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

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Shallow Analyses

I suppose expecting consistently well-reasoned columns is a bit of a reach, when a newspaper employs the likes of Heather Mallick. Mallick, last mentioned here, was unable to tell the difference between a parody and an authentic letter (lots of that going around lately - ask Dan "What the superscript, Kenneth" Rather).

With a deft analysis at the same level as Ms. Mallick, Lawrence Martin advises in the Globe and Mail how Kerry can win:

Canadians will be hoping John Kerry pummels George W. Bush in the presidential debate tonight. They'd like to see Mr. Bush get it right between the lieballs.

The stakes are stark. From the global perspective, this election is about unilateralism, which is another way of saying Dictatorship v. Multilateralism. It doesn't divide up quite that sharply between the Republican President and the Democrat challenger. But the tendencies, one to the former, the other to the latter, are there.

In the debate, Mr. Kerry bears the burden of too many Democrats who went before him. He's articulate, knowledgeable, and, more troubling, has intellectual depth.

[ . . . ]

Jimmy Carter wore that same look 20 years earlier as he debated the amiable Ronald Reagan. Everybody credited Mr. Carter with encyclopedic knowledge. The book on Mr. Reagan was the colouring book. The pundits said he spent too much time with crayons. But the Gipper won that debate and that election, and G.W. won, too.

So what's Mr. Kerry to do with his surfeit of intelligence? You can almost picture his advisers at this very moment, telling him: "John, leave your brains in the parking lot. If you get out there and start sounding like Aristotle, you're finished."

[ . . . ]

Their styles were drearily, eerily similar to John Kerry's. Which is to suggest that, failing a last-minute lobotomy, Canada's candidate will run into some problems tonight. In American politics, colouring books sell better than encyclopedias.

This column is so full of erroneous assumptions that it's best to approach them one by one.

1. Americans are stupid, and Canadians are smarter than Americans.

I've already addressed the stupidity argument here, in response to a previous Mallick column. But, let's expand on the point a bit.

Nobel Prize laureates per capita, per million people
United States: 0.92
Canada: 0.31

Average years of schooling of persons over age 15
United States: 12.0
Canda: 11.6

Literacy
United States: 97%
Canada: 97%

Adults at high literacy level:
United States: 19.0%
Canada: 25.1%

Scientific literacy in 15 year olds (comparative scale, highest is 552)
United States: 499
Canada: 529

Percentage of 20 year olds in tertiary education
United States: 38%
Canada: 37%

GDP, per capita in terms of purchasing power parity, US dollars
United States: $33108.13
Canada: $26581.08

Not much there to suggest that Americans are stupid, much less that Canadians have any, much less a significant advantage. And if we're going to argue that what a democratically-elected government does reflects the intelligence of its constituents, then I will simply point to Canada's $1-2 billion dollar registry as a case study, as well as the wasting away of the Canadian Forces. Not to mention Ms. Mallick and Carolyn Parrish.

2. Kerry is smarter than Bush.

This assessment boils down to articulateness. True, Kerry is more facile with his speech, especially when compared to Bush, who is famous for his verbal miscues. But is the ability to speak really a proxy for intelligence? Opinions vary, but I come down on the "no" side.

Both Kerry and Bush graduated from Yale. Bush graduated with a 2.35 GPA, i.e, a C+, with a 1206 SAT score. Kerry has yet to release any of his academic history, so it's impossible to compare.

Kerry commissioned into the United States Navy, and we all know anbout his service ad nauseam. Bush qualified as a pilot on the F-102, which was known to be quite difficult and dangerous to fly, due to, I understand, a relatively underpowered engine and a high sink rate. The F-102 mishap rate was 13.69/100,000 flight hours, compared to 2.47 for the F-15 fighter, and 11.05 for the AV-8 Harrier, and resulted in 70 pilot fatalities. He qualified as an interceptor pilot, which is not indicative of moron-level intelligence, despite Ms. Ducros's accusation.

Kerry has served 20 years in the Senate (which, I note, we never hear anything about). Bush became governor of Texas in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. Both jobs require a certain degree of intelligence in the performance of the respective duties.

3. The Bush Administration is unilaterialist.

"Unilateralist," these days, is a code-word for "not wholeheartedly endorsed by the UN." I leave it to others to debate the moral stature of the UN these days (see, e.g. number of authoritarian countries in the UN, Oil-For-Food). I do point out, however, that in these sense of going it alone, the participation of other countries makes a lie of the charge of unilateralism. As for those who would belittle the size of the contributions, remember, it's the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight.

4. The Bush Administration is a dictatorship.

The hallmark of a dicatorship is absolute power. If Bush did have that power, then there'd be no elections, Congress would be shut down, and bills signed the President would never be declared unconstitutional. So where's the absolute power.

As a structural issue, I'd argue that a parliamentary system is more of a dictatorship, as the leader of the majority party in the legislature also wields the power of the executive.

5. Jimmy Carter lost because he was smart.

No, Jimmy Carter lost because of stagflation, the Iran hostage crisis, and his anemic response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

If Mr. Martin intended as an example of superior Canadian erudition and reasoning, he's fallen far, far short of the mark.


Posted 6:50 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Our Nara Or No Nara

The Hankyoreh (known in certain areas of the Korean-focused Anglophone blog community as the Hanky) occupies an interesting nice in the Korean newspaper world, being as far left as one can get among mainstream Korean papers. The editorials are notable for two things: 1) being consistently anti-US foreign policy, and 2) displaying a remarkable naivete (what Koreans might call "frog in a well" syndrome) about the world, particularly that portion of the world to the north. Now one expects such a mentality from, say, an expat lefty from Madison, but certainly not from a mainstream paper

Today's editorial is a case in point. I've broken it down, with the original in italics, and my commentary following:

Having passed in the United States House of Representatives, the 'North Korean Human Rights Bill' just passed in the US Senate and will probably take effect in a matter of months. Human rights are a universal value. One is struck with concern before anything else, however, because it is in no way just a little likely that the bill will be used as a tool of hard line policy against North Korea.

I've already commented on the North Korean Human Rights Act (PDF, House Report PDF). What amuses me this time around is that in comparing "human rights" with "hard line policy," the Hanky opposes the bill because the latter outweighs any concern over the former. Mustn't offend our brothers to the North, you know.

At the core of this bill is essentially support for encouraging defections. It calls for $24 million in spending each year, and $20 million of that will be spent on defectors. It works against the right of North Koreans to acquire Republic of Korea citizenship, as defined in the Republic of Korea constitution, in order to allow defectors to apply for refugee or defector status with the US. Immediately prior to the bill's passing, Republican Senator Sam Brownback said that the Kim Jong Il regime would soon fall like the Soviet Union. You can see why hard liners in the US government were so active in pursuing this legislation. The countries about which the US Congress has sought human rights-related legislation are all countries that hard line figures have at one time considered enemies or potential enemies: North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, and China.

The mentality here is pretty interesting - North Korean defectors should either go to South Korea, or not leave at all. The Hanky's mentality apparently is that keeping South Korea as the sole viable destination for defectors trumps all. The Hanky is unaware, or ignores that South Korea is still an available option for North Korean defectors. An objection that the bill should not be passed because it offers an alternative hardly seems worth addressing.

