The parties are advised to chill.
Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 908 (9th Cir. 2002)

Friday, August 29, 2003
Again?!

Cruz Bustamante, who's running for governor, feels that there's nothing embarrassing about having been in MEChA:

"The students who are MEChA today are just like the students when I was there," Bustamante said Thursday at a Sacramento news conference. "Pretty much, they are trying to get an education. Most of the friends I went to school with are now either graduates from college or raising families."

Even during the campus tumult of the '60s and '70s, MEChA, which stands for Movimieto Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano student movement), was more dedicated to peaceful political activity at the colleges than to revolution in the streets, its supporters say.

"MEChA has always been a group to incorporate Latino students into the college experience," said Fernando Guerra, head of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, which has a chapter on campus.

"It's bizarre to assume this is some kind of radical group, seeking to overthrow part of the United States," said Mike Madrid, who has worked on Latino affairs for the state Republican Party. "It was part of the Brown Beret and Chicano studies movement, but it's mainly a social group and has been for years. To suggest it's involved in paramilitary training or some underhanded conspiracy is ludicrous."

In response, LGF has a picture up, showing several La Raza Unida Party (RUP) types posing with Arafat in 1980. *sarcasm on* You know, back when his people were hijacking planes and stuff. *sarcasm off*

The problem I'm having is figuring out how closely MEChA is associated with RUP. Wouldn't surprise me if it was a pretty close relationship, but my internal jury is still out.

Curious, I checked out the source of the picture, here. It's the site of a "news service" called La Voz de Aztlan. They have some stuff related to criticism of Bustamante's MEChA affilation.

Of course, it's all the Jews' fault, as this article by Miroslava Flores, dated yesterday, points out:

Though, more often than not, it is a "faux pas" to attempt to place people into tight little categories, never-the-less one can not help observe that certain people do possess incredible similar personality traits. This is certainly the case with two columnists that write for the Jewish World Review; one a daughter of Filipino immigrants by the name of Michelle Malkin and the other a descendant of Mexicans by the name of Linda Chavez-Gersten.

Both are married to Jews, both are Republicans and both are being utilized to attack Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Linda Chavez-Gersten is the better known of the two. Linda Chavez recently made the national news after she was "dumped" by President Bush as a nominee for Secretary of Labor as a result of a near revolution by the Mexican-American electorate because of Chavez ' participation in the "English Only Movement" that caused great irreparable harm to bi-lingual children of Mexican descent. Michelle Malkin (Malchin is the Jewish spelling) is presently attempting to make a name for herself by going on a rampage against Mexican immigrants and more recently against Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante of California.


And there's a related piece on Linda Chavez-Gersten, by Hector Carreon, dated January 3, 2001:

It is no secret that La Raza despises Linda Chavez-Gersten! No woman, other than perhaps Gloria Matta Tuchman, generates so much disgust in our community than this extraordinary malinchista. Like the brutish Jewish female Kapos at Auschwitz who received special favors for sleeping with their Nazi masters, Mrs. Chavez-Gersten will now be unleashed to squash any legitimate calls for better working conditions for our hard working Latino labor force.


This pattern of appointing and empowering malinchistas within our community by those who rule through the two party dictatorship is becoming all too common. With very few exceptions, all of the women of Mexican descent who have been promoted to national prominence have married either Jews if they are Democrats or Anglos if they are Republicans. Linda Chavez is no exception. She is married to Christopher Gersten and prides herself of having an "non-Hispanic" mother and a "Spanish" father who was allegedly a World War II hero from New Mexico. If she is Mrs. Linda Gersten why is she still using her maiden name of Linda Chavez (or Shayviz as she pronounced it during her Senate campaign in Maryland)? Who is she trying to fool? It is no wonder that a group of Chicano students ran her off campus during a commencement ceremony in 1991 at the University of Northern Colorado.

I find it curious that in one breath he implies a comparison between Chicanos and the Jews at Auschwitz, then in the next blames Chavez for marrying a Jew. I have to confess, though, I'm a bit surprised to discover the existence of Chicano anti-Semitism.

And I have to say, I find it a bit odd that people are playing down MEChA, particularly when one reads El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan.

Here's an exercise: read El Plan Espiritual, and replace the "Chicano" with "Aryan," and "gringo" and "European" with "Jew." Let me know what it sounds like to you.

Por la Raza, todo. Fuera la Raza, nada. ("For the race, everything. Outside the race, nothing.")

"Social group." Right.


Posted 9:40 AM by Tony

Thursday, August 28, 2003
Blame Game

There are times I really feel disconnected from the Korean-American community. Well, most times, actually. And stuff like this really doesn't help (via Incestuous Amplification):

Jean Chung, a historian and Korean American community activist, said Korean Americans also have a responsibility to inform both U.S. policymakers and the American public about the role this nation played in dividing the Korean peninsula.

The fate of modern Korea was determined by President Theodore Roosevelt in critical decisions he made in 1905, Chung said. In a secret treaty with Japan, he agreed to give Japan control over Korea and Manchuria in exchange for Japan's promise not to interfere with the U.S. presence in the Philippines, she added.

Had the United States not allowed Japan to take over the Korean peninsula, there would have been no need to partition it, she said, adding that the United States has a responsibility to right a past wrong that has affected the fate of the Korean people for a century.

