Friday, March 26, 2010

Quotes of the day

[Steve] Eisman recognizes that the subprime market is a disaster waiting to happen, a monstrous fire hazard that, once lit, will engulf the housing market and financial firms. Yet he continues to throw Molotov cocktails at it. Eisman is no noble outsider. He is a willing, knowing co-conspirator. Even worse, he and the other shorts Lewis lionizes didn’t simply set off the global debt conflagration, they made the severity of the crisis vastly worse. So it wasn’t just that these speculators were harmful, and Lewis gave them a free pass. He failed to clue in his readers that the actions of his chosen heroes drove the demand for the worst sort of mortgages and turned what would otherwise have been a “contained” problem into a systemic crisis. The subprime market would have died a much earlier, much less costly death absent the actions of the men [Michael] Lewis celebrates.--Yves Smith

Hiring consultants allows one to affiliate with prestigious folks, while focus groups allow one to brag about “listening to the people” (which is in fact how prediction markets are usually sold). Apparently actually improving decision quality is way way down in the manager priority list.--Robin Hanson

[David] Frum is one of the few conservatives who sees rather clearly that the Right’s current agenda is outmoded and self-destructive, and he wasn’t shy about saying so.--John McQuaid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mistakenly called out "no" Thursday when asked for his vote on the health care reconciliation bill, setting the chamber howling with laughter. Reid voted the wrong way when the clerk called for his vote, realized his error and quickly changed his vote to "yes." "He did it again," someone said amid laughter. Reid, who spent months persuading fellow senators to vote "yes" on President Obama's top domestic priority, made the same mistake December 24 when voting on the original health care bill.-CNN

We’re going to have to start borrowing from Mars or Venus soon.-Russ Roberts

I see today's ruling class as the equivalent of the British generals who kept launching offensives in World War I or the executives at Citigroup and Freddie Mac who loaded up on sub-prime mortgages. If my views seem extremist compared to theirs, so be it. I also got the memo that health care reform will reduce the deficit. That is a baloney sandwich.--Arnold Kling

Although it arose from noble impulses and was to the overall benefit of the nation, racial desegegration was often implemented in a way that was devastating to black communities. It frequently destroyed black schools, reduced the numbers of black principals who could serve as role models, and made school a strange and uncomfortable environment for black children, a place many viewed as quintessentially “white.”--Description for Stuart Buck's Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation

Wildcat Nation swung into action. E-mails popped onto my BlackBerry just about every minute for a couple of hours. The themes were repetitive and highly unoriginal. Most of them used the words “racist’’ and “elitist’’ — usually framed as “Your a racist’’ or “Your an elitist.’’ People. It’s “you’re’’ a racist. Not “your.’’ Whoops. There I go, being elitist again.--Curlyhaired Boyfriend

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