Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Mid-Week Post

From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw
They have nothing of harm to dread,
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank
Or before his Gorgonian head;
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
And there find a haven when peril’s abroad,
An asylum in jaws of the Fates! 

(“The Maldive Shark”, Herman Melville)

(For more Shark Week poems, go here)

President Barack Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to spread his spin on the economy and other matters in an entertainment-heavy venue. He also used his trip to the West Coast, where the show is taped, to dine with some of the Hollywood folk who helped him get elected twice.

On June 21, 2013, JW filed a FOIA lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Secret Service to obtain information pertaining to the costs to taxpayers of Barack Obama’s February 2013 “boys’ weekend” in Palm Beach, Florida, and the simultaneous vacations of Michelle Obama and Joseph Biden in Aspen, Colorado.

US President Barack Obama has confronted Russia over its granting of asylum to fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and its anti-gay measures, saying Moscow occasionally displays a "Cold War mentality."

No one is pouring vodka down the drain for this:

Russian authorities have detained hundreds of migrant workers in a makeshift camp in Moscow as part of a widespread crackdown on illegal immigration.

Human rights campaigners have decried conditions in the camp, which is part of a planned national network of detainment centres to hold foreign nationals facing deportation.

More than 600 people were initially held in tents in the camp in an industrial area of Moscow, although there were reports that 200 were moved to formal detention centres yesterday. Opponents say the centres are illegal, comparing them to concentration camps or gulags.

"The paradox of a concentration camp for illegals is that the concentration camp itself is illegal," writer and activist Oleg Kozyrev tweeted to more than 32,000 followers.

I thought the "undocumented" and random Russian-hatred were the trendy new causes.



Japan on Tuesday unveiled its largest warship since World War II, an 820-foot-long, 19,500-ton flattop capable of carrying 14 helicopters, according to media reports.

The ship, named the Izumo, is classified as a helicopter destroyer, though its flattop design makes it look like an aircraft carrier.

But the Japanese Defense Ministry says the ship is not intended to be used as an aircraft carrier and will not be used to launch fighter jets, state broadcaster NHK reported.

The launch of the $1.2 billion warship at a Yokohama dockyard comes at a time of increased military tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

"The destroyer is aimed at better responding to various contingencies in waters near Japan," NHK reported.

Japan has no choice but to re-militarise. Even if the United States wasn’t being run into the ground by a useless empty-suit, it would eventually quit the Pacific. This means Japan must see to its own defense. It should also start forming strategic alliances, as well.

South Korea doesn't need the Kaesong village and North Korea will only do something to get it shut down again, anyway:

Impoverished North Korea said on Wednesday it was reopening the troubled Kaesong industrial zone jointly run with the wealthy South just minutes after Seoul signalled its willingness to let it close for good.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which handles Pyongyang's ties with Seoul, proposed talks aimed at normalising the project and said the safety of South Koreans visiting the factory park would be guaranteed.

The committee was "prompted by its desire to bring about a new phase of reconciliation, cooperation, peace, reunification and prosperity by normalizing operation in the Kaesong zone", it said in unusually conciliatory remarks.
The comments were carried by the North's official KCNA news agency about 90 minutes after South Korea announced steps to compensate its firms that operate factories in Kaesong for losses - a step widely seen as a move towards shutting down the rivals' last symbol of cooperation.

Reclusive North Korea, for which Kaesong has been a rare source of hard currency, and the South, one of the richest countries in the world, are technically still at war as their 1950-53 civil conflict ended not in a treaty but in a mere truce.


My military minder tells me to turn my camera off, and it soon becomes clear why.

The poverty I see through the bus window is not the view of North Korea the regime wants to be seen. We are traveling from Hyangsan, three hours north of Pyongyang, back to the capital, but the main road and the sanctioned route has been flooded. This is the only way back.

Buildings are in disrepair; some barely look inhabitable. …

Dozens of men are working on the outskirts of town, building a stone wall between their crops and the swollen river.

Boulders and stones are carried by hand and stacked without adhesive. This intensive labor force is seen repeatedly in the North Korean countryside, but I see no heavy equipment to help building or farming.

One man trims hedges with a rusty scythe; other men repair part of the pavement with small hand-held pickaxes.

