Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The topic is a delicate one that has already generated controversy, even though a formal draft of the proposed recommendations, due out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the end of the year, has yet to be released.The opposite side of the debate is that this is a painful and cruel practice. Undoubtedly, I probably cried like a banshee when I underwent the process at the age of zero. Of course, I don't remember any of it and I'm just fine, except that I do have a lingering animosity toward my parents for some reason.
Experts are also considering whether the surgery should be offered to adult heterosexual men whose sexual practices put them at high risk of infection. But they acknowledge that a circumcision drive in the United States would be unlikely to have a drastic impact: the procedure does not seem to protect those at greatest risk here, men who have sex with men.
Recently, studies showed that in African countries hit hard by AIDS, men who were circumcised reduced their infection risk by half. But the clinical trials in Africa focused on heterosexual men who are at risk of getting H.I.V. from infected female partners.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Overall, 20% to 40% of the population could develop symptoms of the strain commonly known as swine flu, and 30,000 to 90,000 could die, according to the report. During a normal flu season, the virus kills about 35,000 Americans.One report author emphasized that this is a possibility, not a prediction. In the meantime, kiddies, wash your hands (I don't see a lot of hand-washing in Hawaii).
The difference this year is that pandemic H1N1 is killing middle-aged adults and adolescents, whereas seasonal flu kills primarily the elderly.
The numbers confirm those previously released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, but he emphasized the great unpredictability of flu outbreaks and cautioned that this winter's could be much milder.
Well, it's important for people to know that disease hasn't gone away. We continue to see transmission this summer, and we're currently at higher levels of influenza disease than would be expected for this time of year.Expect school closures and other drastic measures. I hope that in Korea the tide has been held back enough that the vaccine will be available before the disease hits full force. Equivalent numbers for South Korea (with one-sixth the population of the US) would be 300,000 hospitalized, 50,000 in ICUs, and up to 15,000 deaths.
We do think that over the next several weeks, as school kids return to classes, we'll see increases. And we know that we won't have a vaccine before school kids are back in school. They're already back in school.
So we have a number of weeks to months where we'll be needing to use other interventions. But we are working carefully on vaccine development, testing, and planning to implement a vaccination program. At this point, we're expecting to be launching a voluntary vaccination program in the middle of October.
And so it's very important before then for people to remember those important steps they can take: washing their hands, staying home when they're sick, staying informed about what's going on.
The vaccination program, though, we are working hard to be ready for. We're expecting doses to be online and available by mid-October and that additional doses will be coming out every week. And we're working closely with the public health system, as well as private providers, to find ways to reach people who are recommended to receive vaccines.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Things have been happening on campus, I've been setting up all the stuff I'd stored in my car and my office, and there have been good movies every night in the lobby of this dorm, all with a Hawaiian theme of some kind. One night there was Fifty First Dates, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, which takes you around to all sorts of neat little places on Oahu that show a bit of the island's character from a local standpoint.
Though I missed it last night, they showed Picture Bride, a fictional account of a very real type of person who helped "settle" Hawaii: the women who came to these islands to marry the Japanese men who were imported to work the sugar cane plantations (and to join them in their labor). Thursday night had Hawaii, the 1966 cinematic version of James Michener's 1959 novel.
The occasion of the three-day weekend was the golden anniversary of Hawaii statehood on Friday. The fiftieth anniversary of Hawaii becoming the fiftieth state. In a parallel universe, this would be a reason to celebrate, but controversy has long since engulfed this date that remains a state holiday. Celebrations were expected to be muted.
When Hawaii became a state in 1959, locals (we are told) were generally quite excited. Despite this being a majority Asian territory, everyone was to be recognized as full US citizens. Indeed, this type of sentiment still carries over some, with the elevation of one of its native sons, Barack Hussein Obama, to the highest office in the land being another sign of Hawaii's full-fledged Americanness.
But in the intervening half century, greater recognition of the troubles faced by Native Hawaiians, the unfairness of how they were dealt with historically and the enduring legacy of that treatment. Native Hawaiians are among the poorest in this island state, living in some of the worst urban environments and still largely excluded from the more elite areas.
Indeed, the very Punahou School that Barack Obama's grandparents struggled to get him into were set up so that White residents wouldn't have to have their kids attend school with the non-haole hoi polloi.
Hawaii as a nation-state is not some distant historical entity. It ended with overthrow by Americans in the 1890s, around the same time that Korea was losing its own sovereignty, and for much the same reason. Hawaii was a strategic point for projecting power to a larger area, for restocking ships, and for producing food.
