Abe fiddles while Fukushima leaks

fukushimatanksIn the middle of a pissing match between the President and Congressional leadership it’s good to remember that the United States isn’t the only government that seems to have lost touch with reality. I was reminded of that today when I read this story about the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Now here’s a government that is truly paralyzed!

The story from Japan Times, if you choose to read it, says Japanese Prime Minister Abe is reaching out to foreign experts in an attempt to deal with the problem of radioactive cooling water that is accumulating in hundreds of makeshift tanks that are now beginning to leak. “We […]

Edward Snowden is trying to be Daniel Ellsberg on Twitter

snowdenscreensWhat are the differences between Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, and Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers back in 1971? Not much, really, but the distinctions that do exist are key:

  1. 1.  Ellsberg, a true product of the establishment he was undermining, had the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously releasing in its entirety all that he had to share, while Snowden is dribbling his news through The Guardian and the Post, with neither paper taking much of a legal or ethical stand behind him, much less printing verbatim thousands of pages of classified material as happened with the Ellsberg case in the early 70s. If Snowden is the Ellsberg of this century, […]

Snowden and the NSA reflect a millennial climate change

mt_snowdonSnowdon (not Snowden) is the name of the tallest mountain in Wales and while by Swiss or Colorado standards it may not seem like much the weather on Snowdon is unpredictable and has taken many lives. I climbed Snowdon as a schoolboy with my class and that day on the mountain another school group was lost in a blizzard and some boys died. This is what first came to mind when I heard about National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaking documents and fleeing to Hong Kong. Like his namesake mountain, this Snowden is trouble for those who are overconfident or unwary.

I’ve written about this general topic many times over the years and doing a […]

Where have you gone, Engine Charlie?


first-corvette-1953Charles Erwin Wilson, known as “Engine Charlie,” was president of General Motors and later Secretary of Defense under President Dwight Eisenhower. He is broadly — and incorrectly — quoted as having said during his Senate confirmation hearing “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” His actual quote is more nuanced: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

This is a fascinating bit of history because we aren’t talking about today’s General Motors or even today’s United States of America but the GM and the USA of 1953 — a time when both were leading the world. Yet look at the equivocation in […]

Two H-1B’s walk into a bar: more on the visa scam

$10000There’s an old joke in which a man asks a woman if she’ll spend the night with him for $1 million? She will. Then he asks if she’ll spend the night with him for $10?

“Do you think I’m a prostitute?” she asks.

“We’ve already established that,” he replied. “This is just a price negotiation.”

Not a great joke, but it came to mind recently when a reader pointed me to a panel discussion last September at the Brookings Institution ironically about STEM education and the shortage of qualified IT workers. Watch the video if you can, especially the part where Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith offers to pay the government $10,000 each for up to […]