Quotations ripe for picking in a garden of topical items..
Today's most influential living economist, Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman:
After World War II, opinion was socialist while practice was free market; currently, opinion is free market while practice is heavily socialist. We (free-marketers) have largely won the battle of ideas (though no such battle is ever won permanently); we have succeeded in stalling the progress of socialism, but we have not succeeded in reversing its course. We are still far from bringing practice into conformity with opinion.
Brookings Institution education researcher Tom Loveless, on why U.S. students show gains on math performance tests while faring poorly in international comparisons:
(U.S. standardized tests in math are) far too easy. We have downplayed arithmetic. By and large, American students don't know how to work with fractions very well and don't know how to work with decimals. This handicaps their performance internationally.
John Scieszka, author of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales," on the literacy crisis facing boys:
Part of it is biological and part of it is sociological, but boys are definitely drifting down. We've been testing kids in America for the last 25 years and finding out that boys are doing worse than girls. But we don't do enough to change that.
Yale professor David Gelernter:
The plain-spoken moralist for whom religion matters greatly, the common man who seems too small for the presidency but is confronted in office by a cataclysm that re-creates him; who rises to the challenge and transcends it; who faces a tough re-election battle and wins it; who redefines the nation's mission in the world and emerges a hero - that is a traditional American story. It is Lincoln's story. . . . No president matches Lincoln's greatness, but in modern times this was Harry Truman's story; and today it is George W. Bush's also.
Actress Nicole Kidman, on why she isn't changing her affectional preference:
Oh, I wish I loved women, but I don't. I mean, I love them, but physically, chemically, they just don't do it for me. I love the way a man thinks. I love the way a man smells. I love the way men look.
Edward Luttwak, senior fellow at Georgetown's Center for Strategic and International Studies:
At present (Army soldiers) are so few, it is pointed out, that not enough troops can be sent to Iraq to contain the insurgency - and even this insufficient number requires excessively long tours of duty, repeat deployments to Iraq without a decent interval at home, and the mobilization of too many National Guard and Reserve personnel for too long. These contentions are valid and the consequences are serious indeed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on threats to the modern world:
Terrorism is among them, and it is no less dangerous and cunning than fascism.
Norma McCorvey, the formerly pro-abortion "Jane Roe" of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case striking down many state laws against abortion - who turned against abortion after working in abortion clinics:
I don't want any more women to be injured by abortion. . . . I plead with all that I am for the Supreme Court to take Roe v. Wade and reverse it.
National taxpayer advocate Nina Olson, in her annual report to Congress, on waning taxpayer compliance:
Without a doubt, the only meaningful way to reduce the compliance burdens (on taxpayers) is to simplify the tax code enormously.
Van Gordon Sauter, president of CBS News 25 years ago, on CBS News today:
For one thing, it has no credibility. And no audience, no morale, no long-term emblematic anchorman, and no cohesive management structure. Outside those annoyances, it shouldn't be that hard to fix. . . . I stopped watching it some time ago. The unremitting liberal orientation finally became too much for me.
University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, author of "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime":
It is a well-settled principle of First Amendment doctrine that a reporter ordinarily may not violate a law of general application merely because it has an incidental effect on her ability to report more effectively. A reporter does not have a First Amendment right to violate the law against burglary in order to steal a document from someone's office. She has no First Amendment right to violate the law against wiretapping in order to overhear a bribe. . . . By similar reasoning the (Supreme) Court held in 1972 (Branzburg v. Hayes) that a reporter has no First Amendment right to refuse to answer otherwise lawful questions from a federal prosecutor engaged in a legitimate law-enforcement investigation, even though answering such questions might make her job more difficult. Having said this, I have to say that I agree with The New York Times that the Supreme Court erred in Branzburg.