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Odds and Ends: Oct 19, 2011

- The Chicago Sun Times reports that a 24-year-old Korean-American woman was arrested after she was caught having sex with a 15-year-old boy from her youth group. No, I didn’t go looking for this one—it was the second-most looked-at piece in the international news section of the Chosun Ilbo.

- The fun over the KORUS FTA begins, with the Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party occupying the chairman’s chair at a National Assembly committee meeting to prevent the GNP from pushing through the ratification of the treaty. This has the potential of getting really, ahem, interesting. The Chosun Ilbo, needless to say, had some nasty things to say about some Democratic Party figures who supported the FTA when late President Roh was pushing it but oppose it now, while praising possible opposition presidential candidate Moon Jae-in for not expressing opposition to fundamentalist opposition to the agreement. The Kyunghyang Shinmun, on the other hand, sees no reason for the government to force through a ratification in October.

- DP chairman Sohn Hak-kyu is calling for the deal to be renegotiated:

He also reiterated the DP’s long-standing list of requests, the so-called “10 plus 2 FTA re-renegotiation.” The 10 points include issues that need changing in the final version of the free trade agreement such as postponing the date for eliminating tariffs on agricultural and livestock-related products. And the “plus two” include backup measures for people negatively affected by the trade agreement that could be implemented through establishing domestic laws.

- Seoul mayoral candidate Park Won-soon apparently doesn’t like the GNP’s negative attacks. This gave the Dong-A Ilbo a chuckle, noting that in 2000, Park spearheaded illegal campaigns to sink candidates his group didn’t like.

- A joint poll on the mayoral race by major broadcasters MBC, KBS and SBS has Park Won-soon at 38.2% and Na Kyung-won at 40.5%, a gap within the margin of error. With likely voters, the gap was even smaller—Park at 42.9% and Na at 49.0%.

- No, I’m not doing the whole “Koreans are even worse!” thing, but I am trying to picture USFK petitioning a court to go easy on a GI caught sexually assaulting a handicapped teen because he was a good soldier and the head of his household.

- Now, you won’t hear me take anything away from Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s speech to the US Congress. You will hear the Hankyoreh take something away from it, though, citing a Washington Post blog post that notes that some of the applause might have been, well, mobilized:

As is often the case during joint meetings, not all lawmakers were present. But one complicating factor on Thursday was that Lee’s speech was the first by a foreign leader since the elimination of the House Page Program. For decades, the pages — high-school juniors who serve as errand-runners for members of Congress — typically had been called upon to fill the seats of the chamber in case too few lawmakers are present.

On Thursday, there were few empty seats in the chamber. Most were occupied not by pages or lawmakers, but by Capitol staffers and members of the Korean delegation.

- Speaking of Lee’s speech, check out Prof. Robert Kelly’s post on the speech Lee should have given. No, I don’t agree with all of it, obviously, but it’s worth reading.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    You are stepping over my turf Robert!!!!

    (Could you spring my comment in the other thread from moderation? :))

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Done, sir.

  • DLBarch

    One could spend all afternoon fisking “professor” Kelly’s incoherent rant, but truly his claim that “Israel has only 7 million people and they live in a lot less danger than we do” is quite possibly the most ridiculous, least informed, and mind-bogglingly ignorant claim ever typed on his hopelessly silly little blog.

    Which just goes to show how easy it is to get a Ph.D. these days, and how easy it is to make a total ass of oneself. A+.

    DLB

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    It does make me wonder, though. Why does America have to treat Israel as one of her closest allies? For other allies of U.S., there are a number of compelling geopolitical reasons. (E.g. Korea and Japan to check China.) Am I missing something with Israel? Admittedly, I am not too informed in this area.

  • DLBarch

    TK,

    Questioning the degree to which the U.S. supports Israel, which is considerable, is a perfectly valid area of inquiry, and one which should be discussed vigorously.

    To say, however, that Israel faces “a lot less danger(ous)” security threat than Korea does is ludicrous beyond imagination. The jaw drops.

    DLB

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Right, I don’t dispute that Prof. Kelly was overstating his case on that point. But his larger point is that U.S. should be caring more about Korea than it is about Israel, which I do find pretty strongly persuasive.

  • slim

    I’m sure the millions and millions of Americans studying Hebrew will quickly shift to learning Korean once Mr Kelly convinces them of the error of their priorities.

  • Charles Tilly

    To say, however, that Israel faces “a lot less danger(ous)” security threat than Korea does is ludicrous beyond imagination. The jaw drops.

    Well, that depends on how one’s going about defining Israel’s “security threats.” I’d say that Israel faces two security threats: a “far” one (i.e. other Middle Eastern nations) and a “near” one (i.e. it’s internal Arab population and the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank).

    From what I’ve been able to gather, in terms of its “far” security threats, I’d say that these are minimal and greatly exaggerated. Of the countries in the Middle East, it has a stable, sizable economy. And-I think it’s safe to say-the most powerful military. Pit Israeli conventional forces against the conventional forces of other Middle Eastern powers and I think at the very least they’re going to give them a serious run for their money, if not make other Middle Eastern powers pay dearly should a hypothetical Middle Eastern nation attain a hypothetical victory over Israel.

