It’s my day off, so I was home, and the ground starts rockin’ and rollin’. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m gonna go to the bar, drink with my bros, and if this is the Big One, I’ll go down with a cold one.’

— Ed’s Pub patron Michael Gallardo after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area; July 30.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives —
(1) acknowledges that slavery is incompatible with the basic founding principles (2) acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow;
(3) apologizes to African Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow; and
(4) expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African Americans under slavery and Jim Crow and to stop the occurrence of human rights violations in the future.

— from House Resolution 194, passed by voice vote; the measure had 120 sponsors, including two Republicans; July 30.

As Bill Allen’s business and political involvement grew, so did his stature. He was named Alaskan of the Year in 1994. When his personal presence in Juneau ran afoul of the state’s lobbying law in 2002, he successfully urged the Legislature to change the law so he wouldn’t have to register — and give up his campaign contributions.

— from an Anchorage Daily News story by Tom Kizzia, Sabra Ayres and Kevin Diaz about Bill Allen, CEO of construction firm Veco, which has been linked to an indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; May 7, 2007.

The Senator and his staff, working with the Appropriations Committee staff, will review these requests before making decisions on whether to submit each individual request. Each review takes into account the 302(b) budget allocation of the relevant appropriations subcommittee, the President’s budget request, merits of the requested project, existing federal programs to fund such projects, the amounts of State matching funds or local matching funds, local support, and a variety of other factors.

— from the preface to a list of fiscal 2009 earmark requests at the Senate Web site of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; emphasis added.

I hope he drops out simply because I think he would suffer humiliation. The public, given the atmosphere and given what’s happened, is going to presume guilt. … He still has, even if he is guilty, a rather distinguished career representing Alaska, and we shouldn’t forget that.

— Anchorage pollster and political consultant Marc Hellenthal, discussing the re-election prospects of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, following his indictment on corruption charges; July 29.

While people are innocent until proven guilty, we know enough facts to suggest Mr. Stevens is going to be looking for a deal. And the voters of Alaska, committed to reform, are going to throw him out of office. This is one seat that should stay in Republican hands. It will not, however, if Ted Stevens decides to hang on. For the longest time Ted Stevens has done all things for the good of Ted Stevens. Now is the time for him to fall on his sword and take one for the GOP team.

— Erick Erickson of the conservative blog, offering advice to Sen. Ted Stevens; June 29.

[Sen. McCain] has never requested nor offered to take a position on legislation in exchange for, or because of, contributions to I.R.I.

— Brian Rogers, a spokesman for presidential candidate John McCain, in Mike McIntire’s New York Times story about the senator’s 15-year leadership role in the International Republican Institute; Mr. McIntire reports that “[o]perating without the sort of limits placed on campaign fund-raising, the institute under Mr. McCain has solicited millions of dollars for its operations from some 560 defense contractors, lobbying firms, oil companies and other corporations, many with issues before Senate committees Mr. McCain was on”; July 28.

For McCain, it’s the cheapest and most efficient way to keep himself in the game when he’s up against a candidate who’s essentially going to have unlimited funds.

— Kenneth M. Goldstein, director of the Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin, of presidential candidate John McCain’s adept use of “free” media; Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times reports that “T[t]he number of times Senator John McCain’s new advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama for canceling a visit with wounded troops in Germany last week has been shown fully or partly on local, national and cable newscasts: well into the hundreds [but] [t]he number of times that spot actually, truly ran as a paid commercial: roughly a dozen”; July 30.

He’s the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?

— tagline from new political ad for presidential candidate John McCain attacking opponent Barack Obama, using film snippets of pop singer Britney Spears and famous-for-being-famous celeb Paris Hilton; July 30.

[Sen.] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] and the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee [DSCC] have recently placed television buys totaling approximately $44.8 million in targeted Senate races across the country. I will not allow our Republican candidates to be outspent by the DSCC this cycle.

— National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., promising to match Democrats’ spending dollar for dollar; but Aaron Blake of The Hill newspaper reports that “[t]he DSCC had about $22 million more than the NRSC at the end of June. While the NRSC is slightly ahead of its sluggish pace from last cycle, with $24.6 million on hand, the DSCC continues to raise more and has $46.2 million on hand”; July 30.

Instead of investigating and pursuing accountability for shoddy and dangerous school buildings, the authorities are resorting to reeducation through labor to silence and lock up concerned citizens like teacher Liu Shaokun and others.

— Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, after Liu Shaokun, a teacher at Guanghan Middle School in Deyang City in southwest Sichuan Province, was ordered to a labor camp for a year after posting photographs of quake-damaged schools online, reports Graham Bowley of The New York Times; July 31.

