Warren Buffett’s Bad Advice

I agree with James R. Harrigan about Warren Buffett’s recent pronouncements.

I think Buffett’s donation of most of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is probably a good idea. That organization might be the best in the world at carefully optimizing huge charitable gifts to do the most good for people. It’s certainly not perfect, but spending those amounts of money wisely is hard. If Buffett doesn’t want to do that work, but generally agrees with the Gates Foundation causes, then letting them do the work for him makes sense.

Unfortunately, Buffett also decided to spout off against repealing (or reducing) the inheritance tax.

There’s nothing wrong with people directing the (already taxed) fruits of their labor toward their loved ones. Buffett has a right to dislike inherited wealth. He doesn’t have a right to steal it (or help others do so).

It’s fine to encourage people to direct most of their wealth to other causes. He’s setting a great example of doing just that. But, it’s not fine to impose it on others by force.

And, I notice that Buffett didn’t decide that the best place to put his money is in the hands of politicians.

Why force others to do such a stupid thing?

Tech Ed and Microsoft

I was at the Microsoft Tech·Ed Conference last week.

I try to avoid writing about my job on this blog, and I’m not going to change that (much) now. I just thought I’d mention that I found it very valuable and enjoyable. Microsoft did a great job, as usual, of keeping a large event like this fairly well organized.

The non-techie highlights worth mentioning are:

  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (the actress who plays Chloe O’Brian on 24) appearing at the Keynote address. I’m a “24” fan, and I liked that they had her there, and that they used “24” as a theme for their amusing keynote videos.
  • The party at Fenway Park on Thursday night. Microsoft finally found a place with enough seats for everyone! I’d never been to Fenway before and it was pretty cool. Also the Train concert was much better than I expected (I didn’t really love the music from listening to downloads, but I really enjoyed the live performance).

The other thing worth mentioning is how I’m constantly impressed by Microsoft. They’re far from perfect, but they manage to continually advance their products and technologies in ways that are likely to satisfy the actual demands of their customers. Most other large companies fail in their attempts to do that.

Zarqawi: Good Riddance

Congratulations to everyone responsible for the death of Zarqawi!

The world is a better place now that he’s not alive in it.

Anyone who doesn’t think so is not the sort of person I understand.

I have no idea whether this will indicate a major turning point that
will help end the Iraqi security problems, but I certainly hope that it
will. It seems that it must cause at least some short-term disruption
to the terrorist activities, and hopefully things will cascade towards a
major reduction in them.

In any case, this is an occasion for all decent people to rejoice.

Ted Nugent

I heard about this exchange between a reporter for The Independent and Ted Nugent on the radio this morning:

“What do these deer think when they see you coming?” I ask him. “Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there’s the man that shot my brother?”

“I don’t think they’re capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They’re only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French.”

He’s often outrageous and sometimes ridiculous; but you gotta love Ted Nugent.