Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chosun Ilbo article on the new Miss Korea

Design Graduate Crowned 51st Miss Korea
Lee Ji-sun (24) was crowned the 51st Miss Korea for 2007 at the beauty contest held at the Sejong Center on Friday. Lee, looking gorgeous at 170 cm and weighing 49 kg, was born in 1983 and graduated from Parsons, a reputed design school in New York City.

Lee Ji-sun, who was crowned the 51st Miss Korea for 2007, at the beauty contest in the main theater of the Sejong Center on Friday evening. /Yonhap

She vowed to prove herself worthy of the prize by performing her duties as Miss Korea diligently.

Lee Honey, Miss Korea 2006, passes the crown to Lee Ji-sun, who won the 2007 title, at the beauty contest in the main theater of the Sejong Center on Friday evening. /Yonhap

2 from Asia Times

Iran feels chill of cold war tactics
Just as the United States armed its authoritarian, at times bloodthirsty, allies in the name of anti-communism during the Cold War, the same logic now operates in the name of containing Iran. There is no doubt that Tehran feels strategically threatened, making it certain that it will not concede an inch in its talks with Washington over stabilizing Iraq. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi

US has a lose-lose dilemma in Iraq

From the way violence simply floods into areas just beyond the reach of new US combat brigades to the perilously long supply lines on bomb-planted roads, a military "solution" to the Iraqi situation is worse than impossible: it guarantees the country's instability will be prolonged, with no end in sight. -
Michael Schwartz (Aug 2, '07)

Dom Gajard on rhythm

The Rhythm of Plainsong by Dom Gajard (1943). Linked by Mr. Jeffrey Tucker at NLM.

Gail E. Tverberg, Is this a false alarm?

Is this a false alarm?
Rebuttal to many of the common arguments against peak oil. Includes: why this is not like 1970s, impact of higher prices, improved technology, Canadian oil sands, oil shale, Jack 2 field, Acrtic National Wild Life Reserve, and other questions.

What about the poor?
Peak oil is an issue for most developing countries only insofar as they are suffering even more now than they already were. This is one of the many reasons why there's no ASPO-Uganda. It's becoming long past peak for the poor, so let's hope they can reorganize their local economies to replace something most of them never had much of to begin with — oil & gas products.

EB, Permaculture and peak oil, August 1

Permaculture and peak oil - Aug 1
David Holmgren on Peak Oil, Energy Descent and Permaculture.
Ecological Options Network (EON), YouTube

Online permaculture talks: "The Era of Post Carbon Transition"
Tim Winton, Permaforest Trust
Screencast presentation called The Era of Post Carbon Transition.

It was done as part of a Certificate 4 in Accredited Permaculture Training at Permaforest Trust's (a not-for-profit organization) sustainability education centre and demonstration farm.

We have changed the focus of the permaculture training to creating 'Post Carbon Professionals'- people trained in hands-on permaculture and community development who can act as catalysts in grass roots adaptation to energy decent, climate change and related limits to growth.

The Permaforest Trust is focusing on creating educational resources for post carbon work. The Screencast mentioned above is part of a planned series of open source educational content we are calling our 'Low Fi is the New Hi Fi' series.

Screencast links can be seen here at . In the Low Fi is the New Hi Fi' folder there is are links to a four-part screencast titled "Energy Fundamentals- an energy primer for post carbon sustainability". We hope to get the whole course online this coming year.

The plan is to create enough of this sort of material along with other supporting links, open source content, other content on our site, support forums, project templates, etc. so that people can give themselves a basic post carbon education online.

It seems to me that awareness raising of impending energy descent is reaching critical mass (in large part due to the great work at EnergyBulletin, Global Public Media and others) and we are now moving into the earlyish stages of creating scaleable resources for motivated folks to use in transition. This is how Permaforest Trust sees its work in the scheme of things
(July 2007)

Lind, How to Win in Iraq (American Conservative)

special preview of the article (Mr. Lind previously alerted his readership about this in an article that was published at DNI.)

Oh, and if JMB is reading this--see the distinction that Mr. Lind makes between "strategy" and "tactics" here. There's no confusion.

Recent interview with General Zinni

for Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

the interview

I don't think fear works in the end. I think what got us through the Second World War was FDR: "All we have to fear is fear itself." The success of the Reagan administration may be that he built a sense of confidence, you have a feeling that "we're going to get through this; the things that we face we're better than; we can overcome it; we may make mistakes but we'll learn from our mistakes and improve." I think the American people want to hear that.

