Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quotes of the day

... it’s not fair to lump all banks together. I don’t lump all media together….There’s good and there’s bad. There’s irresponsible and ignorant and there’s really smart media. Well, not all bankers are the same. I just think this constant refrain [of] ‘bankers, bankers, bankers,’ — it’s just a really unproductive and unfair way of treating people….People should just stop doing that.--Jamie Dimon

About 5 years ago I noticed something wrong with white people, ... If those with stricter parenting styles than us are bad people, and those with less strict parenting styles are also bad people, then doesn’t this imply that we also used to be bad people? After all, weren’t our ancestors much stricter with kids a few hundred years ago? And aren’t our descendants also likely to be bad people too, after all (extrapolating current trends) they are likely to be much less strict than we are. ... Just as white folks don’t like parenting styles that are more or less strict than their own; Hollywood doesn’t like films that are more or less “artistic” than their own. BTW, when I say “artistic” in scare quotes I don’t mean having aesthetic merit. Lord knows that’s not what determines which films get nominated for best picture. If you don’t believe me, just look at a list of films directed by Hitchcock in the late 1950s, and then look at the films nominated for best picture in the late 1950s. No, Hollywood equates “artistic” with films about the way we live. And by “we” I mean English-speaking people. More specifically, white English-speaking people. Movies with which ”we” can identify.--Scott Sumner

We are looking for students who wonder, students who are reading widely, students of passion who are driven to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the broader world through enlightened and effective leadership. The undergraduate education they are receiving seems less and less suited to that purpose. An outstanding biochemistry major wants to be a doctor and supports the president's health-care bill but doesn't really know why. A student who started a chapter of Global Zero at his university hasn't really thought about whether a world in which great powers have divested themselves of nuclear weapons would be more stable or less so, or whether nuclear deterrence can ever be moral. A young service academy cadet who is likely to be serving in a war zone within the year believes there are things worth dying for but doesn't seem to have thought much about what is worth killing for. A student who wants to study comparative government doesn't seem to know much about the important features and limitations of America's Constitution. When asked what are the important things for a leader to be able to do, one young applicant described some techniques and personal characteristics to manage a group and get a job done. Nowhere in her answer did she give any hint of understanding that leaders decide what job should be done. Leaders set agendas. ... We are blessed to live in a country that values education. Many of our young people spend four years getting very expensive college degrees. But our universities fail them and the nation if they continue to graduate students with expertise in biochemistry, mathematics or history without teaching them to think about what problems are important and why. --Heather Wilson

[Paul] Samuelson’s involvement with Commodities Corp. was known around the department, but it became no part of his legend in the outside world. When Weymer took the stage at Samuelson’s memorial service last year, along with MIT president Susan Hochfield and eight well-known economists, his presence surprised more than a few in the audience. The answer seems to be that Samuelson’s low profile as an activist investor made it easier to gather information.--David Warsh

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