The Rev. Sang-Eui Kim, associate pastor of Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, said, 'The achievement of peace in the Korean peninsula is what the six-nation conference should aim at. You cannot, of course, separate peace from human rights, but if you are forced to choose one, I think you should take peace over human rights.'"

I have to say that Ms. Chung has a rather interesting theory of causation.

Why stop there?

One may as well blame the current state of the peninsula on the US raid against the Chosun dynasty in 1871. That did open the crack to the Hermit Kingdom (though not in time to save 100+ Korean converts to Christianity from being murdered by the Chosun dynasty).

Or, perhaps, one might blame Commodore Perry. If it weren't for him and his black ships, Japan wouldn't have abandoned its policy of isolationism, been exposed to Western technology, and taken over Korea.

In my more cynical moments, I think Korean history can be summarized as: "invaded by Japan - invaded by China - oppress own people - repeat." I fail to see how the 1905 treaty would ultimately have changed things, as it assumes that the United States would have stopped Japan from acting in the absence of a treaty.

So, why not place causation where it properly belongs? Has Ms. Chung considered that the blame might more appropriately be placed at the feet of the Communists? Perhaps not.

And I have to say, I find Reverend Sang-Eui Kim's remarks contemptible in the extreme. So, given the preference, he would prefer an impermanent peace over stopping the continued incarceration of 200,000 people in concentration camps, places where forced abortions and torture are the norm?

Bear witness to the words of former prison guard Ahn Myong Chol:

At that time [after the first Gulf War] the tunnel was passing near the pig pen of the camp, and about 500 political prisoners were participating and there was one female named Han Jin Duk, 26 years old. I was in charge of giving food to the pigs. And my supervisor, when he saw the woman, she was beautiful. And he raped her, and he was found by the watchman officer. And he was investigated. My superior, his rank was reduced and the woman was sent to the detention center And then I didn’t see her for one year.

One day I was going to the place to load the coal, I met her. And I noticed she was exactly that woman, and I asked her, how you could survive. And she told me, that yes, I survived. But she showed me her body, and it was all burned by fire.

After six months I met her at the corn storage in Kusan district and found her putting on a used tire on her knees because her legs were cut off. Because of a coal mine wagon ran over her knees. And all she could do now was separate the corn grains from the cob.

The reason why she was forced to go to the prison is her father’s elder brother was purged at the Anbyon, Kanwhan Do province. She went when she was 5 years old. All of the family members were imprisoned. Her mother starved to death, and her brother also starved to death in the prison. I met her at age 26. So it means she was in the prison for 21 years. I think she no longer is in the world.

Peace over human rights. It's an interesting choice for a self-styled man of God.

Out of all the people in the Korean American community, and the LA Times correspondent chooses these two.

Why not pick real role models to talk to, like Young Oak Kim, who served with the Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in WWII and also served in the Korean War? Or two time gold medalist Sammy Lee?

I don't know either of them personally. I don't know if they'd say something as mind-staggeringly stupid as the two quoted in the newspaper article above. But, at the very least, I'd have less of a feeling that the Korean American community was being poorly represented in the media.


Posted 5:33 PM by Tony


Cheap As Diamond

Or, at least, maybe in the future.

There's an intriguing article in Wired about synthetic diamond technology. The impact of these diamond manufacturing techniques may be huge.

And anything that breaks a stranglehold on the diamond market can't be all that bad:

But first things first. Before anyone reinvents the chip industry, they'll have to prove they can produce large volumes of cheap diamonds. Beyond Gemesis and Apollo, one company is convinced there's something real here: De Beers Diamond Trading Company. The London-based cartel has monopolized the diamond business for 115 years, forcing out rivals by ruthlessly controlling supply. But the sudden appearance of multicarat, gem-quality synthetics has sent De Beers scrambling. Several years ago, it set up what it calls the Gem Defensive Programme - a none too subtle campaign to warn jewelers and the public about the arrival of manufactured diamonds. At no charge, the company is supplying gem labs with sophisticated machines designed to help distinguish man-made from mined stones.

In its long history, De Beers has survived African insurrection, shrugged off American antitrust litigation, sidestepped criticism that it exploits third world workers, and contended with Australian, Siberian, and Canadian diamond discoveries. The firm has a huge advertising budget and a stranglehold on diamond distribution channels. But there's one thing De Beers doesn't have: retired brigadier general Carter Clarke.

[ . . . ]

The tussle goes to the heart of the marketing problem for Gemesis or any maker of synthetic gems: How will consumers feel about them? The mystique of natural diamonds is anything but rational. Part of the allure is their high cost and supposed rarity. Yet diamonds are plentiful - De Beers maintains vast stockpiles and tightly controls supply.

Clever marketing may bring buyers around to manufactured diamonds. After all, there's no chance that they are so-called blood diamonds - stones sold by African rebels to fund wars and revolutions. And they aren't under the thumb of an international cartel accused of buying off foreign governments, despoiling the environment, flouting antimonopoly laws, and exploiting mine workers.

A 10-15K diamond for less than one hundred dollars?

Where do I sign up?


Posted 3:12 PM by Tony


Grasping At Straws

Recently, a Canadian photojournalist was killed in Iran, and there is some indication that the Iranian government may have been involved.

So, Canada has decided it's going to complain to the UN Human Rights Commission:

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham pledged Thursday to keep the pressure on Iran despite frustrating little movement in attempts to uncover what happened in the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran this summer.

