"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Uh Oh ... maybe "global warming" isn't quite so out of line


Then there is the lack of polar ice melt ...http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

More here
Why Joe Bastardi sees red: A look at Sea Ice and GISTEMP and starting choices

Friday, March 26, 2010

View from my "desk"

Seems like the same damn scene every day
Blue Sky, Sunshine ... Eagles, swans, geese, ducks
Deer may have moved "upland"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

The problem for this decade

We take them out of the hands of the folks on Wall Street, and put them in Washington.
I'll try to stay local ...

For the rest - the ability to think is critical.

Q&A with Wilbur Ross: Mr. Distress is ready to buy - Mar. 9, 2010:

"What are the big challenges for investors now?

Government intervention is one. Washington, D.C. is the new Wall Street. No significant financial transaction of any consequence occurs without it. About 90% of all mortgages are granted through Washington. Health-care reform would mean another 16% of the economy under more government supervision.

But there is no evidence that more regulation makes things better. The most highly regulated industry in America is commercial banking, and that didn't save those institutions from making terrible decisions.

The relationship between information and decision-making is a challenge. Everyone gets the same information at basically the same time, so the value of information has gone to zero. And there has not been proportionate growth in the investment community's ability to sort through it all. People spend so much time absorbing that they don't have time to understand what it means. This creates volatility.

For example, people suddenly decide Greece is the problem, and whack, the market is down 10%. If weeks from now people decide California is the problem, markets will move again. Everyone has known for over a year that both places are troubled. Why do we care now? How do we know that the problems of Greece or rescuing that country will make a difference in the economic landscape one way or the other?

That's why the value of expertise and the ability to interpret information will someday go to infinity. "

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wow ... what an idea!

Low cost to free for chronic conditions if you stay on meds, high cost if you take options that are less proven.

Insurers test health plans that stress patient choices - USATODAY.com:

"Workers at a Portland, Ore., steel mill soon will be able to pick a new type of insurance that offers free care for some illnesses, such as diabetes or depression, but requires hefty extra fees for treatments deemed overused, including knee replacements, hysterectomies and heart bypass surgery.

The insurance, which will be offered by five different insurers in Oregon, is the most far-reaching and potentially controversial step in an effort by employers nationally to rein in medical spending by redesigning health benefits."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fair warning

A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin. - By Charles Munger - Slate Magazine:

I just hope that our politicians and financial "brains" can get their heads out of their asses in time.

Oh yeah, and the voting public that expects a free ride.

Forward thinking

Do it before someone else does.

Global CIO Quick Take: Cisco TelePresence Shaping Next-Gen Hotels -- TelePresence:

" ...however, the real point is that Starwood has taken a huge leap in recognizing that the mission of its business hotels is to facilitate and enhance the flow of business, and not necessarily to limit that scope to having physical bodies inside its properties. This is a terrific bit of courageous and innovative thinking from Starwood, which clearly acknowledged that if new technologies and evolving customer preferences are going to have an impact on its revenue, better to go the cannibal route than have some outsider jump in and sweep up the new business while Starwood is left in the past."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bradley’s ‘Imperial Cruise’

Last Sunday's read, a bit disjointed, sometimes repetitive, sometimes poorly edited (Denver being "west" of San Francisco.
That said, interesting insights.

Books of The Times - James Bradley’s ‘Imperial Cruise’ - Queasy Side of Roosevelt’s Diplomacy - Review - NYTimes.com:

"Mr. Bradley, the author of “Flags of Our Fathers,” does not simply cite Roosevelt’s egregious talk. He presents this much-ignored aspect of Roosevelt’s thinking with sharp specificity (“I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth,” Roosevelt wrote in 1906) and then goes on to make a much more damaging point, angrily and persuasively connecting Roosevelt’s race-based foreign policy miscalculations in Asia. His thesis in “The Imperial Cruise” is startling enough to reshape conventional wisdom about Roosevelt’s presidency."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Health Care

First, listened to Warren Buffett on CNBC this AM
One topic was Health Care, and reform.
Reading between the lines - scrap the Dem's plan, go for cost controls first, then include the currently uninsured.

One comment was that his partner Charlie Munger read a piece in New Yorker by Dr. Atul Gawande, and was so impressed that he sent a check for $20K just because he was so impressed by the ideas.

A few min ago I picked up the Feb 22 issues having dog-eared this to read.
Agree 100% - fix costs first, then expand coverage.
Some is really really simple shit - like wash your hands before operating !

Make a List. Check It Twice - BusinessWeek

"Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and New Yorker writer, had a huge impact on the health-care reform debate last summer when he wrote about wide regional disparities in Medicare spending. The article focused on McAllen, Tex., one of the country's priciest health-care markets. Gawande's conclusion—that doctors in McAllen charge more not because their patients are sicker or their care is better but simply because they can—caught the attention of reform forces across the nation. President Barack Obama had his entire staff read it.

Gawande may end up wielding influence again with his new book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. He starts the book by explaining how a simple five-item checklist in the operating room can dramatically reduce hospital-acquired infections, which kill 99,000 Americans a year."


Dr. Peter Pronovost, a critical care specialist at Johns Hopkins, devised his own operating room checklist in 2001. On a plain sheet of paper he wrote out five steps doctors and nurses in the OR should follow, all "no-brainers," as Gawande puts it: Wash your hands with soap, sterilize the patient's skin, put sterile drapes over the entire patient, wear a mask, gown, and gloves, and put a sterile dressing over incisions. Within a year the rate of infections related to IV tubes at the hospital went from 11% to zero. Only two such infections occurred over the next 15 months. Michigan instituted Pronovost's five steps in every hospital in the state, and within three months infections related to IV tube insertions dropped 66%.