Friday, May 30, 2008

Then Stop Buying!

Korean President Lee Myung-bak who took office earlier this year coasted to victory with a 60-40 split. Now, he is facing approval ratings that are right there with George W. Bush. Both men are enjoying their time at the top, while 71% of the electorate disapproves of the job they are doing.

"Supporters of Lee Myung-bak in the presidential race last December have now turned their back on the President primarily over controversial negotiations with the United States on beef imports, according to the latest survey."

The interesting part is why Koreans disapprove: American beef. This xenophobic or national sensationalistic issue is the most ridiculous trends I have seen in Korea. I'm tired of reading and writing about it, but the street protests continue. Rather than protesting to lift your ego, why not try really protesting and boycott the meat. These protesters go out into the streets, get all worked up and angry, but then come home and eat American beef. Try sending a message: Don't buy or eat American beef.

It think the greater issue is how easily and susceptable to trends Korean voters are. Think for yourself, don't buy into Cyworld Talking Points and don't blame the government for something that you can avoid yourself.

Stop buying the meat and stop buying trendy political issues!

**Australian beef tastes better anyways.**

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grow Up

Rather than buying the Cyworld talking points and holding trendy vigils and staging pseudo protests over low-quality American beef (which is still safer than Korean beef), it seems that these high school kids have finally found a cause that is worthy. It is one that I have seen and one that I would happily protest with them.

The overly strict and abusive (orally and physically) Korean education system is finally seeing a little reaction to their years of socially accepted disciplinary abuse. One would think that it would be from the parents. I would be irate if some teacher was hitting my child, but no, it's the kids that are saying enough is enough.

Students at a high school in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, stood in the pouring rain on the playground. They refused to attend class and called for an apology from a teacher, after one of their female schoolmates attempted suicide following corporal punishment and an insult from the teacher.

It is becoming apparent that the students are starting to realize that they can have a say in how their education is carried out.

Some have even gotten physical with the teachers.
"On May 22, a 12-year-old student at Sinjeong Elementary School in western Seoul punched his teacher in the face with his fist several times in front of a group of classmates, according to witnesses and parents. The teacher, 32, received injuries around her mouth and had to have several stitches."

Hitting a teacher is never okay either, but can you blame them?

Education in all country's has experienced this. In America, it was totally acceptable SIXTY YEARS AGO. It's time to grow up. It's time to move all facets of society forward with the times. These students are told they need to learn English, think globally and study abroad so they can compete in a flat world. They understand and live that reality everyday.

It's time that the teachers wake up and realize what their students have: It's the 21st century, grow up...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Junk Food Bans

Banning junk food? Looks like American food to me (which is a little junky, but I liked the choice of junk.)

This is another misguided attempt by some Korean citizens to change behavior. Rather than education or taking responsibilty for how they act or eat, they blame television commercials and other people for their fat kids. This problem is not a Korean one, but one that all people try to do. I understand it's easier to blame other people for your problems, but eating too much unhealthy food is your fault.

"A new law protecting children's health ― set to be effective March 22 ― will ban food firms from promoting free toys and add-ins on television, radio and online advertisements. This means, don't expect to see what the latest happy meal toy is on McDonald's adverts."

This issue is a little different here though. There are not tons of fast food chains on every corner here. There are not vending machines backed with junk in the schools. Just like US did with cigarettes and booze, Koreans are blaming commercials for making their kids fat.

Parents needs to take the blame and stop feeding their kids crap. And if they're worried about the health of their kids, then stop forcing your kids into hagwons all day and night and keep them home with a book and a nice meal.

A Breath of Fresh Beijing

The problems go well beyond Tibet. The Chinese government is warning citizens with respiratory problems to "stay indoors". Rather than admitting that there is a serious smog problem, the Chinese instead blame it on the Gobi desert.

"Air quality in the capital was rated as "heavily polluted" due to a sandstorm from Mongolia, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said on its website."
Sandstorms do not count as pollution. It counts as a sandstorm. Even though countless athletes have dropped out of the Olympics citing potential long-term health problems that could result from competing in Beijing, China has been busy coming up with solutions to calm those worries.
"Attempts to counter the threat by weather manipulation are also reliant on accurate forecasts. Beijing authorities have claimed some success in stopping rain over limited areas by firing chemicals into clouds."
Really? So, they're shooting chemicals into the clouds to clean up the air quality and that makes sense to them. Okay, China...

They walk alike, they talk alike...