The second, implied, objection here is that Congress erred in considering North Korea an enemy or a potential enemy. Congress, no doubt, mistakenly considered active nuclear weapons development, post-war American casualties along the DMZ, weapons fire between naval vessels, and the test firing of a ballistic missile across Japan as signs of potential enmity.

It is indeed a fact that the human rights situation in North Korea falls way below international standards.

Wait for it, wait for it...

But

There it is!

as can be seen in South Korean history since Liberation, improving human rights is not as easy as talking about it, and improvements are not accomplished overnight. Criticism designed to force the other side into a corner does not help. An example would be the US State Department's 2004 International Religious Freedom Report. The report says that North Korean authorities engaged in biological experiments on Christians, but even defectors were dumbfounded, saying that's now what actual circumstances are like. The North Korean government, for its part, is sending positive messages. United Kingdom Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell, recently in Pyongyang, said that North Korean officials admitted that they placed less priority on human rights than they are given in the West, and also admitted, for the first time, the existence of forced labor camps.

So, the Hanky's view is that, since improving human rights is not easy, Congress should not take a confrontational view? I'm a tad skeptical that the South Korean model of bribery to no discernible benefit would be superior.

As for the International Religious Freedom Report, the report makes clear that the report of biological warfare experiments on Christians is unsubstantiated. While claims of experiments against Christians in particular may be unsubstantiated, sufficient evidence of experiementation exists to warrant further inquiry. However, the South Korean government has chosen to not trouble itself in that regard.

It certainly takes some backbone to turn one's back on large-scale detention camps, especially where the proof is right before one's eyes.

(I do not use the term "concentration camp" only because I try to limit use of that term to a particular historical context, i.e. the Nazis.)

Improving human rights in North Korea has to be done using means that contribute to stability on the Korean peninsula while being of substantial help to those who live there. The South Korean government has a responsibility to work to make sure the North Korean Human Rights Bill is not misused.

Yes, indeed. For shame that Congress has to take up the slack where the South Korean government has yet to bestir itself.

-----
On a side note, I notice that the Uri party is putting on a roadshow to convince foreign investors that the ruling party is not anti-American and is committed to a free-market economy. Somehow, I'm reminded of the old saw about polishing a turd.


Posted 9:40 AM by Tony

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Not Quite The Terminator

Let's compare and contrast for a second. The first picture is from Terminator 2:


The second is Senator John Kerry:


(via Tony Pierce)

Now, I can understand the need to counter certain less-than-macho images floating around, but, this seems a tad over the top, especially given Kerry's problem with basic gun safety. It also doesn't counter the petulance demonstrated by the midnight counterspeech to the Republican National Convention (via Instapundit), nor the disgraceful statements made about Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, made by not only Kerry, but by his campaign manager as well.

Back to the drawing board, I suppose.


Posted 8:38 AM by Tony

Friday, September 24, 2004
Quote Of The Day

Comes from Kevin the Big Hominid, who I really don't read often enough:

I don't understand the Korean revulsion of lamb. Koreans will eat gop-jang and nae-jang (both of these refer to jang, intestines) after all, and this isn't so different from just cutting out an animal's asshole and eating it raw. If I were to compare the smell of cooked lamb to the smell of any animal's pulsating asshole, I'd have to declare lamb the winner every freakin' time.

Well, we all have our own culinary peculiarities, I suppose.


Posted 9:47 AM by Tony


Rewind

Professor Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy has a post linking to the Vanity Fair article on the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision (PDF Part 1, 2). I have to say that I'm not convinced of the "5 Justices Gone Wild" theme of the article:

Sharing little but a common sense of exhaustion and Thai takeout, the clerks came together briefly to watch the news. As reporters fumbled with the opinions—the final line of Kennedy’s opinion, sending the case back to Florida even though there was really nothing more the Florida court could do, confused many of them—the clerks shouted imprecations at the screen. The liberal ones slumped in their chairs; some left the room, overcome by their own irrelevance. “We had a desire to get out already and see if journalists and politicians could stop what we couldn’t stop,” says one. They contemplated a variety of options—holding a press conference, perhaps, or leaking incriminating documents. There was just one problem: there were none. “If there’d been a memo saying, ‘I know this is total garbage but I want Bush to be president,’ I think it would have found its way into the public domain,” one clerk recalls.

Now, I'm aware that one cannot prove a point by the absence of proof, and that the Justices are sophisticated enough to write anything so blatant. However, the point remains: there are apparently (if the article is to be believed) no documents that would suggest that the decision was motivated solely on the basis of outcome. Absent that, the only basis for the charge is leaked oral testimony from unidentified clerks for the dissenting justices. Color me unconvinced.


Posted 9:11 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Yet Another Random Picture

I found today's picture in a photo album over at Team Transport The picture combines two of my favorite things: 1) the G35 (bought one a few months back) and 2) cute girls in very short skirts:


I'm driving down to LA this weekend. I'm really looking forward to the drive, now that I've finished the break-in period.


Posted 3:58 PM by Tony


Odd Coincidence And An Odd Memorial

Am I the only one who finds it curious that the Washington Post and the SF Chronicle have analysis pieces on the same day, both of which attempt to deflate Kerry's image as a flip-flopper?

And this one goes into the "What Else Did You Expect?" category (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer):

"We've been inundated with e-mails and phone calls," Nelson [in British Columbia] and District Chamber of Commerce manager Roy Heuckendorff said Tuesday. "With the exception of one e-mail from New York, they have all been very angry [about a planned memorial to Vietnam War draft dodgers and their Canadian helpers]."

[ . . . ]

Heuckendorff said he was not surprised by the hostile U.S. response.

"A lot of the American people, particularly those who are veterans, feel very passionately about this," he said. "There is simply no doubt that this has really struck a nerve.

"I'm talking to people who are beside themselves, almost in tears. They have lost brothers, been injured themselves, lost friends - they are just absolutely appalled and flabbergasted that this is going on."


Posted 10:51 AM by Tony


On Target Fisking

Steve over at the Llama Butchers takes on Michael Moore.

It's a beaut:

[Moore, on alleged flip-flopping re Saddam] 1991: WE WANT SADDAM TO LIVE. After the war, your dad and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise up against Saddam and we would support them. So they rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites. Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.

Actually, no, here's the root of the problem: we didn't want Saddam to live, but our "multi-national coalition" (read: The French) wanted him to. Further direct action was vetoed by our the realities of the UN.

Of course, the skillfulness of the fisking has to be handicapped by the fact that Michael Moore's reasoning, or lack thereof, makes for a large, large target.


Posted 10:17 AM by Tony


Time To Buy Caterpillar Stock

... now that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has decided to boycott and divest itself from any American company that does business with Israel.

Professor Kontorovich has a few choice words about that (via National Review; found via Volokh Conspiracy):

Recently, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest from American companies that do business with Israel. The action, taken at the church's 216th General Assembly meeting in Richmond, is the first of its kind taken by an American denomination. Indeed, even colleges and universities, where anti-Israel campaigning is rampant, have rejected calls for divestment. As with Syria, Caterpillar is a particular object of Presbyterian ire.

