Monday, April 11, 2011

Quotes of the day

Free and competitive markets aren't thought of as promoting tolerance and reducing bigotry, yet they do so far more effectively than ever-more-detailed civil rights regulations. Writing in the 1730s, Voltaire famously described the London Stock Exchange as a place "where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts." Gary Becker earned the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics in part for demonstrating that discrimination is economically detrimental -- free markets penalize an employer who discriminates for reasons unrelated to ability and productivity. Freedom of association is indispensable to making a free society work. No culture is without unfairness. But where men and women are unfettered in their freedom to form or avoid relationships with others -- socially and economically -- tolerance and cooperation increase, and ugly prejudice recedes.--Jeff Jacoby

The story does not say that "responsible lending" produced a housing bubble and a crash, resulted in millions of foreclosures, and wiped out the savings of millions of other borrowers who did not turn in the keys to their lenders.--Arnold Kling

Why do we allow the exceptions of school nurses and military doctors, but no other exceptions? One obvious common element here is that most medics and school nurses are government employees. This seems to be part of a more general pattern, whereby we often relax regulations for the government. For example, the military is also not subject to OSHA rules on workplace safety, and the worst asbestos and hazardous waste sites have been on government property. Congress has also exempted itself from rules against workplace discrimination and stock insider trading.--Robin Hanson

Suppose that in a mere three years your family’s spending – spending, mind you, not income – jumps from $80,000 to $101,600. You’re now understandably worried about the debt you’re piling up as a result of this 27 percent hike in spending. So mom and dad, with much drama and angst and finger-pointing about each other’s irresponsibility and insensitivity, stage marathon sessions of dinner-table talks to solve the problem. They finally agree to reduce the family’s annual spending from $101,600 to $100,584.--Don Boudreaux

The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama regrets his vote as a senator in 2006 against raising the debt limit — a vote he's now pressuring Congress to take.--ERICA WERNER

Leaders eat last.--military correspondent

I know, as you must know, that SecDef Gates recently spoke at West Point and expressed his view that the personnel system must be reformed. I was gratified by that. But I've also heard in the months since my article first appeared too many voices making noise to hide the signal. The nation we have sworn to protect deserves better.--Tim Kane

... I do realize that we in sportswriting and sports broadcasting set the genius bar pretty low for coaches and athletes. The only people who set it lower are the people at Apple, who essentially take a bunch of ordinary people, have them take two Macbook Pro classes and one on the iPhone, and then immediately graduate them to geniuses. These geniuses even get their own bars. But I still maintain that Manny Ramirez was a hitting genius. ... In my own romantic view of baseball and the world, I tended to see Manny as baseball’s Mozart — an often vile personality who did one thing so beautifully that you could not turn away.--Joe Posnanski

How many times have you been told to start with a little stretching? Yet multiple studies of pre-workout stretching demonstrate that it actually raises your likelihood of injury and lowers your subsequent performance. Turns out muscles that aren’t warmed up don’t really stretch anyway, and tugging on them just firms up their resistance to a wider range of motion. In fact, limbering up even has a slackening effect on your muscles, reducing their stability and the amount of power and strength they’ll generate. ... If you’re in the fitness-equipment business, free weights are a loser. The 2010 model looks too much like the 1950 model, and they both last forever. Far better to create gleaming $4,000 contraptions that can be reinvented every two years, and then hire a PR firm to promote some made-up training theory claiming that machines are the answer ... Commercial health clubs need about 10 times as many members as their facilities can handle, so designing them for athletes, or even aspiring athletes, makes no sense. ... It can be hard to believe a true strength coach the first time he tells you that by pressing and dead-lifting on even days, squatting and doing chin-ups on odd days, avoiding all other exercises, and adding a little to the bar each time, you’ll be stronger than you’ve ever been in only a month’s time.--Daniel Duane

... parents under 30 are decidedly less happy than their child-free peers. Then, once parents hit 40, the relationship reverses and people with children are cheerier than those without.--PAMELA PAUL
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