Sunday, December 28, 2003

1. Dede's column in Kompas couple of days ago somehow has a parallel spirit with Barro's column in BusinessWeek two weeks ago. The Indonesian government, reported Dede, is going (or forced) to give up the export quota for TPT (Indonesian abbrev. for textile and textile products, the country's export primadonna for decades). This is not a news, it should have been expected. The industry's czar has long been known as one of the strongest lobbyists in the government. There is now a hope, however, knowing that Rini Soewandi, the Secretary of Industry and Trade is in favor of the quota removal, despite the strong resistence -- even from her own department. Barro in BusinessWeek echoed the liberalization sentiment on the U.S. long time protected, textile industry. In Both cases, not very surprisingly, China seems to be the winner. As it is so, in regards with the growing exasperation toward the efficacy of NAFTA, as reported in the NYT today.

2. It's the U.S. economy's turn now to fear the economic impact of the Mad Cow. And it is so ironic that Secretary of Agriculture Vaneman has refused to meet with Dr. Prusiner, the Noble laurate (!), when the latter was trying to convince the Administration to do special meat inspection, due to his prediction on the coming disease to U.S. farms. Vaneman chose to listen to Bush's crony, instead, . And now, the $2bn cost is on the door. By the way, hey, come to think of it, why Mad Cow? A quick Wikipedia search would tell that the disease is most likely caused by the practice of feeding the cows with ground-up animal parts, mainly meat and bone meal from butchered animals. Wait a minute, animal? No wonder! Brazilian and Argentinian farmers keep feeding their cows with grass (as what Nature does). Now these two countries, along with NZ and Aussie, will takeover U.S. beef market happily. Force your cows to become carnivores, and they will be "mad". Eat their meat, and you will damage your brain. And you say it's about economic efficiency?

3. Can't remember exactly where I read this, but most likely it was Chicago Tribune two days ago. A report says there is an increasing number of suicides among the U.S. troops in Iraq. So far, 20 cases have been identified. This is sad. Those young guys might not stand the pressure of war. Somehow, two movies came into my mind: Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" and Reiner's "A Few Good Men". The former is more likely to represent what has been going on. Stress. Don't ask me why the latter.

4. Music for the last three days: Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else. (Listen to "Autumn Leaves", and you will understand why I still keep the CD inside. Listen to the duel of Cannonball and Miles in "Somethin' Else" and you might not understand why I should ever replace it).

5. According to Political Compass, I am a moderate Leftist (-1.00) with a tendency to Libertarian group (-1.25). Hm, so close to Center, eh?

6. Work so far: trying to write a code to calculate the confidence interval for the welfare measures.

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