Monday, March 01, 2010

Quotes of the day

[The SEC is] overlawyered. They’re poisoned by lawyers.--Harry Markopolos

My conclusion is that the Obama-Congress stimulus was an attempt at reengineering government’s role in the economy that was badly designed and executed relative to the alleged goal of giving a short-term stimulus to the economy. Its design, and the general evidence on the effects of spending fiscal stimulus, should make Americans wary of any attempt to pass a second stimulus package, whatever form it takes.--Gary Becker

Here's a list of national domestic priorities, in no particular order: Stimulate the economy, improve health care, offer fast Internet connections to all of our schools, foster development of advanced technology. Oh, and let’s not forget, we’d better do something about the budget deficit. ... I know that this sounds like the second coming of voodoo economics, but bear with me. This proposal involves no magical thinking, just good common sense: By simply reallocating the way we use the radio spectrum now devoted to over-the-air television broadcasting, we can create a bonanza for the government, stimulate the economy and advance all of the other goals listed above. Really. ... Economists are fond of saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Here we have an idea that is even better than a free lunch: being paid to eat lunch.--Richard Thaler

[Orlando] Zapata's death while Latin American leaders broke bread with Castro is a coincidence that captures the cowardice and expediency toward Cuban oppression that has defined the region for a half century. Now the Latin gang, with Cuba as a prominent member, has decided to form a new regional body to "replace" the Organization of American States. To make their intentions clear, they banned Honduras's democratically elected President Porfirio Lobo from last week's meeting.--Mary Anastasia O'Grady

In cold prose, it sounds inhuman, but there should be a cost-benefit calculation in deciding whether to assassinate an enemy. With all of the new technology available to any government who can afford it, that cost has gone up astronomically. Plausible deniability is out the window. Obviously, if we had known with any specificity 9/11 was coming, we would have ignored the high cost and tried to assassinate Osama bin Laden. And there's certainly an argument to be made that we should have assassinated Saddam Hussein rather than invade Iraq. The bottom line, it seems to me, is that assassination is justified if it keeps us out of a war. But short of that, it's not.--Richard Baer

The Europeans can afford a foreign policy devoted nearly exclusively to “soft power” because we are here to defend them and mount the forward defense of freedom. Who is going to do that for us, when we are no longer doing it for ourselves? Who will answer the call when America is no longer home? --Richard Lowry & Ramesh Ponnuru

People's sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.--Mark Steyn

You don’t learn much in grad school. Half the formulas they teach you are false. It’s a lot of self-study. I read a lot of finance books, and I usually read them with a calculator because I go through the math to make sure I master the formulas.--Harry Markopolos

... I have come to observe that most business school programs have an extensive emphasis on fundraising, especially from venture capitalists, and very little pragmatic understanding of what it really takes to get a venture off the ground. As a result, business schools launch students into the real world with completely unrealistic expectations, set up to fail.--Sramana Mitra

When it's raining gold, reach for a bucket, not a thimble.--Warren Buffett

A pop quiz: What’s the largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization? It’s not Save the Children, and it’s not CARE — both terrific secular organizations. Rather, it’s World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade. World Vision now has 40,000 staff members in nearly 100 countries. That’s more staff members than CARE, Save the Children and the worldwide operations of the United States Agency for International Development — combined.--Nicholas Kristof

More than 40 ex-Googlers have invested in about 200 fledgling companies since 2005, according to the research firm YouNoodle and reporting by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. At least a half dozen current Google executives, including CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are also financing young companies. Numerous angel-watchers say the Google group has more in common than just pedigree. Unlike many venture capitalists, the Googlers like to swap investment ideas and back startups together. They're also willing to take big chances.--Spencer Ante and Kimberly Weisul

When I started this egregious exercise in onanistic peroration over three years ago, I expected to focus the bulk of my attention and writing on the world of mergers and acquisitions, which is my longstanding professional occupation. While I have indeed posted some material on this subject, I discovered that not only is it less interesting to me as a topic to write on than many of the other follies roiling our markets and society, but also that my professional obligation (and personal ethic) of client confidentiality has rendered it impossible to convey the best M&A stories I know to the general public.--Epicurean Dealmaker

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