Speaking to reporters from Denver, Colo., where he is attending a NORAD meeting, Mr. Graham said he will ask the UN Human Rights Commission to look in to the case.

"I believe it is important that we have independent monitoring and reporting on such cases," Mr. Graham said. "Therefore, we will be asking the United Nation's Commisison on Human rights to investigate this."

Of course, this is the same entity that's headed by that human rights paragon, er, Libya.

And includes members such as Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

I'm starting to think that, the first rule when it comes to Chretien's government should be:

Every member of Chretien's government is irredeemably stupid, unless proven otherwise by clear and convincing evidence.



Posted 11:21 AM by Tony

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Bad Trial Dates

I wrote several months back about Stephen Funk, a Marine reservist who failed to report to his unit until 47 days after he was due, then claimed that he was both homosexual and a conscientioius objector.

Funk recently claimed at a preliminary hearing that he was being singled out for prosecution because he was gay. Judge Maksym threw out the selective prosecution claim at an August 14 preliminary hearing:

"A mere statement that the accused believed he was specifically targeted is not sufficient to make a showing of selective prosecution or even to compel this court to mandate additional discovery to advance such a theory," Maksym wrote in his ruling, which stemmed from a pretrial hearing Monday.

[ . . . ]

"There is simply no evidence before the court that anyone with real authority within the Marine Corps or a department of the Navy targeted the accused for prosecution," Maksym said. "In the face of such an anemic showing, this court has no choice but to deny the accused's motion."

Funk missed 47 days of training with his San Jose, Calif.-based unit last February as it mobilized for the war in Iraq. When Funk turned himself in to the Marines he applied for discharge as a conscientious objector. Funk also made public that he was gay, although he said that was not his reason for wanting to leave the Marines.

Funk was then transferred to New Orleans with other conscientious objectors for processing. But unlike the others, Funk faces a court-martial in September on the charge of shirking important duty, a charge that could carry up to a year in military prison if Funk is found guilty.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a PDF of the ruling anywhere. It is unclear exactly what the charge of "shirking important duty" is. The only appropriate reference I could find in the Manual for Courts-Martial (PDF) is Article 85. Article 85 defines the offense of desertion, which, when done with intent to shirk important service, has a maximum punishment of up to five years. I'm not sure that that's the offense Funk was charged with, though.

FYI - Desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service consists of the following elements:

(a) That the accused quit his or her unit, organization, or other place of duty;
(b) That the accused did so with the intent to avoid a certain duty or shirk a certain service;
(c) That the duty to be performed was hazardous or the service important;
(d) That the accused knew that he or she would be required for such duty or service; and
(e) That the accused remained absent until the date alleged.

"Hazardous duty" or "important service" depends on the circumstances:

“Hazardous duty” or “important service” may include service such as duty in a combat or other dangerous area; embarkation for certain foreign or sea duty; movement to a port of embarkation for that purpose; entrainment for duty on the border or coast in time of war or threatened invasion or other disturbances; strike or riot duty; or employment in aid of the civil power in, for example, protecting property, or quelling or preventing disorder in times of great public disaster. Such services as drill, target practice, maneuvers, and practice marches are not ordinarily “hazardous duty or important service.” Whether a duty is hazardous or a service is important depends upon the circumstances of the particular case, and is a question of fact for the court-martial to decide.
[emphasis added]

If this petition is to be believed, Funk's trial date is now set for September 11th.

I'm not supporting this guy by any means, and based on the news reports, personally think his acts meet all the elements required for a finding of desertion.

I do think that setting the trial for this date would be a tad . . . prejudicial. This isn't exactly a run-of-the-mill criminal trial, after all.


Posted 6:34 PM by Tony

Saturday, August 23, 2003
Just Great

I just had dinner with several friends, one of whom works for our Congress Critters. We all had been drinking quite a bit.

"So," I said, "see if you can persuade your boss to kill the Stryker."
Note - the Stryker is a proposed light armored vehicle for the Army that is under-armed, under-armored, non-deployable, and prone to breakdown due to independent power to all eight wheels.

"Why?" my friend asked.

I sputtered, "It's underarmored, and it can't even be carried by a C-130 without partial disassembly and a waiver!"
Note - the C-130 is a cargo plane used for intra-theater operations capable of rough field operations, i.e., doesn't need an airport-style runway.

"The C-5 will carry it."
Note - the C-5 is a large cargo plane that requires airport-style runways, and the USAF doesn't have that many of them.

"The C-5 isn't capable of intra-theater operations," I replied, or more accurately, slurred.

"The C-17 can carry it," my friend shot back.
Note - the C-17 is a larger cargo plane that can operate without airport-style runways.

"There's aren't very many C-17s."

"There are more in the pipeline."

I said, "You're buying a weapons system based on projected purchases of a cargo plane you may or may not buy?"

"No, we're backing the Stryker because it's Eric Shinseki's idea, and we love Shinseki."

I was literally speechless, and figured, for the sake of harmony, to keep my damned mouth shut from that point.


Posted 11:40 PM by Tony


Whew!

Thank you, God!

I'm personally embarrassed to be in the same party as this guy.

And before anyone feels like piling on to lump all Republicans in together with Simon, and for that matter, Duke:

*cough* Al Sharpton for President *cough*



Posted 2:10 PM by Tony


Strolling Through The Blogosphere

Item The First:

The Puppy Blender Instapundit writes about the heat deaths in France, and wonders why no decisive action is being taken.

