Archive | 2:14 pm

White Mountain Links, 1-3-09

3 Jan

(via Chosun Daily’s “Jenny Lee in Sexy Grown-Up Photo Shoot – Who Is Jenny Lee?”)”

PRC Is in Recession: “It is my personal guess that the first major issue to face Barack Obama as President of the United States may well be what to do about China, and especially what to do about a China which lets – as I now suspect they may well do – the yuan float, in order to see it float DOWN as the economy unwinds. If this does indeed happen then Obama will really have to struggle to hold back the protectionist pressure I think.”

Free Liu Xiaobo: Beijing bends even its own rules to silence a dissenter.

CNPC Opens Iraq’s al-Ahdab Field: PRC grabs one of Iraq’s new, controversial oil field offers:

This week the Iraqi government put some of its most prized oilfields up for bids in 11 projects it hopes will add 2.0-2.5 million barrels per day — roughly what Iraq produces now — to output within a few short years.

Another set of eight contracts offered for bidding last year could add another 1.5 million bpd, potentially raising Iraq’s production to more than 6.0 million bpd within a few years.

The decision to open its big oilfields to foreign firms puts Iraq at odds with the practice in other countries in the region, where the state maintains firm control of oil sectors. But Baghdad wants foreign firms to bring expertise and investment to quickly improve its decrepit oil infrastructure.

It has offered only service contracts — under which Iraqi state firms keep all the oil while paying the foreign companies for their work — rather than the production sharing agreements foreign companies prefer because they keep some of the output.

R.I.P., Claiborne Pell: Taiwan-blogger Michael Turton honors the memory of a Democratic friend of Taiwan.

Eco-Terror Reprieve: The Steve Irwin, unlike the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters, has to refuel.

“Aso”-ville: Outside an imperial palace is a good place to build temporary shelters for the homeless and jobless.

Another KJI Sighting: DPRK’s Dear Leader, or his double again, inspects the Guard Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Tank Division 105.

It’s Only Words: Gotta love how South Koreans take North Korean rhetoric like mothers endure teenage acting-out.

” ‘This is a message that the North will take a positive attitude in negotiations with the Obama administration'” in the U.S., said Prof. Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea specialist at Dongguk University. In the same vein, the statement omitted the usual call for withdrawal of the U.S. Forces Korea and the suspension of joint Seoul-Washington military exercises. That means, “‘despite strong criticism of the South, that the North is cautiously seeking improved relations with the South,'” Prof. Lee Jo-won of Joong Ang University claimed.

The Philippines
Two Million Plus Trees Sacrificed to Christmas Spirit: “Santiago Baconguis, chief science research specialist of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, said two million trees in the Philippines were sacrificed for the Yuletide season. He said barbeques, lechon, puto bumbong and bonfires are cherished Christmas traditions but they are putting a strain on the country‚Äôs already frail ecosystem because they all use charcoal, he said. This does not include the trees cut for Christmas trees.”

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The Year to Take Back the Bowls

3 Jan

As I watch Utah race for 14 points in the Sugar Bowl in the first six minutes of regulation, I’m not a leftist. All the radicals are playing pickup in the yard. There’s no more corporate spectacle than pro sports, than perhaps the bowl games. I can’t imagine the Cotton and Sugar Bowls are very popular on the developing countries. But, there’s a place for advertisement, and the Bowls can lead the way to corporate contrition and a healthier vision of capitalism. Jonathan Chait has a brilliant blog crying overkill in this recession year post-season.

Several days of watching college football bowl games have left me with a fresh resentment for corporate America. It’s the bowl sponsorship arrangement. I could accept it when the Sugar Bowl became the Nokia Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl became the FedEx Orange Bowl. I was even able to swallow hard and live with it when the smaller bowls lost their non-corporate identity altogether, as when the Outback Hall of Fame Bowl has simply become the Outback Bowl.

But what really gets me is the obligatory CEO interview. At every one of these games, the announcers must take five minutes to speak with the CEO of the sponsoring company. He is treated as a visiting patron, prodded to share his interest in the community that sparked his sponsorship decision. Often he will share his Business Philosophy as his interlocuters gaze on in wonder. Of course it takes place during the action so nobody can flip away without missing some plays. And then — this is what really burns me — they thank him for sponsoring the game, as if the game wouldn;t be happening without his beneficience. Oh, thank you, sir, for taking this advertising opportunity. Back in the days when this game was called the Florida Citrus Bowl, life was practically unbearable. Now that it is the Capital One Bowl, and giant credit card logos decorate the playing field, we spectators can finally enjoy ourselves.

I wish, just once, the sideline reporter or play-by-play announcer who conducts this nauseating ritual would turn out to be a Marxist mole willing to immolate his career for one glorious on-air moment. Instead of reading from his cue card, he would say, “Capitalist Pig, last year most of your workforce earned wages that would not allow them to raise a family outside of poverty, while you took home $473 million, including a private jet and your own vacation island. Meanwhile this arrangement is hammered home by the ubiquitous corporate logos plastered over every inch of the stadium. Give me one good reason why the crowd shouldn’t tar and feather you right here on the spot.”

Next year, I at least hope for a different cast of sponsors, a humbler return to bowl names, free junk for the crowd paid by the CEOs, and no CEOs near a camera or microphone. The kids on the field are more competent and compelling than they are.

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