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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

China Orders Thousands Of Unsafe Mines To Close......

Chinese authorities are under pressure to close unlicensed mines that kill thousands of miners a year.
Chinese mines, many unlicensed, often ignore safety regulations to meet an insatiable demand for coal, which the country relies on for 70 percent of its huge energy consumption.

The first batch of 1,324 unsafe mines ordered to stop production and improve conditions or face permanent closure was announced by the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety on Tuesday, the China Daily said.

"The number is not all the mines on the suspension list. The total will reach 7,000 soon," an administration spokesperson surnamed An was quoted as saying.

China has about 24,000 coal mines and thousands in the massive, fragmented industry produce less than 45,000 tonnes a year.
Closing mines causes 2 major problems; first, China needs every little bit of energy it can produce since demand is growing very rapidly. Second, miners still need to work and closing mines puts people out of work.

Despite pressure and ineffective central government intervention, chances are that unsafe mines that get closed will reopen if the proper guanxi is paid to local officials.

Lance Armstrong Found With Banned Substances In The South Of France....

PARIS, France -- Lance Armstrong's record setting seventh Tour de France victory, along with his entire Tour de France legacy, may be tarnished by what could turn out to be one of the greatest sports scandals of all time. Armstrong is being quizzed by French police after three banned substances were found in his South of France hotel
room while on vacation after winning the 2005 Tour de France. The three substances found were toothpaste, deodorant, and soap which have been banned by French authorities for over 75 years.

Armstrong's girlfriend and American rocker Sheryl Crowe is quoted as saying "we are both users".

Along with these three banned substances, French authorities also found several other interesting items that they have never seen before, including a backbone and testicles.

50,000 Bare Breasted Virgins.....

Fifty thousand bare-breasted virgins danced for the king of Swaziland yesterday, vying to become his 13th wife.
Only in Africa, jeez.

Hong Kong Housing Price Bubble About To Pop???

As I wrote about before, here and here, I view Hong Kong's economic prospects through the rose colored glasses of the US Federal Reserve. Monetary policy in the SAR is determined by the Fed since Hong Kong money supply is determined through a currency board mechanism. So when the US Central Bank tightens monetary conditions, by definition, Hong Kong does too.

A close follower of the US Federal Reserve, Larry Kudlow worries that the Fed may be pursuing a damaging monetary policy course that would threaten the economy in the US. Price increases in many commodities particularly fuel and large increases in the price of housing have caused US Central Bankers concern over the prospects of inflation.
That leaves us with the age-old question of whether or not the central bank will over-tighten us into a recession. Fed policies have prevented oil inflation from spreading throughout the economy, but they should quit raising rates while they're ahead.
Eventually monetary tightening will bite and reduce economic growth at one point. The question is whether Greenspan and company can stop raising rates before damage is done to the economy. This is always a gamble, since its difficult to determine what that level is. Uncertainty will reduce the desire for individuals to take risk and prices of frothy commodities should moderate.

Particularly, such frothy items as housing, where growth in prices has been nothing less than spectacular over the past 25 years. However, it appears as if the housing market is starting to get a little "ill" in the United States
The jump in prices is starting to pinch. Homes are less affordable now than at any point in the last 14 years, a report from the National Association of Realtors earlier this month showed. Still, the average household had 121 percent of the income needed to purchase a property at the median home price of $208,500, the report showed.
And Greenspan is predicting some trouble ahead for housing prices
"As part of that process, house turnover will decline from historic levels, while home price increases will slow and prices could even decrease," he said, the second time in two days he'd warned that housing prices may have risen too far, too fast.
If the US housing market starts to cool, you can bet that Hong Kong will too. We already seeing some of the signs of a cooling or even falling market here. And don't listen to those idiot tycoons. They would try to sell ice to Eskimos if it could make them a buck and they are only "talking their position." Trying to persuade the last gullible Hong Kong housing consumers to spend their hard earned savings on an overly priced, poorly constructed shoe box that may prove to be worth only a fraction of what it is today in a decade or so.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Asian Populations.....

According to the CIA factbook, China has an estimated population as of July 2005 of a skosh over 1.3 billion people and India has 1.08 billion. This represents more than a third at 37% of the total estimated world population of 6,446,131,400.

It is very well known that China and India have very large populations. But what amazes me is the size of the populations of some of the smaller land-mass countries. Indonesia, has 241 million people! And it is densely populated too, where the Indonesian island of Java, with 114 million people, results in about 856 people per square kilometer. Overall world population density presently averages 42 people per square kilometer.

Bangladesh, with a population density of 900 per square kilometer tops the list and is the most densely populated large country on earth, supporting 144 million souls.

And then there are places like The Philippines, sporting nearly 88 million and Vietnam with over 83 million people. These just aren't large land mass countries, but its amazing how many people live there.

Even good ol' Thailand has over 65 million people. Who would have thunk it?

If I had a dollar for every person that lived in Asia, I would be a happy man.

For The French, Karl Marx Was Into Globalization....

The whole world has to become capitalist BEFORE socialism can take hold...
Marx was a thinker of globalization. He was strongly against the idea of taking power for socialism in one country, strongly against the idea that communism could come instead of capitalism. For him, socialism should come after capitalism spreads everywhere in the world, including China and India.
But of course!
For Marx, capitalism was huge progress compared to the previous feudal system. Therefore, he was strongly in favor of capitalism as progress toward liberty for mankind. He was in favor of free markets. He was in favor of free trade, explicitly; against protectionism, explicitly. And he explained that socialism, therefore, should come after.
Only in France, only by the French.

Disney Protesters Way Off Base.....

Protests in front of the new Hong Kong Disneyland, trying to bring attention to multinational corporate use of labor in China, are doing a great disservice to thoughtful protesters. Disney contracts out much of their manufacturing of the stuffed toys and other goods that are sold in Disney parks, Disney stores and in toy stores under the Disney brand. I know someone that works at the subcontractor, a Hong Kong listed company, so I won't mention what company does this, but they have been in business for decades and it is a Hong Kong owned and operated organization. I haven't seen these clowns protesting infront of their offices!!!

