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

Friday, October 29, 2004
A Quick Pointer

Sorry, haven't had much time for blogging lately.

In the meantime, I did find something interesting that you all can chew on, though. It's an article in today's SF Chronicle about Korean women in sports, focusing on pool player Jeannette Lee, golfer Michelle Wie, and WWE performer Gail Kim. I'm not sure I buy into the analysis, but it makes for some fascinating reading:

UCLA's Kye-young Park notes that Korean parents are applying the same model-minority standards to sports as they have always done to academics. "The problem noted by fellow Koreans," she says, "is that Korean parents will reprimand their kids publicly, impose military-like training on them. They're applying the same rigid rules to golf playing."

Park says that when Koreans started immigrating to the United States, they didn't understand the importance of sports in American culture. "It used to be that if you were good at sports, it was a bad sign; it meant you were not good at studies," says Park. "Parents would often discourage their kids from playing sports." But that notion is changing. "Now, Korean parents see sports as a way to become Americanized and get ahead," she adds.

Discuss amongst yourselves, if you've the inclination.


Posted 7:54 AM by Tony

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
In Other News, Water Is Wet

SF Chroncle columnist Mark Morford provides further proof of his general incoherence:

But you know what? It's not that easy. And it ain't so silly. These people [alleging that the Bush Administration carried out the 9/11 attacks], they have a point. They are indeed onto something quite large and ominous and it very much has to do with the media toeing the line of "safe" information and not really asking truly difficult or radically off-track questions of our leaders or of the strangeness happening in the world. Reptilian super-races from the fifth dimension walking among us and secretly mind controlling your child via MSG and fluoridated water? OK, maybe not. But look just a little deeper.

After all, there is indeed ample evidence that the U.S. government, long before 9/11, had already discussed the quite plausible possibilities and strategic benefits of unleashing a "Pearl Harbor"-type event on America for the purposes of creating havoc and fear and furthering certain agendas. This much is a given. And it's just the tip of the iceberg.

[ . . . ]

Real truth, after all, often means anarchy, disorder, revolution. And God knows we can't have that.

Actually, real truth requires proof.

Otherwise, you're no different from the homeless people one can see in the Civic Center who are muttering to themselves. Well, that, and that the Chronicle actually pays you for this stuff.


Posted 2:50 PM by Tony

Monday, October 25, 2004
A Flight 93 Memorial

There's an article on a planned memorial to the Flight 93 victims, to be erected in the Bay Area. Flight 93, as you may remember, is the one that went down in Pennsylvania on 9/11, after a group of passengers fought against their hijackers, and immortalized the term, "Let's roll."

The article indicates that the memorial is going to be put in Union City:

The plan for a memorial wall is the brainchild of [Michael] Emerson, a 41-year-old Hayward resident and a former Marine who considers the actions of the Fightin' Five -- Mark Bingham, Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, Tom Burnett and Richard Guadagno -- to be the stuff heroes are made of.

[ . . . ]

When investigations began into the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, Emerson felt as if the Flight 93 passengers -- and their actions that day -- had been lost in the shuffle.

"It was like they were being overlooked, like they were just a footnote in the affair,'' he said.

That feeling ate at him until he decided to do something about it.

He contacted Alice Hoglan, the mother of Mark Bingham, and asked her to contact victims' families on his behalf to ask permission to move forward with his project.

"I have passed his letter onto the families with my blessing and I think that he has done a beautiful job,'' Hoglan said. "I would say the families support his project.''

[ . . . ]

The proposed site for the Union City memorial, at Sugar Mill Park adjacent to the giant Union Landing shopping center, was not Emerson's first choice. His own city, Hayward, turned him down when he pitched the memorial about 18 months ago.

[ . . . ]

The memorial would feature 40 stones, one for each passenger aboard the plane, with each of the stones either red, white or blue and carrying the name, age and hometown of the person it represents. The display would stretch 125 feet and be bounded by tiled circles on either end that bear the words "Hope'' and "Remembrance.''

[ . . . ]

The City Council in Union City will consider the plan Tuesday night. The city would donate the land, valued at around $1 million; Emerson would raise contributions to pay for the installation and a bond to ensure that the memorial would be maintained.

I can't help but wonder why the City of Hayward declined the memorial. In any event, I hope that the City Council in Union City approves, as people all too quickly forget.


Posted 1:26 PM by Tony

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
That Word

Claudia Rosett takes Kofi Annan to task for his buttocks-covering response to the Oil-For-Food scandal:

Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, finds it "inconceivable" that Russia, France or China might have been influenced in Security Council debates by Saddam Hussein's Oil for Food business and bribes. "These are very serious and important governments," Mr. Annan told Britain's ITV News Sunday. "You are not dealing with banana republics."

Sure, the words are coming out of Annan's mouth, but I keep hearing Wallace Shawn's voice.

Mr. Annan, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Also, for someone who's supposed to be the ultimate multilateralist, doesn't it seem curious that Annan is risking offense to Central American countries by using the term "banana republic"? It sort of belittles the progress these countries have made in the last few years. Just a thought.


