Quotations on a variety of topics currently in the news . . .
Barack Obama, discussing the many Clinton-era alumni he is selecting for his administration of "change": "Understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost. It comes from me. That's my job . . . to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure that my team is implementing it."
Emory University law and economics professor Paul Rubin, formerly a member of the Reagan administration and an unpaid adviser to the McCain presidential campaign: "Today, the U.S. is in better shape than in 1932. But it faces similar circumstances. The stock market has been in a tailspin, credit markets have locked up, and (Obama ran) on expanding the role of government, laying the blame for the economic turmoil on the current occupant of the White House and his party's economic policies. Barack Obama is one of the most liberal members of the Senate. His reaction to the financial crisis is to blame deregulation. . . . (With the heavy Democratic majority in the Senate, he will have) more power than any president has had in decades to push a liberal agenda. And given the opportunity, Mr. Obama will likely radically increase government interference in the economy."
The late novelist Michael Crichton -- author of "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain" -- on global warming, in a 2005 National Press Club speech: "Our approach to global warming exemplifies everything that is wrong with our approach to the environment. We are basing our decisions on speculation, not evidence."
Brookings Institution fellows Robert Crandall and Clifford Winston, on the U.S. auto industry: "The most constructive role the government can play at this point is to provide a short-term infusion of capital with strict repayment rules that will essentially require the auto makers to sell off their assets to other, successful companies. Why is such a dramatic step necessary? For the unavoidable reality that the fundamental problem the auto makers face is not their pension, health-care, or other legacy costs. It is that they are not making cars and trucks that enough Americans want to buy. And this has been true to some degree since the first energy shock hit the U.S. in the early 1970s."
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- on war with the West (2005): "Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? You had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely they can be achieved." (And 2008): "The big powers are going down."
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Egypt -- a country with a per-capita GDP of $1,697, ranking it 111th in the world, compared with America's 10th-ranking $45,790 -- on the recession gripping the developed world: "The collapse of the capitalist system based on usury and paper and not on goods traded on the market, is proof that it is in crisis and shows that Islamic economic philosophy is holding up."
General James Conway, Marine Corps commandant and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on al-Qaida's shifting focus to Afghanistan and Pakistan from an Iraq where "it smells like (U.S./Iraqi) victory": "I don't think there is anybody in Iraq these days planning a strike on the U.S. But I fear there are people in Afghanistan or Pakistan who could be doing that very thing."
George Shultz, secretary of state in the Reagan administration, on the need to continue the Bush administration's policy of pre-emption against regimes advancing islamofascist terror: "In this age where there are people who want to do damage to us through terrorist tactics, you want to be aggressive in trying to find out what might happen before it happens, and then stop it from happening. That is, take preventive action. . . . That's an uncomfortable idea for people, particularly when the act of prevention takes place in some other country. Even if it takes place in this country, it has its problems."
The Week magazine: "Emergency rooms in Canada are so crowded that patients are dying while they wait to be treated, Canadian doctors said (last month). Treatment is free in Canada's national health care system, and at many hospitals packed ambulances idle outside for hours because there is no place to leave patients. . . . 'We've had people have heart attacks in the waiting room, people seize in the waiting room, and patients have miscarriages in the waiting room,' said Dr. Brian Rowe of the University of Alberta Hospital. 'It's like a Third World country.'"
Bill Clinton, during the presidential campaign, discussing the popularity of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin: "I get why she's hot out there, why she's doing well. People look at her, and they say: 'All those kids. Something that happens in everybody's family. I'm glad she loves her daughter and she's not ashamed of her. Glad that girl's going around with her boyfriend. Glad they're going to get married.' . . . (Voters will think,) 'I like that little Down syndrome kid. One of them lives down the street. They're wonderful children. They're wonderful people. And I like the idea that (her husband) does those long-distance races. Stayed in the race for 500 miles with a broken arm. My kind of guy.'"
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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