Dispatches > Quotables


Memorable things they said

Issue: "Summer of '68," Aug. 9, 2008

"I felt like I was a slave."

Sixteen-year-old Guatemalan identified by authorities only as Elmer L. on working 17-hour shifts, six days a week at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. Federal agents raided the facility in May and found 389 illegal immigrants at work. Most are serving sentences before deportation.

"I don't see how a warning is a civil-rights violation."

Flint, Mich., Police Chief David Dicks on his practice of issuing warnings to individuals who wear low-riding pants that expose underwear or bare bottoms. He says the popular fashion violates ordinances against disorderly conduct and indecent exposure; the ACLU has threatened legal action against the chief.

"They might want to take out a Ouija board or hold a seance."

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Colleen Leduc of Barrie, Ontario, on why she no longer sends her 11-year-old daughter Victoria to public schools. The local school board had alerted Children's Aid Society of suspected sexual abuse of Victoria. An investigation revealed the root of the suspicion: A psychic had told a teaching assistant that a girl with a "V" in her name was being abused.

"We've achieved more in the past five years than in the previous 20."

Peter Piot, executive director of the United Nations AIDS agency, on recent reductions in new cases of AIDS worldwide. The number of new AIDS cases in 2007 was 2.7 million, according to a UN report last week, down from about 5 million per year in the early 2000s.

"I hear they aren't going to order croissants because 
they're crescent-shaped."

GOP consultant Jeff Ballabon, joking about the measures the Obama campaign is taking to avoid any appearance of Islamic influence. The campaign reportedly told members of the press traveling with Obama to the Mideast not to wear green, a color associated with both Hamas and Islam in general.


The sale price, at a central England auction, for a pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers. The bloomers, which have a 50-inch waist and include a monogram and crest, were valued at $1,000 prior to the auction and had belonged to a descendant of a lady-in-waiting for the queen.


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