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9:00 AM EST, Wednesday, July 15, 2009. The big question is how come Goldman Sachs was able to make so much money while the rest of us flounder. Barry Ritholtz, author of the book Bailout Nation, points out in an interview on MSNBC four factoids:

1. Goldman received $19 billion from AIG directly as a result of the AIG bailout by the U.S. taxpayers, i.e. you and I.

2. Goldman spent $43 million on lobbying last year in Washington.

3. Washington and the regulatory world is populated with Goldman alumni -- from the U.S. treasurer and the head of the New York Reserve on down.

4. Goldman alums conveniently buried all Goldman's biggest competitors, like Lehmann Brothers.

Buffett also doesn't believe in broad asset allocation: Obviously none of us do any longer, either. But it strikes me you buy what you feel comfortable with and optimistic about. And you don't put all your eggs in one basket, since there's risk involved with anything and everything that isn't a U.S. treasury. And there are now serious people who believe that U.S. Treasurys (or is it Treasuries?) have serious risk.

Reader Peter Rawlings emails:

Dear Harry,

I discovered for myself the hard way that the Modern Portfolio Theory doesn't work during the Crash of 1987. Everything in my well diversified portfolio went down so I gave up on asset allocation after that. Reading Warren Buffet's "Snowball" I also discovered that he doesn't diversify either. ( I was impressed to see your name mentioned in his book :).

Available as a hard cover, soft cover, audio book or Kindle book. The Kindle edition is the cheapest at $9.99. The soft cover is the most expensive at $39.99. Go figure. All these choices from Amazon.

In search of search engines. Following up on yesterday column about how to search your hard drive for that special nugget, reader Mike Barto writes:

Harry, I was researching search engines again last week. I installed and tried many of them, and liked Copernic the best. The only issue is that the free version doesn’t let you search network drives, which I have at home for pictures and music. I was specifically looking for a search engine that could look at metadata so I could search for pictures by date, location, etc. without having to create a virtual file system or online database within Picasa or some other photo organizer.

Also, I installed dtSearch a few years ago at our office. The reason I bought it was because I could build different indexes for different areas of our organization that would look in the right places for them. Marketing, Design, Test, etc. I could then create intranet sites that they could link to from our project management websites. As a result, everyone used the same indexes to search, which is much better than everyone in the company downloading the Google desktop search and replicating the same index on all of the hard disks in every pc. I had a great experience with DTSearch. Great customer support, really nice sales staff, etc. This was huge, because I’m not an IT guy… just a manager looking to improve communication within a large team. The feedback from users was very positive. However, at this point I’m looking for something powerful and well organized when displaying results, yet inexpensive and less complex for home use. So far, Copernic is the front runner.

The good news is that you can install free demo versions of both, play with them and rip them off if you don't like them. So far, based on what I've read, I'm leaning towards Copernic Desktop Search Professional. Both dtSearch and Copernic highlight in the file what you're looking for. Microsoft's crummy desktop search doesn't. For Copernic, here.

Einhorn buys gold bullion. If we're eyeing hyperinflation soon (as a result of all the government money printing), then the only hedge is gold. At least that's the prevailing theory. Hence I was interested in this piece from Bloomberg:

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Greenlight Capital Inc., the $5 billion hedge-fund firm run by David Einhorn, told investors it switched all of its holdings in a gold exchange-traded fund into bullion during the second quarter.

“At a minimum this will provide some savings as the costs of storing gold are less than the fees” for the SPDR Gold Trust, the New York-based firm said yesterday in a letter to investors.

Einhorn, 40, told clients in January he was buying gold for the first time amid the threat of inflation from higher government spending. The firm, started in 1996, held 4.2 million shares of SPDR Gold Trust in the first quarter, making the gold- backed ETF its biggest holding. Gold has climbed 5.8 percent this year.

The firm’s Greenlight Capital LP fund gained 16.3 percent in the second quarter, bringing its return this year to 21.5 percent boosted by investments in Ford Motor Co. debt, according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The fund lost 23 percent last year.

Hedge funds returned an average 9.4 percent this year through June after losing 19 percent in 2008, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc. in Chicago.

Steve Bruce, a spokesman for Greenlight, declined to comment on the letter.

Greenlight said its investments in stocks it expects to rise were “sparse” in the second quarter, and that it currently has “almost no net long exposure” to equities.

“This comes from our bottom-up inability to find many good opportunities,” the firm said. “We are very cautious of the significant headwinds we still believe the economy faces.”

Greenlight said it had bought reinsurance stocks including Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. during the second quarter.

“The reinsurance industry suffered a double whammy last year due to storm damage and investment losses,” the firm said. “This appears to be leading to an improved competitive environment and higher returns on capital.”

Greenlight said its largest holdings at the end of the quarter were Arkema SA, a chemical maker in Paris; Criteria CaixaCorp, a Barcelona-based holding company for Spain’s largest savings bank; the debt of Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford; gold; and Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker.

I have to rush to an early-morning funeral of a relative, a wonderful old lady who lived life to the fullest. God rest her soul. I'm not in a joke mood.

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.