Quotations on items currently in the news....
Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger, on WikiLeaks: "Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy famously said, 'You have zero privacy. Get over it.'...Two big things transformed the postwar world: nuclear fission and the Internet. Nuclear fission gave us clean energy and the atomic bomb. The Internet? With WikiLeaks, we arrive at the Internet version of putting the nuclear genie back in the bottle."
The New York Times Nov. 20, 2009, on its decision not to publish secret data: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."
The Times a year later (Nov. 29, 2010) on its decision to publish illegally acquired WikiLeaks data: Despite their provenance, "The Times believes that the (WikiLeaks) documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises, and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."
The Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell III: "Americans the world over could die because of these intelligence betrayals. But hip, hip, hooray for the freedom of speech that got them killed? Some might ask, on the people's behalf: In our democracy, whom do you trust to defend you from another terrorist attack? Time magazine? The New York Times? Who elected them to act as our guardians against terrorist violence and mayhem?
Tim Kaine, current Democratic National Committee chairman and former Virginia governor -- in August: "I want to be measured by results....After the election, folks will make up their mind about me."
Barack Obama in his "Audacity of Hope" (page 160): "I find comfort in the fact that the longer I'm in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for power and rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience."
British historian Paul Johnson: "The U.S. has all kinds of problems. But its biggest over the course of the next two years is how to find a leader who will inspire through character and integrity, vision and resolution, courage and judgment, the belief, faith, and confidence that Americans have always warmly given to the right person -- someone they can trust."
Republican Senator (and Air Force Reserve colonel) Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: "The last thing America needs is another military conflict. But the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran. And if you use military force, if sanctions are not going to work and a year from now it's pretty clear they're not going to work, what do our friends in Israel do? So I would like the president to make it abundantly clear that all options are on the table. And we all know what that means."
John Kennedy, in a Sept. 25, 1961 address to the United Nations: "Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail either by persuasion or example. But inevitably, they fail either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities.
James Watson -- Nobel scientist, discoverer of the double helix, and pioneer in the field of modern genetics -- on cancer: "My desire is to cure cancer. That's my only desire....(But it may not happen soon because the Food and Drug Administration) has so many regulations. They don't want you to try a new thing if there's an old thing that might work....So you take the old thing, but we know cancer changes over time and we would really like to get it whacked early, and not late. But the regulations are saying you can't do these things until we give you a lot of s-- drugs. Shouldn't this be the patient's choice to say I would (prefer to) beat the odds with a total cure rather than just to know that I am going to have all my hair fall out and then after a year I'm dead? Why should (the FDA) hold things up?"
Education writer and commentator Chester Finn, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education: "Sixty-three years after Sputnik caused an earthquake in American education by giving us reason to believe that the Soviet Union had surpassed us, China has delivered another shock. On math, reading, and science tests given to 15-year-olds in 65 countries last year, Shanghai's teenagers topped every other jurisdiction in all three subjects. Hong Kong also ranked in the top four on all three assessments....China is bent on surpassing us, and everyone else, in education. Will this news be the wake-up call that America needs to get serious about educational achievement? Will it get us beyond excuse-making, bickering over who should do what, and prioritizing adults over children?"
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.