Thursday, August 31, 2006

Recent commentary: campaign issues

What should be the top priority for state candidates in the fall elections?

(not published in the Appleton Post-Crescent)

Take computers out of the schools and go back to giving the kids slide rules. No graphics or fancy fonts anymore in their reports? Too bad. Better for their penmanship that way. And they can refamiliarize themselves with scissors and horse mucilage. They won't be competitive in today's wired world? Nonsense. Look how cheap computers are now and how many homes have them. But ban computers for doing homework, too. Besides, lots of schools have Macs which aren't what businesses use anyway. If the schools are preparing students for the working world, then they should have installed PC's. But since we're going to get rid of the darn things, forget it! And get rid of cell phones in the schools, too! While we're at it, cut all taxes and public services. If the population were rising quickly then I'd say keep the services where they are. But it isn't rising quickly, it's stagnant. Thus the high income tax rate coupled with deficit spending just puts Wisconsin in the same debt boat as the federal government.

Recent commentary: the coverage of John Mark Karr

What did you think of the media coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey suspect's capture?

(published 4-Sep-2006, Appleton Post-Crescent)

Well, there certainly was a lot of it! Within a day, I think, of this cat turning up in IndoChina, the news outlets very quickly reported rumors that he might be grand-standing. He fashioned his own 15 minutes of fame by confessing to this awful crime, but now he'll ooze into the criminal justice system as just another slimy child pornographer. What'll happen now is that Saturday Night Live and The Onion and John Stewart will have their 15 minutes of fun with this weird story. Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien will do monologs. Then a 60 Minutes episode ... and finally a made-for-TV movie. News becomes entertainment, as usual, when the story is scandalous or incredible enough, and this one sure qualifies. Aw, I don't want to talk about this low life! Gack! I've got to wash my hands, gargle, and get de-loused after writing about this sub-human!

Does this depress anybody else?

Lockheed Martin has been named government contractor to build a new manned spacecraft to go to the moon. Lockheed is slated to build perhaps 8 spacecraft by 2019, with a moon landing to take place in late 2019 or early 2020.

Why am I depressed? Well, if you recall the original race to the moon in the 60's, it took the U.S.A. 8 years from the word "Go!" given by President Kennedy to a manned lunar landing. Now we're talking 13-14 years. Granted, the objective is to build a lunar base as a jumping off point for a mission to Mars. But it's a long time, and there isn't any national movement behind it; it's simply another government program.

I would be far happier if the guvmint spent the umpteen billion dollars it's going to award Lockheed on prizes to private companies that can keep a group of people on the moon for a specified period. Jerry Pournelle has mentioned this incentive-based system many times.

Besides, while NASA is paying those billions to Lockheed, imagine how many more billions it's going to spend on itself. The Space Shuttle program is going to peter out once the International Space Station is completed; but do you think that NASA will shrink? If you do then you don't know much about how bureaucracies work.

The new spacecraft is called Orion. It's described as "Apollo on steroids". I just can't help but wonder about Lockheed's attempt to build the X-33 spaceplane: $933 million and no spaceplane. It was a government contract on steroids. Nothing has to actually be produced as long as the bureaucracy is fully employed.

Government should stay out of the rocket business. Come to think of it, government should stay out of the housing market and the drug trade and the energy business...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I love stories like this, LXVII

A teachers' strike in Perkins, OH, has turned Perkins High School
''crazy,'' as ''chaos'' reigned while students watched television, talked on cellular telephones and played the card game Uno, according to several students.

The teachers want to "negotiate", presumably for higher pay, but they don't seem to like the Superintendent, Sherry Buccieri. The Perkins Education Association issued a statement saying:
''With Sherri Buccieri as the superintendent in Perkins chaos has been the order of the day. Our students and our community deserve better. Take back Perkins schools!''

Meanwhile
''Chaos and confusion,'' the flyer read. ''Up to 100 students in one room. Lack of communication to parents coming to school. Students assigned to rooms without desks or chairs. Students watching TV, some napping, some throwing spitballs.''

