Saturday, June 05, 2004


I spend far too much time driving. I have attempted to pay attention in the last few weeks to the number of political bumper stickers I see either while crawling along I-95 towards DC or flying through the backroads of Spotsylvania County. The results of my highly unscientific survey is the impression that Kerry stickers outnumber Bush ones by about 3 to 1.

I'm not sure what this might mean, if anything. What kind of people put a campaign sticker on their car? Committed followers? Docile family and friends of said committed followers? Do stickers influence others? I suppose there might be some sort of bandwagon effect if an overwhelming preponderance of stickers favored one candidate over the other. In this case, Kerry is clearly in the lead, but as compared to the overall number of cars on the road, the number with any political sticker on them is so small as to not be terribly influential.

Friday, June 04, 2004


Over at Budaechigae. Of all the things the Allied soldiers expected to encounter on the beaches of Normandy, I doubt this was among them.


Victor Cha argues that the results of the recent Koizumi-Kim meeting point to the conclusion that North Korea can be convinced by economic pressure:
After all, Japan has been pressing for the release of its citizens and their relatives since the day two years ago when Kim Jong Il admitted North Korea had kidnapped them. Yet it was not until Japan made clear it was prepared to curtail trade with the North — cutting off financial remittances to the North, imposing an import ban on North Korean goods, banning Japanese ships from making North Korean ports of call — that North Korea made any concessions.
As the noose has tightened around DPRK missile exports, drugs may be the next target of opportunity:
As they continue their on-again, off-again diplomacy, the United States and Japan may find that North Korea's drug trade is a more visible component of the regime's threat. The good news, for the United States and its allies, is that the North's growing drug threat means that diplomacy aimed at eliminating its missile exports is working. The bad news, for North Korea, is that continued drug trafficking is not likely to be tolerated by the region.

If it continues to increase its trade in drugs, North Korea is likely to become the eventual target of a regional initiative to restrict the drug trade — which, in conjunction with the American-led curbs on its weapons trade, will put moderate yet deliberate pressure on North Korea. And if Japan's recent experience with abductees is any indication, such patient but comprehensive diplomacy may be the key to attaining Mr. Kim's flexibility on nuclear disarmament.
So the key to Kim Jong Il's heart is in his wallet!


And it ain't pretty. (thanks to Vodkapundit for the link).

And then there's this more obvious one.


But "Jane Galt's" thought for the day made me smile.
Thought for the day: Being a libertarian means that you never have to say you're sorry -- since you never, ever get anyone elected.
Ah, the joys of ideological and intellectual purity!


Once again, I wonder how I'm supposed to convince my students that cheating and plagiarism is to be avoided when they can read about things like this:
Stung by the revelation that the chairman of the Orange County school board, Keith Cook, plagiarism the high school graduation speech he recently gave at the University of North Carolina's Smith Center, the university has decided to scrutinize more closely the events for which it makes its gym available.

An alert parent, for whom Cook's speech stirred vague memories, hit the internet after the ceremony and found that the same speech had been given a few years earlier by Donna Shalala, former secretary of health and human services.

Responses from Mr. Cook and his allies on the school board only deepened the dismay on the part of UNC officials: confronted with the plagiarism, Mr. Cook first said he had written the speech; he then said that he had downloaded the speech from a site he'd found by typing "graduation speeches" into Google. In any case, said Cook, he thought it was okay to take the speech as his own, because it looked like "a generic speech."

A fellow school board member said: "I'm sure he didn't mean any harm. He had his reasons, and he's the only one who knows why he chose that particular speech."

UPDATE: Cartoon on the event and its aftermath here.

UPDATE II: Here's a rather inventive response to charges of plagiarism.

UPDATE III: Much more here (many of the comments are worth reading).


Christopher Orlet thinks so.
Throughout the post-war insurgency America and her allies have come to resemble a kind of love-struck Krazy Kat, so enamored with winning the love and admiration of the Iraqi peasantry that we blissfully allow the object of our affection to heave bricks at us. “Kwazy,” as George Herrimann’s naive feline would say.

