Monthly Archives: October 2009

Tunisian President Reelected W/ Only 89% Of Vote

It is amazing how these guys are able to keep it up so long:

 President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia was re-elected for a fifth term with 89 percent of the vote — his weakest performance yet, but more than enough to show his solid grip on the nation.

The results announced by the Interior Ministry on Monday from Sunday’s voting reflect timid gestures toward Ben Ali’s rivals in this year’s race to lead this Mediterranean vacation haven.

The Obama administration expressed concern about how recent elections have been held in Tunisia. Continue reading

French Branch Of Scientology Convicted Of Fraud

It is always good news when people crackdown on this bizarre cult. They do not use religion as some positive expression but as a money making machine.

The French branch of the Church of Scientology was convicted of fraud and fined nearly $900,000 on Tuesday by a Paris court. But the judges did not ban the church entirely, as the prosecution had demanded, saying that a change in the law prevented such an action for fraud. The church said it would appeal.

The verdict was among the most important in several years to involve the group, which is regarded by the Internal Revenue Service as a religion in the United States but has no similar legal protection in France. It is considered a sect here, where it says it has some 45,000 adherents, out of some 12 million worldwide. It was the first time here that the church itself had been tried and convicted, as opposed to individual members.

The case was brought by two former members who said they were pushed into paying large sums of money in the 1990s, pressed to sign up for expensive “purification courses” and harassed to buy a variety of vitamins and other forms of pharmaceuticals, plus electronic tests to measure spiritual progress. One woman said she had been pressed into spending more than $30,000. Continue reading

Ch. 1 Of Something Else

This is the product of a strange idea I have had for a few days about a love story meant to capture some of my ideals and messages in the context of my life in 2006. It probably will not continue and will most likely die after this post, as most things go, but I would like to chronicle it amongst the ruins of my other literary ambitions.

It is fictional and currently ambiguous. But I will put it up because I do not care if you do not understand, and if I cannot share these things with others I would just be another self-conscious person bottled up and repressed, stamping out any spark that might grow within myself out of a bizarre sense of shame.

I make things public because I never want to be alone.

I looked in her sad eyes, but my eyes were bright. I was thrilled for once to see somebody feel with all of their heart.  Cold is cold and it makes me feel alone. Hot is hot and it makes me feel close. Tears were passing down her cheeks. My eyes were bright.

“But isn’t that what it is all about?” I asked in a voice that was loud with alcohol.

“What? It’s about this?”

“Yeah. Isn’t life about yourself, your own way, your own path? Isn’t this what you want?”

“But I do not want to be alone and lonely and…” Her voice choked for a second, a whimpering sound of overcoming sadness, vocalized strongly. The pain sounded amplified beyond reason. “I want to be happy.” She broke into the sad sobbing that only drunks and bereaved women are capable of. She was both.

“You will always be happy if you…” I lost my words and waited for a long time. Maybe it was twenty seconds. But who is counting? “You’ll always be happy if you…” I realized I was not lost for words. I was just lost. I guess no one has the answer to, ‘You will always be happy if…’ It’d be the best jeopardy question since the ones that are about obscure details of Roman history.

She put my head on my shoulder and I worried about her, and I worried about the potential of snot smearing my jacket.

She was short and had chubby legs, black hair, full lips, a stomach that went a bit over her belt line and hands that felt like cobwebs.

“Genyang jookgo shippo.” It sounds better in Korean to say ‘I just want to die.’ She grabbed at my collar and it felt strange to me. Part of me thought about her desperation and sadness, her eternal despair, and part of me felt like falling in love again.

“No, you don’t want to die. There are a lot of good bands you haven’t heard. A lot of good movies you haven’t watched.  You still haven’t even eaten Indian food and, my God, you’ll never be the same after that.” She laughed slightly, against her will, at my words meant for cheering up. She grabbed me tighter and blubbered longer. We sat in silence for a while.

“You’re OK, now, it’s OK. We got punk shows to go to. We got music to make and to hear. We got everything.” She shuttered at my words and wept louder.

“Nobody likes me.” She.

“I like you.” I.

“No one else likes me.” She.

“Jesus likes you.” I.

“Jesus is dead.” Her.

“I like you.” I guess that’s what you say in these times. She cried harder. I guess I am not as good as Jesus. Or. Something. Else.

“Why, why?” The words were separated and short and they struck hard at the very soul, in that voice punctuated by sorrowful sobs and the terror of despair.