Mark Steyn's take is, well, interesting:

Meanwhile, Maggie Pernot wrote the other day to chide me for my continued defence of the Rumsfeld Death Camps at Guantanamo. The prisoners, she complains, are "kept in tiny, chainlink outdoor cages where they were likely to be rained upon". In fact, they have sloping roofs and cool concrete floors, perfect for the climate. If they had solid walls rather than airy wire mesh, they'd be Parisian sweatboxes and everyone would be dead. By contrast, if those thousands of French pensioners had been captured by the Marines and detained by Rummy in Cuba, they'd be alive today.

While perhaps I find the column a bit macabre, what is the French government doing to protect its citizens? Decisive action? I'd just point out that when a third that number died here, we ended up invading a country to get at the source. Yeah, the analogy is off, but I certainly find it a contrast.

I suspect my blog buddy Dawn would concur.

Item The Second:

Professor Volokh, it turns out, is now a published author of fiction. The judge in the story reminds me of someone, but I just can't place whom...

Item The Third:

Rachel takes the bullet and watches the "documentary" (using the term in the same way that term is used to describe Triumph of the Will) so the rest of us don't have to.

Item The Fourth:

Bill Whittle has another great essay up, on one of the things that makes us Americans different. Darned good stuff.

Item The Fifth:

Nina points to an article that shows that at least one corner of Ithaca has proven itself an intellectually fallow field.

Item The Sixth:

Conrad mocks a cheerleader of totalitarianism, who unfortunately, is headed my way. I'm sure she'll fit right in, if not in San Francisco, then across the Bay at Nutjob Central.

Check any or all of these items out - gooooood stuff!


Posted 2:06 PM by Tony

Thursday, August 21, 2003
Waiting

Courtesy of the Marmot, there's this cute story:

``Doctors told us to prepare for his death but my father miraculously came back to life when he heard my brother’s voice on tape,’’ former lawmaker Kim Sung-kon told The Korea Times yesterday. Kim is the brother of Robert Kim who is serving time in a United States prison for espionage.

Kim said the hope of seeing his brother one last time was the only force keeping his father alive.

Kim and his brother’s supporters filed a petition with the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Monday asking for the temporary release of Robert Kim so he can come to Korea to see his father pass away.

[ . . . ]

However, those asking for Kim’s release argue that it will not only help Kim see his father go in peace, but also help the U.S. government deal with its multiracial population.

``The U.S. is a multinational country, thus a multicultural one as well. The U.S. government has repeatedly emphasized the importance of understanding the cultures of minority groups and this will help build a positive image of minority groups if they grant this one last wish of a dying father,’’ Lee Dong-woo, professor at Kongju University in Kongju, South Chungchong Province, said.

According to Professor Lee, then, the US government will be able to understand the Korean-American population by making an exception for a U.S. citizen in a sensitive government position who betrayed his oath? Geez, that makes me angry.

If, and I emphasize, if, the government allows this, then, far as I'm concerned, he should be accompanied at all times by MPs, handcuffed, and in one of those cute orange jumpsuits the entire time he's in Korea.


Posted 8:04 AM by Tony

Monday, August 18, 2003
It's "OC," Damn It!

I've been getting a lot of crap lately from friends, what with a new show from Fox set in Orange County.

I would just like to point out a few things:

1. Newport Beach is not an all-white enclave.
2. Not everyone in OC surfs.
3. It's just "OC."

"How can you resist the tagline?" a friend of mine asked. "He's just a kid, with nowhere else to go!"

Oddly enough, resistance is easy.

I can just imagine a "very special episode" in which the wholesome white kids take a wrong turn off the 405, and one of them takes a bullet from a Vietnamese gangbanger in Little Saigon in Westminster.

If that happens, I'm going to scream.


Posted 6:56 PM by Tony


This Just Gets More Fun

Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to have gotten actor Rob Lowe on board:

Actor and longtime Democrat Rob Lowe says he's volunteering for Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign because he believes the action-star has injected new energy into California politics.

Schwarzenegger is, "motivating and energizing people in this state that haven't been interested in politics in many, many years," Lowe said in a taped interview with the syndicated TV entertainment newsmagazine show "Extra", slated to air Monday.

Now, I know there are newspapers out there that would describe this recall as a circus.

To which I say, so what? Far as I'm concerned, anything that gets the electorate enthused and excited about the political process can't be anything else but a plus.

Democracy is, by nature, a raucous caucus.

Walter Russell Mead writes:

An auteur-driven foreign policy gives a smoother ride, but the country has all its eggs in one basket. A state is first dependent upon finding a great genius like a Talleyrand, Bismarck, or Kissinger, hoping that he doesn't make any big mistakes, and then on finding a suitable replacement when he is too old. The Massachusetts congressman Fisher Ames amply compared the two systems in 1795 when he stated that "A monarchy is a merchantman which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and go to the bottom; a republic is a raft which will never sink, but then your feet are always in the water."

Of course, there are those who would mutter incoherently of the recall being "the most recent example of the assault on democracy."

But how is this anti-democratic? It's provided for in the California Constitution, and the Gray Davis's continuance in election is determined by majority vote.