In the U.S. government's zeal not to offend the Iraqi, we allow insurgents to use the sanctuary of the Muslim mosque as an armory and sniper post, even though this abuse of the sacred mosque seems to trouble the Muslim faithful about as much as a few fleas. We are expected to give the terrorist and war prisoner the same understanding, tolerance and mercy we give a high school student guilty of a misdemeanor shoplifting charge. To many in the west, the rules that apply at home during peace-time should apply equally during a standoff in Fallujah.

But if it is the Iraqi’s affection we seek, Uncle Sam is in for a George Jones-size dose of heartache, for never in the history of warfare has an occupying army won the hearts and souls of a conquered people. I doubt the former citizens of the Confederacy went all goo-goo eyed for the occupying federal troops after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Ask yourself how good old Georgia boys feel about northerners some hundred and forty years later?

Clausewitz was right in one respect: "the best strategy is always to be very strong." A conquered people will nonetheless respect strength, and strength doesn't have to mean cruelty and torture. Just the will to do what is necessary to bring peace and stability. And the will to persevere, no matter how the tide of war turns. "In war more than anywhere else things do not turn out as we expect. Perseverance in the chosen course is the essential counterweight."

Between Clauswitz' raping and pillaging and America's current ineffectual dealing with insurgents there is a vast Saharan distance. The time has come for America and her allies to cover some of that ground.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


In Chicago? In Shanghai? In Kuala Lumpur? Unless you guessed that the world's tallest building is in Taipei, you guessed wrong (for now. See a list of the world's tallest skyscrapers here).

I'm sure the PRC is busily planning a new tower to regain supremacy in what is apparently a hotly contested race. And the Koreans are surely not going to rest on their Daehan Life Insurance or Ryugyong Hotel laurels. Interestingly enough, the Europeans don't seem all that interested in such things. The tallest European building I could find comes in a measly 77th tallest (in Frankfurt Germany).

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


The Smoking Gun has the recently de-classified DOJ document that lays out the U.S. government's case against Jose Padilla. If the allegations are accurate (and that is a big if), it would seem that the U.S. has a strong case against Padilla, a.k.a. Abdullah Al Muhajir. It would also seem that his capture avoided potentially serious acts of terrorism on American soil.

I still can't help but wonder what the advantage of denying Padilla/Al Muhajir his rights as an American citizen was in this whole process. Would having access to a lawyer and actually charging him with a crime have changed things all that much? Perhaps it would have, but I would still say that we generally need to err on the side of affording constitutionally guaranteed protections to all American citizens, even ones with miserable life stories who plot terror and mayhem against us.


OK, that might be a bit dramatic but what else am I, a product of the late 70's/early 80's pop music scene, to make of Pat Benatar hawking hearing aid batteries?


At least in a cultural sense. China seeks cricket lessons, from India no less.
"We lack professional cricket players, coaches and umpires. We also know that India is very advanced in the game of cricket. China should learn from India not just in the field of software but also cricket," he said.

"I hope we will have more bilateral exchanges with India in the field of cricket which would help us improve our cricketing skills," he said.

"We will seek assistance from major cricketing nations to help us train our young students."
What's next? Curling lessons from Canada?

Monday, May 31, 2004


Flying Yangban weighs in on candidate Kerry's pronouncements on negotiating with the DPRK.
Here's a news flash; once you start unilaterally dealing with the Norks on the nuclear issue, you might as well tell the Russians, Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans to pack their bags and go home.

The Marmot puts his two cents in here
Hey, John, if you're keeping the six-party talks going just to keep the Chinese and South Koreans happy, you needn't bother -- they'd love to see the U.S. shoulder the North Korea burden on its own.

Korea Life Blog finds aliens (or at least Raelians) in the oddest of places.

The Marmot (who has been noticed by OhMyNews) finds time to comment on stories about Western dogs in the late Choson period.

