” if they got a chance to hear her, hopefully, through some of the radio programs that they would be able to hear â€” that the United States cares; that we want them to live in freedom and democracy and justice â€” have justice for their citizens. And we’d be happy to have her in the briefing room any time she would like to come.
â€” exchange between reporter and press secretary Dana Perino at a White House press briefing; May 6.
Weâ€™ve taken tremendous risks by loosening these companiesâ€™ purse strings. They could cause an economywide meltdown if they got into real trouble and leave the public on the hook for billions.
â€” Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., a former secretary of housing and urban development, on fears that two giant mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which handled “more than 80 percent of all mortgages bought by investors in the first quarter of this year,” could fail; The New York Times reports that the companies, whose “combined cushion of $83 billion â€” the capital that their regulator requires them to hold â€” underpins a colossal $5 trillion in debt and other financial commitments,” suffered more than $9 billion in mortgage-related losses last year; May 6.
That story had legs primarily because you had him at a tableful of women and they’re all drinking and all talking dirty in a very public place. He was elected anyway in no small part because of her standing by her man. I think she thinks he owes her one.
â€” Erin Neff, Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist, discussing Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, a first-term Republican, who filed for divorce from Dawn Gibbons, his wife of 22 years, in the “midst of a still-unresolved FBI public corruption investigation and at a time when his administration is struggling to cope with a $914 million tax revenue shortfall”; May 6.
If a gas tax holiday drives the price down by the full amount of the tax (18.4 cents), the average driver would save about $28 ($27.67) between June 1 and September 1. But we think the price would fall by only a small fraction of the 18.4 cents tax â€“ so instead of $28, the average driver might save $5 to $10.
â€” from an analysis by Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center on the idea of a “gas tax holiday” proposed by politicians; May 2.
By giving them a car, we take care of both.
â€” Martin Schwartz who runs Vehicles for Change, a non-profit group that provides donated used cars to carefully screened lower-income job applicants in Maryland and Virginia to help them with transportation and child care costs; May 5.
We monitor grease theft on a regular basis. Right now it’s a big issue. People who were not in the industry in 2006 are seeing this is a moneymaker. … So those people, if they can’t get the volume of grease they want, then they will just steal it.
â€” Christopher Griffin, director of legal affairs for Griffin Industries Inc. in Cold Spring, Ky.; according to the Christian Science Monitor, “the company collects raw grease in 20 states and boils and filters it into ‘yellow grease,’ which is what is used to make biodiesel”; “yellow grease” now trades on U.S. commodities markets for 32 cents per pound, up from a low of 12 cents in 2006, giving rise to widespread grease thefts; May 6.
A year ago, dead bodies lay on this street for days; no one dared to pick them up. But now we are getting lights and shops have opened back up. Last year, this was a ghost town, but now I feel we are alive again.
â€”Mahdi Jabbar Falah, a 40-year resident of al-Marifah Street of Saidiyah, a Baghdad neighborhood now surrounded by a 12-foot-high wall, who just moved himself and his family of nine back to their house; May 6.
Weâ€™re not dissidents. Weâ€™re just people who care about our homeland. What weâ€™re saying is that if you want to have this project, you need to follow certain procedures: for example, a public hearing and independent environmental assessment. We want a fair and open process.
â€” Wen Di, an independent blogger and former journalist living in Chengdu, China, about a protest against a $5.5 billion ethylene plant under construction by PetroChina in Chengdu; May 6.
People say democracy is just slowing us down, and that weâ€™d be better off if we were more like Dubai.
â€” Waleed al-Sager, 24, who is advising his fatherâ€™s campaign for Parliament in Kuwait, contrasting Kuwait with the economies of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, which have been booming under absolute monarchies; May 6.
Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest iteration of the hit video game franchise, racked up first-week sales of $500 million, Take-Two Interactive, the gameâ€™s publisher, plans to announce on Wednesday. … The company is expected to report it sold six million copies of the graphically violent game, 3.6 million of them on the first day.
â€“ from a New York Times story; May 7.
World Wrestling Entertainment, the producer of the television show â€œFriday Night SmackDown,â€ said first-quarter profit rose 29 percent on increases in films and live events. Net income grew to $19.5 million, or 27 cents a share, from $15.1 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier, the company said Tuesday. Sales rose 51 percent, to $162.6 million.
â€” from a Bloomberg News report; May 7.
The United States is committed to the advance of freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism. The most powerful weapon in the struggle against extremism is the universal appeal of freedom. Freedom is the best way to unleash the creativity and economic potential of a nation, the only ordering of a society that leads to justice, and the only way to achieve and permanently protect human rights.
â€” from the “Freedom Agenda” on the home page of WhiteHouse.gov.
Sometimes I think the best thing about Barack Obama is that little empty space on his lapel. It is where other politicians wear the American flag pin, a kitschy piece of empty symbolism that tells you nothing about that particular person except that he or she thinks like everyone else. Obama’s flag, invisible to the naked eye, is the Jolly Roger of a politician thinking for himself.
â€” lede of a Washington Post column by Richard Cohen; May 6.
[T]he county sheriff and two deputies, acting on an anonymous tip, burst into their bedroom and shined flashlights in their eyes. A threatening voice demanded, â€œWho is this woman youâ€™re sleeping with?â€
Mrs. Loving answered, â€œIâ€™m his wife.â€
Mr. Loving pointed to the coupleâ€™s marriage certificate hung on the bedroom wall. The sheriff responded, â€œThatâ€™s no good here.â€
â€” from a New York Times obituary of Mildred Loving, “a black woman whose anger over being banished from Virginia for marrying a white man led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling overturning state miscegenation laws“; she was 68; May 6.
[F]ibs can reflect something close to the opposite of the frustration, insecurity and secretiveness that often fuel big lies. That may be why they can come so easily, add up so fast and for some people â€” especially around closing time â€” become indistinguishable from the truth.
â€” from a New York Times column by Benedict Carey discussing recent studies focusing on students who inflate their grade-point average; May 6.
With courage and grace the incomparable Barbara tells the true and riveting story of her turbulent life and her dazzling, hard-won television career
â€” text from a four-color consuming the back page of the front section of The New York Times extolling Barbara Walters’ book, “Audition: A memoir”; May 6.
Right after he died, people kept asking if I was in therapy, and I’d say, ‘No, but I have a blog.
â€” Stacey Kim, a 36-year-old book editor in Boston, who “curled up next to her husband and held him as he succumbed to a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The next morning, she went online to post about the experience“; May 7.
One day we’re going to look back on such events and hopefully say, ‘Wow, we’ve gone a long way.’ Future generations won’t have to start from zero.
â€” Lina al-Maeena, the founder and team captain of Jeddah United, a women’s basketball team in Saudi Arabia, “a Muslim country so conservative that the fledgling women’s sports teams that have begun to appear in recent years remain almost entirely underground, far from public scrutiny or religious clerics’ eyes”; May 8.
Gov. Jim Gibbons and his wife, Dawn Gibbons: By John Locher, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.