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Microsoft

Bill Gates, Time Magazine "Person of the Year" 751

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the charity-gets-you-far dept.
klubar writes "Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, were named Time Magazine "Persons of the Year". He was joined in this honor with Irish rocker Bono-all being named for being "Good Samaritans" who made a difference."
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Bill Gates, Time Magazine "Person of the Year"

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  • by DogDude (805747) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:56AM (#14284800) Homepage
    This should prove... once and for all, to the teeming masses of Slashdot kids, that people, by and large, DO NOT hate Microsoft and Bill Gates.
  • Well. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Winckle (870180) <mark@noSPaM.winckle.co.uk> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:57AM (#14284804) Homepage
    As much as we dislike him, he does give an awful lot of money to charity, so well done Billy.
    Of course the other argument is that, percentage wise he doesn't actually give that much...
  • Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timmyf2371 (586051) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:57AM (#14284808)
    All too often we will critiscise Bill Gates for the actions of his company and practises they employ; but whether we're right or wrong to do so, both him and his wife must be congratulated for their donations and the work they have done through their charity.

    Keep up the good work, Mr & Mrs Gates.

  • Respect.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aero2600-5 (797736) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:58AM (#14284809)
    As much as I dislike Bill Gates and his business practices, there is no doubt that he and his wife have done more for charitable organizations than anyone in history. Bill Gates and his wife deserve to be celebrated for their efforts.

    Aero
  • by mister_llah (891540) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:59AM (#14284815) Homepage Journal
    Before you all flame Time for liking Bill Gates... bear in mind that Hitler also won man of the year back in his day...

    I am not making any links, I am not vehemently anti-Gates, but I just thought it would be a good perspective to keep in mind before you went and sent letter bombs to Time :)
  • by fussili (720463) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#14284827)
    Mark 12:41-44
    41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
    42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
    43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
    44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-- all she had to live on."

    As much as I understand the necessity of patting people on their back for doing anything at all with their insanely huge wealth - to stop them turning away sneering at the 'ingratitude' of the world, I can think of a lot of "Good Samaritans" who better deserved Person of the Year
  • by mfh (56) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#14284829) Homepage Journal
    Bill Gates amassed a fortune through ruthless and merciless and eventually illegal practices.

    For every illegal practice Bill's company has been accused of, there are at least a few practices that have helped bring computers and the internet to the masses. Not sure I would personally consider Bill Gates to be a good person, but you have to be a ruthless dictator in order to run a multi-national. When in Rome. Show me one CEO who can exist in *that* world, without holding true to the values of the Sith.

    That said, much of Bill's contribution to the dark side of the force has sparked great strides for the light. Our enemies unite us, and there is no clearer enemy to Open Source than Bill Gates. Maybe he just wants us all working for free? Nah.
  • by kgroombr (608645) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#14284834)
    Although they did give a large amount back, what percentage is this to what was taken in? There are a lot of people that don't make a lot of money and give a large percentage to charities. The total amount given is really not a measure of one's thoughtfulness, the percentage is really where it counts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:03AM (#14284836)
    He arguably robbed from the rich and gave to the poor...
  • Re:Kudos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:10AM (#14284869) Homepage
    Ahh, yes... If only the owners of other sleazy, immoral and downright criminal corporations spendt more of their illgotten gains on charity, well the world would definitly be a much better place.
  • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:11AM (#14284876)
    Unless you can honestly claim to give a larger percentage of your salary to charity than bill gates has, then I encourage you to please enjoy a hearty slice of shut the hell up.

    Or maybe Roman Abramovich is a model citizen, because, while he wastes his money on football teams, yachts, and whores, at least he hasn't made (gasp! horror!) a closed-source operating system? That's really what it's about, isn't it?

  • Sorry Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed Almos (584864) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:12AM (#14284881)
    Giving away millions does not excuse you from Microsoft tactics such as:

    1) EULAs that take away the users rights

    2) Operating systems with little or no security

    3) Business tactics that make the Borgias look like a kindergarden group.

    5/10, try harder.

    Ed Almos
  • by loggia (309962) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:17AM (#14284912)
    Rip off people, lie, cheat, do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make billions... ...then give a lot of it away to receive praise.

    Time Magazine, how stupid are you.
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:17AM (#14284915) Homepage Journal
    I mean, how many billions of dollars have you given to charities and foundations?

    The same amount I've raised using illegal business practices.