The divestment action manifests a singular animosity towards Israel. The Presbyterians have not divested their funds from any of the cruel regimes of the world: not from China for its ethnic cleansing of Tibetans, and its repression of Muslems and Falun Gong; and not even from Sudan, currently engaged in the extermination of Africans in Darfur. But then again, Syria has not boycotted those states either.

One would expect the Presbyterian Church to use its economic clout with an eye to punishing the many regimes around the world that oppress their fellow Christians, and call attention to their plight. However, the church has not taken action against such nations as Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, or North Korea (whose government has reportedly murdered 300,000 Christians), where anti-Christian persecution has been detailed by Christian human-rights groups. Indeed, the Presbyterians have not even boycotted Lebanon, where Christians have been slaughtered by various Muslim groups. But then, neither has Syria, which controls Lebanon as a vassal state.

Since the creation of Israel, Christians have been able to worship there unmolested and unafraid. Israel does not afford Christians this treatment as a matter of sovereign grace or condescension, but rather because it shares the American values of religious freedom and pluralism. The Presbyterians have set themselves against the best and only friend and protector of Christianity in the Middle East.

They have done so to support a movement that has slaughtered Christians and defiled their holy places. Yasser Arafat, to whose aid the Presbyterians now come, massacred Christian civilians in Lebanon when his Fatah organization was based there. When Israel invaded to dislodge Arafat, it formed a 20-year alliance with the Christian minority. The Presbyterians' action takes the side of those who have cynically defiled holy Christian sites. The Church of the Nativity has been turned into terrorist hide-out and Manger Square into a place where people are publicly executed without trial.

In contrast, the Presbyterian Church had called for an end to economic sanctions in Iraq in 1996, 1998, and 2001 (PDF). It's an interesting exercise in selective moral outrage, and further answers Professor Kontorovich's question on the commonality with Syria's Baathists.

The title web site for the church uses the term PC(USA). Indeed.


Posted 9:05 AM by Tony

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
San Francisco, Home Of Individual Liberty

I've lived in San Francisco for three years, and continue to live in the Bay Area. Given my origins in Orange County, I knock on San Francisco every so often. Actually, I do so quite often. Some of it's justified, and some of it arguably isn't.

This proposal, however, is just effing intrusive and reflects a shocking contempt for the concept of individual liberties (via Smoking ban in S.F. parks proposed / Law would affect recreation areas regulated by city; see SF Politics March 2004 interview):

A new law proposed Tuesday would snuff out smoking in one of the last places in San Francisco where people can light up -- the great outdoors.

The law would ban "inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted smoking equipment for tobacco or any other weed or plant" in all outdoor recreation areas regulated by the city, including parks, gardens, piers and playing fields. Violators would be slapped with a $250 fine -- though it's not clear who would enforce the law.

"It's just disgusting -- our parks are covered with cigarette butts," Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier told her colleagues in introducing the legislation at their weekly meeting.

"Not to mention the fact that children are subject to secondhand smoke when they take a water break while playing micro-soccer," an initiation into the sport for 5- and 6-year-olds.

And, she said, cigarette butts are among the most common litter cleaned up all over the city.

Whilst, of course, ignoring the many who regularly use public streets for the elimination of bodily wastes.

This is literally, an example of the Nanny State in action, reflecting a concept that the exercise of one's rights can be curtailed without demur because Government Knows What's Best For You.

Is this legal? Perhaps. Is it unconscionable? Hell, yes!

Liberty is a package deal. Certain individual rights can be limited - in fact, there is no such thing as unlimited freedoms. However, we've always required a great deal of justification for those limits, balancing the benefit to society against the burden to the individual, with a strong bias to the individual. Avoiding secondhand smoke from the outdoor consumption of a legal product hardly justifies this blanket prohibition on the exercise of an individual choice.

I can understand smoking prohibitions in office buildings, given that the freedom to smoke has to be counterbalanced by the difficulty of moving somewhere else, and the lack of dissipation of smoke in an indoor environment. This is different, involving walking an extra distance of a few feet. As for the purported justification, well, it smacks of Mrs. Lovejoy.

In other words:


(via Ultimate Flags)

-----
Disclaimer: I don't smoke, and, in fact, I find it a rather disgusting habit. But disgust, or concerns over secondhand smoke, hardly constitute sufficient justification to curtail people's liberties.


Posted 4:15 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
More "Nuance"

Prior to the Democratic National Convention, John Kerry announced that he would have still voted to use force in Iraq (via August 10, 2004 Boston Globe; see also International Herald Tribune):

John F. Kerry for the first time yesterday said he still would have voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq, even if he had known in October 2002 that US intelligence was flawed, that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, and that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

[ . . . ]

Kerry's remarks yesterday came after a series of statements about Iraq. Kerry has said previously that US presidents deserve to have military leverage against an enemy, but that Bush misused the authority granted by the 2002 Senate vote. He has accused Bush of misleading Congress about weapons of mass destruction to win the vote. When pressed by reporters, Kerry has refused to call his 2002 vote a mistake, instead saying that he would have waged war differently. He has also called the vote correct given the information members of Congress had at the time. And last week, Kerry said that if he had been president last year, he might have ended up going to war with Iraq as well.

Now, he's decided on a new position (via AP, found via Conrad):

Less than two years after voting to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, the Democratic candidate said the president had misused that power by rushing to war without the backing of allies, a post-war plan or proper equipment for U.S. troops. "None of which I would have done," Kerry said.

"Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell," he added. "But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."

[ . . . ]

He made a distinction between that vote to grant a president war-making authority and what he himself would have done as commander in chief with such power.

. . . which would have been to invade Iraq. That's not simply the old law school canard of a "distinction without a difference" - it's not even a distinction.

Kerry voted to authorize the use of force. One doesn't give that authorization in the expectation that it will not be used. Moreover, Kerry admitted that he might have gone to war with Iraq as well.

In other news, Professor Susan Estrich, former campaign manager to Michael Dukakis tells the Kerry campaign to drop the Vietnam thing:

John Kerry gets hit because he tried to meet the toughness test as a war hero. The Swift Boat Veterans called that into question. Even if they got their facts wrong, they challenged his claim to toughness. And then they became the media darlings, which earned them $32 million, and still counting. [Note: MoveOn and George Soros - hello, pot!]

Terrible luck. Unfair. Should've seen it coming. Whatever. It is the past. Kerry has to move on.

Enough with the war hero. Enough with having things both ways. The war is the measure of toughness. Not the war 30 years ago. This one. It's harder to make it simple. If you're that smart, you can do it. Raise the level of the debate by making it simpler.

Excuse me while I get my ice skates - I think the ice rink in Hell just opened up.


Posted 10:29 AM by Tony


Koreagate 2.0

... or maybe not. The original Koreagate scandal, back in 1976, or thereabouts, involved influence peddling by Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church (or more popularly known as the Moonies.

I'm kinda waiting for the comparison to drop in the media, now that it looks like South Korean intelligence may have been in contact with the Kerry campaign (via SF Chronicle, found via spd rdr; see also Marmot):

A South Korean man who met with John Kerry's fund-raisers to discuss creating a new political group for Korean-Americans was an intelligence agent for his country, raising concerns among some U.S. officials that either he or his government may have tried to influence this fall's election.

