1/24/13

Last two weeks: Fan Death of the People, For the People, By the People

Attempted Fan Death Homicide

Fan Death--in which people allegedly die when sleeping in a closed room with a fan on--has been written about in Slate magazine.


As I wrote in 2010:
the air conditioner is broken at work...
my coworker located a fan, and pointed it directly at me--then closed the door when he left.
is this an attempt on my life?
Check out fan death, still one of my all-time favorite Web sites.
I wonder, have there any been any attempts at killing someone through fan death? Such as, a wife closing the door and turning on the fan while her drunk husband slept.
Or attempted fan death suicides?

* * *

Half of the Women on the Net are the Men on the Net

A friend said it more than a decade--a lot of the "women" on the Internet are actually men pretending to be women.

For some reason it has become a national story in America about a Notre Dame football player getting scammed. Another story is about NFL and NBA players also getting contacted by men pretending to be women.

1) As mentioned in the NFL/NBA story, it isn't surprising considering that those are young, single guys, with many women around them.

2) I suppose players are hesitant to reject "Friend" requests from people--especially those who are heterosexual getting requests from good-looking women.

3) Could there ever be a case of a woman pretending to be a man and a man pretending to be a woman chatting away on the Internet?


The rich talk back

Golfer Phil Mickelson spoke too much truth when he said he was thinking about leaving California because of the high tax rate. He had the choice to either fight or back down--he chose to back down.

1) His mistake? Giving taxes as a reason when he wasn't ready to fight over that. He should have said he was moving to Florida to be closer to his mother (I don't know where she lives or if she is really alive) or to do volunteer work helping some liberal cause.

2) Rich people should know that is impolite to complain about high taxes. The U.S. government needs money now, and the rich are supposed to give regardless of the rate.


3) Rich people and businesses occasionally abandon a state because of high taxes, but they don't always make a big deal about it, as French actor Gerard Depardieu did when he left France's 75% rate on the wealthy for Russia's flat tax of 13%. Geniuses in Maryland were sure that businesses would stay in the state, until they started leaving. New York governor David Paterson was happy when Rush Limbaugh left New York because of high taxes, saying he would have raised taxes sooner. But Paterson wasn't smiling when other rich people followed Limbaugh. As Paterson later admitted:

"You heard the mantra, 'Tax the rich, tax the rich,"' Paterson said Wednesday at a gathering of newspaper editors at an Associated Press event in Syracuse. "We've done that. We've probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state."
Anyway, President Obama will carry on with his plans to tax the rich, despite the consequences. Politicians can't resist the political temptation of punishing the rich in the short term despite the long-term consequences.

* * *

Will Korean politicians ever have "Laissez-faire" Syndrome

Lee Chang-sup, executive managing editor of the Korea Times, makes a great point when he writes: "Small firms need to overcome Peter Pan Syndrome."

Among the interesting points and statistics:
In 2011, 111 (of 1,422) medium-sized firms broke into smaller firms in an attempt to benefit from various government funding programs.
The media encourages government support for small firms and portrays small companies as victims of conglomerates. Similarly, the National Assembly is sometimes blindly bipartisan in increasing financial, institutional and regulatory support for small companies.

For instance, in order to obtain support, firms must keep employees below 300 and capital below $8 million. Once employment and capital surpass these figures, a company will no longer be eligible for 160 support programs. Further, once a company’s assets surpass $5 billion, it will face various investment restrictions.
160 support programs for business?
“Korea has the world’s best support program for small companies. Small firms enjoy credit guarantees, subsidized loans, tax deductions and partial exemptions for hiring people with disabilities,” according to former chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission Chin Dong-soo. Policymakers and scholars of many developing countries regard Korea a good model for small business.
Germany and Taiwan are two model economies powered by small companies although these countries do not have the comprehensive support programs offered in Korea. It is more difficult to allow small firms to go bankrupt in Korea than in Germany and Taiwan. This is another indication that small Korean firms are overprotected. Overprotection often breeds moral hazard.
Of course, the conclusion is for the government to remain deeply involved?
Park should become the first head of state to change the business support programs, in order to encourage medium-sized firms to pursue growth and efficiency. To this end, she could introduce an incentive system for medium-sized firms to become large companies.
My prediction is that in another decade or two, another managing editor will be writing about the failed program initiated by former President Park.


* * *

Government's suicide prevention plan failed, time to revise failed plan

According to John Power of the Korea Herald:

More than 15,500 people here took their own lives in 2010, making suicide the leading cause of death for those under 40 and fourth-leading cause of death overall. 
Officialdom’s recent efforts to stem the rising tide of avoidable deaths have shown little success. Whereas the government’s suicide reeducation strategy for 2004-2010 had targeted a 20 percent decline in the number of people taking their own lives, the suicide rate rose more than 30 percent over the period. In 2011, the National Assembly passed a law providing government funding for counseling and other suicide reduction efforts, the effect of which is yet to be borne out by statistics.

In a statement to The Korea Herald, the deputy head of mental health policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Moon Sang-jun, said the ministry’s current goal was for a 20 percent reduction in the suicide rate. 
Nothing in the article makes me think they will reduce the rate. I'm an outsider to Korea, but the stress, superficiality, "steps" that must be taken at certain times (school, job, marriage, kids), the focus on burdens rather than joy are factors that outweigh the things discussed by the experts.

Government of "The People"...Or "People"

Managing editor Oh Young Jin suggests ("With the people" 1/13/13) that new president-elect Park Geun-Hye should update former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg speech "that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth" to add "with the people."

"With the People" sounds really nice.

But I don't blog to be nice. What's wrong with it? Mainly, "the people." My suggestions:

1) "... that government of individuals, by individuals, for individuals shall not perish from the Earth."

2) "of people, by people, for people."

"The people" is a collective. Government should be focused on protecting individual rights. "The people" sounds like something Michael Sandel or communitarians would be for, so that the rights of individuals could be overriden when "the people" want to do something.

Advice starts in the newsroom

Managing editor Oh made a great suggestion: "Let's give Park some time." He correctly points out that people have been criticizing many things about the president-elect even though she hasn't even taken over as president.

In fact, that is such a great point, I hope he will walk over to the newsroom and read his article to the news and feature reporters. The same day Oh made that point, the Korea Times ran 11 articles mentioning Park, including five that mentioned her in the headline.

Updated until January 27, 2013

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