Tom: ‘Your initial column was probably right. Contrary to the Snopes page and others, Consumer Affairs looked into this and some hotel keys are dangerous. Click here.’


Bill McLeese: ‘Your answer to John in Atlanta missed an important point. John is assuming that we liberals see high taxes as an end in themselves. Wrong! We don’t like to pay taxes any more than anyone else. But we recognize that there are legitimate functions for government which need to be properly and fairly financed. Our focus is on the results: strong defense, law and order, better education, better health care, environmental protection, capable emergency response, low deficits, etc.’

Derek: ‘So higher taxes are a good idea, although you won’t pay them by yourself, but you would if others would. Just the kind of leadership one would expect from the Democratic leadership.’

☞ Oh, Derek.

Stephen Gilbert: ‘John in Atlanta calls you and Buffett and Ben Stein glitter types. I can’t think of a glittier group. When I hear the word, an image of Buffett driving around Omaha in his Buick comes to mind, immediately followed by you with a closet full of cases of ketchup you bought on sale.’

☞ But average Ben Stein’s flamboyance into the mix and, well, anyone? Anyone?


Alan Light: ‘They call Stephen Wiltshire The Living Camera because he can see something once and draw it precisely from memory. Stephen is autistic. In this clip, he sees Rome for the first time via helicopter and then in three days draws the entire city in exact detail, down to the number of windows in the buildings, columns in the Coliseum, and back streets and alleys. Goosebump-inducing.’

☞ Okay, but I can get a suction thing going and dangle hotel-size mouthwash bottles from my upper lip.


They do not come smarter or wiser than Kinsley. Here he asks questions about private equity deals (in which we small shareholders would appear to get the short end of the stick). Well worth the read.

And I guess the answers are: This is why Goldman Sachs partners make 30% a year on their money and you and I might make 9% . . . but 9% is still better than 5%, so the game is still worth playing for the prudent little guy, but the rich get richer. It’s troubling, if not entirely surprising. Maybe some of you will come up with more interesting or insightful answers. Maybe you or the S.E.C. will come up with proposals for palliative measures.

Have a great weekend.


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