Monthly Archives: July 2009

Reaction To Beer Summit

Timeline: (1) Accusations of racial profiling in a response to a break in report. You know the story. (2) Obama misspeaks on the issue or speaks without fully understanding it. I am not sure which. Accuses police of ‘acting stupidly’ which in many person’s views was not the case. (3) He calls a beer summit…

As much as it was slightly corny, I felt the President handled the sitution well. The notion of bringing the two parties together with Pres. Obama to discuss the situation was in some sense heartwarming and it was pretty amazing to see the President bother to take such time to intervene in a situation that normally does not involve him.

Overall… I was impressed with the President’s actions and feel that it will have a positive influence and will be a great anecdote in the future, something greatly in President Obama’s favor.

I am a critic of Obama but at the end of the day it was a simple and positive solution to his perhaps prior inappropriate reaction to the situation, and it was, indeed, a great opportunity for dialog on the situation.

Perhaps this is something that really distinguishes our current President from past ones in a more-than-positive light.

We can all learn a bit from it and perhaps in the future we can this as a lesson to handle ourselves more calmly and when we make errors in judgment, we can strive to fix them through open and objective dialog on the situation.

… Great job!

Organic Food Not Healthier

Interesting information:

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) — Food that beckons from the organic aisles of grocery stores may not be any better for you than what lines the rest of supermarket shelves.

According to a British review of studies done over the past 50 years, organic and conventionally produced foods have about the same nutrient content, suggesting that neither is better in terms of health benefits.

“We did not find any important differences in nutrient content between organically and conventionally produced foods,” said study author Alan Dangour, a registered public health nutritionist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Continue reading

Morality: A Burden Of People, Not Of Government

The greatest criticism of Capitalism is that we have no way of aiding the poor, and the greatest achievement of socialism is convincing the world that we need the government to aid the poor.

We’ve never known a post-industrial Capitalist state — our closest concept to the alleged inhumanity that rampant capitalism would create occurred in a period of history where the society was still largely agrarian, uneducated and impoverished.

Now, most nations with the potential to act as Capitalist have outdated socialist institutions that were created to correct the wrongs of a different period of our economic development, wrongs that are no longer applicable.

At one time there had to be regulation due to the nature of the labor market: an excess of cheap labor, and a lack of need for a large number of highly educated people, combined with gross economic disparity.

In a new economic system in our new stage of development the necessity for government interference is less. We have people far more able to contribute to localized charities and to make conscientious economic decisions; people who can take angle their purchases and economic freedom in order to maximize the development of their communities.

However, government has organized itself as an agent of bureaucrats and of businessmen. Continue reading

Thoughts Concerning City & Rice Farming & The Likes

Many Korean men do not like the life of being a farmer. It is really rough, so I hear, and the income is small and the stress that one faces in such an occupation is understandable. Many resort to getting foreign brides as no Korean women want to marry a rice farmer… I find that sad and disgusting that honest, young men who would like to have a job close to nature cannot achieve this goal without a massive social stigma.

What is more natural for mankind than to live off of the land in both cooperation with and struggle against nature? What could be more educational about the natural way of things, and what could be more peaceful than work on a rice farm?

But people are shallow and seek to have deep pockets because they have shallow hearts.

When being a farmer in one’s own country is not a valued profession we’ve lost something… When plastic surgeons whose job it is to indulge the destructive vanity of the feeble minded are considered exponentially more prestigious than people who connect with nature… What?

It would be very difficult yet rewarding to be able to be a farmer… I would like to feel water and earth between my toes and though I am sure the labor would prove tedious and and backbreaking, there would be a sense of accomplishment and an irreplacable sense of honesty in the work that one does.

When a nation forsakes its roots and claims to be growing it is not actually growing in any healthy direction — the steel and metal of civilization rusts and the discontent within each city grows, and the confusion that is faced can be immense. The stress of walking through constantly crowded subway terminals and being elbowed and pushed on the streets is enough to make anyone feel trapped — to live in tiny, one room apartments can be repressive.

I fed some ducks on Namiseom two days ago and it was a liberating experience… I wish I could see nature more.

I have taken more steps on hard cement than on the Earth.

My Chinese character teacher recommends that once a day for an hour we go to a place full of grace and walk barefoot so we do not forget that humans to some degree are a part of nature.

My Japanese classmate Masayuki had a lot of very interesting to say on the issues of mental health and the lack of nature in cities and the lack of large families, the isolation of modern society and the lack of harmony…

Yeah, life is rough whether you are farming rice or toiling in the city; but at least the folks who farm the rice can walk barefoot on grass and lay down to nap under a tree.

The closest I get to nature is the small patches of grass that line the running / cycling paths on the polluted Han River.

I remember the time I took a train home from Gwangju with Grant McKenzie in the early morning; he fell asleep while I looked out at the rice paddies and fantasized about making a family in the dirty, impoverished villages of old folk across Jeolla province; connecting with nature and being content with poverty & simplicity.

Shariah Courts Being Used By Non-Muslims In UK

When I saw the title of this I felt like there was a lot of potential for hearing some sort of negative story but I was pleasantly surprised:

Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system. Continue reading

Is It Your Body, Completely?

It was the calling card for the legalization of abortion, but that’s besides the point. The notion that we are the sole possessor of our body, that we are the only people who have any say over what occurs has been assumed entirely in Western civilization to the extent where people feel the only obligation that they have to their parents is to stay in touch and the only obligation to their society is to pay taxes.