Mr. Jackson argues that Davis has done "crime, no malfeasance in office, nothing that would warrant impeachment or removal." So what? Jackson is hiding the ball. The standard here is not that of the federal Constitution, which requires such high standards for the federal executive. Instead, the people of California (of whom, I hasten to point out, Jackson is not), made the decision they should be able to recall elected executive officials for any reason.

The whole point of federalism is to allow the states to act as laboratories of democracy. Let's see what happens.

And to those who would sneer at the way California has chosen to implement the democratic process, well, that's your prerogative.

But might I suggest that a citizen of a state that keeps electing Kennedys has little standing to criticize?


Posted 6:46 PM by Tony

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Making Crucifixion Fun

Well, this site lets you put Jesus in different outfits.

I had a great deal of fun with it.

Which probably means I'm going to hell.


Posted 11:24 AM by Tony


Efficient Blogging

There's a certain elegance in efficiency, especially in blogging. After all, who wants to wade through a bunch of extraneous stuff to get to a good turn of phrase?

I have to say that this post from Conrad is a good example of efficiency. In the course of a few sentences, he discusses Miss Vietnam's disappearance, the appalling quality of US consular officials, and Brown girls.

I'm not sure about Conrad's Fifth Law, though.


Posted 8:51 AM by Tony

Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Pardon Me While I Laugh

Here's a piece by Christina Hoff Summers from the Washington Post that made me laugh, for some reason:

In the mid-1990s a law was enacted that prohibits colleges and universities from receiving federal funds if they fail to permit military recruiters or ROTC units on campus.

Subsequent revisions and clarifications of the original provision, known as the Solomon Amendment, have strengthened it to stipulate that if any school within a university denies access to recruiters or bans ROTC, the entire institution could lose its federal funding.

The Air Force recently used the Solomon Amendment to gain access to law school job fairs. Until last year, many law schools barred military recruiters from their campuses. But the Air Force sent them letters warning them that by blacklisting the military, they were violating the law and risked losing all government subsidies. Law professors were apoplectic. There were frantic meetings, rallies and threats of lawsuits. Protesters disrupted Air Force interviews with students. "It's essentially blackmail," said a stunned Harvard Law professor, Heather Gerken. But law schools such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown have quietly complied.

What worked for the law schools will work for the liberal arts colleges. They should be presented with the choice of lifting the ban on ROTC or losing government support.

I can't wait to see them get back to my old school.

Heh.


Posted 6:12 PM by Tony


AZN In Da Hizzouse

Or something like that.

The NY Times has a piece on Chinese-American rapper Jin Au-Yeung (or just "Jin"):

"I am proudly Chinese," said this rapper from Elmhurst, Queens, born Jin Au-yeung. "I'll embrace it but never exploit it. During a show, I might say, `So where my Asians at?' But I'll never go out there with a sword, you know what I'm saying?"

Along with a shadow of a mustache, a buzz cut and the requisite baggy pants of hip-hop, Jin wears a diamond-studded, platinum chain with the letter R around his neck. It stands for Ruff Ryders, the label Jin signed with during his 7-0 run on BET. The label has gained recognition for turning out hip-hop stars DMX, Eve and Jadakiss. Jin still seems bewildered by some celebrity trappings — custom-made racing outfits and cooing models at photo shoots — but has no problem playing up his boyish flirtatiousness or occasionally referring to himself in the third person. He savors the attention but says he does not crave it.

In his lyrics Jin talks unabashedly about his Asian ethnicity, sometimes in self-defense but more often because he wants to bolster the idea of an Asian-American rapper. In last year's battles on BET's "106 & Park," rival rappers most frequently hurled ethnic insults at Jin: "I'm a star/He just a rookie/Leave rap alone and keep making fortune cookies."

But Jin turned those taunts into his own disses: "You wanna say I'm Chinese/Sonny here's a reminder/ Check your Timbs/They probably say made in China," he raps, referring to Timberland shoes. And: "Yeah, I'm Chinese/Now you understand it/I'm the reason that his little sister's eyes are slanted/If you make one joke about rice or karate/ N.Y.P.D. be in Chinatown searching for your body."

But as one of the most visible Asian-American rappers, is he concerned about how graphic his lyrics can come across? Not really. "I'm a pervert," he said. "I'm a jerk. You can put that in print. There's many sides to Jin. I'm also intelligent. I'm also well spoken. And that's beyond hip-hop. That's me, as a person."

I have to admit, I'm conflicted. On the one hand, it's nice to see Asian-Americans being incorporated into the wider culture. On the other, the whole thing plays on the image of Asian kids sporting heavily modified 4 cylinder cars. You know: huge spoilers, tinted windows, Chinese character decals, and the like.

Every time I see that, I wince.

Word.


Posted 5:15 PM by Tony


Camouflage For The Wild Blue Yonder

Looks the Air Force is experimenting with new utility uniforms.

Here's a picture:


2nd Lt. Arcella Miller, USAF, demonstrating a prototype of a new gray, green, and blue tiger-stripe uniform
(from USAF)


One advantage of this new uniform is supposed to be:

Recalling the “tiger-stripe” camouflage pattern used during the Vietnam War, but with the distinctive Air Force logo embedded into a color scheme that preliminary testing indicates may provide better camouflage.

What kind of environment is a gray, green, and blue tiger-stripe uniform support to fit?

Sgt. Stryker has his own take on the situation. Go take a read.