They certainly do and while this branding works for now, Moveon needs to dig deeper...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McCain, Bush and the GI Bill

Both Bush and McCain love to say that they support the troops. I'd be willing to bet that nearly ninety percent of people would agree with that assessment. The way that they reached that conclusion is what is flawed.

Which one suggests support: Continuing to "honor" the troops who have lost their life by staying in Iraq OR making sure that when they come home or leave the military (and they will Mr. President and Mr. Senator), that they are given the benefits neccessary to be competitive.

Apparently, but not suprisingly, they have both their dangerous shortsightedness by callously voting against the GI Bill of Rights. The bipartisan bill "would pay full tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for veterans who served in the military for at least three years since 9/11". It seems totally reasonable, but we are discussing the two most unreasonable men in our government, so "reason" is thrown out the window.

Their problem with the bill is so self-serving that I can't wait for the GE so the Dems can brand McCain as the unethical, immoral, scum bag that he has become.

"Mr. Bush — and, to his great discredit, Senator John McCain — have argued against a better G.I. Bill, for the worst reasons. They would prefer that college benefits for service members remain just mediocre enough that people in uniform are more likely to stay put. They have seized on a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that new, better benefits would decrease re-enlistments by 16 percent, which sounds ominous if you are trying — as Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain are — to defend a never-ending war at a time when extended tours of duty have sapped morale and strained recruiting to the breaking point."

So they are worried about keeping the active duty numbers high? And they believe an education would dissuade some from joining or reenlisting (interesting)? Maybe this makes sense then, right?

"Their reasoning is flawed since the C.B.O. has also predicted that the bill would offset the re-enlistment decline by increasing new recruits — by 16 percent. The chance of a real shot at a college education turns out to be as strong a lure as ever. This is good news for our punishingly overburdened volunteer army, which needs all the smart, ambitious strivers it can get."

Ignore the facts, go with your gut. Does McCain really think that this will work...again?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Indy 550

Yet another "Chess equals Checkers" comparison for the current HRC campaign. Obviously, this commentor at Kos was a little more creative than I was.

"Today at the Indianapolis 500 Danica Patrick, IndyCar's premiere Female Driver, insisted that she would keep driving around the track affectionately known as the Brickyard even if she lost today's race.

"You can't win it unless you are in it," she said. When questioned on what was the point of driving around a track after you've lost the race Danica responded, "Well, see the race isn't over until all the cars cross the track at 550 miles." Then she insisted that the Indianapolis 500 was actually the Indy 550 according to crew chief, Terry McAuliffe's own map of the racetrack.

"You know a lot of people want me to get out of the race," Danica Patrick said, "I can't really figure it out. I don't know why...In 1995 Jacques Villeneuve didn't win until the last lap of the race and in 1974 Swede Savage died before he could finish the race. So I couldn't answer -- Couldn't tell you why people want me to get out."

Danica Patrick refused to answer speculation that she would be joining Team Alegre - MYDD Racing next year."

It's when we read these excellent and hilarious comparisons that we realize just how silly her position has become.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Images of Korea

This famed image is from the Gwangju Uprising in late May of 1980. Students and citizens rose up in protest to the Chun military dictatorship and took control of the city, only to be crushed by the South Korean Army soon after they took up arms. This uprising to widely accepted as one of the most violent, but successful democratic movements of post-occupation Korea.

From GOPF,

"The photo is of real estate agent Choi Yang-min, now 54, who lives in Kwangju. On May 10, 1980, at the age of 26, he got married in Mokpo. On May 16 he came to Kwangju to visit his wife’s family, and met relatives there the next day. He was staying at a motel near Geumnamro, the street that would be central to the uprising. His sister, Yang-mi, then 24, was also visiting.

On May 18 he was resting in his motel when he heard slogans calling for the end of martial law being shouted outside. He saw people breaking apart sidewalk blocks and carrying them away, and thinking something must be happening, helped them. Then he went to a restaurant, which was surrounded by paratroopers. He finished his lunch quickly and went outside, where four soldiers attacked him with their clubs. He was bleeding from his head and his sister rushed out to help him and try to stop the bleeding. He was taken by the 31st Division but with the help of a friend was set free. He needed 27 stitches"

Hillary's Dean Scream

I love to be proven wrong and yet again the media has illustrated that they have no journalistic integrity or loyalty to the word "objective" or "investigative". They have turned Hillary's poorly formulated historic reference into Howard Dean's Scream and John Kerry's "I voted against it before I voted for it". This will be the end of her campaign.

