Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quotes of the day

Birds given the chance to play a pigeon ''fruit machine'' could not resist the lure of the jackpot - even when the odds were stacked against them. They appeared to be psychologically hooked in much the same way as humans who buy lottery tickets and visit casinos.--Telegraph

After Glenn Beck held a “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, [Stephen] Colbert’s fans clamored for their own “Restoring Truthiness” event; Colbert has chosen instead to lead a “March to Keep Fear Alive” in Washington on Oct. 30. Truthiness, Colbert pointed out, is in no need of restoring, since it continues to define those who appeal to raw feelings at the expense of facts. “I doubt that many people in American politics are acting on the facts,” he observed ruefully. “Everybody on both sides is acting on the things that move them emotionally the most.”--Ben Zimmer

The number of people who don’t pay their taxes.--President Obama's answer when asked what surprised him the most in his first 100 days in office

So perhaps it's no surprise that government employees can't fight the urge to pry into the private lives of high-profile figures using something they do have: access to vast digital repositories of sensitive personal information.--G.W. Schulz

At JPMorgan Chase, [mortgage bankers] were derided as “Burger King kids” — walk-in hires who were so inexperienced they barely knew what a mortgage was.--Eric Dash and Nelson D. Schwartz

When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under government conservatorship in late 2008, officials blamed poor credit choices and bad risk management for their losses. The Treasury contracts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to manage the Treasury Department's foreclosure mitigation program have problems, the [TARP congressional oversight committee] report said. "Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a history of profound corporate mismanagement," it said. "Further, both companies have fallen short in aspects of their performance, as Fannie Mae recently made a significant data error in reporting on mortgage redefaults and Freddie Mac has had difficulty meeting its assigned deadlines." Yet the Treasury Department is relying heavily on them, the report said. "Fannie Mae alone currently has 600 employees working to fulfill its TARP commitments," the report said. "By comparison, Treasury has only 220 staffers working on all TARP programs combined."--Reuters

Sweden’s 100-year-old Nobel Foundation, which every October gives 60 million kronor ($9 million) to prize winners in the award’s six categories, has begun hedging against the risk of currency fluctuations. Last year, the 3 billion-krona ($448 million) foundation switched to a policy that calls for offsetting risk in all its foreign bonds and half its hedge fund investments to help protect the Nobel’s future.--Adam Ewing and Marybeth Sandell

Once upon a time, over a generation ago, The television set was commonly called the “boob tube” and looked down on by elites as a purveyors of mind-numbing entertainment. Movie theaters, on the other hand, were considered a venue for, if not art, more sophisticated dramas and comedies. Not any more. The multiplexes are now primarily a venue for dumbed down comic-book inspired action and fantasy movies, whereas television, especially the pay and cable channels, is increasingly becoming a venue for character-driven adult programs, such as The Wire, Mad Men, and Boardwalk Empire. This role reversal, rather than a momentary fluke, proceeds directly from the new economic realities of the entertainment business.--Edward Jay Epstein

According to the World Federation of Exchanges, a Paris-based association of 52 stock exchanges around the world, the world stock market capitalization reached more than $50 trillion in September, the highest monthly value in 26 months, since July 2008.--Mark Perry

Marriage and divorce rates have remained remarkably immune to the ups and downs of the business cycle. Unfortunately, the marriage statistics are easy to misread. It’s misleading to count the wedding rings among people in their 20s and early 30s, because the median age at first marriage in the United States has risen to 28 for men (from 23 in 1970) and 26 for women (from 21 in 1970). The fact that these folks aren’t married now doesn’t mean they won’t marry — many of them just aren’t there yet. Look instead at 40-year-olds, and you see that 81 percent have married at least once. Yes, this number used to be higher — it peaked at 93 percent in 1980 — but, clearly, marriage remains a part of most people’s lives. These statistics are not a perfect barometer either, however, because they reflect weddings that were celebrated years earlier. To most accurately track marriage rates, you need to focus on the number of wedding certificates issued. In 2009, the latest year for which we have data, there were about 2.1 million marriages in the United States. That does represent a slight decline since the recession began. But it’s the same rate of decline that existed during the preceding economic boom, the previous bust and both the boom and the bust before that. ... Truly, the recession has not torn young couples apart; it has pushed them closer together. --Justin Wolfers

Now Mike Sweeney’s finally in the playoffs. That’s the punch line. But of course, the punch line isn’t important. That’s the secret of a good joke … and a good life. The punch line is just the punch line. The set-up, that’s what matters.--Joe Posnanski

No comments:

Post a Comment