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Category: Americans are Strange (page 2 of 6)

Harlem charter school draws inspiration from Korean schools

Seth Andrew, the founder of Democracy Prepatory Charter School in Harlem, has been in the news a lot recently. It’s easy to see why:

Andrews, 31, founded Democracy Prep which now operates six campuses in Harlem that has used the Korean model of education to boost the achievements of students in one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods. Democracy Prep, which uses a lottery-based admission system and offers free tuition, gets over 5,000 applications each year.

“The belief that you can do better” is the philosophy that drives Andrews’ school. But the inspiration to follow the Korean model came from the respect he felt after spending a half year teaching English a decade ago at Dong-sung Middle School in rural Cheonan in South Chungcheong province. The attitude he observed in the principal and faculty of that school left a deep impression on Andrews.

Personally, I’m a bit skeptical about the potential of the Korean educational system to change American schools.

Not because I lack faith in the Korean educational system, mind you.

I just lack faith in American students.

Still, Mr. Andrew’s school seems to be doing well, and I wish him the best of luck.

Check out the videos here and here.

(HT to reader)

Blue balls suck

President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Iraq is in hot water after emails were leaked of him engaging in some racy banter with a WSJ journalist who happened to be a Korean-American, hence the reason it’s at the Korea Times (and here):

The U.S. ambassador nominee to Iraq Brett McGurk, 39, has been in the whirlwind of a sex scandal, following the leakage online of his affair with a reporter four years ago in Baghdad.

At the time of the affair, McGurk, special assistant to then U.S. President George W. Bush, was already married, while Korean-American Gina Chon was covering the Iraq War for the Wall Street Journal in Baghdad. Now they are a couple.

He chased after her and signaled he could provide sensitive information using sexual words in email. Reports said that there may be videotape of McGurk having sex with Chon on the roof of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Palace.

Sex on the roof of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Palace. That’s dope.

Leave it up to the Daily Mail to fill in the details:

In one email McGurk wrote: ‘I had a very good day with the Iraqis — the best yet. Can’t tell you about it of course.’

Chon’s reply: ‘This is like a journalist’s version of blue balls and it’s really not fair.’

He fires back: ‘Well it’s only fair — since I had a very real case of blue balls last night!’ He goes onto mention ‘self-healing’ exercises to cure the problem.

Read the emails here. Funny, but not sure if any of this should sink the man’s nomination.

Mad Cow case discovered in the United States

A new case of Mad Cow Disease has been discovered in the United States:

The first new case of mad cow disease in the U.S. since 2006 has been discovered in a dairy cow in California, but health authorities said Tuesday the animal never was a threat to the nation’s food supply.

The infected cow, the fourth ever discovered in the U.S., was found as part of an Agriculture Department surveillance program that tests about 40,000 cows a year for the fatal brain disease.

No meat from the cow was bound for the food supply, said John Clifford, the department’s chief veterinary officer.

Korea has already decided to strengthen quarantines of US beef, and some Korean retailers have suspended sales of US beef.

One is tempted to conclude immediately that this will become fodder for the opposition in the upcoming presidential election. Certainly that’s a possibility, and the timing couldn’t be better, but we’ll have to see how this plays out.

Anyway, the lesson we should learn from this is this—don’t eat cows. Be like President Obama and Your Uncle Marmot and eat dog. It’s better for you.

Maybe I’ll be voting for Obama after all

Well, this might explain why President Obama is such good friends with President Lee Myung-bak:

Online critics, however, have begun shooting back at the president, recalling how Obama once copped to eating dog meat in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” after being introduced to exotic local cuisine by his Indonesian stepfather.

He said it tasted “tough.”

That, Mr. President, is because the Indonesians apparently don’t do it right.

Anyway, Mr. President, next time you’re in town, drop me a line and I’ll introduce you to dogmeat done proper.

Stupid S*** TSA Asks You When You Are Returning to Korea

This is from an answer/question episode that occurred between the ticket gate and the actual plane that was flying me back to Korea.

“Where are you going?” (Guess what the response was)

“How long will you be there?”

“What do you do there?”
(“male exotic dancer” or “professional drunk” are my favorite responses)

“Do you have any large amounts of money on you?” and

“how much money do you have (on you) now?”
My answer was “four dollars in cash”.

Daily Show skit on Jeremy Lin

Hella funny:

Slanty eye? Really now?

More racist service sector asshatery, this time at at Starbucks:

Last month, two non-native English speaking Koreans at a Starbucks location in Georgia discovered that their barista served them more than coffee. They each got a drawing of slanted eyes on their cups, where customer names are usually written.

Is this some sort of dipshit trend?

North Korea’s Diamond Resort – A business worth doing?

According to Bloomberg (February 10, 2012), a New York-based company – Korea Pyongyang Trading USA – has been hired by North Korea to help open its Diamond Mountain Resort to Americans.   The company has dealt with North Korea before – mainly selling Nork alcohol but they are pretty confident that they will be able to do a great job at promoting the resort.  Why are they doing it you ask?

