In their own words

And it cost only $1.9 billion

“Quite obviously chlorinated … on the nose, with an interesting texture … a little bit oilier in the mouth and a little bit of pucker, almost like you find with tannin in wine.” — Wine taster Peter Bourne, commenting on a blind tasting of water from the NSW government’s new desalination plant.

Not yet

“Am I in the dock?” — Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s response to reporters’ attempts to question him about war crimes allegations and oppression of Tamils.

Priorities

“Florida stands ready to assist our neighbours in Haiti, but we need a plan of action and reimbursement for the care we are providing.” — A spokesperson for the government of the state of Florida, after evacuation flights for injured Haitians were stopped by a dispute of who would pay for their medical treatment in the US.

Such as, ‘We’re sick of you’?

“... they’re valuable as an opportunity to listen to what people say.” — Victorian Premier John Brumby on by-elections, after the Altona by-election delivered a 12% swing against Labor.

Of course not

“We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don’t have consequences.” — US President Barack Obama, a few days before presenting a national budget with a US$1.56 trillion deficit.

Even too bigger to fail

“To the extent that huge, interconnected, ‘too big to fail’ institutions contributed to the crisis, those institutions are now even larger, in part because of the substantial subsidies provided by ... bailout programs.” — Neil Barofsky, who oversees the US Troubled Assets Relief Program, in a report to the Congress.

Last chance

“Drug trafficking helps them escape poverty and earn an income.” — Claudio Salazar head of the Chilean government’s anti-drug unit, explaining the increasing numbers of old people being arrested for drug trafficking.

Listening, not doing

“He needs to be seen out there, in shopping centres, hearing their problems.” — An unnamed federal minister, quoted in the February 15 Sydney Morning Herald, on how PM Kevin Rudd should revive his government’s flagging popularity.