  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:18AM (#14284919)

    good samaritan who made a difference n. Rich bastard in need of a tax break.


    Standard Slashdot comment every time this topic comes up.
    Hopefully, at sometime time, the morons will realize that
    making charitable donations doesn't increase your money.

    1) You have 100$. No charitable donations.
    You pay say 30% tax on it - i.e. 30$.
    You have 70$ left with you.

    2) You have 100$. You give 20$ to charity.
    Now you pay tax only on the remaining 80% i.e. 24$.
    The money you have left = 100 -24 - 20 = 56$.

    i.e You would have been left with more money if you
    hadn't given charity & got the tax breaks.

    The only diff to this scenario is when giving the
    donation puts you in a lower tax bracket. However
    I doubt it that's the case with Bill Gates - he should
    far far above the highest tax bracket.
  • by ninja_assault_kitten (883141) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:19AM (#14284923)
    Who's more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him?
  • by City Jim 3000 (726294) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:19AM (#14284925)
    Yeah right, he's spending $6000 million to get a profit on his $200 million investement in medical companies?

    Conspiracy Theory FTW!

    Bill Gates is surely giving a larger percentage to charity than I do. I think I gave $2 for the flood victims because a couple of swedes were there, otherwise I usually think "well build yuor homes somewhere else next time". Otherwise I havn't been giving a single penny to charity for about 10 years.
  • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:20AM (#14284933)
    Your initial point was that the size of his donation was not that large. Then, you proceed to make excuses why his is not bigger. So, his is bigger in both absolute and percentage terms. You also neglect to mention that a) the guy actually follows through where his money goes so that it is used wisely and b) that he has plans to basically give away EVERYTHING by the time he's gone.

    I mean really. See beyond your jealousy and hatred of IE's "broken HTML" and other assorted technical-philosophical gripes for one minute.

  • Bono bloody Bono (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wwwrench (464274) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:21AM (#14284938) Homepage
    Well, this shows how credible Time mag. is

    Time also named former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton as "Partners of the Year" for their humanitarian efforts after the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, and the unlikely friendship that developed from that work.

    Unlikely friendship??? Someone hand me a hanky. Gotta love applauding Bush for Katrina. It ain't as ironic as giving Kissenger the Peace prize, but it's gettting there. And Bono??? Bono???
    The guy may be well meaning and all, but by allowing politicians to exploit him, he essentially allows them to look good while they make the problems of Africa worse. Him and Bobby Geldof were complete tools at the last G8, allowing Blair to look like he wanted to help Africa, when all they did was continue the same IMF policies of handouts in exchange for selling off of resources to the west. And Bono does it over and over again [zmag.org].

  • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:22AM (#14284948)
    I think that tells you what we can all make of Time Magazine's exalted choice.

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=11 worst [thebestpag...iverse.net]

    This quote epitomizes U2's pious, holier-than-thou attitude:

    "I don't know why, but we always had this belief that there was something sacred about our music, that it was almost holy."

    -Bono, pompous asshole and lead singer of U2

    Cocky, high-handed, imperial assholes.
  • by LinuxRulz (678500) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:22AM (#14284950)
    he probably donates, but you know, the biggest donator always gets all the credits. And Gates can donate far more than Torvalds.

    I believe we should be evaluated not by how much we donate, but by what we have left after the donation. Then, I could be considered as a _big_ donator!

  • Re:Respect.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:27AM (#14284978) Journal
    he and his wife have done more for charitable organizations than anyone in history.

    false. You need only to look at all the local libraries that were built and furnished with books or look at a number of our universities (CMU comes to mind). Gates foundation has spent a mere amount compared to the robber barons of the 1800s/early 1900s. Now down the road, he may well do more, but at this time, he has not even come close.

  • by LibrePensador (668335) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:30AM (#14284995) Journal
    No he is not a millionare. And yes you are trolling.

    Are you implying that Bill Gates who keeps for himself every bit of "intelectual property" that he has created or has had others create on his behalf is a better man than a guy who has shared his work with all of humanity?

    I didnt think you were.
  • by turgid (580780) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:31AM (#14285004) Journal

    It just goes to show that people are stupid and that the mass media are sycophants.

    I am sick and tired of hearing what a great genius and philanthropists Bill Gates is.