Cars are rare; most people either walk or cycle.

Back in the countryside, I am surprised by how much land has been farmed. The United Nations says a quarter of the country's children are severely malnourished, and yet as far as the eye can see are fields of maize, rice, wheat and corn. In the midst of the Korean rainy season, the landscape is lush, and it raises the question of how this food, once harvested, is distributed.

Yes, about that:

Meant to be a guide for policymakers, the report did not attribute the changes in climate to any one factor, but made note of continued increases in heat-trapping greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

"Our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place," said Kathryn Sullivan, acting administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report was edited by NOAA scientists and drew contributions from 384 scientists from 52 countries.


If you’ve been feeling optimistic for humanity, you should stop that nonsense right now.

Sure, one anonymous man bought 500 large coffees to be distributed for free to Tim Hortons-going strangers in Edmonton two weeks ago. Yes, it cost him $895.28 and reportedly triggered a wave of copycat acts of generosity. But the do-gooders likely didn’t stay around to witness what happens next — Yahoo! Canada News decided to do just that.

Inspired by our readers’ encounters with Canadians prepaying strangers’ orders across the country just to make someone’s day, we’ve decided to test coffee shop goers almost 3,500 kilometres east of Edmonton. We’ve anonymously paid for up to 10 drinks of total strangers at four shops in Toronto.
What we’ve seen surprised us, but, apparently, not the baristas.

Tim Hortons

Scene: Regulars and tourists form buzzing lineups at this scenic location facing the lake. One after another they find out that their coffees are free, courtesy of a stranger. “Okay,” they nod and rush off with free drinks. No one smiles or lingers to ask further questions. One regular gloomily shuffles off to a table clutching his free drink. The final, tenth person, buys a doughnut and leaves whatever’s left of his $4 for the next person in line.

“I’m not surprised at all by this,” the shop’s manager says of people’s reactions. …

“In contemporary American society, we’ve come to overlook, dismiss, or even disparage the significance of gratitude,” writes Robert Emmons, a scientific expert on gratitude who teaches psychology at the University of California, Davis. Apparently, we’ve grown out of practice, assuming that we’ve earned “all the good that comes our way.”

Gratitude is not just the acknowledgement of a kindness or service; it is a form of humility and perhaps prompts a need for reciprocation. How does one be humble or feel a need to respond to a kindness if one thinks he or she just deserves it and doesn’t need to show gratitude? We’ve gone beyond perfunctory gestures or etiquette. We’re incapable of reaching out.

(Gracias, Harold)


Anonymous said...

"I'm sure Putin cares what Obama thinks"

So I hear that #44 will not meet with Putin at the G20 because Putin won't hand Snowden over. This from the man who said he would meet with anyone without preconditions. Including people who hang homosexuals, call for the death of all Jews (and pretty much everyone they aren't), etc.

But lets just perpetuate his distraction from this issue and talk about how people are pouring vodka down the drains.

~Your Brother~

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Obama is angry that Snowden the Naive exposed the NSA's spying on American citizens. He is embarrassed that Putin is not seeing the glorious light he thinks encircles him and letting him have his way. Obama is such a narcissist that he can't see how out of his league he is.

And, yes, never let a good crisis or distraction go to waste.

The proposed Sochi boycott is a foolish and convenient trendy cause of which to be a part. It's fairly safe. And who's heard of Georgia, anyway? Isn't that where peanuts come from? (/end stupid liberal question here)

Anonymous said...

I think the fact that #44 has not yet been impeached yet *and* people still buy all his BS really highlights how truly stupid a vast majority of people are.

~Your Brother~

Anonymous said...

Actually, you know what I am reminded off? When #44 had protests banned from being across the street from building he *might* be in, it reminds me of that vinyl that is nothing but claps for Stalin... or else.

Had we not been informed otherwise, people today might think they really wanted to clap that long. Think what people might wonder in 30 years when they can't find any pictures anywhere of protests to #44.

~Your Brother~

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

Stupid? That's barely scratching the surface of how willfully ignorant these people are.

I think when people are eating out of cans and wondering why seven governmental agencies have all their personal information, they will wonder where it all went wrong.