    When it comes to its “near” security threats, I’d say the dangers there are more considerable and very real. The question of how it’s going to deal in particular with the Palestinian population under its control is going to have to need a quick and immediate solution given all that turmoil and changes that are going in the region right now due to the Arab Spring.

    And the Arab Spring and the changes it portends signals something very important about solving its “near” security threat: If they continue to drag their feet on this issue, it’s possible that the “near” security threat could bring about a further deterioration of the situation vis-a-vis its “far” security threat (i.e. things could get worse, far worse vis-a-vis Egypt and Turkey).

  • Charles Tilly

    But his larger point is that U.S. should be caring more about Korea than it is about Israel, which I do find pretty strongly persuasive.

    No. Think bigger. Much bigger. The US should be caring more about Asia than the Middle East.

    C’mon, I dare you to tell Hillary Clinton’s wrong.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    i’ll bet you all of congress is there when the israeli pm is there. the leader of tiny nation is treated with more respect than the leader of a one the largest economies in the world. korea has sent america political cover in the form of
    troops to republican induced wars on the muslim street and yet it’s treated so poorly. shame on congress. israel causes all kinds of problems for the states. sk does not. but then, koreans don’t got the media, do they?

  • Charles Tilly

    @pawikirogii:

    Please, please, STFU.

  • slim

    You’ll get no argument from me that the Middle East (and South Asia through to Pakistan) is a fetid shit sandwich compared to the delights of East Asia in practically every realm of human endeavor. But the notion that the US had abandoned Asia after 9.11 and needed to “come back” was always an overstatement and accepting that at face value is one of the many problems with Kelly’s weird little hit piece on US lawmakers.

  • Charles Tilly

    But the notion that the US had abandoned Asia after 9.11 and needed to “come back” was always an overstatement…

    That’s bit of a strawman there. Who said that and is that in fact what they said? What I’ve been hearing is that because the US decided to make room for Mid-East “shit sandwichs” after 9/11 it ended up eating less of-not forgoing entirely-the delicious cold cuts on offer in Asia.

  • slim

    That notion is the gist of Kelly’s argument, such as it is, and “America is back in Asia” is repeated talking point of Hillary Clinton and Kurt Campbell. I’ve heard both of those officials say it myself.

  • yuna

    After reading the first linked article of this post, my eyes caught the sidebar Korean news via Yahoo which says:

    South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi wins LPGA Malaysia for 5th career LPGA Tour title

    Creepy..

  • KLM

    Why does America have to treat Israel as one of her closest allies?

    1. Jesus Christ won’t return to Earth if the country of Israel doesn’t exist. (i.e., Jesus Christ has been convinced of the validity of the post-Westfalian international state system).

    2. American policymakers and opinion-shapers hate Arabs and Muslims. The evidence is overwhelming.

    It really is that simple!

  • df

    Why does America have to treat Israel as one of her closest allies?
    Also,
    America is allied with Israel, because it is the only democracy in the middle east!

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    My first published academic paper – a modest book review essay on the book “Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity: Commodification, Tourism and Performance – recently appeared in one of the first tier Korean studies journals in a slightly shortened version and shorn of its scholarly apparatus. Here is the full monty for anyone who might find it of interest:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8711750/Consumption%20of%20Tradition%20Review%2020101229%20FINAL%20LONG.doc

  • Sonagi

    I’m not interested in seeing your scholarly full monty.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “Which just goes to show how easy it is to get a Ph.D. these days,”

    Right, because we all know that studying at university for at least 8 years is easy and becoming a professor at a university where most lectures are not held in your first language is even easier.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Here’s another article on the story about the church lady, with picture (look at the picture before you thank me).

    http://triblocal.com/northbrook/2011/10/17/police-northbrook-woman-24-found-naked-in-car-with-boy-15/

    I think the story might be the second most looked at piece in the Chosun Ilbo because, well…it’s the Chosun Ilbo, but also because I think her name is that same as a professional golfer.

  • Charles Tilly

    Na Choi is when nasty looking piece of ass. Looks the type of ass that TOK-sucker or wiessej has to settle for on those lonely nights when strangely the cold water isn’t running.

  • Charles Tilly

    Edit: Na Choi is one nasty looking piece of ass.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Was that really necessary, Mr. Tilly?

  • df

    Why does America have to treat Israel as one of her closest allies?
    add.

    We know Israeli and Arab (including Palestinian) peoples have ancestral connections, in historical language and biological genetics, so that being allies
    and resolving the conflict would be best for the entire region.

    Very interesting is the Semitic language connection.

    And a possible Altaic Language connection!

