Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quotes of the day

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.--Jesus Christ

I’d like to thank all the rich people for donating tonight. And when I say rich, I mean rich in spirit.--Lady Gaga

People in New York are nice too -- many of the nicest people I know are New Yorkers -- but in New York there isn't often TIME to be nice. If you're nice and let people in at the Holland Tunnel you will NEVER get where you're going. In Kansas City, people have the time t0 be nice.--Joe Posnanski

While entrepreneurs are grasping for venture capital, the nation's leading firms seem puzzled about how to spend their money. Their lack of imagination stunts economic growth. A big problem is that these companies tend to treat nascent opportunities the same way that they approach established businesses. They want data, even though data on non-existent markets is inherently fictional.--Stephen Wunker

... the number of young women (ages 20-24) joining the financial industry every year is about 22%. However, this number is actually much lower than it was a decade ago. Approximately 141,000 women or 2.6% have left Wall Street in the last ten years. To give you some context, 9.6% or 389,000 men have started working in finance in the same period. What is the reason for this exodus?--Meredith Lepore

As my colleague David Leonhardt pointed out recently, in 1954, about 96 percent of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. Today that number is around 80 percent. One-fifth of all men in their prime working ages are not getting up and going to work. ... We’re locking in the nation’s wealth into the Medicare program and closing off any possibility that we might do something significant to reinvigorate the missing fifth. Next time you see a politician demagoguing Medicare, ask this: Should we be using our resources in the manner of a nation in decline or one still committed to stoking the energy of its people and continuing its rise?--David Brooks

Palin entered the national consciousness more suddenly than most high-level politicians do, and she did it in the intense final stretch of a presidential campaign, which had a kiln-like effect of hardening the initial impression—depending on your point of view, of the provincial half-wit portrayed by Tina Fey or the plain-sense Mama Grizzly proudly leading her army of culture warriors. In modern politics, your “brand,” once established, is almost impossible to change. Only a handful of politicians have changed theirs (Hillary Clinton is one), and then only through tireless perseverance. Palin has shown little inclination to revise or deepen these impressions—she didn’t respond to my requests to discuss her record—and she hasn’t designated anyone else to do it for her. (Mama Grizzlies claw; they don’t contextualize.) ... As governor, Palin demonstrated many of the qualities we expect in our best leaders. She set aside private concerns for the greater good, forgoing a focus on social issues to confront the great problem plaguing Alaska, its corrupt oil-and-gas politics. She did this in a way that seems wildly out of character today—by cooperating with Democrats and moderate Republicans to raise taxes on Big Business. And she succeeded to a remarkable extent in settling, at least for a time, what had seemed insoluble problems, in the process putting Alaska on a trajectory to financial well-being. Since 2008, Sarah Palin has influenced her party, and the tenor of its politics, perhaps more than any other Republican, but in a way that is almost the antithesis of what she did in Alaska. Had she stayed true to her record, she might have pointed her party in a very different direction.--Joshua Green

A lot of people on the East Coast, when they think of Sarah Palin now, some five-letter words come to mind: Scary. Crazy. Angry. Maybe some others. But the five-letter word that people in Alaska associated with her name was clean.--Cliff Groh

One of the ways in which government is able to operate unaccountably—that is, outside of democratic checks and balances—is by facilitating public ignorance about its activities. The debt ceiling vote helps raise public awareness about the costs of government, keeping government accountable and increasing democratic participation. Lawmakers must go on record as approving an increase in the debt limit. They must confront, in a very public manner, the costs of the programs they have enacted. This is inconvenient for lawmakers and a great many of them would probably like to escape this burden. Which is all the more reason to keep the debt ceiling process around.--John Carney

There’s nothing like a little dust-up between millionaires and billionaires to start us thousandaires yawning. And when the upcoming pro football season is in danger of being cancelled because of it, we’re likely to say: a plague on both your mansions. Too bad, because the current struggle between labor and management in the National Football League not only reflects the current attacks on unions across the country but conjures up, even if in cartoon fashion, some crucial American issues: racism, classism, sexism, recreational violence, and the health-care gap. No wonder football seems to have replaced baseball as the national pastime.--Robert Lipsyte

The U.S. Postal Service continues to hemorrhage money, with a loss of $2.2 billion in the most recent quarter.--Ben Rooney
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