According to the protesters...
One of the demonstrators, Argo Yeung, said protesters wanted to raise awareness of the labor conditions at contractors for multinational companies.
So is it Disney or just all multinationals? If Disney contracts out to vendors inside of China does Disney then carry all the responsibility as if they owned the factory themselves or do the local owners bear some of the responsibility? What if the conditions and situations are so that the Chinese contractors are deceiving Disney on the contractual obligations that agreed to in the contracts. Will the Chinese government prosecute the violators for what they have done? Will the protesters actually give evidence of these alleged abuses?

The problem here is that Disney is a tempting target for these people. Disney will do what is necessary and do a thoughtful investigation. The real culprits will never be confronted by the protesters since the the protestors would probably get their heads smashed in by both the mobsters that run the local governments in China and the workers themselves that can ill afford to get their factories shutdown with the attendant loss of wages and dislocations.

I hope that these people wake up and do what they should be doing and that is going after the real culprits here.

I have absolutely no respect for these protesters what-so-ever and will tell that to them if I ever see them.

Government Regulation Hurts A Nation's Competitiveness.......

Government regulation has always been a debating point for those of us that want less of it vs. those of us that find wisdom in such ventures. However, its important to consider some other points when looking at the issues.
But why should the average citizen care about this hidden tax? It's born by big businesses, not us. Not so. Small entrepreneurs, the engine of economic growth in America, bear the greatest burden. For small manufacturers, those employing fewer than 100 workers, the cost-per-employee of complying with workplace regulations is 68 percent higher than for large firms. Unnecessary regulatory burdens increase the cost of hiring U.S. workers, reducing American competitiveness, hindering job growth, and sending jobs overseas.
There is something for everyone in any regulatory regime. There is a perceived or real risk or problem that has to be solved. There is a process that decides how to solve it and then there are governmental answers to those problems.

I wrote a paper on airline regulation when I was in school 20 years ago. The Civil Aeronautics Board [CAB] was in charge of both safety and the setting of fares and routes. I was a big proponent of deregulating fares and routes since this is the best way to determine demand for the service, the supply that should be dedicated to a particular route and the price that should be charged.

Of course when preaching about the benefits of deregulation, my friends sometimes completely misconstrued my argument by stating that they didn't think that this was a good idea since safety would suffer. I was not a proponent of deregulating safety measures since airline safety sometimes affects even those people that don't fly.... we don't want planes crashing into neighborhoods killing people, now do we. However, there is also a large incentive in place anyway even without a strict regulatory environment and that is a large and cumbersome court and tort costs associated with airline safety accidents. But I digress.

My point is that not all regulation is good. And when a regulatory environment is imposed it sometimes does not adjust to changing times and can become a burden beyond what is intended. In the case of airlines, management was so used to the setting of fares and routes that they did not understand how to adjust to changes and this caused many problems. Additionally, labor was inculcated into the cost plus type of pricing and labor disputes were common with strict work rules that caused legacy airlines to fold under competitive pressures to new upstarts.

Regulations on the airline industry created an environment of underperformers, higher costs and a troublesome labor environment. China also has boatloads of regulations and rules. The problem associated with Chinese business rules and regulations is that there are so many of them that it is impossible to comply with them all or even know about them all. Secondly, these rules are are not levelly applied to everyone but are typically used by government officials for shakedowns and bribes and not for the safety or welfare of Chinese citizens.

This coupled with a burdensome tax environment, where tax rates are second highest in the world only surpassed by regulation and tax happy France, create an environment that will hinder business at some time in the future. I do not look forward to the day when the Chinese economy starts to slow and these relations and taxes start to take their toll on competitiveness there.

I Doubt If Religious Freedoms In China Have Improved Very Much.....

Priests and clergy in China continue to be harassed and arrested for their activities promoting religious faith there. This testimony 5 years ago details some of the abuse. Their dedication to cause reminds me of another selfless preacher Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It was 55 years ago Sunday, April 9, [60 years ago, now] that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was marched from his prison cell at the Flossenburg concentration camp in Germany and was hung. Bonhoeffer was a Protestant minister who opposed Hitler. He refused to keep silent about the discrimination and persecution of the Jews. He spoke out repeatedly and fearlessly until the Nazis executed him.

Many Protestant house church leaders, pastors, Catholic bishops, and priests in China are modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffers. Dietrich Bonhoeffer suffered in prison for two years -- from April 1943 to his death almost exactly two years later.
As Martin Luther King once said... "If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer." China's leadership has no conscience.

Europe Seeing Economic Trouble Ahead.....

In 2020, The United States will still dominate the world economy as presented by the President of Deutsche Bank in France.
In 2020, the United States will remain the world superpower, with a total GNP of approximately $17 trillion to $18 trillion. Thanks to its dynamic demographics (1% annual population growth), a productivity and a competitiveness amongst the best in the world (currently second in the world and far out in front of Germany (13th) or France (26th) according to statistics from the World Economic Forum), and thanks also to its constant drive to create and innovate, and with flexibility due to the mobility of its labor force, the United States will maintain a clear advantage over China and India and will widen the gap with Europe. With average per capita salaries of approximately $55,000, the income of the average American in 2020 will be 1.5 to 2 times greater than that of a European; five times higher than that of a Chinese and nine times more than that of an Indian(approximately $6,000 per capita).

China will indisputably be the world’s second greatest economic power, with a GNP of some $14 trillion, or three times higher than today.
However, China will be facing a demographic problem with their aging population which will average about 40 years old in 2020 due to the one-child policy. Europe will be hamstrung by an aging population and rigid social structures. Surprisingly, Ireland will have the second highest per capita GDP in the world.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wow, A Big landslide On The Mountain Behind Wanchai.....

Bowen Road is closed off and workmen are clearing mud out. I will take up my camera to take a picture and post it, soon.

Drug Rehab Clinic Spam.....

I got some spam today in my spam account offering a drug rehab clinic. I had a look to see what it was like. My old high school buddy, that spent several years in jail after getting busted for drugs, now works for a local hospital that deals with troubled youths and their drug problems. Its not a nice place at all since the area that grew up in is considered a fairly tough neighborhood.

But this one appears to be a "for profit" venture, more like a 5-star hotel than a drug clinic. The Beau Monde [French for beautiful world] offers "programs of distinction." One is the "transformational recovery treatment program" with deluxe amenities. Such as these...
Full professional spa and salon services on site at “le Spa Beau Monde” including specialized detox treatments, anti-aging and full medi-spa treatments featuring exclusive product lines:
Therapeutic salt water jacuzzi, state-of-the-art infrared sauna, Swiss shower, steam

Poolside and ocean view cabana massage

Exercise equipment with a personal trainer

Accommodations reflect serene, understated elegance

Pillow-top king and queen size beds (as well as feather beds) with exquisite down comforters and highest quality feather pillows (or down alternative if desired).