Posted 8:50 AM by Tony

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Kerry On "Outsourcing"

John Kerry, September 30, 2004 presidential debate (via CNN):

Unfortunately, he [Osama bin Laden] escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora. We had him surrounded. But we didn't use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him. The president relied on Afghan warlords and he outsourced that job too. That's wrong.

Tommy Franks, who was in charge of CENTCOM, i.e., the overall commander for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, lets Kerry have it in the New York Times:

President Bush and Senator John Kerry have very different views of the war on terrorism, and those differences ought to be debated in this presidential campaign. But the debate should focus on facts, not distortions of history.

On more than one occasion, Senator Kerry has referred to the fight at Tora Bora in Afghanistan during late 2001 as a missed opportunity for America. He claims that our forces had Osama bin Laden cornered and allowed him to escape. How did it happen? According to Mr. Kerry, we "outsourced" the job to Afghan warlords. As commander of the allied forces in the Middle East, I was responsible for the operation at Tora Bora, and I can tell you that the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality.

First, take Mr. Kerry's contention that we "had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden" and that "we had him surrounded." We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001. Some intelligence sources said he was; others indicated he was in Pakistan at the time; still others suggested he was in Kashmir. Tora Bora was teeming with Taliban and Qaeda operatives, many of whom were killed or captured, but Mr. bin Laden was never within our grasp.

Second, we did not "outsource" military action. We did rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora, a mountainous, geographically difficult region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is where Afghan mujahedeen holed up for years, keeping alive their resistance to the Soviet Union. Killing and capturing Taliban and Qaeda fighters was best done by the Afghan fighters who already knew the caves and tunnels.

Third, the Afghans weren't left to do the job alone. Special forces from the United States and several other countries were there, providing tactical leadership and calling in air strikes. Pakistani troops also provided significant help - as many as 100,000 sealed the border and rounded up hundreds of Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Contrary to Senator Kerry, President Bush never "took his eye off the ball" when it came to Osama bin Laden. The war on terrorism has a global focus. It cannot be divided into separate and unrelated wars, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. Both are part of the same effort to capture and kill terrorists before they are able to strike America again, potentially with weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist cells are operating in some 60 countries, and the United States, in coordination with dozens of allies, is waging this war on many fronts.

As we planned for potential military action in Iraq and conducted counterterrorist operations in several other countries in the region, Afghanistan remained a center of focus. Neither attention nor manpower was diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq. When we started Operation Iraqi Freedom we had about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, and by the time we finished major combat operations in Iraq last May we had more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.

We are committed to winning this war on all fronts, and we are making impressive gains. Afghanistan has held the first free elections in its history. Iraq is led by a free government made up of its own citizens. By the end of this year, NATO and American forces will have trained 125,000 Iraqis to enforce the law, fight insurgents and secure the borders. This is in addition to the great humanitarian progress already achieved in Iraq.

Many hurdles remain, of course. But the gravest danger would result from the withdrawal of American troops before we finish our work. Today we are asking our servicemen and women to do more, in more places, than we have in decades. They deserve honest, consistent, no-spin leadership that respects them, their families and their sacrifices. The war against terrorism is the right war at the right time for the right reasons. And Iraq is one of the places that war must be fought and won. George W. Bush has his eye on that ball and Senator John Kerry does not.

Of course, it doesn't surprise me that Franks would be a bit testy. Prior to the debates, Kerry had made outsourcing a big issue, and characterized corporate chiefs who engaged in outsourcing as "Benedict Arnold CEOs." Kerry's use of the term "outsourced" in the debate thus carries a certain implication about the president that is simply too distasteful to spell out here. The dots aren't that hard to connect.


Posted 9:22 AM by Tony

Monday, October 18, 2004
Korean Screen Quotas, Redux

I've made no secret of my low opinion of the Hankyoreh, aka "the Hanky." I'll do have to say, though, that Hankyoreh editorials are always good for a laugh or two, displaying an astonishingly ignorant view of how the world works. The Korean term for this is "the frog in a well," coming from a story about a frog that thought his dark and muddy well was the best place in the world, not knowing what lay outside.

This editorial in the Hanky continues a long tradition of an ignorance almost sublime in its purity, in defense of screen quotas. I'm not going to put the thing up here, but it boils down to two points:

1. The Fair Trade Commission doesn't know what it's talking about. I'm not really going to address this, other than to say that I find it curious that an administrative agency should know less about its specialty than a leftist newspaper.

2. Screen quotas should be maintained because they resulted in a competitive Korean film industry, the Hanky referring to modern Korean films as a "competitive cultural product." Well, if Korean films are a "competitive cultural product," then quotas, a form of subsidy would be unnecessary, right? The underlying premise is that the screen quota policy should be maintained because it worked in the past. The premise thus excludes the possibility that the screen quota system should be revisited and reconsidered as times and conditions change. In turn, that will pretty much put a cap on further development, as foreign governments put up their own protective barriers. It's important to remember that government policies are not (or at least, should not) be set in stone, lest they be overtaken by events.

