“Your policies have created a hole in my heart and in our family that can never be filled.”

—Cindy Sheehan, in a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

“I will accept it as an obligation to society to spend the rest of my life working to reverse the cycle of youth violence . . . Here and now, I bear witness that God’s bequest of redemption has replenished me with a mission and revealed that the impossible is possible.”

—Stanley “Tookie” Williams, describing his hopeful future in an essay titled “What I Will Do With the Rest of My Life”

“If I would do another Terminator movie I would have Terminator travel back in time and tell Arnold not to have a special election.”

—California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, after the unanimous defeat of his ballot measures at the polls

“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it.”

—Reverend Pat Robertson talking about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on The 700 Club

“The only terrorist in this world that I know of is Bush. His military intervention, such as the one in Iraq, that is state terrorism.”

—Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, the first indigenous premier of his country, appearing on Al-Jazeera. A spokesman later said Morales, who has called his campaign “a nightmare for the United States,” may have been “mistranslated.”

“Get some devastation in the back.”

—Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to a photographer while touring destroyed sites in Sri Lanka, post-tsunami

“Israel must be wiped off the map.”

—President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, in a speech for Iranian television

“I have done nothing wrong here. I’ve never misled anybody.”

—Judith Miller

“I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told.”

—Michael Jackson, while standing trial for alleged child molestation.

“I’ll stop sleeping with boys.”

—Michael Jackson, discussing new resolutions following his acquittal

“In the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude.”

—Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, implying, at an economic conference, that women’s intrinsic qualities might explain the gender imbalance at the level of top science posts

“The text will imprison us, it is irreversible. In the name of Europe, and of my European conviction, we need a better text.”

—Laurent Fabius, former Socialist prime minister of France, justifying his rejection of the proposed European Constitution.

“All the illusions of grandeur you have about me are wrong. We’re going to sit and talk, but first of all you must disengage your fingers from my thighs.”

—Leonardo DiCaprio, to an obsessed fan at the airport

“Matt, Matt, you don’t even — you’re glib. You don’t even know what Ritalin is.”

—The anti-psychotherapy, Scientologist actor Tom Cruise, in conversation with host Matt Lauer on Today

“The experience of the last five months in Alderson, West Virginia, has been life-altering and life-affirming. Someday, I hope to have the chance to talk more about all that has happened, the extraordinary people I have met here and all that I have learned.”±

—Martha Stewart, from a statement posted on the home business tycoon’s website following her release from prison. She had originally been incarcerated for obstructing government inquiry into her sale of ImClone Systems shares, a company owned by a friend of hers.

“You’ve had enough of this gang of scum, haven’t you? Well, we’re going to get rid of them.”

—French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, ?to a gathered group of residents in the slums ?affected by the Arab and African youth riots.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife.”

—First Lady Laura Bush, discussing her husband’s ?early bedtime and their soporific evening life, ?as part of a “comedy” routine for the ?White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

“We have to fix it or Rumsfeld may never retire.”

—President George W. Bush, on the need to ?overhaul America’s social security system, ?at the annual Gridiron dinner.

“In his speech President Bush said we need to rebuild Iraq, provide the people with jobs, and give them hope. If it works there maybe we’ll try it in New Orleans.”

—Late-night talk show host Jay Leno

“Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast.”

—FEMA regional director ?Marty Bahamonde, the only FEMA official in New Orleans when ?Katrina hit on August 28, in an e-mail to FEMA response specialist Deborah Wing, who arrived in Baton Rouge ?two days later

“. . . the situation is past critical . . . thousands gathering in the street with no food or water . . . the dying patients at the DMAT tent being medivac[ed]. Estimates are many will die within hours . . . We are running out of water at the dome . . .”

—Bahamonde to Brown on August 31

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

—Brown’s response

“My eyes must be deceiving me. You look fabulous — and I’m not talking the makeup.”

—Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs, to Brown on August 29

“I got it at Nordstrom’s. E-mail McBride and make sure she knows! Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?”

—Michael Brown back to Cindy Taylor

“I’m trapped now, please rescue me.”

—One of Brown’s later e-mail messages

“Restaurants are getting busy . . . We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choice, followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.”

—Sharon Worthy, press secretary to Brown, complaining that Brown needed more time to eat in a Baton Rouge restaurant as the crisis in ?New Orleans unfolded

“OH MY GOD!!!!! I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants.”

—Bahamonde’s outrage response to Worthy, text-messaged to a co-worker

“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

—President Bush, to Michael Brown, five days after the hurricane’s landfall

“Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt . . . all shirts. Even the president rolled up his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this crisis and on TV you just need to look more hard-working . . . ROLL UP THE SLEEVES.”

—Sharon Worthy advising Michael Brown in Katrina’s aftermath

“Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney!”

—A Cheney heckler in Gulfport, Mississipi, after Katrina

“If you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

—Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, ?during his syndicated radio talk show, ?a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

“I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, ‘They’re looting.’ You see a white family, it says, ‘They’re looking for food.’ And, you know, it’s been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black . . . George Bush doesn’t care about black people!”

—Grammy-nominated rapper Kanye West, ?going off-script during NBC’s live concert ?fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“Not just hip-hop, but America discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, ‘Yo, stop it.’?”

—Kanye West, who has a gay cousin, discussing homophobia during an MTV special

—Compiled by Mehammed Amadeus Mack and Joshuah Bearman

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