South Korean officials and U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Chung Byung-Man, a consular officer in Los Angeles, actually worked for South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

[ . . . ]

The U.S. officials said Chung had registered with the Justice Department as a friendly foreign intelligence agent on U.S. soil [how civilized!], and that his activities had raised concern he or his government had tried to influence the fall presidential election through "extracurricular activities."

[ . . . ] "But, nonetheless, [even if Chung had not been acting under orders,] this sort of intervention certainly provides a faithful reflection of the general attitude of Roh Moo-hyun's administration toward the presidential race," [Nicholas] Eberstadt [of the American Enterprise Instititute] said. "There's an awful lot of people in this (South Korean) government who can't stand the Bush administration and would love to see Bush lose."

[ . . . ]

Yi told AP that he met with Chung at least three times in California to discuss starting a political action group for Korean-Americans. "He contacted me to ask me to help him set up a Korean-American Leadership Council," Yi said, adding he turned down the offer because he was too busy.

Before the discussions with Chung in California, Yi had started a Korean-American political group in the Atlanta area called the Pacific Democratic Alliance, according to incorporation papers filed in March 2002 with the state of Georgia.

[ . . . ]

A leader in Los Angeles' large Korean-American community who met with Yi and Chung said it was common knowledge within the community that Chung worked for intelligence.

[ . . . ]

Yi told those at the meeting that he held a high position in the Kerry campaign and "since he has good connections, if the Korean community (is) helping him then he can help the Korean community," Ha said.

Now, I'm not involved at all in the Korean-American political community, as I find it rather ethnic group politics quite repugnant. This kind of stuff doesn't help.


Posted 8:53 AM by Tony

Monday, September 20, 2004
Hynix = Enron + Toshiba?

Back in the 1987, Toshiba had sold, through the Norwegian company Konigsberg submarine propeller technology to the Soviets, making the resulting submarines harder to detect. The US responded by suspending Toshiba's import license, and several Congressmen made a photo opportunity out of the incident, smashing Toshiba consumer electronics goods in front of the Capitol.

This latest Hynix incident (No. 2 in DRAM market share for Q2 2004) has the whiff of the Toshiba incident, in the sense of a commercial entity funneling money to an unfriendly power, combined with a touch of Enron (via Korea Times):

Prosecutors have widened a probe into Hynix Semiconductor on suspicion of illegally channeling funds to several of its affiliates via rigging of its accounting books during the 1996-1999 period.

The prosecution plans to announce the results soon as it is about to complete its months-long probe after summoning executives of the chipmaker, Samil Accounting Corp. and creditor banks.

In addition, there are allegations that several Hynix executives were engaged in embezzlement practices through the false accounting.

The probe has been widened after the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) concluded that the chipmaker adopted dubious accounting methods during the process of reducing the amount of book-cooking since 2000.

The FSS on Monday announced Hynix misstated accounting to a total of 2 trillion won in 1999 and the prosecution has broadened the scope of its inquiry into the chipmaker, spun off from the Hyundai Group.

[ . . . ]

Sources said there is a possibility that Hynix had broken accounting rules in a bid to channel funds to Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Merchant Marine, also under investigation for false accounting after the 2000 cash-for-summit scandal.

The prosecution and the FSS would continue to dig into the allegations surrounding the Hyundai Group.

A number of high-ranking civil servants have been suspected of being involved in the case of secret funding to North Korea in coordination with the group and a state-run bank.

Combine that with this (via Business Standard):


The news comes at a bad time for the struggling chipmaker, which has been investigated by the US on price-fixing charges and by Japan on allegations that it received state subsidy.

Oh, joy.


Posted 1:53 PM by Tony

Friday, September 17, 2004
It's All About Branding

I've been interested in branding issues since law school. Obviously, there's a connection between the investment one puts into the brand, and trademark, which protects that investment (as well as the consumer). It's amazing to consider the amount of money put into intangible qualities, i.e., making sure that a brand is recognizble, and associated with certain qualities or characteristics.

Professor Hewitt provides a comparative example: Dan Rather and Tylenol.

It all makes a certain sort of sense, as one takes the latter to get rid of what the former has induced.


Posted 2:58 PM by Tony


Friday Trio

Since it's Friday, I decided to put up some pics, just for fun.

First, Hyori Lee, because, really, who gets too much of that? I don't.


(larger version)


(larger version)


(larger version)

And, for comparative purposes, there's Jun Ji-hyun:


(larger version here)


(found here)

And, lastly, there's Han Chae-young, previously seen here:


(found here)


(larger version here)

And if you feel like more net-surfing, my mental jury is still out on this one.

There, I've done my part to help start the weekend with a positive attitude.


Posted 12:50 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Democrats Make Baby Jesus Cry

As well as little girls.

More suppression of free speech:


via Yahoo!/AP: "Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va."

More from the Washington Times:

"They just pounced on us," said Phil Parlock, who took his 11-year-old son, Alex, and 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, to the Democratic rally at Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va.

[ . . . ]

"She was crying; they were pushing and shoving her," said Mr. Parlock, a Huntington real estate agent. "She was scared."

Sophia is the youngest of 10 children in a proudly patriotic family. The oldest two Parlock children, a 22-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son, are members of the West Virginia Army National Guard, and a third Parlock — who recently turned 18 — will be sworn into the guard tomorrow, Mr. Parlock said.

The Parlocks went to Mr. Edwards' airport rally yesterday "to support the president," Mr. Parlock said, and brought nine Bush-Cheney signs with them.

Immediately, he said, the family was set upon by supporters of Mr. Edwards and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry — "mostly the painters union guys" — who "started stealing my signs." [ . . . ]

[ . . . ] "In the picture, you can see one of the painters union guys has a piece of one of my signs in his hand."

Presumably, that would be the smirky bastard with the backwards-facing baseball cap on the left. Good job, what with committing battery on a three-year old. Let's hear it for IUPAT. *sneer*

At least the 'tard in the back with the upside-down sign is somewhat amusing.

And that's why I don't have a bumper sticker on my car up here in the Bay Area.

Update: I owe IUPAT an apology, as its president immediately stepped up (found via LGF):

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades believes in the fundamental right for civil discourse, freedom of speech and activism to support our candidates and issues.

What happened in Huntington, West Virginia yesterday is an affront to everything we, as a union, pride ourselves to represent. We extend our apologies to the Parlock family, especially Sophia, for the distress one of our overzealous members caused them.

I have personally taken steps to address this issue internally, and will take immediate disciplinary action to the fullest extent allowed under U.S. Department of Labor regulations and the constitution of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

It is my hope that this incident reminds all of our members that every last citizen in this country has the right to express his or herself freely. Not one single one of us has the right to tell them otherwise.

General President James A. Williams
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Update 2: Note to Wonkette - it's one thing to point out that a similar incident previously happened to the same person. It's quite another to allege that the guy intentionally staged the event. It's like saying that if a woman is assaulted while wearing a particular outfit, she intended to get assaulted again by later wearing the same outfit - reptition of an event is not the same as intent. Her assertion reveals a dismaying lack of critical reasoning skills.


Posted 11:25 PM by Tony


Klingon Kultur

This is one of the more bizarre things I've seen - a news site in Klingon, funded by the German Government (via CNN).

Oy.

And if this is up your alley . . . please don't let me know.


