Ross Mackenzie

A report by the Gallup Poll: "Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they would like to lose weight, while 34 percent want to maintain their weight and seven percent (mostly younger men) want to gain weight. While these figures have remained largely unchanged since 2001, Americans now weigh, on average, about 6 pounds more than they did seven years ago."

Wall Street Journal health columnist Melinda Beck, in an open letter to Barack Obama: "You've been very cagey about how much you . . . smoke. Telling Tom Brokaw (in December), 'There are times when I have fallen off the wagon,' could mean once or twice in the long campaign, or several furtive butts a day. In case you didn't see it, a big study in Norway in 2005 found that smoking just one to four cigarettes a day can triple the risk of dying of heart disease."

William Happer, formerly a senior researcher at the Energy Department fired by Al Gore (reportedly over Happer's refusal to support the former vice president's views on climate change), now a physics professor at Princeton -- in the Daily Princetonian, on why carbon dioxide is neither polluting nor warming the planet: "Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that's a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult."

Wall Street Journal editorial board member (and Pulitzer-Prize columnist) Dorothy Rabinowitz: "Obama, who has always been much better than his vocal supporters on the far left, better than the cadres in MoveOn.Org, is no extremist. Still, there is no reason to think that his views on security issues and Guantanamo and interrogations, his tendency to minimize the central importance of armed might, are not deeply rooted. They are clearly core beliefs."

John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Bush II White House: "Some people believe drugs such as cocaine and heroin should be legal, sold by the government and regulated like alcohol. Our experience with alcohol (some 127 million regular drinkers as compared to fewer than 20 million drug users) suggests this would be a huge mistake. It is hard to imagine an aspect of American life that would be enriched by millions of new cocaine, heroin, or marijuana users."

The late radio commentator Paul Harvey: "White House occupants come and go. They are just like diapers. They should be changed often, and for the same reasons."

Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, dubbing Tom Wolfe (Yale Ph.D., 1957) -- coiner or popularizer of such phrases as "the me decade," "masters of the universe," "radical chic," "the right stuff" and "pushing the envelope" -- as Yale's most influential phrasemaker: "In general, as the me decade has been succeeded by even-more-selfish subsequent decades, and the masters of the universe have continued their machinations to the point of a worldwide economic crash, Wolfe's social criticism and terminology seem more relevant than ever today. He earns the title of Yale's foremost contributor to our common discourse."

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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