FM newswire for May 14, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Nuclear Power’s Role in Generating Electricity“, CBO, May 2008 (46 pages)
  2. Glenn Beck’s partisan historians – The academics behind the progressivism-as-fascism meme“, Michael Lind, Salon, 5 April 2010
  3. Family Man: Christopher Lasch and the Populist Imperative“, Andrew Bacevich, World Affairs Journal, May 2010
  4. About Obama, the cultural conservative by Ta-Nehisi Coates, blog of The Atlantic, 11 May 2010 — I don’t get the nuances of this.  But if Obama were Republican, would Coates would declare him inauthentic?
  5. The Inevitable Collapse of McChrystal’s Afghan War Plan Bound to Fail“, Franklin C. Spinney, Counterpunch, 13 May 2010
  6. If true, a major story:  “Leaked Russian document: Could Medvedev era tilt more pro-West?“, Christian Science Monitor, 13 May 2010 — “A leaked Russian document lays out a major reappraisal of the country’s foreign policy priorities under President Medvedev.”
  7. The Bush administration still lives in the Gulf oil spill:  “U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits“, New York Times, 13 May 2010
  8. Sons of Iraq turned the tide for the US. Now they pay the price“, The Guardian, 13 May 2010 — “Lauded band of rebels helped on the frontline of the insurgency from 2006, in many eyes saving Iraq from the abyss”
  9. A slow-burn bonfire of liberties“, Mark Steyn, Maclean’s, 13 May 2010
  10. Big news, if true:  “Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say”, New York Times, 13 May 2010 — Based on analysis of tape released Wednesday.  Note that experts said the 5,000 bpd estimate was little more than a guess.
  11. New target of rights erosions: U.S. citizens“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 13 May 2010
  12. About today’s hot info ops (we’re the target):  “Report Emphasizes Dubious Iran-al-Qaeda Ties“, AntiWar, 13 May 2010 — “US Officials Admit Situation Not Well Understood”
  13. Is Reason Winning the War on Drugs?“, Scott Horton, blog of Harper’s, 13 May 2010
  14. Gulf Spill Could Be Much Worse Than Believed“, National Public Radio, 14 May 2010
  15. This is nuts, considering the evidence that’s come out in the past year:  “Climate Craziness of the Week – New Scientist: The Denial Depot Edition“, Anthony Watts, 14 May 2010
  16. The Last Pop Star – Lady Gaga is simultaneously embodying and eviscerating Pop“, James Parker, The Atlantic, June 2010 — Current pop and rock remind me of late Weimar society, as seen in the musical Cabaret (Wikipedia).  Decadent, unhinged from its history and values.  Allan Bloom:  “Decent people became used to hearing things about which they would have in the past been horrified to think, and which would not have been allowed public expression. An extreme outcome in the struggle between Right and Left in Weimar was inevitable.”

About China’s real estate bubble

(a) Al Jazeera: China’s Empty City“, Patrick Chovanec (Asoc Prof. Tsinghua U’s School of Economics and Management in Beijing), 11 November 2009:

I was interviewed on Al Jazeera TV yesterday, for a report titled “China’s Empty City.”  It centered on Ordos, Inner Mongolia, where a whole new city, constructed along central planning lines by the Chinese government, has been completed but stands entirely empty.  The reporters at Al Jazeera originally approached me because of my recent blog post on “China’s Quality of GDP.”  It’s one thing to write about massive state-sponsored construction projects that achieve GDP growth targets without necessarily creating any real value, but a couple of TV images can be worth a thousand words in illustrating the point.  You can view the report by clicking here.

It’s worth noting, as the report says, that despite the fact nobody lives there, virtually all of Ordos’ new apartment complexes are sold out — precisely what I was talking about in “China’s Real Estate Riddle.”

(b) Visual evidence:  “Ordos, China: A Modern Ghost Town“, Time, 25 March 2010

(c) A follow-up report:  “Insight on Ordos“,  Patrick Chovanec, 13 May 2010 — Yes, it’s still a bubble.

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