Friday, September 05, 2003

INSTAPUNDIT LINKS TO THIS POST ON "The True Meaning of 'First Class.'" I can't find any reason to disagree.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

COREA OR KOREA? What better issue to have a North-South conference about? (Pictures here)

Pyongyang, September 3 (KCNA) -- Korean jewel picture has made a rapid development, admired by the world people as a "miracle of human culture and art" and "mysterious and fascinating fine arts." In August Juche 77 (1988), leader Kim Jong Il saw art works of a new style peculiar in materials and clear in depiction, and named them "Korean jewel picture."

Under his wise leadership, a Korean jewel picture production was organized at the Mansudae Art Studio. The production has created art works based on the style of the Korean painting to suit the emotion of the Korean people.

"River Taedong in February," "Snow Falls," "Pigeon Dance," "Pheasants" and "Wisteria Flower and Puppies" are typical of the masterpieces created by the production.

Korean jewel picture obtained the patent and a gold medal at the exhibition of international inventors held in China in Juche 77 (1988) and won a special prize and a medal at the Inter Kamen (International Exhibition of Stones and Stone Processing Technology) held in Poland in April last.

I'm still not sure what said jewel pictures are. If anyone has more info (or links) let me know.


THE GREAT CALIFORNIA DEBATE. Listened to a part of the debate of major candidates (minus Arnold) to replace Gray Davis in California on the way home to work. You can tell how far outside the beltway I live because the C-SPAN radio disappears into static about ten minutes before I get home. But before then, I heard some of the Golden State’s best and brightest demonstrate that politicians are all the same.

CRUZ BUSTAMANTE has by far the best sounding name in the race and, it happens, the best sounding voice. Deep and melodious, he could give Peter Coyote a run for his money doing voice-overs should his political career falter. He sounded typically political when asked if there were any state services or entitlements he would deny to illegal immigrants. Was asked this question twice and essentially refused to answer it.

PETER UBERROTH sounded like a doddering old man. I did like the moment when he told the self-styled poet that she had received her “fair share” in the past but that the days of free handouts from Sacramento are over—a rare moment of candor.

TOM MCCLINTOCK was the most specific and precise with his answers but, like all the others, was maddeningly vague on just how those billions of wasted fraud dollars can be recouped. Easy to talk about hard to do.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: why is she in this race? UPDATE: At least her website has entertaining animations.

PETER CAMEJO (Green): tried to present himself as the Naderite independent outsider. Came off sounding a bit unhinged.

All in all, I don’t know that many potential voters who listened to this farce would come away with more useful information about the candidates. What they might get, though, are impressions, and these are, apparently, what our democracy really works with.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

WHO'S AFRAID OF NORTH KOREA? The Aussies of course! And naturally enough the Pakistanis, Russians and South Koreans don't worry as much.

40% OF COLLEGE STUDENTS PLAGIARIZE FROM THE INTERNET. All I can say is that they better not do it in my classroom. These cases are generally very easy to spot.

