Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A Brief Moment Between Two Ice AgesI am awaked by my Brief burst of laughter. The sound--a guffaw, really--too loud, Breaks the glass between my Little viewing chamber And the theme park of experience. I jump through the window And play for a little while. I try to leave it like I found it. Or maybe I add a little change or two. Let's call them Improvements. I am gone. My guffaw echoes once or twice.
Random ThoughtsCoolest song I've heard in a long time: "Everybody's gotta learn sometimes." A cover by Beck for the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Coolest line I've heard in a song lately: "Crop Circles in the Carpet". Amazing song, too. Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek." I did a little research and found out this song was played on the TV show OC, which ruined it for me. Longest wait in an emergency room without seeing a doctor, whilst my girlfriend writhes in agony from food poisoning: 5.5 hours. Performed on Monday at the Pomona Valley Hospital. (She's fine now.) Food to avoid: Salsa. Dance steps which is still okay: Salsa Book I'm feeling obliged to read but not really enjoying that much: "BONO" a book-long interview with him where he bares his soul and tells his story. (yawn.) Guilty obsession: A certain series of films starring a bespectacled boy wizard. If you don't like it you can kiss my hairy pooter.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The Intelligent Designer is to be Named at a Later DateThis article on ID made me chuckle.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Bush in ChinaThere are three words you won't likely be seeing as the title to an opera any time soon. But there are few more significant events in recent world politics than Bush's trip to China. And how did the Bush team do? The Washington Post summed it up perfectly in yesterday's headline, "Bush's Asia Trip Meets Low Expectations." (Link requires login.) In that article, Steven J. Hadley told reporters that the trip would not make any big headlines. He was so right. Still, it's to Bush's credit that he went, and at least said the things that needed to be said. Namely, he said that China should start promoting freedom and take it easier on its dissidents. The irony of those words were not lost on me, but I won't go into that here, since this is a post about China. ;) You see, our relationships in Asia, and China specifically, are vitally important to the future of the United States. There is a confluence of events occurring, and we should hope that history is no guide as to the outcome. But unfortunately, history is usually an excellent guide. When a new nation rises to the status of primary world power, war ensues, or a war has just ended. You can trace the historical consistency of this back to ... say ... the Indus Valley. As long as those nations are close enough to hit each other with vigorously thrown rocks, the theory applies. (Exceptions will be welcomed.) Does this mean that war with China is inevitable? Hell no. I'd like to think that we're smarter than that. But currently our foreign policy on China, Bush's trip notwithstanding, can be summed up with a confident "huh?" We need a policy on China that will result in a peaceful outcome, it needs to be foolproof, and we need it fast. That plan should include how our trade policies can help or hinder the outcome. Max Boot has written a very good article called "Why China should Worry Us" here. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's a very informed article, and everyone should read it to understand why China's sudden and recent rise will change the world's landscape.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Curiouser and CuriouserGeorge Bush is the man who claimed to not be swayed by public opinion. Let's see what happens after the country knows that the top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted plans to withdraw from Iraq. Let's see if he resolutely states that we won't leave Iraq until we're finished. I hope for everyone's sake that he bows to pressure and does the right thing ...
To My Friends in DoverThank you for voting out the 8 school board members who tried to foist "Intelligent Design" onto your biology curriculum. They were dolts, and had no business serving a role as leaders of education. Nice job. Contrary to what Pat Robertson believes, Dover is not going to be the target of the wrath of God. In fact, you folks in Dover can count on a continued lack of focus from the wrath of God. Pat Robertson is merely reasserting his role as the embarassing religious guy who represents America to the rest of the world. What should happen, is the wrath of God should focus on Pat Robertson with a force so great, that Pat is engulfed in white-hot light, so that after a moment, only his shadow is left upon the wall. Evolution is not the enemy of God or religion. Only foolish people with no creativity think it is so.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
BraggingMy Daughter. Straight A's. What can I say?
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Downside of a Wired LifestyleMy girlfriend and I confess to each other when we've eaten something that is counter-productive to our diets. Earlier today I sent an IM to Gayle saying, "I've committed the sin of Skittles." The IM popped up on her screen, complete with my picture. Trouble was, she was delivering a presentation at the time, and her audience is now aware of my transgressions. A few people got a laugh at my expense.