Why? Why will this obviously benign political gaffe turn into the end of her campaign? One word: Perception. Selling anything, whether it's a product, idea or position, the focus is not on the product, but how the product should be thought of or perceived. We have seen this for decades and we are certainly seeing it as they frame St. John McCain as an ethical "straight-talker".

This is the kind of moment that the corporate media has been waiting for in order to bury either hers or Obama’s campaign. And they now have something that will be the "defining moment" of the final phase for the campaign. Oh sure, she has been built up time and time again (New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and whatever else I forgot), only to be gleefully torn apart as she faltered (or was even perceived to falter) by people like Chris Matthews and his talking meatstick counterparts.

It doesn’t matter if this was more callous, more calculating or more thoughtless than anything else that she or her surrogates may have said or hinted over the course of the campaign.

It doesn’t matter that Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer this week, or that the comment was about RFK, JFK or MLK.

It doesn’t matter if she was truly trying to invoke history and picked a very poor example.

It doesn’t matter if she admitted that she was very tired and that it was an incredibly stupid or insensitive thing to say.

It doesn’t matter, at this point, if her supporters will be alienated by what she said - especially since most of those supporters have already voted and/or donated to her campaign.

What matters, sadly but true, is that she has now been officially declared "done" with the one moment that can be played over and over and over and over.

And over.

Obama will not focus on her. McCain will not focus on her. And the media will not focus on her. And yes, Obama has started to focus on McCain at her expense, just as the media has started to focus on the fact that she can’t win enough delegates to get the nomination. The difference now is that they don’t have to focus on her anymore and no one will think twice about it.

Right, wrong or other - this is what will ultimately end her campaign - whether it be a slow, painful end that will never really result in her conceding to Obama or an announcement over the next few days due to internal pressure. She is very resilient and has come back from what may be worse gaffes, worse positions or worse actions by her or her husband or her top aides.

But that is because she was also given the leeway and was allowed to continue for the benefit of her campaign, to the benefit of the media narrative (so they have something to talk amongst themselves about) and to the campaign of the Republicans who have a 20 year dossier on her.

There is no longer a need for her campaign in this narrative. She is no longer viewed as a serious and credible candidate at this point in the primary process by those who kept her candidacy alive and pumped up for the past few weeks.

She can realize this and bow out with whatever dignity she has left, or she can continue on and become a caricature of the serious candidate and groundbreaking campaign she set out to run.

No one knows that the media is going to pick up on and run with, but Hillary just found out and you can't run from a "Dean Scream".

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Traffic Signals are for Foreigners

Disclaimer: In no way do I think that even a small percentage of Koreans share the view of the Korean that is discussed below.

ROK Drop reported that the Korean government was planning on implementing more traffic enforcement and safety policies in the face of an embarrassingly high number of traffic related fatalities. I was not going to post on this subject because I did not think that increased enforcement of traffic safety would cause a stir. I should have realized that some Koreans do not deal with criticism very well and they tend to wave their flag in defense.

Nothing in the post was offensive, but one commenter (who I hope comes by and visits) decided that they should make this an issue.

To give you the whole picture, here is the commentary from ROK Drop.

"For those that don’t know, Korea by far leads the OECD in pedestrian fatalities caused by traffic accidents and is second in vehicle fatalities caused by traffic accidents. It is good to see the Korean government highlighting the traffic accident problem, but I suspect little will be done judging by the past track record.

You would think after 2002 traffic safety would be taken seriously in Korea and it wasn’t. In 2006 the Korean government vowed to crackdown on traffic accident and did nothing. Now in 2008 they once again are vowing to do something.

If the government wants to do something having policemen waving flags at intersections will have no effect because cars just run the red lights anyway. If the police want to improve safety start writing tickets, especially for people parking illegally causing additional congestion in the already crowded streets. Than expand from there and write tickets for the mopeds driving on the sidewalks. I could go on and on with suggestions but waving flags will change nothing."

And here is the first rant from this highly intelligent commenter.

"hey Its the Korean System. Just because its not like the Americans does not make it wrong. You must learn to convert to the way of your host nation and realize everything American is not the best way."

The Korean system? If the "Korean System" means ignoring traffic laws and causing avoidable deaths and injury, then yes, it is wrong. They continued...

Your American elitism is coming to light. Certainly from the outside onlookers the Korean lead the world in deaths and such but you know Korean Drivers are faced everyday with special situations that foreigners cannot understand. Many of those deaths recorded each year are infact foreigners not knowing the roads. Koreans make a small amount of those yearly deaths.

