(Community Matters) from WSJ blog of Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting today:
Charlie Munger takes a hard line on the financial industry, saying that the country is “making a huge mistake not learning enough from the big mess that came from wretched excess” in the financial system. Munger says he advocates taking an “axe to our financial sector” and “whittling it down” to a smaller size.He says the tax system should discourage trading of assets, and that securities trading shouldn’t be left to the rapid-fire pace of computerized trading – what he said “amounts to legalized front running.””He’s getting warmed up,” Buffett says.
Did we fix too big to fail?
Buffett last year issued a “thank you” letter to America, praising taxpayers for the bailouts that saved Wall Street, and — he conceded — rescued his investments, too. Now, Buffett says the U.S. hasn’t really solved the “too big to fail” problem — or the risk of financial institutions growing so large and so important that the government can’t let them topple.
Buffett said it’s inevitable that the government may need to bail out some companies even if “people won’t like it.” But the price, he said, should be very high. The “problem will always be with us. For that reason you have to do things to reduce the propensity to fail,” Buffett says.
How? CEOs of companies that need bailouts, and their spouses, should be left “dead broke,” Buffett said. And the board should suffer too, he says.
(Community Matters) not only the two Fusebox Dinners (ughh, and today’s Bottled-in-Bond: The Decline and Fall of a Thug as Told in Five Drinks created by playwrights Steve Moore & Zeb West plus bartender Jason Stevens; I’m embarrassed to have flaked on this one due to extenuating circumstances) but also last night’s dinner hosted by Barbara Woghlemuth and Carrie Stapleton. It’s an annual event just before Barbara leaves for Cape Cod thru October. Suzanne Bryant, Sarah Goodfriend, Michael Mitchell, Robert Torian and I are the usual guests since Steven’s always traveling. Last night Robert couldn’t make it and Steven could. As usual, Barbara & Carrie outdid themselves, homemade Indian food from samosas as appetizers to coconut burfi for dessert. The spicy halibut paired with the Alsatian Gewurztraminer was exquisite; the entire evening was perfect – including sitting out on their back deck with a cool breeze overlooking the Long Center and downtown skyline.
(Community Matters) KT posts a compelling essay on prioritizing values over a hazy notion of winnability on Burnt Orange
Charles Blow in the NYT: Silliness and Sleight of Hand – “That is how sleight of hand works: distract and deceive. They need this distraction now more than ever because the right’s flimsy fiscal argument — that if we allow fat cats to gorge, crumbs will surely fall — is losing traction. ”
The shine has dulled on Warren Buffett. NYTimes’s Joe Nocera: The Party’s Over for Buffett. Still a fan of the man’s financial genius and philanthropic nature, though the saintly PR has been wearing thin ever since realizing he was a major investor in/purchaser of derivatives even while he was publicly criticizing them as financial vehicles of mass destruction. Add to that his lobbying in ways that directly yielded Berkshire and its holdings billions; I’m not sure he ever asked to be sainted. So, he’s mortal. blog of today’s Berkshire shareholder meeting – always great reading
Thoroughly enjoying thumbing through Marla Camp’s inaugural issue of edible Austin Cooks! [Dec 2010]. She gave me a copy at this week’s Springdale Farm dinner. Especially appreciate Chef David Bull’s, Emmett & Lisa’s and Garrett Weber-Gale’s recipes.
(Community Matters) ST sent link to me. Economist says he’s brought back classical guitar – Matthew Hinsley might have an opinion on this 🙂
Vodpod videos no longer available.
(Community Matters) from Andy Tobias:
If you have five minutes (or a uterus), watch this censored Florida legislator make his case for choice. He calls out his state legislative colleagues for espousing small, hand s-off government for corporations but big, intrusive government for average citizens like his wife.
Incorporate My Uterus.com