“It’s not your fault. It’s just life.” She was silent at this. I guessed I should add more. “Sometimes you feel confused about… The… People around you.” More sobs. “You loved him, and you hated him, and now he is gone, and… That’s life.”

“I loved my father.”

“I know.”

“I hated my father.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

“I want my father.”

“Yes.”

I let her weep until her breathing slowed and her eyes dried, until her heaving body became docile. Then I didn’t know what to do for a while. I contemplated what to say. I felt her cold fingers clutching at my collar, brushing my neck, my skin turning to goose bumps. The most confusing moment in your life is when you mix someone else’s sadness and despair with your empathy and romance.

Desperation breeds a sense of hope. Hope breeds a sense of Romance. Romance breeds a sense of Love. Love eventually gives birth to a variety of emotions that are so much like love, but so much unlike love, and so much like pain and so much like happiness and so much like a person who gets joy out of cutting themselves. It hurts to put knife to skin, but it thrills you and the pain is a release and the sight of blood, your own blood, dripping down an arm is like art in a museum. It produces a cold thrill, but a real thrill. The body is relaxed and, I don’t know, pained? Hurt? But relaxed.

But anyways.

I thought a while, and then I said:

“Let’s go to my house.”  I figured an invite was in order. No one wants to keep drinking in a park when everyone has seen them weep like an infant.

“OK.”

The cab ride was odd. I kept an arm around her, her head lowered so no one could see her face or her heart pouring out through crocodile tears. The cab driver had a cassette sticking out of the player, which I knew must be the happy sounds of Bbongjjak music,

“What singer is that?” I asked.

“Kim Yongyim.” I smiled. She is a pretty good singer. God bless 50 year old men who know their Golden Oldies.

“Play it, please, sir.” And so he played it. We had small talk for 30 minutes about old singers and old songs, and old times and old things and old everything and families and politics and history and we became friends and he turned off the Taxi meter when it hit 20,000 Won and said ‘the rest is on me.’

And the rest was on him when I handed him two 10,000 won notes with Saejong’s stoic pose on them. As we stood in front of the Burger King that pollutes my neighborhood her bloodshod eyes found mine.

“Are we here?”

“Yes, we’ve arrived.” I said, with an impudent smile. She looked me in the eyes like she wanted to kiss me and I looked away.

I thought about giant buildings and open fields and eternal love and what if Star Trek was the future? while we walked to my house.

When we got there I was abruptly aware of the fact that I am  5 years older and she is 5 years younger, and that my house is dirty, and that I am too old for this, and she is too young for this, and that YouTube tends to load really fast at 2 AM so it’d be cool to watch a video of men fighting each other or punks playing music.

It took us a good 3 minutes to remove our boots, mine 12 eyelets high and hers 15; when she was done taking them off she grabbed my collar and tried to kiss me and then started crying with her wet face pressed against my neck.

“Let’s watch a movie.” I said. I borrowed the film Alexander from a friend. Fuck YouTube.

“OK.”

We watched Alexander. She fell asleep when Alexander fought the big battle against the Persians. I fell asleep after he fought the Indians with the giant elephants that struck terror into my soul.

We woke up and ate Ramyeon from the same pot while watching fight videos on YouTube in an unkempt house, and it felt like it was an awkward night but with a fresh start in the morning. She looked in my eyes a lot, and her eyes were full of the emotions I dread most — caring, hoping, loving emotions that spell “PAIN” if you put them all together, and spell “DISASTER” if you look at them from afar.

Her eyes were like a winter afternoon, just like every hopeful girl in her youth.

She didn’t know that it gets dark and even colder by 6 PM on a winter evening.

An Inflexible Man Is A Disciple Of Death

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plats are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

(Lao-Tzu, Tao Teh Ching, Ch. 76)

It’s sometime after 2 AM and a punk band is blasting loud, raucous noises at Korea/Japan Oi! Fest 2009. Suddenly, one of my good friends jumps off from backstage and grabs my newly met Japanese mate by the arm and shoves him across the room, grabbing his arm and leading him towards the door yelling.  The Japanese punk is small and confused, a hurt look on his face, and the Korean tall and intimidating. Before I know what I am doing my feet are carrying me across the floor as fast as they can and I softly grab both of them on the arm and put my hands comfortingly on their shoulders.

“What’s wrong?”

