Warren Buffett: Slumlord and scurvy little spider

When Warren Buffett first moved into the manufactured home business, it seemed like his much-touted philosophy of investing for value would be a boon to the industry that provides so much of America’s affordable housing stock. His reputation as an investor who sought out quality goods and services, growing his fortune with their success, suggested he would focus on the beneficial aspects of factory-built homes, leading away from the unsustainable predatory practices and value-less rent-seeking that have plagued the business. But that didn’t happen. Buffett’s “value” talk, it turns out, is pure shinola. And he’s raised value-less rent-seeking to an art form. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (4.8)

Fred Kaplan on the outline of the deal with Iran. Mary Hunt on the Vatican Council on Women. Helaine Olen on the amnesia of the poor scolds. Marika Rose on the meaning of “Christianity.” And Ed Kilgore reminds us that “We’ve Used ‘Religious Liberty’ for Discrimination Before.” [Read more…]

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Sen. Inhofe’s perfectly legal corruption is worse than former-Rep. Schock’s law-breaking

As usual, the real scandal is not what is illegal, but what remains perfectly legal. Aaron Schock was forced to resign because he was corrupt, but 534 members of Congress remain in office and many of them are far, far more corrupt than he has ever managed to be. Consider, for example, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. [Read more…]

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Campus ghost stories and real American history

I’m happy to read about the Penn Ghost Project. I do not believe in ghosts, but I do believe in ghost stories. Searching for ghosts is bound to be a fruitless waste of time. But searching for ghost stories can be important and meaningful. [Read more…]

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Good news for your customers is good news for your business

This isn’t how our CEO will react to this happy news for Bob and for 700,000 more of our customers. Our CEO, like most CEOs, has lost the ability to think of our customers as people with jobs and budgets. So he won’t be thinking, “Woohoo! 700,000 of our customers just got a raise!” He’ll be thinking, “Ohnoes! Wage increases in the retail sector could lead to higher labor costs — I must oppose this!” And he won’t hesitate to try to screw over 700,000 — or 7 million, or 70 million — of our customers if that’s what it takes to oppose the slightest possibility of the potential of the shadow of maybe a slight increase in labor costs. [Read more…]

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Two cheers for CT’s take on multi-level marketing

The remarkable thing here is that Anderson’s skeptical take on multilevel marketing appeared on the website of Christianity Today — a publication at the institutional heart of the white evangelical subculture. And in that subculture, you can’t swing a Stella & Dot necklace with hitting several institutions dependent on multilevel marketing money. [Read more…]

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Rich people have been pretending to be stupid for so long that they’ve actually become stupid

This study from the Pew Research Center demonstrates that a majority of America’s wealthiest residents are appallingly lacking in not just compassion, but facts, education, intelligence and curiosity. Or, to put it more directly, this study shows that a majority of the wealthiest Americans are ignorant, stupid and dull. The wealthy are not simply hard-hearted. They’re thick-headed. [Read more…]

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‘Generational curses’ is not a Christian teaching. It is an ancient grift that predates the Bible.

If anyone ever tells you that you may have inherited a generational curse, you can be sure that this information will be followed shortly thereafter by a request for money. Don’t give it to them. This isn’t a Christian doctrine, it’s a trick — an ancient con-game that dates back to prehistory. [Read more…]

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