AN INTERESTING COMPARISON BETWEEN THE OCCUPATIONS OF POST-WAR GERMANY AND IRAQ by Jeffrey Herf. The German "werewolves" didn't amount to much but the effort to entirely eradicate Nazism was more determined and thorough than we will probably ever see in the case of Baathism in Iraq
Yet the Allies took no chances. Between 1945 and 1949 the Western Allies alone interned 200,000 former members of the Nazi Party, its various organizations and former Nazi government officials. Over 100,000 were indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Of them over 6,000 were convicted and something over 800 death sentences were carried out. The Nazi party was crushed and outlawed and the German state ceased to exist as a national body for the four years of the occupation. The state apparatus, including the diplomatic and military leadership was dissolved and many of its leading officials were indicted and put on trial in the "successor trials" in Nuremberg between 1947 and 1949 which followed the main International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg of fall 1945 to fall 1946.
Read, as they say, the whole thing.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE "AXIS OF EVIL" LOSES A MEMBER? Convert it into the "Axle of evil." (.pdf file; Adobe Acrobat Reader required). Nice to know that Congressional Republicans read stuff from the Cold War International History Project (or at least they read reporters who read the stuff):
Moreover, to offer concessions to Pyongyang, particularly a non-aggression pledge, to induce good behavior assumes the following: that the concessions actually will encourage North Korea to change its behavior, dismantle its nuclear program, and stop making bombs; that
Pyongyang can be faithfully trusted to live up to its end of the bargain; and that the United States has no other means of dealing with the threat North Korea poses other than by giving in to its demands. Given North Korea’s flouting of the Agreed Framework and threats to pull out of other agreements, including the 1953 Korean War Armistice, there is no reason to believe that the regime can be trusted, is honest, and is willing to give up its atomic programs in exchange for U.S. concessions. The Korea Initiative, a research project conducted by the Woodrow Wilson Center that has examined secret Soviet archives dealing with North Korean-Soviet relations, also found that North Korea has a long history of extracting aid-for-concessions, adopting superficial reforms to appear to being honoring an agreement, and then reverting to old practices in order to extort more aid.

ADVANTAGE KIM JONG IL So argues Marc Erikson
Last October, it appears, Kim had concluded that US President George W Bush would sooner or later attack Iraq and get rid of Saddam Hussein - and that he might well be next in line. He also probably saw no great upside to denying US uranium-enrichment charges, as US intelligence had probably learned about it from its new friends, the Pakistanis, who had had a hand in supplying North Korea with enrichment-centrifuge technology. After the admission of guilt (sort of), Kim threw a fit and embarked on a relentless series of crisis-escalation steps, culminating in the announcement of resumption of spent-fuel-rod plutonium reprocessing. This got the world's attention, the US's and China's in particular. China, its essential regional strategic interests at risk, went all out to arrange for negotiations. The US agreed to talk. North Korea was in a position to make demands rather than facing sanctions or possible military attack. It had also gained time - if needs be to produce more weapons and weapons materials. By late April, Kim had won Round 1.

Round 2, the six-way talks, it now emerges, went even better for the Dear Leader. While the US stonewalled with its "comprehensive, verifiable, and irreversible" nuclear disarmament formula, the North Korean negotiator presented a comprehensive package deal, in essence proposing nuclear disarmament in return for a non-aggression pact with the US. The proposed deal would insist on the "principle of simultaneity", any step by North Korea being matched by a US move, beginning with a North Korean declaration of intent to scrap nuclear programs and US assurances of non-aggression. This would be followed by more formal and tangible steps, eg, US resumption of heavy-oil shipments in return for readmission of United Nations inspectors, and so on.

The US rejects this approach and insists on verifiable disarmament prior to any concessions; it also has refused the signing of a formal non-aggression treaty - ever. The US stance was labeled "gangster-like" by North Korea after the six-way talks and described as follows by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA): "The United States insists that we take off our clothes until we get stark naked, while it refuses to move even one step."

Who knows about "gangster-like", but otherwise the characterization was pretty much accurate and implicitly deplored as well by China and South Korea when they said that "simultaneous steps" were necessary when going forward. In effect, through its negotiating tactics, spiced up by threatening a nuclear test, North Korea has driven at least a bit of a wedge between members of the initially solid front of five demanding its disarmament.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up. Does that mean you have to talk like this? Note: If you are one of the four people left in the United States who has not yet seen Mr. Depp as a pirate, he does an excellent job.

JOHN KERRY REDUCED TO TEARS Of course it was intentional, or at least welcome.
Maybe it was the ginger tea or the homemade brownies, but Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry ran a gamut of emotions on Wednesday, angrily denouncing President Bush as "dead wrong" on Iraq and shedding tears at a jobless woman's story.
Homemade brownies. I cry just thinking about them!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


With many in tears, North Korea’s cheerleaders who came for the youth games in Daegu returned home yesterday accompanied by a 5-ton-truck full of gifts.

North Korean athletes, on the other hand, returned home with what they claimed were “political gold medals,” as well as three actual gold medallions from the 2003 Summer Universiade.

