Monday, January 24, 2011

Quotes of the day

The [central moral challenge in this century] is oppression of girls and women around the world.--Sheryl WuDunn

It’s easy to see why liberal feminists were miffed. Because of their efforts, conservative women were now hurrying down congressional corridors. But where were these newcomers back when the struggle was on? ... But liberal feminists were troubled by much more than conservative women’s wanting to crash the party. What threatened feminism as we knew it was the Palinites’ fundamental beliefs about the nature of the American social contract. ... Many heartland women had seen in feminism’s enthusiastic careerism, as well as its resentment of men and domesticity, an implicit criticism of their own lives. Hence their rejection of the feminist label even as they joined the workforce and lived lives that looked, in many respects, consistent with the movement’s principles. ... something important sets today’s maternal feminism apart from the earlier strain: it casts budgeting and governance as maternal issues. ... the Palinites have drawn big question marks around language like this. What does “equality” mean? Is it equal opportunity, as the newcomers would probably say? Or equal results, as many feminists appear to believe? Does it mean women’s choosing how to run their lives, just as men do? (Grizzlies.) Or does it refer to absolute parity between men and women? (Liberals.) How can both sides claim the feminist mantle with such different understandings of government’s function and of women’s progress?--Kay Hymowitz

Economic growth requires secure property rights, encouragement of private enterprise, openness to international trade, stimulation of education, limited and sensible regulations, and reasonably honest government. Microfinance makes only a small direct contribution to any of those variables.--Gary Becker in 2006

... if I may introduce a practical consideration,
intellectuals by and large have elevated
tastes-they like to eat, dress, and live well, and
especially to travel. The late Walton Hamilton,
lawyer and economist, once said that our
customary salutation, “Good Day,” was a vestige
of an agricultural society where people
were asking for good weather, and he expected
city dwellers eventually to greet each other
with the phrase, “Low Prices.” If Hamilton’s
theory is correct, the intellectuals will come to
the salutation, “Fair Fullbright.” ... inquiry
has been most free in the college whose trustees
are a group of top quality leaders of the market
place-men who, our experience shows, are remarkably
tolerant of almost everything except
a mediocre and complacent faculty. Economics
provides many examples: If a professor wishes
to denounce aspects of big business, as I have,
he will be wise to locate in a school whose
trustees are big businessmen, and I have. ...
Our ruling attitude toward the market place has
not changed since the time of Plato. Is it not
possible that it is time to rethink the question?--George Stigler

The New York Times reports that President Obama, in his State of the Union speech, will call, among other things, for encouraging exports. Now, since exports must equal imports in the long run, encouraging exports is exactly the same thing as encouraging imports. And wouldn’t you expect that if you were out to encourage imports, your first step might be to stop discouraging imports, say by declaring an end to all tariffs and quotas on foreign-made goods?--Steve Landsburg

As Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped down as governor of California, he could behold two dispiriting sights: a state struggling with structural budget deficits, just as it had struggled when he marched into office as a conquering action hero, and an approval rate just 1 point higher than his disgraced and recalled predecessor’s. Schwarzenegger’s failed governorship—he did good and bad, of course, but he never accomplished his recall-driven task of taming the deficit—has elicited harsh criticism, especially from conservatives, who view him as something of a traitor. ... in the end, he did very little that was unconventional. Did he ever have core beliefs? Or was he always just acting?--Steven Greenhut

The American people say, don't touch Social Security, don't touch Medicare, don't cut defense. That's 84% of the federal budget. If you can't touch 84% of the federal're down to 16% of the budget at a time we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend.--Senator Kent Conrad

I am committed to repealing and replacing the President’s new health care law. A majority of the American people don’t like this law, and they are right. The law does nothing to lower health care costs—that’s the verdict from the nonpartisan Chief Actuary of Medicare. Democrats have spent thousands of words and hours falsely claiming that this law controls costs. Their actions tell a different story. Right now, Americans are being hit with higher health care bills due to Washington mandates. Meanwhile, well-connected businesses and labor unions are being handed “waivers” from the Obama Administration that excuse them from bearing the costs of the same mandates. If the powerful and politically connected can escape the costs of this bill through waivers, it’s only fair that ordinary Americans coping with the recession get the same waivers. I am going to fight to make sure they do.--Senator John Barrasso

Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress. ... The bulk of those expenditures — $132 million — went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating.--Gretchen Morgenson

... George Lucas addressed nearly all of [Michael] Lind’s issues with the “Star Wars” universe in movies one through three. (I am bracketing the more creative interpretations of those films …) Queen Amidala of Naboo, Princess Leia’s mother, turned out to be an elected queen, who moved on to senatorial duties after serving out her term as monarch. (How a teenager managed to navigate Naboo’s version of the Iowa caucuses remains a mystery …) The once-mystical Force was given a scientific explanation, in the form of the “midichlorians,” the micro-organisms that clutter up the bloodstream of the Jedi and give them telekinetic powers as a side effect. And the lost Old Republic that the rebels fight to restore in the original films was revealed to be, well, “a sort of galactic League of Nations or UN,” with the Jedi Knights as its peacekeeping force and the lightsaber as the equivalent of the blue helmet. For Lind, then, I can only assume that watching the prequels was an immensely gratifying experience. And for the rest of us, the knowledge that Lind’s prescription for “Star Wars” helped produce three of the most disappointing science-fiction blockbusters ever made should be reason enough to reject his prescription for America without a second thought.--Ross Douthat

There are periods in a company's life when the founder is the better leader and there are times when the operating executive is the better leader. And there are times, like what is certainly the case at Apple, where you have no choice.--Fred Wilson

One noticeable link between this year's two Super Bowl teams is that they think differently than that. Instead of going out and signing the big free agent, they draft the right players, develop them, and then draft some more good players. Free agency is utilized as a supplement more than a cure-all.--Mike Reiss

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