Posted 3:46 PM by Tony


Some Things Are Unforgivable

Now, I don't know beyond a reasonable doubt if Scott Peterson killed his wife, though I have to admit it does seems suspicious. However, anyone who allows what happened to Laci Peterson and her unborn fetus deserves a very special circle of Hell (via SF Chronicle; see also here):

As Assistant District Attorney David Harris flashed pictures of the badly decomposed, nearly hollow body on a wide screen in the Redwood City courtroom, Brian Peterson, who conducted the autopsy of Laci Peterson, listed what was not there.

"There were a lot of parts missing. The head, the neck, the forearms ... the lower leg,'' said Brian Peterson, a forensic pathologist who is not related to either of the Petersons. "There was no brain to examine because there was no head. No heart or lungs to examine because the chest was empty. No liver or kidneys because the abdomen was empty.''

In fact, the only organ present was the uterus of the eight-months- pregnant woman. The pathologist used the uterus to debunk a defense team theory that the couple's unborn child could not possibly have been born naturally or by cesarean section.

[ . . . ]

Her body and that of the Petersons' unborn son washed ashore four months later on the Richmond shoreline. Peterson maintains his innocence. He says he used his boat to go fishing in the bay off the Berkeley Marina on Dec. 24, 2002, the day Laci Peterson disappeared, and when he returned, his wife was missing.

[ . . . ]

The pathologist said he also looked for signs that the missing body parts were cut off with a weapon or tool, but found none. He theorized that they may have broken off by the tides and currents in the bay or eaten by marine life. The only organ still preserved in the victim's body was her uterus, which was stretched and thin, indicating Laci Peterson's pregnancy, the pathologist said.

After viewing both the uterus and cervix, which was tightly closed, he concluded that the 27-year-old woman did not give birth to a baby, nor did she deliver a child by cesarean section. The most likely explanation of how her baby exited her body was through the top of her uterus, he said. The baby's largely intact body washed ashore several days before Laci Peterson's was found.

[emphasis added]

Geez.


Posted 3:24 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The Great(est) Santini

Ran across this CBS story on Robert Duvall. I have to say, Duvall comes across similar to John Malkovich:

But Duvall, who is known for playing colonels and cowboys, doesn’t come to Argentina for the women. He comes here to dance, and he spends his nights with his longtime girlfriend in Buenos Aires tango clubs. It’s his obsession.

"It gets in your blood in a quiet way, kind of a sweet thing that sits there,"says Duvall. "He’s leading, he’s telling her what to do, but she embellishes. But in our politically correct world, up in the United States, they call it the leader and the follower. Down here, they call it the man and the woman. Haha."

[ . . . ]

No subject is off limits for Duvall – and his politics are no exception. Fiercely libertarian, he’s always eager to weigh in. At his favorite café in Buenos Aires, one topic was Steven Spielberg’s recent visit to Cuba in 2002 -- and Spielberg's widely reported meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Duvall says Spielberg should never have gone in the first place.

"Now, what I want to ask him -- and I know he's going to get pissed off – 'Would you consider building a little annex on the Holocaust museum, or at least across the street, to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed,'" says Duvall. "That's very presumptuous of him to go there … I'll tell him that. I'll never work at Dreamworks again, but I don't care about working there anyway."

An actor that's libertarian, can tango, has a girlfriend whose father is 20 years younger than him, and gets inflammatory.

To quote Allah: Off. The. Hook.


Posted 2:41 PM by Tony


Marination From The Inside

Tabasco as anti-bunny repellent (via Reuters, found via Dave Barry):

Dutch farmers have devised a hot and spicy way to stop rabbits and rodents munching their lettuce, carrots and wheat.

Spraying fields with the American sauce Tabasco sends the rabbits "three feet in the air" with shock and running for cover, said a spokesman for a local agriculture cooperative.

[ . . . ]

The farmers will now try to make Tabasco an officially recognised pesticide for subsidised use on a larger scale. At least five small supermarket-sized bottles of the spicy sauce are needed for spraying 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of crops.

So let's hear it for Edmund McIlhenny, and Walter McIlhenny. See also Sunday Times.


Posted 1:44 PM by Tony


No More Mardi Gras?

This sucks - New Orleans might get destroyed by Hurricane Ivan (via SF Chronicle; see also CNN):

Fleeing to safety was not an option for some people, especially in New Orleans, the below-sea-level city where more than 1.2 million were urged to get out of the metropolitan area, warned that the city could be inundated with water up to 20 feet deep.

"They say evacuate, but they don't say how I'm supposed to do that," said Latonya Hill, who waited out the storm Tuesday sitting on her stoop. Hill, 57, lives on a disability check and money she picks up cleaning houses or baby sitting. "If I can't walk it or get there on the bus, I don't go. I don't got a car. My daughter don't either."

No shelters had been set up in the city because of concerns about flooding and capacity, Mayor Ray Nagin said.

Nagin insisted Wednesday that the evacuation from his city had been going smoothly. "Of course we are trying to move a large number of people out of our city," he said on NBC's "Today." "We experienced gridlock on the highways. But for the most part it's subsided."

But I have to admire this:

In the New Orleans French Quarter, police stood by Wednesday as tourists took a morning walk, and bars were open.


Posted 8:52 AM by Tony


Kerry Finally Stands For Something

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article by John Kerry, detailing his economic plan. I confess to some surprise, as most of John Kerry's statement have been about how he's against Bush, not how he's for anything. I don't have the knowledge to comment on the economics, but I do have a couple comments:

1. Kerry points out:

I am not trying to stop all outsourcing, but as president, I will end every single incentive that encourages companies to outsource. Today, taxpayers spend $12 billion a year to subsidize the export of jobs. If a company is trying to choose between building a factory in Michigan or Malaysia, our tax code actually encourages it to locate in Asia.

Well, at least he's moved away from calling companies engaging in outsourcing as Benedict Arnolds.

2. Kerry on pharmaceuticals:

And I won't be afraid to take on prescription drug or medical malpractice costs. We will make it easier for generic drugs to come to market and allow the safe importation of pharmaceuticals from countries like Canada.

Watch pharmaceutical prices in Canada go up. My understanding is that companies engage in price the same product differently in different countries to adjust for local conditions. They can do so because due to barriers against reimportation of the same product. If those barriers are eliminated, and you know that your product will be imported back from abroad, there's no incentive to lower prices in the foreign country. The goal is praiseworthy, but the execution may need a little more work.


Posted 8:19 AM by Tony

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Pardon Me While I Laugh

South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, from the Korea Times:


Laughter seems an odd reaction, I know. But I can't help it especially after reading stuff like this (via Korea Times):

"Though we suffered much from violations of human rights in the past, our people overcame it," Roh stressed. "We will not go back to the those bleak days under any circumstances."

And via Chosun Ilbo:

During the conference, the participants are expected to hold discussions in five working groups -- conflict and countering terrorism and economic, social, and cultural rights; conflict and countering terrorism and civil and political rights and the rule of law; the role of national institutions in conflict situations; migration in the context of conflict and terrorism; and women’s rights in the context of conflict. On Friday, the last day of conference, they will adopt the "Seoul Declaration," which describes the role of each nation related to the theme.

Again, why the laughter?