    Let us not forget that Bill Gates went to India in 2002 and gave $100 million to fight AIDS, which received great press. What the main-stream media failed to report was that $421 million of Microsoft's money at the time went to fight Linux and Free Software [theregister.co.uk].

    So make your own conclusions about his priorities.

  • by loftwyr (36717) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:32AM (#14285009)
    How does that prove anything? Time Warner decides who is Person of the Year. They are easily bought and sold.
  • Re:Well. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Entropy (6967) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:33AM (#14285013)
    Unless you can honestly claim to give a larger percentage of your salary to charity than bill gates has, then I encourage you to please enjoy a hearty slice of shut the hell up.

    God how I *do* hate to defend Bill Gates, but giving to charity is without a shred of a doubt where this man really shines:

    the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately $28.8 billion.

    (Thats from: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/AboutUs/ [gatesfoundation.org] )

    28.8 billion. Buh-ill-eee-on. LARGE number. And even quite a healthy percentage of Gate's own personal fortune. He's worth about sixty billion right now.

    So, if you do not give near half of the worth of your total assets, I second the idea of you "enjoying a slice of shut the hell up".
  • Re:Well. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:39AM (#14285039)
    As much as we dislike him, he does give an awful lot of money to charity, so well done Billy.
    Of course the other argument is that, percentage wise he doesn't actually give that much...

    - My main beef is: how much of that charity money is obtained due to the fact that his company is a gigantic monopoly? He made a fortune entirely on unethical and sometimes illegal competition and now he is donating a boatload of that money away.
  • Re:Well. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:43AM (#14285060)
    Please be sensible people, with wikipedia one click away do we really need to be so uninformed?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gate s_Foundation [wikipedia.org]

    He has donated over 30 Billion dollars and is worth about 50 Billion ATM, can anyone here really say they have given a larger percentage of their money to charity?
  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:44AM (#14285063) Homepage Journal
    How much Linus Torvalds donates? Look here [kernel.org], how much is that worth?
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:45AM (#14285074)
    The point is that they pick people who have made a big difference in the world

    Funny how they missed bin Laden in 2001, who turned the world upside down, in favour of Giuliani, who for all his virtues, was just a mayor. Obviously they choked on following through on their own stated criteria when it was too close to home.

  • by at_slashdot (674436) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:46AM (#14285081)
    You have to understand though that Time gives the title of "person of the year" not on the ground of merit but on the ground of impact on the World. Widows donating money they can't spare don't really have such a big impact.
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#14285102)
    As much as I dislike most Microsoft products, I have no problem with the company or Bill Gates.
    Bill Gates amassed a fortune through ruthless and merciless and eventually illegal practices.
    Ruthless and merciless practices? In competition with other companies? That's what he should be doing. He should be doing his best to (legally) make Microsoft Windows the standard and to make Mac OS and Linux unimportant niche products. As for illegal practices, which of those have made Gates rich? Being a monopoly? It became a monopoly through competition, not extortion. And if people truly felt that Microsoft was too powerful, then they would use other products. But, in general, they don't care. And comparing Bill Gates to the mafia? He's never used violent practices to gain power. No one has died because of him. People have given him his money by buying Microsoft products.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HardCase (14757) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:03AM (#14285180)
    $28,000,000,000 is more than a tiny fraction.
  • Re:Well. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSync (5291) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:06AM (#14285203) Journal
    Wal-Mart saves low-income shoppers $50 billion [washingtonpost.com] a year by having an efficient supply chain. I don't care Mal-Mart give to charity or not.

    Infact, Bill Gates, who had a lot to do with the success of the modern PC revolution has helped hundreds of millions of people get jobs that made them trillions of dollars. And I don't care if he gives to charity either, but sure, it is nice.

    Every market transaction makes both parties better off, or else they would not engage in the transaction.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:06AM (#14285209) Journal
    Actually, many would argue that Giuliani made more of a difference than Bin Laden did on Sept 11th. I would agree with them, and would many (if not most) others.

    It is always easier to destroy rather than build. It is easier to tear down than rebuild. Most mayors would not have shown the leadership that Giuliani did. See New Orleans, use the mayor or governer as examples. Not bad people, but simply not up to the task and not having the leadership skills needed to cope. You and I would probably not done much better.

    So Giuliani *did* make a difference, in making what Bin Laden attempted to do less meaningful. Distructive, yes. Painful, yes. Did it make the US back down and do what he wanted? No.