“He is putting his arm around my girl,” the Korean says, and starts angrily telling me the details. I whisper in his ear that the other fellow is from Japan and does not know who is who, he is drunk and having a good time. I saw the incident… It was nothing more than punks pulling each other close together to shout lyrics into an outstretched microphone. I do not blame him for overreacting, because what good is that?

“I’ll handle it. Don’t worry.” I bring the Japanese fellow outside. I see his eyes are a little wet.

“Now… Korea will hate Japan. I am so sorry.” He actually begins speaking in Japanese, so distressed is he, and I offer every calming word I can and put an arm about him and tell him how we are all good mates and that everyones drunk and hotheaded, no one means anything bad. Don’t take it hard. Next year I will be in Tokyo at the Festival and so will the big Korean dude, and we’ll all drink some beers and have a laugh.

Because both parties were soft and supple and ready to give ground, peace was preserved.

Later I run up to him and smile and see a few words from a Japanese children’s song someone taught me once so everyone will smile at my horrid pronunciation and slaughtering of the lyrics; they join in and I sing a syllable slower than them to get it right while we all have a laugh.

I have always viewed these as moments from God, that I was put on this Earth to do similar things whenever I could see to it.  For blessed are the peacemakers.

I am in debt to a dozen guys who diffused similar situations with me, who guided me and took care of me when I was to come to blows or self-implode.

When you are young and hot headed you take every opportunity to fight; then you get a little older and you take every opportunity to make peace. Some fights can’t be avoided — that is why police and pro soccer exist. But for everything else, there is compassion and friendship. Before you go to any fight, always retreat a yard with open hands and an open mind or you are the disciple of death, inflexible and immobile, bullheaded and ignorant like an animal who knows not the words or the ways to preserve harmony and peace. We are different from the beasts of the Earth because we can see past territorial disputes.

We have to take each moment we can to be flexible and supple.”Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.”

You’ll find these moments scattered through your life — crying phone calls from folks who need to meet before they explode; quiet, friendless and solemn kids at a punk show who need someone to offer them a sip of beer and some kind words, ask them questions about who they are and what they like, show them we are here with open arms for anyone. Soft and embracing.

We have to all make an effort to forget about ourselves and not be so unyielding. Pride is a sin because it is what makes some of us fight people over no good reason or remain aloof from someone who could use a friend and a helping hand. Lao-tzu also said in Chapter 66:

All streams flow to the sea
because it is lower than they are.
Humility gives it its power.

If we are not presumptuous and overbearing, the people will come to us naturally, drawn to our unimposing and welcoming person.  In our humility, we will become the most respected and beloved people.

A proud person demands respect. A humble person receives it.  A proud person puffs him up to conceal his emptiness. A humble person lowers himself so that others flow to him as a river and fill him with their Spirit and Life.

I had a lot of lessons reenforced last weekend, and foremost is that I can trust these friends of mine. When it looked like they were to become unyielding and immature, a brief pause made them yielding and flexible disciples of life.

By burying their pride, they became my pride. By choosing not to push issues about respect, they earned my respect.

I will end it with a little more from my philosophical hero:

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

(Ch. 78)

Go Forth Into The Storm, Young Girls

I  have been bombarded with unwanted  ads, lately. I cannot look up at the screen in the subway stations looking as to when the Sub will arrive without seeing a scantily clad woman dancing provocatively advertising a new alcoholic beverage. I see women on TV saying,

“I hate full-moon faces… I drink Oksusu Suyeong Tea so I can have a V-line chin!”

The messages are clear and direct, and they pull no punches over here:

Women should be thin and beautiful and concerned with their looks; they should drink tea to be thinner and they should buy beauty products to enhance their looks. A woman’s worth is in her exterior and not in the content of her character.
It goes on, and on, and the message never changes. Men face similar messages but they are far toned down in comparison…

I just wonder what these young girls must think, who are born with the beautiful, round faces and have the chubby legs and slanted eyes the Korean media so abhors, with the pimples of youth blossoming on their faces. They are told once every 20 or 30 minutes on television that they are ugly, and they must skulk around the halls of their schools with a sense of shame that they are not as beautiful as the other girls.

There is a total lack of messages which glorify the inner beauty of women or their minds and this damages the mental health of everyone.

It is sad to think that there are smart young men who will not date the smart young women because they are embarrassed that they do not have V-line chins and they do not look good in short skirts.

