South Koreans rescue North Koreans from pirates

The point is not to expect North Korean gratitude or cooperation any time soon, but a model of how South Korea will attempt to rule a commonwealth of Republic of the Koreas.

NAIROBI, Kenya – South Korean snipers hovering in a helicopter Monday chased away pirates pursuing a North Korean freighter, while a Russian warship freed eight Iranian citizens held hostage for more than three months.

The two dramatic rescues in the Gulf of Aden come as piracy grips the lawless coast off Somalia.

via SKorean warship rescues NKorean vessel off Somalia.

While North Korea is a stalinist dictatorship and Taiwan is mostly a democracy, South Korea’s model for absorbing the North will be similar to China’s recent model for absorbing Taiwan.

OpenDocument and MS Office

Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 SP 2 may be the best OpenDocument Presentation editor on the planet. I was editing a poster version of the final paper I wrote for structural equation modeling, and OpenOffice.org Impress was clearly having trouble keeping up.  Happily, I was able to continue the work fine with Powerpoint, even pasting from my ODT-formatted report in OpenOffice.org Writer to my ODP-formatted poster in Powerpoint just fine.

powerpoint_and_odp

Between Office 2007 SP2, Windows 7, and Live Mesh, Microsoft is on a roll!

Update: Slashdot links to another take. Apparently, OpenOffice does not properly follow some aspects of the OpenDocument standard, and other vendors have emulated OpenOffice’s behavior instead of the OpenDocument standard. This causes some problems.

Impression of “Tommyknockers” by Stephen King

I finished The Tommyknockers today. The book started slow. Jim Gardner did not strike me as too sympathetic, and I could not wait to hear the narrative from Bobby Anderson’s perspective again. tommyknockers The first “book” inside The Tommyknockers is titled The Ship in the Earth. The first chapter is titled “Anderson stumbles.” This is the first section of the first chapter, in full

For want of a nail the kingdom was lost — that’s how the catechism goes when you boil it down. In the end you can boil everything down to something similar — or so Roberta Anderson thought much later on. It’s either all an accident… or all fate. Anderson literally stumbled over her destiny in the small town of Haven, Maine, on June 21, 1988. The stumble was the root of the matter; all the rest was nothing but history.

The book is a story of betraying your own kind. It is much more sad than it is scary. I read it because of the simularities to “The Colour Out of Space,” but shades of “The Dunwich Horror” and even “At the Mountains of Madness” were also apparent.

The Hundred Days

Several bloggers have commented on the first hundred days of the Obama Presidency, especially in context of the edited volume Threats in the Age of Obama, to which I contributed a chapter.
threats_in_the_age_of_obama_cropped_cover

I want to give particular attention to posts by Sam Liles, Mark Safranski, , Mike Tanji, as well as ubiwar and Mark Curtis.

The threat I wrote about was the collapse of the military-industrial complex, possibly as a result of financial crisis.

My evaluation of President Obama, with regard to keeping the military-industrial complex strong, is in two parts. First, his foreign policy, and second, his economic policy.

obama_gates_clinton
Obama’s foreign policy has been brilliant. The team of Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates may be unmatched in modern times. A coherent, and frankly brilliant, policy of reaching out to important partners while focusing our defenses in sensible ways has contributed to an astonishingly safer world. An example of this one-two punch is Clinton’s “G-2” meeting with China while Gates pushes kill the F-22 (in spite of corrupt Congressional opposition). This helps incorporate China into the global regime we created, helps establish them as partner, and paves the way for (among other things) Taiwan’s best stock market rally in 19 years.

And when the chance permitted itself, we killed some pirates too. We are clearly signaling who are friends are, who are enemies are, and what we can do about it.

Obama’s foreign policy grade is a high A. Absolutely brilliant.

Part of keeping the military-industrial complex relevant is making sure it is aimed in ways that are not intolerate to future policy makers.

paul_bernake_geithner

Obama’s economic policy has been disastrous. As America’s economy experienced echoing shocks, as the incompetence of New York bankers (many of which were under the jurisdiction of New York Fed President Tim Geithner) were compounded by give-aways and bailouts lobbied for by Tim Geithner (among others), Obama’s choice was inexplicable: he named Tim Geithner as the Secretary of the Treasury.

Geithner’s response have not merely been made in a technical sense: for worse, they have been aimed at destroying the free-market financial system in the United States. Nearly every day brings new of a new scheme by Geithner to prevent banks from experiencing the consequences of their bad bets. The latest conduit for Geithner’s capital-laundering is Chrysler. While Geithner’s Treasury Department extended saved Chrysler from an bankruptcy for a time, they never used secured loan. That means that the “loan” to Chrysler is in fact a gift to Wall Street.

I was ignorant of the depth of Geithner’s belief that bankers should not lose money regardless of the decisions they make. Obama should not have been. Further, when Geithner actually proposed to guarantee all debt in the banking system, Obama should have used all that opportunity to begin nationalizing the zombie banks, taking back the grants we have to Goldman Sachs and other large institutions, and re-establishing a free market.

Obama absolutely as failed at this, and his policy is authoritarian-leftist. Obama’s economic hostiles appear designed to increase governmental control over the economy, destroy the middle class as an independently wealthy sector of the economy, and establish a statist model of economic stasis.

Obama’s economic policy grade is F. It can hardly get worse.

All other things being equal, Obama’s foreign policy brilliantly helps modernize the military-industrial complex that lies ahead.

All other things being equal, Obama’s economic policy is the operationalization of the greatest threat to American power in the Age of Obama.

Demolishing new homes

Via Calculated Risk:

Some of the blame on this can be placed on Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.  Geithner, who wants to protect banks from risk more than he wishes to protect our free-market system from political favoritism, has provided zombie banks with the capital to keep operating without requiring that they price their assets at market rates. This has allowed a large stock of hypotically priced assets to accumulate, which of course have no buyers.

In a rational market, goods decrease in price until a buyer can be found. However, Geithner has so broken the supply-and-demand system of housing that instead of having a functioning real estate market (at, say 70% off market prices), we have an artificially chilly housing market at hyponetically exagerated prices.