    "Giuliani was just a mayor" is the *whole point* of why he got Person of the Year. He wasn't supposed to be capable of displaying this kind of leadership, yet he did. He is "just a mayor" that did more to comfort Americans all over the US, and deal with the real issues, make the hard decisions, and kept a cool head he entire time. Perfect? No, but I can't think of anyone else that could have done better, nor anyone else more deserving in 2001.
  • by dominion (3153) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:09AM (#14285224) Homepage
    ... is a bus thief. Say what you want about Bill Gates, or Bono, or whichever "great man" that Time wants to honor this year, but I really can't let my bosom swell over a millionaire or a billionaire throwing out a little bit of their plentiful time and/or money here or there. Hell, if somebody has that much power and money, we shouldn't be "thanking" them for doing the right thing, it should be *expected* of them.

    My person of the year is Jabbar Gibson [wikipedia.org], the 18 year old kid who saved 70 people from the aftermath of Katrina by stealing a bus and driving to Houston. Maybe that's because my definition of a hero is somebody that rises above even when the chips are down.
  • by alfedenzo (233177) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:10AM (#14285228)
    You would have been left with more money if you
    hadn't given charity & got the tax breaks.

    The only diff to this scenario is when giving the
    donation puts you in a lower tax bracket.


    Tax rates are marginal anyway, so it wouldn't save you any additional money if you did switch brackets. Assuming that there's a tax bracket at $90, with everything below it taxed at 15%, and everything above it taxed at 30% as above. Repeating the same two scenarios that you used:

    (1) $100 income, no charitable contribution. $90 @ 15% + $10 @ 30% = $13.50 + $3.00 = $16.50 of taxes. After-tax income: $83.50

    (2) $100 income, $20 charitable contribution. $80 @ 15% = $12.00 of taxes. After-tax income: $68

    So not only does money not magically appear from crossing marginal tax rate boundries, but your tax refund on the donation isn't even as large ($6 in the parent's example, but only $4.50 here), so while the $20 contribution only took $14 out of the parent's pocket at the end of the day, here the same contribution would cost us $15.50
  • by NCraig (773500) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:11AM (#14285233)
    They are in good company; Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and George W. Bush have also been Time's Man of the Year.
    None of those "winners" were lauded as "Good Samaritans." From the article:
    The richest man in the world, Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda, were named Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" ... for being "Good Samaritans" ...
    Or you could have read the summary. Either way, you would have noticed that Bill and Melinda Gates won SPECIFICALLY for doing good. Unlike Adolf Hitler.

    But I would like to congratulate you for creating on of the most subtle Godwins ever =).
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:14AM (#14285252)
    > Let us not forget that Bill Gates went to India in 2002 and gave $100 million to fight AIDS, which received great press.

    Also, $100,000,000 / $51,000,000,000,000 = 0.2% of his net worth.

    Suppose you're far better off than most people, to the point of having $100,000 socked away in the bank, and you decide to be equally generous. Should you expect kudos for your $200 donation?

    What about all the people working their way through college, who still find a way to dro $5 or $10 in their church's collection plate every week?
  • by mormop (415983) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:16AM (#14285261)
    If you're talking charity in the christian sense Mark 6:1-5 is as relevant:

    6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    6:2 Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    i.e Donating to charity and not boasting about it is charity. Putting out press releases afterwards makes it self publicity.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:27AM (#14285315) Journal
    Wish I had mod points. It is easier for a millionaire to give money, since he has plenty to spare. Linux gives everyone his time and talents, which are more precious.

    Kudos to Bill for all the charity work he has done, but the impact of creating a very good operating system that the people in the poorest of countries can use for free, on old "thrown away" hardware is tremendous. I'm not a Christian, but there is good sense in the phrase: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

    Linus's gift will keep giving years after he is gone because it helps raise the education and living standards in the poorest nations. And he doesn't exactly get a tax credit for it. Of course, let us not forget everyone who contributes to FOSS, be it Samba, Apache, Bind or Squirrelmail, and of course our own Jesus look-alike, RMS ;)

    It's hard to measure the impact in dollars, but GNU/BSD/FOSS are great equalizers that embiggen the smallest men.
  • Re:Well. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mustafap (452510) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:28AM (#14285326) Homepage
    Of course the other argument is that, percentage wise he doesn't actually give that much...

    I believe the figure is 2% of his net worth. Thats certainly much more, percentage wise, than I give. Fair play to him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:34AM (#14285358)
    You live in NY? No?