I never felt so bad in my life then when I was sitting next to a pretty, dumb girl holding her hand while talking to a comparatively “ugly” woman about my philosophical hero, Lao-tzu, and how we “should not be the slaves of other’s opinions.” I was wishing I was holding her hand. But I was a slave to other’s opinions about who I chose for my lover.

I got to say –  wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I want you to go forth and conquer in the face of shallow and baseless materialism.

Overweight girls, girls with full moon faces and chubby legs and slanted eyes and nappy hair and noses too big and noses too small and soft chins and pronounced chins and bad skin and small breasts and everything else that the commercials berate you for, go forth, into the storm, as soldiers in a battle for the state of your Spirit and the state of your Soul.

I hope you discover a passion which distracts you from the horrors of a superficial world that gives you no recognition. I hope you find an outlet that makes you happy and cultivate your mind and your integrity all your days. And I do hope that one day a woman’s Person is valued over her Body.

There is nothing sadder than a young girl going to a plastic surgery clinic to spend her money trying to look good for other people’s standards. She thinks her worth is in the flesh of her body.

There is nothing more beautiful than a chubby girl in shabby clothing with a tattoo on her wrist that says “Truth,” reading a philosophy book on a 7 PM subway. She knows the worth of herself is the state of her mind and the state of her spirit.

One day, we will have a world where women who spend more money on books and music and art and sports and fun than on beauty products and fashion will be the ones the guys want to talk to.

May God forgive us for teaching our young women that they are pieces of meat and not their inner selves.

Health Care Could Top $1 Trillion

There are many good reasons as to why we should support health care for the underprivileged. In fact, it is our duty as a civilized society to insure that no one who is impoverished or otherwise disadvantaged is left to die because they cannot afford health care.

However, looking at these numbers, there has to be a better way:

Health care legislation taking shape in the House carries a price tag of at least $1 trillion over a decade, significantly higher than the target President Barack Obama has set, congressional officials said Friday as they struggled to finish work on the measure for a vote early next month.

Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates the bill’s true cost by $150 billion or more. That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more, they added.

ABC News

That is why I generally support the notion that we should extend Medicare/Medicaid to cover more disadvantaged people as opposed to coming up with the new plan that Obama has, which further empowers the government over our lives.

해커 친구 구함…

ㅋㅋ — 너무 좋은 것 같아.  ^^

평소 해킹 기술에 관심이 많던 서울의 한 사립대 정치외교학과 졸업생 이모(27)씨는 지난 2월 자주 찾던 인터넷 카페에서 ‘버프슈트(Burp Suite)’ 프로그램을 무료로 구했다.

버프슈트는 전산망 내 패킷(정보조각)의 유통량 등을 점검하는 관리자용 프로그램이지만, 보안 상태가 나쁠 경우 패킷이 담고 있는 내용도 알 수 있어 단순한 수준의 해킹에 악용되기도 한다.

이씨는 호기심에 이 학교 학생들이 수강신청, 학점 확인 등을 위해 자주 드나드는 학내 사이트에 접속한 뒤 버프슈트를 가동했다. 놀랍게도 전산망 관리자의 아이디와 비밀번호가 흘러나왔다. 지극히 초보적인 해킹에도 뚫릴 만큼 대학 전산망의 보안은 허술하기 짝이 없었다.

전산망 관리자에겐 학점 내역을 수정할 수 있는 권한이 있었다. 이씨는 졸업을 앞둔 친구, 후배들의 부탁을 받고 이들의 성적을 손봤다. 공무원 시험 준비로 학과 공부에 소홀했던 임모(29)씨를 위해 듣지도 않은 과목에서 A학점을 받은 것처럼 꾸몄다. 또 후배 황모(22)씨가 이수한 과목 중 9개의 학점을 올려 평점 3.60이던 성적을 4.01로 높였다.

한국일보

미국에 자주 비슷한 사태 있는데 보통 해커들이 개인 정보만 찾다. 이렇게 성적을변할수 있도록 아직안 했다.

고양이 소녀

슬프다…

한 중국소녀가 회색 털이 몸을 뒤덮여 놀라움을 주고 있다.

영국 매체 더선은 10월 21일(현지시간) 온몸에 회색 털이 자라고 있는 일명 ‘고양이 소녀’ 중국 광둥성(廣東省) 펑카이(封開)의 소녀 리샤오위엔(6)을 소개했다.