Posted 5:00 PM by Tony

Monday, August 11, 2003
Basic Math: USFK != IJA

The United States is currently contemplating moving the 2nd Infantry Division, currently stationed between Seoul and the nearby DMZ, to Pyongtaek, south of the capital.

The Korea Herald is of the opinion that the US military and the South Korean government should take steps to ensure that prostitution does not flourish at the new location. Fair enough.

But this last portion really irritated the hell out of me:

The U.S. military, for its part, should provide better on-base entertainment, recreation and education opportunities for their soldiers so their time here can be more productive. Prostitution, used by the Japanese imperial army to boost its soldiers' morale, is the worst inhumanity.

Lovely. So the Herald is pretty much equating US forces in Korea, with the Imperial Japanese Army's comfort women.

Here's a bit of background, taken from Hwang v. Japan, Civil Action 00-02233, a suit by former comfort women against the Japanese government, available as PDF on Findlaw:

Although forgotten by many in the Western Hemisphere, Asia was certainly not immune from the perils of fascism during this era. This case focuses attention on the egregious conduct of Japan during its conquest of Asia -- conduct that included sexual slavery and mass rape on an institutional scale. Plaintiffs allege that along with approximately 200,000 other women they were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army between 1931 and 1945. These women, referred to as "comfort women," were recruited through forcible abductions, deception, and coercion. Once captured by the Japanese military they were taken to "comfort stations." "Comfort stations" were facilities seized or built by the military near the front lines specifically to house "comfort women." While at these facilities the women were repeatedly raped -- often by as many as thirty or forty men a day -- tortured, beaten, mutilated, and sometimes murdered. The women were denied proper medical attention, shelter, and nutrition. Many of the women endured this brutal treatment for years. Plaintiffs estimate that only 25% to 35% of the "comfort women" survived the war, and those who did suffered health effects, including damage to reproductive organs and sexually transmitted diseases.

Plaintiffs assert that this conduct "was a systematic and carefully planned system ordered and executed by the Japanese government." Compl. ¶ 50. The "comfort stations" were for use
by the Japanese military, and were regulated by the Japanese Army. Soldiers were charged a fee for access. The price charged depended on the woman's nationality, and at least a portion of the revenue went to the military. A soldier' s length of stay and time of visit were determined based upon his rank. The "comfort women" were treated as mere military supplies, and were even catalogued on supply lists under the heading of "ammunition."

I'm thinking the Korea Herald really need to rethink its analogies.


Posted 4:52 PM by Tony


Things I Cannot Change

There is something about the concept of immutability which is enormously annoying.

Today, I find myself stymied because of an immutable characteristic, something I cannot change about myself.

And it's frustrating.

(I'm purposely not going into any more details, so don't ask)


Posted 2:15 PM by Tony


Comments . . . ON!

Well, I finally have a comments section up, using a provider I found via Is That Legal?

Enjoy.

All I ask is that you leave the profanity at the door.

Update: Apparently, this post was a tad premature. I appreciate your patience.

Update 2: Never mind. :)


Posted 8:22 AM by Tony

Thursday, August 07, 2003
Mystery Referrals

Every so often, I look at my referral logs, to see who's coming from where. Curiously, over the last few days, I've had quite a few hits for these blog posts, coming from a private discussion group in Australia. I have no idea why the participants are referring to those posts, as the discussion is not open to outsiders.

Very curious.

In any event, welcome!


Posted 3:17 PM by Tony


C Versus K

Forget about North Korean nukes or gulags - Korean legislator Kim Seung-ho has something a lot more pressing to advocate:

Lawmaker Kim Seong-ho of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party is tackling a sensitive issue that could eventually reshape the face of the nation - by changing the English reference of Korea to Corea. As the focal point of a new civic movement advocating the referential makeover, Kim submitted a resolution to that effect to the National Assembly last week. Next week, he is scheduled to visit Pyongyang to attend an academic symposium on the subject, hoping to keep pace with North Korean activists.

"'Corea' has deeper historical roots while 'Korea' is of very recent origin," Rep. Kim told The Korea Herald. "Reverting back to Corea is an issue of national pride and historical legitimacy."

[ . . . ]

"If the Joseon court identified itself with Corea at that time, then Corea has historical legitimacy," Kim argued.

When its fate was hanging by a thread under the threat of Japanese colonialists, the Joseon Dynasty stuck to Corea by signing the "Memorandum concerning the Administration of Justice and prisons in Corea," with Japan in 1909.

He mentioned that there have been several instances where a country decided to change its name, including the Republic of Mongol and Myanmar - formerly known as Mongo and Burma.

"In actuality, an official name change requires only that people acknowledge the new name by addressing it as such, and the rest of the world will respect it as we have for Mongol and Myanmar," he said.

"The issue of changing the 'K' to a 'C'is never petty, divisive or narrow-minded to Koreans, and it is up to us to see how far we can go," Kim contended.

A few points:

1. A course of action isn't always advised simply because the NKs are doing it. If so, perhaps the National Assembly might consider digging tunnels under the border, and provoking random gunfights on NK soil. Who's up for a cross-border commando raid by submarine?

2. If Kim wishes to stay true to history, then he should stop advocating "Corea" and make everyone switch to "Koryo," or perhaps, "Han gook," because "Corea" (or "Korea") isn't a native word. Doesn't seem odd to advocate a name change on the basis of tradition, when that "tradition" is an imported foreign word?

