Ross Mackenzie

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."

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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