Consider the ship building industry, for example. Korea, together with Japan and China, account for 75 percent of the world's shipbuilding output. It would have made sense to protect that industry during reconstruction after the Korean War, and during development. At this point, however, Korea is a developed country. The imposition of shipbuilding-related barriers will simply hurt it in the long run, as other countries would simply put up their own retaliatory trade barriers (assuming, of course, that the WTO did not step in).

Screen quotas may be defensible and acceptable under GATT, though I disagree with them. The Hanky editorial, however, is the wrong vehicle with to defend such a system.


Posted 8:58 PM by Tony


A Canadian Indian Is Not An American Citizen

Via Colby, I've become aware of the curious case of Cort Gallup, who is running as the Democratic candidate for the House 11th District seat in the state. Gallup was born in Canada, but claims American citizenship on the basis of his Native American ancestry and the Jay Treaty. The Republican Party filed a complaint in the Hawaii Supreme Court; however, the Court dismissed the complaint, stating the Supreme Court was the wrong place for filing the complaint (see Court web site text, PDF).

Personally, I think Gallup ought to be disqualified from candidacy. It's not a "despicable" act, nor abrogating "the right of the voters to choose," as Gallup would like to think. It's quite simple - Gallup is a Canadian. Canadians are not United States citizens. Only United States citizens, as a general matter, may run for elected office in the United States, including Hawaii. Therefore, Gallup may not run.

Gallup claim to American citizenship depends on a rather tortuous reading of the Jay Treaty, specifically Article 3, which contains the free passage provisions. I say this without the Akins v. Saxbe or Diablo v. McCandless cases that Gallup refers to, but I entertain serious doubts that those cases address this particular issue. For a historical and legal overview, see this 2001 Boston College International & Comparative Law Review article by Bryan Nickels; plain text body and footnotes. Indeed, the Nickels article discusses the Akins and Diablo cases, and does not mention citizenship rights at all.

At the time of the Jay Treaty, Native Americans were considered as separate and distinct from British subjects or United States citizens. It's clear that the Jay Treaty did not consider Indians as belonging to either the United Kingdom nor the United States.

The first sentence of Article 3, which contains the free passage provisions, is illustrative:

It is agreed that it shall at all Times be free to His Majesty's Subjects, and to the Citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said Boundary Line freely to pass and repass by Land, or Inland Navigation, into the respective Territories and Countries of the Two Parties on the Continent of America (the Country within the Limits of the Hudson's Bay Company only excepted) and to navigate all the Lakes, Rivers, and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other. [emphasis added]

Similarly, the explanatory article to Article 3 states (note the use of "any other State or Nation" and "any Indian tribe):

They the said Commissioners, having communicated to each other their full powers, have in virtue of the same, and conformably to the spirit of the last Article of the said treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, entered into this explanatory Article, and do by these presents explicitly Agree and declare, That no stipulations in any treaty subsequently concluded by either of the contracting parties with any other State or Nation, or with any Indian tribe, can be understood to derogate in any manner from the rights of free intercourse and commerce secured by the aforesaid third Article of the treaty of Amity, commerce and navigation, to the subjects of his Majesty and to the Citizens of the United States and to the Indians dwelling on either side of the boundary-line aforesaid; but that all the said persons shall remain at full liberty freely to pass and repass by land or inland navigation, into the respective territories and countries of the contracting parties, on either side of the said boundary-line, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other, according to the stipulations of the said third Article of the treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation. [emphasis added]

So it's clear that the Native American tribes were considered as entities distinct from Great Britain and the United States. No help to Gallup there.

Nor does the treaty discuss whether Native Americans have any right to citizenship. The right to cross the border is not the same as the right to citizenship. Section 1359 of Title 8 of the US Code (Section 289 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act) states that:

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to affect the right of American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States, but such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race.

Again, it's the right to "pass the borders," not the right to citizenship.

At most, the Code of Federal Regulations provides for permanent residency:

Any American Indian born in Canada who at the time of entry was entitled to the exemption provided for such person by the Act of April 2, 1928 (45 Stat. 401), or section 289 of the Act, and has maintained residence in the United States since his entry, shall be regarded as having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. A person who does not possess 50 per centum of the blood of the American Indian race, but who entered the United States prior to December 24, 1952, under the
exemption provided by the Act of April 2, 1928, and has maintained his residence in the United States since such entry shall also be regarded as having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. In the absence of a Service record of arrival in the United States, the record of registration under the Alien Registration Act, of 1940 (54 Stat. 670; 8 U.S.C. 451), or section 262 of the Act, or other satisfactory evidence may be accepted to establish the date of entry.

That's "permanent residence," not "citizenship." The two are different - ask an immigrant with a green card whether he can vote.

So, despite Gallup's protestations, this isn't some "despicable" trick or "saying Native Americans can't vote." Seems to me that if you want to be a candidate for office, you should make darned sure you're eligible. One obvious way of checking is, of course, to apply for a passport - one wonders if Mr. Gallup thought of that.


Posted 2:21 PM by Tony


Korean Cosmonauts

Now this is interesting (via Korea Times):

Two candidates to become the nation’s first astronauts will be selected next May, according to the Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST).