Simon T. Bai, 67, director of marketing and planning for Korea Pyongyang, said the company wants Americans to visit North Korea to give the nation exposure to freedom and democracy….“We’re doing this with hopes that resuming tours to Geumgang could help open North Korea up, and thereby help unite the two Koreas again,” Bai said in a telephone interview from his home in Queens, New York, which serves as the company’s headquarters. “Isn’t this the kind of business that’s really worth doing?”

I am sure money had nothing to do with it unlike the “Sun-keeps-shining”-Daewoo-ship-building companyof South Korea. Of course, not all of Korea’s companies are showing the love.  From the Bloomberg article:

“Hyundai Asan exclusively holds the license to operate tours at Mount Geumgang, and it is unfair to give business to others,” Park Soo Jin, the deputy spokeswoman of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the government agency charged with working toward recombining the two Koreas, said in a telephone interview. “This is what we have clearly specified and it is a wrongful violation of the agreements to act otherwise.”

But then again, we have already talked about this in great detail here.

Apparently Korea Pyongyang Trading USA was chosen because of Steve Parks – a Korean-American who has done business with the Norks before and apparently others:

Steve Park, also known as Park Il Woo, is a South Korean citizen who holds permanent residency in the U.S. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to lying to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with officials from South Korea and served 18 months of probation, according to court documents.

Park elected not to comment to Bloomberg but earlier articles from New York Times [South Korean businessman charged with lying to the FBI – July 20, 2007] and  [Bizarre turn seen in case of Korean spy – May 27, 2008]  and [One Free Korea] may provide the answers to some of your questions.

The choice may have also had something to do with the target market:

Bai said his company is focused mainly on attracting Korean Americans who left the peninsula and are still nostalgic for their homeland.

I always thought it was tough to visit North Korea – at least that is what I was told at SFCC but:

People in the U.S. don’t need government permission to travel to North Korea, according to the U.S. State Department. The agency warns visitors that the North Korean regime confiscates tourists’ cell phones, monitors their hotel rooms and phone calls and considers unauthorized attempts to speak with its citizens as acts of espionage. Visitors are subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without protection against inhumane treatment, the agency says.

As for the “arbitrary arrest” of Americans – I thought most of those guys were uninvited guests such as Robert Park or  Aijalon Mahli Gomes.

Korean saunas keep you sexy and rejuvenated

Korean saunas, at least in LA, are becoming popular with Americans.  And no wonder.  According to Dr. Grace Suh Coscia in the Huffington Post – Korean saunas will keep you lean, rejuenated and sexy.  But even the good doctor admits:

You may require several trips before you really start relaxing into a Korean Spa experience. Getting naked can initially be uncomfortable, but that’s what Korean spas are about. People here get naked and do their thing — it’s very natural.

Tell that to the American involved in the Busan spa incident.

Holy crap, the Vietnamese are stealing our jobs?

Apparently this ad from GOP senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra (Michigan) ran during the Super Bowl:

Sweetheart, if you’re hoping to parlay that ad into an acting career, you’ve got to work on the accent or you’ll never get the “stereotypical Asian” parts.

Needless to say, I found the ad offensive, but mostly because it’s misleading—everybody knows Michigan doesn’t have any jobs for China to steal. Unless we’re talking about private security.

Check out the website, too.

Foreign Policy’s blog ran a post on why Chinese—i.e., Chinese people living in China—might not necessarily be offended (or offended not by the racism, but by making their country look like Vietnam).

Ugly shit in Dallas

Honestly, I read crap like this, and it makes me glad I live here and not in the United States:

The African American community in Dallas has been protesting a gas station run by a Korean-born U.S. citizen in a predominately black neighborhood in South Dallas for over a month, taking issue with what they claim were racial remarks by the station’s owner.
According to the ministry and the local Korean community, the conflict occurred on Dec. 9, 2011, between the Korean-American owner of a gas station in southern Dallas and a black customer over the sale of gas.

The customer, complaining that the price of gas at the station was much higher than at other stations, demanded he be able to buy gas by smaller amounts than what the owner set as the minimum sales unit. The owner refused and told him to go to another station, to which the customer responded by telling the owner to go back to his country. The owner responded by telling the customer to go back to Africa.

Lovely. From the Korea Herald:

A Park, who runs a gas station and a convenience store in the predominantly black South Dallas, seems to have somewhat antagonized poorer customers for his refusal to accept debit cards for transactions below $10 and relatively high gas prices. An argument occurred on Dec. 9 between Park and Jeffrey Muhammad, a minister at the local Nation of Islam mosque, when the latter wanted to use his debit card for a $5 purchase.

An online news report by an Asian-American activist group said Muhammad admitted he told the gas station owner to “go back to China.” But the black minister claimed he said so only after the Asian-American owner told him that he was a slave and should go back to Africa. Park asserted Muhammad made the slurs to him first, calling him a “Chinaman.”

