Maureen Dowd: Say Uncle, Rummy

Say Uncle, Rummy
Published: April 29, 2006

Even some State Department officials thought it was like watching a cranky, eccentric uncle with an efficient, energetic niece.

Rummy was ordered to go to Iraq by the president, but he clearly has no stomach for nation-building, or letting Condi run the show. He seemed under the weather after a rough overnight ride on a C-17 transport plane from Washington into Baghdad. And Condi’s aides were rolling their eyes at the less than respectful way the DefSec treated the SecState as she tried to be enthusiastic, in her cheerful automaton way, about what she considers the latest last chance for Iraq.



Hu charms Africa

Continuing his efforts to create a new world order with China at the helm, Hu Jintao is saying all the right things to his friends in Africa.

China wants a “strategic partnership” with Africa, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday, seeking to add a new political dimension to a blossoming economic romance. In a speech to Nigerian lawmakers, Hu underlined China’s respect for African “independence and sovereignty,” which analysts said was a deliberate contrast with the United States’ interventionist diplomacy under George W. Bush.

“I would like to propose … (to) strengthen political mutual trust,” Hu, dressed in a business suit and tie, told a packed assembly in the Nigerian capital. “Let us seize the opportunity and … endeavor to forge a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.”

Hu made the address during a two-day state visit to Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation, the latest stop on a world tour that includes the United States, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Kenya. Analysts said Hu’s offer of an alternative to the United States’ prescriptive foreign policy and “War on Terror” would be welcomed by African leaders.

“China is saying it wants to build a new world order based on consensus and tolerance, not the clash of civilizations,” said former foreign minister Bola Akinyemi. “It is bound to resonate in Africa, where we have 900 years of coexistence between Christianity, Islam and traditional religions.”

Score another one for Mr. Bush. His inane “War on Terror” is chasing other countries away from us and into China’s arms. And certainly give Mr. Hu a star; he has set his foreign policy goals and is achieving them, even as the US stumbles, caught up in the mess of a hysterical pseudo-war on terror that’s made us radioactive to all. And amid the fallout, Hu is stepping in and filling the gap, a case study in shrewd opportunism.


Paul Krugman: The Crony Fairy

The best government money can buy.

The Crony Fairy
Published: April 28, 2006

The U.S. government is being stalked by an invisible bandit, the Crony Fairy, who visits key agencies by dead of night, snatches away qualified people and replaces them with unqualified political appointees. There’s no way to catch or stop the Crony Fairy, so our only hope is to change the agencies’ names. That way she might get confused, and leave our government able to function.

That, at least, is how I interpret the report on responses to Hurricane Katrina that was just released by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.



Is there anything bad people won’t do for money in China?

Yikes. (Story is already two days old, but it hasn’t been told enough. Unbelievable.).

UPDATE: Can someone please tell me how you are being sent to this site? For the second day in a row this post is getting hundreds of hits per hour from an unknown site, and I’m very curious where you are coming from. Please leave a comment and let me know – thanks.


Bob Herbert” Reckless Bush

I’m back, and I’m late with this, but I want it here for the record. Yes, Bush is this God-awful. The thought of 2.5 more years of this nightmare is literally sickening. Read every word. Right now.

Stuck With Bush
Published: April 27, 2006

If George W. Bush could have been removed from office for being a bad president, he would have been sent back to his ranch a long time ago.

If incompetence were a criminal offense, he’d be behind bars.

But that’s just daydreaming. The reality is that there are more than two and a half years left in the long dark night of the Bush presidency — nearly as long as the entire time John Kennedy was in office.



Let’s not get too cocky

The Republicans might still win the 2006 elections. Never misunderestimate the steamroller power of the great GOP Wurlitzer. It’s a juggernaut, and next to it the Democrats look and sound like impotent, helpless amateurs. Never misunderestimate the power of really good propaganda, the one thing the Bush administration does with finesse, even perfection. I have no choice but to admire it, the same way you have to admire the efficiency of the hydrogen bomb.

This was a quick airport post. No more today.


On the road

I travel to Kaohsiung shortly and won’t be posting for a day or so. Meanwhile, lots of fun stuff is happening in the forum. I’m ready to abandon the open thread since the forum makes it irrelevant, but you can always consider the top post as a dumping ground for the extraneous comment.


Beijing Law Firm Plagiarizes US Web Site

UPDATE: Problem has been corrected – please see the comments.

We’ve all seen it: those Chinese coffee shops with signs and logos that are barely concealed ripoffs from Starbucks. The Chinese search engines that look eerily like Google. Well, this one is right up there, with a Beijing law firm shamelessly ripping off the design of another law firm’s blog. Common paractice, you say? Sure, but the Beijing firm, Lehman, Lee and Xu, might not have realized that a member of the US law firm they violated is the proprietor of the China Law Blog, and he’s not going gentle into that good night. The name of the offending site is Blawg of China and the law firm’s name is Lehman, Lee and Xu. Googlebomb, anyone? (All of those links take you back to the original China Law Blog post, where you can find the actual links to the offending company.)

Please spread the word.


Thomas Friedman on China

Could China adopt stringent environmental polices as California has? Well, maybe, yes, at least on paper. But who would enforce these policies? When everyone’s on the take, every rule can be broken.

Go West, Old Men
Published: April 26, 2006

As any loyal N.F.L. fan knows, there is something called the “West Coast offense” — a freewheeling style of play invented by Coach Bill Walsh. Watching the recent visit of China’s president, Hu Jintao, left me wondering if America wouldn’t benefit from a “West Coast foreign policy.”

It was surely no accident that President Hu made his first stop in the U.S. in Washington State — not Washington, D.C. — to dine with Bill Gates, who gave him the “state dinner” that the Bush White House refused to extend. Why the Bush team was unwilling to host the Chinese president for a state dinner is beyond me. If I owed someone $1 trillion, I’d give him a state dinner. I’d also give him breakfast, lunch and Chinese takeout.



Look – they’re growing!

So, to those of you who’ve lived in China for ages, can you verify the following:

Beijing – Bra producers have been forced to offer bigger cup-sizes in China because improved nutrition is busting all previous chest measurement records.

“It’s so different from the past when most young women would wear A- or B-cup bras,” Triumph brand salesperson Zhang Jing told the Shanghai Daily from the Landmark Plaza of China’s commercial hub. “You… never expect those thin women to have such nice figures if they are not plastic.”

The report, seen on the daily’s Web site on Tuesday, said that the Hong Kong-based lingerie firm Embry Group no longer produces A-cups for larger chest circumferences and has increased production of C-, D- and E-cup bras to meet pressing demand.

The Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology released a report last week saying the average chest circumference of Chinese women has risen by nearly 1cm to 83,53cm since the early 1990s, the daily said.

China is changing, in every conceivable way.