3. Kim wishes to force non-Korean speakers to use his spelling; conversely, I suppose we could always start telling Koreans to use "United States" instead of (spelling it phonetically) "Me gook." After all, that's how Americans refer to their country, so Koreans must be forced to acknowledge that fact.

4. "The Republic of Mongo"? What is that? No such state is listed among the UN member states. Unless, perhaps, he is referring to Mongolia, but I still don't see how that shows anything, as I don't recall Mongolia having changed its name.

In short, it seems a rather pathetic form of ultranationalism to change the English spelling of a name that isn't even a transliteration of native usage. And it's not like the current romanization system is anything to be proud of, anyway (quick quiz - how many non-Koreans can pronounce "Gyeonggi" in way that sounds close to native Korean?).

My basic reaction to this is basically the same as the Marmot's and Cathartidae's.

Basically, Representative Cim can go pound sand.


Posted 3:10 PM by Tony


Gadget-Happy

Finally decided to upgrade my old cell phone, replacing it with an LG VX4400. It's a sweet piece of technology. I really like the voice dialing feature on this thing, though my inability to convert and upload my existing music files is a tad frustrating.

Here's hoping that I don't accidentally immerse the darned thing.


Posted 11:29 AM by Tony


Qui desiderat pacem...

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal's opinion page, by James Woolsey and Thomas McInerney, discusses the mechanics of a possible military strike at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility. The article points out that any military move against Yongbyon raises the risk of another Korean War, and discusses US-South Korean countermoves in that event.

The goal of the planning should be to be prepared on short notice both to destroy the nuclear capabilities at Yongbyon and other key North Korean facilities and to protect South Korea against attack by destroying North Korean artillery and missile sites.

Kim Jong-han apparently thinks that the article is in favor of war:

However, advocating war before all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted is not advisable and is not in Korea's interest.

He argues that the potential cost of another Korean War is simply too prohibitive.

I think he's reading a bit too much into the WSJ article. The article seems clear that the military option is not the best one. However, distaste of an option does not excuse a failure to consider how that option might be performed, if necessary:

Unfortunately, the reflexive rejection in the public debate of the use of force against North Korea has begun to undermine U.S. ability both to influence China to act and to take the preparatory steps necessary for effectiveness if force should be needed. The U.S. and South Korea must instead come together and begin to assess realistically what it would take to conduct a successful military operation to change the North Korean regime.

[ . . . ]

We are not eager to see force used on the Korean peninsula. It is better to resolve this crisis without war. However, unless China succeeds in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons development--and we believe this will require a change in regime--Americans will be left with the threat to our existence described by Secretary Perry when he recently said that the North Korean nuclear program "poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities."

We can hate it that we are forced now to confront this choice. But we should not take refuge in denial. [emphasis added]

That the article discusses a possible war in abstract, operational language is hardly the same as "some sort of a video game language."

No one, myself included, would have the North Korean option as being anything but a last result. But a failure to consider the contingencies seems inexcusable, in light of the consequences.

Vegetius' words remain true today:

Qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum


Posted 10:49 AM by Tony

Monday, August 04, 2003
Good For What Ails You

Now this article from the Chosun Ilbo is interesting:

Byun Sung-hwan, a surgeon at the Seoul Red Cross Hospital who was the head of the Korean medical team sent to Baghdad in May, provided Iraqis with more than medical care - he gave them salsa dancing lessons. Back in Korea, Byun is now readying himself for a local festival celebrating the dance form, the Korea Salsa Congress, which begins Saturday at the COEX Center in Samsung-dong, Seoul.

"I tried introducing salsa to the Iraqis just to kill time after the roads were closed at 8 p.m. and also to get to know them better," Byun explained. "But, I had to be careful because the people were just getting over the ravages of war. The night before our team returned home, we held a party for the locals and I danced the salsa in front of everyone to lighten up the atmosphere. My passionate dancing seemed to relax the Iraqis, and seeing that made me forget the fatigue I have been under for the past month."

The article points out that Byun started up dancing as a form of exercise.

Now, salsa's not exactly my thing - I'm more of a swing/Lindy Hop dancer. But I always love to read about stories like this, especially as it relates to Korea.

When I was living in Seoul (to learn Korean), social dancing was considered inappropriate. In comparison, when I visited last summer, there were no shortage of places to go.

The mental image of a Korean doctor teaching Iraqis how to salsa does seem a bit . . . incongruous, though.


Posted 5:32 PM by Tony


History Lesson

Here's some legislation that I found interesting, in light of current relations with France:

WHEREAS the treaties concluded between the United States and France have been repeatedly violated on the part of the French government; and the just claims of the United States for reparation of the injuries so committed have been refused, and their attempts to negotiate an amicable adjustment of all complaints between the two nations, have been repelled with indignity: And whereas, under authority of the French government, there is yet pursued against the United States, a system of predatory violence, infracting the said treaties, and hostile to the rights of a free and independent nation:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the United States are of right freed and exonerated from the stipulations of the treaties, and of the consular convention, heretofore concluded between the United States and France; and that the same shall not henceforth be regarded as legally obligatory on the government or citizens of the United States.

Although it sounds like something that a really ticked off Congress might pass today, this legislation actually dates from 1798.

