A Quote from Warren Buffett

I was reading this transcript of a conversation with Warren Buffett today and read this wonderful bit:

We did an informal office survey by looking at the total tax footprint versus the total income. I earned 46 million and paid a tax rate of 17.5%. My rate was the lowest, the average was 33%, and my cleaning lady paid 40%. The system is tilted towards the rich. The Forbes 400 total net worth has gone from 220 billion to 1.54 trillion, an increase of 7-to-1. You see in legislature that there is lobbying carried on by the powerful over issues such as the estate tax and carried interest for private equity investments. We need to flatten income and payroll taxes, and those making under $30,000 shouldn’t be bothered.

 Let’s imagine that 24 hours before you are born, a genie comes to you and tells you devise a social and economic system. The only catch is that after you designed the system, you would choose a paper from a barrel which would determine your demographics. What objectives would you want? You need to devise a system that creates prosperity. It needs to be a meritocracy, to put the right people in the right place. It needs to have a strong education system, and throw off lots of goods and services. It also needs to not discriminate against women or minorities. Even though the per capita GDP is $47,000, 20% of the population makes less than $20,000. We need to eliminate that fear of sickness or old age. A tax code is the codification of a country’s values. But you can’t kill the golden goose of prosperity.

Three Day Training with Lenzie – Spring ’08

The past three days have been as enjoyable and as enlightening as all of the past workshops I’ve attended with Lenzie. With each workshop I only grow more and more appreciative of the opportunities I have to learn from Lenzie and to be with such wonderful groups of people to learn tai chi together with.  I am still sorting through the experiences and thoughts from this workshop and will enjoy reviewing my notes tomorrow to gather up all that has happened. 

One thing I do want to note is how much I enjoy the people associated with the school.  It’s great to see all of the people we see regularly, and it’s a special treat to get to see those from out of town whom we’ve had connections with in the past.  Training with the class, I found myself genuinely and completely happy… ^_^

Seriousness of Composition, the Composer, Xenakis

Yesterday I finished reading a two part interview with Xenakis, Reynolds, Lansky, and Mâche (Part 1 and Part 2) and found myself once again encountering Xenakis’s views on composition and music, ones that I had found a deep connection with before and now once again. I’ve always felt a depth of seriousness in his work and in his approach to composition and found a great deal to appreciate. I have noticed that regardless of the style, technique, or character, all of the composers and pieces of music I’ve strongly connected with share a certain seriousness to them. Listening to the music, I always felt a certain sense that there was a great deal of the composer in the work, not necessarily something expressive (and more often the case no sense of expressionism at all), but rather… as if the composer had put a lot on the line for this work, that the work in itself means a great deal to the composer and they exposed something very essential of themselves in bringing the work about.

Thinking about Xenakis and all of this as I am starting to focus on my musical work again, I feel there is a great deal to consider and to learn from…

A Spring Weather Weekend’s Ruminations

The past few days have been delightfully relaxing and refreshing, the weather as if it was spring: warm, bright, clear and strikingly beautiful.  This weekend has made it easier to recall the spring and autumn days that seem to bring the Bay Area to its richest colors, the times when one can easily awake and marvel, observing the world as the daytime passes by…

January passed quickly; the beginning of the month was full with a writing project taking all of my attention, followed by a great deal of work for my day job to meet an approaching deadline.  The deadline for the work occurred two Fridays ago and was met in time.  All of the hard work put in during the weeks preceding was rewarded with a full but non-stressful week this past week as now things are being tested.

It was only on this past Friday did I really feel the demands of work had finally eased to the point where I could fully relax and begin to direct my attention back to my personal work and life.  This weekend I have been catching up slowly with emails and notes I had written to myself, reviewing the state of my personal work, as well as looking at how life has gone by since the new year began. Thinking about all the things I had sought out to focus on for this year, I knew going in January that I would have to commit myself to these other tasks first before attending to my goals, yet it seems like a great deal of time has passed now…

This weekend was fantastic for taking a look at it all, though was only the beginning of the process. Again I’m faced with looking how to balance the day job, tai-chi, music programming, composing, general learning, and all the rest.  I feel that one thing that was definitely missed during the busy beginning of this year was a daily life filled with reflection and observation, so that will certainly be on my mind this coming week.

Regardless of how it will develop from here, I can say that I have enjoyed catching up the past few days and getting back in touch with all of these very important concerns of mine. Looking forward, I do not know how it will all happen but will be interested to see how it all goes…