Tuesday, December 14, 2010

O Tuesdaybaum

A photo essay of what is left of Yeonpyeong Island. Amid the rubble, one can see a bumper sticker saying "I Korea", an abandoned dog, a sullied photo of the late John Paul II and a crucifix, even a handprint. North Korea's response to this atrocity is this:

North Korea warned Monday that U.S.-South Korean cooperation could bring a nuclear war to the region, as the South began artillery drills amid lingering tension nearly three weeks after the North's deadly shelling of a South Korean island.

I do wish someone would tell that fat dictator and his Chinese  owners to shove it. South Korea should be armed to the teeth and prepared to retaliate if need be.

Related: Korean cardinal blames North Korean leaders for misery.

(Sidebar: you've got the Church mad!)

China is a lying sack of sorghum (that's right- sorghum!):

A Chinese envoy on Thursday rejected calls for Beijing to curb North Korea made by the foreign ministers of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan earlier this week after the North's artillery attack on Yeongpyeong Island. Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said, "It's unreasonable for South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to ask China to use its influence over the North."...
"China does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries. That means we will say what needs to be said to our ally [North Korea] but will never interfere in its internal affairs," he added. 

Oh really?

If you think your job is tough:

The number of school classes being closed because attendance rates are below 70% and those members of the teaching profession quitting in order to find another means of supporting themselves is increasing in North Korea one year after the currency reform.

“We don’t get paid and there’s no guarantee we’ll get our redundancy money either so I quit teaching in 2004 after thirty years in the job,” said Lee Jong-hee, a teacher from Chongjin. “The teaching industry was hit really hard from 94 to 98 and now after the currency reform it’s got tough again,” she said.

A lack of teachers and students is the biggest issue according to Lee. Teachers are going so far as to ask students merely to turn up to the first class of the day so that they can register them as present in an effort to boost attendance rates.

Some teachers are getting together ten or so students whose personal circumstances are comparatively good for private lessons in the afternoons as they struggle to make a living. “Being a teacher has come to be about focusing on the better off students in order to survive,” she reported.

“Parents aren’t even registering their kids in school from first grade,” Lee added. Parents are supposed to enroll their children in school from the age of seven. It is not just that their circumstances don’t allow them to register them but that they are losing sight of the importance of education. “It’s called free education but there’s school uniform to buy and we have to fill the school bag with books. The government is not putting in a single textbook. We’ve got to use all our own money,” she added.

A bit of sad news:

A 23-year old, poverty-stricken young woman who appeared in newspapers and on TV around the world when she was filmed by a cameraman inside North Korea died of starvation in October, it has been revealed.

The woman, who appeared in a KBS special program, “North Korea’s Third Generation Succession: Who Is Kim Jong Eun?” alongside global media including the BBC(UK) and Asahi TV(Japan) amply demonstrated the dire straits in which some North Korean people live. Reduced to rags following the death of both her parents, she said she wandered the fields looking for grasses.

Speaking with the cameraman, who asked what she planned to do with the grass, the girl, who admitted that she also slept outside, said, “I’m going to eat it.”

Speaking with The Daily NK today, Asia Press said, “According to Kim Dong Cheol, who interviewed the girl in South Pyongan Province while he was doing some research inside North Korea in June, she died on or around October 20th.”

“It was discovered that, without a home, she had been wandering in the market and on the streets, before dying in a corn field,” the Asia Press spokesperson explained, “Since then was harvest time, she went there to eat corn but seems to have died of starvation.”

I, for one, shall never miss the morally corrupt Kim dynasty and its fat dictators.  (hat tip: OFK)


Reading to your premature children is beneficial:

It appears that reading to your children cannot start too early in life, even if the children are the smallest, most vulnerable of newborns.

A new study from the McGill University Health Centre found that parents who read picture books to premature babies in the neo-natal intensive-care unit felt a closer bond to their offspring in that challenging environment, and were twice as likely to continue reading to the infants after they got home.