The case you made about initially the fear which certainly was there -- I remember in first grade going to school with a pillowcase because we had to pull it over our heads, dive under the desk, [yet] we ended up building this confidence [in our] ability, that we will prevail, the things we believe in -- democracy, the freedoms that we hold -- eventually will win out. I think what we haven't done, given this administration -- we played to the fear, we haven't done enough about the confidence. Again, this nation hasn't been taken to war, and war may be the wrong metaphor for what we face today because it tends to lead people to believe that it's going to be won or lost on a battlefield somewhere, and I don't believe that's the case here. There will be battles but it's part of a conflict that has many other dimensions, maybe dimensions that will be more effective in determining outcomes than just the military or security side of these sorts of things.

That that's been the mistake. The administration has been groping to define this. Think about what's going on now. They began by calling this the global war on terrorism. We declared a war on a tactic. It doesn't make sense. I mean, FDR didn't declare war on kamikaze attacks, or Wilson on U-boat attacks. They saw it much differently, broader, the scope wider. If you think of it in terms of a tactical level, then you fight it at a tactical level. Osama bin Laden probably understands clearly that his strength comes from this endless flow of angry young men, and the anger is generated by the political, economic, or social set of conditions. If the anger isn't dealt with, then he's not going to have a problem, he may be defeated tactically in some ways, but eventually this thing morphs from an organization to a movement to an ideology, which has happened now over time.

If you don't get the context and you don't understand it, [then] you don't think through how you can overcome it, operate in that environment, succeed, and then communicate your point to the people. You can't underestimate the American people's ability to grasp that. One of the mistakes we made in Vietnam was that the justification became this Gulf of Tonkin ginned-up excuse, and later when that was disproved your credibility's gone. This has been [the same], to be kind: embellished, exaggerated intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and association with al Qaeda that was never there -- I saw intelligence, right up to the day of the war, was never there. The Vice President was talking about Saddam amassing weapons of mass destruction along his borders to threaten his neighbors, I mean, totally untrue, "mushroom clouds," the spin and the evoking of these images that had no basis in intelligence fact. Once that's discredited you've lost the people.

If your rationale for doing this was strategic, and it probably was, you have to explain that strategy. The American people understood the strategy during the Cold War, they understood deterrence and containment, basically, and we operated within that strategy. We've articulated no strategic vision and no description of the new world and its changes. And so, we have a populace that basically still has its mind in the Cold War era, a government that's structured the same way, and we're trying to operate in this different environment and era.

SFTT: Results of another independent assessment of Dragonskin


When will the Pentagon concede defeat on this issue?

The PRC's reaction to the Pope's letter?

Priests arrested and put into solitary confinement: the governments answer to the Pope’s Letter
Arrests and controls have halted all of the underground community’s summer activities. Families are forbidden to visit the prisoners. The aim appears to be to force the “obedience” of all non official communities to the Patriotic Association.

Rome (AsiaNews) – At least 11 priests from the underground church are being held in arrest in various regions throughout China. AsiaNews sources confirm that since last May their conditions have worsened due to the Pope’s Letter to...

The imperial mindset it hard to get rid of, and even though Chesterton thought positively about the symbol of the dragon for Chinese culture, I wonder if his ecumenism, while well-intended, wasn't right. How many pagan empires remained empires after being Christianized? The Roman Empire survived in the East, but was the imperial form of government there an advantage or a weakness?

Maverick Farms

via EB

Harvesting New Ideas: Ambitious Maverick Farms promotes local food - and the future of farming

Michael Hastings, Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina)

official website: Maverick Farms

PCR, Return of the Robber Barons

Return of the Robber Barons

by Paul Craig Roberts

Over the last year (from June 2006 through June 2007), the U.S. economy created 1.6 million net private sector jobs. As Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services reports each month, essentially all of the new jobs are in low-paid domestic services that do not require a college education.

The category “leisure and hospitality” accounts for 30 percent of the new jobs, of which 387,000 are bartenders and waitresses, 38,000 are workers in motels and hotels, and 50,000 are employed in entertainment and recreation.

The category “education and health services” accounts for 35 percent of the gain in employment, of which 100,000 are in educational services and 456,000 are in health care and social assistance, principally ambulatory health care services and hospitals.

“Professional and technical services” accounts for 268,000 of the new jobs. “Finance and insurance” added 93,000 new jobs, of which about one quarter is in real estate and about one half is in insurance. “Transportation and warehousing” added 65,000 jobs, and wholesale and retail trade added 185,000.

Over the entire year, the U.S. economy created merely 51,000 jobs in architectural and engineering services, less than the 76,000 jobs created in management and technical consulting (essentially laid-off white collar professionals).

Except for a well-connected few graduates who find their way into Wall Street investment banks, top law firms and private medical practice, American universities today consist of detention centers to delay for four or five years the entry of American youth into unskilled domestic services.