Luxurious fluffy robes and slippers as well as full spa attire provided

Gourmet dining featuring freshly prepared cuisine specific to your program requirements

Fresh fruit, flowers and special "welcome bag" upon arrival

Exclusive, L'Occitane bath products in your room

Full housekeeping, laundry and linen service

Beau Monde Program Concierge service to ensure the very best program experience
All this and more! Of course this rehab treatment center is found in California.

So Here Is How I responded To Mr. Wu's Email, North Korean "Nigerian"....

golly gee mr. chang how did you get my name? you are lucky to have escaped from north korea. the us will be bombing the shit out of your country after we are finished with iraq.

North Korean Nigerian Seeking To Rip You Off....

I didn't realize that there were any Nigerians in North Korea or that any son's and daughters of senior officials were able to do any more than amass a pittance, there. Senior leaders are happy to just get fed. I guess the wife/daughter/son of dead African leader scams are not getting the suckers that they used to so these Nigerians are trying something new. A friend of mine has carried on a conversation with an African that claims to have been adopted by British royalty and subsequently disowned and living in Brooklyn while pursuing his PHD at Cornell University. Jeez.

Hello ,

My name is Mr.Wu Chang a citizen of North Korea; I would like you to guide me through the most viable investment opportunities in your Country. Alternatively, I can invest in your line of business perhaps if it’s viable. I am one of the defectors from the North and I am currently residing(Refugee Camp) in Vietnam.

I have been in this country for sometime after defecting from the North, I was into currency exchange business and I was always traveling to other parts of Asia and Europe and during that period, I was able to move out my funds and deposit it in a financial institution in Europe.

I want to invest this funds in your country with your help and advice because we are being treated as foreigners here and watched because the Korean government believe we are security treat, A lot of defectors now go on to Canada or the United States and some parts of Europe to live. For more details, please see the following websites;

I want you to send me a complete breakdown of the investment opportunities in your country and also let me know what exactly I need to do to enable you invest the funds for me in your country.

If interested, I will then come over to your country after you receive the funds and work out the investment plans with you. After I hear from you and find out the best investment business you can introduce to me, I will tell you how much is involved. I will expect your response together with your contact details.

Reply as soon as possible.

Regards and God Bless

Mr.Wu Chang


Girls are just better in every way.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Greenspan Comments On US Asset Prices Pose Risk In Hong Kong Too.....

Through the currency board mechanism, the Hong Kong dollar essentially has adopted US monetary policy and excess liquidity in the US is translated into excess liquidity in Hong Kong. Therefore, asset prices have risen in both localities. Greenspan's comments assure that the Fed is aware of asset price rises that may be the result of loose monetary policy in the recent past and not through increased value. The Central Bank's job is take away the punch bowl just as the party is getting started and this is exactly what Greenspan and any other central banker worth his or her salt, would do.

Higher interest rates in the US and will lead to higher interest rates here and a tightening of liquidity will also lead to downward pressure on asset prices. As I wrote about earlier today, it is already being felt in the housing market as the demand for mortgages has decreased dramatically this year as Hong Kongers eschew new home purchases.

I think that it will get much worse before it gets any better.
The Federal Reserve is paying closer attention to the rising values of assets such as stocks and homes, as low interest rates encourage more risk-taking, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

At a Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Greenspan said investors are willing to accept ever-lower compensation for risk, as a long period of economic stability leads to the belief that dangers to their investments have lessened.

While that has helped push asset prices higher and supported increased consumer and business spending, Greenspan warned market participants not to take such stability for granted. Should investors become more cautious, interest rates could rise and asset values could decline, posing a risk for the economy, he said.

``History has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums,'' Greenspan said in the text of his speech to the Kansas City Fed conference. ``Such an increase in market value is too often viewed by market participants as structural and permanent.''
I personally have been selling stocks and holding cash in both Hong Kong and the US and feel that we will see lower prices in both places before too long.

More Normalized Mortgage Rates In Hong Kong Shredding The Housing Market......

Easy money, long available to borrowers for housing, is now become more expensive. This is causing a large slowdown in the purchase of flats here in Hong Kong. Borrowing rates of 2-3% were common but since most loans in Hong Kong are floating rate, interest rate resets will cause large increases in monthly payments.
New mortgages drawn down, or used, in July fell 34.4 percent to HK$10.96 billion, also a third consecutive monthly decline.

Sales of residential units in July tumbled 30.3 percent compared with June, to 7,497 units, or almost 50 percent down from the peak of 14,124 units recorded in April this year, Land Registry figures show.
I called HSBC to find out what their best lending rate is and I was disconnected. I am a Premier customer and this is the usual treatment that I get! According to the Standard Chartered Website, their best lending rate is 6.75% This implies that a mortgage would still be somewhere below 5%. But this cost has risen around 2% in recent months. A HK$ 2 million mortgage interest would increase in cost at around 3,333=2,000,000*.02/12 a month, not a great deal but enough to slow down new purchases considerably.

I still have difficulty understanding Hong Kong wild love for buying incredibly expensive real-estate. Real-estate is more liquid in Hong Kong with transaction costs much lower than in the US where typical broker fees are around 5% compared to 1% here. And with lower income tax rates, real-estate should trade a some premium. But I think that it is way out-of-line to reality. People should not be spending all their disposable income on housing.

I remember back in 1997, when the property market was coming unglued after a spectacular rise to incredible heights. The Kwok brothers, the mega-rich owners of property developer Sun Hung Kai, came out and said that the decline in prices was over after falling around 10%. This declaration was splattered all over the front pages of the newspapers. Of course, they were dead wrong and prices continued to decline dramatically. They were just talking their position and were trying to sell some of their silly expensive properties to unwitting and gullible Hong Kong property consumers.

