Friday, October 23, 2009

Horsey's editorial cartoon says it all

Washington State has been beset by a plague called Tim Eyman. He has submitted initiatives to our ballot boxes that sound too good to be true and the cost to our state in terms of services that the community needs and enjoys has been overwhelmingly awful. Even Joni Balter, of the increasingly conservative Seattle Times, has tried to educate voters about the consequences of this plague.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wow, China on my radar twice in one week!

More news on China's outreach to the developing world. I have before mentioned China's role in infrastructure investment/development in Africa and the consequent frustrations by the various African nations because China does not employ locals in these projects. This morning, NPR had a story on Chinese investment in.....Afghanistan! One of the key insights in this story was that because these investments are made by the Chinese government, not private companies, money is no object, so that competitive bidding just does not happen and firms from other countries do not have a chance. China wants access to Afghanistan's natural resources and wants to ensure delivery. They made the proposal to do these projects on the grounds of helping redevelop Afghanistan in the wake of war. They support NATO efforts and cause, but do not wish to commit military money or equipment. This seems admirable on the surface, except that they are not actually helping rebuild what the Afghans need. And as paranoid as China is about the Uighurs and other minorities, they are perfectly happy for other nations to deal with Islamist-based terrorism.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two of my favourite topics

Monday's NYT had stories on two of my favourite topics/rants: China and its attempts to expand its sphere of influence and South Africa and its cartoonish incarnations of political leaders.

China was the honoured guest at the Frankfurt Book Fair and naturally, they attempted to control which authors could attend, which books to promote, etc and complained that members of the Dalai Lama's entourage might be there. They seem not to get it that most of the world has no desire to play by their rules or to squash individual freedom.

And the farce that is currently on display in a corruption trial in South Africa requires a playwright to reveal that truth is far stranger, and more entertaining, than fiction.

Speaking of South Africa, the 8 October 2009 edition of the London Review of Books has a very interesting review of RW Johnson's new book "South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country since the End of Apartheid". Roger Southall's review is thought-provoking.

Can't wait for book three!

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a page turner! The pacing was relentless, there were surprises, what a great read!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When no new news is still news....

The weird tale of the hijacked Russian ship last summer continues to wend its murky way through the news machines without getting any clearer. A report in Sunday's New York Times contains the priceless comment by the ship's second in command: “Something certainly happened out there, but we are not allowed to talk about it"....! Where are the hijackers? Who really are they? What is their fate? Why is the ship now have a North Korean name painted on it? What will be the fate of the remaining three crew members still on board?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Support a great cause!

Hidatsa Earth Blanket. Created for the AICF by Pendleton Woolen Mills

It's that time of year again for the American Indian College Fund Gala!. If you cannot attend, send a donation, shop their online store, spread the message. And a big shout out to Pendleton Woolen Mills, a long time supporter of AICF. And, while the Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks is a great reminder of our national treasures, Pendleton has been supporting and promoting the parks for a long time:L check out their fabulous National Parks Blankets series.

Rainier National Park blanket created by Pendleton Woolen Mills