So firstly and foremost ...
WHO DAT!!!!!!!!

Sorry it took a month for me to finally find the time to post again, but I felt that under such circumstances as these, I had to find the time. Here I am, just waking up after an extremely eventful night spent on the streets of Bourbon, New Orleans. Some friends and I arrived at Tulane campus late Saturday night to kick off this incredible journey. After some quick Superbowl "pregamage," we then departed Sunday around 3PM to make our way to Bourbon St. (which was a complete madhouse by the time we reached it). Despite the hushed whispers from naysayers that the Colts might win due to their untouchable defense, the Saints came through. And they just didn't win, they undeniably smashed the Colts. I think the Saints' victory, while owing itself to the skill of the Saints offense, along with Sean Payton's coaching ability, mainly owes itself to the spirit of the Saints fans throughout the South. The chaos ensuing immediately after the Saints' victory was a sight which could not be explained with words; yet it was good chaos - people hugging each other, everyone dancing, some even crying. It was something that brought the city of New Orleans together; a phenomenon that was not only earned, but highly needed. Just goes to show the power of spirit. While "statistically" the Colts had the upper hand, the Saints were hungry for victory. And they earned it - WHO DAT


Google -> China : !Adios!

Como Estan! Hope everyone enjoyed their winter break - I know I did. I might have even enjoyed it a little too much, for this morning I was still recovering from a rough night in my 9 A.M. class. Anyways sorry for the lack of posts, with this new semester I will strive to make up for my laziness by posting great, and NEW, exciting material! wooo. So here is my latest post, (accompanied by some sweet, custom artwork done by myself):

$589.85. An increase by 2.76; that is the current price on Google's stock (NYSE: GOOG). Yet such a quote could possibly drop due to the latest move by Google co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, to completely withdraw all Google operations from China . A recent Yahoo article speculates that the maneuver might stem from Google's manifesto, stating:

"Don't be evil.... We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served -- as shareholders and in all other ways -- by a company that does good things for the world."

As indicated by this moralistic (even fundamentalistic) rhetoric, there are two keywords in the above statement that worry me -- good and evil. Add the above to a mixture of China's stance on both human and free speech rights, and you have quite the lethal combination. Props to Brin and Page for being virtuous, but such a maneuver to pull Google completely out of China because of moralistic principles could cost the company mucho dinero. Yet could it be possible for the move to make Google some serious bucks as well? Only time will tell...


Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas from The Zero Sum Game - In spirit of the holidays, here is a drawing of St. Nick by Thomas Nast, the German-born American political cartoonist


Hax - a solution to "noobitus"

Kudoos to my brother for showing me this video. Any CS (Counter-Strike) fans should thoroughly enjoy it >

A Middle Eastern Peace Initiative (MEPI) project

Recently in my global communications class, I, along with a few other classmates, have finished a video, Communicating Across Borders, focusing on a MEPI sponsored grant for ULL. Specifically the grant allows for a partnership between the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Qatar University in Qatar. Anyone interested should check it out>


Made in China

So next week, I have a final due in my international economics class. Consequently, I am trying to finish this thing before my total accumulated homework reaches levels so high I have to off myself. Anyways, while researching I came up with some interesting statistics on China's exports and imports from the U.S. in the fiscal year 2008, taken from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Thus, provided for your reading pleasure:

Top 10 Exports (descending from most in total value to least) to China by Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), as taken from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce:

1 - Computer And Electronic Products - $ 12,550,539,733
2 - Transportation Equipment - $ 9,098,221,864
3 - Chemicals - $ 7,552,933,303
4 - Machinery, Except Electrical - $ 6,762,352,524
5 - Food and Kindred Products - $ 2,287,831,899
6 - Primary Metal Manufacturing - $ 2,061,824,342
7 - Electrical Equipment, Appliances, and Components - $ 1,283,776,625
8 - Paper - $ 1,180,449,663
9 - Fabricated Metal Products, Nesoi - $ 1,047,373,575
10 - Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities - $ 620,893,327

