Friday, October 15, 2004


Just spent three days serving on a jury for a murder trial. I won't go into many details but I will say two things about it:

1) It was one of the most wrenching, draining experiences of my life.

2) More than any other experience in recent memory, it confirmed my faith in the civic institutions of this country and in my fellow citizens.


You get Fellowship 9/11. I haven't seen Moore's film, but I still got a few chuckles out of this one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I had half a mind to live-blog my reactions but so far there have been so many repeated and recycled lines, so many cases in which the candidate doesn't answer the question (I don't Kerry even mentioned the word "flu" or "shot" in his answer to the question about flu shots), so many empty promises, that I just don't have the energy for it. Maybe more later.

UPDATE: 30 minutes or so later, I am bored and tuned out. Other live blogs seem to agree:
Vodkapunidt: "This debate sucks"

Althouse: "I really doubt if many people would stick around to watch this."

Instapundit: "IT'S GOING TO BE HARD TO SCORE THIS DEBATE, because both so far have turned in much worse performances than last time."

Nick Gillespie: "They're both losing."

UPDATE II: Maybe I'm burned out because of a day of jury duty; whatever the case, I'm sick of this. I think I'll watch the Boston-New York game or go to bed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


If you have been troubled by this burning question, worry no longer.

Here's one of my favorites (from Joyce Carol Oates)
Like virtually everyone I know, I'm voting for Kerry. And probably for exactly the same reasons. To enumerate these reasons, to repeat yet another time the fundamental litany of liberal principles that need to be reclaimed and revitalized, seems to be redundant and unnecessary.
Like everyone you know? Joyce, you need to get out more.

Here's another from unknown to me Lorrie Moore:
Are there really any novelists voting for Bush?
Well, if the Slate collection is representative, not many. And the few that claim to prefer Bush invariably do so for national security/War on Terror reasons.

And here's a breath of fresh air from Jim Lewis:
I'm not convinced that the political opinions of a novelist are any more significant than anyone else's ...


Don't believe me? Just ask Bukari Karaba:
Partnership Investment
I received encouraging information about you and how trust worthy you are. I am delighted with such a useful information. I am interested in the partnership investment program with you or your corporation. First permit me to introduce myself as Bukari Karaba of the Polisario Movement of Western Sahara State in the Democratic Republic of Sahara. Being the chief executive of my region, I awarded the contract of IRRIGATION to a top Portuguese Firm worth several millions of dollars. In the execution of that project the Portuguese Firm discovered large amount of gold in one of the contract site. I collaborated with the Portuguese Firm on a mutual agreement on the proceed of which my share of $65.000,000 has been deposited with a big bank in Europe.

As the Administrator, I cannot introduce or circulate this funds into the Sahara banking system considering my provisional duty and considering the fact that I earn less than $500US dollars monthly. The above situation prompted my decision to solicit your co-operation to take delivery of this funds into your custody for my proposed investment as you will be adequately compensated with $5,000,000 USdollars. I will arrange all necessary procedures in ensuring a smooth process for the funds to get to you. I will appreciate you contact me once you receive this mail via my e-mail account indicating your capability and willingness to enable me to give you more details of my modus operandi of getting this money to you hitch free. This matter requires your urgent attention and confidentiality whatever your decision. Please also send your telephone number for us to talk.
"IRRIGATION" in the western Sahara; Portuguese-discovered gold; a "big bank in Europe." These guys are nothing if not inventive.


This Dong-A Ilbo article is merely recycled from the Japanese Sankei Shimbun so take it with a few grains of salt:
According to Sankei Shimbun on October 9, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has deployed 10,000 troops to three areas near the Duman River, the border between China and North Korea, in order to prevent North Korean troops from escaping in groups from North Korea on October 4.

Sankei also recently reported that 30,000 Chinese troops have been deployed near the Aprok River along the border starting early this month. In particular, it is remarkable that these kinds of troop movements could arise from rumors of the possibility that armed North Korean troops might be escaping in groups from North Korea.

The source said that the Chinese authorities have deployed troops at three key areas where North Korean troops could easily escape from North Korea because of the narrow width of the river. The source added that China is concerned about the possibility that armed troops escaping from North Korea due to food shortage could assault private homes and citizens in local cities.