Look at the way Koreans drive in the US…hailed by US drivers as the most careful and professional around.

What are those "special situations" that I can't understand? And I'm not sure about the reputation Korean drivers have in the US, but I know it is not "hailed". No one "hails" an entire race of people based on there driving skills. Here is their response to my comment "Korean drivers have no patience and that leads to accidents. Do not blame anybody but the bad KOREAN drivers!".

"Your views are obviously strewed by your hatred of the Korean peoples. I think you should clear your mind first before we can have a productive dialog.The fact Koreans run lights or park a way which is not acceptable to those on this site is not relevant. Korean people are clearly in the know of when and when not to obey traffic signals. Traffic signals are for foreigners who are very dangerous drivers. We all seen example of foreigners blowing horns or running over people in Korea. I think all foreigner’s should be banned from driving in Korea. All military car need to be driven by Korean driver and not careless foreigner."

And therein lies the problem. Because someone was critical about something Korean, this man equates that to hatred.

What I learned from this man:

1) Koreans are the best drivers in the America.

2) Foreigners cause more traffic deaths in Korea than in their home nation.

3) "Special situations" are more important than safety.

4) All Koreans know when it is appropriate to ignore traffic laws.

5) Traffic signals are for foreigners

I feel so much smarter.

***Update: After I asked the guy to provide some stats, he admitted his exaggeration and exited the deabte.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sort of, Kind of

McCain will release his medical records...kind of. The question is not how poor his health is because we know it is not in top shape and certainly not ready for the most demanding job in the world. I wonder, Will the media just let this piss poor excuse for medical disclosure go without critique?

The rules for the "release" are as follows:

1) Only a small, select group of reporters will have access to the records in a secure room in Phoenix, AZ.

2) Access is limited to only three hours, between 7 and 10 AM on Friday.

3) No copying of the records is permitted.

From the Vatican (McCain Camp):

"Campaign officials said they were imposing the restrictions to prevent the actual records from wide dissemination. Mr. McCain said late last week that he had nothing to hide. Campaign officials have nonetheless said that even if nothing in the records suggests a problem with his health, a rush of news media reports focusing on the cancer surgery was not politically helpful and that they wanted to play down the information as much as possible — something that the timing of the release would seem to accomplish."

It's almost like he is intentionally mocking the media's affair with him. Hiding health records because it is not "politically helpful" seems odd since it it coming from the "Straight Talk Express". But when St. John McCain is involved, then everything that used to be the standard of political liability suddenly fades into the grey.

But wait! Let's look at when St. McCain is releasing his records: On the Friday BEFORE Memorial Day. It's "a holiday weekend document dump" just how much McCain has learned from the Bush administration about the manipulation of public opinion.

Three main rules:

1) Never admit an error. Truth and justice never outweigh being branded as a "flip-flopper".

2) Release stories in a controlled environment. This way, any and all possible critique of it is not "based on facts", but wild pinko-commie theories.

3) Use holidays, anniversaries, or any (inter)national tradgedy to simultaneously reveal politically damaging information (not matter how serious they are).

And it's not even June yet. Brace yourselves!

Operation: Ignore McCain = Elect McCain

I know that supporting McCain for no reason and giving him a free ride on every issue is hip now, but putting his unethical shrew of a wife in Vogue magazine is a new low. Why does the MSM constantly choose to go out of there way to paint over the potentially dark world of the McCain family?

"In the upcoming issue of Vogue, Cindy McCain stretches out in a sunny photo spread, sporting skinny jeans and red nail polish. The magazine hasn't hit the newsstands yet, but already Buzz is sizzling over the barefoot style shot."

Rather than the media running stories about her unwavering stance on releasing her tax information (which is a must for a potential First Lady) or asking questions about her company's shading donations to the McCain camp or even Saint John getting to cruise around in her company's private jet at prices that would make Prince Bandar jealous, they choose to take soft summer pictures of his plastic SECOND wife.

It is becoming very clear why the MSM takes the side of the GOP before the election and rails into them the next day and it is the best way to keep ratings and their job. Next time...

"Obama's White Problem"

The last two HRC primary wins were in poor, rural, uneducated, white states. KY and WV were HRC's biggest wins and TH and the MSM love to frame her wins as an Obama weakness in connecting with working-class white people. They claim that it is him who has the problem. They claim that his "elitist" comments that "some folks cling" to things that are important to them in times of crisis clearly suggests that he does not understand these voters. It is his problem apparently.

