Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gone Rockin' II

Who let the DAWGZ OUT!!

Saturday, what a day.....

Thomas Friedman - China for a Day

[The center]'s been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don't like where you're going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of control--really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery. You know, that's really what, what it's come down to. So I don't--I, I--I'm worried about this, it's why I have fantasized--don't get me wrong--but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

Thomas Friedman has been saying this for a while now. I think he really does not know very much about China. Let's review:

1) The fantasy of "Let's be dictator for a day" needs to include the bad things that happen under dictatorships, not just the good things. You cannot claim you will simply implement the "good ideas" because the "bad ideas" always start off as good ideas. The Great Leap Forward was called the Great Leap Forward for a reason. It was going to be awesome. It ended up being a "bad idea" though. Same thing happens on a smaller scale in China, too. Just see the derelict white elephant buildings littering the countryside.

2) If you think China has better control over corruption than the USA, and that being China for a day would work, you'd better think again. Being China for a day, means everyone would have to fork over red envelopes to all manner of low level officials. Pro-tip: take that day off and don't attempt to renew your license at the DMV. You will save some money.

3) If you can identify beneficial aspects of China's decision making versus ours, then why not attempt to reform those parts of our system that lag rather than simply copy the whole shebang. Let me assist Mr. Friedman here with an example. Say you wanted to build a high speed rail system in the United States and in China. Check out the reason our progress lags so much slower, such as environmental impact reports, historic preservation, or the prevailing wage rule. If its better in China why do it just for a day? Reform the US instead. Most likely, when confronted by why China really is "faster" than the US at implementing policies, it will more often look like a bug than a feature.

But who knows, maybe they do streamline some procedures, most likely because poor countries really, really want development, whereas rich countries are way more into NIMBYism.They have not had the time to create vast structures of licensing, regulation, inspectors, etc., that the USA has. You need to throw up a dirt road to build your new factory - just do it. You probably don't even need to bribe someone for that. I am sure in the USA, this would involve a lot more paperwork. I don't think Thomas Friedman really is a fan of less government and less regulation, do you? Otherwise why does he think the Chinese government is actually the driver of growth in China rather than the private sector. The high speed rail wasn't built for the 5 year plan and the worker's needs, but for the use of rapacious factory owners and their middle class children to visit Guangzhou in a speedy fashion.

In conclusion, Thomas Friedman is an idiot.

Monday, May 24, 2010


North Korea now has a YouTube channel.

Looks like my evenings are now booked.

That is the official channel. You can also find the channel "supernorthkorea"and "SunofSongun" as well.

Bonus YouTube channel: American Party of Labor "We love Stalin" (and who doesn't?)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sign of the Times

Yahoo Finance is usually a place of boring investment advice via Suze Orman, or that Japanese dude who somehow was catapulted to financial advice stardom from his unfathomable Rich Dad Poor Dad book.

Today, we see something a bit more exotic.

How To Profit From the Sovereign Debt Crisis

They include such ideas as shorting the Japanese Yen, getting out of Treasuries, and buying Gold.

Now, nothing against trying some of these ideas...you can also short the S&P (ticker: SDS) or whatever.

But these are getting a bit beyond "Buy index funds and hunker down" or "Choose quality stocks."

You are betting against governments. You know, the people with the guns and the printing presses.

Still, it says something when average people who see their money sitting at zero percent in their bank have to consider such ballsy schemes to get some return. And inflation may happen which means you really do have to consider that, if you are on fixed income.

I can only suspect that within a few months, the Yahoo Finance Page will be debating the merits of different brands of rifles and where ammo can still be bought.

The precious metals...Gold....Silver...Lead?

p.s. If the Gold Bugs win...oh man will that suck. Yes, I did buy some Silver - Canadian Maple Leafs in fact. But Gold Bugs are insufferable.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Arab Geek King

King Abdullah of Jordan appeared in a cameo role on Star Trek: TNG when he was younger.

Now, he has a new book out about peace in the Middle East.

Our Last Best Chance for Peace?

Are you shitting me?

The dude used the tag line from Bablyon 5 for his book title!

Ok, the Bablyon 5 intro piece says "Our Last Best Hope for Peace" but you just know he got that from the series...anyone else could claim ignorance, but a Trekkie? No way.
So, which ones are Hamas?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Various Shite

A) Hearsay on the Deep Purple concert I avoided:

1) J-hole got drunk and fell down twice in Taipei.
2) A photo exists of Dean in a compromising position in a Hooters...somebody post it.

B) Of all the Chinese accents, the most incomprehensible to me is the Hunan accent. I pretty much can guess who is from Hunan just by gasping the fact that I have no idea what the person is saying. and they say "FuNan" which is sort of the opposite of Taiwanese who pronounce F's like H's sometime...

C) I have decided that Taiwan has the best inexpensive "lunch box" style meals in Greater China, Hong Kong the worst.

D) Chinese supermarkets have improved a lot. I actually saw food I would eat there. Even the bread looked edible. Snicker's bars now available as well. They were also selling frozen pizza, including a Taiwanese style pizza...That would involve corn I assume.

E) Back in Taiwan - started drinking straight from the airport to Fubar. Ugggggh. Rough week-end that has now transitioned to a rough week.

F) Does anyone know if you can buy silver coins in Taiwan? I know they sell gold stuff, but the only price I found for silver coins from Bank of Taiwan were really expensive.

Sorry for the dumb ass nature of this post...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Gone Rockin'

I'll be out of pocket today and tomorrow, so no phone calls or text messages. Today is Deep Purple day in Taipei and there's a great lineup. On lead vocals we have, of course, Esquire Willy. (Leading to the) Front man, Mr. Bean. D-Wayne is in charge of the pyros, Brit Paul is technical engineer and token ginger and I will be playing the Macolm McLaren role of encouraging excess and reaping the profits. There may be a couple of special appearances. Union Sam is wishy-washy in his commitment and AJ expressed interest but has not confirmed. As I got off my scooter at the Internet cafe I saw AJ speeding south on his scooter, laden with backpack, fanny pack and snack pack. Time to go to the train station. I'm sure there will be pictures later.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


If I remember correctly, Dean-O's old man played for Tottenham back in the day. They have recently qualified for Champions League play for the first time since the 1960's. Kudos to them. Though I've been an Everton supporter in honor of Bald Titty and their American keeper Tim Howard, I might just pull the dreaded P.J. double fandom for next year's Premiership. I'll lift one vodka-cran for you and your late father tonight Dean, congrats.

In other news, I was sworn in as an attorney for the State of Montana yesterday. I received my results and found out my scores were solid enough to qualify me to waive into Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as the District of Columbia. That's kind of neat considering Montana lacks reciprocity with any state (only Minnesota and ND allow you to waive in based on bar results from Montana). Kudos to me.

Spent the month of April kicking it with Jim. We attended several Rockies games and even managed to squeeze in an Astros - Phillies game on the boob tube. Good times in Denver (which is just a few short hours from Lubbock, J-Hole). Now I'm back in Montana and contemplating my next move. I'll keep checking gas lines while determining exactly where I want to end up. Are there attorney positions in Palau available to American lawyers?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Phillies Fan Tasered

Did everyone hear about this? Link to video.

What does this mean for the streakers of the world?