I’ll approach Obama with fearless honesty. He’s a liberal. I oppose liberals. That’s all that’s involved here.

— Rush Limbaugh on presidential candidate Barack Obama; Mr. Limbaugh has renewed his contract with Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio, which will pay him more than $400 million; Mr. Limbaugh once referred to Sen Obama and actor Halle Berry as “Halfrican American” on the Jan. 24, 2007, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show; July 6.

We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline.

— former senator Phil Gramm, one of presidential candidate John McCain’s top economic advisers, likening the nation’s economic problems to a “mental recession“; July 10.

The baby boomers — that prominent group of middle-agers whose massive numbers invite never-ending dissection and speculation — have once again spoken. What they have said is, ” Waaaaaahhh.”

— lede from a Washington Post story by Monica Hesse reporting a Pew Research Center survey measuring “the pessimism, dissatisfaction and general curmudgeonliness of 2,413 adults in various generations”; July 10.

Why should I help you embarrass me?

— response of Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski, whose story revealed that Rep. Rangel has four rent-controlled apartments “on the 16th floor overlooking Upper Manhattan in a building owned by one of New York’s premier real estate developers … [He uses] uses his fourth apartment, six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence”; July 11.

There is no military solution to this war. No amount of U.S. soldiers can solve the grievances that lay at the heart of someone else’s civil war. We must begin a phased redeployment of our forces starting May 1st, with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 30th, 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Iraqis to take ownership of their country and bring an end to their conflict.

— from a press release on the campaign Web site of presidential candidate Barack Obama; March 20, 2007.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also working through this challenging period. They play an important role in our housing markets today and need to continue to play an important role in the future. Their regulator has made clear that they are adequately capitalized.

— Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee; Times reporters Stephen Labaton and Charles Duhigg reported he and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke “sought to reassure the markets about the financial health of the nation’s two largest mortgage finance companies as their stock prices plunged to their lowest level in 17 years on fears that they could face the possibility of a government bailout”; July 11.

… a significant reduction … an ambitious goal … we made progress, significant progress, toward a comprehensive approach … hope Congress funds that effort … help developing nations afford … become good stewards … We’re also taking steps to promote … we can become less dependent … we’re going to have to spend some money … to trade freely … the best way to help alleviate poverty … we had good discussions … We also made some progress on alleviating sickness … committed … pledged to provide … to help deal with … stepped forward to support … committed with partner nations … the United States is involved … working to expand our efforts … we had a comprehensive agenda … accountability is an important part of fulfilling our obligations … agreed to release detailed reports … will help ensure … we agreed on steps to deal with … increasing access … we agreed to take new steps … we accomplished a lot.

— from remarks by President Bush following the G8 summit in Toyako, Japan; July 9.

As we listened to the leaders around the room there was universal praise for the major economies process. There was universal recognition that having these countries in the room trying to find common ground was an enormous contribution to the U.N. negotiations. A declaration was adopted, and Jim will go into that. But the most significant take-away from this meeting, in addition to the very substantive leaders’ declaration, was the desire of all leaders to continue this process. And indeed, there was agreement to hold another meeting of the leaders of the major economies at next year’s summit in Italy. The meeting concluded not only with that decision, but with specific recognition for the contributions of President Bush, and a round of applause for the President for initiating this process.

— Dan Price, assistant to the president for international economic affairs and deputy national security advisor, during a White House press briefing on a two-hour-long meeting of the leaders of the major economies, also known as G8, in Toyako, Japan; July 9.

[O]ur dialogue at political, policy, and technical levels has built confidence among our nations and deepened mutual understanding of the many challenges confronting the world community as we consider next steps under the Convention and continue to mobilize political will to combat global climate change.

— from a declaration by the leaders of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States on energy security and climate change at the G8 meeting in Toyako, Japan; July 9.

Costello: Well, then, who’s on first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman.
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The guy playing —
Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first.
Abbott: That’s the man’s name.
Costello: That’s who’s name?
Abbott: Yes.

