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Friday, July 15, 2011


The fan who returned the ball to Jeter is everything our society  is not: selfless (For foreign readers, this is baseball talk). He could have made a bundle by selling the baseball; instead, he gets recognition and a photo-op with Jeter, a great guy indeed. Yes, I do mind the insane amount of money made by top athletes, whether in baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. There is absolutely no comparison with a teacher's salary, a good mason's, or a policeman's (or firefighter's). Yet all of these make huge contributions to our world, a capitalist world which places the god of money ahead of everything we hold dear.

From Athens to Madrid, from Dublin to Washington, the main topic of discussion is the national debt. If they were struggling families, bankruptcy would be knocking at their doors. But of course nations cannot go bankrupt; there is no sheriff outside the home ready to seize their assets. The main difference is that politicians are spending money that is not theirs in the first place. Things would change if Congress' salaries were docked in proportion to the national debt. But since they vote their own pay increase (never a decrease), they go ahead and include all that pork without a twinge of conscience. After all, the only thing that counts is the next election.

There is nothing more irritating than a stubborn old dictator; Muammar Gaddafi (one of many spellings) clings to what is left of his former power with a handful of followers. Most people agree that he is not "all there". What could possibly motivate him to risk life and limbs for a lost cause? Pride, insanity, or greed? I believe that none of the above is correct. Maybe he refuses to go because he has nowhere to go. He probably believes in his paranoia that no matter what safe-conduct pass they give him he will end up in some court facing a stern European judge. Look at Mubarak denying that he had ordered his troops to fire on unarmed protesters. Just remember what they say: Even paranoid people are sometimes right.

Will the Google miracle business model end soon? Not according to recent profits topping $2.5B. Larry Page, the very young CEO, shows delight at the success of the new social network Google+ which threatens Facebook, the behemoth of of human interaction. Chrome, the new web browser, is also growing rapidly, as is Android, the favorite OS for smartphones for millions of young people. It seems that both Apple and Google possess the Midas touch: everything they create turns to gold. But while Apple apparently depends on the genius of one man, Steve Jobs, the Google youthful group of engineers and whiz kids don't show any sign of fatigue. Looks like a smart investment, even at today's high prices.

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