Monday, October 25, 2010

Quotes of the day

The chance for mating with a speed-dating partner was 6%, and was increased by men's short-term mating interest; the chance for relating was 4%, and was increased by women's long-term mating interest.--European Journal of Personality

One interpretation of Godel’s [Incompleteness] theorem is that, regardless of your axiom system, there are true statements in arithmetic that you won’t be able to deduce from your axioms. That’s unsettling.--Steve Landsburg

In nominal terms, the yuan has strengthened about 2.5% since China's June 19 decision to ease its currency policy. That works out to an annualized rate of nominal appreciation of almost 8%. The simplest way to calculate real appreciation is to add on the difference between China's inflation rate (3.5%, according to August data) and US inflation (about 1%, or even less if the dip in the September figures holds up). Doing so gives us an annual rate of real appreciation of more than 10%. Two or three years of that would pretty well eliminate the 20 to 40% undervaluation that critics are talking about. True, three years is longer than the time horizon of your average politician, but it's not exactly a glacial pace of change, either.--Ed Dolan

Fox News averages about 1.8 million nightly viewers for its prime-time lineup, easily the largest audience of any cable news network. Many of those viewers are Republicans, of course, but it’s a safe bet that Fox reaches lots and lots of people who consider themselves centrists and independents as well. (49 percent of Americans say they trust Fox, a number that’s rather larger that the diehard conservative base.) By insisting that liberals boycott the channel and decline any opportunity to address its audience, [Michael] Tomasky is effectively suggesting that his ideological co-believers write these viewers off, temporarily at least, in the hopes that — well, what? That the absence of intellectual diversity on the O’Reilly Factor and Special Report will finally, at long last, expose Fox’s biases and send its ratings plunging? How likely does that seem?--Ross Douthat

Rather than be happy about it, [focus groups] insisted that the banks were repaying the TARP funds and interest with higher fees that customers were being charged rather than by reducing other costs or lowering dividends. It was almost a perfect example of a total no-win situation. They would have been angry if the government lost money and they were definitely angry that it was getting paid back. They would also have been angry if the government had made no attempt to deal with the situation, that is, if there had been no TARP, and they were clearly irate at everyone who had anything to do with it being enacted.--Stan Collender

[President Obama is] “coming into Rhode Island treating us like an ATM machine. I will wear it as a badge of honor and a badge of courage that he doesn’t want to endorse me as a Democrat.--Frank Caprio, Democratic candidate for governor

In the past few months, the White House has made a gaudy show of sucking up to the mayor [Micheal Bloomberg]: inviting him to play golf in Martha’s Vineyard with Obama, floating his name as a potential Treasury secretary, dispatching Joe Biden and Tim Geithner to have breakfast with him and seek his economic counsel. The motivations behind the blandishments are many, but not the least is to blunt the Bloomberg threat—to keep him on the sidelines in 2012, where he and his billions would pose no danger of redrawing the electoral map in unpredictable and perilous ways. ... Bloomberg is well aware, because his advisers have flatly told him, that the White House is fretting about his entering the race and that this fear is what has motivated their sycophancy toward him lately. But the flattery must seem puzzling to the mayor, since the administration, in his view, has ignored his advice to be more supportive of business and stop trashing Wall Street, which, naturally, he believes would help save Obama’s bacon—a result that, in turn, would be the greatest deterrent to Bloomberg’s running. ... By the accounts of strategists in both parties, Bloomberg—especially with the help of his billions—would stand a reasonable chance of carrying New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California. Combine that with a strong-enough showing in a few other places in the industrial Northeast to deny Obama those states, and with Palin holding the fire-engine-red states of the South, and the president might find himself short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. Assuming you still remember the basics from American Government 101, you know what would happen next: The election would be thrown to the House of Representatives—which, after November 2, is likely to be controlled by the Republicans. The result: Hello, President [Sarah] Palin! ... “She’s a supernova,” says [George Bush and John McCain's former media adviser Mark] McKinnon. “The only parallel is Barack Obama. And look what happened to him.”--John Heilemann

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