The two candidates will be recruited through a 4-step selection process, beginning with the screening of written applications in December.

They will undergo training sessions at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, from July 2005 to March 2007. Then, they will board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in October 2007 and spend 10 days at the Russian module of the International Space Station, the MOST said.

However, the article completely fails to mention what these Korean astronauts would be doing. That is, what's the point?


Posted 10:48 AM by Tony

Friday, October 15, 2004
Pretentiousness Alert

I've decided that the use of "talks truth to power" in any writing, particularly in a movie review, is pretty much a tipoff that whatever is in that piece should not be taken seriously.

This post being the exception, of course.


Posted 8:13 AM by Tony

Thursday, October 14, 2004
They Can't Win If It's Not Close

(with apologies to Professor Hewitt)

Colorado resident Vodkapundit is a mite ticked off about how the Democratic Party, at least in his state, is planning on subverting the democratic process. Drudge has the story, with scanned document of a Kerry-Edwards campaign document, shown below:


Read that again: If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a "pre-emptive strike" And this is supposed to be distributed in dozens of states?

For Oliver Willis* to claim that the Republicans are attempting "voter disenfranchisement, Mafia-style" seems a tad hypocritical, all things considered.
-----
* Incidentally, I find it incredibly ungracious of Willis, a Media Matters employee, to claim that Professor Reynolds is a shill for Bush, in view of Reynolds' support, including mentioning on several occasions that Willis is good enough for TV. Hell, I don't get regularly linked by one of the most heavily read blogs out there - do you? Disagreement is one thing - backstabbing is quote another.

And just to clear the air, it's not a matter of envy, just to be clear - Manners Matter.


Posted 11:31 AM by Tony


Too Weird

As Dave Barry would say, I swear I'm not making this up. From today's SF Chronicle:

Story 1:

"The majority of schools will not meet the unrealistic (hurdles), [of the No Child Left Behind Act]" [state Superintendent of Education Jack] O'Connell recently told "The Educator," the magazine of the California Teachers Association, adding that when the number of schools missing the mark soars to "60 or 70 percent," the price tag for helping them will break the bank.

O'Connell has repeatedly said that he prefers the state's approach to holding schools and teachers accountable, which considers a school successful if it raises test scores each year. [emphasis added]

Story 2:

CSU [California State University] campuses spend about $30 million annually on remedial courses to teach material that should have been absorbed in elementary and secondary schools. In 1996, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a get-tough policy saying all freshmen who had not shown they could do college-level work would have to do so within their first 15 months of college or be kicked out.

[ . . . ]

Last fall, only about half of the freshmen who entered the CSU system could read and write proficiently, while just 63 percent were proficient in math. [emphasis added]

I suppose it'd be impolite of me to point out that the state standards for improved public schools seems a little off, if the CSU system has to pay that much for remedial courses.


Posted 9:05 AM by Tony

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Paradise

In Fahrenheit 9/11,* there's an idyllic scene of Iraqi life, with kids playing with kites, after which, the narrator intones:

On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush and the United States military invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq. A nation that had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.

The implication conveyed in the movie is clear - Iraq was a peaceable kingdom, before the United States, for no reason, started shooting up children.

Sure (via BBC, found via LGF and Opinion Journal):

US-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.

They are seeking evidence to try Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.

It is believed to be the first time investigators working for the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) have conducted a full scientific exhumation of a mass grave.

"It is my personal opinion that this is a killing field," Greg Kehoe, an American working with the IST, told reporters in Hatra, south of the city of Mosul.

"Someone used this field on significant occasions over time to take bodies up there, and to take people up there and execute them."

[ . . . ]

The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

"The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks," said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.

"Tiny bones, femurs - thighbones the size of a matchstick."

[ . . . ]

Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part.

The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death.

For a moving, yet somewhat disturbing, photographic depiction of the graves, see here.

And on another note, I hadn't really planned on watching Team America: World Police, but anything that gets Democratic Underground types in an uproar works for me.

Update: More at MSNBC and the Telegraph; Kehoe bio. The MSNBC story quotes Kehoe as invoking the Holocaust "never again" metaphor. One wag (can't remember who), stated that the phrase "never again" really means that "never again will 6 million Jews be killed by Nazis in Europe during the 1940s." I'm thinking that this is truer than I originally believed.
-----
* Michael "I'm With The Islamofascists" Moore, the creator of this film, is well known for his trouble with the fact.


Posted 5:43 PM by Tony


Smooooth

Michael Ledeen indicates that John Kerry has infuriated Italians by saying that conditions in the Iraqi army were so bad that even the Italian army could kick their asses.*

The Italians currently have over 3000 personnel in Iraq.

To quote the president, "What message does that send to our allies?"

Apparently, when John Kerry states that he's "going to get our allies back to the table", he's defining "allies" as "France, Germany, and the other countries opposed to the war,"** rather than those countries who are, you know, actually standing with us.
-----
* Historical note - the Italian army was known in World War II for its lack of leadership, as Mussolini, like Saddam Hussein, had promoted incompetent loyalists to command. When the Americans joined the war, the British had such little respect for American military skills that they referred to the Americans as "our Italians." Needless to say, things are quite different now, both for the Italian and the American military.