Sankei analyzed that China’s reinforcement of troops near the border can be interpreted as China’s intention to put pressure on Kim Jong-il’s regime beyond just preventing North Koreans from escaping, citing the fact that diplomatic relations between North Korea and China have cooled down due to North Korea’s refusal to participate in further rounds of six-way talks.
I love the romanization: "Aprok River." Yes, that is how the two syllables would be written if they were separate but not if they are spoken together (at least in South Korea). Not to mention that to most of the non-Korean speaking world, the river is known as the Yalu.


According to the Korea Herald.
The reports submitted to the National Assembly's Finance and Economy Committee by the Finance Ministry, Financial Supervisory Service and Korea Association of Information & Telecomm. showed that some 4.81 million people, or one-fifth of the nation's workforce, are effectively credit delinquents.

The data shed new light on the scale and scope of individuals' debt, a byproduct of a credit binge encouraged by the government after 2000 to lift the economy. Weak consumer spending has weighed on the nation's growth since early last year, with little signs of relief.

As of the end of August, 331,845 people were at least one year in arrears on their tax payment worth 5 million won or more.

Another 1.48 million Koreans were defaulting on their telecom bills, while 921,250 people were unable to pay department store card bills.

Troubling news for the long-term health of the ROK economy. But is the ROK all that different from the U.S.? Consider the following stats and decide for yourself:
Some 1.6 million U.S. households -- one of every 73 -- filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

There are roughly 1.2 billion credit cards in use in the United States.
Average per household debt in the U.S., not counting mortgage debt, is about $14,500 -- especially noteworthy because before the 1930s, most middle and working class people had no major debts. Banks would not lend to them; they rented their homes and if they did own a house, it was paid for as it was being built.
Some 40 percent of American families annually spend more than they earn.

About 60 percent of active credit card accounts are not paid off monthly.

Average credit card debt among all American households is $8,400.

Average card debt among people who have at least one card is $9,205 -- triple what it was in 1990.

Average personal wealth of a 50-year-old American, including home equity: less than $40,000.

A typical American family today pays about $1,200 annually in credit card interest.

The average interest rate on credit cards is 18.9 percent.

Last year the credit card industry took in $43 billion in card fees.

Nine of 10 Americans claim credit card debt has never been a source of worry.

But 47 percent would refuse to tell a friend how much they owe.

Twenty-three percent of Americans admit to maxing out a credit card.

Eleven percent of Americans admit card debts went to collection.

Thirteen percent of Americans have been 30 days late paying credit card bills in the past year.

The average graduate student has six credit cards and one in seven owes more than $15,000.

People using credit cards in fast food restaurants spend up to 50 percent more than when they pay cash.

The personal savings rate in the United States has dropped from 8 percent in the 1980s to just under 2 percent since 2000.
Get out the scissors and cut 'em now folks, before it is too late!

Monday, October 11, 2004


(via Budaechigae):
A "protein apple" was one of Mr. Kim's favorite desserts, writes Mr. Seok, who defected to the South in 1998. A "protein apple" was a fruit harvested from a well-nourished tree grown in ground in which dogs and frogs were buried, the book explains.

The dictator only slept under blankets stuffed with fine feathers picked from sparrows' chins, the book says. To make one blanket, 700,000 sparrows were killed. The mattress on his bed and his pillow, "The Taoist Wizard's Pillow" were stuffed with 32 kinds of herbs.
There's more.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


of attempting to tear down the campaign sign a candidate you don't like and, upon failing to tear it down, urinating on it (details here via Ramblings' Journal; video footage here)? I don't think this is necessarily a partisan issue (anyone who has knowledge of similar shenanigans carried out by anti-Kerry people, let me know and I'll post those too); it is a respect for others and respect for the democratic process issue. I hope those jokers get busted.


Scrappleface has the appropriately ambiguous details:(2004-10-10) -- French President Jacques Chirac announced today that Jacques Derrida, the father of the intellectual movement called deconstructionism, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer, "if indeed 'death' can be said to mean anything beyond the biases of culture, language, religion and philosophy."

"Of course, we can't assert anything positively about Monsieur Derrida's recent failure to exist," said Mr. Chirac, "We can't even state that he ever did exist, since he may have been a mere metaphysical projection of our own prejudices against absolutes. However, in as much as we may categorically claim anything--Mr. Derrida will not likely be showing up for work tomorrow. Although, who is to say?"

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