Because Roh's government has supported a policy that pretty much shrugs at anything relating to human rights when it comes to North Korea. A notorious example is former Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun, who said about the North Korean situation(see also here):

Political freedom is a luxury, like pearls for a pig.

Or shrugging in the face of reports that North Korea was conducting chemical weapons testing on political prisoners.

And then, there's the pro-Roh majority Uri party, protesting against the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (H.R. 4011 PDF; House Report 108-478 PDF), which would require greater accountability in aid to North Korea, and ease the path to asylum for North Korean defectors (via Korea Times):

Rep. Chung Bong-ju of the ruling Uri Party delivered a statement with the signatures of 26 fellow lawmakers to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Thursday, expressing regret over the North Korean human rights bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July.

[ . . . ]

Chung and his colleagues found section 202 of the bill to be especially problematic as it specifies conditions for assistance to the North. It says the distribution of international assistance should be monitored and not used as a political reward or a tool for coercion.

The section also seeks to have Pyongyang respect freedom of religion and fully disclose all information concerning citizens of Japan and South Korea abducted by North Korea.

"We sincerely ask U.S. senators to consider the negative effect the bill could have on the situation between the two Koreas before making a decision (on the bill in its floor vote)," the statement said.

Phrased (extremely) charitably, I suppose one might say that it's a "kateun minjok" (same people) carveout to human rights. So I laugh - it's either that or sneer, I suppose.


Posted 6:17 PM by Tony

Monday, September 13, 2004
Dear Senator Edwards:

You recently commented on Senator Zell Miller's and Vice President Cheney's speeches:

There was a lot of hate coming from that podium tonight.

Go ahead and re-read the transcripts, Senator. I can wait.

Such "hate" included remarks such as these by Senator Miller, who has since responded to the various criticisms of his speech:

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

It is not their patriotism, it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking.

And no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

And by Cheney:

People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal and his great hair. I say to them: How do you think I got the job?

The president's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it.

History has shown that a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe. Yet time and again, Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security.

Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual. America sees two John Kerrys.

Now, Senator Edwards, I invite you to examine the following excerpts of John Kerry's recent speech to the National Baptist Convention (found via the Corner):

The fact is, the wrong choices of the Bush Administration -- reduced taxes for the few and reduced opportunities for the middle class and those struggling to join it -- are taking us back to two Americas -- separate and unequal. Our cities and communities are being torn apart by forces just as divisive and destructive as Jim Crow -- crumbling schools robbing our children of their potential...rising poverty...rising crime, drugs and violence. I say again: Where are the deeds? Where is the substance in our faith?

It is clear: For four years, George W. Bush may have talked about compassion, but he's walked right by. He's seen people in need, but he's crossed over to the other side of the street.

Well, as the president likes to say, there's nothing complicated about it. It all comes down to one letter -- W. So the next time you hear George W. Bush, remember the W stands for wrong. Wrong choices for Americans, and the wrong direction for America. This election all comes down to one decision: Do we want four more years of wrong choices for our country, or do we want to move America in a new direction?

That's W. Wrong choices, wrong direction, wrong leadership for America.

At that convention in New York last week, George Bush said that he actually had a new idea. And you know what it was? The bad, old idea of privatizing social security -- and cutting your benefits. That's W. Wrong choices, wrong direction, wrong leadership for America. As President, I will set a new direction.

I also know that George Bush has asked the question, "Does the Democratic Party take African American voters for granted?" Well, here is my answer. The Book of Matthew reminds us, "Beware of false profits which come to you in sheep's clothing." (Matthew 7:15).

Let's ignore the quotation of Scripture to advance a political point, something which, I hasten to point out, I have never heard of President Bush doing, despite the criticisms of his religious beliefs.

Look at the tenor of the two remarks, Senator, and tell me: if Senator Kerry's remarks don't fit your implicit definition of "hate," then neither do any of the speeches at the Republican National Convention. So where is your criticism now?

Where I come from, that's called "hypocrisy." Or, to put it more politely, "inconsistency."

Respectfully,
Tony


Posted 8:54 AM by Tony

Friday, September 10, 2004
Yeaaargh!

Howard Dean goes ballistic at Brown (via The Herald News):

"I think that George Bush is certainly going to have a draft if he goes into a second term, and any young person that doesn’t want to go to Iraq might think twice about voting for him," he said.

Interesting allegation.

Let's take a look at the sponsor and cosponsors of H.R. 163 (PDF), introduced January 7, 2003, the House of Representatives bill to reinstitute the draft:

Charles Rangel, New York (sponsor)
Neil Abercrombie, New Hampshire
Corrine Brown, Florida
Donna Christensen, Virgin Islands
William Lacy Clay, Missouri
John Conyers, Michigan
Elijah Cummings, Maryland
Alcee Hastings, Florida
Jesse Jackson, Jr., Illinois
Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas
John Lewis, Georgia
Jim McDermott, Washington
James Moran, Virginia
Pete Stark, California
Nydia Velazquez, New York
Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC (cosponsor status withdrawn June 21, 2004)

All of them Democrats. Oops.

Maybe the Senate version of the bill, S. 89 (PDF)? No cosponsors, and introduced in the Senate by Ernest Hollings, South Carolina. Hollings is a Democrat. Again, oops.

May I respectfully suggest that Mr. Dean do a little digging before he opens his mouth?

Incidentally, the picture below is from an Agent Provacateur movie featuring a dominatrix whipping what is supposed to be George Bush. The guy looks more like Howard Dean to me, however:


(via Yahoo!/AFP, found via Tony Pierce)


Posted 2:18 PM by Tony


Going Down With The Ship

CBS is still standing by the authenticity of the memos allegedly written by Col. Jerry Killian, which suggest improprieties in Bush's service (see also Allah, who's got all the links covered):

Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father and retired as a captain in 1991, said he doubted his father would have written an unsigned memo which said there was pressure to "sugar coat" Mr. Bush's performance review. [as does Killian's widow Marjorie Connell]

"It just wouldn't happen," he said. "No officer in his right mind would write a memo like that."

The personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time also said he believes the documents are fake.

"They looked to me like forgeries," Rufus Martin told the Associated Press. "I don't think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years." Killian died in 1984.

Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software. Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, pointed to a superscript — a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" — as evidence indicating forgery.

Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by 60 Minutes, she said.

"I'm virtually certain these were computer generated," Lines said to the Associated Press after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software. [as did Charles Johnson at LGF]

[emphasis, links added]

CBS's response (via SF Chronicle):

Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles.

Yes, you have:


(via Jay Reding, found via RatherBiased.com


Posted 9:14 AM by Tony


On This Date

2001:
A math professor in Massachussetts says of the American flag, ""It's a symbol of terrorism and death and fear and destruction and repression."


Posted 8:32 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 09, 2004
Give. Now.

Chief Wiggles has been conducting humanitarian drives both before and after his deployment to Iraq. He's legit (see also my prior post quoting Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail). He continues to do so under his Operation Give program. He's currently trying to raise funds for the medical treatment of a 9th month old Iraqi girl.

The following is a memo from the commander of the 115th Field Hospital which was forwarded to the Chief. Pay attention to the time involved, in bold face:
----------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 115TH FIELD HOSPITAL
Abu Ghuraib, Iraq APO, AE 09334

AFZX-HC-FH-CDR 28 AUG 2004

MEMORANDUM FOR Commander 2nd Medical Brigade, ATTN: Civil Affairs

SUBJECT: In the matter of Tabarak Kasim Mouhamad, daughter of Kasim Mouhamad.

