Thursday, December 29, 2005

iPod: The Other White Meat

MacNN reports that at least two iPod buyers who bought their new toys at Wal-Mart were surprised to find meat or batteries in place of the MP3 player. "A woman and her son from Mililani, Hawaii were caught by surprise on Christmas morning as the boy opened a box which should have contained a brand-new fifth-generation iPod from Apple, but instead contained a sealed fish or meat product. ... Another Wal-Mart customer was also dissappointed when she opened her newly purchased iPod package. After opening a 30GB iPod box which was sealed with cellophane wrap, she discovered six AA batteries taped together--an effort to simulate the weight of the iPod."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Russian Backsliding?

A few recent articles have caught my eye on Russian backsliding away from a market economy. It had already appeared that Putin was a totalitarian at heart, despite what W saw in his heart. Of course, none of this has seemed to bother those who hold themselves out to be champions of human rights when it comes to Iraq. See also China.

But now that Russia appears to be renationalizing many of its businesses, maybe conservatives will actually take notice. According to the CS Monitor, "the Kremlin has effectively renationalized almost a third of the formerly private oil-and-gas sector." This should be a real problem for American and other Western interests with designs on Russian oil fields, which should make it a priority point for W and his crew.

Yesterday, news came of the resignation of a top Putin advisor and major proponent of free market economics. Andrei Illarionov, Putin's economic advisor, cited "a Kremlin ... bent on eradicating political freedom and commandeering the country's economy."

This story has been developing quietly for a few years, and you don't hear much of it here in the US. I wonder what would cause it to get prime real estate in the papers?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

This Doesn't Sound Good, Does it?

From a Washington Post article on the recent Iraqi elections and their unkind results for W's good buddy Ahmed Chalabi:
Eight members of a single Iraqi SWAT team were wiped out in what Iraqi authorities described as an hour-long shootout with better-armed insurgents. [Emphasis added]
Now, maybe these guys were like SWAT trainees. Or quasi-SWAT. Or maybe even the better-trained, better-armed Iraqi forces are not well-equipped enough (either training- or equipment-wise, or both) to handle security in the country by themselves.

I'm Back

and I'll try to be better about posting regularly.