Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quotes of the day

But nevertheless, in some aspects of [China's] policy, particularly with respect to censorship, with respect to surveillance of dissidents, I see the same earmarks of totalitarianism, and I find that personally quite troubling.--Sergey Brin

Google’s decision should also tell the U.S. government something about how to advocate its interests with China. The Google controversy coincided with cyber attacks against over 200 American companies, believed by U.S. authorities to have been launched by the People’s Liberation Army. China’s unchallenged behavior shows why we should not be optimistic that romancing Beijing will produce crippling sanctions against Iran’s nuclear weapons program any time soon. Instead, the Obama administration should emulate Google’s approach in official dealings, and support U.S. businesses in situations similar to Google so they do not have to act alone.--John Bolton

Yet, many advocates of socialized medicine seem to prefer that everyone be forced into a rationing system rather than have the government provide some basic minimum and let patients and providers who want to opt out of the system do so. So, what started out as a belief in a right to health care ended up as a belief in preventing people from getting health care. Thus my conclusion that it's not about rights at all, but about power.--Arnold Kling

This is the canary in the coal mine; if Social Security's finances are in trouble, Medicare's will also be looking worse. While I was at the Kauffman Foundation's economics blogger forum last Friday, a show of hands indicated that about 80% of the people there thought America would have a serious fiscal crisis in the next two decades. This is how it starts--not with a bang, but with a moderate decline in revenues.--Megan McArdle

Steny Hoyer was notably silent when it was President Obama making pitchfork threats, and when his political ally ACORN was busing mobs to executives’ homes. Man up, Steny. Or just, you know, shut up. You’re a hypocrite when it comes to thuggery, and you and your colleagues aren’t credible playing the victim.--Glenn Reynolds

I am a registered Democrat, but since I have voted (mostly) Republican in recent years, let me assure you that I unequivocally condemn those threats and any possible acts of violence taken in response to the bill. That is not even remotely the way to settle such political disputes. Such things must be handled at the ballot box. That said, and for similar reasons, I also unequivocally condemn the actions of the Democratic Party in running roughshod over the clear will of the American people. Every poll taken in proximity of the vote showed our citizenry in substantial opposition to the global health care reform being pushed through Congress by you, Speaker Pelosi and the administration. And yet, in the grand tradition of totalitarian regimes everywhere, you employed “any means necessary” to make sure your ends were achieved, bribing and threatening your fellow Congressmen and women, etc. It is small wonder that our people are angry. It would be amazing if it were otherwise. You have reaped a whirlwind by subverting a democracy. Now you must deal with it. The Democratic Party is no longer “progressive” or “liberal.” It is reactionary. And you and your cohorts have forever defined yourselves as reactionary politicians. Violence is to be condemned, but so is the desecration of a great democracy.--Roger Simon

Here’s what a cynical charlatan James Cameron is. The first “Avatar” DVD release occurs on Earth Day to take full advantage of all his Stupakky fans who want to feel good about themselves without actually doing anything to further their cause. But it’s a barebones release. This way Cameron can make a whole lot more money in the future releasing the same film again and again in Special Editions, Deluxe Editions, Platinum Editions and so on. Does this sound like someone who gives a hi-ho hearty damn about Mother Earth? No, this sounds like just another greedy capitalist wringing every possible nickel from his wares by finessing the market in a way that promotes as much consuming as possible of a product that, by the way, comes in a thick plastic case that must have a landfill half-life of a couple thousand years.--John Nolte

In several interviews, [Tom] Hanks presented a version of World War II in which racism played the dominant role. The Japanese "were out to kill us because our way of living was different," he told Time magazine. "We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different." Forget Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March and Tokyo's territorial expansionism. The United States was really fighting a war against human diversity, according to the former star of "Bosom Buddies." "It would be naive to assume that racism was not part of that quotient of World War II," Mr. Hanks said. That is true. Racial sentiments no doubt played a role. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's internment order for Americans of Japanese ancestry - overseen in California by state Attorney General Earl Warren and later upheld by the liberal majority on the U.S. Supreme Court - remains a controversial episode in American history. Some government propaganda showed the Japanese in an unflattering light, but propaganda against Axis partners Germany and Italy did as well. The idea that the United States was making war on "the yellow people" is nonsense, however. America was allied with China and fought to liberate all parts of Asia that had been overrun by the Japanese Empire, including the Philippines, which was a U.S. commonwealth. The fact that the Japanese were Asians did not make a conflict against the nation of Japan a de facto race war.--Washington Times editorial board

John Carney, managing editor of financial news and gossip vertical Clusterstock at Business Insider, was let go this afternoon by B.I. owner Henry Blodget, we've confirmed with sources familiar with the matter.--Foster Kamer

Carney certainly has his idiosyncrasies, and he wouldn’t last a week at Bloomberg, but he’s perfectly open about them, and one of the great things about media companies in general and blog companies in particular is that they’re pretty good about letting the talent do what it needs to do, just so long as the stories keep coming. And Carney always kept the stories coming. What’s more, the beating heart of Clusterstock is the dynamic duo of Carney and Joe Weisenthal; now that he’s fired Carney, Blodget must know that he risks losing Weisenthal as well. If he loses them both, he’ll rapidly become something like 24/7 Wall Street or Minyanville: a site with lots of low-quality traffic and generally uninspiring editorial content. --Felix Salmon

We believe it is unlikely that many brands will gain market share by using heavy models in their ads.--Naomi Mandel

[Cornell is] a perfect team. It's hard to get them out of what they want to do. All of them can shoot. They run their offense. They don't break it. Their whole team can shoot. Anybody can step out and shoot. They've got our full attention.--John Wall, Kentucky guard who is projecting to be the first pick of the upcoming NBA draft

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