    Bin Laden made a much bigger difference than Giuliani did. Anyone could have done what Giuliani did. Anyone.

    Yes, I'm posting AC because of the tremendous wealth of idiots who think Giuliani did anything extraordinary.
  • Re:Well. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doodlebumm (915920) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:35AM (#14285361)
    I don't really believe he has donated 60%. But even if he has,... even if he gives 100% today, it's really hard to buy your way into heaven, even if you have more money than God. When I think about all the companies he has put out of business through unfair monopolistic practices, thus throwing masses into unemployment, depression, and heartache, it makes me think that this award is "shameful". I don't believe that Gates has been transformed from being a Pre-Christmas-Scrooge-like, greedy shark, to the humanitarian that this accolade would have you believe.

    To show real humanity, Gates would have to open and tell people what kind of a gutter rat he really was and how he is going to change (especially his predatory business practices).

  • by ajdecon (233641) <ajdecon@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:35AM (#14285363)

    Let us not forget that Bill Gates went to India in 2002 and gave $100 million to fight AIDS, which received great press. What the main-stream media failed to report was that $421 million of Microsoft's money at the time went to fight Linux and Free Software.

    Because of course the man's personal spending habits and those of his company are a valid comparison, and he has total control over every action Microsoft takes.

    Whatever else you may think of the man, you can't make a comparison like this to show his priorities. Many others are involved in decisions of where to spend Microsoft's money, and as rich as he is, I imagine $100 million means more to him than $400 million to Microsoft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:50AM (#14285465)
    They didn't want the U.S to back down. They wanted a war.

    Oh, and look what happened, coincidence eh?
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:55AM (#14285502)
    I've had friends who got into publishing and journalism after school... and they weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. Assuming more of the same in the industry, I'm not prone to taking much seriously when journalists stray from objectivity and decide to weigh in with opinion. Which is to say, I'm not much of a fan of journalism. I'd rather they turn the cameras on, shoot some footage, and let me decide for myself.

    That is impossible.

    Where are they pointing the camera? Framing what? Who is mic'd? And what other audio is present? For how long do you shoot?

    The idea that you can somehow remove all subjectivity from the newsgathering process is a false one.

  • by turgid (580780) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:55AM (#14285504) Journal

    That's bad reasoning, it's like saying that if this year I buy a house for $100 000 and only give $33 000 to charity, I'm an evil person for putting my interests before those of people in need.

    No it isn't.

    Bill Gates got where he is today through ruthlessness, double-crossing, lying, cheating and selling deadful products at over-inflated prices. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist.

    Microsoft's strong-arm tactics and draconian licensing policies, high prices coupled with publicity and bribing governments locks whole countries into expensive Microsoft proprietary software, ruining indiginous engineering and leeching billions of dollars out of countries that can ill afford it. M$ then "gives away free" computers and "software licenses" to schools and universities to make sure that the next generation is indoctrinated into the Church of Bill.

    Maybe if M$ didn't leech so much money, and productivity (due to poor software), out of these "developing" countries, they'd be better developed and more able to cope with things like AIDS on their own without Bill's pocket change.

    Microsoft has ruined the world econonmy in the last 15 years.

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:03PM (#14285561)
    Actually, many would argue that Giuliani made more of a difference than Bin Laden did on Sept 11th. I would agree with them, and would many (if not most) others.

    I would disagree with this for a simple reason: how many people outside the United States have heard of Giuliani, or knew anything that he did on 9/11? Not many. On the other hand, bin Laden is known worldwide and everyone is very clear on what he and his organization did.

    So Giuliani *did* make a difference, in making what Bin Laden attempted to do less meaningful. Distructive, yes. Painful, yes. Did it make the US back down and do what he wanted? No.

    He sure did. He got his Holy War in the middle east; there's no way bin Laden could have coaxed that into existence without 9/11, he was quite marginal before then. I'd call it total success for him, actually. Not to mention the fact that a big chunk of the US population has been wringing its hands over terror attacks ever since (as Gwynne Dyer puts it, "there are heavy smokers who worry about terrorism").

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:04PM (#14285565) Homepage
    Bill Gates amassed a fortune through ruthless and merciless and eventually illegal practices. That he has chosen to give some back, and I tip my hat to him for that, anc for all the good he is now doing I liken to the mafia giving ill-gotten gains to charities and somehow being anointed for that.

