Perspectives

"YOU SHOULD NOT CONFUSE CORRUPTION WITH BRIBE TAKING." RUSSIA'S INTERIOR MINISTER VLADIMIR RUSHAILO, ARGUING THAT OFFICIALS ARE CORRUPT ONLY IF THEY HAVE LINKS WITH ORGANIZED CRIMINAL GANGS

"He was one of us." Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, on President Vladimir Putin as a child. Several of his school report cards were discovered last week, showing him to be just an average student.

"On this road, there is such a thing as a point of no return." Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's inter-national cooperation department, on U.S. threats to violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by deploying a missile-defense system

"When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember that your job was to drain the swamp." A Western diplomat in Pristina, commenting on the ongoing crisis in Kosovo

"I was drunk and I didn't know what I was doing. I'm a really nice person, and I've found Jesus." British citizen Steven Handy, after pleading guilty in a Spanish court to attacking an airline hostess with a vodka bottle on a flight from London to Malaga, Spain

"I want to apologize and reflect on my own work." Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, in an astonishingly rare admission of error over a schoolhouse explosion that killed dozens of children on March 6

"This is what happens when you stack the administration with oil, gas and coal guys." The Environmental Working Group's John Coequyt, on President George W. Bush's decision not to regulate power plants' emissions of carbon dioxide--a possible cause of global warming

"He's ended the shortest honeymoon in history." Dan Becker, spokesman for the Sierra Club environmental lobby group, on the emissions decision

"If I don't pass the bar this summer, at least I'll have a good excuse." The increasingly pregnant Karenna Gore Schiff

"I've got one politician in the family, and that's enough." Former president Bill Clinton, in Copenhagen, denying reports that he will run for mayor of New York City

"Playing the sax didn't get me any action. I had to master other concepts and other skills for that." Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, on how he became a ladies' man

"John Quincy Adams: the only son of a president to serve as president himself." A page on the White House Web site, which had clearly not been recently updated

"There was a spatter mark every three or four inches." Guy Dansie, environmental scientist with the Central Utah Public Health Department, on the dime-size dollops of dung that mysteriously rained from the sky over Sevier County