Loose cannons

Issue 

Land of the free

"The average [US] black boy is more likely to go to prison than to university. His life expectancy is falling and he is seven more times as likely to be murdered as a white boy. In parts of the country, a black man between the ages of 15 and 25 is more likely to be killed than was an American soldier in Vietnam. The chances are almost two-to-one that he was brought up in a fatherless household. The median family income of blacks is just 56% of that of whites". — Economist, March 30.

Business figure

"He's not the sort of bloke you'd go to war with. He'd be selling bullets to both sides. But fuck, I have had some good times with him in this town. He'd call you up and say, 'I've got five air hostesses here, come down', and the Moet'd be flowing and you'd have a big piss-up. He was a whirlwind, he made this town buzz for five years." — A former "drinking companion" of Laurie Connell, Sydney Morning Herald, April 13.

Legal figure

"Having just defamed one, possibly two, of his former colleagues, he will in the next moment give you a mini lecture on section 22 of the Defamation Act, just so that, when you write about him you will be extra careful. Next day he tells us he didn't mean to sound menacing." — John Lyons on Sydney lawyer Malcolm Turnbull, Good Weekend, April 13.

Take George with you

"Mars is essentially in the same orbit ... somewhat the same distance from the sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe." — US Vice President Dan Quayle.

He should know

"What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is." — Quayle again.

Stop press

"Govt losing credibility, says ACOSS" — headline in the April 18 Sydney Morning Herald.

So don't open your grindstone

"If you let people hack and hack at the tree of the game we will fall into a cesspool of barbed wire." — failing Balmain football coach and right-wing pundit Alan Jones.