Cosby, McCain, Hillary, Martha, fences, Abu Ghraib, etc.

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Jul 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Selected picks from the hothouse of recent quotations on items in the news. . . .

Martha Stewart lawyer Robert Morvillo, urging the court to give his client a lenient sentence: "She has brought a measure of beauty to our everyday world with defined color schemes, floral arrangements, and culinary delights. She has stood for the values of quality and making products as perfect as possible."

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Liberal syndicated columnist Richard Cohen, on the Kerry campaign's decision to invite Ron Reagan, son of the late president, to address the Democratic National Convention next week: "Ron Reagan is going to speak [there] because his name is Ron Reagan. He is not a famous Democrat and he is not a well-known ethicist or medical researcher. He will be there just to stick it to the GOP and Bush and to suggest, as do the selfish when they would rather golf than attend a funeral, that they have the permission of the deceased. There's a term for this sort of thing: grave robbery."

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Bill Cosby, in a second blast at certain elements within the African-American community: "You've got to stop beating up your women because you can't find a job - because you didn't get an education and now you're [earning] minimum wage. . . . Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till - and you're going to tell me you're going to drop out of school? You're going to tell me you're going to steal from a store?"

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Washington Post reporter Josh White, on two Army enlisteds charged in connection with detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison: "In dozens of images obtained by The Post, (Pfc. Lynndie) England is captured in various stages of nudity and in explicit sexual poses with (Spec. Charles Graner). . . . .Graner, 35, has been charged with abuses and has been described in an Army investigative report as a ringleader in the scandal. He was involved in a romantic relationship with England, 21, and England's attorneys have said that their client is six months pregnant with his child."

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The Post's Jackie Spinner, writing from Baghdad about Iraqi sentiments regarding proposals to bulldoze Abu Ghraib: "Ghassan Abbas rolled his mustard-yellow prayer beads through his fingers as he sat Tuesday afternoon on a cushioned stool outside his tobacco shop in the eastern part of the capital and asked a practical question of President Bush, who in a televised speech Monday night proposed demolishing the Abu Ghraib prison. Why get rid of a perfectly good prison? 'Abu Ghraib is the biggest one and can keep many detainees,' Abbas said, shaking his head. 'How can they demolish it?'"

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The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial: "The message (from a key Senate vote on a nominee to the federal bench) seems to be: Liberals will keep their private views private but conservatives cannot be trusted to do so. If Mr. Kerry's Catholic beliefs don't disqualify him from becoming president, and they shouldn't, then the same religious beliefs of conservative judicial nominees shouldn't disqualify them from service as federal judges."

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Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's finance minister and former prime minister, on the Israeli fence: "Despite what some have argued, fences have proven highly effective against terrorism. Of the hundreds of suicide bombings that have taken place in Israel, only one has originated from the Gaza area, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad are headquartered. Why? Because Gaza is surrounded by a security fence. Even though it is not complete, the West Bank security fence has already drastically reduced the number of suicide attacks."

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Columnist Arnold Beichman: "Western society agrees to a common morality - core values - in that it accepts the validity of laws barring polygamy, men seducing young boys, marriage of children, etc. If the concept of marriage can be redefined to establish the validity of (homosexual) union, then why frown upon the antics of the North American Man Boy Love Association? The age of consent for girls in Canada is 14 years, so why not 13, 12 - whatever?"

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 Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, addressing a three-day "Take Back America" conference in Washington featuring Howard Dean and sponsored by the progressive group, Campaign for America's Future: "Do you remember I once mentioned the vast right-wing conspiracy? Some doubted me."

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Republican Senator John McCain, responding in an interview with AARP Magazine to the question, "Are you becoming more liberal?": "I am a committed Republican and will remain so. I am a Republican of the Abraham Lincoln/Theodore Roosevelt garden variety, and I want my party to move back to those principles and practices."