The entrance of Westerners — not just Americans but also the British and others — came with no small amount of cost to the local Hawaiians, who not only lost their lands but also their lives in many cases. This is something to which we newcomers to Hawaii's institutions (especially universities) are strongly exposed: the narrative of members of a disappearing culture suffering at the hands of a (usually) unintentionally oppressive majority of squatters is quickly learned by anyone who is paying attention. Indeed, on my first Statehood Day in 2006, we were subjected to a seminar in which a local Hawaiian activist explained why Hawaii should secede from the United States. Or rather, the annexation should be recognized as null and void (thus no secession required).
To me, coming from Seoul, there was this inescapable sense that Hawaii may be to the United States what Korea might have been to Japan (especially if liberation had not occurred), and perhaps what Okinawa has become to Japan.
In 2009, many Hawaii residents (people are careful not to mindlessly call anyone in Hawaii "Hawaiian" the way one living in California would automatically be called a "Californian") have a different, far more sympathetic view toward the plight of Native Hawaiians and their lost culture. In that vein, movies like the aforementioned Hawaii provide insight into the folly, hubris, and greed with which Americans approached this archipelago of paradise.
Max Von Sydow's Reverend Abner Hale comes to Maui with idealistic fervor, determined to save the souls of the island natives and befriending Queen Malama (played by Jocelyn LaGarde, a Tahitian who had never acted and spoke no English, yet managed an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe Award win for the same category). While providing some positive influence, it is clear he has come to see himself as superior to those he is supposedly shepherding, and his rigid adherence to a literal interpretation of the Bible is criticized even by his wife Jerusha, played by Julie Andrews. She sees the humanity in the ways of the islanders (including the incestuous but loving marriage of Queen Malama to her husband Kelolo) and recognizes that cultural accommodation is at least a two-way street.
Despite his arrogance (and maybe because of it), Reverend Hale fights to protect the islanders from land-hungry schemers and horny sailors who keep bringing disease (including a measles epidemic) to the islanders. After losing almost everything he has, he realizes where he was wrong and attempts to make amends. In this sense, Reverend Hale is something of an allegory for many of the haoles whose families have been in Hawaii for several generations.
Bearing this in mind, it's hardly a surprise that the Honolulu Advertiser has stories on the percentage of Hawaii residents who consider Hawaii statehood to be good or not. Indeed, only two out of three clearly state it has been positive. In fact, 13% (a figure that is larger than the Native Hawaiian population) see it as a negative.
That's a striking statistic, these one of seven locals who feel they'd be better off not living in a state. Is this the economic downturn? Would they feel better off not being Americans (presumably territorial status is more humiliating than statehood)? Do they prefer a nation-within-a-nation status where by the Hawaiian Islands are recognized as a nation coterminous with the State of Hawaii?
It does get one to wondering: Was annexation and statehood necessary at all? Or rather, in these modern times, would a Hawaiian nation in free association with the United States be in a worse situation (or better) than a freak state on the fringe of a global power?
Maybe I'm not the one to answer. For now, I see myself as an ephemeral resident. I still maintain a California driver's license and am registered to vote in Orange County, though I do have an official Hawaii resident identification card and I operate a vehicle here. A semi-resident, I guess, but without the stake in Hawaii's future. Not yet, anyway. Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, August 23, 2009
As tens of thousands gathered here today to mourn the death of ex-President Kim Dae-jung, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his bid to reconcile with North Korea, Seoul's conservative government took a page from Kim's diplomatic playbook — meeting face-to-face with its communist counterparts.Through sincerity? The North Korean envoy might be right, but we won't know until they actually try that, will we?
In a rare half-hour sit down — his first since taking office last year — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak discussed growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula with a high-level delegation from Pyongyang on hand to pay respects to the late Kim, who died Tuesday at age 85 after a long bout with pneumonia.
Shortly before the state ceremony at the National Assembly on a humid afternoon, the North Korean delegation appeared at the Blue House with an undisclosed verbal message from leader Kim Jong-il, said Blue House spokesman Lee Dong-kwan.
Posing for photos with North Korean envoy Kim Ki-nam, a close aide to Kim Jong-il, Lee said "there is nothing that cannot be solved if South and North sort out their problems through communication and sincerity," according to the spokesman.