The study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics looked at 59 parents who were part of a new project to read to children in the NICU. Parents of such babies often have difficulty bonding with newborns who are surrounded by high-tech machinery, sometimes for weeks on end. Just under 70% of parents reported that the reading helped them feel closer to their children, and 56% of them said they read three or more times to the  babies after leaving hospital – twice the rate in a control group that did not read in the NICU.

David Suzuki has a piece in the Toronto Star about the climate change talks in Cancun.

Here’s the link but you can guess what he has to say: The Conservatives don’t care about global warming; the government’s in bed with the oil industry; Canada is a laughingstock around the world; green jobs are the future of the economy …

It’s all familiar stuff and it would be silly to expect anything different from Mr. Suzuki. But if he’s hoping to get his message to anyone beyond the core of true believers who already take his word as holy scripture, he should probably update some of his arguments.

For instance:

1. The government cares more about the oil industry than about climate change. 

When are folks like Mr. Suzuki and the climate industry going to learn that shutting down industries and costing tens of thousands of people their jobs is not viewed by most people as desirable, even in pursuit of a noble goal? Poll most Canadians and the majority will agree that reducing greenhouse gases is a good thing. Ask them if they’d trade their livelihood for it, and their opinion changes. If the Suzuki-ites want to get any traction they have to get realistic: working with the oil industry to dramatically reduce emissions is reasonable and achievable. Suggesting people risk their homes and incomes for it is not.

What's all this talk about common sense and reason? That's a bunch of tree-hugging hippy crap!

A national organization representing Ukrainian-Canadians wants the federal government to step in and switch some of the people deciding the content, layout and governance of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. 

In a report issued Saturday, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress says the museum's board and committees are "dominated by friends and supporters of the Asper Foundation" and lack objectivity. 

The Winnipeg-based congress posted its report after reading in the Winnipeg Free Press about the museum's final content advisory committee report. The committee calls for only two permanent galleries in the museum: one for the Holocaust and the other for Canada's indigenous people. 

The Congress wrote to several Cabinet ministers to complain that the genocide-famine in Soviet Ukraine and the national internment of Canadians during the First and Second World wars aren't getting permanent exhibits.

Who decides what is an exhibit or not? How is such a decision made? Why does this come at a cost of $160 million?

The Russian Armed Forces will receive more than 1,300 types of weaponry in line with a draft arms procurement program that runs until 2020, Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, said Monday. "We will need to set up new or expand the existing production lines to manufacture 220 of the new types of weaponry," he told a meeting on the program, which is expected to be adopted by the yearend, RIA Novisti reported. More than $645-billion will be earmarked for weapons procurement, three times more than in the existing program. Up to 11% of military equipment will be upgraded every year, increasing its modern weaponry to 70% of its armaments by 2020.

Russia, the backer of Iran and North Korea, and signatory of the nuclear arms reduction pact. That Russia.

A massive race-tinged riot outside the Kremlin walls has exposed the problems Russia faces as it prepares to present a modern new face to the world at the 2018 World Cup. 

President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday's clash between the police and some 5,000 ultranationalists and football hooligans threatened the stability of the entire state...

Some analysts tie the initial rise of xenophobia to the first presidency of Vladimir Putin and his vows to wipe out the Islamist guerrillas in their "outhouse".

No. Russia has often had a problem with xenophobia.

The family of the Stockholm suicide bomber blamed Britain Monday night for his transformation from an "ordinary teenager" to an al-Qaeda fanatic. 

Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly showed little interest in religion as he was growing up in Sweden, instead channelling his energies into sports and parties. But after he began attending Bedfordshire University in Luton "everything changed," as he became a strict Muslim with increasingly extremist views. 

On Saturday, he blew himself up in a street full of Christmas shoppers in Sweden's first suicide attack, after recording a message that promised to kill "your children, daughters, brothers and sisters," partly in revenge for the country's supporting role in the war in Afghanistan. 