Sun Hung Kai, never once, from 1994 to present had to endure a loss [I also looked at Henderson Land and it too has the distinction of not producing a loss for the period]. In other words, despite a huge decline in the property market, they never experienced a loss on their net income line. This only tells me that the real-estate markets are just stacked against the individual and in favor of the big tycoons, who never experience losses even when prices fall. This skewed non-market situation should temper the prices of housing here but individual consumers just haven't caught on. One day, prices will collapse and everyone will be wondering what happened. At that point, though, the uber-wealthy people will have been out of the business and will have their cash in other countries. I just don't understand why Hong Kong people put up with these things.

WTO Protesters Complain Of Being Denied Hotel Rooms For The Meeting In December....

Not unsurprisingly, WTO protester organizations are having difficulty securing hotel rooms for the weekend of the big meeting.
The Hong Kong People's Alliance on WTO, which says it's helping about 3,000 overseas protesters find accommodation, said it has heard of at least three cases in which hotels and travel agents refused to serve protesters.
Why should hotels want to serve people that have been violent in the past? And also, the government probably doesn't want these clowns running around throwing rocks and clashing with police either. It would be an embarrassment to both Hong Kong and China.

But the situation also may be somewhat more mundane. Hotel rooms get very tight here, especially when there is a big function in town. I wonder if these people tried the hotels in Disneyland?

Welcome to China and Hong Kong WTO protesters. Not as much freedom of speech here as you are accustomed to!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Its Pointless To Read The New York Times, Anymore.....

Since very little of what they publish there is news. Its all agenda journalism and difficult to take seriously.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Boys In Swaziland Are Also Celebrating.....

Everyone is celebrating....
Thousands of Swazi girls Tuesday celebrated the end of a ban on sexual activity that had been imposed as a way to combat AIDS in one of the countries hit hardest by the epidemic.

This Guy.....

proves that the world is flat. Take every prejudice and idiotic generalization and that is what you get.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lip Synching....

If this fellow banned chewing gum, maybe he could run Singapore too.
He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching.

Would be popular in Wanchai, too.

Does IT Really Surprise Anyone That The Food Coming From China Is Poisoned?

The most recent health disaster promulgated by our unclean neighbors to the north is the use of Malachite Green for the treatment of consumable fresh water fish from the mainland. Malachite Green is principally used for the care of fish in home fish tanks used against Saprolegnia (fungus), water moulds and protozoan parasites These are some of the problems:
Wear gloves and goggles when handling malachite green. Malachite is a respiratory poison as well as being a suspected carcinogen.

Malachite green penetrates deeply into fish body tissues and may have a use against Proliferative Kidney Disease (PKD) in salmonids.

It is likely that malachite green will be banned in the near future..

Malachite green is reported to be toxic to tetras, catfish and loaches and small marine fish
Why does it not surprise me, at all, that the PRC is using carcinogenic poisons to treat our foods.

I Have Come To Appreciate White Wines More....

In the past, I was never a big fan of wine. It took too much work and lots more money than beer. But as of late, the past two years, I have come to enjoy a variety of wines both red and white. I started with drinking reds and then moved onto whites, particularly during the warmer summer months. I have really come to appreciate the Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand for their zesty flavors and aromas. In this article, Bloomberg writer gives some reviews of the 2004 crop.
Sauvignon blanc -- once known as a white wine grape with a green, grassy character and refined, aromatic nose -- was best exemplified by the sancerres and pouilly fumes of France's Loire Valley. Over the last few years, it's become something very different.

New Zealand's style, with intense tropical fruit flavors and aromas, has now become the new standard for the varietal, thanks to a great deal of hype in the wine press.
A couple of years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in the Loire Valley, taking in the sights and enjoying some of their wines. By the side of the road, they have these tasting caves and we had the chance to taste and buy some truly wonderful wines there too. The wines are not as spunky as the New Zealand varieties but are wonderful in the summertime too. Its just not that easy to find good ones here in Asia since the the vineyards are typically small and do not have a global presence like some of the New Zealand ones do.

The writer also mentions... Goldwater Estates New Dog 2004 (a pricey $20; http://www.goldwaterwine.com )... a wine that I had during a special gourmet dinner one night earlier this year. This one just punches, actually assaults one's nose with high fruity tones. Its delightful and I have a few bottles in my wine fridge. Cheers.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I Still.......

I still can't get over Melvises pose.


Not In My Back Yard [NIMBY]...
But why get distracted by the merits of the issue when the real fun is to take a Nestea Plunge into the swirling waters of limousine liberalism.
I enjoy this kind of dreck.

Why Its Difficult To Trust The American Media Today....

Agenda journalism is driving the editorial policies of newspapers in America and its difficult to judge whether one is getting balanced reporting of fact from these sources or a screed to drive a point of view. The acceptable protest by one Cindy Sheehan, who lost a child to the war in Iraq, is met with unacceptable coverage of her protest by not providing readers with all the facts as written about here.
Rational people can disagree whether the war in Iraq is justified. But a newspaper's job is to report all relevant facts and present different perspectives, not just those that suit one particular viewpoint.
They just have to do a better job. And we have to make sure that they do it.

In Honor Of My Neighbor....

Silver Pomfret. Looks real but its just a picture of one.

Chinese word for Pomfret.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Wonder If Its Genetic.....

My 2 year old daughter's new shoes. She has been getting excited about her shoes since she learned how to walk. She likes to put them on and admires them. I think that shoes for her represent freedom and adventure. Whenever she puts them on, its time to go out and visit her little friends or go on an adventure in the car, bus or taxi. Shoes never interested my son or me, for that matter. I guess that some take their shoes more seriously than others.

Its Still Raining Here....

Fireworks tonight from my balcony.

We had an amber rain signal that implies that there would be up to 30 cm [a little more than an inch] of rain an hour. It has been absolutely pouring for the past couple of days with very little respite from the deluge. I don't remember it raining so much here, before. It rained like this in West Africa during the summer, for around 30 days straight.

Tonight, there was a short fireworks display. Since tourists here are probably having an awful time, maybe the government figures that this may cheer them up a bit.

Singapore Looking To Change Its Image....

And reinvent itself as a tourist/convention destination.
Once described as "Disneyland with a death penalty" by science fiction writer William Gibson, Singapore has taken steps in recent years to rectify its reputation for being bland, allowing bar-top dancing and street busking.
What is street busking?

Mainstream US Media Suffers From Iraq War....

US media is whining about its loss of influence and is blaming its downfall on Iraq, here.
"If you believe the liberal media's reporting on the American military effort in Iraq, you're almost forced to be ashamed of America," the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watchdog group, said in a recent message to potential donors.