Skirmishes took place incessantly around Park’s gas station as the local NAACP joined the Nation of Islam believers in their demonstrations to prevent African-American customers from patronizing the place. Injuries resulted when Dallas police tried to disperse demonstrators and part of them went to City Hall to protest. Police took special precautionary measures on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 16, to ensure no violent incident by parade participants.

Now we have talk of boycotts of Asian-owned businesses, and the Korean Consulate in Houston sending the consul general to Dallas where, according to the Foreign Ministry, “we (the ministry) made emergent contact with the Korean community, requesting that its members restrain from an emotional response and examine their relationship with other communities.” This latter move I find rather disturbing—having foreign diplomats get involved makes the Dallas Korean community appear even more “foreign” than they probably already feel, and it’s not the Foreign Ministry’s job to tell American citizens what to do or lecture them about “examining their relationship with other communities.” Plus, not to put too fine a point on this, but it’s easy for the Foreign Ministry to talk when they’re not the ones running small businesses in the ‘hood.

I rather liked Jim Schutze’s take on this at the Dallas Observer’s blogs. Sure, some Koreans might have to work on their racial attitudes, he says, but on the other hand:

People don’t get business opportunities from politics. That’s not how it works. You get a business by wading in yourself and making it happen against all odds. How much balls does it take for a Korean immigrant who barely speaks English to set up shop in an area where there are gun-toters and crack-heads prowling the alleys? A lot of balls, that’s how much.

That’s how somebody creates wealth for himself when he has nothing, is not welcomed by anyone and has no connections in high places. He goes in and digs it out of the bitter earth with his own two hands. To do that, yeah, you have to be very tough. It’s a job for John Wayne.

(HT to jkitchstk)

OK, I’ll say it

If Newt Gingrich goes on to win the Republican nomination, I’m voting for Obama.

I don’t personally care what anyone does with their gonads, but this is a man who spearheaded the impeachment of a sitting president over a blowjob while he was in the midst of a six-year affair. His pompous, self-righteous mock anger directed at CNN’s John King was Newt at his most bloviating, hypocritical worst, even if it did go down well with South Carolina voters, to whom it must be asked, “What the fuck were you thinking?”

And another thing: if it DID come down to Lincoln–Douglas-style debates between Newt and Obama, the former University of Chicago senior lecturer will eat Newt’s lunch. Mark my words.

Yes, I know that Romney comes off as a tool, but seriously, I think we need to revisit Jon Stewart’s intervention.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me the story about the smugglers with gold bars up their asses

And in case you missed it:

South Korean customs officials say they have arrested eight men over a scheme to allegedly smuggle gold out of the country by hiding it in their rectums.

The Korea Customs Service said Monday the men allegedly transformed $260,000 in gold bars into small beads and smuggled them in their rectums to Japan two times in 2010 to avoid import taxes.

South Korea says Japanese custom officials caught the men on their second attempt and sent them home after imposing fines. Later, one of the suspects allegedly orchestrated an unsuccessful bid to smuggle gold bars from Mongolia to Hong Kong using a similar method.

Sadly, they don’t even win the “Man With Shit Hidden Up His Ass Of The Week” award. That would go to the Georgia man who smuggled a 10-inch revolver into prison, hiding it where the sun don’t shine:

Police in North Carolina believe that despite multiple searches after a traffic violation , a suspect managed to sneak a 10-inch gun into a prison last Monday by concealing the weapon in his rectum.

One day later, officers confiscated the .38 revolver from the jail cell of Michael Leon Ward, arrested Jan. 9, a statement from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office explains. They’d performed a strip search on Ward and even required that he “squat and cough” to see if he held any contraband, but nothing turned up, according to MSNBC.

That, friends, is Zen-like focus.

Pinkberry founder arrested after assaulting homeless dude in LA

The Chosun Ilbo reports that Korean-American success story Young Lee was arrested for beating a homeless guy with a tire iron in LA, apparently for 보여주기’ing him an 음란 문신.

Needless to say, this intrigued me, so I checked out the LA Times piece, and sure enough:

A founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain allegedly beat up a homeless man with a tire iron because he found the transient’s sexually explicit tattoo offensive, according to L.A. prosecutors.

The incident took place in June 2011 on an off-ramp of the Hollywood Freeway at Vermont Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Young Lee was stopped at a light when he was approached by a man seeking money, police said.

Words were exchanged, and Lee and another man in the car chased the homeless man and “beat him down” with the tire iron, police Capt. Paul Vernon said.

According to a statement by the district attorney’s office, Lee felt disrespected by the tattoo. Officials did not provide a detailed description of the tattoo.

More evidence that the end is near

From AV Club: “Watching this video, I feel like how Rick Santorum must feel all the time while surveying pop culture.”

(HT to, well, you know who you are)

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