Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quotes of the day

Paul Krugman's wife, Robin Wells, came out with a piece arguing Occupy Wall Street's issues are something economists should address. I wonder whether she thinks biologists should all teach about creationism because so many students believe in some sort of transcendental spark to life. Probably not.   ... You see the same thing with Noam Chomsky, were socialism always is to be encouraged, but any time it happens, as in the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, or Cambodia, these aren't considered 'true' socialist countries (if only Trotsky won!). Their naive beliefs do not work because they aren't feasible, and so too the idea that large banks can be some big cookie jar for agreed-upon investments as opposed to being administered by professionals.--Eric Falkenstein

Moral of the story: it’s harder to tax the top earners than you think.
The second moral is that tax incidence remains a neglected topic, even among top economists.
The third moral is that too many people, including both Krugman and his critics on this point, have been neglecting the literature.--Tyler Cowen

NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.--Christopher Horner

Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that's another way religions die.--Bret Stephens

We have waited for the wave of investigative journalism seeking the reasons for Black absenteeism — but so far we have been disappointed. Black failure to attend right wing demonstrations appears to be a mysterious matter demanding detailed investigation, but there is nothing to discuss when they shun left wing ones. Moreover, a relative absence of Black faces in right wing crowds clearly demonstrates the racism of both the protesters and their ideas, while an absence of Black faces in left wing crowds means — absolutely nothing.--Walter Russell Mead

Occupy Wall Street might seem like a movement that would resonate with black Americans. After all, unemployment among African Americans is at 15 percent, vs. almost 8 percent for whites. And between 2005 and 2009, black households lost just over half of their median net worth compared with white families, who lost 16 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.
A Fast Company survey last month found that African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street.
While the black press and civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the National Urban League were critical to past protest movements, black churches were the organizational force behind the rhetoric. Church leaders mobilized famous names and unsung heroes to end segregation through meetings, marches, demonstrations, boycotts and sit-ins. But where is the church now?
Some argue that the black church is losing its relevance, especially among young people who have been turned off by the religious theater of celebrity preachers. Even after lenders were accused of targeting black churches and communities as fertile markets for subprime mortgages, these churches are not joining Occupy protests en masse.
And despite their inclusive mission statements, major civil rights organizations and leaders appear to be selling out black America for corporate money. Beginning in the 1980s, for example, the tobacco and alcohol industries meticulously cultivated relationships with leaders of black communities. Institutions such as the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund and the Congressional Black Caucus have counted those industries as major donors — at the expense of the health of the black community.--Stacey Patton

What if fat is good and carbs are bad? What if the government has been nudging people toward obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Oops! Maybe it would be better to allow more competition in ideas and less nudging. I’ll nudge myself, thank you very much.--Russ Roberts

What you're looking for is some characteristic that is common to the people own pets, exercise regularly, have an occasional drink or two, and practice religion. What could be inferred about all of those people? I'm interested in your answers because the readers of this blog are good at pattern recognition. You'll probably come up with several plausible answers. The pattern I noticed is that each of the lifestyle choices directly lowers stress by improving a person's attitude. My hypothesis is that stress is the root cause of most health problems.--Scott Adams

In the context of daily life as we experience it, of course our joys and sorrows feel intensely meaningful. But just as it surely makes a (if you will) meaningful difference why the war itself is being waged, it surely makes a rather large difference whether our joys and sorrows take place in, say, C.S. Lewis’s Christian universe or Richard Dawkins’s godless cosmos. Saying that “we know life is meaningful because it feels meaningful” is true for the first level of context, but non-responsive for the second.--Ross Douthat

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