Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quotes of the day

Financial plans are worthless, but the process of planning is vital. Let me explain the difference. ... If we accept the fact that even the best plan will be wrong, we can focus our energy on the process of planning instead of obsessing over the assumptions. Sure we need to chart a course where we think we are headed, and this will involve making some assumptions about the future. But they are just guesses; make them and move on. Think of this as the difference between a flight plan and the actual flight.--Carl Richards

How often do we see consecutive trading days with moves of less than +/-5 basis points? Hardly ever. Over the last 50 years, there have only been 94 of these 2-day occurrences. --Bespoke

It seems we’ve hit an odd Wall Street moment — less fame means more fortune.--Michael Corkery

A set-up like that costs more than we ever took…If he’d just pay me what he’s spending to make me stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.--Butch Cassidy

This is a lesson in the limitations of the Coase theorem, especially when one party has shows a willingness to break the law. Reputation and trust matter for effective contracts.--Adam Ozimek

What has probably surprised me more than anything else about Speaker Pelosi is her ineptness. I didn't realize anyone could rise to the position of Speaker and be that inept. ... She's more inept than I thought she was, but she's not as mean as people think she is. ... The average member Congress – House and Senate – is first and foremost only a self-serving inconvenience-minimizer who doesn't have a lot of principle they stand on the first place. It doesn't take much to move a jellied spine, so they'll probably get their votes.--Dick Armey

The blossoming New Age/Buddhism lite that populates yoga classes talks about the toxic nature of the Western “ego” (you know, we work too hard, we value ourselves above others, etc.) But then it replaces this ego with something like a supreme inner deity residing in all of us whose dictates can never be ignored. Dahlia, you call it silly but to Rielle it’s so profound—divine, even.--Hannah Rosin

The rather more captivating woman in this drama—the axis around which the Lifetime movie should turn—is Cheri Young. She would appear, in this interview with Oprah, to be the most intelligent person in her marriage. And yet she took Rielle Hunter in, lied to her children about it, and came close to pretending that her husband had impregnated his boss's mistress. She evidently shopped for Rielle Hunter, brought her groceries, and answered her children's questions about why she was grocery shopping for the strange lady in their home. What motivates a woman to so indulge her husband's obsequious relationship to another man? Why risk your own dignity in the service of turning your husband into a doormat?--Kerry Howley

Ovaries have not adjusted to many women's decision to delay having children. ... Using a mathematical model and data from 325 women, the researchers found that the average woman is born with around 300,000 eggs and steadily loses them as she ages, with just 12 percent of those eggs remaining at the age of 30, and only 3 percent left by 40.--Carolyn Butler

Marriage matters. It is better for the kids; it is better for the adults raising those kids; and it is better for the childless people in the communities where those kids and adults live. Marriage reduces poverty, improves kids outcomes in all measurable ways, makes men live longer and both spouses happier. Marriage, it turns out, is an incredibly important institution. It also turns out to be a lot more fragile than we thought back then. It looked, to those extremely smart and well-meaning welfare reformers, practically unshakeable; the idea that it could be undone by something as simple as enabling women to have children without husbands, seemed ludicrous. Its cultural underpinnings were far too firm. Why would a woman choose such a hard road? It seemed self-evident that the only unwed mothers claiming benefits would be the ones pushed there by terrible circumstance. This argument is compelling and logical. I would never become an unwed welfare mother, even if benefits were a great deal higher than they are now. It seems crazy to even suggest that one would bear a child out of wedlock for $567 a month. Indeed, to this day, I find the reformist side much more persuasive than the conservative side, except for one thing, which is that the conservatives turned out to be right. In fact, they turned out to be even more right than they suspected; they were predicting upticks in illegitimacy that were much more modest than what actually occurred--they expected marriage rates to suffer, not collapse. ... as G.K. Chesterton points out, people who don't see the use of a social institution are the last people who should be allowed to reform it. ... The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can't imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society, when in fact, as you may have noticed, all sorts of different people react to all sorts of different things in all sorts of different ways, which is why we have to have elections and stuff. And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining. If you think you know why marriage is male-female, and why that's either outdated because of all the ways in which reproduction has lately changed, or was a bad reason to start with, then you are in a good place to advocate reform. If you think that marriage is just that way because our ancestors were all a bunch of repressed bastards with dark Freudian complexes that made them homophobic bigots, I'm a little leery of letting you muck around with it.--Megan McArdle

I have one friend, for example, who has proved himself over many years to be one of the world’s great celebrators of diversity, but who opposes gay marriage because he fears that gays, moreso than straights, will game the system by marrying or unmarrying as needed to secure tax advantages. Straights might do the same, but they will do it less because they’re more likely to be locked into marriages through childbearing. I happen to think this argument is completely nuts. (For the record, I think my friend is absolutely right that gays will game the system somewhat more than straights will, and that that’s a bad thing. I just think he’s absolutely nuts to put quite so much weight on it.) But everyone I know believes at least ten things that I think are completely nuts.--Steven Landsburg

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