Saturday, November 20, 2004


of the missing portraits of "Leader" (no longer Dear?) Kim Jong Il. See here for details (thanks to Ace of Spades for the link).

Before Posted by Hello

After Posted by Hello

Friday, November 19, 2004


Korean Food Served in Pyongyang Restaurants! (thanks to Best of the Web for the link):
Pyongyang, November 18 (KCNA) -- Restaurant serving Korean food as appeared in each district of Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Ki Myong, a section chief of the Public Catering Management Department of the Pyongyang City People's Committee, told KCNA that the department, after consultation with officials concerned, standardized the cooking methods of traditional dishes inherent in the Pyongyang area and chose kinds of folk dishes for each restaurant according to its actual condition.
The Pothonggang Restaurant on the picturesque bank of the River Pothong serves boiled rice and soup, rice-cake, noodle and pancake, Tangogi soup, green gram pancake and mullet soup famous in Pyongyang.
It is crowded with many people including old men and women and children.
Some people come to the restaurant with their families and enjoy the Korean food.
I suppose the P'yongyang McDonalds is rather worried by this development.

Mmmmm .... green gram pancake and mullet soup!


The Dead Parrot Society unleashes a torrent of speculation and explanation by juxtaposing Boston's "More than a Feeling" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and wonders if the similarities mean anything. Listen to the mp3 and judge for yourself.

A self-proclaimed guitar expert puts the rest of us rabble in our proper place:
Wow, it's quite obvious none of you plays guitar. The only thing in common with those 2 riffs is the timing, and it's a very generic timing at that. The Boston is in a major key and the Nirvana is in the minor and the chord progressions are in fact completely different.

So there!


(via Vanifrank) IndiaDaily - North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il decides not to make the same mistake as Saddam ? Democracy in North Korea? I'll believe this when I see it!

Thursday, November 18, 2004


If it isn't already evident, I have a soft spot for maps. I have boxes of old National Geographic maps and can spend hours pouring over an atlas.

Here's an interesting attempt to make sense of the different regions and areas in the U.S. For a detailed break-down of these regions, see here.

U.S. regions Posted by Hello

Of course any attempt to depict the diversity of a country such as the U.S. in such stark terms will mask as much as it reveals. But I find this conceptualization a little closer to the mark than "red states vs. blue states."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Check out the contrast between these two pieces (both accessed via NAPSNET)

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA ACCUSES SOUTH KOREA OF BORDER PROVOCATION", 2004-11-16) reported that the DPRK accused the ROK Tuesday of introducing an armored car close to their border to support a possible US pre-emptive strike against the DPRK. The vehicle was brought Tuesday up to a guard post near a border marker in the western section of the inter-Korean buffer zone, according to the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Apparently the same time the ROK was preparing for a preemptive war on the DPRK, it was also doing this:
Yonhap ("S. KOREAN SHIP CARRYING ADDITIONAL FERTILIZER AID LEAVES FOR N.K.", 2004-11-16) reported that a ROK freighter carrying the first shipment of the ROK's additional fertilizer aid to the DPRK departed on Tuesday night for the DPRK's Nampo port, officials at the ROK Red Cross said. "The 5,000-ton-class Sun Hope freighter left for North Korea's Nampo port, carrying 5,000 tons of fertilizer," a Red Cross official said. "The vessel is scheduled to arrive in the North on Thursday morning."
No comment from P'yongyang on how the ROK freighter constitutes a preemptive humanitarian offensive on the land of Chuch'e.


Witness two competing interpretations of the resignation of Colin Powell. Lawrence Kaplan writes in The New Republic that Powell's departure signals the victory of the neo-cons:
With the departure of Colin Powell as Secretary of State, the Bush administration's great foreign policy rift has finally ended.
During Bush's second term, however, the president's foreign policy counselors will all be reading from the same page. Yesterday, after all, one side forfeited the argument.
Not so says the Heritage Foundation's Peter Brookes:
The rumormongers are wrong. Secretary of State Colin Powell didn't tender his resignation yesterday because Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld wouldn't play nicely in the foreign-policy sandbox.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, he also wasn't pushed out because he wasn't hawkish enough. Nor was he sacked because he was a moderate square peg in a neoconservative round hole.
Brookes goes on to list what he sees as Powell's accomplishments during his tenure as Secretary of State:
Secretary Powell can take a big chunk of credit for developing the international cooperation that has done so much to advance the War on Terror. Most terrorists are put out of business not by military action (in contrast to what you see on the evening news), but by international cooperation spearheaded by diplomacy, solid intelligence work and roll-up-your-shirt-sleeves law enforcement.