    Bill's corporation competed against other corporations, it harmed some of them, but that is how the market is supposed to work. That is in part how we have a darwinian process that determines supply and demand. MS' illegal practices were not obviously illegal at the time they were put into practice, the line is fuzzy and they were definitely treading in questionable territory but it was not a given that the government would see that it would warrant prosecution and it was not a given that a judge would rule against them. Comparing MS to the Mafia just destroys any credibility you may have, it exposes your politics / blind hatred. Linux destroys corporations, the traditional Unix vendrors. Apple can be even more heavy handed than MS. They merely don't get the bad press because they are not on top. Markets are like hamburgers, their creation is not a pretty picture.
  • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:12PM (#14285618) Homepage
    Every market transaction makes both parties better off, or else they would not engage in the transaction.


    That particular piece of dogma assumes that everybody has perfect knowledge of all the economic factors, and an infallible ability to apply that knowledge correctly. It may make for a nice computer model, but it applies only sporadically to real life. As a counterexample, ask some ex-Enron employees how much better off they are due to their 'market transactions' with Enron regarding their retirement funds...

  • by g2devi (898503) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:14PM (#14285633)
    Out of curiousity, what exactly do the Gates donate?

    The only headlines I remember about Gates donations deal with MS software and computers that have MS software preloaded, particularly to charities and schools. These donations are simply good marketing. They get people to feel good about MS, they get schools on the MS upgrade threadmill (first one is free, next one costs you), and they get students hooked on MS products so when they go out into the work-force they are MS evangelists. Most big companies, properietary or open source, to varying degrees, use the same strategy. For instance, Jobs wanted to donate OSX for the $100 laptops. Generosity aside, it would have been a huge marketing opportunity for Apple. In the end Red Hat was chosen.

    If you subtract all the marketing related "charity" work, what how much have the Gateses actually donated compared to other billionaires in their league?
  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThaFooz (900535) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:14PM (#14285640)
    Wal-Mart saves low-income shoppers $50 billion a year by having an efficient supply chain.

    Yes, but it also destroys the local retail outlets. That can really hurt a tight-knigt community (just think of how different the vibe is at your favorite local shop vs Wal Mart), and said storekeepers will have to adjust. And working at Wal-Mart is NOT an improvement. Sure Wal-Mart might throw jobs at those whow might otherwise have difficulty finding employment (particularly the mentally handicapped), but it doesn't change the fact that they pay starvation wages and make it exceedingly difficult to rise in the ranks.

    Infact, Bill Gates, who had a lot to do with the success of the modern PC revolution has helped hundreds of millions of people get jobs that made them trillions of dollars.

    I think you have it backwards. Windows was fueled by the success of the PC revolution, not vice versa. If we didn't have Windows, we'd be running some sucessor to OS/2 instead... which would probably be an improvement. MS didn't create the market, and their near-monopoly status has resulted in less competition which means less jobs then their could/should be.

    Every market transaction makes both parties better off, or else they would not engage in the transaction.

    Sure. But that doesn't mean one side isn't getting the better deal (usually due to a lack of choice). Like the check I write to my ISP every moth since they're the broadband operation in town. Or when the Lakers traded Shaq for Lamar Odom.
  • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:17PM (#14285658)
    Now I know you were trying to be funny, but Time's "Person of the Year" is nominated not for being a good person, but for being an impactful person.

    Not anymore. In 2001, the Man Of The Year was Rudolph Guiliani, when it is painfully obvious that Usama bin Laden had an inestimably bigger impactful on that year's events. (Indeed, 100% of Rudy's interesting actions were merely responses to Usama's initiatives).

    Face it, Time uses at least 4 factors to pick Yearitude: Attractiveness, Deserving, Virtue, and Import.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:19PM (#14285665) Journal
    ?how many people outside the United States have heard of Giuliani, or knew anything that he did on 9/11? Not many.

    Sorry, but not true. His was the face people saw all over the world. You can google it in any country and see the sheer volume of articles about him. I deal with Europeans on a daily basis, they know him, believe me.

    He sure did. He got his Holy War in the middle east; there's no way bin Laden could have coaxed that into existence without 9/11

    This assumes that Bin Laden wanted a holy war over in the middle east. I am pretty sure this is *not* what he wanted. What he wanted was for the US to get OUT of the middle east, not more involved. He didn't want the US to mow over Afghanistan and give it back to the people. He didn't want the Saudis to work with us (who are his sworn enemies).

