Selected quotes on happenings near and far

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Aug 21, 2003 12:00 AM

Ambling through the detritus of recent weeks, some selected quotations on happenings in the news near and far...

The New York Times, in an editorial April 17, 1981, on the fabrication scandal at The Washington Post wherein reporter Janet Cooke made up a story about a young drug addict that subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize (printed here relative to the spring Jayson Blair fabrication scandal at The Times): "When a reputable newspaper lies, it poisons the community. Every other newspaper story becomes suspect. ... The lie - the fabricated event, the made-up quote, the fictitious source - is the nightmare of any respected newsroom. It is intolerable not only because it discredits publications but because it debases communication, and democracy. ... (When) editors and publishers want or need to know a source for what they print, they have to know it - and be able to assure the community or the courts that they do. Where this is not now the rule, let this sad affair at least have the good effect of making it the rule."

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, on the continuing Democratic filibuster of Bush administration appellate court nominees: "The confirmation of John Roberts (for a seat on the D.C. Appellate Court) dramatically exposes the double standard being applied by Senate Democrats to (another) D.C. Circuit nominee, Miguel Estrada. The career records of Roberts and Estrada are strikingly similar. Both were unanimously rated well qualified by the American Bar Association. Both have argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including as attorneys in the solicitor general's office. Both have devoted large portions of their legal careers to public service and also been partners at major Washington law firms. Both have clerked for Supreme Court justices. Both have the strong support of prominent Democratic attorneys who served in high-ranking positions in the Clinton administration. Neither has served previously as a judge or a professor, and therefore neither has written widely about his personal views on legal issues."

Michael Osterholm, chairman of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota - on SARS: "I am convinced that with the advent of early winter in the Northern Hemisphere in just six short months, we will see a resurgence of SARS that could far exceed our experience to date. If this projection is correct, we have every reason to believe that this disease may show up in multiple U.S. cities as we continue to travel around the world in unprecedented numbers."

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, on the need to broaden the road map for democracy in the Middle East: "The countries of the Middle East and North Africa have varying but substantial degrees of willingness, readiness and eagerness for democracy and peace. Peoples of the region have suffered enough from armed conflicts, brutal despotism and economic privation. With a measure of patience and the active engagement of indigenous forces, the United States and other Western powers can assist the democratic transformation of the region."

(1) Palestinian terror group Hamas, in a statement following a suicide bombing in Israel: "(We are) ordering all military cells to act immediately and act like an earthquake to blow up the Zionist entity and tear it to pieces. (2) Hamas No. 2 operative Abdel Aziz Rantisi: "The word cease-fire is not in our dictionary."

FCC chairman Michael Powell on claims that Americans were either uninformed or unheard when the FCC loosened rules on media "cross-ownership: "That's garbage. ... How is it that you have half-a-million comments and somehow the public wasn't informed? I have e-mails, I have letters, I have telephone calls. We have a 60-person call center that logged calls all day. We had more public response on this issue than any other issue I've seen in my tenure" as commissioner and chairman.

Elena Bonner, widow of Russian anti-Communist, pro-democracy dissident Andrei Sakharov during the Soviet years, on Russia under Vladimir Putin: "Every policy of the Putin administration is anathema to what Sakharov believed in and fought for. For the past three years, I have witnessed the systematic dismantling of democratic institutions, the suppression of independent media, and the instigation of nationalism and xenophobia. ... It is a penchant of oppressive regimes to decorate themselves with fake attributes of democracy - sham elections, a servile judiciary, manipulated media. In today's Russia the masquerade is called 'managed democracy.'... I am told that the appeasement of 'managed democracy' is the necessary evil needed to keep an important ally within the coalition against terror."

Washington Post staff writer David Von Drehle on Hillary Clinton's book "Living History: "(She) delivers an attack on the Republican Party sufficiently ferocious to please even the least compromising members of the Democratic left. In her book, Republicans have become one of the most threatening cabals in American annals, led by some of the most senior officials of the legislative and judicial branches. 'I feared for my country,' she writes. GOP leaders, she charges, have corrupted the federal judiciary to substitute partisanship for the rule of law and brazenly pursued 'an attempted congressional 'coup d'etat' to undo a democratic election."

Bill Clinton love conquest Paula Jones, reacting to Hillary's book: "I'm not going to buy the book. I am not going to put a dime in that woman's pocket."