Anyway, while I do enjoy the interesting focus that LAT's new replacement for Barbara Demick has been bringing us, I also think he sometimes brings a bit of a facile analysis to the complex topics he discusses. Even in this article, he perpetuates the popular misconception that President Kim Daejung won the Nobel Peace Prize primarily for meeting with Kim Jong-il, when he won it as much "for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general," and might have won it just on that even without the 2000 summit with KJI.
Sphere: Related Content
Saturday, August 22, 2009
A South Korean woman wipes tears as she holds a flower for the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung during a memorial service at Seoul Plaza in Seoul,. South Korea lost its most fervent champion of peace and democracy with the death of Kim, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to foster reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.[Photo from AP via the Orange County Register]
Anyway, when I get home I'll try to finish my piece on today's fiftieth anniversary of Hawaii statehood.
In the meantime, if only the state economy would follow a curve like that of the ocean here.
Yes, he was imperfect, and he may be some or all of those things. But he was also a person who believed in pushing South Korea forward toward democracy. No opportunist on this matter, he is a person who risked his own life to bring democracy to the ROK. Yes he was imprisoned and set to be executed by the despotic regimes he opposed. That right there earns him immense respect in my book.
In 1997 he finally won the presidency he had long coveted — in direct elections he had helped make possible — at about the worst possible moment in modern Korean history. And he was willing to scrap some of his notions of political economy in favor of the tough choices (and untested choices based on faith) that were necessary to bring Korea out of the chaos of the Asian economic meltdown.
When he became president, he decided that it was time to shift gears vis-à-vis North Korea. Some four decades of mutual hostility had not made North Korea less threatening, more democratic, or any friendlier, and he thought it was time to try killing with kindness. Reach out to the North, try to integrate them, get political and social change to come from economic integration. And so was born the "Sunshine Policy."
It's no surprise that they also couch his winning of the Nobel Prize as if he won it solely for his unprecedented 2000 summit with Kim Jong-il (about which Halmoni — whose clergymen father and brothers were killed by the communists — said upon witnessing that embrace on the tarmac that he should be arrested when he returns to Seoul), when the Nobel Prize committee specifically stated that his democracy activism was the major factor:
for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particularLike Corazon Aquino in the Philippines (who may also have deserved a Nobel Prize), he was a major factor in the sweeping in of democratic reforms in East Asia during the 1980s. Lest one think that the "democracy and human rights" part was tacked on to provide cover for the summit being the real reason, let's not forget that just nine years earlier would-be Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi had won the Nobel Peace Prize "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."
For the most part, cutting ozone output had the biggest effect on death rates inside each of the regions studied — North America, East Asia, South Asia, and Europe. Overall, more than 30,000 lives a year could be saved worldwide if each of the four regions cut their ozone output by 20 percent, the study found.It might make you wonder if cutting pollution in East Asia would have the same effect. As the article itself notes (and anyone living in California, Oregon, or Washington would know if they paid attention) pollution from China — particularly the "yellow dust" which plagues Korea and Japan every spring — already reaches the West Coast of the US.
The one exception was North America. As much as 76 percent of the deaths avoided by cutting ozone production would occur outside North America. Europe could benefit the most because of higher population levels and higher death rates, and because more smog flows to Europe from the North American continent than in the opposite direction.
For example, death rates from cardiopulmonary disease alone — only a portion of overall pollution-related deaths — would drop by an estimated 900 per year in North America, but by 1,100 in Europe.
So Froeberg took the unusual step on Aug. 12 of ordering Khalil held in custody as a material witness, to make sure he would be available for the Hampton trial.And Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to cut the prison budget.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals made an identical ruling at a separate review – as required by law after the “witness” had been in custody for 72 hours – on Friday.
But by then, Khalil had been incarcerated for several days in the Orange County Central Men’s Jail, apparently in the same housing unit as Hampton, the man who was on trial for attempting to kill him.
And that surprised Hasan, who said she and her investigator made several phone calls to the Sheriff’s Department beforehand, advising jailers that Khalil was a witness in an ongoing criminal case against Hampton.
Hasan said that when her office learned over the weekend that Khalil was being held with Hampton, they made another emergency phone call to the jail and Khalil was transferred to another facility.
John McDonald, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, reported on Wednesday that prosecutors did request that Hampton and Khalil be kept apart after Khalil was taken into custody.
The inmates, McDonald said, were then classified as “total separation” by sheriff’s personnel, meaning that they were to separated from all others.