    I have no idea why people think Bin Laden wanted a war. He didn't. He wanted a blow so hard that we would be afraid of war. He wanted capitulation and the American people to rise up and tell the government to get us out of Saudi Arabia and the middle east, and in particular, to quit helping Israel. He has stated as much, many times, so this isn't exactly guesswork.

    Now what he has is a war in his own backyard, with more democracies than before (Afghanistan and Iraq), women voting and participating, and going to school. Even Egypt and Saudi Arabia have begun some limited but meaningful democratic reforms. Many people in Jordan are protesting against Al Qaeda. Siria is under pressure to pull out of Lebanon. I'm pretty damn sure this isn't what Bin Laden had as a goal.

    It has been painful, ugly, deadly and far from over, but anyone who thinks Bin Laden is winning is simply kidding themselves, or willing to spin the facts to their own fantasy life view.

    Like Saddam, he simply misunderestimated the US and our few but true allies.
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:21PM (#14285674)
    Actually, many would argue that Giuliani made more of a difference than Bin Laden did on Sept 11th. I would agree with them, and would many (if not most) others.

    Bin Laden changed the entire world by provoking the US to go on the rampage. Which was exactly what he planned. Giuliani did a great job, as mayor of one single (big) city, but how many people in the world even know his name? Half the world knows bin Laden, and their daily lives are affected by his actions and the fear he provoked. This week, for instance: The Lebanese immigrants who were beaten up in Sydney; the NSA spying on Americans Bush is trying to defend. Every day there are more repercussions of that one act.

  • by Anne Honime (828246) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:22PM (#14285682)
    For every illegal practice Bill's company has been accused of, there are at least a few practices that have helped bring computers and the internet to the masses.

    Pleaaaaase, come on ! Before the IBM PC (note, 'IBM'), there were lots of personal computers just as able, CP/M was working OK, and there were many less known OS just as able or more useful than MS-DOS ; speaking of Internet, I remember pretty well it was much easier to connect with OS/2 warp than Win 3.1 (where you had to rely on third party connectors such as trumpet winsock), and until Win95 osr/2 the connection was still a pain in the butt, while most major OSes had already seamless Internet integration (including linux, BSD, aforementionned OS/2, etc.).

    Bill is a capitalist genious when it comes to steal and sell other's ideas to masses, but that's been his only contribution to mankind so far.

  • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:29PM (#14285724)
    It is always easier to destroy rather than build. It is easier to tear down than rebuild.

    True. That's WHY Usama was more important: because he was a destroyer, and destruction is easier. Therefore with the same amount of effort, he could become more important than someone who tried to create or preserve.

    The easiest way to earn an international headline is always to flip out and kill a bunch of people. No contest, no question.

    Actually, many would argue that Giuliani made more of a difference than Bin Laden

    That's rather insulting to Giuliani, but it might be true. Prehaps if he'd had a more intelligent fire-depeartment structure, there could've been 1000 fewer deaths. But it's a stretch to blame him for that incompetence.

    You can google it in any country and see the sheer volume of articles about him.

    If you'd done that, you'd know Guiliani had under 0.3% of binLaden's article count. LNS.

    with more democracies than before (Afghanistan and Iraq),

    Neither of them has come close to qualifying as a "democracy" yet.

    Even Egypt and Saudi Arabia have begun some limited but meaningful democratic reforms.

    Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and especially Iran have become more theocratic and militant at the same time. The worsening conditions in Iran and North Korea are especially troublesome, as either of them had already presented a stronger threat than Iraq plus Afganistan combined.
  • Re:Well. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:43PM (#14285800)
    The number of uninformed comments moderated by uninformed moderators never ceases to amaze me.
  • by Moggie68 (614870) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:53PM (#14285851)
    quote:So Giuliani *did* make a difference, in making what Bin Laden attempted to do less meaningful. Distructive, yes. Painful, yes. Did it make the US back down and do what he wanted? No. endquote:

    What do you mean no? The American people have lost more freedom in a couple of years than they have gained in a hundred years. The Secret Police (Homeland "Security") listens to the calls, watches who they meet, where they travel, what books they borrow from the library. American citizens who photograph public buildings are dragged into police stations for hours and hours of interrogation without attorneys present or any kind of defense whatsoever. Election results are being tampered with. By uttering the magic word "terrorism" FBI can attack whoever they want. Their target cannot defend him/herself in any way, not even go public about the attack since that is against the law too. Osama bin Laden did never even have wet dreams about such a success in destroying the American way of life and the freedom of all Americans. Republicans and the Bush regime have done his job better than he ever could.
  • New Orleans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djward (251728) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:56PM (#14285866)
    Most mayors would not have shown the leadership that Giuliani did. See New Orleans, use the mayor or governer as examples. Not bad people, but simply not up to the task and not having the leadership skills needed to cope. You and I would probably not done much better.