By the way, the students were locked into the building at noon.
Once the lockdown ended, police were posted at the high school doors, students said. About 2 p.m., at least four girls climbed out the first-floor window of an English classroom facing Campbell Street, where dozens of teachers marched next to the road.

''That was basically the only way out without being stopped,'' said Jessica Evans, who started her senior year in school and ended the day by climbing out the window.

Confused? Me, too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WalMart economics for toddlers

One of the best articles I've seen about the employment practices at WalMart. This one is at TechCentralStation.com, written by Tim Worstall, and it compares WalMart's operations with Costco's, the store most often mentioned by WalMart opponents as a more desirable corporate citizen.

One of the basic gripes the anti-WalMart crowd has is that WalMart's wages are far below those given to Costco employees. What the antis fail to mention is that
Costco does pay more; it also uses about one quarter of the number of employees.

Costco has sales of $51 billion, 110,000 employees (45% part time, similar to WalMart isn't it?) and WalMart has sales (in North America) of $191 billion and 1.3 million associates. So Costco has sales of some $465,000 per employee and WalMart $147,000 per employee. That sounds about right to me, it's been a number of years since I lived in the US but Costco is the place where you drag that 50lb bag of rice to the door yourself, right? WalMart is the one where cheery souls are employed solely to bid you good day as you enter. So, in theory, we could in fact get WalMart to pay the same as Costco by making similarly efficient use of labor: that is, firing between two thirds and three quarters of their staff.

We could even look at the profit made per employee: $9,000 at Costco, $7,700 at WalMart. If we were of a Marxist cast of mind, seeing profit as purely and solely the surplus value extracted from the labor of the worker, we would thus say that Costco is even more exploitative than WalMart, would we not?

We all know that WalMart is an extensive user of labor and that Costco is an intensive one. We really shouldn't be surprised that the pay rates are different in the two models. Indeed, our very basic model, that when a price rises, people use less of something, would predict it. Those who are paying a higher price for labor are indeed using less of it. This simply shouldn't be surprising to anyone.

To wish that WalMart move from its current low wage and lots-of-labor model, to Costco's (relatively) high wage and low labor utilization is fine, but an adult view would include the acknowledgement that for WalMart to adopt the second model would require that they fire between 860,000 and 975,000 of their current workforce. The child's view would be that everyone should just be paid more because I want it to be so! -- i.e. that there are no side-effects to such decisions.

Well worth your time!

Will this make Saddam knuckle under at last?

According to Yahoo! News, former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, has been forced repeatedly to watch South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut:
The deposed leader on trial in Iraq was featured in the movie spin-off as the lover of the devil. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut featured Hussein and Satan attempting to take over the world together.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said US Marines guarding the former dictator during his trial for genocide were making him watch the movie "repeatedly".

"I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie last year. That's really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy," Stone said.

I checked one of the reviews by IMDB members. I'm sure Saddam Hussein would agree with the reviewer that we live in a
suffociatingly focus-group-tested, PC-policed, cynically sentimental, violence-ridden, love-starved modern world.

...don't you? Saddam Hussein must be feeling pretty love-starved along about now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Best zinger of the month!

I've said before that James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today column is a fine commentator. Today he absolutely burned New York Times editorialist, Adam Cohen:
We Wuz Robbed!
Adam Cohen, an editorialist for the New York Times, has come up with a new reason to hate President Bush. The president, Cohen argues, "robbed America of its optimism":
President Clinton was often mocked for his declarations that he still believed "in a place called Hope." But he understood that instilling hope is a critical part of leadership. Other than a few special interest programs – like cutting taxes on the wealthy and giving various incentives to business – it is hard to think of areas in which the Bush administration has raised the nation's hopes and met them. This president has, instead, tried to focus the American people on the fear of terrorism, for which there is no cure, only bad choices or something worse.

Well, this passage from President Bush's Second Inaugural sounds pretty optimistic to us:
We have seen our vulnerability--and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny – prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder – violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

Besides, Adam, where have you been? There is actually a reasonable explanation for why Americans fear terrorism more now than they did during the Clinton years, and it isn't because of anything President Bush has done. We'll be happy to explain it to you over drinks. Just meet us at the time of your choosing at Windows on the World.