1. Tabarak Kasim Mouhamad, daughter of Kasim Mouhamad is a nine month old Iraqi female who was presented to our Marine Corps civil affairs officer by the local Shieks of Abu Ghuraib. They asked for assistance with treatment of her medical condition. The girl’s father presented papers from an Iraqi physician indicating that her condition could not be treated in Iraq. He was told that if she did not get care in the USA that there would be “serious problems” for her.
2. Tabarak was brought to the gates of the Abu Ghuraib compound for evaluation by LTC M (formerly the Medical Director for Women’s and Children’s Health at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland) and the Commander of the 115th Field Hospital, COL JS. Through an interpreter, the father indicated that his daughter was born with an extremely small reddish lesion on her lower lip. Over the course of 9 months this has grown dramatically to the point that the child is unable to take anything by mouth other than thin liquids (most of which spills from her mouth). The father presented papers showing that an ultrasound exam had been performed and she was given the diagnosis of cavernous hemangiomas.
3. Upon examination of the child, the father was complimented on the overall state of health of the child. She had what appeared to be a normal amount of sub-cutaneous fat. She was not jaundiced. She did have airway sounds indicating external compression by her cervical masses. Her tongue was slightly deviated from sub-glotic masses. The tumors had large and small vessels in a pattern consistent with a severe case of cervical cavernous hemangiomas (aka angiomata).
4. Dr Macedonia, who is a published researcher on the development and anatomy of the newborn upper aerodigestive tract, considers this an extremely concerning case of hemangiomas. Most cases of this disorder follow a predictable path where lesions grow slowly for the first year of life and then involute partially or completely in the next two to three years. Few involve the deep structures of the neck. Rarely is this disorder fatal. There are, however, extreme cases and this appears to be one of them.
5. In the more mild form of the disease, cavernous hemangiomas are usually observed and the natural course is benign. More severe cases can be treated with steroids. In the cases like that presenting in young Tabarak, a combination of steroids, laser therapy, surgical resection, and sometimes plastics reconstruction is required. Dr Macedonia believes that given the environment, the rapidity of growth, and the location of the lesions, that steroid therapy would only be temporizing and that within 1-2 months the child may succumb through malnutrition, respiratory compromise, post obstructive pneumonia, or aspiration.
6. In the United States, this child would have an excellent chance of highly successful therapy providing her with a normal lifespan and cosmetic result. This is a highly treatable disorder in the USA with excellent outcomes at most pediatric hospitals. In Iraq this presentation is in all likelihood fatal or severely disabling. These factors make this case unique among the many that are presented to the civil affairs team at Abu Ghuraib. They feel that aiding this family in their attempt to save their daughter is of significant importance to the relations the Abu Ghuraib FOB has with the Shieks and the larger civilian community.
7. Ideally, this child would be flown to an accepting children’s hospital where she would undergo evaluation for the extent of her hemangiomas. Following a survey of the masses, she would start steroid therapy and concomitantly start laser therapy to shrink the tumor burden. This would likely also involve some for of interventional radiography where sclerosing or thrombotic agents are used to halt flow through the vessels of the tumor. Finally, the masses would be resected and a plastics repair would be performed if needed to give the desired cosmetic effect. There are many well-endowed children’s hospitals in North America that would be candidate facilities for treatment of young Tabarak.

V/R

//S//JES
JS
COL, MC
Commanding
----------------------------
For general background on hemangioma, try here.

The take-home message is basically: if Tabarak cannot be treated outside of Iraq, she's dead by Halloween. I know, it's melodramatic, but sometimes it really is just that simple.

I hate blegging (asking for money by blog), but this seems an exception. Donate what you can.


Posted 7:31 PM by Tony


Close Timing

Remember when Iran hit up the EU-3 for dual use technologies? It gets better (via Reuters):

With intelligence sources saying Iran could be months away from nuclear weapons capability, the United States wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council immediately, charging Tehran uses its civilian atomic energy program as a front to develop the bomb. Tehran vehemently denies the charge [though recently announcing its intent to convert 37 tons of uranium to produce uranium hexafluoride, which can be used for power generation and weapons].

France, Britain and Germany want to avoid isolating Iran and have taken a go-slow approach, negotiating with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

"Iran continues to use existing differences between the U.S. and Europe to their advantage and tries to drag out talks with the EU to buy time," Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who has reported accurately on Iran's nuclear program in the past, told Reuters.

"They feel they have bought at least 10 months," Jafarzadeh said. He said he was citing sources in Iran familiar with the results of a recent high-level meeting on Iran's nuclear program attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Jafarzadeh said officials at the meeting also decided to allocate an additional $2 billion from Iran's central bank reserves to supplement some $14 billion already spent on what he called Iran's "secret nuclear weapons program."

The EU trio has expressed disappointment at Iran's failure to keep promises it made in October to suspend all activities related to the enrichment of uranium, a process of purifying it for use as fuel for atomic power plants or in weapons. But the three remain committed to a process of engagement with Tehran.

However an intelligence official said a failure to act now as Washington would like, could be decisive for the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.

"The Europeans express helplessness, despair and lack of strategy, which is exactly what (the Iranians) want to hear," a senior non-U.S. intelligence official said.

"This is their golden opportunity, between now and the coming of a new (U.S.) administration."

[emphasis and links added]

I don't blame them, since we've already seen what how a Kerry administration would approach the issue - wait for Europe (via Washington Post; see also my prior post):

Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative. He said that, if elected, Kerry would ensure that European allies were prepared to join the United States in levying heavy sanctions if Iran rejected the proposal. "If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us," Edwards said.


Posted 1:53 PM by Tony


Moving Back In Time

First, it was a uranium enrichment experiment in 2000 (see Marmot). Now, the South Korean government is admitting that it successfully conducted plutonium extraction experiments in 1982 (via International Herald Tribune; see also Chosun Ilbo):

The Science and Technology Ministry, in a statement on Thursday carried by Reuters, said an investigation showed an "extremely small quantity of plutonium had been extracted between April and May 1982."

Enriched uranium and plutonium are key ingredients in nuclear weapons, although Seoul says the amounts of material used in both cases were far too small to be used in bombs.

The reason for the 1982 experiment remains unclear. It was authorized by the director of the laboratory, who died long ago, a government spokesman said at a news conference.

[ . . . ]

South Korea has one of the world's largest nuclear power industries. Nineteen nuclear power plants supply 40 percent of the nation's electricity. It is also seeking to build nuclear power plants in China.

Just bloody marvelous.


Posted 1:51 PM by Tony


Beware Of Dog

Not quite in the "man bites dog" category, but close enough (via local6.com, found via IMAO):

Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, of Pensacola, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

Bradford was being treated at an undisclosed hospital for the gunshot wound to his wrist, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.

Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old puppies in the head because he couldn't find another home for the shepherd-mix dogs, according to the sheriff's office. [3 of the puppies had been found in a shallow grave; the other 4 are still alive]

On Monday, he was holding two puppies, one in his arms and another in his left hand, when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger, making the gun [.38 caliber revolver] discharge, the sheriff's report said.