This is not his problem. Obama has connected with millions of poor working clas voters in dozens of states. This is being highlighted only because each contest is spread out and the last two HRC wins have been two civil war throw backs.

Obama does not have a problem with working-class whites. THEY have a problem with him.

Regardless of who covered this story, the voters clearly let their racist opinion's be known. As far as the city vote goes, most of these states are rural. In no way am I suggesting that a vote for HRC or McCain is a racist vote, but don't let people say that Obama is losing these voters because of "his problem". He lost KY and WV by such a margin because of his race.

***Do you think that these "folks" would have talked to Al Jazeera if they knew anything of its background? Ignorance!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Younger Than the Mack!"

The age of the Senior senator from Arizona is and certainly will continue to be a major issue in the GE. There is no doubt about that and it certainly needs to be discussed in terms of perception and wisdom rather then health itself. Health will not be a slam dunk for the Dems no matter what. McCain has already hid the majority of his medical records after his surgery a few years ago and that has faded like so many other glaring problems. If the Dems can change the dialogue from NOTHING to his dated perception (that seems to be changing for the worse everyday since becoming the presumptive nominee), flawed wisdom and checkered background, then they channel the concern that voters have with his age.

It is rare that all three candidates are senators. They are typically the easiest to label "flip-flopper" because of their extensive voting record. McCain has been all over the place and involved in his share of scandals, yet he is getting a free ride. It surprises me how little the DNC has not taken the time during this long primary season to rail into McCain's record. I know the MSM wants to have children with McCain, but what we are seeing is disgusting. Guess what? We can critizize a war hero! It is okay! You're not being unpatriotic!

So, while the DNC gets their sh*t together and starts to consider how to win an election, the rest of us can have a little fun with the GOP's senior citizen.

If you want more of a currently updated list, check this out. It's excellent.

"The stakes are too high for you to stay home." 1964

I was taking another look back at some old campaign ads in hope of getting over some primary blues. I have already covered the televised ads up to 1960. This 1964 ad is, of course, the most famous of all presidential ads.


"These are the stakes! To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die. Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you to stay home."

This election was one of the biggest defeats in history, but it also led to the Dems losing "The Solid South". They still have not been able to recover in these areas areas and will not do it 2008 either, but that is not the topic here.

I want to mention that a parallel arises when you look at the GOP primary map in 1964. You see similarities to HRC's primary success.

Like HRC, Goldwater won mainly big states. The GOP was also in a heated primary battle much like the Dems are now. They went with Goldwater and won only five states. That would not happen with HRC running, but their nomination battles are stirringly similar.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Opening Night

I clearly remember a conversation that I had with an old classmate when I was in third grade. We were in the back of his mom's station wagon. In fact, it was one of those wagons that faced the opposite direction which, by the way, seems insanely dangerous. Regardless, we were both talking about how confident we were that there was going to be a fourth Indiana Jones released within the next few years.

Twenty years and dozens of similar converations later, the day has come. Tomorrow night we are going to the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It is opening night here all over the world and we could not be more excited. I am one of those kids who were lucky enough to grow up in the Indiana Jones generation and tomorrow night really will be a special night for me. The familiar music, storyline and overall Indiana Jones hysteria are sure to take me over for at least a couple days. I will be going with my Korean wife and British friend. I bet nine year old me didn't see that one coming.

Just in case you missed it...

Quick memory: In first grade, my teacher Mrs. Wallace was trying to secure my excess belt that was flapping around my waist, decided that if she tied it in a wrap-around fashion and refered to the style "like Indiana Jones" that I would be okay with it. I was. Nice one, Mrs. Wallace.


As much as I want to ignore the crushing victory that HRC enjoyed in KY, I simply cannot. She won and she won every democraphic with ease. She and her supporters are going to play this up BIG TIME. Expect to hear "game changer" and "Obama's Appalalchian problem" over and over again.

Let me be clear: This was not a game changer. The game was always hard for Obama in some places and hard for Clinton in others. Kentucky was going to go this way and this big since January. It is, however, time for Obama supporters to seriously be concerned about his chances in November. I am getting concerned.

Here is why:

1) CNN, NBC, and most of the Obama campaign and supporters are pretending Florida and Michigan do not exist. They will declare that Barack Obama has won a majority of the pledged delegates in the Dem race. They will declare that 2.3 million voters in Florida and Michigan do not exist. This is not only outrageous of these news organizations, it is monumentally stupid of the Obama campaign. This is the best way to lose FL in the general election.

