Delicious LibraryThing

The Wall Street Journal pointed me to LibraryThing, a new social networking site based on the contents of your bookshelves. I dug into it and found a very cool feature: you can give it your Delicious Library database and it will import all the books (based on recognizing ISBN numbers) into your online bookshelf.

I haven’t played with it yet but you can bet I will when I get home. This is a near perfect marriage of offline and online functionality: scan a book with your iSight, upload the record in one step, and you’ve published it online. Very cool. Thought this was functionality that should have been in Delicious Library from the beginning.

Buffett: Estate tax repeal “counter to democracy”

I find it interesting that one of the wealthiest men in America thinks that the estate tax giveaway currently being debated by Congress is a bad idea. After all, I thought the whole point of the estate tax repeal was to benefit the wealthy. But if the wealthiest Americans think that it’s a bad idea, then who thinks it’s a good idea?

And just how bad an idea does Buffett think the estate tax repeal is? There have been various quotations from him over the past few days that suggest that he thinks it’s a very bad idea indeed:

  • NY Times, A Gift Between Friends: “As for any thought he might have had in giving the bulk of his billions to his three children, Mr. Buffett was characteristically blunt. ‘I don’t believe in dynastic wealth,’ he said, calling those who grow up in wealthy circumstances ‘members of the lucky sperm club.’”
  • NY Times, Buffett’s Billions Will Aid in the Fight Against Disease: “Mr. Buffett was scathing yesterday in describing his feelings about estate taxes, which the Bush administration is trying to kill. The ability of rich men to pass on ‘dynastic wealth’ to their grandchildren is offensive to the American tradition of meritocracy, he said. He gets particularly upset at his country club, he said, hearing members complain about welfare mothers getting food stamps ’while they are trying to leave their children a more-than-lifetime-supply of food stamps and are substituting a trust officer for a welfare officer.’”
  • Boston Globe, Buffett gives billions, hits bid to repeal the estate tax: “‘I can’t think of anything that’s more counter to a democracy that dynastic wealth,’ he said. ‘The idea that you win the lottery the moment you’re born: It just strikes me as outrageous.’”
  • (from 2001), Dozens of the Wealthy Join to Fight Estate Tax: “ Mr. Buffett said repealing the estate tax ‘would be a terrible mistake,’ the equivalent of ‘choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics.’”