A picture of the vicious beast:


(via local6.com)

Sheesh, some people.


Posted 10:20 AM by Tony

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Hate On Display

The vice-presidential candidate referred to his opponent's remarks today:

It's wrong and it's un-American.

There was a lot of hate coming out of that microphone. Unless, perhaps, the speaker is John Edwards (via AP/SF Chronicle.

Does it seem unfair for me to hold Edwards up to his own standards of behavior?

The AP, continuing its winning streak of accurate reporting (see Instapundit), the AP reports:

At the same time, Democrats intensified their criticism of Vice President Dick Cheney for suggesting a Kerry victory could provoke another terrorist attack on the United States. "It's wrong and it's un-American," said Kerry running mate John Edwards.

What Cheney actually said was (via White House):

We made decisions at the end of World War II, at the beginning of the Cold War, when we set up the Department of Defense, and the CIA, and we created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and undertook a bunch of major policy steps that then were in place for the next 40 years, that were key to our ultimate success in the Cold War, that were supported by Democrat and Republican alike -- Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and Gerry Ford and a whole bunch of Presidents, from both parties, supported those policies over a long period of time. We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.

What Cheney's saying is that, we run the risk of failing to maintain sufficient vigilance against terrorism, given Kerry's mindset on approaching terrorism. That's a far different from saying that a Kerry victory will "provoke" more terrorism.

Sheesh.


Posted 6:38 PM by Tony


Gratuitous Picture Wednesday

To apologize for inflicting you all with the Vanessa Kerry picture, here's some of German-Thai model Marsha Wattanapanich, previously mentioned here.


(larger versions here, here, and here)

And, of course:


(larger version here)

Hope that helps.


Posted 6:31 PM by Tony


Define "Look Too Classy"

Oliver Willis has a poll as to who would win in a bar fight - the Bush twins or the Kerry daughters. One commenter writes:

Bar Hoochies

Yeah, the Bush twins look like they've been through a few already. Trashy. The Kerry girls look too classy.

Indeed:


Alexandra Kerry
2004 Cannes Film Festival
(via Snopes)

Compare:


Jenna and Barbara Bush
July 2004 Vogue
(via Style.com)

Yes, I know, comparing pictures taken under different circumstances is rather stupid. But then, so was the above comment about looking "too classy."


Posted 5:15 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 07, 2004
It's All About Character

I once read that it's not how you enter this world that counts; it's how you leave it. I can't find the attribution, but it stuck with me.

Allison Kaplan Sommer relates the story of Yanis Kanidis, a teacher at Beslan (translated by Ms. Sommer from Yediot Aharonot):

The hostages who escaped told how the [74 year old] teacher [who volunteered to stay, even though offered release by the terrorists] repeatedly risked his own life in order to save the children. He moved explosive devices that the terrorists had placed near the young students, and tried to prevent them from detonating others. When the first bomb exploded next to the windows of the school, parents and children began to run out. The terrorists, trying to prevent their escape, threw a grenade at them. The elderly teacher ran to the grenade to prevent it from exploding on the children. One of the terrorists shot at the teacher to try to stop him and Yanis was wounded in the shoulder – but didn’t give up. With the last of his strength, he continued to run, jumped on the grenade, covering it with his body. The grenade exploded, and the body of the teacher absorbed the explosion, protecting the children around him from injury.

This kind of courage deserves to be honored, and remembered.


Posted 7:40 PM by Tony


Loyalty

Note to Jimmy Carter - never write a letter when you're pissed. Actually, don't write at all (via Talking Points Memo):

You seem to have forgotten that loyal Democrats elected you as mayor and as state senator. Loyal Democrats, including members of my family and me, elected you as lieutenant governor and as governor. It was a loyal Democrat, Lester Maddox, who assigned you to high positions in the state government when you were out of office. It was a loyal Democrat, Roy Barnes, who appointed you as U.S. Senator when you were out of office. By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.

Great Georgia Democrats who served in the past, including Walter George, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge, and Sam Nunn disagreed strongly with the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and me, but they remained loyal to the party in which they gained their public office. Other Democrats, because of philosophical differences or the race issue, like Bo Callaway and Strom Thurmond, at least had the decency to become Republicans.

Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican Convention because of your being a “Democrat,” and it’s quite possible that your rabid and mean-spirited speech damaged our party and paid the Republicans some transient dividends.

Perhaps more troublesome of all is seeing you adopt an established and very effective Republican campaign technique of destroying the character of opponents by wild and false allegations. The Bush campaign’s personal attacks on the character of John McCain in South Carolina in 2000 was a vivid example. The claim that war hero Max Cleland was a disloyal American and an ally of Osama bin Laden should have given you pause, but you have joined in this ploy by your bizarre claims that another war hero, John Kerry, would not defend the security of our nation except with spitballs. (This is the same man whom you described previously as “one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders -- and a good friend.")

I, myself, never claimed to have been a war hero, but I served in the navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don’t believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacificist.

Zell, I have known you for forty-two years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral preemptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause. These are not the characteristics of great Democrats whose legacy you and I have inherited.

It's an interesting thing, this talk of loyalty. What's the higher loyalty - to one's party, or to speak out when that party has deviated from its principles? I can't sympathize with Carter's outrage, not being a Democrat. But I can sympathize with Miller's anger at seeing one's party deviating from its previous direction, mutating into something almost unrecognizable. For me, the closest analogue is the tension between social and economic conservatives.

A few amusing things here:

1. The reference to Strom Thurmond - The implication is that those backwards on race issues turn Republican. Yet Carter speaks well of Lester Maddox, a segregationist that Carter had been at odds with. And that's not even counting the "soft bigotry of low expectations" that appears to be a staple of Democratic thinking these days.

2. Carter's lumping of himself with Harry Truman. Yeah, like I should lump together the man who fought against the North Koreans with one who negotiated an appeasement with the same in 1994. The North Koreans, incidentally, reneged on their committments almost as soon as the ink had dried.

3. Carter characterizes Miller's speech as being akin to alleged attacks on Max Cleland as a disloyal American - Miller explicity pointed out that "It is not their patriotism — it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking."

4. Best of all is Carter's assertion that "as president, [I] greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way."

This coming from a man whose tenure as president includes:

a) responding to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by boycotting of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and asking the Senate to withhold ratification of the SALT II treaty, memos notwithstanding;

b) cancelling development of the B-1 bomber, which has been the workhorse heavy bomber in use in Afghanistan and Iraq; and

c) referring to the Ayatollah Khomeini as "man of God" and standing aside during the revolution.

After his presidency, Carter, in addition to brokering the nigh-useless 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea, atttempted an end-run against coalition building in the first Gulf War (via Weekly Standard):

In 1990 and 1991, as George Bush was assembling the Gulf War coalition, Carter wrote secretly to Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, Mikhail Gorbachev, and a dozen others, asking the U.N. Security Council not to back Bush. (Bush only found out what had happened when a stunned Brian Mulroney called Dick Cheney up to complain.)

So tell me about disloyalty, Mr. Carter.

Update: James Taranto comments at Best of the Web, and the AP story cited there is also at the SF Chronicle.


Posted 3:36 PM by Tony


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

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