Friday, October 23, 2009

Quotes of the day

Royalties from The Great Gatsby totaled only $8,397 during [Scott] Fitzgerald’s lifetime. Today Gatsby is read in nearly every high school and college and regularly produces $500,000 a year in [Fitzgerald's daughter] Scottie's trust for her children.--William Quirk

Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea experienced great economic success: all have per capita GDP that is at least seven times higher than in 1960. ... The disastrous experience with public housing in the United States should give us pause about its implementation elsewhere. One can also find examples of public housing becoming sinkholes of corruption in African countries. Yet there is no gainsaying the fundamental success of Hong Kong and Singapore.--Richard Green

Perhaps us aid critics are just not as good as the medical critics. Or perhaps it is because we care so much more whether medicine really works than whether aid or military intervention really works?--William Easterly

I think there are three qualities that people believe are weaknesses, but which I believe are strengths: hypochondria, paranoia and megalomania.--Jacques Attali

Who single-sources a quote of a public figure praising slavery?--Megan McArdle

It’s superb. It highlights the essence of political discourse: dishonesty without lying.--Russ Roberts

I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation. So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression.--F.A. Hayek

Let’s talk about the real world for a moment… we broke it. Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry. —Jon Stewart

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And if you do notice what he’s really doing, he’s not spending your money just to waste it or give it to his friends. He’s doing it because he had to. He’s saving lives. The lives of America’s gallant men and women in uniform. Or America’s crippled children. Or to prevent the elderly from living lives of quiet desperation. Or to save the economy. Whatever. As long as you get sucked in, they don’t care what they say. Don’t get sucked in.--Russ Roberts

Bondholders are still going along with our apparently reckless spending plans on the assumption that we'll have to do something, eventually. I'm sure we will. But that "something" is going to be pretty ugly, and almost certainly done at the worst possible time, as Japan's case may end up illustrating. It may even be default, if we don't start acting like adults relatively soon. Sovereign debt risk seems to be back--and the debt is literally bigger than ever.--Megan McArdle

Purists will complain that we've sapped our language of its poetry by turning it into a blunter instrument. The purists are wrong. We're still poets. We've just traded sonnets for haiku. Today, the romance of our language is found in its smallest constructions, in its syllables and how they sound when we put them together, simply, quietly. Our words have white space around them. That's where we've become artists again.--Esquire

I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.--Elaine Bennis

I wouldn't want to join a church that would accept me.--Malcolm Muggeridge

... a few years ago, University of Pennsylvania researcher Ian Blair discovered that vitamin C appeared to encourage the creation of substances that can harm DNA and thus cause cancer. This is hardly firm evidence that C is the latest surprise cancer agent, but it probably should give C junkies pause. Your doctor may still swear by the vitamin's efficacy and benignity, but if you want to err on the side of caution, cut back on C.--Jim Atkinson

You never learn anything from people who agree with you, and I like to learn.--Nemo J. Publius

For the past six years, I've been teaching students in the Centurions Program to draw a grid listing the four basic questions that most people ask about life: Where did I come from? What's my purpose? Why is there sin and suffering? Is redemption possible? Then, on the other side of the matrix, we list the various philosophies and prominent world religions. By examining how each view answers the four questions, we can determine which worldviews conform to the way things really are. This is the correspondence theory of truth—a thoroughly rational test.--Chuck Colson

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