Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Post

South Korea, mad as hell, not going to take it anymore:

At dawn Friday, South Korean commandos steered their boat to a hijacked freighter in the Arabian Sea. Under covering fire from a destroyer and a Lynx helicopter, they scrambled up a ladder onto the ship, where Somali pirates were armed with assault rifles and anti-tank missiles.

Five hours after the risky rescue began, it was over.

All 21 hostages were freed from the gunfire-scarred freighter. Eight pirates were killed and five were captured in what President Lee Myung-bak called a "perfect operation."

It was a remarkable ending to the daring and rare raid, handing South Korea a stunning success in the battle against pirates who have long tormented shipping in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

Related: Japan, mad as hell, not going to take it anymore but stuck in the mud thanks to six-party dithering:

Japan and South Korea were informed in December that Yaeko Taguchi, a Japanese kidnapped to North Korea, was seen alive in Pyongyang last year along with two South Korean abductees, information that casts doubt on Pyongyang's claim that she died in 1986, government sources said Wednesday.

The information is in line with remarks last August by Hiroshi Nakai, then state minister in charge of the abduction issue, that there was a report of her living in Pyongyang until 2003. But as the latest information includes specific details previously unknown, it is being analyzed by Tokyo and Seoul, they said.

Provided by informed North Korean sources, the account said Taguchi was living in an apartment complex on Changgwang street in Pyongyang's Mangyongdae district and was seen spending time with two South Korean abductees, the sources said.

One of the South Koreans was Ko Sang Mun, a former high school teacher who disappeared from Norway in 1978, and the other is possibly married to Taguchi, they said.

Taguchi was abducted to the North in 1978, and Pyongyang has claimed she married Tadaaki Hara, another Japanese abductee, and died in a traffic accident in 1986.

Also related: China wants North Korean women because it has killed too many of theirs:

North Korea has offered to send 2,000 female workers to work at laminated timber factories in northeastern China as part of increasing economic cooperation between the countries, sources here said Wednesday.

China is awfully good at exploiting North Korean women. What does it say about the mongrels who allow it?

What the hell is he saying?

President Barack Obama claimed the role of champion of US businesses Friday, vowing to slip the economy into "overdrive" and enlisting corporate America in his crusade to create jobs.

Obama named General Electric CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt to head a new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in his latest conciliatory gesture to the business sector following a Republican mid-term election rout.

"The past two years were about pulling our economy back from the brink," Obama said after touring a GE plant in upstate New York, which manufactures hardware for solar, steam and wind power energy industries.

"The next two years, our job now, is putting our economy into overdrive," Obama said, in a thematic shift for his presidency ahead of next week's State of the Union address.

Seriously. Unemployment has been at ten percent and he's been hoodwinked by China the octopus. Talk about being desperate.

What the hell is wrong with Alberta?

If Albertans were inclined to start affirmative action programs for their elected representatives, they could begin with their provincial leaders as easily as anywhere else. 

The number of aboriginals in the Progressive Conservative caucus (one) vastly under-represents the 5% of Albertans identifying as First Nations. There isn't a single Jew. And only 20% of Tory MLAs are women. Voters, however, seem to accept that their government does a reasonable job of representing their various hues, genders and creeds fairly. There certainly haven't been many complaints. 

But Alberta's Education Minister, Dave Hancock, isn't so sure we can expect the same broad-mindedness from the province's school boards. In the process of proposing updates to the Alberta School Act, he has been on the defensive over proposals to give his ministry power to appoint school trustees to traditionally elected boards, when situations warrant. He would, he insists, use the formidable power only for good. 

"Nobody has decided yet that there will be any appointed trustees. What we're talking about is: What's the right kind of governance model which involves all those people whose voices should be heard to ensure that our children get the education they need?" Mr. Hancock has said. 

No, no and no. Sloth and privilege might have been alright in eighteenth century Europe but it is not alright in Canada.

At least it shouldn't be.

Why deprive parents the right to choose representatives they know and trust? If other parties are concerned about representation, they can get themselves elected. Not that it should matter because students everywhere have to prepare for the same job market. This is so-called "good intentions" appointment completely undermines merit and character. This isn't the Halton Catholic School Board, you know.


Ian Thomson moved to a rural homestead in Southern Ontario to lead a quiet life investing in a little fixer-upper. Then his neighbour's chickens began showing up on his property. He warned his neighbour, then killed one of the birds. 

The incident began six years of trouble for Mr. Thomson that culminated early one Sunday morning last August when the 53-year-old former mobile-crane operator woke up to the sound of three masked men firebombing his Port Colborne home. 

"I was horrified," he said. "I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what was happening. I had no idea what was going on." 

So Mr. Thomson, a former firearms instructor, grabbed one of his Smith & Wesson revolvers from his safe, loaded it and headed outside dressed in only his underwear. 

"He exited his house and fired his revolver two, maybe three times, we're not sure. Then these firebombing culprits, they ran off," said his lawyer, Edward Burlew. 

His surveillance cameras caught the attackers lobbing at least six Molotov cocktails at his house and bombing his doghouse, singeing one of his Siberian Huskies. But when Mr. Thomson handed the video footage to Niagara Regional Police, he found himself charged with careless use of a firearm. 

The local Crown attorney's office later laid a charge of pointing a firearm, along with two counts of careless storage of a firearm. The Crown has recommended Mr. Thomson go to jail, his lawyer said.

Singed a husky? Now I'm mad!

We can't let citizens protect themselves lest they decide the police and law are utterly useless in representing their interests.

An aboriginal lawyer says his people will continue to be financially dependent on the federal government until they say no to what he calls federal welfare. Calvin Helin said on Thursday that with aging Canadian Baby Boomers heading into retirement, it is in the best interests of the federal government to help aboriginal people get out of what he calls "undependence." "In 2006, we received $10-billion in transfer payments," said Mr. Helin, author of the bestselling book Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty Through Self-Reliance and his new book The Economic Dependency Trap. "It will soon be $40-billion, when a third of our country is getting ready to retire. The writing is on the wall -- it's simply not sustainable," Mr. Helin told a luncheon meeting of the Frontier Centre.

Thank God somebody said it!

Another riot in Pakistan. Did not see that coming.

It's time to ask people what they really mean. After all, it's ugly enough without the rhetoric. More here.

Related: what he said.

Maybe if they focused on studying things instead of banning free speech:

The next logical step for many after finishing high school is to attend college or university. 

After all, it's tough to get a job with just a high school education. So students save, take out hefty loans and parents drain savings to pursue a degree, but what do students really learn?

A new study out in the U.S. shows the answer is not much.

It found 45 per cent of students show no significant improvement in skills such as critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing during their first two years.

Also, teachers in elementary and secondary schools should get off their collective butts and do what they are paid to do. Parents, start reading to your kids. Make them learn a skill. Schools aren't baby-minding centres, you know.

And now, a museum for stuff you could never use.

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