Abdulwahab's radicalization during his time in Luton once again raised questions over whether British universities are doing enough to stamp out the recruiting of extremists on campus.

Great Britain, like Sweden, reached out to the Muslim community after the July seventh attacks because- as everyone knows- they brought the attacks on themselves. You can't keep eating pork and drinking alcohol forever.

This is another case of "woe-is-me" victmisation. It's all too common. I don't think many Europeans or their governments have the fortitude to deal with this kind of violence. That, however, is only part of the problem. The real problem is individuals who choose to be emotionally-backward and kill others.

When is two too many? Never according to these letter-writers:

I am the grandmother of fraternal twins. It wasn't easy for my daughter-in-law to become pregnant, or carry "two" for many weeks. The birth was early and difficult. The boys' early years were demanding, and now and my son and his wife are facing the prospect of putting two children through college at the same time.
Not for a minute can I imagine the world without my grandsons. The rewards gained from watching these two individuals grow and thrive are incalculable. To have lost one of the boys to reduction would have been a tragedy too overwhelming to contemplate. 

Would you rather have a twin or a mother who killed your twin? Before you answer, consider that she only "wanted to give you the things you need to become the best adult you can become ... given the cost of raising children today."
Indeed the commodification of children is living proof of the superior wisdom of the Church's teaching against in-vitro fertilization. 

Technically, he is correct. Just saying.


Anonymous said...

Concerning the "When is a university TOO Asian" issue & MacLean's article; I am all for a "meritocracy" in which the best qualified person reaches the coveted goal, educational, career or otherwise. As an educator at an international school, I can't help but feel that the real issue is not addressed; THOUSANDS OF ASIAN STUDENTS GAIN SEATS IN OUR TOP UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS BY CHEATING.
That is not an opinion, a racist remark, or even a suspicion. It is an indisputable fact. Thousands or these international students have "bought credits" at bogus private schools that sell high marks for $ to students who do not do any schoolwork. My own school is in "competition" with these criminal enterprises that put thousands of worthless, unqualified scumbags in Canadian universities every year. My school has, at times, seen a mass exodus of students who might have earned 60%, been given 70% and complained that they didn't get 95%. This means that they don't just cheat on an individual level, but benefit from "organized cheating", a new, predominantly Chinese form of organized crime.
The driven, goal-oriented, exceedingly hardworking Asian student? > Not ALL of them. I wonder if Harvard, Stanford, Duke, and other top U.S. schools know about this problem. It seems a safe assumption that they are cheating their way into U of Chicago and M.I.T. just as they are doing into U of T, or at least trying to do so. Given that there are only 3-4 dozen universities in Canada, the sheer number of Asian students who enter them from credit mills is not insignificant in its impact. I also know that at least half of the universities in Canada, including U of Toronto, have been made aware of the problem and simply declined to comment or acknowledge its existence. $ talks even if it was raised from sweatshop owners.
Yes, the issue is the need to maintain a "meritocracy", but not in exactly the way the article suggested. Too bad the comments section at the MacLean's article is closed.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Haven't you heard? Plagiarism is accepted in Ontario academic institutions. Cheating is a part of the educational system all over the board, just like censorship and Israel Apartheid Week.
That which you speak of is just a symptom.

Anonymous said...

Just a symptom? Huge numbers of unqualified foreigners are offered university admission (and, not coincidentally, the opportunity to pay exorbitant international fees) every year. Universities of Toronto and Waterloo alone would count for many thousands every year. I can name at least one credit mill that has over 1,500 students, at any given time, and it is only one of many. Pretty big "symptom", wouldn't you say?


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Who allows it, is my point.

Anonymous said...

Can we only hug "real" monkeys on Monkey Day. What about teddy monkeys?

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Especially teddy monkeys as they have so much to teach us and so much love to give.