Gongol.com Archives: August 2011
Brian Gongol

August 10, 2011

Threats and Hazards The London riots continue
Mob scenes are really depressing things -- to think that self-government depends on the self-control of the governed, and that it's never entirely safe from peoples' tempers taking a turn for the worse and overriding what should be their better judgment.

Business and Finance Stop subsidizing my competition
The problem with American cities and states and their approach to economic development is that many elected officials and professional civil servants are too quick to think that they know better than everyone else what kinds of businesses their places need, so they set up incentives to encourage people to set up shop in those industries. But the problem is, there's almost always someone else already in business providing that service, who then gets taxed and ends up indirectly subsidizing their own competition. It's not reasonable, it's not efficient, and it's not fair. Thus one can understand why a hotelier in Lincoln, Nebraska, doesn't want the city subsidizing the construction of other hotels -- especially when his isn't even full.

Business and Finance The fight over Dr. Pepper made with real cane sugar
For good reasons or not (maybe it's all just in our heads), a lot of people think that soft drinks made with cane sugar taste better than the stuff made with corn syrup (which is most pop in America). Now there's a fight going on between a small bottler of Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar -- and the parent company that owns the product formula.

Agriculture Bill Gates has bought 5% of John Deere
While interesting, it shouldn't be a huge surprise. Gates undoubtedly sees the macro-scale factors at work on a global scale: Particularly, that the world's population keeps rising, and as a result, so will demand for food. And as goes demand for food, so will go the demand for the agricultural tools that Deere makes to plant, manage, and harvest crops. Deere is consistently profitable, if not spectacularly so, and its price to book value isn't outrageously high. These are factors that seem to make sense for an investor who's still looking 20 to 30 years down the road, like Gates.

Humor and Good News Ron Santo gets a statue at Wrigley Field
It's too bad he didn't live to enjoy the honor

Health American Medical Association chief wants budget debate to include discussion about medical costs
And it should -- though the problem is that it probably won't, at least not thoughtfully

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