However, society did not always used to be this way in the West, and society has not morphed to this inaccurate view in the East yet. Surprisingly, both have essentially the same idea:

“Our bodies, our hair and our blood come from our parents; to protect it from damage is the beginning of filial piety.” – Confucius

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

the notion of the sanctity of the body is essentially the same; as Confucianism was a religion of treating one’s ancestors as gods, it is vaguely similar to ascribing the creation of the body to God. The ramifications are the same in both of these concepts and both left a huge print upon their society:

Mothers & fathers ought to be honored as their role in the creation of us, and we ought to take care of our bodies and not behave so utterly selfishly.

There was a notion of debt to something else and with that debt comes the obligation to behave, nay, live, for something beyond our own interests. Our parents or our God bought our lives for us, and in a way that was much easier to see in centuries past it is by the sacrifices and will of our parents, neighbors and the greater society that we are able to exist at all.

If we take the idea that we owe our bodies to something else and that our mere existence is not something we do at our own whim we can become more motivated to realize that we do not make all of the decisions we make solely for ourselves but must also consider others in them. Continue reading

Clinton: Let’s Bribe N. Korea To Stop Being Asses

This is exactly why you do not want the left wing at the negotiating table:

  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was concerned about reports that Myanmar and North Korea were increasing military ties and called on the Asian regimes to abandon efforts that may destabilize the region.

A nuclear-armed Myanmar would pose a threat to the whole region, including U.S. ally Thailand, Clinton told reporters in Bangkok. North Korea is helping Myanmar set up uranium and nuclear-related facilities, the Associated Press reported today, citing an unidentified South Korean intelligence expert.

“There is obviously a list of incentives and offers that could be made if the North Koreans evidence any willingness to take a different path than the one they are currently pursuing,” Clinton said after meeting Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. “As of now, we have not seen that.”

Bloomberg

So we are looking at a typical situation: North Korea working with other bad guys to achieve more terrible goals; this comes after a giant saber rattling session in just the past few months and is a pretty accurate description of what they have been doing since they signed the Armistice in 1953. Continue reading

Race Issues Need To Take A Chill Pill

This is one of those regrettable stories… Regrettable for both parties which proceeded to handle it the wrong way:

Supporters of a prominent Harvard University black scholar who was arrested at his own home by police responding to a report of a break-in say he is the victim of racial profiling.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing “two black males with backpacks on the porch,” with one “wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

“Why, because I’m a black man in America?” Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

Gates — the director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — initially refused to show the officer his identification, but then gave him a Harvard University ID card, according to police. Continue reading

Preservation Of Cultural For Social Harmony & Individuality

 NOTE: this is long. You might just want to skim each paragraph or simply type “tl;dr” and get on with your life.

In the efforts for the modernization of our political system and the dispensation of human rights to all parties of our nation we underwent a dramatic shift in the way that we view politics and one another. In no way was it negative that we sought out new ways to empower new portions of our society, in fact, if we had not done so we would have alienated entire segments of our society that are not only productive and fruitful to us but also contribute to our culture by making it in some senses more diverse.

However, one of the wrongs of this movement was the way in which we placed blame on the majority of our culture; it was felt that there was a basic human kindness lacking in the hearts of the people which prevented the equality of women and minorities which is way too base and inaccurate of an opinion. The result of this ill thought out ascribing of wrongs to the majority of culture has resulted in a sense of white guilt that has been brought upon much of the society to the extent that we have troubles properly viewing the Anglo-American and Western European heritage without thinking of the perceived evil which caused discrepancies along racial and gender lines. We have developed a general disdain for our own traditional culture because we have viewed that as the primary cause of racism as opposed to viewing our innate human nature as the responsible agent of inequality.

The fact is that societies pass through certain stages — due to the labor market of the time such things as serfdom, indentured servitude and even slavery were established and labor was also divided along gender lines. As the male possesses more physical strength inherently he was given the role of hard labor and the woman relegated to the home; the woman had no inherent income for chores within the home and thus was economically powerless while the male was empowered by the pay he received. Naturally, the society was divided between the Haves (rich white males), the Have-a-Littles (poor white males) and the Have-Nots (indentured servants, slaves, women).

This system did not exist because of the culture — it existed because of economic divisions and the natural ability that humans have to ignore the suffering of others at their convenience.

By no means was there anything inherently more rotten about white, Western culture that caused women and minorities to be repressed but rather the economic hardships of the time called for divions of labor that in hindsight were cruel.

However, one can look at history and note that all cultures and all people have discriminated on basis of race or ethnic group and have subjugated women. There is nothing unique in the European and American heritage that caused these injustices. Continue reading

Recommendations For Public Bathroom Defecation

A lot of people ask me for advice on a broad range of topics. I have led a very full life and have been able to explore many different social situations. Just last week, my Israeli friend Gilad “War Angel” Givon sent me a message with a sad story. Apparently, Gilad was on a hot date at a restaurant and while defecating in the toilet stall he was letting out a series of short, bursting fart noises (‘machine gun farts,’ if you will) which caused a commotion in the men’s commode. Subsequently, the waiter came out laughing and told the story to another waiter and his hot date overheard this and became embarrassed that it was Gilad.

I want to help Gilad with his problem as I have been in similar situations. In 2005 in San Jose, California I had some enormous defecation issues at the Six Flags where I was trapped defecating loudly and humiliatingly in a packed bathroom. After that day, I vowed never to be unprepared for these situations and I began coming up with some of the most effective tactics for public bathroom defecation without the humilitiation. They are listed below: Continue reading