    Sorry, Katrina is in a whole other order of magnitude from 9/11. We're talking a few buildings knocked down vs. widespread destruction across an entire city and ensuing unlivability and anarchy.

    Also, with 9/11, federal aid was instantaneous.

    9/11 was a tragedy, but it has been so played-up to incite "patriotism" that many have lost perspective on what a true disaster is.
  • Re:Well. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:01PM (#14285908)
    Neither Microsoft nor Wal-Mart create new jobs, they just shuffle existing ones around. And it doesn't matter if Wal-Mart saves poor shoppers $50 billion a year if they end up costing far more than that in the long run. How many jobs have been lost at local shops when a Supercenter moves into town? How many jobs have been offshored so suppliers can meet Wal-Marts demands? Try Googling for "Wal-Mart" and "Vlasic".
  • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:39PM (#14286117)

    Why is the percentage of your net worth the right way to measure generosity? Bill Gates can give that much money away without it affecting his lifestyle in the slightest. You think he notices the difference between having $60bn and having $90bn? Is it really so generous to give that much money away when you don't even notice it's gone? He could give twice that much money away and live like a king for the rest of his life.

    Normal people couldn't give away half their net worth without losing their home. That alone should clue you in that percentage of net worth isn't the right way to measure generosity.

  • The PR works. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:02PM (#14286943) Homepage
    Wow. I think it is a PR attempt mostly, and judging by the fact my parent comment was modded down, the PR works. Slashdotters are completely taken in by a small amount of charity, and now Bill Gates is a great guy. Very weak minded, in my opinion.
  • Re:Fallacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:22PM (#14288224) Homepage Journal
    And actually, I think Microsoft has pretty much done everything it could get away with...

    How much do you attribute that truth to Bill Gates, and how much do you attribute that to the corporate collective? What I think is that Gates is sometimes sold on really bad ideas that hurt the company, from people who want to get ahead in the company (risk takers, wheeling & dealing). Bill might be a genius, but he buys into sometimes wrong ideologies, because he is possibly an idealist at heart (with the intellect to think he actually can make a difference, because he can see it maybe the way I'm describing it). Some of the most dangerous people have the best intentions, and I like to think Bill gets caught up in corporate politics, not that he's a bad person. Corporatism is not free market, but one man does not truly have absolute power. There are always outside forces, for good and evil.
  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wwwillem (253720) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:13PM (#14288891) Homepage
    .... the other argument is that "who cares how much someone gives to charity".

    Giving to charity, so much an anglosaxon measurement for how good you are, always comes after (!!) the fact that people have taken care of their own well being. As a simple example, mother Theresa didn't GIVE to charity, she WAS charity.

    Having moved from Europe to Canada (which follows the American/British model), I'm still flabergasted about how people here think that 'giving to charity' can wipe out their evil, or lack of action. You first lay-off a person, no problem at all, and then when Xmas comes you give some spaghetti-kits to them via the food-bank and -- even better for feeling good -- some cheap toys to the Childrens Hospital. And then it's all OK again.

    I don't care a dime what Bill Gates is doing for Africa. That's only spending money. I do care what he is doing as a person, even more as a business person and that hasn't smelled very well over the last two decenia...

  • by humina (603463) on Monday December 19, 2005 @02:37AM (#14289492) Homepage
    "Arguably, Gates has a Robin-Hood scenario going: monopolizing the computer-owning upper classes to feed the poor"

    The argument against that being that a real life robin hood would steal from Bill Gates since he is the richest man on the planet. If Bill is a modern Robin hood, he skims off the top so much that he is the number one target of any other modern day Robin Hood. The super rich [com.com] stealing from the middle class to help feed the poor does not exaclty fit the robin hood stereotype. Just about anyone stealing from Bill Gates and giving to the poor would fit the stereotype.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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