Archive for the Politics Category

Dad’s brain

Posted in Personal, Politics, USA on August 5, 2009 by Elephant Talk

I’ve shifted into the mellow part of my summer in the US. I’m at my folks’ house in California’s central valley, that vast expanse of farmland that provides most of the nation with fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Right now, I’m sitting at my dad’s computer workstation, typing up this post. On the outside, my dad is a pretty mellow guy with an odd sense of humor. But inside he’s a rabid political activist with no real practical means of getting it out of his system. So he plasters the walls and bookshelves with all kinds of interesting stuff:

Continue reading

Eight days of music

Posted in Culture, Expat life, Korea, Music, PIFF, Politics on June 29, 2009 by Elephant Talk

This sounds fantastic. An eight-day festival of international music.

The festival is set to be staged for eight days in late August at Busan Cultural Center and several other venues, with the city-run philharmonic orchestra performing curtain-raisers in collaboration with world-renowned musicians, he said.

A variety of fringe music events under consideration are a concert at Haeundae Beach, the largest summer resort in Korea; the Moonlight Music Station in Jangsan; a temple music concert at Beomeosa Temple; a Beach Music Festival at Gwangalli Beach; and Classical Music at Chungnyeol Shrine, the official said.

So, kind of a PIFF for music. If they do this right, it could be a real blast. With all their boastings of being a film center, the city organizers actually have been successful in putting Busan on the cinema map. Do the same for music, and Busan could really take off as an arts center in Asia. Everything in Korea is so Seoul-centric. This could help spread things out even more. Back it up with some business support for more studios and facilities and you could start pulling some creative jobs down here. Then everyone wouldn’t have to bolt for Seoul once they graduate college.

Someday I’ll be mayor of this town. My first order of business will be to build a massive underground parking structure in the Kyungdae area, close off all those little alleys to cars, and pave the whole area with bricks. My second order of business will be to take that newly built area kitty-corner from the Megamart in Namcheon, that vast plot of land by the canal there, and support a open-air business park with upper-scale outdoor restaurants. Eat a nice steak, listen to some live jazz, and look out at the lights of the Gwangan Bridge.

I guess that’s all Dayeon-dong. Maybe I’ll start with city council.

Twelve years of hell

Posted in Culture, Korea, News, Politics, USA on June 8, 2009 by Elephant Talk

Here’s how cynical I am. When I read about the two American girls sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea, my first thought was, well at least they’ll get a best-selling memoir out of it.

Actually, my first thought was “holy shit.” But it was a photo finish in my mental superhighway. Now I’m thinking Jesus, those poor girls. And wow, North Korea has balls. It’s looking more and more like they want to go to war.

I’d been following this story a little and I thought the regime would set them free. You know, get everyone worried and then at the end, show their benevolence in a goodwill gesture by letting the girls go free. Follow up the screaming and threats with a little surprise empathy. In the propaganda game, it oughta get the world to see that North Korea are not a nation of demons, but live by the rule of law. You know, kind of a good cop bad cop sort of thing.

I mean, really… North Korea knows how U.S. popular culture works. Does Kim Jong-il really want to release these girls after 12 years and expose the world to their stories of horror?

I guess they don’t care. Or they’re not thinking straight. I don’t know which is worse.

***UPDATE:

I should probably read entire articles before I link to them. Toward the bottom, a Korean academic essentially said what I just said:

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University in Seoul, had predicted that Pyongyang would probably free the reporters and treat their release as a goodwill gesture that should be reciprocated with a special U.S. envoy visiting the isolated state.

SoKo’s ex-president Roh is dead

Posted in Film & TV, Korea, News, Politics on May 23, 2009 by Elephant Talk

Some big news today, as former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun apparently killed himself this morning. Reports say he woke up at dawn, climbed a mountain, and threw himself off. Recently he had been the center of a corruption scandal, so suicide seems plausible. But I already hear a few people suggesting he was killed. Who knows? I guess we’ll find out more in the coming days.

It happened in Roh’s hometown of Bongha, which is a village about 20 miles from Busan. I’m trying to imagine if Bill Clinton killed himself. I’d be pretty shocked. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my gig for tonight has been canceled and a lot of places have shut down.

Here’s some video of people mourning his death.

And now, the lyrics of Bjork’s “Hyper-ballad” are running though my head and kind of freaking me out.

Hatred, spoon-fed

Posted in Culture, Film & TV, News, Politics, USA on May 18, 2009 by Elephant Talk

I think I’m better off staying in Korea. America scares me. Still. Maybe now more than ever.

I started making this new Daily Koz TV site part of my regular early morning coffee routine. It’s rotting my brain. This one little looking glass makes it seem as though America is gearing up for full-on armed Civil War.

Before last week I didn’t know who Glenn Beck was. That’s one scary dude. In this clip, he’s basically saying “Buy a gun because the government is coming for you in the same way the Nazis did.” There’s a very thin line between that and calling for assassinations outright. He’s also featured prominently in a 5-minute montage of FOX News on an Obama skewering rampage.

I guess this is another manifestation of the same old story that’s happened throughout history: change giving rise to fear giving rise to desperation. Except these days fear is projected into our homes on a continuous loop. Access to this kind of constant vitriol is still fairly new. So, recently unemployed Joe Dumbshit can sit in his living room with his gun, watch FOX all day long, and slowly build fear upon hatred upon fear upon hatred until he’s insane.

I did enjoy one clip. Keith Olbermann absolutely burying Texas Governor Rick Perry (along with those who voted for him) for not ruling out secession. There’s no fear or hatred in there, just good research and a sharp wit combining into a well-deserved verbal ass-kicking. There is a huge difference between well-constructed commentary and chicken-shit hate-mongering.

But I gotta stop going to that website. I’ll just go back to my relatively tame Google News feed.

I’m way over on the other side of the planet, so what do I know. I hope most of this is being ignored by the vast majority of Americans. It’s the significant minority that worries me.

Let’s build a force field around our souls

Posted in Culture, Film & TV, News, Politics, Technology on May 14, 2009 by Elephant Talk

This guy is clearly an igoramus. But I gotta give him credit for making me laugh. It was not only hilarious but enlightening, showing me why people who love Christ also love killing people.

The new “Star Trek” film shows Captain Kirk’s Starship Enterprise making good use of photon torpedoes and force fields.   So the question comes to mind: Would Israel be safer if it could shoot down enemy missiles and rockets with such photon torpedoes, or block them altogether with a force field?  Of course it would.

The Pope is a dope

Posted in News, Politics on March 18, 2009 by Elephant Talk

Add the Pope to the list of people — including Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh — who need to shut the fuck up.

By telling Africans that condom use exacerbates AIDS, the Pope is encouraging more people to die. It’s that simple. The head of the Catholic Church is advocating manslaughter. Here is a man and a religion so far removed from reality and simple common sense, so cloistered inside its own shell of dogma, that its time to finally render the whole thing irrelevant once and for all. Catholicism is just another of history’s failing power structures trying to hang on by using lies and other means to maintain its ideology. It appears the latest desperate move is to try and round up a new generation of suckers:

With the number of practicing Catholics dwindling in the developed world, Africa is seen as vital to the Church’s future.

In a big surprise, someone I don’t need to tell to shut up is George W. Bush. In a speech in Calgary (an area friendly to the former prez), Bush said:

I’m not going to spend my time criticizing (President Obama). There are plenty of critics in the arena. He deserves my silence. … I love my country a lot more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office.

Wow, maybe the Evildoer in the Bush presidency really was Dick Cheney after all. I wonder what would have happened if Bush had a mind of his own during those eight years.

Actually, I take that back. I don’t want to think about such things.