Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quotes of the day

It seemed completely obvious to us that any management team that had burned through $21 billion of cash in a year and another $13 billion in the first quarter of 2009 could not be allowed to continue.--Steve Rattner

After Bear went down, everyone knew Lehman was next on the list, with Merrill and UBS also known to be wobbly. Why didn’t the Fed, Treasury, and SEC together demand certain types of information from all big US regulated capital markets players (including JP Morgan and Goldman, perceived to be the healthiest, so as not to be singling out the weaker members of the herd?). This is a massive oversight. Relying on luck, which is what assuming all would be well after the Bear debacle, is no substitute for having a strategy.--Yves Smith

In other words, thanks to the various government tax breaks, Denise put absolutely no money down on her home. If she has to default on her mortgage, she'll lose nothing except her credit rating. Of course, since she's only 21 years old, there's plenty of time to recover from that. How is the FHA still engaged in promoting this kind of lending? Barney Frank has explained that expanding home ownership is the policy of the United States. Now, more than ever, the government wants to promote home buying to prop up the great American home ownership scheme. If people like Tejada can't buy a home with no money down, then the recession wins.--John Carney

To paraphrase a great wartime leader, never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many.--Mervyn King

Mystery solved! While a number of media outlets have speculated in highfalutin editorial tones about why there weren’t more grateful-to-be-bailed-out Wall Street fat cats attending Barack Obama’s twin fundraisers last night in New York, it turns out the answer was simple: the president wasn’t the biggest draw in town. What was? Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s cocktail party at Manhattan’s Monkey Bar celebrating the release of New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin’s sprawling and cinematic tome, Too Big to Fail.--Duff McDonald

The health insurance you get from your employer is compensation -- it comes out of the same bucket as your wages. Dollars going toward your healthcare are coming out of your direct deposits. So when health care costs rise disproportionate to the growth of your company's compensation pool, wages flat-line.--Derek Thompson

The real reason people with high IQs lack common sense is neurological. You can't be cerebral without sacrificing cunning. It takes real live brain matter to support each. Unless you've got a second brain hidden somewhere, you can't get around this tradeoff. The extreme form of this can be seen in the autistic brain. While autism is just a behavioral profile at present, the brains of high-functioning autistic people have been studied enough to reveal a pattern of early abnormal overgrowth in areas implicated in the things autistic people do well: art, music, mathematics, etc. The price they pay is a corresponding undergrowth of the white matter linking the neocortex to the rest of the brain. (There are other abnormalities as well.) The neocortex is responsible for executive function, working memory, and generalization, among other things. Generalization is how we acquire biases. Autistic people are bad at this. That means they lack prejudice, which is what we call the biases we don't like. The ones we like, we call common sense. If you want to get some idea of what the world would look like if we overcame bias, go to a group home for autistic adults.--P

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.--Vatican

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