Monday, April 23, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Crossing Palms and Taking Names" Department - Walmart seems to be in a bit of hot water after being accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Mexico.  Apparently you can't build large stores and offer cheap consumer goods in the third world without having to wet someones beak.  The Obama administration has stepped up enforcement that restricts U.S. companies from taking part in foreign corruption.  To me, this raises the question of how can one do business in countries where the wheels of bureaucracy and law enforcement are greased with liberal doses of bribery?  We want U.S. industry to compete on international markets, but have the vapors if a few dollars are given to encourage the local potentate to do the job he was 'elected' to do in the first place.  Something tells me the Chinese don't have any such qualms.
  •  From the "Second Verse, Same as the First" Department - The North Korean military is threatening grave consequences for South Korea.  This is probably connected to the failed launch of a 'peaceful scientific rocket' by the North, which appears to me and everyone else in the world who noticed to be more along the lines of "they tried to launch an ICBM, but it blew itself up in mid-air".  The North is also expected to conduct another atomic weapons test soon.  The North has quickly become the guy who gets drunk at the party and threatens to beat the crap out of the school boxing champion just to show he's no wuss.  Maybe if we could get Japan to friend them on Facebook, they'd settle down and finish that circling of the drain they've been on since 1949.
  • From the "Free Range Dumbasses" Department - Two men in Utah have been arrested for setting booby traps along a popular walking trail.  When I first saw the headline, I thought these two had set up some sort of IED, but it turns out it was sharpened sticks and tripwires.  While these can be deadly, I fail to see the point of what these two numbskulls were doing.  Someone ought to tell them that "Pitfall" was just a video game, not a computer training simulation.  Maybe they were watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" while stoned and thought it would be a good idea to create some of the traps Indiana Jones found in the Mayan temple.
  • From the "Friendly Skies" Department - Fox News has posted a list of things that most people didn't realize they can take on a commercial flight, either as checked baggage or carry-on.  The list includes sporting equipment, service animals, and firearms.  Of course, the list doesn't include "dignity", since the TSA has been taking that away from travellers for over a decade.
  • From the "Goaaaaaaalllllllll!" Department - A soccer ball lost during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year has washed up in Alaska, and is on its way back to its owner.   A man in Anchorage found the ball, along with a volleyball, while walking on the beach.  It is believed to be the first of many finds as the field of debris from the tsunami reaches North America.  Hopefully more mementos can be returned to survivors of the disaster in the coming months.  


Old NFO said...

I find the first one rather interesting, since the paying of bribes is a REQUIREMENT to do business in a lot of the world... One more strike against US business interests... sigh

LabRat said...

Yeah, the line between "corruption" and "normal business practices in a different culture" is pretty fucking blurry.

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