Monthly Archives: September 2013

Really great article about the NSA’s overreach by The Guardian: Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights

One of my favorite paragraphs from the piece provides a great teaser:

“We have learned that in pursuit of its bureaucratic mission to obtain signals intelligence in a pervasively networked world, the NSA has mounted a systematic campaign against the foundations of American power: constitutional checks and balances, technological leadership, and market entrepreneurship. The NSA scandal is no longer about privacy, or a particular violation of constitutional or legislative obligations. The American body politic is suffering a severe case of auto-immune disease: our defense system is attacking other critical systems of our body.”

I keep wishing the defenders of our fourth amendment rights were as loud, as well organized, and as well funded as those that defend our second amendment rights.  I also can’t help but think about the probability of dying from a terrorist attack as compared to say a car accident, heart disease, or gun violence.  It is a minuscule probability at best – so why undermine the constitution over it? (as if there is ever a good reason to undermine the constitution – give me liberty or give me death!)  I get angry thinking of all the men and women that have died defending our constitution and how quickly those that have sworn to defend it subvert it.

For a long recap of how the NSA and America’s broader security apparatus have violated our rights see New NSA Revelations Are Breaking Every Day

If reading isn’t your thing there is a great Frontline episode available online called Top Secret America

Both articles were found via The Big Picture


Great list of quotes from Henry Ford.  Go check out the full article 21 Quotes From Henry Ford On Business, Leadership And Life over at Forbes.

  • There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: make the best quality goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.
  • Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
  • Don’t find fault, find a remedy.
  • Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
  • Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.
  • Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
  • Employers only handle the money – it is the customer who pays the wages.
  • Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.
  • The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
  • If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’
  • You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.
  • If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.
  • Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars.
  • Vision without execution is just hallucination.
  • There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.
  • A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
  • I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say what is and what is definitely not possible.
  • A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits.  They will be embarrassingly large.
  • You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.
  • Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
  • To do more for the world than the world does for you – that is success.

Excerpts from Bob Dylan’s Let Me Die In My Footsteps .  This song was written in the early 1960s – seems we’re yet to learn our lesson.

There’s been rumors of war and wars that have been
The meaning of life has been lost in the wind
And some people thinkin’ that the end is close by
“Stead of learnin’ to live they are learning to die.

I don’t know if I’m smart but I think I can see
When someone is pullin’ the wool over me
And if this war comes and death’s all around
Let me die on this land ‘fore I die underground.

There’s always been people that have to cause fear
They’ve been talking of the war now for many long years
I have read all their statements and I’ve not said a word
But now Lawd God, let my poor voice be heard.

If I had rubies and riches and crowns
I’d buy the whole world and change things around
I’d throw all the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history.

A great article by Jason Zweig about the one and only Charlie Munger.  Link (paywall)

As usual, a few highlights:

“Trained as a meteorologist at the California Institute of Technology, Mr. Munger thinks in terms of probabilities rather than certainties, say those who know him well. An early divorce and the death of his young son from leukemia taught Mr. Munger that adversity provides an opportunity to show what you are made of. Decades of voracious reading in history, science, biography and psychology have made him an acute diagnostician of human folly.”

My favorite piece of advice in the article:

“Mr. Munger favors what he calls “sitting on your a—,” regardless of what the investing crowd is doing, until a good investment finally materializes.”

“Many money managers spend their days in meetings, riffling through emails, staring at stock-quote machines with financial television flickering in the background, while they obsess about beating the market. Mr. Munger and Mr. Buffett, on the other hand, ‘sit in a quiet room and read and think and talk to people on the phone,’ says Shane Parrish, a money manager who edits Farnam Street, a compelling blog about decision making.  ‘By organizing their lives to tune out distractions and make fewer decisions,’ he adds, Mr. Munger and Mr. Buffett “have tilted their odds toward making better decisions’.”

Source: WSJ