Does this surprise anybody?

The home of Schlitz, Hamms, Miller, Blatz, Pabst, Sprecher...and those are only the ones I remember off the top of my head. Milwaukee has been the "Beer Capital of the World". It's nickname is "The Cream City" for the foam on top of a beer. The Milwaukeee Brewers is its baseball team. One of the most pungent memories I have of driving in Milwaukee is the smell of the Red Star Yeast plant on Highway 94 heading into downtown.

So now it should come as no surprise that it has been named America's Drunkest City:
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee has been ranked by Forbes.com as "America's Drunkest City" on a list of 35 major metropolitan areas ranked for their drinking habits.

Forbes said Tuesday it used numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rank cities in five areas: state laws, number of drinkers, number of heavy drinkers, number of binge drinkers and alcoholism.

Minneapolis-St. Paul was ranked second overall; followed by Columbus, Ohio; Boston; Austin, Texas; Chicago; Cleveland; Pittsburgh and then Philadelphia and Providence, R.I., in a tie for ninth.

Rick DeMeyer, 28, said Wednesday as he was celebrating his birthday at G-Daddy's BBC he could understand Milwaukee's ranking.

"I have had people stay with me from London and Chicago, and they can't get over how much we drink," he said. "I guess we do."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Here's something you don't see every day

...a climate scientist declaring that we're headed for a period of global cooling:
MOSCOW, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A Russian scientist predicts a period of global cooling in coming decades, followed by a warmer interval.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov expects a repeat of the period known as the Little Ice Age. During the 16th century, the Baltic Sea froze so hard that hotels were built on the ice for people crossing the sea in coaches.

The Little Ice Age is believed to have contributed to the end of the Norse colony in Greenland, which was founded during an interval of much warmer weather.

What's his recommendation?
"The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times," he said. "The global temperature maximum has been reached on Earth, and Earth's global temperature will decline to a climatic minimum even without the Kyoto protocol."

What will the global warming johnnies say? He's a fringe character, out of the mainstream "concensus" of climate scientists, unimportant, dangerously naive. The cautionary principle demands that we do something about global warming.

There's more: another study in the Himalayas:
Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century.

They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.

Look, I don't have a quarrel with claims that the average temperature of the globe has increased, though nothing I've seen claims that it's gone up by more than a single degree Celsius in a century. My quarrel is with those that vehemently assert that humans are the primary cause; and with that assertion comes the inevitable corollary, that since we caused the rise we should also do something to reverse it.

The believers in anthro-centric global warming will admit that sizeable climate variations have occured in the past when there was no possibility that humans could have caused them. But this time they have declared Ockham's Razor to be not sharp enough; that is, that the simplest explanation for the current climatic variation can't possibly be correct: the natural variations in climate that have occured throughout the history of this planet.

No, now it's our fault. The sun's role is insignificant. It doesn't matter that all weather and climate are determined by the engine of our atmosphere and oceans...which are heated by the sun.

It's hard to actually hear the people that are trying to collect data to support decision-making when people like former Vice President Gore and his ilk leap aboard this bandwagon of opportunity to assert that hurricanes will be more devastating from here on out because of global warming. How could a regular guy not believe the Vice President?

For me, it isn't a matter of belief. Belief breeds demagogues and I've had enough of those, thank you. If we can't spend $20 billion, say, on making a better determination of what's going on climate-wise, then we deserve what we do to ourselves.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm just looking forward to being able to say, "You SAID...!"


You said that we'd have bigger and more prolonged and more devastating hurricanes for forever now that we've had Katrina!

