1/9/10

Random stuff from the Korea Times

U.S. Black Activists Launch Attack on Cuba

According to the L.A. Times, published in today's Korea Times: Before Obama, "no human rights groups, which largely come from the left, wanted to be seen as lackeys for George W. Bush," said Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

Cornel West, Ruby Dee, Melvin Van Peebles and the others who signed the statement should condemn Sabatini for saying such a thing!

1) This is a teachable moment: Say what you think is right, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with you.

2) Will the statement will do any good? I doubt it. Is it late? Certainly. If it will do any good then it may have been even more powerful years ago.

3) Not that I paid attention to them before, but if it is true that they didn't want to be Bush's lackeys, then everything those black activists said about Cuba before 2008 should be disregarded.

4) To paraphrase Golda Meir: They hated Bush more than they loved black Cubans.

4) Edmund Burke is often credited with saying: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." Burke should have added: Or wait until someone you like is in office to get the courage to say something.

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Korea Times: "Blizzard Creates Additional Odd Jobs."

1) That which is not seen: This article reveals a big difference between journalists and economists. Journalists observe and write about the obvious. Economists (usually) analyze that which is not always obvious, examine the long-term consequences of policies and actions.

2) Invisible victims: The Korea Times reporter, no doubt, is correct that some jobs were created. At what cost? There was probably much more economic activity that was delayed or prevented because of the blizzard. By the way, in this regard, policymakers are more like journalists in that they focus on the obvious immediate benefits rather than long-term negative consequences.

3) Negative economic substitution: So one person quoted in the article was paying 7,000 won (about $5.50) an hour to get someone to shovel snow. If not for the blizzard, perhaps he could have spent that 7,000 won on something else, creating economic activity elsewhere that a reporter would not notice?

4) Apparently a good way to improve an economy is to have more blizzards. Just imagine how many odd jobs could be created if it snowed every day for the next 6 months! Snow removal could become a permanent job.

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A beautiful thing about free markets: Customers make evaluations, not bureaucrats or experts. They are not perfect, of course. But the decisions are made based on who shows up, not what a former Minister of Education thinks.
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Korea Times: Seoul Disputes Lonely Planet's 'Least Favorite City' Label

I didn't realize the travel guide Lonely Planet was still being published. I was a contributor to one of its editions about a decade or so ago. I assumed it died after that.

Based on feedback from readers, it has named Seoul one of its least favorite cities.

Seoul has responded quickly, apparently much faster than it does at cleaning snow off the ground.

1) I haven't done a survey, but I suspect Seoul would easily be named the least favorite cities of Seoulites.

2) Seoul is a great place to live but you wouldn't want to visit.

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Experts: Cold Snap Doesn't Disprove Global Warming

Of course it doesn't. That would be real news if it did.

Okay, I'll play along. So what would disprove global warming? It is the ultimate heads-I-win, tails-you-lose game. Hot weather proves global warming is occurring (heads), cold weather doesn't disprove it (tails). In the 1970s, it was global cooling. Then it became global warming. Now it has become climate change.

So, what, in the eyes of those experts, could disprove global warming/climate change?

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I usually don't mention the Korea Herald because it hides its links. But today's newspaper has a staff editorial: KORUS FTA in limbo.

Some people who know me wonder why I have lost interest in politics.

I remember, in late 1993, in Seoul, being handed a flyer by a wide-eyed college student who was greatly upset that the U.S. was using GATT to force open the Korean rice market. I asked her what she thought I should do about it.

Now, 17 years later, the free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea is in limbo. I suppose I could have spent the last 17 years becoming an expert about free trade between the two countries.

CJL