** My own opinion is that France and Germany can no longer be considered allies, but that's a post for a different time. In the meantime, read up on some Victor Davis Hanson on the topic, as well as my previous post on the oil vouchers.


Posted 5:24 PM by Tony


Jesse Jackson's Moral Judgment

Or, I should say, lack thereof. In comments yesterday to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco (via SF Chronicle):

"If China were to attack Taiwan pre-emptively, we couldn't tell them what to do" (because we pre-emptively attacked Iraq), Jackson said. "We can't address the Sudan and Haiti crises because we don't have the strength to reach beyond the sinking sand of Iraq."

So Taiwan is the same as Saddam-era Iraq, and China is the same as the United States? When's the last time you've seen an M-1 Abrams run over a hippie?

My God, the man has all the moral stature of a hyena.


Posted 8:13 AM by Tony

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Quote Of The Day

(one in an irregularly occasional series)

From one of my favorite authors, PJ O'Rourke, in the Weekly Standard, who has some suggested points for Bush to make in the next debate against Kerry:

5) You say health care costs are soaring? Well, I'm not the one with a personal injury lawyer on my ticket. I loved the billboards that John Edwards used to have all over North Carolina: "Y'ALL MIGHT HAVE GOT HURT AT WORK AND NOT EVEN KNOWN IT" and "FEELIN' POORLY? LEMME SUE YER DOCTOR!"

[ . . . ]

(15) Senator Kerry, you say you were in favor of threatening to use force on Saddam Hussein, but that actually using force was wrong. The technical term for this in political science is "bullshit."

In the meantime: Need some wood?


Posted 6:27 PM by Tony


A Nuisance

There's been a lot of attention lately to this New York Times interview/profile on John Kerry, as it relates to the War on Terror. Of especial note are the following paragraphs:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

This analogy struck me as remarkable, if only because it seemed to throw down a big orange marker between Kerry's philosophy and the president's. Kerry, a former prosecutor, was suggesting that the war, if one could call it that, was, if not winnable, then at least controllable. If mobsters could be chased into the back rooms of seedy clubs, then so, too, could terrorists be sent scurrying for their lives into remote caves where they wouldn't harm us. Bush had continually cast himself as the optimist in the race, asserting that he alone saw the liberating potential of American might, and yet his dark vision of unending war suddenly seemed far less hopeful than Kerry's notion that all of this horror -- planes flying into buildings, anxiety about suicide bombers and chemicals in the subway -- could somehow be made to recede until it was barely in our thoughts.

Professor Volokh dismantles the prostitution comparison.

What I want to address is the concept of pre-September 11th terror as a "nuisance." Frankly, the reason terrorism was considered a "nuisance" is because we Americans, generally speaking, refused to consider terrorism seriously and turned our backs on the threat. Consider several terrrorism events directed at Americans prior to 9/11 (via ThinkQuest; see also Terrorism Timeline 1993-2003, crimsonbird):

1993 - truck bombing, World Trade Center
1995 - car bombing, US military complex, Riyadh, Sudi Arabia
1996 - truck bombing, Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia
1998 - car bombing, US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
2000 - boat bombing, USS Cole, Yemen

I can't identify with someone who regards these as mere "nuisances."


Posted 12:39 PM by Tony

Monday, October 11, 2004
Interesting Photo Roundup

I was looking through various military image galleries, and thought that these were interesting enough to post:


F/A-18F, NAS Oceana air show


Sea Shadow experimental stealth ship, San Diego Fleet Week


Stryker vehicles, 2nd Infantry Division, Samarra, Iraq


1st Infantry Division, Operation Baton Rouge, Samarra, Iraq



24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Euphrates River, Iraq*

Finally, see the Marmot for what may be the most idiosyncratic aircraft camouflage ever created.
-----
* I'm sure that this scene from Cambodia Vietnam Iraq is seared - seared in John Kerry's memory. Oh, that's right. I went there.


Posted 2:36 PM by Tony

Sunday, October 10, 2004
Local Political Shenanigans

I previously mentioned that Andrew Felder is having an uphill battle against Carole Migden (e.g., $22,000 in campaign funds against Migden's $1.7. million). Matier and Ross have an SF Chronicle piece on Migden on the campaign trail:

Considering her many years in office, her solid liberal track record and her whopping $1.7 million war chest, one might have thought that Carole Migden's state Senate campaign in overwhelmingly Democratic Marin County would be a walk in the park.

Instead, she's managed to turn it into Sherman's March to the Sea.

Case in point: Migden's recent appearance at the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce candidates' debate, where she was booked for a joint appearance with her Republican rival, Andrew Felder.

For many in the audience, it was their first glimpse at the woman who, in all likelihood, will represent them in Sacramento -- and it was an impression few will ever forget.

It started when Migden's staff asked that the debate schedule be reshuffled because she had to leave early.

Organizers did so -- only to have Migden show up late.

When she finally did arrive, Migden stayed outside in the hall and sent word that she wouldn't join the proceedings until Felder was done.

