Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quotes of the day

... launch early and often. Launching early attracts customer engagement, and it's the customer who's going to tell you what's wrong so you can correct it.--Reid Hoffman

Only after Clinton made up her mind did the handwringing U.S. Hamlet-in-chief make up his.--Margaret Carlson

Senator Joe Biden was quite forceful in insisting that George Bush could not launch a war against Iran without Congressional approval and talked about impeachment as a remedy. Obviously, Vice President Biden can't lead an impeachment effort against his boss. Still, it is fun to see how fluid these libs are.--Tom Maguire

We will not be adding more to the national debt.--President Obama

Under the President’s budget, debt held by the public would increase from $13.5 trillion in 2014, to $14.4 trillion in 2015, to $15.3 trillion in 2016, to $16.3 trillion in 2017, and so on. Measured as a share of the economy, it would increase from 78.3% of GDP in 2014, to 78.9% in 2015, to 79.9% in 2016, to 81.1% in 2017, and so on.--Congressional Budget Office

The End of History is one of the most discussed and least read books of all time, which is shame. Fukuyama never came close to saying the things that are ascribed to him. He did not say progress will cease. He did not say events (like earthquakes and wars and presidential elections) will stop. No, what he said was that ideological evolution of the state - the core concepts that are the economic and political foundations of the modern state - had reached a terminus. Humanity arrived at an optimum social arrangment: liberal democratic capitalism. I find it hard to disagree. The counter-arguments to this trend are backsliding in some countries, such as say Russia or China or maybe Venezuela. But China seems to be moving very much forward on the Fukuyama trendline: expanding individual economic rights and social freedoms. If you believe that economic freedom precedes political freedom, then China is distinctly ON the trend path. Russia is making progress, to some extent, as well. As for Venezuela, it is hard to believe its current autocrat has a long-term stable position. Oil can make history slip, as it has in most places where it exists in great quantity, but the rights of mankind seem to have greater power over time.--Tim Kane

As much as we love movies about vengeance and violent retaliation—like Denzel Washington’s Man on Fire—the myth of the heroic Western gunslinger is fading. We’re realizing that the West is incapable of saving the world. So we’re seeing a lot of bleak futures. Good movies like No Country for Old Men and The Road, and bad movies like 2012, Battle: Los Angeles and the Transformers films, suggest that we’re all anticipating some kind of apocalypse. Stories about salvation through science are fading too. While we’re still trying to save the world through technology—a world of electric cars is beginning to seem possible—our own stories keep reminding us that technology is more likely to cause problems than solve them. More and more, we look to the big screen for a vision of hope. But we’re reluctant to look beyond our own strength. We’re reluctant to doubt our own misguided impulses and hearts. So we keep falling back on these flimsy movies that tell us to “Just do it” and “Follow your heart at any cost.” But I think we know, on some level, that our own hearts are too messed up for that. As Bob Dylan sings, “You’ve got to serve somebody.” American stories suggest we should serve our own hearts and impulses, but that’s not doing us any good. The films that resonate most powerfully with me are films about saints, not heroes—characters who put aside their personal impulses, live in humble service of something greater, and become conveyors of grace. On some level, we know that’s a step in the right direction. But those films are rare.--Jeffrey Overstreet

Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading. Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water. Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.--Ross McKitrik

About 22% of finance workers were laid off or quit their jobs last year, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.--Kyle Stock

... maybe capitalism arrived [on Mars] ... and finished off the planet.--Hugo Chavez

... despite its near certain invalidity as a literal description of public debt in the economy, Ricardian equivalence holds as a close approximation.--John Seater

... when controlling the effects of wealth and educational variation among states, infectious disease stress was the best predictor of average state IQ.--Intelligence

Line up seven women, and at least one likely has a covert pair of shoes she bought but didn’t tell her significant other about because they cost so much. But oh, shoe shopping certainly makes many women happier. The average American woman owns at least 17 pairs of shoes, though many women have three times that many.--McClatchy Tribune

Even in describing my narcissism I proved my narcissism. It’s a problem. I’m working on it.--Jon Acuff
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