I hope for your sake that you haven't made any predictions about the severity and number of hurricanes this year.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Apple's slave labor

This story in the Daily Mail details the working conditions at the factory of a Red Chinese supplier of parts for the Apple iPod. This follow-up story focused more on Apple's own investigation into the conditions. The Daily Mail allows comments to be posted for its stories, so I decided to read those for the investigation story. Can you guess what kind of comments there were? It really was both amazing and tiresome to see the standard litany of anti-capitalist complaints come blithering out:
  • This sounds more like a Soviet style Gulag than a factory...Hang your heads in shame Apple. We should boycott these products that are produced by nothing more than slave labour.
  • Most Westerners do not realize what the actual "cost" of their cheap consumer goods really is. As this story shows, the desire to produce a cheaper good in bulk quantity comes at the cost of iPod "work camps" filled with people we will never meet or talk to in China, where no one, until now, could see or hear about.
  • Although communist, China still has some nasty capitalist values. For example, it is illegal for people from the countryside without jobs to remain in cities to look for such, they must return to their place of origin as best they can-just like African workers under Apartheid.
  • Once again profits trump humanity. In the name of the almighty dollar (or pound or euro) humans can be treated like cattle. If you have any intelligence at all, any sense of equity, remember how devices such as these are manufactured before supporting the efforts with you [sic] money.
  • Boycott is right- Apple should have known better. I wonder if Bono would still support Apple after learning this.

Oh, gawd! Bono might change his mind about Apple!

I decided to post my own comment. I don't know if its been accepted yet. Here's what I wrote:
I'm sorry, I simply cannot work up any angst over these supposedly horrid conditions. I also wonder about those here that have declared that a boycott would be Apple's just desserts: do any of you own an iPod already? If so, do you now feel tainted because of these startling revelations of "slave labor" at the Apple supplier's plant in Red China? If you do then you'd better get together with your similarly contaminated friends and stage a public iPod trashing or iPod burning or iPod stomping. Then, under the glare of the TV lights, you can purge yourselves of your unconscionable, albeit unconscious, capitalist weakness and show solidarity with those faceless workers in China. O! what a wonderful thing it would be if your iPod's destruction on the public stage would be the first step towards the destruction of an evil American corporation! It is almost too delirious -- I mean delicious -- to contemplate!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Recent commentary: the thwarted attacks

Was today's terror scare upsetting, or was it a relief that the plot was stopped?

(published in the Appleton Post-Crescent)

I certainly did NOT think, "Oh, dear! Maybe those freedom fighters could use some multi-cultural diversity and sensitivity training!" I was upset that there are people in this country that truly believe that this never would have happened if only the right person were in the White House. We have forgotten the string of attacks on Americans beginning with the Carter administration in 1979. All the peaceful Muslims in the world will be little protection to us if we appease the Islamo-fascists. In case you'd forgotten, they want one thing: to kill or convert all of us politically-correct infidels.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So, are we really supposed to be ants?

This story from Japan disturbed me. The story claims that "emphasis on individual performance" and the adoption of "working practices more closely in line with US and British models"
has caused widespread mental illness and is responsible for a deepening demographic crisis, government officials say.

Statistics indicate that 60 per cent of workers suffer from “high anxiety” and that 65 per cent of companies report soaring levels of mental illness.

Not only that but the population is decreasing and
for the first time the Government has acknowledged that the falling birth rate is linked to job-related factors. Directors of the Japanese Mental Health Institute blame the same factors for rising levels of depression among workers and the country’s suicide rate, which remains the highest among rich nations.

Merit-based pay and promotion are of particular concern because they are at odds with the traditional system, built on seniority, that has reigned supreme in corporate Japan. In the harsh new atmosphere of cut-throat rivalry between workers, the Institute for Population and Social Security argues, young people do not feel financially stable enough to start families.

The trend is put down to Japanese companies’ attempts to globalise by adopting working practices more closely in line with US and British models. Larger numbers of temporary staff, a greater willingness to sack people and greater pay disparities are the downside.

A spokesman for the Mental Health Institute said that the emphasis on individual performance was driving Japanese workers — particularly those in their thirties — to mental turmoil. “People tend to be individualised under the new working patterns,” he said. “When people worked in teams they were happier.”

That led to my ruminating on whether we're supposed to be ants. Yes, yes...Japan's culture is different from our own; but, for a while at least, Japan looked to be out-Westering the Western Europeans and the Americans ... until they went crazy.

I'm sure that there are folks that will look at these reports from Japan and vigorously renew the claim that individual rights and individual freedoms are chimeras, things that are too shaky, too evanescent to use as a foundation for a social structure. People should give up the idea that the individual is important. They should accept that the state, the society, the culture gives real meaning to the lives of its citizens.