Upon taking the stage, the ever-blunt Migden informed moderator Dick Spotswood that she had come a long way, so forget about the time limit on answers.

The capper came at the end, when she chose to ignore the extended hand of her opponent.

Not once -- but twice.

"The audience was just aghast,'' said chamber President and CEO Elissa Giambastiani.

"You could have heard a pin drop," said Marin Association of Realtors Vice President Edward Segal, a fellow Democrat and former press secretary for the notoriously gruff John Burton.

"It really left a lot to be desired, both in terms of her manners and her conduct as a professional,'' Segal said.

"Was she this arrogant in San Francisco?" Giambastiani asked.

To be honest, yes.

[ . . . ]

And her future with Marin voters? "Maybe it will take some time to warm up," Migden said. "But I've spent two years getting to know the district, and I feel well-prepared to represent it."

Maybe, but so far, her first impressions have helped cost her both the San Rafael chamber's endorsement and that of the Marin Independent Journal.

The most infuriating thing about this is that, despite her contempt for the voters, the odds are with Migden. The only compensation is knowing that District 3 will be getting what it deserves.*
-----
* It's hard for me not feel cynical, given that District 3 is the home of John Walker Lindh, aka the American Taliban.


Posted 9:42 PM by Tony

Friday, October 08, 2004
Well, That's Obscure

Cal is playing a home game USC tomorrow. Personally, I'm rooting for USC because a) I enjoy a bunch of anti-Semitic hippies being crushed, and b) I have family that attended USC.

This quote in the article caught my eye:

His lunch partner, junior Phil Zackler, agreed. "We're going to beat Stanford, no problem. But SC is a decent team.'' As to the contention by ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso that "USC will destroy Cal,'' Zachler said, "Lee Corso isn't a bright guy. Where did he go to school -- San Marcos State Teachers College?''

Now there's an obscure reference. San Marcos State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos) is the school that President Lyndon B. Johnson attended. However, the school hasn't gone by that name since 1959.

And, incidentally, Corso, according to his web site, went to Florida State.


Posted 5:10 PM by Tony


The Right Answer, The Wrong Question

I mentioned earlier this year that an Iraqi newspaper reported the use of oil vouchers as bribes by the Husseing regime, that French oil giant TotalFinaElf had negotiated oil exploitation rights with the Hussein regime prior to the war, and, in passing, that Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, had been implicated. After the release of the Iraq Survey Report, I can pretty much say that anything the UN, France, Germany, and China have to say about US efforts in Iraq can be casually disregarded.

The Washington Post reports (see also International Herald Tribune):

The immense scope of an Iraqi effort in the late 1990s to curry political support for ending an international trade embargo is reflected in a list of more than 1,300 oil "vouchers" that then-President Saddam Hussein gave to more than a hundred corporations, foreign officials and political parties stretching from North America to Asia, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the CIA's Iraq Survey Group.

The vouchers, which provided selective rights to buy Iraqi oil at a discount and to resell it for a huge profit, were provided to both mainstream and opposition political parties in countries such as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia; to oil companies in Turkey, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Canada and France; to an arms conglomerate in China; and to individuals in Switzerland, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia, Malaysia and Burma, among others.

Each of the oil sales was approved by the United Nations, which was monitoring Iraqi oil transactions in an effort begun in 1996 -- known as the oil-for-food program -- to ensure that the resulting revenue was used for humanitarian projects. But Iraq saw the program differently, as a key part of a scheme to free itself from the impact of sanctions and, ultimately, to gain political support for their termination, according to the report.

[ . . . ]

"In the late '90s, we understood that lots of shenanigans were going on . . . under-the-table payments and so on, to curry favor and win support for eroding sanctions," said Robert Einhorn, a former assistant secretary of state. "We made various efforts to limit the scope of this," he added. But the report said that U.S. officials were blocked by Russia, China and France in 2000 and 2001 when they tried to clamp down on oil sales outside the oil-for-food program.

The list of non-US voucher recipients is at this PDF, Annex B at pages 167-200. Enjoy the reading.


Posted 1:40 PM by Tony


Curious Quotes

This quote, in a Korea Times article on soju maker Jinro's bankruptcy*, seems a bit curious:

During a seminar tailored to study global speculative funds on Thursday, Koh Hyong-sik [a Korean attorney who advised Jinro from late 2001 to June 2003] claimed Goldman Sachs made money by allegedly abusing Jinro's internal confidential information and caused the meltdown of the distiller.

"Goldman Sachs gained inside information on Jinro, which wanted the investment bank to consult in its restructuring. Instead of inking a consulting contract, however, Goldman Sachs used the information for its own benefit, which eventually weighed on Jinro's fortunes,'' he said.

After realizing the financial status of Jinro, which applied for court mediation in 1997 and was better than expected, Goldman Sachs snapped up Jinro's stocks and bonds en masse at beaten-down prices, Koh claimed.

[ . . . ]

"Koh is clearly not an objective observer in assessing NGO-driven social justice in this case. He was Jinro's attorney under former Chairman Chang Jin-ho and was a member of the law firm that defended Chang's criminal trial,'' Goldman Sachs Korea said in a statement.