They were then housed in separate tanks, but in an adjacent housing unit, McDonald said, separated from any physical contact.
But, he added, “the inmates could hear each other and were communicating via reflective glass. When the DA made us aware of this, we immediately housed them in separate facilities.”
When Khalil was finally called to testify this week against Hampton, he was in a Theo Lacy branch jail uniform.
He testified that while he was in custody, Hampton had engaged him several times in conversation, and had actually apologized for shooting him.
Khalil was also by then more sympathetic to Hampton’s position than he had been in previous discussions with law enforcement about the shooting, according to Hasan.
He testified, according to defense attorney Roger Sheaks, that the shooting was probably an accident caused when he tired to accelerate out of a parking lot after a misunderstanding. Sheaks is contending that the shooting was an accident.
Because of Khalil’s change in tone, Hasan then treated Khalil — her victim — as a hostile witness.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Just prior to me taking this photo, a Japanese ojisan (아저씨) ferrying around Japanese visitors in a tour bus was using the representation of Oahu to show several younger women the attack route used by Japanese bombers in the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
That is what prompted me to fish the iPhone out of the car. It also made me wish I had the video-capable iPhone 3Gs.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Twenty-one-year-old Timothy Han supposedly did all this in June 2008 at Miracle Land Baptist Church, a Korean-American-oriented church in western OC. He is being charged with two felony sex charges and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which brings with it a maximum of three years and eight months in state prison.
Cypress Chief of Police Gerard Rudiger is quoted as saying, "I've been reading at KoreaBeat how English teachers have been harassed by the authorities in Korea over every little thing, so I thought it was time for some payback."
No, not really; I'm making that last part up. But I thought that was a better way to end this post than to give examples of some of the naughty things I may or may not have done in church parking lots, though it was always with people no less legal than I was, and it never involved drugs of any kind.
[above: "하나님, we pray that it was only that one girl that Brother Timothy tried to lure down the path of iniquity* and turpitude**. Oh, and if it pleases you, strike him with ice cream headaches every day he's in prison, and maybe a big, sweaty cell mate named Bobby Ray."]
* evangelical speak for fornicating with underage girls
** evangelical speak for smoking pot
Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Makapuu Point in order to recharge the Honda's battery after 2.5
months of no activity (should have disconnected the battery), at the
recommendation of the Geico-contracted roadside service guy.
I have an Egg McMuffin, a coffee, and a haupia pie from McD's, staring
at the ocean that in the morning sun is even deeper blue than usual.
Life ain't too shabby. Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The U.S. base closed in 1992, and the often-randy airmen have gone with it. But the girls, the sex, the round-the-clock raunchiness remain. Only the customers have changed.As one might expect if one reads Korean news at all, there is a slight Korean angle to this story, even if it is a bit buried:
A thriving sex tourism trade attracts foreign customers by the thousands in search of something they cannot find back home: girls young enough to be their granddaughters selling sex for the price of a burger and fries.
Once populated by men in their early 20s who started each day with 100 push-ups, the place is now home to older men who need help pushing themselves out of bed in the morning.
Most are bused up from Manila, an hour away, on golf and sex package deals. This is no quasi-innocent boys' night out. Rather, it's a single-minded realm of weary-looking loners on a resolute hunt that smacks of feeding an addiction.
Many are ex-military men reliving former glories, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper wannabes, some gathering at the local American Legion post before embarking into the night.
All along Fields Avenue, the come-on banners with their Web addresses advertise good pay (up to $10 a day) for hostess jobs. But applicants must speak Korean, Japanese or Chinese.That's right, the Korean ajŏshi has also become something of an icon of the same sex tourism that was so heavily derided when it was Japanese salarymen visiting Korea. Along, of course, with Japanese and Chinese men, even if there are also a lot of White men from North America and Europe alongside them.
At a club called Koko Yoko, balding men with bulging bellies sit at an outdoor bar, sipping beers and leering at the young girls who pass on the model's runway gone wrong called Fields Avenue.Okay, okay. We get it. Men who buy sex are pathetic... and probably fat, ugly, wrinkly, and smelly. And bald. Because no one likes bald men.
A young dancer in tight red hip-hugger pants and matching sports bra acknowledges that Fields Avenue may not be pretty, but the money is good. She rolls her eyes at two overweight men who pass by looking like large reptiles dressed in children's clothing.Sex with old people is disgusting? I guess she's not a fan of To Die For. Nor, for that matter, is Mr Glionna, who had better keep eating his oatmeal and taking his zinc supplements, because Karma is looking for him.