Meanwhile, the rich are getting much richer and luxuriating in the most fantastic conspicuous consumption since the Gilded Age. Robert Frank has dubbed the new American world of the super-rich “Richistan.”

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

PLA to prevent Taiwan’s secession

PLA to prevent Taiwan’s secession
During celebrations marking the PLA’s 80th anniversary, defence minister says China’s military is ready to intervene. President Hu announces defence spending will rise every year to fill gap with the United States.

Growing anxiety in Seoul over fate of its 21 surviving hostages

Growing anxiety in Seoul over fate of its 21 surviving hostages
Last ultimatum expired this morning. Mediators call for an extra 48 hours but Talibans put more pressure on the Karzai government, claiming that two female hostages are seriously ill and showing a video of a German kidnapped two weeks ago. Vigil is held in Seoul asking United States to be more flexible.

Colin Dueck reviews In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

for Asia Times; published earlier in the National Interest

Paul Curtis is skeptical of "moral democratic realism." At this point who with any sense would take George Weigel as an expert on "Catholic International Relations Theory"?

University Press of Kentucky
Pepperdine University - Public Policy Professor Robert G. Kaufman ...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kurt Cobb, Upside down economics

Published on 29 Jul 2007 by Resource Insights. Archived on 29 Jul 2007.
Upside down economics
by Kurt Cobb

via EB

I think the second chart, that of the ecological economist, underscores the importance of restoring a solid agrarian basis to the economy.

Carolyn Baker, Building Circles of Community

Building Circles of Community: "Lone Rangers" cannot survive collapse.
Carolyn Baker, Speaking Truth to Power
A treasure trove of information pertaining to preparation for collapse can be found on the internet and in libraries throughout the world. Earlier this year I reviewed Mick Winter's book on preparing for Peak Oil and have since posted on my site Stan Goff's piece on "35 Ways To Prepare For Peak Oil"

My own article, "What To Do, What To Do?" addresses preparation for collapse from yet another perspective. Websites such as Matt Savinar's Life After The Oil Crash, Energy Bulletin, and Post-Carbon Institute offer ongoing suggestions for preparation as well.

Yet the one topic which receives almost no attention is the notion of how individuals create community in the face of the collapse of civilization. This is curious since, in my opinion, all individuals raised in the culture of empire are deeply wounded emotionally and spiritually and have little experience of living harmoniously in community.

In fact, more often than not, people who are preparing for collapse tell me that their experiences with attempting to create and maintain community have been disappointing at best and disastrous at worst, so it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why so few people address the topic.(28 July 2007)

I've found that it's easier to build community through existing structures, such as neighborhoods, community groups and extended family. The Master Gardeners program, for example, has great potential. John Michael Greer suggests the fraternal orders, which served as a social safety net in the 19th century. -BA

Via EB

Photo: New Miss Korea

Lee Ji-seon, 24, waves to the crowds after winning the...

Beauty queen: Lee Ji-seon, 24, waves to the crowds after winning the 2007 Miss Korea beauty pageant held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, Friday. She and six other beauties were crowned at the ceremony Friday./ Korea Times

I was going to post some more photos, but that will have to wait until I come back from California. I'm flying out tomorrow morning, and I'll be gone for two weeks, so there won't be much posting.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vid: Indy IV panel at Comic Con

via AICN

4 Priests Arrested in China

4 Priests Arrested in China

XIWANZI, China, JULY 29, 2007 ( Four priests have been arrested and detained for refusing to join the Patriotic Association, the government body that oversees religious practice in the country.

Three of the priests were arrested July 24, at the home of Catholic faithful in the Ximeng region of Inner Mongolia, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reported.

Father Liang Aijun, 35, Father Wang Zhong, 41, and Father Gao Jinbao, 34, were hiding in order to avoid arrest, but were finally caught by eight plainclothes men.

During the initial phase of the arrest, the priests were locked up in a cage, prohibited from talking to anyone and refused water. They have now been transferred to an undisclosed location.

The fourth priest, Father Cui Tai, 50, of Shuangshu Village, Zhuolu County, was detained after a minor motorcycle accident in early July. He has been detained at the public security and religious bureau since the accident.

Father Cui, of the Diocese of Xuanhua, Hebei, has also refused to register with the Patriotic Association.

According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, at least five bishops are in jail and others are under house arrest and surveillance. About 15 priests and an unknown number of laypeople are also jailed.

Captive of Big Pharma

60 Minutes had a story tonight about the Republican maneuvering behind the Medicare prescription drug bill. (The story was first aired earlier this year.) How much more corruption will members of the Republican party put up with?

Two from Dr. Paul on that bill...
Republican Socialism
The Coming Entitlement Meltdown