— from “Who’s on firstroutine by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, reportedly translated into nearly 30 languages.

The law itself is a massive intrusion into the due process rights of all of the phone subscribers who would be a part of the suit. It is a violation of the separation of powers. It’s presidential election-year cowardice. The Democrats are afraid of looking weak on national security.

— Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing several hundred plaintiffs suing Verizon and other companies, after the Senate voted 69 to 28 to approve what Times reporter Eric Lichtblau called “the biggest revamping of federal surveillance law in 30 years”: July 10.

I don’t think shortening the track is what’s going to help stop these events, because 99.9 percent of the time we’re not having a tough time stopping the cars. It’s just when we get in trouble and you can’t stop them. Another 320 feet isn’t going to do it, in my opinion.

— Johnny West, crew chief for Funny Car drag race Jack Beckman, on the decision to decrease the distance Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters race from a quarter mile — 1,320 feet — to 1,000 feet because of the 300-plus mph speeds the vehicles attain; this follows the death of drag racer Scott Kalitta on June 22; July 10.

The question then is, How can white people move to start making the major institutions that they have in this country function the way it is supposed to function? That is the real question. And can white people move inside their own community and start tearing down racism where in fact it does exist? Where it exists. It is you who live in Cicero and stop us from living there. It is white people who stop us from moving into Grenada. It is white people who make sure that we live in the ghettos of this country. it is white institutions that do that. They must change. In order — In order for America to really live on a basic principle of human relationships, a new society must be born. Racism must die, and the economic exploitation of this country of non-white peoples around the world must also die — must also die.

— Stokely Carmichael, speaking in Berkeley, Calif., in October 1966.

But, alas, they had no idea just who would come — youthful Wiffle ball players, yes, but also angry neighbors and their lawyer, the police, the town nuisance officer and tree warden and other officials in all shapes and sizes. It turns out that one kid’s field of dreams is an adult’s dangerous nuisance, liability nightmare, inappropriate usurpation of green space, unpermitted special use or drag on property values, and their Wiffle-ball Fenway has become the talk of Greenwich and a suburban Rorschach test about youthful summers past and present.

— from a New York Times story by Peter Applebome, headlined “Build a Wiffle Ball Field and Lawyers Will Come”; July 10.

Actor Pam Anderson performing a split while wearing 4-inch heels
during an appearance on Australia’s “Big Brother” program; July 10.

We are not going to discuss the steps we have taken or may take to prevent a recurrence.

— New York Times spokeswoman Catherine J. Mathis, refusing to discuss — even as workers began removal — alteration of the Times‘ building facade whose design has allowed climbers and protesters to ascend the building; July 10.

In the Congo, women develop quickly, both physically and emotionally, due to the substantial responsibility society places on them from early childhood. In Kinshasa, the vast majority of teenagers are sexually active with men that are substantially older.

— from the argument for leniency presented by ex-diplomat Gons G. Nachman, 42, convicted of having sex with teenage girls in the Congo and Brazil and taping the encounters; prosecutor Ron Walutes countered in court papers, “Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil have the same inherent value as children in the United States”; the judge delayed sentencing so that Mr. Nachman could be examined by a forensic psychologist; July 10.

photo credits:

• Rush Limbaugh: Nigel Parry, The New York Times
• Leaders of major developed nations at G8 summit in Japan: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press
• Scott Kalitta’s souped-up Toyota Solara on fire at 300 mph: Associated Press
• Stokely Carmichael:
• Wiffle ball field in Greenwich, Conn.: Rob Bennett, The New York Times
• Pamela Anderson: Reuters

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.

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  2. But the most significant take-away from this meeting, in addition to the very substantive leaders’ declaration, was the desire of all leaders to continue this process. And indeed, there was agreement to hold another meeting of the leaders of the major economies at next year’s summit in Italy. The meeting concluded not only with that decision, but with specific recognition for the contributions of President Bush, and a round of applause for the President for initiating this process.

    Mind-boggling how much they achieved!