Sure, the sex is disgusting, she says. But at least it's over quickly.
Friday, August 14, 2009
sunset I ever saw was an LAX-SEL flight on Korean Air while flying
over Japan. A snow-capped Mt Fuji was poking put above a blanket of
clouds in front of a brilliant orange sky. Wish I'd had a camera with
Anyhoo, I'm out and about for the next few days, so expect a lot of
iPhone posts. Sphere: Related Content
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When a bear decides it's a fine idea to hop onto a picnic table surrounded by people, something clearly has gone wrong. But officials say it's not the bear that is to blame.From personal experience, I think part of the problem may be the very different types of access there are in the ubiquitous national forests compared to the rarefied national parks. On visits to Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion, Yellowstone, etc., it was drilled into our heads that this was bear country, and we had to do this, that, and the other to prevent wild animals from entering our camp (which they sometimes did anyway, including mama bears with their cubs, which can be very dangerous to humans).
In fact, the bear that forced the closure of a picnic area next to San Bernardino National Forest's busiest trailhead on July 7 had simply adapted to a quick and easy food source: hot dogs and other human fare left out — sometimes intentionally — by picnickers and area residents.
"People were leaving a lot of food unattended; they weren't properly throwing it away in the bear-proof cans. There was even reported cases where people were intentionally feeding the bear," said John Miller, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service. "What we have is ... a human behavior problem."
Once bears learn to associate human scent with easy food sources, they are more likely to venture into picnic areas, according to Jeff Villepique, associate wildlife biologist at the California Department of Fish and Game.
Picnickers have reportedly enforced the behavior by tossing food at the bear and getting up close to take photos.
"The bear has pretty much lost its fear of humans," Villepique said.
Anyway, I think the opening of M*A*S*H (which never changed during its eleven seasons, except for the cast names) is not as good as scenes from actual episodes for places in the hills behind Malibu as stand-ins for the hills around Uijongbu. The picture below looks much more like it could be Tobongsan or some such.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
As soon as I got home, after I gave a long hug to my family, I wanted to thank the people who helped me. I wanted to let people know how grateful I was and am. I found myself surfing the Internet and reading different blogs and news articles about us. Then I realized that I felt separated again from my husband and daughter, just as I was for 141 days in North Korea.Yeah, you might want to give my blog a pass. Really, it's not that I'm not happy you're back from North Korea, it's just that I wish you hadn't gone in the first place.
I decided then not to go through all the emails and articles just yet. I have not checked the Facebook pages about Laura and I or the web site, LauraAndEuna.com. Because I know that once I started to read them I would get caught up in all the love and support everybody gave me and I will neglect my family.
According to a publisher who has seen the proposal and asked to remain anonymous, Ms. Ling, together with her sister, Lisa Ling, a special correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” is offering a book that will examine the meaning of sisterhood and journalistic ideals. The issue of Laura Ling’s captivity will be discussed, but in a larger context.Aigo! Now I'm sensitive to the idea that the media has been infantalizing Laura Ling and her fellow inmate at the Pyongyang Palazzo, Euna Lee, so I'm a bit loath to use the appropriate term for the these two. But even if it had been two male journalists who had been the ones in the middle of this publicity storm and trying to play it for all the coin and celebrity they could squeeze out of it, I would call those men media whores too.
When I adopted my kids, a friend with six children warned me: Never, ever let them buy ice cream from a truck. Otherwise, they’ll torment you every day all summer, whenever they hear that tinny speaker.Um, okay. But for true evil, go to Korea and be forced to listen to a loudspeaker-equipped Porter truck with a tape loop or a microphone whose owner is selling garlic, vegetables, dried fish, frozen fish, pets, seasonal fruit, or God knows what else. It still sticks in my head this one guy that every week came by with a disturbing chant: "개~ 팝니다. 개 팔유!"
I know, you’re saying to yourself, “That Frumpy Mom is one grouchy lady, she won’t even let her kids get ice cream, a time honored tradition.”
But since I truly believe that these trucks were sent by Satan to drive people mad, I followed her advice. I don’t want their evil dominion to spread.
I wasn’t surprised to hear about ice cream truck vendors being arrested for selling drugs out of their trucks. If you will drive around a peaceful neighborhood, blasting loudspeakers and disturbing the peace, you will stop at nothing. Drugs, robberies, murder. Hey, it could happen.