Whitney Tilson: “My favorite sportswriter, Rick Reilly, with a very powerful, emotional story about organ donors:

. . . But Rudy wasn’t there anymore. He was all over America. He had checked the donor box on his driver’s license, so his lungs went here, his kidneys there, and his pancreas somewhere else. His heart stayed close, though. It went to a man named Sammy Robinson, 44, in nearby Hughes, Ark., who’d been waiting for eight months.

“Rudy saved my life,” Sammy says. “I told his mom, ‘I know you lost a son. But I want you to know you’ve gained another.'”

…There were 65 million registered donors in the U.S. in 2006. Now there are 102 million. That’s still only 42 percent of 18-and-over Americans, but people are starting to get it: Death can mean life.

This is the easiest thing you can do to get the new year off to a great start – become an organ donor. Just go to and select your state.


I certainly hope you’re not up at seven on Saturday mornings or eight on Sundays, but Chris Hayes is, and you should set your DVR to record him both days every week on MSNBC. It’s smart and substantive. Here he was yesterday with a segment on the newly-launched effort to investigate wrong-doing that led to the housing collapse, as explained by one of the key figures, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, leading the charge.


If you’re interested in family complexities, justice, morality, religion . . . well, I like to know as little as possible about movies before I see them, so (in case that’s how you like to experience them, too) let me just leave it at this: “A Separation” absorbing, engrossing, enlightening. It matters not a whit that you don’t speak Farsi (do you?). Just sit close enough to read the subtitles.


Peg: “Although I hope people don’t give you fifty cents, much less $100K, I loved Friday’s anecdote. I remember once being at my attorney’s and for some reason we were discussing money and levels of comfort. He said he had a client who felt uncomfortable any time his net worth dropped below $100 million – and would cut spending. Needless to say, I feel exactly the same way – minus some zeros!!! Still, despite being a struggling Realtor and feeling like hurling myself off the nearest highway ramp some days, I know I have much more than many of my friends. So – for that I am grateful. I am waiting for the party that represents MY beliefs: fiscal conservatism, regulation – but lean, friendly to free and open markets … and … SOCIALLY liberal.”

☞ I think the party of Clinton and Obama is pretty close to what you have in mind. We would like nothing more than to get back to the surpluses Clinton left us. (Remember his admonition, as he was leaving, not to cut taxes but, rather, to “save Social Security first?” It was his popularized way of saying we should shore up our national balance sheet.) Yet the Republican Congress of 2001-2006, paired with the Republican President, handed our party back such a horrendous, collapsing, deficit-engorged economy in January, 2009, that the only smart thing to do in the short run was to fill the gaping hole in private demand with gargantuan public demand. Which we should have done even bigger than we did (“you can’t fill a $3 trillion hole with a $787 billion stimulus”) and that we still need to do, setting idle construction workers about the task not of building more McMansions (private spending) but the task of fixing 154,000 failing bridges, modernizing 35,000 dilapidated schools, smartening our power grid (public spending) and, thereby, jumpstart our economy, watch tax revenue grow and unemployment costs shrink, and begin to get our infrastructure in shape for the Twenty-First Century.


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