Even without considering the context of the quote, that's an odd turn of phrase, "an objective observer in assessing NGO-driven social justice."

What the heck does that mean?

Does it suggest that observers affiliated with NGOs are objective? If so, then that's pretty hilarious. NGOs are agenda-driven. That's not a bad thing, in and of itself. However, persons affiliated with an NGO will presumably share its goals and agenda, which makes objective observation pretty unlikely.
-----
* Not the soju! Why, God, WHY?


Posted 8:49 AM by Tony

Thursday, October 07, 2004
Korean Chicks With Guns

I imagine that got your attention.

Kimchee GI has an admonishment for members of the South Korean Zaitun unit, recently deployed to northern Iraq (image via Chosun Ilbo:



Unilateral, indeed.


Posted 11:09 AM by Tony


Deflating The Republicans=Rich, Democrats=Poor Meme

At least in California. I get so tired of hearing this particular meme because it is based on contributions to the individual candidate (PDF) and excludes large donor contributions to 527 organizations, the large of majority of which go to Democratic-leaning groups.

But here in the statewide race for Senate, this SF Chronicle article indicates the difficulties Bill Jones is facing in knocking off Barbara Boxer:

While Boxer has begun running a statewide television campaign, the cash- strapped Jones hasn't matched her. Jones expects to send out more than 1 million pieces of campaign mail this week but won't broadcast ads on television until next week at the earliest, barely two weeks before election day.

Similarly, Andrew Felder is facing difficulties in fundraising against Carole Migden:

Felder knows he has no chance of beating Migden, who will replace longtime liberal senator John Burton. She is so assured of winning that she hasn't posted her plans and priorities on her Web site, mostly because she has not bothered to put up a Web site. She didn't answer the League of Women Voters' online questions during the primary. She is spending much of her war chest not on campaign literature or ads -- who needs 'em? -- but on other Democratic candidates.

Migden has raised about $1.7 million so far. Felder has raised $22,000. His campaign staff is four friends helping out in their spare time. If you call the phone number listed on his Web site (which he put together himself), you get his home answering machine.

[ . . . ]

It is not easy work [educating voters in District 3, which includes the eastern half of San Francisco, Marin County, and part of Sonoma County]. Last weekend at a wine festival in Larkspur, one woman told him she would rather die than vote for a Republican. He told her it probably was not a wise choice. Another woman suddenly stopped in her tracks, presumably having caught the word "Republican'' on the brochure Felder had just handed her. She turned and threw the brochure at Felder, then grabbed the brochure out of her friend's hand and threw that at him, too.

That's life as a Bay Area Republican - facing opposition with large campaign chests and voters who exhibit unthinking reflexive biases combined with a smug self-congratulatory attitude about "diversity." Sorry, I know I'm wandering a bit afield, but there are times when living up here really pisses me off.


Posted 9:58 AM by Tony

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Quote Of The Day

Has to be from Conrad, who pointedly shows why Teresa Heinz Kerry should never be allowed to speak in public:

Americans need to think of security in broader terms than bombs and terror, Heinz Kerry said. "Seldom do we think of security in terms of one's job, one's health care benefits, education."

Because those people leaping out of the World Trade Center two years ago weren't trying to escape an inferno, they were distraught because their HMO co-payments were too high.

Update: Other recommended reading includes what Cheney should have said during last night's debate.

As always, Bill Whittle puts up a long and thoughtful essay (part 1, part 2).

Bill in DC points out why Edwards' attack on Cheney regarding Halliburton is erroneous.

Transcript from the vice-presidential debate at CNN - of interest is Edwards' failure to answer the question posed to him, and Cheney's comments on the Kerry plan.

Via Allah, here's a transcript of the President's remarks today in Pennsylvania. My favorite bit:

He said he wants to hold a summit meeting so he can invite other countries to join what he calls the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

[ . . . ]

The senator speaks often about his plan to strengthen America's alliances, but he's got an odd way of doing it.

In the middle of the war, he's chosen to insult America's fighting allies by calling them window dressing and the coalition of the coerced and the bribed.

The Italians who died in Nasiriyah were not window dressing. They were heroes in the war on terror.

The British and the Poles at the head of the multinational divisions in Iraq were not coerced or bribed. They have fought and some have died in the cause of freedom.

These good allies and dozens of others deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician.

Instead, the senator would have America bend over backwards to satisfy a handful of governments with agendas different from our own.

This is my opponent's alliance-building strategy: brush off your best friends, fawn over your critics.


Posted 8:16 AM by Tony

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Korean Law School Update

I previously mentioned that Korea was considering setting up American-style law schools, i.e., schools in which a law degree is a graduate rather than undergraduate degree. Progress proceeds apace (via Korea Times):

As the first major step to reforming the nation's judicial system, American-style law schools will be launched in 2008 and the current bar examination will be phased out by 2013.

The Judicial Reform Committee announced Tuesday that 16 of its 21 members voted to introduce three-year law courses, reaching a final agreement after a year-long debate.

