October 17, 2010

P.J. O’Rourke interview

Filed under: Economics, Liberty, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:01

Parts 2 and 3 are at Liberty Pundits.

New laws aim to reduce military corruption in China

Filed under: China, Economics, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:39

Strategy Page looks at the latest attempt to curb military corruption:

China is enacting new laws that puts additional pressure on the military to maintain quality standards (in the construction and use of military equipment). Why should something like this be thought necessary? It’s all because of corruption, an ancient, and growing, problem in China. There, it is taken as a given that, if you get a government job, you have a license to steal. In the military, this means weapons are built in substandard ways, and equipment is not properly maintained. Military corruption is an ancient Chinese custom, and accounts for most of the poor military performance in the past.

For over a decade, the government has worked to eliminate the worst of the theft and moonlighting by the troops. The most outrageous examples of this have been curbed. Thus military officers no longer use cash from the defense budget to set up weapons factories they run and profit from. Big chunks of procurement cash no longer disappear into the offshore bank accounts of generals and admirals.

It’ll take more than new laws and a few high-profile prosecutions to tackle a problem that has been endemic for generations.

Another playoff rematch . . . of 1-3 teams

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:40

Minnesota will host the Dallas Cowboys today in a rematch of their playoff meeting earlier this year. At that time, both teams were expected to challenge for the SuperBowl again this season. Both teams, however, are seriously underperforming:

Dallas (1-3), Minnesota (1-3)
The bomb shelter alarms have already sounded for two presumed playoff contenders, and most football fans are loving it. Even more exciting, the teams play each this Sunday in the Failure Bowl. Or the Freakout Bowl. Or the Lehmann Brothers Bowl of Shame presented by Bear Stearns. Anyway, there’s a decent chance someone gets fired afterward. Place your wagers!

Chip Scoggins thinks the real reason for both teams’ lousy record is the turnover ratio:

Opinions vary on the reasons behind the disappointing starts for both teams, but talent is certainly not the issue. Their rosters are littered with Pro Bowl players. That makes the situation even more frustrating.

“Dallas is full of talent [so] I don’t think they thought they’d be 1-3,” Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams said. “We’re full of talent and I for sure never thought we’d be 1-3. But that’s the cards that are dealt. We have to get out of this hole ourselves. We can’t blame nobody but ourselves.”

If you’re looking for a common dominator, it’s turnover margin. Every coach points to that statistic as a telltale sign of a team’s success, and both the Vikings and Cowboys rank among the league’s worst in this area.

The Vikings are tied for 30th at minus-6; Dallas is No. 27 at minus-4. The teams have combined for only eight takeaways compared with 18 turnovers.

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