2) By refusing to bend in FL, he has handed Hillary Clinton the most appealing battle cry a politician could possibly have - count the votes. Donna Brazile and Keith Olbermann and the other Obama surrogates can scream about the rules, and believe me that I want to as well. But while we are doing that, Hillary Clinton can fight for the votes!

3) And this is the biggest one. How many Clintonites will switch to Obama? A lot more Obama supporters will move to her than her's to him. This suggests that her supporters are not as loyal to the party as they are to her, but this is how the game works. We have to confront this issue or McCain will win based on Dem tension.

The Dems need to seriously think about the best way to beat McCain. McCain is getting the biggest free ride ever and if he wins it will be because the Dems beat themselves...again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


From TH:

"Obama's attitude was a "slap in the face" to voters in five states yet to hold nominating contests, and millions of Clinton supporters, the former first lady's communications director Howard Wolfson said."

Obama's assumption is that KY is going to be the last "big win" for Hillary (Puerto Rico will not be "big"). He will win handily in Oregon, Montana and South Dakota. After tomorrow, he will have accumulated enough of the remaining pledged delegates to make it impossible for HRC to overcome it. He can declare that he has reached that threshold and no one should be able to say a thing.

Furthermore, when someone reaches that magic number (2,029) before ALL of the states have had their chance, that does not mean that the winner is delivering a "slap in the face" to the remaining states. It just means that the system has delivered is a candidate based on the nominating system and rules set out by that party.

The slap in the face is not coming from Obama. The slap in the face is coming from the Clinton wing of the Democratic party that refuses to acknowledge Obama as a candidate that has outraised, outdone, and outperformed TH on every front.

Who is buying what?

As the PA primary loomed, waves of Clinton surrogates and supporters were out in full force claiming that Obama was buying votes because of his 2:1 advertising in the state. Of course, if Hillary was not in debt and could raise anywhere near the amount of money that he could, then she would be doing the same. However, she does not have to because she has been able to sneak in on her husbands dirty, yet surprisingly strong coattails. Obama is the one who needed to make an introduction, she did not.

If they consider simple advertising "buying votes", then what do they make of this recent development.

One of Sen. Hillary Clinton's top financial supporters offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization's two uncommitted super delegates to endorse the New York Democrat, a high-ranking official with YDA told The Huffington Post.

Not only is this a blatant example of "buying votes", but this goes beyond buying a basic citizens vote. Bribing a SD is despicable, especially since that is the ONLY way the can possibly get the nod from the party. It gets even worse though.

"Members of the Young Democrats agonized about the potential fallout of Saban's call; his financial offer represented one-third of the group's 2008 budget. Democratic officials and fundraisers were consulted about how to respond, and at times the discussions were "emotional," one participant said. "It is scary for them, Haim is very powerful, he has great influence over donors who give to them."

Not only is this a bribe, but it is outright blackmail.

Is this what TH is succumbing to?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Oregon will end it all...

TH changes the rules every chance they get and the newest installment is "only the popular vote should count". Of course, how they arrive at this number is perhaps the most stirring or maybe I should say, typical calculation. By counting FL and MI and discounting ALL of the totals from the caucus states, they claim that they have a strong lead. And if they do this, their math is correct. If they pick and choose which votes should count and which need to be ignored, then she does a have a (weak)lead.

Regardless, the race is essentially over and Oregon is going to be the final and much needed slap that she needs to realize that it is time to unify around Obama and put the party ahead of personal ambition.

Take a look at the turnout in Portland for Obama...

There were over 75,000 there to listen to him.

I love the boats. How typical of the liberal West! This is a good sign of what is going to happen in Oregon. Suck it Kentucky!

Mission Accomplished v. 2.0

McCain has proven over and over again that he is a world class douche bag. Whether it be is ridiculus maverick persona, his self-proclaimed ethical guru status or his ability to turn his back on everything he stood for before becoming the nominee, he always seem to have plenty of reserves.

His mosy recent ad, 2013, is by far the worst I have seen. And this video, coupled with his recent speech where he summed up how great the world will be when he starts his second term proves that his presidency will be nothing short of another Bush run.

If you remember, Bush did not actually say "Mission Accomplished". He touted the idea and I'm not giving him a free pass, but it was McCain who used the phrase over and over again and now we see it for ourselves.

