Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Worth Reading

Both of these are good:

1. William Dudley, CEO of the New York branch of the Fed, reflecting on what the Fed got right, and wrong, since the crisis of 2008. Calculated Risk did a good job highlighting key passages here. Dudley is thoughtful, and the whole thing is worthwhile. Dudley delivered this talk at the Japan Society (appropriately enough) yesterday.

2. Speaking of bubbles and their consequences, Washington Irving wrote an amazingly accurate description of bubbles almost two centuries ago, in 1820. Forget the Financial Times; this passage from Irving's The Crayon Papers may be the timeliest thing I have read this year. Just read pages 41-43. A friend just sent it. New to me, but I see that it gets quoted on the web from time to time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cautionary Words from Paul Volcker

This new piece in Forbes quotes former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker saying that the U.S. mortgage markets are now a subsidiary of the state.

Some see Volcker's views as simplistic. I think he favors being clear, but that is not the same thing as being simplistic.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Quantification of Love

Can love be reduced to a number? Some songs have tried, at least, to quantify it:

Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (Barry White, soul)
Heartaches by the Number (Ray Price; country)
How Deep is Your Love? (Bee Gees; disco)
Three Times a Lady (Lionel Richie and the Commodores; pop)
You're the First, the Last, My Everything (Barry White; soul)

A poem by Browning begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

When we try to count something that goes beyond reason, we are going to have some trouble. Maybe that is why this conceit appeals: built-in tragedy.

Granted, measuring the ways in which I love you is not the same, exactly, as quantifying love itself. I don't want to be too literal here.

My wife, Ann, noticed this theme in Barry White's music. Landy Pupo-Thompson and Matt Thompson came up with the pop and disco examples.

Can you think of any more quantifying-the-unquantifiable songs? If so, please tell me.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway Meeting Notes

So far, the best set of notes from Saturday's annual meeting, in Omaha, of Berkshire Hathway shareholders I have seen is this one from Motley Fool.

[UPDATE 5/7/13: This set, by Peter Boodell, is even better. It is nearly a transcript.]

I also found the NYT's set, here, helpful.

There is a good set from Morningstar, too. I don't think a subscription is required (but if so, it is a good excuse to sign up for Morningstar, which is useful).

That's probably enough, but for those wanting every tidbit, this set from the FT is worthy, and Charlie Munger did a long CNBC interview with Becky Quick.

I often go to the meeting, but skipped it this year.