Saturday, April 28, 2007

Globalism Quote O' the Day

I haven't cited Don Luskin over at the Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid much lately, Krugman-bashing has fallen off since they started making you pay to read his editorials, but he still gets in some good lines.

The advocates of free trade have on their side over 200 years of settled science in economics, going all the way back to Adam Smith. The advocates of protectionism have Lou Dobbs.

An article worth reading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stock Returns

One of the things about getting an MBA is you end up eating, breathing and sleeping Excel. I got in a discussion about the effect of inflation on stock returns, so I came up with this. It teaches you one thing, never buy in at the top of a bubble.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Blame Al Gore For the Otters!

Yes, I know you should never extrapolate a trend based of off a single anecdotal example, but given how often the proponents of global warming do, I will make an exception.

ANCHORAGE — An unbudging sheath of sea ice has blocked off the waters where the Alaska Peninsula's sea otters forage, forcing the starving animals inland on a search for food and making them easy prey for wolves and humans.

Some otters have waddled or slid on their bellies for several miles onto the tundra near Port Heiden, where they have been attacked by dogs, killed for their pelts or have died of malnourishment.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Anti-American Myths Never Die

One thing I have learned from following conspiracy theories, is that once one starts, they never die, no matter how many times they have been debunked. Look at all the people who still cite Lauro Chavez as an authority.

So I was offended, but not suprised to see Paul Rockwell cite accounts of Iraqi war crimes by Jimmy Massey:

For nearly 12 years, Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey was a hard-core, some say “gung-ho,” Marine. For three years he trained fellow Marines in one of the most grueling indoctrination rituals in military life — Marine boot camp. The Iraqi war changed Massey. The brutality, the sheer carnage of the U.S. invasion, touched his conscience and transformed him forever. He was honorably discharged last December 31 and is now back in his hometown, Waynsville, North Carolina. When I talked with Sergeant Massey last week, he expressed his remorse at the civilian loss of life in incidents in which he himself was involved.

There is just one problem, Massey was exposed as a fake by St. Louis Post reporter Ron Harris, nearly two years ago.

Massey's claims have gained him celebrity. Last month, Massey's book, "Kill, Kill, Kill," was released in France. His allegations have been reported in nationwide publications such as Vanity Fair and USA Today, as well as numerous broadcast reports. Earlier this year, he joined the anti-war bus tour of Cindy Sheehan, and he's spoken at Cornell and Syracuse universities, among others.

News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.

He wasn't.

Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated - according to his fellow Marines, Massey's own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey's unit, including a reporter and photographer from the Post-Dispatch and reporters from The Associated Press and The Wall StreetJournal.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Donate to the University of Washington Medal of Honor Memorial

I covered the Pappy Boyington controversy last year, but now I have more favorable news to cover. The University of Washington is raising money ($100,000) to build a memorial to the 7 Huskies who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. KVI talk show host Kirby Wilbur was promoting this project this morning, and apparently until tomorrow the health insurance company Triwest will match all donations, up to a total of $25,000, until tomorrow. To do this put "KVI" in the comments box on the donation form, which you can find here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Fallacies of Cheap Labor

As I mentioned previously, I just got back from a trip to China. The trip was a tour sponsored by the business school, so as a part of this we got to visit a variety of companies, both Chinese and multi-national.

One of the most interesting visits was to Lenovo, the Chinese computer manufacturer who recently purchased IBM's PC division. They showed us around their new manufacturing facility, including a completely automated warehouse. The warehouse was stacked several floors up, and had aisles just wide enough to accomodate the tracks the robotic forklifts ran on, as they zipped back and forth to pick up the parts needed to fill orders for computers.

The most interesting part came with the explanation from our guide, that when the warehouse was built, they reduced the number of workers required from 100, to just 5. This is in China, the country that built the Great Wall with cheap labor, and has only added to its reputation since. But for them, the way to compete was still to become more efficient, to do more with less, smarter.

Another company that we visited, which will remain nameless, specialized in outsourcing certain data processing activities to China. They recruited a bunch of college graduates, because they needed people who could speak foreign languages, to sit in front of monitors and type in data all day. One of the managers grumbled to us that their only advantage, cheap labor, was being challenged, because wage rates were going up, and so other companies in lesser developed regions of China. The competition for skilled labor in their city was so great it was pushing up wages.

Even in China, you cannot fool with the laws of supply and demand.

Between which of those two companies will succeed, I will put my money on Lenovo.