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The rich talk back: Lee Gil-ya

Sometimes the messenger, not the message, is the problem. Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart recently caused a bit of a controversy when she wrote:

"There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself - spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working."

On the other hand, Lee Gil-ya, president of a foundation in South Korea, is so "no excuses" that I feel like I've been slacking off even though I have been working all day today.
"Lee is constantly questioned how she did it. She answers she has always had dreams and strived to reach them. Specifically, she advises people to sleep no more than four hours; stay focused; set clear goals; and have a dream. "
That's right. Sleep no more than four hours. I have done that a few times in my life, but I would probably sleep 14 hours the next day.
“I never thought there was a glass ceiling in the medical and educational fields. I never thought I couldn’t make it,” Lee said in an interview with The Korea Times.
Lee said, “The internal glass ceiling in oneself is more dangerous than the external one. If you limit yourself, reasoning and saying, ‘Because I am a woman’ or ‘Because I do not come from a wealthy family,’ that’s the real glass ceiling.”
According to the article, Ms. Lee is 80 years old. Either that photo is about 20 years old, she has preserved herself well, or plastic surgery/dying your hair can take 20 years off your appearance. Perhaps I will try that sleeping four hours a day thing, it i...

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Keepin' it real!

As I wrote about Andrei Lankov earlier this year, he is a great analyst because he doesn't talk about hopes or wishes--he analyzes based on experience, history, common sense and what is likely to happen. It is like he is an economist examining history and politics. That is in direct contrast to someone like Harvard pop philosopher Michael Sandel.

Keeping it real world: Andrei Lankov
Keeping it real naive: Michael Sandel

Lankov's latest column, Little Justice in North Korea, is so real that it is even a little depressing. He addresses the question of what is likely to happen to the North Korean elite in the future--and concludes that they won't get punished, they'll probably do even better in a post-Kim family future, that most of them will end up being leaders of North Korea in the future, that their children will fare even better, and that, as the column is titled, there will be little justice in North Korea.

Lankov concludes:
This might be a rather disconcerting prospect for some readers who would probably prefer and expect justice to be served to the perpetrators of what might have been the worst human rights abuses of the last few decades. However, in actual history, justice is a rare commodity, for every case of its triumph (and such triumphs are usually overstated), one can easily find many cases when collaboration with rather disgusting forces has paid off handsomely ― both for the collaborators themselves and their children.
 No wonder people would prefer to read Sandel...

Lankov's comments made me think about the issue of Korean collaborators with the Japanese colonizers. Many of them became leaders in South Korea, probably for many of the same reasons that Lankov mentioned in his column.

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Romney landslide?

Something interesting to me is that back in May of this year, conservative political consultant Dick Morris (a former adviser to Bill Clinton) predicted that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide. Not just that Romney would win--but that it would be a landslide.

In June, Las Vegas oddsmaker (and libertarian) Wayne Allen Root also predicted that Romney would win in a landslide.

In August, two University of Colorado professors who reportedly have correctly predicted every presidential election since 1980 predicted that Romney would easily win.

Also in August, Arthur Laffer predicted Romney would win in a landslide.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was the first I heard predict a landslide victory for Obama--in January 2012.

They all made those predictions when Obama was ahead in the polls and before the first debate when Obama took a long nap while Romney debated him. The tide has started to turn against Obama in the last few weeks, with many citing the whipping he got in the first debate.

Now, there is one major poll--Gallup--which has Romney leading 52 to 45% among likely voters.

Obama fans still have some hope: Gallup was one of the least accurate pollsters in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The most accurate in a virtual tie were Rasmussen (typically labeled as conservative) and Pew.

As I mentioned to some Korean friends at a discussion group months ago: Don't pay attention to polls in the U.S. until the last two weeks before the election. Most people aren't paying attention before then and the pollsters are more concerned at the end with getting their predictions right. What they said in August won't matter.

If Obama loses then it would have be one of the most incredible presidential collapses in history. President Bush 41 did have incredibly high approval ratings midway through his term, but that was based on the good feelings Americans had about the easy triumph in the Iraq War back in 1991. This next year, Bush41 was a private citizen again after losing to Clinton.

But Obama came into office with incredibly high approval ratings, both houses of Congress with clear majorities on his side. If he loses in the landslide as is being predicted by the (mostly conservatives) above and if the U.S. Congress also goes Republican, then Romney would have at least two years with both houses of Congress.

Media bias and/or stupid reporting?   This is such bad reporting from Reuters.   The article's main point: Roughly 5 percent of respondents in Reuters/Ipsos polls said they chose the Republican contender in 2008 and will switch to Obama in 2012.   The Reuters reporter then profiles these "defectors." They like Obama because he is more personable, don't like Romney because he is Mormon and rich. I'm surprised none of them mentioned that Romney might be a serial killer.

Oh. The reporter concluded: "The defectors to Obama remain a smaller subset of respondents than those who voted for him in 2008 and now support Romney. The Reuters/Ipsos polling shows 10 percent of voters plan to cross the aisle in that direction."

So 5 percent of McCain voters and 10 percent of Obama voters are switching...but 95 percent of the column is about the people switching to Obama?

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