Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yakchun-sa Temple Jeju Island, Korea...

Because I'm there. I'm a bit concerned about the "Zen Temple in the Faux Tropics" thing, but goddamit, it's certainly more authentic than the Teddy Bear Museum, and I'm here on business, and one thing I've learned in life is don't mess with the locals...

Update: I changed the title because it seems to be the spelling they use. Here's the temple's website.

You can stay there, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Putin's not a nice guy, and Russia isn't all huggy kissy...

Read this article on him in the NY Times.

This man is the guy in which our guy, Bush, found a soulmate.

I tried to find a place on the Russian embassy website where I could lodge a protest.

Couldn't find one.

But if you want a hoot - a real Bush hoot, and real insight into Russian culture as it really exists, look at the visa application for US citizens, and compare it with the one for non-US citizens.

They want to know, for us Americans, a) if you've ever been arrested (sorry, Arlo Guthrie, that trip to the dacha is out), b) all professional, civil and charity organizations which you are (were) a member of, or contribute (contributed) to, or work (worked) with (I don't remember that!), c) information about your last two places of work, excluding the current one (But, I think one ex-boss is dead!), and d) all countries you've been to in the past 10 years, and the year of visit (I lost count at 12 countries, and the space is roughly 4 postage stamp sizes).

I think none of that crap is on the non-US citizen visa.

I have a theory: you can tell a lot about an organization by its forms.

I submit as evidence the visa application for the Russian Federation.

Oh, one more thing on the US application I'd almost left out: look at the first question on the form:

Present citizenship (if you formerly had USSR or Russian

citizenship, please indicate when and why you lost it)

Did someone in, say, Armenia or Moldova "lose" USSR citizenship?

The fact that the 2 citizenships are implicitly equivalent here raises all kinds of they think all those USSR countries are really part of the Russian Federation?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Yet another reason we shouldn't be playing with stuff like this...

From Jonathan Taplin at TPMcafe...

In September of 2001, Bruce Ivins was just an unappreciated bio terror researcher in a lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He lived just off the base and many days walked to work. Though we now know he was probably suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, he had access to the most dangerous toxins in the U.S. Army's unrivaled storehouse. Ebola, Anthrax, smallpox, you name it, Bruce could get his hands on it. And then Bruce probably realized he didn't have to be the mousy nerd any more. And he carefully sent out some anthrax letters...

Two take-aways for me.

  1. How the fuck did this nut case get access to these labs? And what did we do in reaction?

    We added 10 times as many University and corporate labs that have access to this deadly stuff. This is insane.

  2. The lures to get in on the Homeland Security Gravy Train, a major topic of The Cost Of Empire, might move a truly mentally ill patient like Ivins, to kill people to get his patent taken seriously. It's like a Batman villian. But for every truly crazy guy who made big money in the Military Industrial Complex(MIC) in the last 30 years, there are 100 Jack Abramoffs--just short of being institutionalized--we'd call them ambitious, who've made far more than Bruce Ivens, as readers of this blog well know.

I can't but agree; it seems kind of crazy keeping stuff like this around folks who might be crazy...

Why do certain people get on television???

Really; why does J. Z. Knight get to be on Larry King, and dozens of folks I know from the blogosphere don't get to be on Larry King?