Powell has also advanced efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through such initiatives such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and disarming Libya of its WMDs. He also advanced American interests by explaining missile defense to skeptical members of the international community, which saw it as destabilizing.

And Powell played an important role in strengthening relations with such key allies as Japan, Britain and Australia, in developing ties with India and in putting contacts with China on a solid footing after a rollercoaster relationship during the Clinton years. He can also be credited with improving the morale at Foggy Bottom after it plummeted to record lows under Madeleine Albright.
This contrasts with Kaplan's assessment:
The wonder of it all is that Powell, for all of the battles he fought in the name of his "troops" at Foggy Bottom, accomplished next to nothing on their behalf. Iraq, Kyoto, ABM, direct negotiations with North Korea--nearly every time Powell waded into an inter-agency conflict, he lost. Even when he won, he lost. When, for example, Powell persuaded the president to dispatch a special envoy into the Israeli-Palestinian thicket, the result was an explosion of violence on both sides and the prompt collapse of the U.S. effort. When Powell convinced the president to return to the United Nations one last time before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the effort backfired, doing nothing to budge the Europeans and much to discredit the cause of the Americans.
Which account is more accurate? Closer to the truth? Is there really a truth to get closer to? Given the ideologies and proclivities of both TNR and the Heritage Foundation, is the fact that Heritage praises Powell's achievements and doesn't see Powell's departure as a problem while the TNR finds Powell to be a failure whose absence will only make things worse surprising? Does anyone write without a set of ideological talking points these days?

More to the point: will either of these accounts/arguments convince a single doubter or detractor? If not, why write them?

Monday, November 15, 2004


The Blogosphere is atwitter at the news of impending "reorganization" (read purges) at the CIA. QandO Blog rounds up some of the more critical reactions and then imparts an interesting history lesson by pointing to what happened just ten years ago:
Senior managers of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence (DI) -- the arm of the Agency responsible for analysis -- held an unusual emergency meeting with their analysts on the afternoon of 1 July, just before the start of a long holiday weekend. The purpose of the meeting was to announce plans for a complete reorganization of the Central Intelligence Agency.
By April 1994, Administration displeasure with CIA had turned into indignation. Faced with a growing number of foreign policy debacles, Clinton officials -- notably several on the staff of the White House and National Security Council -- grew increasingly furious at CIA intelligence assessments which suggested that Administration policy in North Korea, Somalia, Bosnia, China, and Russia was in trouble. Administration officials started to argue that CIA was not providing them with "the proper support." Some officials implied that if CIA had done a better job analyzing the world, Mr. Clinton’s foreign policy would not be in trouble.
In private meetings with other senior DI officials, MacEachin -- who is said to have claimed that he is acting on behalf of Director Woolsey -- laid down the real objectives of his reorganization plan:

Consolidating and institutionalizing changes already made.

..."purging the culture of the 1980s" at the CIA. ...

Assuring that CIA briefings coincide with Administration policy and cannot lead policy makers to accuse the Agency of "disloyalty." MacEachin was quoted as having actually said in a recent meeting with senior CIA officials: "Analysts must recognize that if they give a briefing which deviates too much from official policy, they may be accused by Clinton Administration officials of being disloyal."...
I am becoming increasingly convinced that if we were to replace the labels "Democrats," "Republicans," "Conservatives," or "Liberals" with "politicians," "officials," and "bureaucrats," we would get much closer to the actual truth of American politics (though it would rob us of so many opportunities to engage in partisan invective and vitriol).


That South Korea is responsible for roughly 1/5 of the spam out there? Of course the country that is responsible for the single-largest portion of that ever so annoying phenomenon? The U.S.:
In October, 42.5 percent of all spam originated in the United States, according to a report released Monday by Commtouch Spam Detection Center, which analyzed hundreds of millions of unsolicited messages.
But China is in the thick of things as well:
China held onto its top ranking as the country that hosted the most Web sites referenced in the content of the spam. Among the 2.55 million referenced URLs in spam, China accounted for nearly 39 percent, followed by the United States with 31 percent, and South Korea with 21 percent.


The International Year of Rice is almost over. I found it somehow appropriate that I was eating left-over fried rice for breakfast when I read about this.

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