Category Archives: Politics

Bad Chois

There is an article in Foreign Affairs by Katharine H. S. Moon and Dueyon Kim discussing the ongoing scandal in South Korea regarding President Park Geun-hye and her… um… extortionist witchdoctor friend. Unfortunately, the article is gated so I wasn’t able to read it. But I was struck by the title:

Park Geun-hye’s Bad Chois


On Twitter, one of the writers informs me:

Anyway, I thought perhaps that I could be a better headline writer. Here are my efforts:

Park’s Seoulmate
Park’s Seoulsearcher
President Park – Soon Sil pay for her mistake
All the President’s Shaman
멍청 과 마녀
언닌 재판 Style
궁합 Fuck up

Any suggestions?


Links and Thinks 12-05-2012

1) Best way to reach a real person at Apple – say “Fuck!”

2) To attract Asians and Latinos, the GOP must “persuade them to think of themselves primarily as Americans.” The stupidity has come full circle.

3) The Higgs-Boson is nominated as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” “Every single sentence in Time’s nomination contains at least one serious error.” Science writing at its best.

4) Most powerful images of 2012.

5) Okay, stop it. Really. Just stop it. No, I mean it.

6) The sports tax that everyone pays. We cancelled cable several years ago, and we don’t miss it at all. Best thing we ever did.

7) The wretched behavior of publishing houses.

8) Craig Mod on magazine publishing for the iPad.


Links and Thinks 2011-12-03

1) Why did such a high percentage of rural voters prefer Romney over Obama? Hmmm… might not want to think too hard about that one…

2) Boehner: Obama needs to stop acting like he won the election. Remind me to put Borowitz in my RSS feed.

2) Anti-Kim Kardashian protest in Bahrain. Juan Cole is not happy.

2) The reality of living in Japan. It’s kind of boring and normal, and outside of the big cities, rather technologically backward. I’m not sure why this should surprise anyone. Japan is a country of old people. Last year, the sale of adult diapers exceeded the sale of baby diapers. Old people are conservative, and they don’t like technology. At least the ones I know…

3) Visual effects in the latest Bond movie. I saw Skyfall a couple of weeks ago. Like most people, I thought it better than Quantum… and not as good as Casino Royale. Much of Skyfall – it seemed to me – was about putting the pieces in place for the next run of movies. But I liked that it was very much rooted in England (and Scotland). I was also happy they brought out the old Aston Martin.

4) Speaking of Britain, why is there a naked man sitting on a statue in front of Whitehall?

5) “Nail houses” in China. And now its gone

6) As a fan of podcasts, I was sad to hear that both Build and Analyze, and Hypercritical are going away. I thought Marco Arment‘s show provided a lot of useful advice – not only to software developers, but also (inadvertently) to people looking to self-publish their books (on the iPad, Kindle etc). John Siracusa’s show was impeccably critical, fastidious and yet, surprisingly generous. I especially recommend the Hypercritical episode on Wikipedia, and the extended review of Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Kieran Healy bids Hypercritical an appropriate farewell. I must also admit that Dan Benjamin’s observations about Korea are, not only cringe-worthy, but enough to drive a person to soju…

7) Drug lords and other capitalists.

Links and Thinks 2012-11-29

1) Scott Sumner looks at Singapore: “It seems that Singapore is a place where the poor and rich do really well, but the middle class only so-so.”

2) 72 year old man models teen-girl clothes. Apparently he has nice legs.

3) The worst of Black Friday Shopping Mayhem. I went once a few years ago. Never again.

4) Ahn Cheol-soo drops out of the Korean presidential race. He may be an impressive guy, but I always thought he was a little too pristine for the bare-knuckled slamfest that is Korean politics. Anyway, looks like the specter of 1987 still hangs upon the Seoul skyline.

5) Speaking of South Korean politics, Ask a Korean has nice profiles of all three candidates (or rather, two candidates and one ex-candidate): Moon Jae-in, Park Geun-hye and Ahn Cheol-soo; as well as the road ahead.

6) I wasn’t all that interested in the David Petraeus scandal, although I found this pretty funny, and I thought Dan Drezner has some interesting insights from an academic’s point of view into the mindset of Paula Broadwell. It was only when I was skimming through an article about Jill Kelley when I had that “WTF!” moment. And if you thought honorary consuls were all about, like, stamping visas into passports and stuff, here she is trying to parlay it into 80 smacks.

7) Book vending machines. It’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

8) Coffee as impediment to Korean reunification, or should we say, Cultural Learnings of South Korea to make glorious nation of North Korea.

9) Fox News anchors making stupid, callous or misleading statements (this might become a regular segment on this blog).

10) There are legitimate criticisms to be made of the Obama administration on issues economic.

11) Paul Krugman/James Bond Films.

Barack Obama – First Asian American President

There has been some chatter about why Asian American voters overwhelmingly favored Obama over Romney. Paul Krugman has the data here. In short, Black, Latino, Jewish and Asian households are more Democratic than one would predict from their income, and conversely, Southern Whites are more Republican. In that sense, one needs to spend as much time explaining why poor Southern Whites vote against their economic interests as do wealthy “urban” voters.

Regarding Asian Americans, it’s generally acknowledged that they tend to be more conservative than the average voter. Take the Korean-American community. What characteristics define this group? Let’s see… disproportionately Christian (especially of the evangelical variety), regular church-goers (ever gone near a Korean-American church in Los Angeles on a Sunday? Jam packed…), business-oriented and entrepreneurial, suspicious of government, almost a reflexive hatred of taxes, extremely uptight about sexual issues… Remind you of any political party you know?

(This Pew Research Center article suggests Korean-Americans are conservative even by Asian American standards).

Thus Asian American voters have always been in a bit of a quandary come November 5th. Do you vote for a party that is more likely to look out for your interests, but with whom you fundamentally disagree with on practically every issue? Or do you vote for a party that hates you and wants nothing to do with you, but with whom you agree with philosophically?

The answer – at least in 2012 – has been the former rather than the latter. Why? Well, the obvious answer is race. The Republican party has become the party of angry white men – and, as much as the prime mover in the party, the Tea Party arm, tries to portray itself as motivated by economics,it is in fact animated by race. This is no party for Asians. A corollary to this is the issue of immigration, an issue that is as much Asian as it is Hispanic.

But I would like to offer two additional reasons why Obama got the Asian vote.

The first is Birtherism. If you don’t understand why Asians would react negatively in an immediate and visceral way to accusations of being a foreigner simply on the basis of a funny-sounding name and the color of one’s skin, well, you obviously don’t know anything about being Asian American.

The second reason is that Obama, clearly, likes Asians. He’s comfortable with them. This is self-evident, and is it so difficult to understand? His sister his half-Asian, his step-father was southeast Asian. These are not token relationships. They are bonds that are real and profound and long-lasting.

Toni Morrison once famously claimed Bill Clinton as “our first black President.”

After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.

Well, how about a skinny, geeky guy who likes taekwondo, is addicted to his Blackberry, nagged his sister to study harder, and hails from Hawaii?

I gotta say it…

Our first Asian President.