Army Capt. Sherman Powell reinforced that view with his comments during an interview Wednesday with "Today" show host Matt Lauer in Baghdad. Lauer wondered how troop morale could be so high, given the problems in Iraq.

"If I got my news from the newspapers also, I'd be pretty depressed as well," Powell replied. "Those of us who've actually had a chance to get out and go on patrols and meet the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police and go on patrols with them, we are very satisfied with the way things are going here."
I have been largely unimpressed with newspaper and television reporting for years. This is largely due to what I call agenda journalism. Media has an agenda or viewpoint that they are foisting upon the public and coverage of issues tend to lean supporting these positions. Other news is not covered.

Why has there not been some reporting on humanitarian progress in Iraq? No reporting on these things imply that there has been no progress. Is this the case? We just don't know do we?

And what about the Dan Rather fake memos incident? A few years ago, this story would never have been debunked and the media got caught this time with their pants down. Why should we ever trust these guys again? Actually, we shouldn't and they need to reevaluate what their role is. I think that newspapers and TV should be reporting the facts. We are smart enough to decide for ourselves what is important.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jurors Send A Message To Merck With An Outlandish $250mm Award on Vioxx Trial....

Jurors in the Vioxx trial found the Pharmaceutical company, Merck, guilty on all counts in the suit over a users death.
Ten of the dozen jurors thought that number would best send a message to Merck & Co., the makers of Vioxx, when issuing punitive damages Friday.
The 10 of the 12 jurors decided to send a "message" to Merck and the other Pharmaceutical companies by awarding this outlandish amount that will be reduced or eliminated on appeal.

The verdict is not just punitive, but destructive. Pharmaceutical companies, particularly those in the United States, spend billions on research to solve vexing health problems facing not just Americans but others around the globe. Merck funds one of the largest basic research programs on human health on the planet and this money comes from the profits that they earn on their drug selling business. Without profits, basic research budgets get cut or eliminated and we will then have to rely upon government to fund a dumbed down research effort into politicians pet projects and vote getting specialties.

So, exactly what message does the jury want to send? According to one juror, they wanted Merck to know that they are human. By the way, Merck knows that they are human more than any other entity on the planet. They know the in-and-outs of being human through their basic research. And with an outlandish jury award of $250mm, what does this say about the concept of responsible juries? Should all juries be sending messages? Maybe juries should be sending messages to all forms of criminal activity. Maybe the death penalty or other forms of cruel punishment as found in Islamic Sharia [look at this link!!!] law would be appropriate for even petty crimes if it "sends a message." I really don't want some boneheaded jury sending me a message one day.

The Texas courts are famous for their outlandishly large jury awards. Mark Lanier, the plaintiffs attorney on this case, is well know for receiving large punitive damages on behalf of his clients.
The Houston trial lawyer has scored big here several times, never more dramatically than in 1998. He arrived with 21 Alabama steelworkers who had been injured by exposure to an asbestos-laden grinding wheel. He left with a $115 million damage award, one of the largest ever given in an asbestos case.
The asbestos liability cases that buried many companies over the last decade, are a fine example of how to destroy American industry and drive it offshore. If the US wants to compete on a global stage, we have to reduce the headwinds that competitors do not face overseas.

My feeling is that legal liability in the US will hurt our long-term competitiveness and promises to offer nothing but mediocrity in return. Of course attorneys love the system since it offers them a system to get extraordinarily wealthy while adding little of value to society or the world at large.

Melvis On The MTR....

Melvis makes it big in the Hong Kong Standard! The lady on the left is definitely wondering what this guy is all about. The woman on the right couldn't be less interested. I hope that he tuned his guitar.

The interesting thing is that the Standard story is about Chinese English names and doesn't even mention Melvis. So, the story and the picture are completely unrelated. I guess the paper just needed an excuse to run Melvises picture and his posing on the public transit. Just too funny.

On Chinese English names...
Another teacher had what she dubbed "The Fruit Sisters'': Lemon, Banana and Orange. One boy had apparently taken a cue from The Wind in the Willows with Mole and there were others seemingly inspired by the Seven Dwarfs: Happy, Itchy and Funny. A possible UFO freak called himself Roswell, though he wisely resisted my suggestion to change it to Area 51.
The best name I ever heard was one of wife's friends. Gina was a fairly typical name when I was growing up and this poor unfortunate lady had the distinction of having the name pronounced, va-gina [as in Gina] and spelled the same way as the anatomical parts, Vagina. Gadzooks.

Of course, the Chinese don't have a monopoly on crazy names since American blacks have a tendency of naming their children with names not found in the Bible. Some of my favorites include:
Abdual, Adalius, Anquan, Antuan, Antwaan, Antwoine, Armegis, Artose, Artrell, Aubrayo, Aveion, Char-ron, Chartric, Cletidus, Cosey, Daleroy, Dameane, Dantonio, Darnerien, DeAndrew, DeJhown, DeMingo, De'Mond, Deveren, Dondre, Donte', D'Wayne, Dwone, Dyshod, Edgerton, Enoch, Flozell, Idrees, Jarious, Jarmar, Jashon, Ja'Waren, Jerametrius, JoJuan, Joselio, Juqua, Kalimba, KaRon, Kawika, Ken-Yon, Keydrick, Keyuo, Kiwaukee, Kwazi, LaBrandon, LaDairis, La'Roi, LaTarence, Lauvale, Laveranues, LaWaylon, LeCharles, Lynaris, Malaefou, Markese, Marquand, Marquise, MarTay, Marvious, Mondriel, Montique, Na'il, Nijrell, Onterrio, Orantes, Plaxico, Quentus, Raynoch, R-Kal, Ronyell, Sherrod, Sultan, Terdell, Terreal, Trohn, Tyoka, Tywoin, Ulish, Waine, Zeron, Zuriel
Whatever happened to Mary and Joseph?

Can The Great Wall Be Seen From Outer Space?

Urban legend or truth? I have heard over-and-over that the Great Wall of China is the only man made structure that can be seen from the Moon. There are problems with this statement. Despite its extra-ordinary length of around 1,500 miles, the wall isn't particularly wide.
The width and height of some sections are impressive. The average dimensions are roughly 6 meters (18 feet) wide and 8 meters (25 feet) high. The watchtowers normally add about 4 meters (13 feet) to the height.
So, if one uses a thread as a proxy, it doesn't matter how long the thread is, the critical variable is its width. And at one point, despite its length, as you travel away from the thread, you will not be able to see it.