The Ministry of Culture this month banned performances by any foreign entertainer who had ever attended an event deemed to “threaten national sovereignty,” such as a Free Tibet rally. Police now require foreign singers to produce performance licenses that used to be an always-overlooked formality, and the Culture Ministry decreed that the words of all songs must be approved in advance.

— from a story by Jill Drew of the Washington Post Foreign Service on police crackdowns in China; Ms. Drew reports that “[w]ith the Olympic Games just nine days away, Beijing is winding tighter each day, and visitors need wander no farther than the city’s bar district to experience the preparatory fervor. Police are out in force, carrying out orders to increase security and clean up the district, called Sanlitun, with zeal”; July 30.

Everyone who enters the square will pass through security checks to enter. We will increase and improve the security checks as the number of tourists keeps growing, to maintain the safety of the square.

— Jia Yingting, deputy director of the Tiananmen Square management committee, on increased security in Tiananmen Square for the Beijing Olympics; July 30.

Of course, indifference can be tempting — more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person’s pain and despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction.

— from a speech by Elie Wiesel titled “The Perils of Indifference”; April 12, 1999.

You have 150 years of man trying to produce an aggressive dog. But you have tens of thousands of years of Mother Nature preceding that. Dogs are pack animals. They survived because of their pack. … It’s hard-wired into their genes that they do no harm to each other.

— Tim Racer, a founder of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls (BAD RAP), who took in 10 of the 49 dogs in former NFL player Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring; Brigid Schulte of The Washington Post recounts unexpectedly successful efforts to rehabilitate the dogs; July 7.

There’s a culture to an organization that influences people’s behavior, and our culture has been collegial and respectful. … I heard theirs was not as collegial. … In the past few weeks, she has been a complete team player.

— David Plouffe, campaign manager for presidential candidate Barack Obama, on the selection of Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff for Sen. Obama’s future vice presidential pick; Ms. Doyle had been dismissed from the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton after working for Sen. Clinton for 17 years; Lois Romano of The Washington Post reports on the fall and subsequent revival of Ms. Doyle’s career; July 30.

Valuations have fallen to unprecedented levels that have no relationship to reality. Wall Street is saying there is no future to a lot of media companies. [But] The Times isn’t going away for a long, long time. … I think [its valuation] is overly negative. All it’s going to take is advertising bouncing back.

— Edward Atorino, media analyst for Benchmark Capital, in an analysis of The New York Times‘ disappointing second-quarter earnings by Jay Yarow and Jon Fine of BusinessWeek; July 30; emphasis added.

People feel a real need for a term that refers to one’s romantic partner that does not sound childish. ‘Partner’ sounds too official. ‘Companion’ sounds too unromantic. ‘Lover’ is too explicit. ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ seem inappropriate unless you’re a teenager. ‘POSSLQ’ sounds too stupid or bureaucratic.

— Jesse Sheidlower of Manhattan, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary, in a USA Today story by Sharon Jayson exploring the linguistic condundrum of romantic labeling; POSSLQ, an acronym for “Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters,” was used in the late 1970s by the U.S. Census, reports Ms. Jayson; June 23.

We’ve gotten to the age where we don’t feel like fighting anymore because the end is a lot closer than the beginning.

— comic Cheech Marin on ending a decades-long feud with Tommy Chong; the two are reuniting for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years; July 30.

She’s boring. She doesn’t even have a boyfriend.

— Francois Navarre, the co-owner of X17, the photo agency that set the standard for aggressive 24/7 coverage of Britney Spears, according to Harriet Ryan of the Los Angeles Times; Ms. Ryan reported that “The Spears of today may not be any more boring than dozens of celebrities who fill magazines, but she is decidedly duller than her former self. Photographers who relied on her for hourly material for the gossip blogs are confronted by a lack of access and a lack of drama. She rarely goes out and when she does, she behaves herself. No umbrella attacks. No head shaving. No fake British accent. No panty-free car exits”; July 30.

photo credits:

• Sen. Ted Stevens at 2008 Capitol event with “The Incredible Hulk”: Scott J. Ferrell, Congressional Quarterly
• some of Michael Vick’s pit bulls: The Washington Post
• Britney Spears at a July 21 event for Jenny McCarthy’s charity Generation Rescue:

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues.

1 reply »

  1. To cite just a few from this embarrassment of riches of quotes. . .

    Re McCain’s people’s adept use of media: It’s amazing how far their advertising dollar goes when TV news runs stories about ads that have themselves run only a few times. I never thought about that before.

    Re Brittany Spears: With her and Lindsay Lohan behaving themselves, we need a new crop of self-destructive pop princesses. Unfortunately, Amy Winehouse is too upsetting and Miley Cyrus too sensible.

    Nice to hear about Cheech and Chong, as well as the pit bulls.