Pepper Spray Cop’s Lament

Pepper spray Demonstration; U.S. Marine Corps ...

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Now for the serious side of pepper spray. This is from wikipedia.

Pepper spray typically comes in canisters, which are often small enough to be carried or concealed in a pocket or purse. Pepper spray can also be bought concealed in items such as rings. There are also pepper spray projectiles available, which can be fired from a paintball gun. It has been used for years against demonstrators. Many such canisters also contain dyes, either visible or UV-reactive, to mark an attacker’s skin and/or clothing to enhance identification by police.

Pepper spray – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Federal Judge, Jed S. Rakoff, Tells the SEC to do its Job

Seal of the United States District Court for t...

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Citigroup Settlement Tossed: Judge Tells SEC To Get It Together

Citigroup as it has so many times is paying a fine without admitting wrongdoing, except this time it didn’t happen. The judge who was expected to solemnly okay the usual nonsense did nothing of the kind. He refused to play the game like a good boy. What’s going to happen now?

The lack of admission was the main reason Jed S. Rakoff, a Clinton-appointed U.S. district judge, said he decided to throw out the settlement. An admission of guilt or innocence is a matter of significant public interest, he said. “The court, and the public, need some knowledge of what the underlying facts are,” wrote Rakoff. “For otherwise, the court becomes a mere handmaiden to a settlement privately negotiated on the basis of unknown facts, while the public is prevented from ever knowing the truth in a matter of obvious importance.”

Citigroup Settlement Tossed: Judge Tells SEC To Get It Together

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Fantastic Video / Garfunkel and Oates – “Save the Rich”

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci performing as &...
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I have long been a fan of Garfunkel and Oates (Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome) since I came across their video “Sex with Ducks” some years ago. If you want smart, intellectual humor you can find plenty on their You Tube web site or you can go to their main site here. (WARNING – Strong Language)  I’ve written about them before but their new video calls for comment on my part.

Here is the video – just click on the link below –

Save the Rich by Garfunkel and Oates

Music is often a vehicle for social comment. Garfunkel and Oates usually aim their musical commentary at the weird social scene of Southern California but here they show some sharp satirical teeth regarding economic inequality.

This one captures with I believe considerable accuracy the views of many in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the 99 percenters. It’s topical and it is very funny.

Besides, an occasional jab at the Republican spin phrase, job creators, is something I relish.

James Pilant

P.S. Here’s a review of one of their performances from Katherine Phelps, in search of LOLitanium

Lindhome and Micucci showed skill in their playing and tightly blended voices. The vocal clarity and articulation were excellent. This is important. Some people think that with comedy they can forego skill in certain performance elements, because doing something badly is funny. However, most comedians who have received the biggest laughs for this sort of gag, do so out of genuine ability and understanding how to make something hilariously bad. Victor Borge was famous for this. Micucci and Lindhome do not take this approach. Instead they ensure they deliver their material with such competence that nothing gets in the way of the jokes. It’s a very smooth package.

Riki Lindhome - courtesy UCBComedy


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Chinese Corruption

Russell Flannery covering the China beat for Forbes has an interview with Chinese ethicists. This is an excerpt from the article. This is only the introductory part I recommend you read the rest.

Last week brought a reminder of China’s troubling business ethics landscape when the government was forced to investigate reports that infants who consumed milk powder supplied by Nasdaq-listed Synutra International had premature breast growth. The Ministry of Health cleared Synutra, yet the allegations recalled the sale of tainted infant formula in 2008 and a long list of product safety and other problems involving business ethics  in the country.
Ultimately, what can be done to improve business ethics in China? I talked to two professionals working at the front line of research and education here, Professor Hengda Yang and Stephan Rothlin from the Center for International Business Ethics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.  Yang is the author of a pioneering Chinese book about business ethics, “The Conscience of Business.”   Rothlin is also associated with the University of Zurich and the Insead Business School in Singapore.

Wikipedia has an entry on Chinese Corruption. Below is an excerpt.

The People’s Republic of China suffers from widespread corruption. For 2008, China was ranked 72 of 179 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, patronage, and statistical falsification.

Cadre corruption in post-1949 China lies in the “organizational involution” of the ruling party, including the regime’s policies, institutions, norms, and failure to adapt to a changing environment in the post-Mao era. Like other socialist economies that have gone through monumental transition, post-Mao China has experienced unprecedented levels of corruption, making the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “one of the most corrupt organisations the world has ever witnessed,” according to Will Hutton. Public surveys on the mainland since the late 1980s have shown that it is among the top concerns of the general public. According to Yan Sun, Associate Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York, it was corruption, rather than democracy as such, that lay at the root of the social dissatisfaction that led to the Tiananmen protest movement of 1989. Corruption undermines the legitimacy of the CCP, adds to economic inequality, undermines the environment, and fuels social unrest.

Since then, corruption has not slowed down as a result of greater economic freedom, but instead has grown more entrenched and severe in its character and scope. In popular perception, there are more dishonest CCP officials than honest ones, a reversal of the views held in the first decade of reform of the 1980s. China specialist Minxin Pei argues that failure to contain widespread corruption is among the most serious threats to China’s future economic and political stability. Bribery, kickbacks, theft, and misspending of public funds costs at least three percent of GDP.

Corruption as a key factor in the collapse of the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states. While there are no numbers to tell us the gravity of the problem in economic terms, it would a reasonable to conclude that only the rapid growth of manufacturing, the huge quantity of national resources, and the highly favorable media portrayal of China have prevented an accurate perception of the problem.

But there are stories of economic corruption in real estate and manufacturing. There are troubling accounts of disasters both natural and artificial concealed from the West and unreported in China itself.

I predict that by the end of this decade, corruption in China will become a brake on foreign economic investment.

James Pilant