I believe otherwise, most fervently otherwise.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

From my brother, Dan

My brother Dan is an ex-Marine and a crackerjack construction manager. He also has a high threshold of excitement. He has had several construction management jobs overseas in dicey areas: Bosnia, Kazakhstan, and Iraq (twice).

Now he's in Kabul, Afghanistan, managing the building of an Army base. He doesn't write much, and when he does it's usually clippings from the news. Today I got a narrative from him that was written by an ex-Navy man. It has a direct message regarding the current Israeli-Hezbollah war. Tell me what you think.

When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo (Philippines) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish bar bully and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.

All evening the bully had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine... figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the moron sucker-punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man's mutilated ear.

Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this guy, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with a series of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx. Each punch opened a cut on the bully's startled face and by the time he had been backed completely into the corner he was blubbering for someone to stop the fight. He invoked his split lips and chipped teeth as reasons to stop the fight. He begged us to stop the fight because he could barely see through the river of blood that was pouring out of his split and swollen brows. Nobody moved. Not one person.

The only sound in the bar was the sickening staccato sound of this sailor's lightning fast fists making contact with new areas of the guy's head. The only sound I have heard since that was remotely similar was from the first "Rocky" film when Sylvester Stallone was punching sides of beef in the meat locker. Finally the bully's pleading turned to screams.... a high, almost womanly shriek. And still the punches continued relentlessly.

Several people in the bar took a few tentative steps as though they wanted to try to break it up at that point, but hands reached out from the crowd and held them tight. I'm not ashamed to say that mine were two of the hands that held someone back. You see, in between each blow the sailor had begun chanting a soft cadence: "Say [punch] you [punch] give [punch] up [punch]... say [punch] you [punch]were [punch] wrong [punch]".

He had been repeating it to the bully almost from the start but we only became aware of it when the typical barroom cheers had died down and we began to be sickened by the sight and sound of the carnage. This coward stood there shrieking in the corner of the bar trying futilely to block the carefully timed punches that were cutting his head to tatters... right down to the skull in places. But he refused to say that he gave up... or that he was wrong.

Even in the delirium of his beating he believed in his heart that someone would stop the fight before he had to admit defeat. I'm sure this strategy had served him well in the past and had allowed him to continue on his career as a barroom bully. Finally, in a wail of agony the coward shrieked "I give up", and we gently backed the sailor away from him.

I'm sure you can guess why I have shared this story today. I'm not particularly proud to have been witness to such a bloody spectacle, and the sound of that bully's woman-like shrieks will haunt me to my grave. But I learned something that evening that Israel had better learn for itself if it is to finally be rid of at least one of its tormentors: This is one time an Arab aggressor must be allowed to be beaten so badly that every civilized nation will stand in horror, wanting desperately to step in and stop the carnage... but knowing that the fight will only truly be over when one side gives up and finally admits defeat.

Just as every person who had ever rescued that bully from admitting defeat helped create the cowardly brute I saw that evening in the bar, every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today.

President Lahoud of Lebanon, a big Hezbollah supporter and a close ally of Syria, has been shrieking non-stop to the UN Security Council for the past two days to get them to force Israel into a cease fire. Clearly he has been reading his autographed copy of 'Military Success for Dummies: Arab Despots' by the late Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in '56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:

  1. Instigate a war.
  2. Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you... get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.
  3. Whatever you do, don't surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population... and will force a truce.
  4. Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.

This tactic has never failed. Not once. In fact it worked so well for the Egyptians in 1973, that to this day they celebrate the Yom Kippur War - a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel - as a military victory! No kidding... it's a national holiday over there! President Lahoud has already begun to shriek like a school girl to the UN Security Council to "Stop the violence and arrange a cease-fire, and then after that we'll be ready to discuss all matters."

Uh huh. Forgive me if I find that a tad hard to swallow. He allowed Hezbollah to take over his country. He allowed the regular Lebanese army to provide radar targeting data for the Hezbollah missile that struck the Israeli destroyer. He has turned a blind eye while Iranian and Syrian weapons, advisers and money have poured into his country.

