Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Back to the future with President Stupid

Well, ladies and germs, it would appear that President Stupid is about to get us all into a real, honest-to-God trade war of the Smoot-Hawley variety.

Those never end well.

I fear the chill'uns are about to get a lesson on what it was like when their grandparents -- folks my age -- were teenagers and college students. The cool stuff you really wanted was really expensive, and you seriously had to save up for it. 1980, I was working about 20 hours a week at minimum wage -- then $3 an hour. Today, that would work out to $9.22. And being a total gear head, I really wanted a cool new stereo receiver.

To get one, I had to save for months. The Yamaha receiver I bought cost just shy of $400, or around $1,100 in 2018 dollars. That was serious money then, and it's even more serious today, as wages haven't come close to keeping pace with inflation the past four decades.

Later, I decided I wanted a color TV, a nice one, for my bedroom.  So I got a "Sony of my owny," to borrow the phraseology of the era's advertisements for the brand. It was a 12-inch Trinitron color set with push-button tuning. I also could tell you the model, but that would just bore you and out me as a total anorak, which is a particularly geeky way to say "nerd."

My Sony cost a mere $369.95 ($1,086.25 today).

GOOD LUCK doing that now as a student making minimum wage at a part-time job. For one thing . . . your wages have been depressed.

For another thing, your depressed wages in 2018 go toward lots of stuff we didn't have in the late 1970s and early 1980s -- like monthly cellphone bills.

And monthly cable-TV bills to watch programs and sporting events that were on free, over-the-air TV in 1980.

And then there's Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime Video so you can watch the popular shows that aren't on cable.

Oh, yeah. There's your monthly broadband-Internet bill, too.

Then there's college tuition. In 1979, my old man shelled out $295 in tuition and fees for me to attend Louisiana State University full time for the fall semester ($995.29 in 2018, about a $2,000-a-semester discount over one of today's "reasonably priced" state universities). Back then, state legislatures tended to think public universities were, well . . . public.

By the standards of today's Republican Party, we all were pinko-communist, socialist radicals living in a thoroughly collectivized country . . . and we liked it. We particularly liked not being bankrupted by student-loan debt which, of course, can't be erased by bankruptcy.

And I saw Bruce Springsteen in 1980 for the princely sum of $8 a ticket ($23.30 today). The Who cost $12. I had great seats.

Sucks to be you, kids. There's a reason so many of you live with Mom and Dad till you're 30. 

SUCKS TO BE us old farts, too. When prices go through the roof, the economy craters and our 401(k) retirement accounts come to naught, we'll probably die at age 80 . . . shivering in an unheated hovel, eating cat food and wallowing in our own shit.

On the bright side, maybe Donald Trump will just get us nuked instead, and we'll never know what hit us.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A commercial like no other

Would you believe this moving Chinese film urging people to give love another chance and not divorce is . . . a commercial for hair-care products?

China 1, the West 0.

And I hope Procter & Gamble sells a lot of shampoo, because this commercial is powerful way beyond its ability to move product. In America anymore, you'd be more likely to see ads pushing Trojans to newly footloose and fancy free divorcés.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What the hell's so complicated about 'Don Ho'?

A nawth Tejas pol thinks Amurcans is so thowed by Asian names thet voters whut come fum thar oughta change unpronounceateable names like "Ho" and "Chen" to sumthin' Texicans can say, like "Yeller" and "Chop Chop."

It all started in a Texas House committee hearing when a representative from the Organization of Chinese Americans tried to explain to Rep. Betty Brown, R-Bugtussle Terrell, that Asians have problems voting because they often use an anglicized name on driver's licenses and other documents rather than the transliteration of their legal, given name.

AT THAT POINT, according to the Houston Chronicle, Brown told Ramey Ko that his fellow Asians wouldn't have no trouble no mo' if they would just change their names to something easier to pronounce than, say, "Ko."

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” the legislator asked.

Later on -- apparently sensing the hole she'd dug for herself wasn't nearly deep enough -- Brown decided to make herself absolutely clear to the Chinese-American rep.

“Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

THE WOMAN has a point. Imagine how much bigger of a career the late Don Ho could have had if he'd recorded "Tiny Bubbles" under the name "Don Wojciehowicz."

Ditto for Japanese singing star Kyu Sakamoto, of "Sukiyaki" fame. If he'd had the sense God gave Americans and called himself "K. Hackysack," the man could have been bigger than the Beatles.

At least with the Beatles, you had you a Limey name whut Texicans could deal with. Even if them Anglish people spelt it funny 'n' all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We extend greetings to our Chinese overlords

No comment is necessary on this CNBC report, I don't think.
Morgan Stanley -- one of the two last independent, U.S.-based investment banks -- is negotiating with the Chinese government for a fresh infusion of funds into the beleaguered investment bank.

Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack held various conversations with potential merger partners Wednesday afternoon including top executives at Citigroup and Wachovia Bank . However, Mack continues to work to keep Morgan Stanley an independent company CNBC has learned.

Executives at Morgan are currently crunching numbers to determine how much of an additional minority stake they need to sell to settle market fears about the company.

Mack's plan is to sell a piece of Morgan Stanley to a Chinese bank. Mack has been dealing with Chinese government officials all day Wednesday to line up money from China.

He also has been dealing with top officials from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to lobby them to give approval to a Chinese bank increasing its stake in the company.

China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC), already owns 9.9 percent of Morgan. However, Mack, according to people close to the company, understands that he faces significant obstacles including a turbulent market that has crushed Morgan shares.

People close to Mack say that he does not expect any deal tonight and he would like to avoid one on Thursday. However, if he has to do a deal, because of further deterioration in stock price he will.

CNBC's David Faber had earlier reported that the Federal Reserve has been active in encouraging the Chinese to invest in U.S. financial institutions. The Fed has even made it clear that it would look favorably upon a Chinese acquisition of a U.S.-based financial institution, sources said.

Morgan Stanley stocks plunged more than 24 percent Wednesday and it is imperative that the investment bank gets a cash infusion before its shares decline further. London-based HSBC has also been cited as a possible suitor for Morgan Stanley.

Monday, April 07, 2008

C Ray? Not lately. Try China.

Click on ad to enlarge.

It appears Hizzoner has left New Orleans for a . . . fact-finding visit to the People's Republic of China. Yeah, that's the ticket.

He's going to study the Great Wall. Yeah, that's right.

He's going to see whether it can be duplicated in the Crescent City as a levee to defend against a 1,000-year storm.

Yeah . . . of course. He's going to save the city. You'll see.

WRNO radio has the straight poop . . . uh, scoop:

The Mayor of New Orleans has begun his 6 day trip to China.

Ray Nagin left yesterday and will return next Sunday.

The Mayor is travelling to Zhengzhou to later join 400 Mayors from China and around the world in participating in the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism, April 9th-11th.

He'll also visit Beijing and Shanghai.

Nagin is joined on the trip by the city's director of international relations, Lisa Ponce de Leon and by a representative of the New Orleans U.S. Export Assistance Center.

According to the Mayor's press office, the trip will include private meetings with Chinese officials who are working "in areas of investment and distribution" and it says Nagin will participate in panel discussions on a variety of topics including emergency preparedness and tourism development.