Less than two decades after independence, the United States and France were engaged in an undeclared naval war. And for those who might think "war" is overstating the term, I would refer you to instances such as the Constellation taking on L'Insurgente and La Vengeance, as per here and here.

Which sort of belies the claim that France is "the only big nation in Europe that has never gone to war (cold or hot) against America."

Just a thought.


Posted 5:00 PM by Tony


And We're Ignorant Of History?

Americans are often accused of being historically ignorant. Perhaps. But is it really so bad, in comparison to this column in the Arab News by Amr Mohammed al-Faisal? (via Little Green Footballs)

Here's an amusing, if factually untrue, bit:

The state of Israel is a Western (not only US) creation supported from its inception by all the Western countries as well as the USSR and its east European allies.

Nevertheless, the Arabs never accepted this colonial implantation in their midst. They fought four wars in which Israel, thanks to Western support, had a larger army than all Arab armies combined and with arms far superior to anything the Arabs had, in addition to having all the intelligence of the Western powers placed at its disposal. [emphasis added]

Which, of course, would explain why the USSR kept the Arab nations as client states, supplying them with weapons and technical advisors.

I'm especially amused by the assertion that Israel had an army larger than all the Arab armies combined in each of its wars.

Let's take a look: (taken from Armed Conflicts Event Data)

1948: Israel - 140,000, combined Arab - 710,000
1956: Israel - 175,000, Egypt - 300,000
1967: Israel - 200,000, combined Arab - 1.01 million
1973: Israel - 200,000, combined Arab - 1.11 million

Of course, the numbers do not take into account that not every single member of the armed forces would have been engaged in the conflict. However, I think the assertion holds true: al-Faisal's assertion that the IDF outnumbered the Arab armies in its four wars is demonstrably false.

So who's being historically ignorant?

Finally, toward the end of the column:

The Arabs will deal with Israel ultimately as they dealt with Great Britain, France, Italy and all the rest.

Lovely sentiments from our "friends" the Saudis.


Posted 8:41 AM by Tony

Friday, August 01, 2003
No Problem With No Parole

An editorial in the Korea Herald laments that Robert Kim did not get parole early:

Robert C. Kim, former civilian analyst at the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, will complete his eight-year service in prison on July 27 next year. His original nine-year sentence has been cut by one year due to his model service. But he still faces an additional three years of probation.

It means that our famous spy has failed to get parole in spite of arduous efforts by his compatriots, including individual sympathizers and civic groups both here and in the United States. Disappointingly, none of the successive governments in Seoul has made a serious effort to plead with Washington for leniency. It remains a sore point in the saga of a man convicted of betraying his adopted country to help his native land which he found was barred from receiving vital security information monopolized by its powerful ally.

A summary of his actions can be found here.

Excuse me for not feeling much sympathy for the guy. Robert Kim was a United States citizen working in a position allowing for access to sensitive classified documents, and handed those classified documents without authorization to an agent of a foreign nation. He betrayed his country and his oath.

And that's all there is to it.


Posted 1:05 PM by Tony


Gay Marriage

I'm sure all of you have heard about the Vatican weighing in on gay marriage. This article in the SF Chronicle seems typical of the coverage relating to this issue:

In an unusually strident proclamation, the Roman Catholic Church condemned government recognition of gay and lesbian unions as the "legalization of evil" and said Catholic politicians have a moral duty to publicly fight gay marriage.


The full text of the document, "Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons" can be found here. I'm not sure I'd call the document "unusually strident," which, incidentally, I find inappropriate for a news article because the term reflects personal values. I find the document troubling because, doctrinal objections aside, the document implies that legislation should be implemented on the basis of faith-specific concerns. I imagine many Americans would feel the same way, as we all grow up in the time-tested tradition of separating church and state.

From a logical perspective, the difficulty with this document is that it is full of conclusory statements, without explaining the rationale behind those statements.

Here's an example, on the nature of marriage:

No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons.

From where does this certainty derive? Where's the explanation for the conclusion that "marriage exists solely between a man and a woman"?

Perhaps it lies in this passage (para. 3):

Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

The difficulty here is that the facilitating procreation between a man and a woman is distinguishable from the function that marriage plays in modern society. That is, I suspect the Church is confusing the biological phenomenon of sexual dimorphism with a social construct.

Another difficulty is that this document is supposed to be grounded in "natural moral law." Frankly, I have no idea what that means, but I suspect that "natural moral law" would be grounded in universal truths, right?

I'd be more convinced that the Church's objection to homosexuality would be more convincing if it could cite to other sources (para. 4):

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

Then there's this bit (para. 9):

Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.

The objection to homosexual unions, then, is that homsexual partners do not ensure the succession of generations. Wouldn't homosexual adoptions ensure the succession of generations? What about married heterosexuals who don't have children, either due to choice or infertility? Should their union be denied legal recognition, then?

As a Catholic, I must confess to being sorely disappointed by the Church's handling of gay issues.


Posted 10:57 AM by Tony


Unfortunate Headlines

There's an article in today's SF Chronicle about a proposed investigation of a nudist camp in Arizona.

I just find the headline (in the Breaking News section of the SFGate page), um, poorly chosen:

"Probe into teen nudist camp urged"

I'm thinking my New Year's resolution for next year really should be to watch less Beavis and Butthead.


Posted 10:20 AM by Tony


An Orange County native trapped in the SF Bay Area. Email at orblog-at-yahoo.com.

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