The cheerleaders wept openly at the farewell party, held at the Daegu Bank training center. “We are the brethren. Be well, and let’s meet again,” Jo Son-hwa, a dance-major university student from Pyeongyang, wrote in the guest book.

South Korean volunteers who had served the visitors throughout the sports festival, cried along with the group of 300 girls.
The cheerleaders and brass band members flew to Pyeongyang in the afternoon with mounds of gifts that included clothes, watches and sunglasses.

META-KNOWLEDGE ABOUT KOREA, KOREANS, AND KOREANESS; It's all here. Actually, it isn't but if you ever wondered about where you could get your hands on some "four-leaf clover panties" look no further (scroll down)
BYC, a well-known Korean underwear manufacturer has developed a brand marketing campaign around the four-leaf clover, which is considered a sign of good luck. It now has a clover farm in Yong-in to grow four-leaf clovers to attach to its products. The company says that only one in a thousand clovers have four leaves instead of the usual three.

BYC has designed its latest brand of men's and women's underwear with the good-luck clover theme and also includes a special mobile phone ring tone as a giveaway with each sale. The women's clover brand panties come in light green, dark green, pink and pale yellow.

"If North Korea had made the remarks based on a genuine belief that such talks are useless, it would have expressed it in another way," Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck said in an interview with KBS radio.
In short, all that stuff we said last week? Didn't mean it.
"We have not yet changed our firm will to resolve the nuclear problem between the DPRK and the United States through dialogue," KCNA said in a commentary monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Monday, September 01, 2003

LAST DAY OF SUMMER. Took the kids to the pool for the last time this year. For the first time, both kids will be in school full-time Monday through Friday. A milestone that I can't believe has already come. I still vividly remember the last days of summer when I was in elementary school. Yes, I was getting bored, tired, anxious for change and perhaps even for some structure. Still, I never really wanted that last day to come. Sappy, maudlin end of summer lyrics here (guess you had to be there).

UPDATE: My sentiments in pictures

But to this future of vast, unstoppable, ever-expanding wealth, the champions of the oppressed have come up with an ingenious solution: global poverty! It’s the answer to all our woes. We need a massive Poverty Expansion Program if we're to save the planet. "I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing," says Gar Smith of San Francisco's Earth Island Institute. "I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity," he continues, globally warming to his theme and regretting that African peasants "who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbours on foot-pedal powered sewing machines" are now slumped in front of "Dynasty" reruns all day long.

George Monbiot, celebrated doom-monger of Britain's Guardian, agrees: "It is impossible not to notice that, in some of the poorest parts of the world, most people, most of the time, appear to be happier than we are. In southern Ethiopia, for example, the poorest half of the poorest nation on Earth, the streets and fields crackle with laughter. In homes constructed from packing cases and palm leaves, people engage more freely, smile more often, express more affection than we do behind our double glazing, surrounded by remote controls."

Funny, despite their profound insights, I don't see Messers Smith or Monbiot willingly giving up electricity. Why is that? Do they want to be unhappy?

It's too much democracy. In San Francisco and in the rest of California, there has been an instinct for a long time to get as close to the plebiscite as you can get, as close to ''We'll decide it for ourselves.'' And I think Californians would tell you that every once in a while they've done something they're proud of this way, but more often than not they've discovered that they punished themselves by a rash judgment.

Too much democracy? Can't trust those pesky people now can we?

NOW THIS IS JUST A BIT CREEPY. (assuming it is real).

THE HORROR! THE HORROR! The Korea Herald reports that the web site of Blue House (South Korea's equivalent to the White House) is "error ridden." The nature of the errors? Almost entirely in the area of romanization. Now I would appreciate seeing some consistency in this area but given that the ROK government recently changed the entire system and given that Korean students do not appear to ever be taught romanization in school, these "errors" are wholly understandable. An example:
The name of President Roh Moo-hyun is also spelled "Roh Moo-Hyun" on his biographical sketch on the Website.

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