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Ralph Nader

Consumer Crusader

Ralph Nader: You always have doubts because you've got a real powerful industry, like the auto industry. But you outfox it. See, they're like big water-logged elephants; they can't move quickly. They can't make decisions quickly when they are challenged, especially when they are not used to being challenged. So you look at it as a real intellectual challenge. The tactic, the strategy, the timing, what reporters you get on your side, what editors, what members of Congress. How do you get a key member of Congress who can lever other members of Congress to do the right thing on this issue? And, it gets very complicated. And you often beat them on weekends. You see, they stop working Friday at 5:00 p.m. And it's on weekends that you really make the difference.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I lost a lot of money for the firm quite soon. And he (Clarence Dillon) ceased to know who I was. I was a non-person. So, after he threw me out -- I was his personal assistant for some years -- and then suddenly I was a non-person. But, then all the other partners in Dillon Read, who had hated me when I was the boss's white-haired boy, they suddenly decided, "Maybe there is some virtue in this fellow that Dillon has stepped upon mightily." So, they took me up and I became a friend of Jim Forrestal's and Dean Mathey's. And then when he (Forrestal) went to Washington, he took me with him to Washington. That's how I ended up in Washington.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

One time during the Marshall Plan days, when I had to defend the Marshall Plan appropriations before the House Appropriations Committee, I appeared for some, I think it was 38 consecutive sessions before John Taber, who was the chairman of that committee. During that course of those sessions, which were stretched over three or four months, I lost 15 pounds and was a mere wraith of my former self at the end of those hearings. We finally got it approved by the Committee, but that was a long and tedious and hard row to hoe.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

There are those who say that we grossly overestimated the dangers of a Soviet attack. We didn't really think there was going to be a Soviet attack. We knew the damage that they had suffered during World War II and that it was unlikely that they would wish to physically attack Europe. The question was really one of a longer range question. Weren't they really dedicated to the idea that the world as a whole needed to end up with one side or the other being victorious? This was certainly the essence of Marxist-Leninism that either they or we were going to win in the long run and they were dedicated to the proposition that the world should be a socialist, a Communist world. Now, were we right in estimating that that was their long range doctrine? I think everything we found since confirms that that was true. It wasn't a matter of immediate risk of war, it was what was the whole campaign aimed at. And, I don't think we got that wrong. So, I don't see how one could have had another option other than to maintain deterrence during that long period, and do what was necessary and in order to contain the Soviet Union and keep it from expanding further.
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Jessye Norman

Legendary Opera Soprano

On the way back from Philadelphia, because my teacher who was accompanying me -- Rosa Sanders, my high school music teacher was accompanying me -- we stopped in Washington, because we both had relatives here. We were sort of visiting near the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and all of that, and in the middle of the day she said, "Why don't we find out if anybody at Howard University is there and will listen to you sing?" I said, "Well, that sounds like fun." You know, at that time you don't care that you're tired and sort of perspiring from sightseeing all day long. It never occurs to you that you can't sing. And so she knew one of the professors at Howard because he had been a professor at Paine College in Augusta when she had been a student, and that's where she'd gone to school. So we just called this person, Dean Fax was his name, Mark Fax. And by now he was on faculty at the College of Fine Arts at Howard and so we called and he said, "Well why not? There's a class this afternoon that's a master's degree class in vocal anatomy, so you can sing for that class." I said, "Why not? That's fine." So along we went, and sang for that class, interrupted their studies and just sort of knocked on the door. The professor at the time was told that I was there, and so she welcomed us into the class, where there was a small piano. I sang a few songs, and that professor happened to be Carolyn Grant, who had been professor of voice at Howard University for about 42 years at the time. She accompanied me and my teacher out of the room once we finished our little performance, and she said, "How old are you?" And so I said, "I'm 16. I've just turned 16. I'm all grown up!" So she said, "Well, where are you in high school?" I said, "I've got another year." She said, "Well I suppose you'd have to finish high school before you could come to school here," and I said, "Come to school here?" At that moment, she went down to the dean of the college and said, "I want to teach this child. Make sure that she comes to Howard University." That's how I happened to have a scholarship to Howard University. I know, it's all fairy tales, isn't it?
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Jessye Norman

Legendary Opera Soprano

Jessye Norman: I have learned that achievement is ongoing. It's like learning, that you don't -- certainly within my performing life -- you don't get to a point where you can say, "Now I can rest. I've done that, so now I can sit on laurels." That's not the case. There's always someone in the audience who's never heard you before. There's always something new that I'm performing for the first time. I like that. I love that. On a tour, I never sing exactly the same program everywhere. I want the excitement of knowing, "Oh yes. Well, we didn't do that Cole Porter song in that group in Paris, but we're doing it in Lyon," because that keeps things fresh for me. I hope that it also keeps things more interesting for the audience. But certainly, I have learned that one has to go on achieving, that one doesn't get to a level to say, "Okay, now I'm fine, don't have to worry any more." No, no, no. I don't think that happens.
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