Before beginning what is hopefully only a brief period of lighter than usual blogging, NKZone has a very nice wrap up of news and links about North Korea.

Oranckay notices the latest in the never ending "Korea vs. Corea" battle.

Seeing Eye Blog passes along some "KBS-inspired safety tips"


North Korea

South Korea makes claims about North Korean hacking
Lt. Gen. Song Yong-keun, commander of the Defense Security Command, said in an opening address of a conference on national defense information protection that, "On orders from National Defense Commission chairman Kim Jong-il, North Korea is operating a crack unit of hackers, and is strengthening its cyber-terror capabilities, collecting information from South Korean national bodies and research institutions through hacking." The DSC said last year that North Korea was training about 100 specialized hackers a year, but this is the first time the existence of a hacker unit or its information collection activities has been officially confirmed.

Not very clear what exactly these shadowy hackers are doing, still:
The SDC judges North Korean hacking skills to be good as those of the U.S. CIA
Given the recent track record of American intelligence is this praise or criticism?

Selig Harrison on his trip to the DPRK:
In many ways there is a looser atmosphere. For
example, cell phones are now permitted for people who can afford them.
They're mostly imported, and cost 2500 dollars at least.

CANKOR: Twenty-five hundred dollars?

HARRISON: Yes, US dollars.

CANKOR: One cell phone?

HARRISON: One cell phone. So that means it's not something for the man in
the street. Only a small elite has them -- the new class of hustlers and
entrepreneurs. But you see people with cell phones! This is something you
would never have seen in North Korea.

There's much more where that came from.

Russia gets on board the US-led PSI initiative. I can't imagine that North Korea will be very happy about this.

Six North Korean refugees seeking asylum enter a German school in Beijing

Latest North Korean salvo in the rhetorical war with the U.S.
On Monday, North Korea accused the United States of fabricating the uranium program as a way of fanning concern about weapons of mass destruction and winning public support for an invasion.
``The Bush war forces are going to apply what it used in Iraq to the DPRK,'' said North Korea's official KCNA news agency. ``Having worked out a plan to launch a new war on the Korean peninsula in the wake of that in Iraq, the U.S. is building up in advance public opinion about fictitious development of 'enriched uranium' in the DPRK.''


President Roh Moo-hyun puts forth his definition of political ideologies in Korea
"They talk about 'jinbo' and 'bosu'... They say jinbo is leftist and leftists are the Reds, this is the cancerous (claim) that blocks the liberalism of Korean society. Under capitalism, 'bosu' means changing as little as possible, the stronger preying on the weaker, and in Korea, 'bosu' is strongly attached to their vested rights, to changing nothing. 'Bosu' by whatever name, call it reasonable conservatism or moderate conservatism, means 'no change'..."

DLP responds that Roh’s
attitude on labor and economy in general "smacks of a mixture of liberal, reformist and conservative ideas." President Roh is either conceptually confused about liberalism and conservatism or is caught in "a serious error of perception."

Park Geun-hye responds as well:
"Our conservatism seeks to change everything but liberal democracy and market economy. The president's identification of conservatism with absolute refusal to change is an affront to the numerous Koreans who believe they are conservative."

I happen to agree with this conclusion of a Korea Herald editorial on the subject:
Leaders of Korean political parties must realize that wrangling over various unclear, confusing ideological terminologies is the last thing the public wants to hear from them.

ROK and US to talk about American troop withdrawals
South Korea and the United States are set for new discussions next week on resizing U.S. Forces Korea, and Seoul officials anticipate Washington standing by its intention to cut 12,000 troops.

Budaechigae has more details.

Latest in Japanese nationalism
The city board of education in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, surveyed and evaluated how loud the students sang the "Kimigayo" national anthem during this year's graduation and enrollment ceremonies, board members said Sunday.
The board's survey of all 40 city-run elementary and junior high schools has prompted complaints from some local residents as to why it was carried out.

How about checking to see whether they sang the “Kimigayo” in tune?

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