Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quotes of the day

OLD AGE. IT IS NOT SOMETHING our generation likes to talk about very much, at least not in realistic categories. We talk about preparing for retirement, but only with the greatest reluctance do we prepare for infirmity and death. Very few talk about these matters openly and frankly—without, on the one hand, dwelling on them (which shows they are frightened by them), or, on the other hand, suppressing them (which again shows they are frightened by them).--Don Carson

[Cam] Newton's gone from Urban Meyer's spread system at Florida in 2008 to a version of the Pistol offense at Blinn (Junior) College in Texas in 2009; in the Pistol, the quarterback stands about halfway back to where a passer would take a snap in the shotgun -- maybe four yards instead of the deeper seven -- giving him the ball faster and allowing him to make decisions quicker while still being able to analyze the defense before the snap. Then in 2010 it was on to the Auburn option offense, and now the pro style, versatile scheme of Rob Chudzinski (a big fan of throwing to the tight end and downfield). Four different worlds in four years. He's had to adjust to new offenses, new people, new cities. He's almost like a military brat, or a coach's kid, always moving. This helps him not only culturally but in learning a new system. He's had a major new system change every year for the last four.--Peter King

All I ever wanted was a chance. I thank God for Michael Irvin giving it to me. I thank God for Mr. Jerry Jones giving it to me. ... There's no way I'd ever be here right now without that show [4th and Long]--Jesse Holley

Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.--Erik Calonius

Scientists think they can prove that free will is an illusion. Philosophers are urging them to think again.--Kerri Smith

... the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.--G.K. Chesterton

Some smart people believe that insider trading should be legal and find it puzzling that our legal system considers it worse than murder. But if you are going to make insider trading a crime, you probably do so on some sort of theory of fairness: the little guy reading 10Ks and watching Jim Cramer should have just as good a chance of making money as the big mustachioed guy who gets calls from corporate directors as soon as they get out of board meetings. This is kind of a nutty theory but we seem to like it. It may be related to our theory that all Americans should have the same opportunity to invest their own retirement funds or make their own decisions about future healthcare needs.--Matt Levine

... the lack of change in fourth down decision-making is also a depressing reminder that human biases are exceedingly hard to fix. When the game is on the line we default to our lazy hunches and instincts, even when the rational choice couldn’t be more clear.--Jonah Lehrer

As a general rule I believe the presumption should be in favor of government actions only when market failures are quite large and persistent. So clearly governments should have the dominant role in the military and police areas, in the judiciary, in protecting against massive pollution, and in providing a safety net for its least fortunate members (private charities are important but do not do enough). On the other hand, when market failures are relatively small and likely to be temporary, as in monopoly situations or in exploiting consumer ignorance, government involvement should be minimal, as in minimalist anti-trust policies, and in allowing consumers generally to make their own decisions. The intermediate cases are the most difficult: when market failures may be significant, and yet government alternatives are not attractive. This may be decided on a case-by-case basis, but I believe the usual rule should then be to let the market operate. This belief is based on the conclusion that, on the whole, government failure is far more pervasive, damaging, and less self-correcting, than is market failure. Others may reach different conclusions, but these are the problems that a relevant welfare analysis should focus on. Simply concluding that in particular instances markets are not working perfectly is a misleading and incorrect basis for supporting active and sizable government involvement.--Gary Becker

That’s right — I completely ditched my loyalties to my favorite team since childhood for a couple of years because the Vikings weren’t all that great and the Colts suddenly were. I defy you to come up with a more textbook case of jumping on a bandwagon than that without using the words "Miami" or "Heat." ... Perhaps the most telling sign of how bad things have gotten is that one of my friends was actually given free tickets to the Colts’ home opener against the Browns on Sunday. --Mark Titus

I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap. When the president said the unemployed couldn’t wait 14 more months for help and we had to do something right away, I believed him. When administration officials called around saying that the possibility of a double-dip recession was horrifyingly real and that it would be irresponsible not to come up with a package that could pass right away, I believed them. I liked Obama’s payroll tax cut ideas and urged Republicans to play along. But of course I’m a sap. When the president unveiled the second half of his stimulus it became clear that this package has nothing to do with helping people right away or averting a double dip. This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill. ... I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around. But remember, I’m a sap. The White House has clearly decided that in a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, it has to be mean and intransigent too. The president was stung by the liberal charge that he was outmaneuvered during the debt-ceiling fight. So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach. ... The president believes the press corps imposes a false equivalency on American politics. We assign equal blame to both parties for the dysfunctional politics when in reality the Republicans are more rigid and extreme. There’s a lot of truth to that, but at least Republicans respect Americans enough to tell us what they really think. The White House gives moderates little morsels of hope, and then rips them from our mouths. To be an Obama admirer is to toggle from being uplifted to feeling used. The White House has decided to wage the campaign as fighting liberals. I guess I understand the choice, but I still believe in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008. I may be the last one. I’m a sap.--David Brooks

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) premised their Obamacare score on the assumption that only 7 percent of employers would drop their employee health plans. If the percentage is closer to the 30 percent, as the McKinsey survey results predict, Obamacare's price tag would rise by almost $1 trillion.--Conn Carroll

The secret of poetry is cruelty.--Jon Anderson
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