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Mon., Oct. 16, 2006

In their words

“We do not have a smoking cow at this point.”

– California food safety official Kevin Reilly, explaining that investigators can’t be certain that bacteria found in cattle feces on a California ranch are the source of an E. coli outbreak this month in nearby spinach fields.

“I have got an army to look after which is going to be successful in current operations, but I want an army in five years time and 10 years time. Don’t let’s break it on this one.”

– General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British army, who said during several interviews that the original goals of the war in Iraq were naïve and that his military force can’t keep up the present commitment indefinitely.

“The problem is that it’s so light. The wind between those buildings can go 80 to 90 mph, and it could grab hold of that airplane and take control from the pilot.”

Paul Czysz, professor emeritus of aeronautical engineering at St. Louis University, offering a possible explanation for why the small aircraft carrying New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor crashed into a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan last week.

“If you want to be an ‘Army of One,’ you probably want to join the Hell’s Angels, not the U.S. Army.”

– Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, noting that the U.S. Army’s new slogan, “Army Strong,” avoids the previous one’s implicit emphasis on individuality.

“It’s a great big mess, but I think the messiness was not sufficiently appreciated earlier.”

– Economist and Columbia University Prof. Edmund S. Phelps, who won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work involving the way people make decisions with incomplete information about multiple economic influences.

“A few years ago it was a status symbol; now it’s part of the general uniform – backpack, jeans, tennis shoes and cell phones.”

– North Pines Middle School Principal Gordon Grassi, on the prevalence of cell phones among youngsters as young as sixth-graders.

“You can lose a reputation that took 37 years to build in 37 seconds, and it might take more than 37 years to build it back.”

– Businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett, talking at a forum for business leaders about the damage suffered because of ethical breakdowns in large corporations.

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