  • wiessej

    Apparently Mr. Tilley has some emotional problems and/or thinks that using vulgar language is an impressive attribute.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Anyone else watch the Republican debate. Just finished and awaiting the babbling stream from the talking heads. My take is that Perry , Santorum and Bachman buried themselves with (largely unsubstantiated and/or irrelevant) negative Paul seems too befuddledly old and ideologically inflexible re the free market mythology. Romney, Cain and Gingrich all measured, articulate, positive, generally reasonable, but Cain’s tax plan is a non-starter, and Gingrich is unelectable. My projection at this stage is Romney

  • df

    #21, SomeguyinKorea
    >”I think the story might be the second most looked at piece in the Chosun Ilbo because, well…it’s the Chosun Ilbo, but also because I think her name is that same as a professional golfer.”

    Lets hope the kids libido will survive!

  • wiessej

    To Sperwer –

    I am probably going to have to agree with your final conclusion, on the last three. My addition would be to say (dare I?) that no matter how true or untrue it is, Cain will appear to amny voters to be the Republican racial answer to Obama. With race being a common factor in both, black voters will be forece to choose between them one some other issue(s) – wow, a novel approach – to actually vote on the issues. However, with that said, I beleive that (as politically incorrect as it may seem), Cain as a Presidential candidte is likely to be received as an alternative “black”. I have no idea why Gingrich is even there – can he possibly actually believe people would vote for him? Romney would be my choice, and it might not be a bad idea if Cain was his running mate. But the election is a year away, and so many things change. At this point four years ago, many thought that Hillary was certainly a shoe-in ahead of that Obama guy.

  • wiessej

    I have one question: Where the hell were those 24-year old Asian nymphettes when I was 15??? Damn!

  • wiessej

    Please excuse my typos above. Sometimes the fingers aren’t in synch. I am a good speller, but not a good typist.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @ 19: OK, no more beef cake for you then either

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #25,

    Well, one theory I’ve heard is that it’s because many American Christians are obsessed with the Apocalypse and think that Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Zionism

  • SomeguyinKorea

    …In other words, don’t try to find a rational explanation for it.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    …or rather, there isn’t a rational reason behind it.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @ 29

    If this were the time for it, yes a Romney/Cain ticket would seem like the best bet for the gop

  • df

    #35
    >…or rather, there isn’t a rational reason behind it.

    Add to that,
    A bedouin shepherd discovering the dead sea Scrools and christianity
    not existing until some 60 years after the death of Christ.

  • df

    Oops…
    Scrools/Scrolls

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Interesting interview at the Browser re the PC corruption of the idea of tolerance:

    http://m.thebrowser.com/interviews/claire-fox-on-freedom-speech

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #37,

    You’re referring to the carbon dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls, right? They were written anywhere between 400 BCE and 600CE. But, even if they had been written 60 years later as you suggest, you’d have to prove that these were the original texts, and not reproductions. I’m not suggesting that I believe in Christianity, I’m just saying that your argument is flawed.

  • df

    >”You’re referring to the carbon dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls, right? They were written anywhere between 400 BCE and 600CE. But, even if they had been written 60 years later as you suggest, you’d have to prove that these were the original texts, and not reproductions. I’m not suggesting that I believe in Christianity, I’m just saying that your argument is flawed.”

    No I was referring to your link on Christian Zionism and the
    irrational belief that some Christians have about the scrolls.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    stfu? i think not. korea gives america jobs and israel gives america body bags. ain’t nuthin wrong w pointing that out. korea is more important
    than israel yet that tiny colony gets a massive amount of space in american newspapers and television. why is that? hmmmmmmmmmm…i wonder. tiny little country with 200 billion dollar economy with stateside
    co-ethnics representing just 3% of the us. why so much attention to such a place? hmmmmm…i wonder.

    stfu? i think not.

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  • Arghaeri

    on the other hand Pawi the US got you as part if the deal which rather mitigates any benefits :-)

  • hamel

    The Chicago Sun Times reports that a 24-year-old Korean-American woman was arrested after she was caught having sex with a 15-year-old boy from her youth group. No, I didn’t go looking for this one—it was the second-most looked-at piece in the international news section of the Chosun Ilbo.

    This story made me angry.
    REALLY angry.
    It is outrageous!

    Where WERE these women when I was 15?

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    You apparently attended the wrong churches.

  • hamel

    Not when I was 15, but later, when I did attend churches, they were clearly the wrong ones.

  • DLBarch

    Sperwer @ 18,

    Nice work. “Academic Helens” is a great line. I’ll be using that and claiming it as my own in future!

    As for @27 and @36, watching Cain, Romney, and Perry duke it out last night, I couldn’t help but lament that the current crop of GOP hopefuls has come down to a choice between the crazy, the cult, and the Klan.

    Cheers,
    DLB

  • http://technobar.blogspot.com TheStumbler

    As perplexing as the concept of elected politicians physically blocking a meeting room is to me, it’s just as perplexing why the remaining politicians can’t see the most obvious answer – just ignore the bad sports, walk across the street and meet in a Kimbab Heaven or nearby Jjimjilbang. How can the nation’s premier intellects and problem solvers not see the obvious? Or am I missing something – perhaps a constitutional requirement to only meet in a certain room?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @47

    Thanks; be my guest.

    Are you making common cause with Perry’s preacher and calling Romney a cultist? :))

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