보 도에 따르면 리샤오위엔은 몇개월 전 까지만 해도 등에 작은 점이 생겼을 뿐이었지만 그 점에서 털이 자라나 현재는 이 회색털이 등을 뒤덮을만큼 자라났다. 네티즌들은 리샤오위앤의 사진을 보며 “합성 아니냐” “믿기지 않는다”며 놀라움을 표하고 있다.

그녀의 아버지는 “의사가 태어날 때 생기는 모반(母斑) 즉, 점일 뿐이라고 했는데 결국 털이 나기 시작했고 등을 뒤덮을 지경”이라며 “아무도 딸과 놀지 않으려 하고 딸을 고양이 소녀라 부르고 있다”며 괴로움을 토로했다.

joins

인생동안 그런 병이 있으면 어떻게 할 수 있냐?

Griffin To Appear On Question Time

This is one of those funny incidences that demonstrate the hypersensitive environment in Britain to anyone who speaks out against immigration and has a vaguely nationalistic tone:

The BBC‘s decision to allow the British National Party leader Nick Griffin on Question Time was described as “bonkers” by a well known presenter today.

The senior presenter, who did not want to be identified, said that the decision had come about because of the BBC’s attitude to fairness and predicted that Griffin would create problems on the panel show.

“I thought [the Question Time decision] was bonkers. The problem is he is so careful with his language,” the presenter said.

(so the real problem is that he does not say what you want him to say; he makes proper arguments that you have to confront and you are forced to deal with views that are opposed to yours drastically but well thought out. This is like saying Obama is secretly a Communist who ‘is so careful with his language.’ You only reveal yourself as a bias idiot with language like this.)

“Because we have all been at the BBC so long, you get this fairness chip implanted. [Management thinks] ‘Isn’t it better to lift up the rock and let the bug crawl out?'”

(That is, if there is a bug to crawl out. People have found a lot of interesting things besides bugs under rocks — it used to be a good way to find keys to open doors.)

The BBC insider said they feared that Griffin could even find favour with the audience. “You can imagine him talking about British soldiers as ‘our boys’ and getting a round of applause,” they added.

The Guardian

Heaven forbid he goes on TV and presents himself well and you are incapable of dismissing him as a racist, your traditional response to anything that does not agree with your bias, super-liberal view.

“2013년 적십자 1,000억 원 적자”

세계 경제위기가 우리 생각보다 더 심각하다:

대한적십자의 병원 사업이 현재 경영 상태를 유지하면 4년 후인 오는 2013년에는 1,000억 원이 넘는 적자를 기록할 것이라는 지적이 나왔습니다.

적십자가 한나라당 심재철 의원에게 제출한 자료를 보면 적십자는 지난해 누적 적자 600억 원을 기록한 데 이어 올해 당기적자 66억 원, 내년 78억 원, 2011년 90억 원 등으로 오는 2013년에는 누적 적자가 1,052억 원을 기록할 것으로 전망됐습니다.

특히, 비급여 수익 비중이 일반 종합병원 평균 대비 40% 이상 낮은 의원급 수준으로 의료 수익 창출 기반이 취약한 것으로 나타났습니다.

심 의원은 현재 적십자 산하 6개 병원 가운데 거창과 통영 병원을 제외한 서울과 대구, 인천, 상주 병원은 수익성 측면에서 유지가 힘든 상황이라면서 장기적인 수익성 개선 대책이 필요하다고 말했습니다.

YTN

지금 우리의 복지 시설까지 모두다 위기를 당하고 있다.특히 모든 노동 계급에게 큰 총격이다. 적십자의 병원들이 수익에 대해 생각해야하면 쉽게 의료를 받을수 없다… 그리고 적십자의 병원들이 문을 닫으면 안되다. 🙁

특히 한국의 고령화 사회에 이런 문제가 쉽게 해결할 수 없고 이대통령의행정에게 큰 문제 되거다.

특히 이명박의 병원 민영화 운동에 재미 있는 소식이다. 이런 적십자 병원들이 민영화되면 한국의 의료제도에 대해 걱정하다. 내가 민영화를 지원하는데 국제경제 위기동안 민영화 되면 특히 가난한 사람들에게부정적 영향을 미치겠다.

또한 적십자가 원래 복지 활동이라서 지금 수익에 대해 생각하고 구제를 빨리 없어지겠다.대한적십자가 자선 활동하지 않으면사람들에게 어떤 짓인가?