Amazon gets it right

Being from overseas, I’ve always wondered at the obsession in American financial circles about companies’ quarterly performance. I’m more accustomed to focusing on year-on-year performance, with five- and ten-year plans for corporate development. (Far Eastern companies think in terms of decades, even centuries!) I was therefore encouraged to read an article at Yahoo! Finance that had precisely the right perspective on the latest results from Amazon. Here’s an excerpt. Amazon is a highly unusual American corporation, for several reasons: Amazon unapologetically builds its business for the long-term, without worrying about what short-term Wall Street traders think. Amazon sacrifices near-term profits

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A French version of Tricky Dicky?

Readers will doubtless remember the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal in New York a few months ago. Although the charges against him were withdrawn, it emerged that he did have a ‘consensual’ sexual encounter with a hotel maid. Numerous other allegations of improper conduct were levied against him by previous alleged ‘victims’. Now comes the news that his past dalliances appear to have caught up with him at last, and probably destroyed his political future. The Local (France) reports: French newspapers have this month been reporting in torrid detail the latest accusations to hit Strauss-Kahn — that while head of the International

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When differences of opinion beget bigotry and hatred

I’m not at all happy to note the changing reactions by many commentators to the injury of a former Marine during the ‘Occupy Wall Street’-related protest in Oakland, CA. The story is here. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, stood calmly in front of a police line as tear gas canisters that officers shot into the Occupy Oakland protest Tuesday night whizzed past his head. “He was standing perfectly still, provoking no one,” said Raleigh Latham, an Oakland filmmaker shooting footage of the confrontation between police and hundreds of protesters at 14th Street

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A mid-air collision with a difference!

Thanks to Glen W. of Texas for sending me the link to this video clip. It involves a Russian paraglider pilot and an eagle over the Himalayas. They collide in mid-air, shown about 30 seconds into the video clip, followed by the pilot deploying his emergency parachute and descending safely to a heavily-wooded hilltop below. The rest of the video shows his attempts to disentangle himself and free the eagle from the strings and straps of his paraglider (which he manages to do successfully – skip forward to about the 9 minute mark to see the final stages of the

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The secret history of Project Azorian

In connection with my post a few days ago about attempts to increase secrecy about the existence (or otherwise) of official US government documents, I read about something known as the ‘Glomar response‘. Wikipedia describes it as follows: In United States law, the term Glomar response (aka Glomarization or Glomar denial) refers to a “neither confirm nor deny” response to Freedom of Information Act requests. . . . The Glomar Explorer was a large salvage vessel built by the Central Intelligence Agency for its covert “Project Azorian” — an attempted salvaging of a sunken Soviet submarine. Aware of the pending

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Don’t bust your . . . stern?

I’ve been reading a very interesting book by Captain John A. Harper (USNR, retired); ‘Paddles!: The Foibles and Finesse of One World War II Landing Signal Officer‘. It’s an action-packed, humorous history of his career as a Landing Signal Officer aboard USS Belleau Wood during World War II. USS Belleau Wood, an Independence class light carrier, during World War II (image courtesy of Wikipedia) (Aircraft from the Belleau Wood had the distinction of shooting down the last enemy aircraft destroyed during World War II.) The book intrigued me, so I started looking for more information about the work of a

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More on the implications of the disastrous Eurozone bailout

Two articles in the Telegraph caught my eye today. Both are seriously worrying – and both also bear out aspects of what I said on Friday. The first is by columnist Liam Halligan, who explains ‘Why the latest eurozone bail-out is destined to fail within weeks‘. I want last week’s European bail-out to work. My sincere hope is that collective and decisive action by the eurozone’s large member states will stabilize global markets, at least for a while, so allowing the global economy to catch its breath. . . . Yet the responses of our politicians to recent financial troubles

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