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Oracle of Omaha

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Book review in the Washington Post:

The Oracle of Omaha (Full Book Review)

Excerpt: "Manual labor is for the birds," Warren Buffett decided somewhere around the 8th grade. At this precocious age the Nebraska native had also already discovered his extraordinary facility with facts and figures, the very attribute that would transform a socially awkward misfit into "the Oracle of Omaha," the most successful investor of modern times, the world's richest man and most generous philanthropist. This quintessentially American tale about the ultimate self-made man -- and in some ways the least changed -- unfolds for the first time with Buffett's full cooperation in Alice Schroeder's gargantuan authorized biography, The Snowball.

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Palin Speech

Palin is in Omaha giving a speech as I write this. I did not attend the speech but I did go over to see the circus outside the civic center. There were several thousand people in line to see the speech. Across the street there were around a dozen Obama supporters with signs. I thought they would have a more robust showing but in the big picture there was not much point to being there at all. Anybody in line at a Palin event is unlikely to be swayed by someone across the street with a sign. One sign read "Welcome to Obamaha". Another read "I wear lipstick but I will never vote for you".

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Sidewalk poems

On "Weekend America", a public radio program, there was a story called, "Everyday Sidewalk Poetry" that is about a city run project to put poetry in sidewalks when new concrete is poured.

You can listen to the story here.

Near the end of the piece there was a mention about a kid that liked the poetry is his neighborhood.


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On the radio program "The Story" there was an interview with Max Hardberger.

Pirates are demanding $20 million ransom for a ship they've seized off the coast of Somalia. They say they're prepared to fight to the death. Max Hardberger has direct experience of high seas piracy. His job is to take back ships that have been pirated, many of them worth millions of dollars, and return them to their rightful owners.

Max has worked all over the Caribbean and Latin America - sometimes employing voodoo priests to help him, and at other times using blow torches by moonlight to cut anchor chains. As he tells Dick Gordon, Max enjoys out-pirating the pirates - even when it means occasionally stepping over the legal line himself.

Here is the MP3 that contains the entire interview. (Best thing to do is to right click on link and select "save link as")

One of Max's books: Freighter Captain

From Max's website:

June 2, 2008 — The Broadway Books Imprint of Random House Acquires Max Hardberger's Memoirs

With the working title of "The Good Pirate", Max Hardberger's latest book will take readers on a journey through the hellhole ports of the world

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Blog entry at the NYT:

Snip! Nearly One-Fifth of Homes Have No Landline

By the end of the year one in five American households may well not have a home phone line. That’s the conclusion of a new report by Nielsen, which says that already 17 percent of homes rely entirely on cellphones.

This trend has of course been brewing for a while, but the tough economy is pushing more people to snip the cord.

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Reference Question

I have a patron that gave me a description of a publication but does not know the name. Wanted to run this by you guys and see if anyone had any ideas.

Patron said that he has seen in the past a publication that gathers together editorials from around the world on current event. So for this week it would have a page about the Olympics and then display a list of quotes from editorials around the world about the Olympics. There would then probably also be a page about the war in Georgia and pages on other major events of the week.

Anyone familiar with this resource?

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Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

In June, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in conjunction with the president of the American Foreign Service Association, announced the creation of a “Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List,” and there’s not a Grisham novel anywhere in sight.

See here.

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Cool hard drive

I was with a friend and he is using his laptop. He then pulls out this little box that is half to a fourth the size of a paperback book and he hooks it to his computer with a USB cable. I ask him what it is. He says that it is a 250gb hard drive. In addition to the small size the cool feature was that it did not need to be plugged into anything but the USB drive for power. I also have a 250gb external hard drive but it is the size of a hardback book and requires a power adapter as well as a USB connection. The drive my friend had was almost small enough to slip into a pocket.

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The $131.09 Perlstein Paperback

The book "Before the Storm" that is a 2001 book on Barry Goldwater and the rise of the conservative movement is commanding prices around $130 on Read additional details here.

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Should've been a librarian

Captain Kirk wishes he had decided to become a librarian in the TAS episode "Bem". Spock, as always, responds by speaking the truth.


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Billboards That Look Back

New technology has made it possible, using tiny cameras, to gather details about people looking at billboard ads, such as their age or gender.

Article here.

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Implications of ‘Daily Show’ Webcasting

Some cable systems are starting to complain that too many of the programs they pay for are being given away on the Web for free.

Story in the NYT:

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What Is the Value of a Human Life?

NPR has a series called "This I Believe". Hear Kenneth Feinberg discuss what he believes.

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Go Green -- Buy a Used Car. It's Better Than a Hybrid

Article in

Ditching your gas guzzler is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you really want to do something about global warming, get a used car. You'll be putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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Apple-Amazon e-book slugout ahead? Some possibilities

“…A slightly larger iPod Touch linked to eBooks distributed via the iTunes store would match and raise the game with Amazon. At that point, Amazon would be competing with the iTunes distribution channel, but with Amazon hardware that looks and feels like it was designed in Soviet-era Russia.”

More at Teleread:

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Lehrer Says ‘News Hour’ Money Woes Are Worst Ever

It has been a rough few weeks for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS.

Jim Lehrer said he expects to return to his nightly newscast toward the end of June after aortic valve replacement surgery.

In late April, Mr. Lehrer, who turns 74 on Monday, had aortic valve replacement surgery. He said he was recovering nicely and expects to be back on the air toward the end of June. But the nightly newscast’s funding situation could take longer to heal.

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Times Are Tough, Except in the Repo Business

So many people have so many things they can no longer afford. This is an excellent time to be a repo man.

When a boat owner defaults on his loan, the bank hires Jeff Henderson to seize its property. The former Army detective tracks the boat down in a backyard or a marina or a garage and hauls it to his storage facility and later auctions it off. After nearly 20 years in the repossession business, Mr. Henderson has never been busier.

“I used to take the weak ones,” he said. “Now I’m taking the whole herd.”

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Book Review in the NYT of:

When Bill Clinton was in the twilight months of his presidency, he made a compelling case that by integrating China into the world economy we would gradually undercut the viability of its authoritarian government. It was only a matter of time, he told an audience of American and Chinese students in March 2000, before a Net-savvy, rising middle class would begin to demand its rights, because “when individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realize their dreams, they will demand a greater say.”

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COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Book Review in the New York Times:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

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'The Age of Reagan'

Book review of: THE AGE OF REAGAN A History, 1974-2008.

In the New York Times:

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