Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quotes of the day

When a hedge fund puts a value on a position, first we have to get some highly regarded independent verification that we really do hold that position somewhere, then we have to get independent verification of the value of that position. Why do I feel like Rodney Dangerfield? ... I like to make money, of course, but I really don't like to lose it. ... Watch out for style drift. Like a lot of people, we'd been guilty of it--not much, but a little bit. Now, we pretty much try to invest 100% the way we really know what we're doing. Every successful manager has some kind of an edge. That's how you get to be a successful manager. It's important to remain completely focused on taking advantage of that edge, and maintaining discipline. ... As Michael Jordan proved, just because you're a great basketball player doesn't mean you can be a great baseball player.--Israel Englander

We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize.--Lloyd Blankfein

Yale had accidentally reported the full amount of the holdings and then attached the one thousand multiplier to them, overstating its holdings by a factor of 1000.--Courtney Comstock and John Carney

Thanks Microsoft [Outlook, Office, Mobile, and Explorer] but I'm going to Google [Gmail, Google Docs, Android, and Chrome].--Don Dodge

I think where markets were allowed to work freely, they worked, and hedge funds were prevented from taking on excessive leverage. Where there was failure was in the institutions that were deeply involved in a regulatory environment. How the politicians take those facts and weave them into a demand for more hedge fund regulation, I don't understand, but that is what we see happening.--Israel Englander

There are, de facto, death panels. Alarmist terminology aside, in a single-payer, public system, the state will decide how to mete out finite resources. Of course, with private healthcare there are also “death panels.” But at least you can shop around for an insurer who will be generously inclined towards your various ailments.--Rondi Adamson

A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the economic impact of religious beliefs or practices. They found that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies - and the most powerful influence relates to how strongly people believe in hell.--Michael Fitzgerald

First, the New York Fed, led by our current Secretary of the Treasury, botched the rescue of AIG so completely and so pathetically that it does border, as Yves says, on criminal incompetence. Second, the Fed had enough negotiating leverage in the entire affair to have substantially lessened the amount of taxpayer funds it ending up paying to AIG's counterparties, to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. A competent and motivated negotiator could have extracted billions of dollars in concessions with little else. But the Fed squandered that leverage, and it explicitly renounced several situational and structural advantages it possessed that contributed to that leverage, in the service of ... what, exactly? Certainly not in the service of its fiduciary duty to the American people, which cannot and should not be limited simply to the ad hoc preservation of a bunch of systemically important financial institutions.--Epicurean Dealmaker

It’s a shame that we've empowered municipal unions to the point that they can threaten their employers -- that's you, the taxpayer -- if citizens volunteer. Union officials should spend less time stopping others' work and more time, well, working.--John Stossel

Urban families live more compactly, do less damage to fragile ecosystems, burn less fuel, enjoy stronger social ties to larger numbers of people, and, most significantly, produce fewer children, since large families have less economic utility in densely settled areas than they do in marginal agricultural areas.--David Owen

The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don't think this way: they are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.--Bruce Schneier

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