Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "Parable of the perjurer," Jan. 9, 1999

I'm not sure if my father still understands Christmas, but I'm certain he understands giving.

Patti Davis, daughter of Alzheimer's-stricken former President Ronald Reagan, in The New York Times.

This is a scarlet letter.

ACLU Virginia director Kent Willis, complaining about a new Web site publishing the names, photos, and addresses of convicted violent sex offenders in the state. Lawmakers who authorized public release of the database, which went online last week, argued the information helps families protect themselves from possible repeat predators.

And only.

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The two words taped over on a plaque marking the grave of former president Andrew Johnson that identified the 17th chief executive as "the first and only president to be impeached by the House of Representatives." As is customary for all presidential birthdays, an aide to Bill Clinton, the second president to be so impeached, last week had a wreath laid at Johnson's grave in Greenville, Tenn., to mark his 190th birthday.

He acted out of frustration.

American University of Puerto Rico basketball coach Rafael Torres, on guard Ramon Gomez's vicious elbowing of an Oklahoma player during the Holiday Classic tournament. The Sooners led 39-10 when Mr. Gomez threw the elbow, sparking a near brawl that prompted the referee to call the game a forfeit and declare Oklahoma the winner by a score of 2-0.

For all the science and technology ... , which is worth millions of dollars in any operating room, the most important thing that patients and doctors do is talk to each other. The $1.50 pen is part of the communications process.

Steven Stuchin, director of orthopedic surgery at New York University Hospital, on the growing use of felt-tip markers by physicians to help them remember on the operating table where they are supposed to operate. Following surgical gaffes in which doctors amputated the wrong foot, removed the wrong kidney, and opened the wrong side of a woman's brain, the National Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has urged surgeons to help avoid so-called "wrong-site surgery" by signing their names on the spot to be cut.


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