Top 10 Imports (descending from most in total value to least) from China in the fiscal year of 2008, as taken from www.census.gov (in thousands of dollars):

1 - Toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles - $ 29,167,386
2 - Other (clocks, port typewriters, oth household gds - $ 27,505,367
3 - Computer accessories, peripherals and parts - $ 27,012,046
4 - Computers - $ 25,039,779
5 - Apparel and Household Goods - other textiles - $ 15,295,179
6 - Television receivers, vcr's, & other video equip. - $ 15,104,621
7 - Telecommunications equip. - $ 14,497,175
8 - Apparel and Household Goods - cotton - $ 13,382,300
9 - Furniture, Household Items, Baskets - $ 13,278,661
10 - Footwear of leather, rubber, or other materials - $ 11,632,460


Hello Again...Part Deux

Hello hello, hope everyone has been doing well. As promised, I have returned to provide you, my constituent base, with some well-deserved reading pleasure. While over at The Monkey Cage, John Side takes note of some recent research by Chris Karpowitz on Nixon's daily intake of media through staff-supplied summeries, which has subsequently sparked a fire under my ass to post again on my own recent research. On the agenda for today, I will be posting my (slightly overdue) abstract regarding my current work in progress, an examination of Nixon-Kissinger diplomacy, specifically, Sino-American rapprochement. Without further delay,

Topic: Confronting a potential rogue state: A historical analysis of Sino-American talks during the Nixon administration

The character of leaders is tested by their willingness to persevere in the face of uncertainty and to build for a future they can neither demonstrate nor fully discern.

-Henry Kissinger, White House Years

In successfully initiating diplomatic talks with Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung), China's leader, and Zhou Enlai (Chou Enlai)
[1], China's Prime Minister, some thirty years ago, Nixon and his National Security Advisor (NSA) Henry Kissinger, set a precedent in US diplomacy previously unheard of — namely, the rapprochement of US relations with a country, which was simultaneously viewed, both as an emerging super power as well as a potential rogue state. This epoch, while not only providing scholars with an invaluable compilation of historical records, has also shed light on the overall delicacy required for such talks to prove fruitful. Ranging from prior diplomatic blunders, to the establishment of secret back channels, and especially the famous Shanghai communiqué, Nixon and Kissinger constantly found themselves walking a diplomatic tightrope during Sino-American talks. Other factors that were of great importance were the ad hoc political ideologies of these two countries — was Nixon, an outspoken enemy of communism, to trust Mao, a known communist revolutionary? Or would the extraordinary negotiating tactics of Zhou Enlai, hardened from exposure to political infighting during the New Culture Movement, pose a challenge even to those of Kissinger? There is no doubt that such thoughts crossed the minds of both Nixon and Kissinger - both men knew that for the sake of U.S. security (and possibly even the stability of the world stage itself), they had to engage in diplomatic initiatives with a nation state that they knew little-to-nothing about. As Margaret Macmillan stated, "such questions matter in international relations, especially between two countries when each is convinced that it is the more important" (Macmillan xxi).
Today, despite the numerous efforts by transnational entities such as the United Nations, and the international community in general, to highlight a critical need for interstate diplomacy, conflict still exists. Yet this phenomenon simultaneously accentuates the delicacy involved in diplomatic talks. Underlying factors such as competing ideologies or shifts in regional balances of power, along with the expansion of terrorist regimes and rogue states, must all be equally considered. Not to mention, the special attention directed to the official dialogue utilized during diplomatic exchanges. Each of these elements are equally important, and have revitalized a crucial need to study the diplomatic accomplishments of yesterday, in the hope that drawing generalizations with the circumstances of today can benefit nations of tomorrow

[1] From Xia, xv: Chinese names and places are rendered throughout the text in the Hanyu Pinyin system of transliteration. Some names are more familiar to Western readers in their traditional Wade-Giles form. In such cases, the Wades-Giles is given in parentheses after the first use of the Pinyin, e.g., Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) and Zhou Enlai (Chou Enlai)