From the moon, given its distance and given a relatively clear day, an object with a width of around 0.4 miles across could be seen. A definitive debunking can be found here.

So, therefore, given the width of the Great Wall, there is some point in the space between the Earth and the Moon where the Wall can be seen. But then again, at that point, many other man-made objects of large dimensions can be seen too. Some parts of the Panama Canal are 36 meters [about 100 feet] wide but only around 50 miles long and the Suez Canal is around 190 feet wide and around 100 miles long. And many of the highways, bridges and other modern structures are of a width large enough to be seen too.

In any case, it was a truly extraordinary feat of engineering to build the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago. But given the pollution problems in China, these days, there will be very little that can be seen from any greater distances than where a tour bus can take you.

I Prefer......

This beachwear to Saudi beachwear. The French were useful for somethings and the atom bomb isn't all bad. And then, there is the itsy-bitsy polka dot bikini.

Quack, Quack.....

Its been raining straight for the last 24 hours. I am being told that it has been raining all week, but I spent 5 days in relatively good weather [except the typhoon that we landed in] in Taiwan

There are five warnings issued by the Hong Kong Observatory, today...
Nice weather if you are a fish or a duck. But of course, since some of us don't like the weather, we could always blame George Bush.

The Two Faced New York Times....

Reporting a strong economy in the US, but editorializing that it isn't that good. Basically, these pin heads are wishing and hoping that Americans suffer. Agenda journalism and Bush bashing at its most asinine. When will these clowns learn that we just can't take them seriously anymore.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kowloon Motor Bus....

KMB shares have risen 6% this month, 15% over the past 3 months and 29% for the past year. This is addition to an approximately 4% annual dividend, giving shareholders very handsome returns for what I consider a very low risk business. It appears as if insiders know what the public will only know too late, that fares are probably going to be bumped up for the hard working people of Hong Kong to benefit the tycoons that will need to raise money for their China real estate ventures.

Shareholders, amongst some of the weathiest of Hong Kongers, include the Sun Hung Kai Property uber-tycoons that control the company. A few months ago, as reported here, director John Chen was pleading poverty to the Hong Kong Standard in a puff piece that did not look into any of his untrue 'facts' in an article written for what I feel is a thinly veiled and sinister attempt to soften up the market for a fare rise. The problem as I reported here, is that the company earns not only a respectable return on their investments but a return that would be enviable for a company that is subject to competition and not one that operates a franchised bus operation with limited risk to lose money.

So, I am keeping my eye out for the announcement on the fare increase. If you hear anything, please let me know.


A most delightful beef noodle in Taiwan. The food was great there; lots of variety and very inexpensive.

Chinese Authorities Are Taking Action on The H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak....

Unfortunately, the actions are exactly the opposite of what should be done and risks 10's if not 100's of millions of humans.
Yi Guan, leader of a famed team of avian flu researchers who have been fighting the pandemic menace since 1997, complained to the British Guardian newspaper in July about the lackadaisical response of Chinese authorities to the unprecedented biological conflagration at Lake Qinghai.

"They have taken almost no action to control this outbreak. They should have asked for international support. These birds will go to India and Bangladesh and there they will meet birds that come from Europe." Yi Guan called for the creation of an international task force to monitor the wild bird pandemic, as well as the relaxation of rules that prevent the free movement of foreign scientists to outbreak zones in China.

In a paper published in the British science magazine Nature, Yi Guan and his associates also revealed that the Lake Qinghai strain was related to officially unreported recent outbreaks of H5N1 among birds in southern China. This would not be the first time that Chinese authorities have been charged with covering up an outbreak. They also lied about the nature and extent of the 2003 SARS epidemic, which originated in Guangdong but quickly spread to 25 other countries. As in the case of SARS' whistleblowers, the Chinese bureaucracy is now trying to gag avian-flu scientists, shutting down one of Yi Guan's laboratories at Shantou University and arming the conservative Agriculture Ministry with new powers over research.
In addition to covering up the problem, they are also politicizing it. I wonder how these Chinese officials manage to do anything? I guess in this case, since it doesn't involve some form of payoff, its best to keep it as quiet as possible until they figure out how to make some illicit money from it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

In Taiwan Now.....

Rainy typhoon weather and have only gone out to eat. Worked on a bid for a project in my room. Maybe now go out for a beer. I am here to eat the good food for a few days.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


With the advent of genetically based diagnosis of long-term health, this study has interesting implications.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When There Is Trouble In China, Make Sure That You Point Your Finger At Someone Else....

When there is mining accident in China, the standard operating procedure for Communist Party officials is make sure to blame the accident on the mine owners for operating an illegal mine.
The mine was operating without a license and in violation of local government orders to shut down for inspections after a July flooding at another pit in Xingning, Xinhua said. The July accident claimed 16 lives.
Unfortunately, local officials were aware of the problems and didn't follow up with action. Probably because they were bribed by the mine owners.

Mine accidents resulting in death are a big problem all around China, where, officially, 6,000 miners lost their lives. The real figures are estimated to be significantly higher but are hidden from the public. I wrote a recent post, China's Mines Are Hellholes Of Death, where the mine operators were charged with dumping the bodies of dead miners in another town to lower the official death count from one of their accidents.

China's leaders do not have a grip on the problem and probably won't for the foreseeable future. Complicating the problem is that severe energy shortages in China are causing demand for coal to outstrip supply and China cannot afford to shut mines, even those that are operating illegally or without proper safety regimes in place. So, shutting mines and decreasing production of coal while instituting more comprehensive safety procedures isn't possible.

As a result of all the tragic losses, China has funded a safety campaign.
Massive nationwide workplace safety checks also ensued, and a huge fund totaling 3 billion yuan (US$361 million) was earmarked to improve safety facilities in coal mines.
That's a lot of money in China, but sadly, it doesn't seem to be having an impact. It is probable, that much of the money went to lining local officials pockets instead of actually being used for mine safety or inspection.

Good Spagetti Harvest this Year?