The question of course is "What plan has McCain offered to get these things accomplished?" -nothing. He only offers GOP talking points, but in this current political environment where the GOP is losing even its strongest seats, that is not going to work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Conservative Punditry

There are a few things that I have noticed in conservative American punditry. First being that most conservative pundits (Hannity, O'Reilly, Bortz, Rush etc...) have an audience only because they say and propagate things that are so extreme, their listeners tend to believe it as a sign of intelligence rather then a disconnection with reality. Now, I can't define reality without the use of logic and reason that is based on historical fact and well-guided wisdom. That's just me. A perfect example: Coulter.

Secondly, conservative punditry and its audience seems to thrive and feed off of arguments won not by substance, but by volume. The louder they get the more they fire themselves up and the more their audience buys their crap.

These two facets of conservative debate are perfectly illustrated in the video below. Kevin James, the conservative host of his own show, tries to pull this crap on Chris Matthews. The problem with these guys, is that they can't debate. They can only talk AT a microphone. This guy and conservative punditry is an embarrassment.

Honeymoon Part 4: The Videos

Words are good, pictures are better, but videos are the best. Not really, but here are a bunch of short clips from our trip...

This one is on our second night, right before we took our sailboat ride at sunset.

Here we are starting our ride with a little tequila.

Another video. We're getting closer to that rain!

The high-speed race begins!

Second night eating...

Post nightclub walk on the beach.

Some snorkeling. Notice the Koreans and their proximity to the boat.

Our last night as we are leaving the hotel for the evening.

And finally, you can see what a morning looked like.

I know that these videos were all pretty bad and filled with me ranting about nothing, but you should be used to that at this point if you read this blog.

Honeymoon Part 3

I'm going to speed this up a bit because I want to write about some other things, but I feel like I should wrap this up first.

Our final night in Boracay was different. Well, not really, but we did walk to another part of the beach. Still, we ended up drinking, shopping, listening to a couple bands and getting an hour-long beach massage for under a dollar. So, rather than writing about the final moments of Boracay, I have decided to tell it with pictures.

My beautiful wife as we are leaving the hotel.

These two Filipino women on stage behind 고 sang the worst songs beautifully.

I'm red.

Nice foot. I'm seduced though.

This was a fun (and empty) bar. This drink was super strong, hence the stiffy face.
This bar was our favorite. It was partially covered, sported bean bags around low tables and a rockin' Filipino band that sang all Western tunes.

It's actually not a martini. It's a gimlet. That's right.

Man, I got red.

Three things: her tattoo is a henna (fake), I'm way more into the kiss and she can multi-task. This was the end of the night for us and the next morning we woke up early for a few last minute cruises.

It was a lizard on the wall outside of our room.

The following morning. Is this not the most typical thing to take a picture of in the tropics?

No, wait...this is.

We had a great breakfast here. This place was hidden by thick jungle.

Our friends: 고, Glen, moi, B-Boy. Glen's shirt is awesome.

On our way back to the "airport".

A really neat old basketball goal.

Anything goes in SE Asia.

A village in the jungle.

Our last view of Boracay.

Welcome to Manila...

Small, but safe.

They put ice in beer down there. It was odd.

We went to our hotel (Manila Hotel). It has a very long history and you should click here if you want to read about it. Here are a few pics...

Quite a lobby.

They were playing at 3:30pm. Why?

Here's our view.

That fort looking thing was built by the Spanish. They did not want to be on the "same level" as their colonized subjects. Of course, there is a golf course built around it now.
We got a 1.5 hour massage that evening. I had a sunburn and it hurt so bad. I kept quiet.

All in all, it was an amazing trip. It was just what a honeymoon was supposed to be and even though we were gone less than a week, it was enough time and we were happy to get back home.

**We are planning a summer trip to The Philippines this summer. It's cheap and only three hours away. How can you go wrong?

Honeymoon Part 2

I must say, that I have never been cleaner than I was in Boracay. Sure, I would get sandy and my feet seemed to resonate dirt, but I think I showered about four or five times a day. We would go out, get some drinks, jump in the clear waters of the Philippine Sea and then head back for only a few minutes and shower. It was fine though.

So, as I said, we decided that we would go to a nightclub, but that was not the main goal of the night. We were just going to cruise around the beach, listen to tunes and have a good time being with each other. It was about 7:50 when we left the room. I knew that it was still Happy Hour at a neat bar called Hey Jude, so we went there and got a martini, Jagger bomb and some blue girly drink for 고.

We were also very hungry, so we cruised a a Mongolian restaurant that was right on the beach. I drank my two drinks quickly because I thought that we could not take them into the restaurant. We could and I got a little loopy. Here I am drinking her drink. Notice my backpack tan that looks a lot like I was wearing the world's biggest bra OR one of the gun holsters that cops used to where.

