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Allowance

Oh man! I just found a PDF of Bush’s request for more funds referred to below and it’s even funnier than I thought. Krugman referred to the one page cover letter to the budget ammendment but he didn’t mention that the ammendment request was only THREE pages with the first two pages being a cover note explaining why costs “cannot be estimated with precision.”

How do you estimate something with precision anyway???

To think of all the business plans, market analysis, and positioning statements I need to submit to initiate projects at my company and this is all it takes is four pages for our government to fling $25 billion overseas! The kicker is in the footnote:

**The original version of this document inadvertently contained an incorrect date. The money is intended to be available on the first day of Fiscal Year 2005: October 1, 2004. The orignal document incorrectly listed this date as October 1, 2005.

Not only do we want our money, we want it NOW.

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Current Events

Paul Krugman on Japan

Poking around to look for the latest Krugman column in which he illustrates the arrogance of President Bush’s one page request for an additional $25 billion for adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, I see that he’s also brought together the best of his writings on Japan into one place.

The state of Japan is a scandal, an outrage, a reproach. It is not, at least so far, a human disaster like Indonesia or Brazil. But Japan’s economic malaise is uniquely gratuitous. Sixty years after Keynes, a great nation – a country with a stable and effective government, a massive net creditor, subject to none of the constraints that lesser economies face – is operating far below its productive capacity, simply because its consumers and investors do not spend enough. That should not happen; in allowing it to happen, and to continue year after year, Japan’s economic officials have subtracted value from their nation and the world as a whole on a truly heroic scale.

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Current Events

The Extraordinary Private Cellar of Doris Duke

Bottles of the first ever Vintage (1921) of Dom Pérignon, 1929 Château d’Yquem, 1934 Romanée Conti (pictured), all these and more from the cellers of Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress that made her home several miles up the road in Somerville on a 2,700 acre estate. The bottles will be auctioned off at Christies in NYC to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on June 2nd.

The private cellar of Doris Duke is without question one of the most superlative collections of Fine and Rare Wines to come to market in the nearly forty years of dedicated Fine Wine auctions at Christie’s. This sale ranks as the most unique offering of pre-war vintages ever sold in North America; both in its impeccable provenance and its depth of some of the best wines of the twentieth century.

The cellar highlights a period of wine-making and vintages whose like will never be repeated and is a true “time capsule” of bottlings spanning 1904 to 1934 and encompassing the great châteaux and domaines of France from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne as well as ports and madeiras.

The quantities here speak to an era of grand entertaining long-since passed, the vintages to yields and wine-making techniques changed by technological advancement and in one case to a vineyard now included in another by the appelation controlée laws.

Not only are the wines themselves remarkable, but the quality of the archival material associated with them is equally astonishing. No collection of this era can have been so meticulously catalogued by its owners, so that today’s collector can be assured of the provenance. Researching this collection has brought this cellar to life; tracing the wine’s journey from initial invoices (in old French francs) and shipping dockets, through cellar inventories, entertaining records and through to NY Wines Christie’s recent cataloguing and inspection.

Christie’s Lot Description

Oh yeah, they’re also hawking a 20-carat Tiffany diamond ring too.