Arguably the best media-generated April Fool's joke dates from a Richard Dimbleby "news report" aired on 1 April 1957 on BBC's Panorama. It opened with a line about Spring coming early that year, prompting the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland to be early, too. Against a video backdrop of happy peasant women harvesting spaghetti from trees, whimsical claims about the foodstuff's cultivation were made in a straightfaced manner. Spaghetti's oddly uniform length was explained as the result of years of dedicated cultivation. The ravenous spaghetti weevil which had wreaked havoc with harvests of years past had been conquered, said the report. More than 250 viewers jammed the BBC switchboard after the hoax aired, most of them calling in with serious inquiries about the piece — where could they go to watch the harvesting operation? Could they buy spaghetti plants themselves? (For those anxious to try their hand at homegrown pasta, Panorama producer Michael Peacock offered this helpful hint: "Many British enthusiasts have had admirable results from planting a small tin of spaghetti in tomato sauce.")

The Taco Liberty Bell......

One of the more imaginative April Fool's Day hoaxes was the work of a well-known restaurant chain. In 1996, Taco Bell Corp. announced it had bought the Liberty Bell from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Citizens outraged by the vending of a historic treasure complained to the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell is housed. A few hours later, Taco Bell admitted the spoof. When asked about the sale, Mike McCurry (who was then the White House press secretary) replied with tongue in cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold to a different corporation and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

The Boneheads At PETA, Compare Black Americans To Animals....

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] hung up pictures of killing and killed animals next to pictures of lynched and murdered African -Americans during a protest recently in Connecticut.
PETA wants people to stop eating animals, stop using them for clothing, stop forcing animals to entertain people (as in a circus) and stop animal experimentation.

Carr said she doesn’t want animals sold or treated as property either.

The controversial display, which is on a national tour, is intended to drive home PETA’s point.
The people with PETA are more sensitive to animals than they are to people.
"Once again, black people are being pimped. You used us. You have used us enough," Esdaile said. "Take it down immediately."

"I am a black man! I can’t compare the suffering of these black human beings to the suffering of this cow," said Michael Perkins, 47, of New Haven. He stood in front of a photo of butchered livestock hung next to the photo of two lynched black men dangling before a white mob.

"You can’t compare me to a freaking cow," shouted John Darryl Thompson, 46, of New Haven, inches from Carr’s face. "We don’t care about PETA. You are playing a dangerous game."
The morons at PETA are just disgusting comparing the suffering of people with that of animals. Dopes.

And he missed his stop.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Even Terrorists Love Harry Potter....

The more discerning al-Qaeda and Taliban Guantanamo detainees prefer the hocus-pocus of Harry Potter to other reading material.
Harry Potter's worldwide popularity is so broad-based that it has become favorite reading for Islamic terror suspects at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Lori, who for two years has overseen the detention center's library, said J.K. Rowling's tales about the boy wizard are on top of the request list for the camp's 520 al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, followed by Agatha Christie whodunits.

Anthrax Outbreak In China Is Now under Control...

Jeepers, what disease has China not been battling lately?

On This Date In 1945, The Soviet Union Declares War On Japan....

Timing is everything, I suppose. Russia declared war on Japan August 8, 1945, two days after the US dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, the day before another nuclear weapon was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki and seven days prior to Japan's surrender. Seems like a low risk strategy or maybe a tipping point or puts them in a better position to take back territory lost to the Japanese 50 years earlier.

The US, after Germany's surrender, had been moving hundreds of thousands of troops into the Pacific theater with the goal of invading the Japanese mainland. The invasion force would have been several times the size of the force deployed during D-Day June 6th, 1944 that totaled 133,000 men and reached 850,000 men by the end of the month.

D-Day saw Allied forces suffering over 10,000 casualties that day and war planners were concerned that the invasion of the Japanese mainland would cause losses of several times that in addition to horrific civilian casualties. It was thought that the Japanese, even civilian woman and children would fight to the death.

Its a good thing that Japan surrendered.

Hong Kong Property Market Cooling Off Substantially....

I am always amazed at Hong Kong people's faith in the property market where no price is too high. People just can't get enough of it! But as I wrote about before, I am not a believer in the property market here. It appears as if finally, the housing market is taking a breather from its fantastic rise in price from the lows during SARS a couple of years ago.
The secondary market was also affected, Chow said, pointing to a speculator who bought a flat on North Point for HK$1.93 million last March and only sold it in June for HK$1.85 million, an on-paper loss of HK$83,000. But with stamp duty, legal fees and commissions, the loss would be more like HK$140,000, he said.
Speculators are the first to start taking losses and it looks as this trend will be continuing as more sensible pricing should enter the housing market in the near-term. People spend just too much money for housing here and it makes Hong Kong less competitive as a result.

4,000 Chinese Officials Fled China in 2004.....

4,000 Chinese officials fled China last year with an estimated 5 billion Yuan [HK$4.80 billion-US$600 million] in graft money in tow. The currency figure seems a little low to me since this only amounts to US$150,000 for each of the 4,000 fugitives, not enough to even buy a house in Canada or the US. I figure that this figure is probably substantially understated since a higher number would imply that the problem is nowhere near under control.

The flow of officials into the US and Canada has been ongoing for a number of years since these destinations do not extradite fugitive criminals back to China due to China's policy of executing non-violent offenders of law.
Chu said China's use of the death penalty for non-violent crimes makes the extradition process even more difficult, because many countries refuse to send back foreign nationals who could face possible execution.
However, due to domestic political considerations, it is unlikely that China will change its execution policy anytime soon.
For years, some Chinese legal experts have called for limits on death sentences in non-violent cases, Chu said, adding if corrupt officials were not afraid of facing execution, many of them would not choose to flee the country.

``But Chinese people's cries for severe punishment of corrupt officials are very loud and you have to consider the country's needs to stem graft. A decision on whether or not to keep imposing the death penalty for non-violent crimes will require further debate and experiments,'' Chu said.
So, when has China really cared about what the populace thinks anyway? This argument is just a strawman and one that is not very convincing on its surface. The real reason that China doesn't want to curb its use of the death penalty is that execution is just another tool in its arsenal to keep people in line domestically. Without the death penalty for non-violent offenders of the law, it will be much more difficult to control the population with high profile executions under the guise of the law.

In a weak attempt to stem the flow, China has instituted a policy where officials have to get permission from their superiors in order to travel outside of the country. This will just cause corrupt officials to be more careful and deceitful till they choose to flee. China is not really making a serious attempt to reduce corruption since they refuse to take positive steps to bring the international community into the process. The problem is that the Chinese Communist Party is the main beneficiary of corruption and it will be difficult to eradicate.

