Saturday, February 28, 2009

25 Most Popular Blogs

As per Nicholas Carlson Silicon Valley Insider

  1. Gawker Properties -- $170 million.
  2. Huffington Post -- $90 million.
  3. The Drudge Report -- $48 million.
  4. Perez Hilton -- $32 million.
  5. Sugar, Inc -- $27 million.
  6. TechCrunch -- $25 million.
  7. MacRumors -- $21 million.
  8. SeekingAlpha -- $11 million.
  9. GigaOm -- $9.5 million.
  10. Politico -- $8.7 million.
  11. SmashingMagazine -- $7.7 million.
  12. SearchEngineLand -- $4.5 million.
  13. Boing Boing -- $3.6 million.
  14. ReadWriteWeb -- $3.4 million.
  15. SB Nation -- $2.7 million.
  16. Destructoid -- $2.5 million.
  17. Mashable -- $2.5 million.
  18. Alley Insider sites -- $2.25 million.
  19. /film -- $2.1 million.
  20. The Superficial Network -- $2 million
  21. Neatorama -- $1.5 million.
  22. Daily Kos -- $2 million.
  23. Talking Points Memo -- $1.2 million.
  24. VentureBeat -- $1 million.
  25. -- $1 million.

Medical Care Paradox

Some thoughts on how our advances in technology and medicine have in fact fueled the spiriling costs of health care.

Today we have "answers" for illness that are sheer marvels of technology and medical inginuity. Unfortunetly these "answers" cost money and continue to grow in complexity and effectivness. Years ago when some was diagnosed with a particular condition the (e.g. hyper tension) the "answers" were limited (e.g. lose weight, stop smoking, diurectics, etc.). However today the "answers" for that same hypertensive condition are geometrically greater and more effective; and more costly. There is an economic value to creating newer and better drugs because our medical system will always want to provide a better "answer".

Given that our healthcare system is designed to do all that it can to help those in need is it any wonder why our health care system's costs continue to spiril out of control. Afterall there's no ability to say "no" to our increasingly expensive healthcare solutions ["answers"] for no one - and rightfully so - is willing to deny care when and if its available.

Regulatory Effectivness - Why Gov't stinks

Warren Buffet authors one of the most insightful pieces of business writing each year called The Chairman's Letter. The following is a exerpt from that letter which I think summarizes very well the problem with our Regulatory Systems; No Accountability; No Penalty for failure. 

"For a case study on regulatory effectiveness, let’s look harder at the Freddie and Fannie example. These giant institutions were created by Congress, which retained control over them, dictating what they could and could not do. To aid its oversight, Congress created OFHEO in 1992, admonishing it to make sure the two behemoths were behaving themselves. With that move, Fannie and Freddie became the most intensely-regulated companies of which I am aware, as measured by manpower assigned to the task. On June 15, 2003, OFHEO (whose annual reports are available on the Internet) sent its 2002 report to Congress – specifically to its four bosses in the Senate and House, among them none other than Messrs. Sarbanes and Oxley. The report’s 127 pages included a self-congratulatory cover-line: “Celebrating 10 Years of Excellence.” The transmittal letter and report were delivered nine days after the CEO and CFO of Freddie had resigned in disgrace and the COO had been fired. No mention of their departures was made in the letter, even while the report concluded, as it always did, that “Both Enterprises were financially sound and well managed.”

In truth, both enterprises had engaged in massive accounting shenanigans for some time. Finally, in 2006, OFHEO issued a 340-page scathing chronicle of the sins of Fannie that, more or less, blamed the fiasco on every party but – you guessed it – Congress and OFHEO."

Exerpted from Warren Buffett's Chairman's Letter; page 17
Berkshire Hathaway Corp
Feb 27, 2009

Warren Buffett Explains Derivatives

Below is an exerpt from Warren Buffett's Letter from the Chairman" that is an excellent explanation re: why we're in the financial mess that we're in.

"Derivatives are dangerous. They have dramatically increased the leverage and risks in our financial system. They have made it almost impossible for investors to understand and analyze our largest commercial banks and investment banks. They allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to engage in massive misstatements of earnings for years. So indecipherable were Freddie and Fannie that their federal regulator, OFHEO, whose more than 100 employees had no job except the oversight of these two institutions, totally missed their cooking of the
books. 16 Indeed, recent events demonstrate that certain big-name CEOs (or former CEOs) at major financial institutions were simply incapable of managing a business with a huge, complex book of derivatives. Include Charlie and me in this hapless group: When Berkshire purchased General Re in 1998, we knew we could not get our minds around its book of 23,218 derivatives contracts, made with 884 counterparties (many of which we had never heard of). So we decided to close up shop. Though we were under no pressure and were operating in benign markets as we exited, it took us five years and more than $400 million in losses to largely complete the task. Upon leaving, our feelings about the business mirrored a line in a country song: “I liked you better before I got to know you so well.”