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Mon., Dec. 17, 2007, midnight

In their words

“Honestly, it’s a tough pill to swallow. How many different ways can you portray a cougar head?”

— Principal Gail Gregg of Cooper High School in Texas, where the athletic teams, known as the Cougars, are being forced to do away with the insignia they have used for more than 15 years because of its strong resemblance to that used by Washington State University.

“People are starting to place us in the mountains, which is where we belong, versus we grow potatoes and we’re somewhere in the Midwest, one of those ‘I’ states.”

— Idaho state tourism dirctor Karen Ballard, celebrating indications that foreign travelers are showing more interest in the Gem State.

“There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on.”

— Former U.S. senator and federal judge George Mitchell, saying baseball commissioners, players’ organizations and club officials all share the blame for the steroid-abuse problem he has spent nearly two years investigating.

“There will be two bears in one den, and that usually leads to general disorder, to sharp conflict or to the defeat of one of them.”

— Deputy Director Victor Kremenyuk of Moscow’s USA and Canada Institute, reacting to Russian presidential candidate Dmitry Medvedev’s interest in saving a high-ranking spot in his administration for Vladimir V. Putin, the man he’s expected to succeed.

“He’s forever in flight now. He doesn’t have to come back down, he doesn’t have to land.”

— Actor Matthew McConaughey at the funeral service in Butte for his friend, daredevil Evel Knievel.

“We can’t always bark at the other Washington and George Bush. We can do things locally here.”

— Tacoma resident Nick Bradford, who wants a permit to burn a Mexican flag on the steps of the Washington state Capitol in protest of illegal immigration.

“I’d like to have, tucked away in my public record … a chapter that had a bit of greenery in it.”

— U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., who will step down when his present term expires but who has reversed his long-standing opposition to legislation restricting greenhouse gases.

“He’s essentially a coach that doesn’t show up for the game.”

— Spokane County planner Bruce Hunt, complaining that his boss, Planning Director Jim Manson, leaves work early in the day.

“When you add into all the things that have happened to him, all the people he’s positively affected, I think we all join in a great chorus of people who say, ‘Wow, congratulations.’ “

— Former Eastern Washington University football coach Mike Kramer, commenting about his successor at EWU, Paul Wulff, just hired for the head coaching job at Washington State University.

“If I were making those same comments today, I might make them a little differently.”

— Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, after being reminded of remarks he made as a U.S. Senate candidate in 1992 that AIDS patients should be isolated from the general public.

“If you can get seven tractor-trailer loads down to Katrina with all that going on, you can ship 5,000 trees.”

— Unemployed Maryland trucker James Ward, who once led a hurricane relief convoy to the Gulf Coast and now is heading a drive to send miniature spruce trees to military personnel in Iraq for Christmas.

“It’s like the aspirin of crop protection.”

Tim Pastoor, head of toxicology for Syngenta Crop Protection, maker of Atrazine, a cheap and effective pesticide that farmers are using in such quantities that it is showing up in streams at levels thought to endanger aquatic habitat.

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