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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On foundations vs politics


Questions for Peter Peterson - NYTimes.com:

"Why not donate your entire $1 billion foundation to the government, to help reduce the deficit?
I wouldn’t have much confidence that they would know how to spend it."

Sic Transet Gloria

Easy come - easy go

Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard - NYTimes.com

Windfall of $14Million and how to blow through it

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Law

Insider Trading Probes & Wall Street - CNBC.com

The majesty of law is in certainty
Law should not be made via litigation or prosecution
That should be left to legislation, or rule making

Lay out the law, then enforce

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yes But

Exceed the US ... maybe in gross terms, but not on a per capital basis, and it will be an older society

China to Exceed U.S. by 2020, Standard Chartered Says - BusinessWeek:

"The economy is “unbalanced” and faces considerable risks, including a widening of imbalances, asset bubbles, overcapacity and rising bad loans which could lead to a serious decline, the report says. A 10 percent decline in investment in China would make it very difficult to achieve any GDP growth at all, the report estimates."

They must not have gotten the word

The word that we are "running out"

Article | Oil, Oil, Everywhere . . .

"The cost of oil comes down to the cost of finding, and then lifting or extracting. First, you have to decide where to dig. Exploration costs currently run under $3 per barrel in much of the Mideast, and below $7 for oil hidden deep under the ocean. But these costs have been falling, not rising, because imaging technology that lets geologists peer through miles of water and rock improves faster than supplies recede. Many lower-grade deposits require no new looking at all."

In times of trouble

Time for politics and politicians to find new paradigms, new approaches, new thinking.

Throwing the Bums Out for 140 Years - NYTimes.com:

"But the political instability of our own time pales when compared with the late 19th century. In the Gilded Age the American ship of state pitched and yawed on a howling sea of electoral turbulence. For decades on end, “divided government” was the norm. In only 12 of the 30 years after 1870 did the same party control the House, the Senate and the White House.

The majority party in the House — intended to be the branch of government most responsive to swings in popular sentiment — shifted six times in the era’s 15 Congressional elections. Three of those shifts in power entailed losses of more than 70 seats by the majority party (at a time when there were roughly 100 fewer seats than today’s 435). In 1894, Democrats shed more than 100. Today’s electoral oscillations, for all their drama, seem modest by comparison."


‘Giving Pledge,’ Promoted by Buffett and Gates, Stirs a Vigorous Debate - NYTimes.com

Sure, it puts power in the hands of those making grants, but is it really worse than giving funds to Congress for pork?

I think not

Friday, November 19, 2010


Russell Simmons :
"And as a businessperson, you can guarantee the long term success of your business by offing a product that promotes the kind of lasting success, lasting happiness, that you want for yourself. In seeking that, you sharpen your business choices. It happens naturally. As you start to have faith in the concept that what we give is what we get, you find that you start to move away from things that you don't like, that you don't want yourself, until even the things that produce marginal short-term happiness become marginal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

35 years ago tonight

Edmund Fitzgerald

by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.
© 1976 Moose Music, Inc.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Long term problems

Europe's economy: Pushed to the breaking point | The Economist:

"Something clearly has to give. Policy changes are pushing Europe toward a very long period of stagnation if not an outright return to recession. Workers are underemployed and furious. Core and periphery have seriously diverging views on the direction policy should take. And markets continue to pressure indebted nations to make cuts they may not actually be able to make."