Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quotes of the day

Now we’re near to the beating heart of the ideology that holds our political press together. That is when journalists try to win the argument not by having better arguments but by standing closer to a reality they get to define as more real than your reality. ... You’ve got the Church of the Savvy, The Quest for Innocence, the View from Nowhere, Regression to a Phony Mean, He Said, She Said, the Sphere of Deviance. These form the real ideology of our political press. But we have to study them to understand them well.--Jay Rosen

Led by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, teachers unions contributed about $5.4 million to federal candidates, parties and committees during the 2008 election cycle. As is true with unions in general, most of the money coming from this category goes to Democrats. Teachers unions contribute 95 percent of their funds to Democrats -- a rate that’s above average among labor unions across the board. The AFT contributed $2.8 million during the 2008 cycle, with 99 percent going to Democrats. For its part, the NEA contributed $2.5 million, with 91 percent going to Democrats.--Open Secrets

The cost of fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies that last year bought or guaranteed three-quarters of all U.S. home loans, will be at least $160 billion and could grow to as much as $1 trillion after the biggest bailout in American history.--Lorraine Woellert and John Gittelsohn

Let’s recap what we saw on this video. A sitting Congressman–a presumed living extension of James Madison and other founding fathers–was asked on a public street whether he supported the President’s agenda. His response was to hit away a video camera and assault a student. The age of Pericles this ain’t. It is going to be a long, hot summer. But, you’ve been shown a politician who can be beaten this November. Act accordingly.--Mike Flynn

As you know, some fearless bloggers have exposed the “whiff” of racism in attempts by conservative economists like Raghu Rajan to blame the government for the mortgage fiasco. ... It seems even the Fed is peddling those vicious racist lies.--Scott Sumner

17% underemployment...and the longest lines are outside the Apple Store.--Joshua Brown

[Muhummad] Yunus and [Hernando] de Soto offer us real insights into how the poor can, finally, work themselves out of poverty: Yunus shows they need credit and de Soto shows they need to join the formal economy. But we must build on their ideas and combine them in order to develop a more viable way to realize their inherent promise. If the world's poor can gain access to private capital via their formal titles, then we will have a real solution to a $9 trillion problem.--Peter Schaefer

We have known for a long time that Prince Charles' empty sails are so rigged as to be swelled by any passing waft or breeze of crankiness and cant. He fell for the fake anthropologist Laurens van der Post. He was bowled over by the charms of homeopathic medicine. He has been believably reported as saying that plants do better if you talk to them in a soothing and encouraging way. ... None of this might matter very much, until you notice the venue at which Charles delivered his farrago of nonsense. It was unleashed upon an audience at the Center for Islamic Studies at Oxford University, an institution of which he is the patron. Nor is this his only foray into Islamophilia. Together with the Saudi royal family, he supported the mosque in North London that acted as host and incubator to Richard "Shoe Bomber" Reid, the hook-handed Abu Hamza al-Masri, and several other unsavory customers. The prince's official job description as king will be "defender of the faith," which currently means the state-financed absurdity of the Anglican Church, but he has more than once said publicly that he wants to be anointed as defender of all faiths—another indication of the amazing conceit he has developed in six decades of performing the only job allowed him by the hereditary principle: that of waiting for his mother to expire. ... One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labor of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it casually slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover. An awful embarrassment awaits the British if they do not declare for a republic based on verifiable laws and principles, both political and scientific.--Christopher Hitchens

I have no idea of why [the White House] attitude was so hands-offy here [in the Gulf Coast]. The President of the United States could’ve come down here. He could’ve been involved with the families of these 11 people [killed in the rig explosion on April 20 that triggered the massive oil gusher]. He could be commandeering tankers and making BP bring tankers in and clean this up. They could be deploying people to the coast right now. He could be with the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard...doing something about these regulations. These people are crying. They’re begging for something down here, and he just looks like he’s not involved in this. Man, you gotta get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this thing and get this thing moving! We're about to die down here!--James Carville

[Paul] Krugman is right when he says that borrowing is cheap. But the issue isn’t borrowing; it’s spending—and spending is expensive. It appears that like the President, Krugman wants to divert your attention from spending to borrowing so he can dismiss legitimate concerns without even acknowledging them. It’s a cheap trick. Don’t let either of them get away with it.--Steve Landsburg

The heroic, nearly 2,000-mile delivery of mail across the country hemorrhaged money, from the first day a rider saddled up until the click of the transcontinental telegraph shut it down 78 weeks later. The Pony Express was one of the most colossal and celebrated failures in American business history, but its legacy, as the sale at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries suggests, remains an enduring and revered piece of the Old West myth. Even today, old-timers in the remotest parts of the American West still speak of “the days of the Pony.” ... Ultimately, the Pony became an American epic along the lines of Paul Revere’s ride, a tale rooted in fact but layered with a century and a half of embellishments, fabrications, and outright lies. There is still no agreement even on the identity of the first rider. William Floyd, an early 20th-century chronicler of the Pony from St. Joseph, once called it “a tale of truth, half-truth and no truth at all.” But what a story; what an American memory. The legend of the Pony Express was worth every nickel generated by that fancy stamp auction in New York City last December. On that count Russell, Majors, and Waddell would be in solemn agreement. Its memory remains priceless.--Christopher Corbett

Note that [Bernard] Lagat peaked in 2001 in the 1500 meter distance and his times have gradually slowed since then. On the other hand, while Lagat's speed may be on the decline, his endurance is improving, with the proof that he is now 36 seconds faster in the 5000 meters than he was in 2001. After watching the race, it occurred to me that something similar has happened to my trading – and at least anecdotally to a large number of other traders. Back in 2001, the majority of my trades were day trades, but as my opponents have become younger, faster and more technologically sophisticated, I find myself, like Lagat, refocusing my efforts on longer time horizons, where my skills and experience match up better than they do against the high-frequency trading crowd.--Bill Luby

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