Listening to TV commercials for the presidential candidates, you almost get the impression China has become the modern-day equivalent of the Third Reich.
“China is stealing American ideas and technology,” says a Romney spot.
“Romney’s never stood up to China,” says an Obama spot.
Plenty of voters do feel antipathy toward the Asian giant. Among them is a reader who called me to complain about the alignment of international flags in front of Diebold’s headquarters in Green.
The flagpoles were erected two years ago to reflect Diebold’s deep involvement in the global economy. More than half of the company’s revenue comes from abroad.
As you face the building, you see (from left to right) flags from the United States, China, Brazil, the European Union, India, Mexico and Canada.
That annoys a reader whose name I didn’t catch during a brief phone call. He said he is a veteran who gets honked off every time he drives by Diebold and sees “our flag right next to communist China’s.”
If Diebold has to fly the Chinese flag, he said, why not move it farther down the line and fly Canada’s or Mexico’s next to ours?
Well, given the fact Diebold has major operations in China, you can understand why its managers aren’t eager to set fire to the good ol’ red and yellow.
Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen says the company was careful to follow protocol when erecting the flagpoles. Officials studied the U.S. Flag Code, which says (among many, many, many other things):
“When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size.”
But nothing addresses the sequence of the flags, Jacobsen says, so the order was chosen based on the composition of Diebold’s global business.
When asked whether he would consider changing the batting order if enough people complained, he said:
“China is an important market for us, and we employ a good amount of people there. So if we decide to change the order of the flags or nations we have represented out there, we’ll base that decision on proper protocol and what best represents the global footprint and priorities of our business.
“While we certainly don’t wish to offend anyone, to entertain a change right now, I think, would be to a large extent reacting to the current political environment in this election season.”
Good point. Regardless of which side wins Nov. 6, you can bet that on Nov. 7 China will lose its newfound status as America’s favorite punching bag.
A recent police report from Tallmadge:
“A Northeast Avenue woman said she pulled into her driveway about 7:30 p.m. and saw her neighbor in their shared driveway with her pants pulled down, exposing her genitals. She took a picture, which she turned over to police. The report was forwarded to the Tallmadge law director.”
Does that make the picture-taker an accessory to indecent exposure?
We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!
Well, not really. But it was fun while it lasted.
Terry Curtis grew up in Akron and spent 40 years working in Southern California before moving back after retiring four years ago. He was all pumped up the other day when he opened the latest copy of a monthly magazine distributed by the Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association.
Ever since he announced his intention to return to Akron, friends and colleagues in SoCal have ridiculed the decision. Now, finally, he thought, he had good ammunition to return fire.
“Thinking about a move upon retirement?” the magazine asked. “Then consider the top three places in the U.S. for retirement-aged individuals to live: Akron, Albany-Schenectady and Albuquerque.”
The ranking was based on statistical analyses in eight categories, including finances, health care, transportation and community engagement.
But, alas, someone at the magazine was asleep at the switch. Those three cities finish first only if you list all of the metro areas in alphabetical order.
Upon close examination of the website of the Milken Institute, the study’s sponsor, we discover Akron actually ranks 68th out of the top 100 metros.
Which is right about where we usually end up in national studies.
Well, except when somebody rates the places with the fattest population.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.