Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "Year in Review 1997," Dec. 27, 1997

We've already got a 2-cent tax on hamburgers. I'd have told them to try to find some private investors.

Anti-tax activist JOHN McCALEB of Little Rock, Ark., on the proposed penny-per-hamburger tax hike in the city to pay for the Clinton presidential library. City officials committed $15 million to buy a 26-acre site and prepare it, but didn't think much about how to pay for it."At the time," explained Mayor Jim Daley, "we were so caught up in the exhilaration of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we thought everyone else was, too." The tax was dropped after angry taxpayers raised a protest.

Hey, we've got to make money where we can.

JANICE ADAIR, director of the Alaska Division of Environmental Health, on the agency's decision to sell 2,000 samples of crude oil and other debris collected after the Exxon Valdez spill. The samples, which are no longer needed by the courts, will go for $5 each (plus shipping). The agency would have faced a $6,000 environmental-disposal fee; instead, officials will have all the samples taken off their hands and add $10,000 to their bottom line.

I don't claim to be a psychiatrist. It is a theory.

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BERNARD AKRAM, lawyer for a woman charged with the theft of a man's wallet. Mr. Akram's theory is that his client, Shannon Booker, stole the wallet under the orders of an abusive boyfriend and should not be charged because of battered women's syndrome. The claim worked in 1994 for Ms. Booker, who was serving time for killing the man with whom she was living; Gov. William Weld, a Republican, ordered a review of her case after learning of her tale of abuse.

As Tammy Wynette so aptly observed, sometimes it's hard to be a woman. This is especially true [in this case].

Pennsylvania judge PAUL OLSZEWSKI, who helped make a 2-1 Superior Court majority to grant a name change to a man who wishes he were a woman. Michael Harris, 39, won the right to change his name to Lisa.

That was nerve-racking. That was worse than Meet the Press.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), in The Washington Post, commenting on his debut last week selling his albums of inspirational music on the Home Shopping Network.

It gave me a headache. Lights kept flickering in my eyes, then I got sick.

HIROSHI KOBARI, 14, one of an estimated 700 viewers of Japan's hit cartoon Pokemon who suffered epilepsy-like seizures about 20 minutes into one episode last week. A vividly colored explosion mixed with the strobe-light flashing of a character's eyes seemed to trigger the seizures. The network that carries the show pulled it off the air, and video stores removed Pokemon rentals from the shelves.


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