A selection of quotations about issues in the news....
Johns Hopkins University professor Fouad Ajami: "(In Ronald Reagan) there was never narcissism or a bloated sense of personal destiny. He gloried in the country and its capacity for recovery....Mr. Obama will mark time, but henceforth he will not define the national agenda. He will not be the repository of its hopes and sentiments. The ambition that his would be a 'transformational' presidency...is for naught."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament now in America, on the Amsterdam trial of Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders for campaign statements about Islam: "The implications of this trial are enormous. In the short term, it could bring the simmering tensions between Holland's approximately 1 million Muslims and 1.4 million voters who elected Mr. Wilders to a boil....On a more fundamental level, this trial -- even if Mr. Wilders wins -- could silence the brave critics of radical Islam. The West is in a war of ideas against political Islam. If free speech is not protected in Europe, we're already losing."
Filmmaker Michael Moore: "I am opposed to the building of the mosque two blocks from ground zero. I want it built on ground zero. Why? Because...I believe in an America that says to the world that...if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you."
Author and syndicated radio host Michael Medved: "The problem with Mr. Obama isn't that he functions far outside the Democratic mainstream. The real problem is that mainstream itself, a toxic stew of dysfunctional and discredited notions that have flopped reliably whenever they've been employed."
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -- on women: "The cocks may crow, but it's the hen that lays the egg."
Forbes magazine editor-in-chief Steve Forbes: "In 1992, per capita income in Albania was barely $200 a year; today it's over $3,500. How did Albania do it? By following free-market principles that the current White House and Congress are oblivious of. Three years ago, (the prime minister) pushed through a tiny 10 percent flat tax on both personal and business incomes. The payroll tax has been cut from 32 percent to 15 percent."
Hoover Institution senior fellow Peter Berkowitz: "Those who doubt that the failings of higher education in America have political consequences need only reflect on the quality of progressive commentary on the tea party movement. Our universities have produced two generations of highly educated people who seem unable to recognize the spirited defense of fundamental American principles, even when it takes place for more than a year and a half right in front of their noses."
Former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin: "Modern feminism's idea of a 'real' woman isn't so much a woman as a liberal."
Rockefeller Foundation associate vice president Janice Nittoli: "Today's job losses are concentrated among workers under 30 who are less well-educated, with those in blue-collar industries suffering the most. Employment in construction, maintenance and repair, machine-operation, and transportation (think truck and bus drivers) has shrunk 18 percent since the recession's start. To put this number into context, consider this: During the Great Depression of 1929-33, total employment is estimated to have fallen by slightly more than the same figure, 18 percent. In short, the current Great Recession for younger blue-collar workers feels more like a depression -- with no end in sight."
Fired NPR commentator Juan Williams: "NPR's many outstanding journalists are caught in a game where they are trying to please a leadership that doesn't want to hear stories that contradict the official (leftist) point of view....This just confirms my belief that it is time for our government to get out of the business of funding NPR. The idea, to me, of government-funded media doesn't fit the United States."
DNA discoverer James Watson -- on the slow pace of bureaucratic regulation for clinical trials that impede the process of defeating cancer: "We should try and cure cancer now, not 10 to 20 years from now....We're terribly held back on clinical tests by regulations which say that no one should die unnecessarily during trials; but they are going to die anyway unless we do something radical. I think (government) ethics committees are out of control and that (medical ethics and clinical trials) should be put back in the hands of the doctors. There is an extraordinary amount of red tape, which is slowing us down. We could go five times faster without these committees."
Columbia University 1999 Nobel economist Robert Mundell -- on gold: "The price of gold is an index of inflation expectations. The rising price of gold shows that people see huge amounts of debt being accumulated and they expect more money to be pumped out (and inflation consequently to ensue)."
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol: "American conservatism is now unequivocally pro-Israel. In large part thanks to this fact, the American public as a whole is solidly pro-Israel (by more than 2-1). It is American liberals who are divided and uncertain. Can they find within liberalism the resources to resist the anti-Israel temptation? Or is it time for pro-Israel liberals to rethink their attachment to liberalism?"
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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