And now that his country is in ruins he wants to call it a draw. As much as it may sicken the world to stand by and watch it happen, strong hands need to hold back the weak-hearted and let the fight continue until one side finally admits unambiguous defeat.



"The world is a dangerous place to live – not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." — Albert Einstein

For more on this conflict, an extremely interesting exchange of views, visit Pournelle's web site for his correpondence debate with Joel Rosenberg.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Recent commentary: Should the Israelis stop?

Should there be an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon conflict?

(published 7-Aug-2006, Appleton Post-Crescent)

If you examine the reports of the attacks you'll see that when the Israelis fire missiles they generally hit their targets, though they occasionally miss. It's complicated by the fact that Hizbollah bases its operations in civilian sectors. We've seen the pictures. When Hizbollah fires missiles at targets in Israel ... well, they don't really have targets, do they? The hundreds of missiles fired by Hizbollah were intended for one purpose: to provoke Israeli retaliation which will then kill their own people -- behind whom Hizbollah is hiding. Then the Lebanese can look to the world like mourners as the inevitable storm of news coverage rages over Lebanese civilian casualties, bringing cries for an unconditional cease-fire. If a cease-fire does occur then Hizbollah can acquire more missiles and dig in; then kidnap another Israeli soldier to provoke Israel yet again... No thanks. Let Israel deal with it as they see fit.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Just surfing, VIII

Have you ever received a mailing from people pulling the Nigeria scam? I got my first one in an actual letter with a hand-addressed envelope back in '98 or so. I have received many by e-mail since. The scam methodology is used by many other outfits claiming to be from many other countries.

I haven't gotten one lately, but I haven't forgotten folks like Mariam Abacha and her ilk. The memories all came flooding back to me when I found The Third Annual Nigerian Email Conference site and the "Official Conference Proceedings" site:
The 3rd Annual NigerianEMail Conference

"Write better emails. Make more moneys."

* OFFICIAL CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS *

I AM DR. ABOLO EMMANUEL THE CHIEF ACCOUNTING OFFICER OF A BANK. THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF OUR BANK IS OVER US$130,000,000.00 (ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) AND THE CURRENT ASSETS OF OUR BANK IS RELATIVELY LIQUID RESOURCES.

I HAVE ATTENDED THE FAMOUS NIGERIAN EMAIL CONFERENCE WITH ZEAL, AND I HEREBY SUBMIT A DETAILED SUMMARY OF THIS MOST WORTHWHILE ANNUAL EVENT. WHAT I REPORT IS HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL AND REQUIRES UTMOST URGENCY.

I AM A VERY RESPONSIBLE AND RELIABLE MAN.

I'M SURE HE IS!! (nudge, nudge, wink, wink!)

The Conference site has a "Preliminary List of Events" that contains such gems as:
  • Breakfast Kickoff Session:Your choice: A hard boiled egg, or two slices of white bread and a cricket.
  • Keynote Address:Dr. Hamza Kalu's adds some historical perspective in his keynote address: "From Postal Scams To Email Scams: We Have Come a Long Way Infant Child."
  • Debate:Attend a lively debate between Lady Mariam Abacha and Mr. Godwin Oyathelem. Topic: "The effectiveness of using all UPPERCASE characters."
  • Practical Discussion:Mallam Mahmud Abacah answers the question, "Are 10 million emails a day too many?"
  • Competition:Other countries are now adapting our business. Is this a threat or an opportunity?

There are helpful tips, too, for the conference attendee:
Only 575 rooms are available, so make sure you register early!

Amenities* include a bar, a barber shop, running water (hot AND cold), free parking, and a free newspaper (except for weekends).

One warning:
Spouses are invited, although they may not attend the conference sessions. Spouses must spend the day in their hotel room watching TV (two channels are available, and one is not cartoons).

Oh, and did you see that asterisk (*) after “Amenities” above? Here's the note:
* Restrooms are available in the hotel. Please use them.

Must have been a sweet conference!

Just for fun, check out this brilliant spoof on the Nigeria scam.