China is Not a Role ModelHere is a transcript of the e-mail that Shi Tao sent, that led to his imprisonment for 10 years: (thanks to the AngryChinaBlogger for the interpretation.) Below is a Chinese copy of the abstract of an official Propaganda department circular that was distributed to Chinese media editorial groups in April 2004. This document has been declared to be a State Secret’ by the Chinese Government and is the document that journalist 师涛 (Shi Tao) received 10 years imprisonment for transmitting to a foreign website. A full English translation has been provided. 4月20日，中国的宣传部们紧急向各新闻单位传达中办和国办的11号 文件，内容是《关于当前稳定工作的通知》，摘要如下： 20 April, Chinese Propaganda Ministry urgently dispatches document 11 to assorted news agencies, contents “Concerning present work to continue stability”, abstract as follows: 一、关于当前形势的分析： 1. About the present situation, an analysis: （一）今年是“6．4”15周年，境外一些民运分子比较活跃，他们准 备在“6．4”纪念日期间采取闯关行动，准备强行闯关； （二）关于自由化的问题，主要是否定共产党领导，否定社会主义制 度，搞所谓的“民间学习”，还有一些敌对势力把刑事案件政治化； （三）“法轮功”邪教分子搞破坏活动； （四）互联网上各种有害信息的传播； （五）群体事件比较突出，主要表现在拆迁、上访等方面； （六）境外敌对势力利用宗教等渠道（印刷品、互联网），拉拢青少年 或在学校里开展学术活动、助学等等，搞非法活动； （七）香港问题。 (一) This year is the 15th anniversary of "6/4", cross border/external democracy groups are increasingly active in preparing to commemoration "6/4", and are preparing to cross the border; (二) Currently the focus of liberalization is, whether or not the Communist party is in a position to lead, whether or not to continue the system of socialism and the so-called “popular study”, additionally hostile elements have been observing judicial cases and politicizing them; (三) Acts of terrorism committed by FLG members; (四) Harmful information has been disseminated on the Internet; (五) There have been prominent demonstrations by the masses, principally over forced relocations, and seeking petitions for help; (六) Hostile foreign powers are taking advantage of religious channels (print media, Internet) to win over young people, and using school activities, tutoring etc, to help (students/youths) in carry out illegal activities. (七) The Hong Kong Problem; 重点是关于“6．4”、关于“法轮功”、关于群体事件”。 Key Point are about “6/4”, about FLG, about mass events (mass protests) 二、各级各部门要做好防范措施： 2. Every level, every department, must take these preventative measures. （一）坚决制止民运分子闯关入境； （二）严密防范各种活动； （三）严密防范敌对分子利用互联网搞活动； （四）严密防范群体事件的发生； （五）严密防范“法轮功”邪教组织搞破坏； （六）严密防范重点部门和人员的安全； （七）严密防范一些影响安定团结的因素。 (一) Determined system to stop pro-democracy group from crossing the border; (二) Tight protection to guard (against) any type of (demonstration) activity; (三) Tight protection to guard (against) any type of activity on the Internet; (四) Tight protection to guard (against) mass protests; (五) Tight protection to guard (against) acts of destruction by the nefarious FLG cult; (六) Tight protection to guard the security of members of key departments； (七) Tight protection to guard (against) element impacting on stability and unity; 三、当前要狠抓的五项工作： 3. Immediate fierce promotion of 5 key works （一）坚持正确的理论和责任意识； （二）切实加强情报工作，掌握各种活动情况； （三）坚持正确的舆论导向，有效地防范境外敌对分子的破坏，坚决 不发任何和中央政策不一致的任何言论； （四）突出重点，有针对性地做好防范控制工作； （五）减少群体性上访。 (一) Uphold proper thinking and responsible ideas; (二) Practically reinforce information-gathering work; gain a better understanding of all activities and situation; (三) Continue to manipulate public opinion to the correct form, have an effective defense against destructive external forces, resolutely never express any opinions that are not consistent with the central (Government’s) opinion; (四) Give prominence to key points, direct protective measure towards them; (五) Reduces mass petitions by the people; (同时要注意境外民运分子与境内媒体个别编辑、记者的联系，一旦发现，立即报告) At the same time (you) must focus (your) attention on relationships between external democracy groups and individual editors and journalists inside (China), one discovered, inform on them immediately. This translation was done without a full and complete knowledge of Simplified Chinese characters and may contain errors and mistranslation. An alternative English translation may be found at http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20050501_1.htm.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A Thing with Feathers ...Yesterday's election offered me a glimmer of hope. "Men, it has been well said, go mad in crowds and only come to their senses slowly and one by one." - Charles MacKay, 1856
Monday, November 07, 2005
These Are Not the Droids You're Looking ForAccording to CNN, Bush claimed that "We do not torture" detainees. OK, that's good. At the same time, the Senate has recently passed legislation that bans torture. That would make sense, since the President says we do not torture. Cool. Great. This is all consistent. Looking good guys. Then, at the same time according to CNN: "With Vice President Dick Cheney as the point man, the administration is seeking an exemption [to the new Senate Legislation] for the CIA. It was recently disclosed that the spy agency maintains a network of prisons in eastern Europe and Asia, where it holds terrorist suspects." Additionally, the organization that were previously monitoring the CIA at its detainment camps--organizations like the Red Cross--were never given access to these secret camps. So they were unable to state whether any torture happened there, but my hunch is that these previous installments of the Gulag Archipelago are simply bearing a sign stating "Under New Management." The KGB has been usurped by the CIA. Bush and Cheney want to bless this ban on torture, with one small exception as it applies to the CIA, even though "we don't torture." This double-speak is getting so hilarious that one of these three things must be true: 1) Bush hasn't realized that most Americans stopped drinking his Cool-Aid several months ago, or 2) Bush doesn't read the news regarding what Cheney is doing, or 3) Bush is a sock puppet, and the hand holding it belongs to an epileptic. Godspeed, 2008. Godspeed.