Speaking of politics, this article from TIME Magazine is pretty funny, if not pathetic:
You just know the Frogs have only increased their disdain for us, if that is indeed possible. And why shouldn’t they? The average American is working two and a half jobs, gets two weeks off and has all the employment security of a one-armed trapeze artist. The Bush Administration has preached the “ownership society” to America: own your house, own your retirement account; you don’t need the government in your way. So Americans mortgaged themselves to the hilt to buy overpriced houses they can no longer afford and signed up for 401(k) programs that put money — where, exactly? In the stock market! Where rich Republicans fleeced them.
We’ve always dismissed the French as exquisitely fed wards of their welfare state. They work, what, 27 hours in a good week, have 19 holidays a month, go on strike for two days and enjoy a glass of wine every day with lunch — except for the 25% of the population working for the government, who have an even sweeter deal. They retire before their kids finish high school, and they don’t have to save for $45,000-a-year college tuition, because college is free. For this, they pay a tax rate of about 103%, and their labor laws are so restrictive that they haven’t had a net gain in jobs since Napoleon. There is no way the French government can pay for this lifestyle forever, except that it somehow does.
Anyways, with all the financial institutions going bankrupt everywhere, I’m just glad Nomura bought back Lehman Brothers’ Asian operation and saved the jobs of 2 of my friends… at least for now.
I’m in Detroit Metro airport waiting or my flight back to Tokyo from my 1 week business trip to the US and I hope my troubles are over. Here’s a quick list of the problems so far:
- In NYC on the first night, my friend got strangled by a crazy drunk jock as we were coming out of a Japanese restaurant close to his place. The jock finally let him go and went on to hit another random guy a block away. He wasn’t hurt but we had a good scare.
- When going to Greenwich Village to buy a bag my girlfriend asked me to bring back, I got fell into the Gay Pride parade and got stuck for over an hour trying to wade through the crowd back to Broadway.
- On the flight from NYC to Dallas, I was randomly selected for a special security check. Random is the word, it’s the second time out of 2 US flights I took since 9/11.
- My flight today from Dallas to Detroit was cancelled and rebooked for tomorrow 6AM. I will have to wake up around 3:30AM to leave at 4AM for the airport.
- I was randomly selected again 30 minutes ago after checking in for my flight to Tokyo. This time the machine smelling explosives started to beep and the officer called a supervisor to recheck my bag, pat me down and ask me a bunch of questions…
Just a 13 hours flight left to go and I’ll be back home in Japan, safe from all this crazy stuff. I can’t wait!
Tomorrow I’m leaving for the US we’re I’ll conduct some training sessions and will discuss implementation of new systems with people from the North American division of my company. Here’s the flight plan:
One weekend in NYC to see a friend
2.5 days in Dallas
2.5 days in Detroit
32 hours 35 minutes in a plane