- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 31, 2005

No shortage of quotes covered this tumultuous year. The worst natural disaster in American history destroyed New Orleans, the world discovered destruction on an unprecedented scale in the wake of the Asian tsunami and London fell prey to terrorism.

We honored a legendary civil-rights pioneer, and as we mourned the passings of a venerable chief justice and a much-loved pope, a brilliant intellect joined the Supreme Court and a humble new pontiff assumed his papal responsibilities.

And, after all, a more than 30-year-old secret identity was finally revealed.

“All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

— President Bush, second inaugural address, Jan. 20

“It is important that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world.”

— British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 7

“Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.”

— Judge John Roberts in his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 12

“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner.”

— Justice Sandra Day O’Connor writing in dissent in the Kelo v. City of New London supreme court decision, June 23

“I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat.”

— Mark Felt, quoted in a Vanity Fair article released May 31

“Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.”

— Excerpt of an e-mail to FEMA director Michael Brown from FEMA employee Marty Bahamonde on Aug. 31

“Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?”

— Director Brown’s entire response

“Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard.”

— Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger upon being elected Pope Benedict XVI, April 19

“I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”

— Actor Morgan Freeman on “60 Minutes”

“You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”

— Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (speech to the committee’s Black Caucus)

“The Mayor asserts that no public funds are being used to plan, design and build a state-of-the-art baseball facility. Please provide me with a complete list of the consultants hired to assist with the baseball issue, how much money they have been paid, and the source of those funds. Also, please provide me with an accounting of any money spent on the travel and related expenses incurred by the consultants and the source of those funds.”

— D.C. Council member David Catania (request to the D.C. Auditor)

“It feels great to be home — do you guys want any coffee or donuts — I haven’t had breakfast yet.”

— Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart (the morning after her release from prison)

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

— Grammy winner Kanye West (televised post-Katrina fund raiser)

“I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25-foot deep crater under the levee breach. It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry.”

— Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Sept. 12

“George Bush needs to… pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq.”

— Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan, Sept. 16

“We must never forget the contributions of Rosa Parks. She sparked a new racial consciousness in America and led this nation away from its segregationist history. Today, we commit Rosa Parks and her historic contributions to our country’s eternal memory by making it law that her statue will be placed in the heart of our country.”

— House Speak Dennis Hastert (following presidential signing ceremony)

“I want to allow the candidates to make their case to the people as to why they should be elected. I hope that the candidates offer specifics — I hope they put forward concrete ideas about what they would do if they were mayor. People should listen closely. I know I will.”

— D.C. Mayor Tony Williams (announcing he will not seek a third term)

“More than half a century has passed since William H. Rehnquist first came to the Supreme Court as a young law clerk. All of his years William Rehnquist revered the Constitution and laws of the United States. He led the judicial branch of government with tremendous wisdom and skill. He honored America with a lifetime of service, and America will honor his memory.”

— President Bush (upon news of the chief justice’s death)

“Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”

— Rafael Palmeiro testifying on steroids before the House Government Reform Committee, March 17

“I was stunned when they called me and said I had tested positive. I thought someone was playing a sick joke on me.”

— Rafael Palmeiro to the Associated Press, Dec. 29

“The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for President, I’ll kill myself.”

— White House correspondent Helen Thomas, quoted in the Hill, July 28

“I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for.”

— Howard Dean, Jan. 29

“We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking.”

— Comic Bill Maher, Feb. 18

“My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I’ll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet… after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good… I am ready to declare ongoing victory (over spending).”

— House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Sept. 13.

“Our goal is clear — to return every single illegal entrant, with no exceptions.”

— President Bush, Oct. 18 homeland security spending bill signing ceremony

“I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree.”

— House Speaker Dennis Hastert (in a letter to Architect Alan Hantman)

“The law must have the last word. The republic is quite determined, by definition, to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear.”

— French President Jacques Chirac, speaking Nov. 7 for the first time after riots broke out in suburban Paris on Oct. 27

“The tsunami and its aftermath demonstrated both the fragility of human life and the strength and generosity of the human spirit.”

— Bill Clinton, Dec. 23 (remarks on the one-year anniversary of the Asian tsunami)

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