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Open & Shut

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations From the Winter 2008 issue of The News…

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations

From the Winter 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.

"I didn’t tip him over. He was sitting on the floor. He was sitting on his rear end with his knees up. He didn’t wince, he didn’t tip over. I didn’t grab his camera. He admitted there was no injury. I didn’t see what else I could do."

— Colorado state Rep. Douglas Bruce, who kicked Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano after he snapped a shot of him during a morning’s prayer session.

"Respectfully, since the purpose of the Sunshine Law is ‘Sunshine’ — i.e. an open view for the public on the operation of government — I would suggest that the interpretation of how an exemption to the Sunshine Law is being applied should not be confidential."

— WTAE Channel 4 Action News reporter Bob Mayo in a message to the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board.

"As you’ve noticed, there is no one seeking an investigation, and no investigation has been opened."

— Ibrahim al Saraj, who heads the Association to Defend Iraqi Journalists’ Rights in Iraq. Saraj said the killings of reporters represent part of a campaign "to dim the news in this country and to oppress journalistic freedom in Iraq."

"[Rep. Jim] McDermott is the biggest contributor" to the account, known as "Friends of John Boehner."

— Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner, said it was ironic that the payment from the McDermott’s legal defense fund will go to his GOP colleague’s campaign account.

"The buttocks are not a sexual organ."

— Statement from ABC, which was fined over $1 million for an episode of "NYPD Blue." The Federal Communications Commission said the scene fell "within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs — specifically an adult woman’s buttocks."

"This man needs a voice."

— Attorney Scott Srebnick, criticizing a federal judge who ordered a former terror suspect acquitted of terrorism conspiracy charges not to speak about the case. Lyglenson Lemorin is facing deportation based on the same allegations he was absolved of and wants to relay that story to the press.

"It’s just my belief that … the courthouse and everything in it is a matter that is open to the public. We use the media when it comes time for us to be up for elections. Why shouldn’t we allow the media into the courtroom on a case-by-case basis?"

— Texas Judge Greg Brewer said his experience as a prosecutor in Dallas County, where cameras are regularly allowed, has shown him that they cause no disruption.

"Secrecy always increases the risk of foolish mistakes. If the withheld opinions are sound, why fear letting them see the light of day? Is there ever a justification in a government of law for keeping what one believes to be the law secret?"

— From a New York Times op-ed piece by former Attornery General Nicholas Katzenbach and Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., the senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

"After further review, please be advised that we have no comment whatsoever."

— The son of Crandall Canyon Mine co-owner Robert Murray. After a protracted legal fight, in which Murray battled all the way to the California Supreme court to prevent the disclosure, The Salt Lake Tribune recently obtained minutes of meetings that show that while Murray begged the world in televised press briefings to believe the mine’s August collapse was caused by an earthquake, he knew of a mining-related explosion five months earlier that forced the operation to shut down.

"The administration has brought these challenges on itself. By trying to keep secret information that doesn’t need to be secret, it invites skepticism of all of its secrecy claims."

— Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

"Pennsylvania was at the bottom of the heap as far as the release of public records goes, and now we’re near the top of the heap for openness and transparency."

— Pennsylvania state Sen. John Wozniak (D) after the state Senate unanimously approved a new open records bill in January.

"We’re being arrested for raising hell. It’s sort of a tradition journalism has."

— Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey, who was arrested after writing a story in the Phoenix New Times involving a grand jury investigation.