Everyday Is Halloween....

In Japan [registration required, I think].
"France is not the fashion leader anymore," says Loic Bizel, a self-styled style-industry tour guide and market pulse-taker from Lyons. "There are no trendsetters in France, except maybe big names like Dior."

The French, he said, "are very poor in terms of fashion, in terms of creativity, compared to Japan."

Harajuku is perhaps the one place on earth where every day is like Halloween and "outrageous" is the highest form of praise. Day-Glo pink or green hair doesn't turn heads, nor do Shirley Temple flouncy petticoats or pandalike, black-and-white complexions or any mad assortment of tchotchkes, accessories and clothing.
Japan is now the kingdom of cool.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

An amusing photo I took in New york.

China Blasts US Over Mullet Problems...

The spread of mullets has China's leaders very concerned. A 360 degree view available here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Best Zimbabwe Story.....

Zimbabwe has been a total mess for years. The economy has been weak due to the collapse of production from the large white owned farms, and the resulting decline in exports has left a severe shortage of foreign currency available for importing such necessities as fuel.

As a result, people have resorted to following fuel trucks from South Africa Sugarland Express style once they cross the border or waiting for days on lines at gas stations to get fuel for their cars once it is delivered.

This story was related to me by one of my Zimbabwean buddies about an acquaintance of his. One night, a woman called her husband on his cell-phone asking him if was coming home for dinner that night. He told her that he was waiting in line for fuel at the gas station and that he probably wouldn't be home for quite a while.

The dutiful wife then packed a nice dinner for her dear husband and called him again. She asked him where he was and he exasperatingly replied that he was waiting on line at the gas station as he had told her before. She said OK. She called him again asking him if he wanted dinner and he yelled at her saying that he was waiting at the gas station for fuel as he told her several times before. She then replied that she had been waiting in the car for him with his dinner since the previous time that she called and that he had better get his ass out of his girlfriend's house and back to the car for dinner with her.

I imagine that that wasn't the most pleasant meal he has ever had.

China's Support Of Genocidal And Autocratic Regimes...

Support for Sudan in its genocidal treatment of negro Africans has the full support and veto power of China in the UN Security Council. Burma's autocratic regime's only friend in the world today is China.

However, Zimbabwe's Mugabe, with hat in hand gets blown off by the Chinese when he was looking for US$300 million in aid to pay his upcoming debts to the IMF.

Why not? Well, we know that Sudan has lots of oil and so Beijing will support whomever is control there. CNOOC or one of the other large Chinese oil companies has rights to large concessions for drilling in that humanitarian disaster of a country. Burma is in China's sphere of influence and frankly, they probably like some of the autocratic methods employed by the military government there, so they feel a kind of kinship. In addition, they have lectured the world not to interfere on the internal affairs of Burma, harkening back to the good old days of commie babble. Maybe Zimbabwe just does not figure anymore in China's plans and offer very little of value to the Mandarins. They have larger and more tasty fish to fry these days.

Fuel Shortages In China Becoming More Acute....

Not only is electric power in short supply causing brownouts and forced service interruptions, but gasoline is also in short supply.
The Guangzhou-based newspaper Information Times reported Wednesday that Guangzhou and its neighboring cities in the Pearl River Delta will face increasing pressure of fuel shortage in the coming months.

Reporters visited gas stations throughout the city and the neighboring cities including Dongguan, Panyu, Shunde.

Staff from most of the gas stations in Guangzhou claimed shortage of 90-octane grade gasoline. Even sales of ample 93-octane grade gasoline are limited by quotas.
There is a market based reason why oil now trades at over US$60 per barrel, demand in the growing world economies is greatly outstripping supply. Additionally, there are probably severe bottlenecks in the supply chain that will become more obvious and painful as time wears on. I am no expert on China's oil supply, but in addition to strains on importing the raw material of oil, there must be strains on refining and distribution capacity that the young semi-market based economy that modern China is, is grappling with.

Rejigging welfare for ultra-wealthy tycoons.


I actually thought that gasoline [petrol for our British friends] prices were fixed in Hong Kong since prices have almost always been exactly the same across the territory. My stupid logic was that since the government is trying to discourage driving by making registration and taxes high that they also legislated the prices that these guys should charge. Fancy this that they have actually been colluding!

While they are at it, there are several other businesses that commonly use price fixing to gouge consumers and restrict true competition. The uncompetitive businesses such as supermarkets and drugstore chains in Hong Kong could use a little scrutiny from their monopoly and oligopoly practices.

How stupid do we feel that we allow the tycoons and large global conglomerates that run these businesses fleece the hard-working and honest people of Hong Kong. Shame on all of these people.


Random bag searches, recently instituted on New York subways and other mass transit systems, have absurdly been conducted without the racial profiling of passengers. It is as stupid a policy as any I have witnessed. By randomly picking out passengers for searches, the chances of finding a bomb carrying terrorist are reduced and potential bomb carrying terrorists know that their chances of getting stopped are miniscule, giving them comfort that their evil plans have a greater chance of success. You can argue that occasionally, that a suicide bomber may be of a different ethnic group or a woman but the bulk of potential terrorists, probably more than 95%, are young men from the Middle-East.

Finally, some New York State lawmakers have come out in favor of racial profiling saying that we have to battle risk with effective counter measures.
state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said police should be focusing on those who fit the "terrorist profile."

"They all look a certain way," said Hikind, a Democrat from Brooklyn. "It's all very nice to be politically correct here, but we're talking about terrorism."

On Tuesday, Republican City Councilman James Oddo said the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack by Middle Eastern men in hijacked airplanes prompted him to publicly declare his support for Hikind's statements.
Its just silly to search the bags of little old blue haired ladies, fat out-of-towners on their way to popular Broadway plays or the numerous other ethnic groups where the risk is extraordinarily low. And if you are a policeman, how stupid would you feel when you have to search people that are clearly unlikely to be carrying bombs?

Liberal political correctness, particularly in this case, is also a disease that has to be fought. This war against terrorism is a fight where we have to have the will to win, an approach that is effective and use our resources wisely. Targeting Middle-Eastern men for searches makes sense and I applaud those elected officials that have come out and said what needed to be said.