The food was pretty good. While we were there, the wind started blowing wildly and all the Koreans nearby started whining. I laughed. They always do that when faced with discomfort in nature. We finished our meal and started walking in the direction of the nightclub. On the way, 고 spotted some jewelry that was pretty unique looking and even unique for the island. As we were looking at the vendors stuff, his son named Abdul started talking to us. He was about 11 years old. Being as great with kids as I am, I told him that he looked 14 and his eye's lit up. Kids are so easy. I also have been cursed with looking a least 5 years younger than I actually am, so I know how good this compliment feels. Actually, I never got that compliment. Mine were limited to "Why do you talk like that?" or "Why is your voice so deep?", but I can imagine that it feels good. We (고) bought some stuff and I gave our new little friend a dollar. He was thrilled and immediately gave it to his father.

We went for a fruity drink at a nearby bar and our little buddy followed us. We brought a friend this time. We bought them a Sprite and a Coke and sent them on their way.

Abdul is on the far right. Again, we headed to the club and again Abdul caught up with us. He said he would walk us there. We laughed and allowed him. We knew he was after another tip, but he was nice and quite persistent for a child. Finally, we arrived at the place. We walked in and sat at the bar. It was dark and the music was actually really good ambient house.

No one was dancing yet since it was still early. Then a small group of people got up and started dancing. The second that this group started, the music went from great to super gay. It turned into awful, typical hip-hop club trash. And on top of that, the group kept on getting bigger and after we started dancing, the group surrounded us and all of a sudden Koreans were all around us, dancing in unison and being as gay as possible. We

The night got better from there. We went and danced on the beach to great tunes and fire dancers. We sat and listened to a guy playing Cat Stevens and Lionel Richie and we went home at maybe one that morning.

The next morning was our big group tour day. We didn't want to go with all the Korean couples, but we had to. We met them all, got on a tuk-tuk and took a short drive through the city to a different beach.

This was a lagoon in the center of town. Romantic, huh?

Traffic was pretty heavy that day. While the island is not polluted, the exhaust can get thick once you're in the middle of the action.Everywhere in the world. Koreans and their food are there. The sign says "아리랑". That is pronounced "Arirang" in English and is part of the title of this blog.

We made it to the beach. First was fishing.

The guy in the left is Phol (Paul). He was great. I'm writing about him later.

Looking good.
The fishing was traditional Boracay style. Really, it was just string with a hook and a piece of shrimp. We were supposed to drop the line until it hit the bottom and then wait for a bite. The guide said the winner gets 50 bucks. We were not having any luck, so Phol came over and secretly dropped in a couple other lines and within seconds he told me to pull it up. Of course, there was a fish on it. He did this four times. We did not catch one on our own and we still lost. We had to buy fish. The exchange was interesting. They waved at a few boats, they came by, they negotiated, we bought and they left.

After that, we hopped on the banana boat. It was pretty good. I think I was the only one who was having a fun time though. The Koreans were a little stressed about the water and the speed. I was in the back and kept on giving the guy the thumbs up -the international sign for "faster".

From there, we went snorkeling. Before moving to Korea, I had a terrible fear of the ocean and specifically sharks. I got over that fear on a trip here a couple of years ago, but this time I was too confident and trying to show off a little to the Koreans WHO CAN'T SWIM (my wife included) and jumped off the boat and into water that was well over 20 meters deep. I put on my mask and took a little dive down into the blue. Sh*t!!!! It was so deep and huge and scary and I casually, but quickly swam back to the boat. We were actually getting ready to head to the official snorkeling area that was more like 5-10 meters deep.

I jumped in first and the Koreans (with life jackets) slowly dipped in minutes later.

I got an early lead.

It was so beautiful. Blue starfish, eels, clown fish and other colorful things that my limited knowledge of marine life can't identify.
The Koreans did not go more than 3 feet from the boat.
You can see my legs here as I am diving down for a closer look. I did not see that boat right next to me and when I started to come back up, all I saw a large grey object passing by. Enough said.

After much coaxing, I returned to the boat and we headed to lunch. It was a Korean owned place, but there was not that much Korean food. We were both happy with that.

This was interesting. After we ate, we took a tuk-tuk back to our place for some rest.

What a title for cigarettes. I also saw a cigarette called "Time".
Here is our room that walked into the pool.

It was fun, sun-filled day and we had another night ahead of us and another post lies ahead of you...