The results will be submitted to the chief of the Supreme Court and then sent to President Roh Moo-hyun for final approval.

According to the plan, the quota for law schools was set at 1,200 students for the first school year. The number is similar to that of those passing the annual bar exam.

The number of those who pass the bar exam will gradually decrease starting from 2008 until it is finally abolished in 2013.

I'm quite interested in seeing how this turns out.


Posted 6:48 PM by Tony

Monday, October 04, 2004
Revisiting Last Year's Silliness

Evil pundit of doom! suggests a new paint scheme for the A-10, in light of British author Margaret Drabble's frothing opinion piece from last year:

I was tipped into uncontainable rage by a report on Channel 4 News about "friendly fire", which included footage of what must have been one of the most horrific bombardments ever filmed. But what struck home hardest was the subsequent image, of a row of American warplanes, with grinning cartoon faces painted on their noses. Cartoon faces, with big sharp teeth. [like rabbits - ed.]

It is grotesque. It is hideous. This great and powerful nation bombs foreign cities and the people in those cities from Disneyland cartoon planes out of comic strips. This is simply not possible. And yet, there they were.

[ . . . ]

But there was something about those playfully grinning warplane faces that went beyond deception and distortion into the land of madness. A nation that can allow those faces to be painted as an image on its national aeroplanes has regressed into unimaginable irresponsibility. A nation that can paint those faces on death machines must be insane. [emphasis added]

Unlike Evil pundit, I have no inclination towards entertaining Drabble's overly dramatic reaction to nose art.

So, in the interests of making Margaret Drabble's head explode, I offer the following:

RCAR Halifax, 1944-45
(via DunrobinCastle.com)


RAAF Lancaster bomber
(via 460 Squadron RAAF)


RAF Tornado, 1991
(via RAF Operation Granby (i.e. Desert Storm) page)


RAF Tornado
(via RAF Marham's Operation Telic (i.e. Operation Iraqi Freedom) page)

Drabble strikes me as one of those people that simply grew old, not up.


Posted 6:37 PM by Tony


Korean Special Operations

The Marmot points out the alert of the 707th Special Missions Battalion in response to news reports that South Korea is now on Al Qaeda's target list. See link on the Marmot's post, here

The Korea Herald states that the anti-terrorist response includes a naval component:

The Defense Ministry said yesterday that it will inaugurate a special Navy escort squadron to cope with possible terror attacks on Korean vessels.

In a report to the National Assembly's Defense Committee, the ministry said it would quickly mobilize the squadron if South Korean vessels are attacked by terrorist groups in the Malacca Strait, Hormuz Strait and other key international seaways.

The squadron, which will comprise of two destroyers, one support ship, two special inflatable rubber rafts and two anti-submarine LYNX helicopters, are currently undergoing special escort training, the report said.

The ministry said it is considering conducting joint anti-terror naval training with Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

The ministry also said it plans to reinforce the anti-terror squadron with a 1,300-ton large-scale landing ship, Aegis-equipped destroyers and other Navy ships.

As I've stated earlier, the maritime dimension of the war on terror should not be discounted.

What I wonder about is that the distance to a crisis area dictates the quickness of the response. Considering that many of the waterways vulnerable to disruption are far from Korea, presumably the escort squadron would need to be deployed away from Korea. That need, in turn, raises the issue of having armed ships in waters claimed by foreign powers.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting, and I think, appropriate response to the situation.


Posted 10:50 AM by Tony


Recommended Iraq Reading

I have a friend who recently chastised me at length about the situation in Iraq. He gets his information primarily from American and European mainstream media sources. I don't wish to belabor the point concerning the media - just suffice to say that those sources do not present an accurate picture of the ground truth in Iraq.

So, in the interest of providing that friend with several alternative reading sources, I recommend to you the following:

Chrenkoff's news from Iraq
Iraq the Model
Citizen Smash
Iraq Now
Belmont Club


Posted 9:35 AM by Tony


Rent-A-Relative

I'm always interested in Korean cultural peculiarities, and this Korea Herald article seems to fit the bill:

As Park Mi-ran doted over a nervous bride in Daejeon, the soon-to-be wed was so touched by the tenderness and care that she shed tears.

But few people, including the bride's best friend, knew that Park was merely a two-year veteran of a company that rents out friends and family members for wedding ceremonies.

With autumn a peak time for weddings, Oh Jeong-youn, 28, will be busy making sure her work force arrive at ceremonies on time and perform their service with a smile or a tear of joy.

[ . . . ]

Women account for 70 percent of Oh's customers. They may have few friends who are able to attend their wedding or have a weak social network.

For those who would rather marry now and explain later, some people rent parents in hopes of improving the impression of their spouse's parents toward them.

To eliminate questions about a lack of future contact, customers often tell their spouse that their parents live overseas. Oh said she has not heard of any spouse discovering the deception.

A minor part of the business activity also includes renting parents for a casual meeting or celebrating a baby's first birthday.

I can't even begin to figure what sort of cultural forces creates this sort of economic niche.


Posted 9:26 AM by Tony


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

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