“If you could change one thing about adults, what would it be?”
“I’d give them more money.”
“Yeah. Some of them don’t even have money to buy food.”
Here’s a little story to illustrate how curious my parents’ perspective on even the simplest things in life can be given everything they’ve lived through:
My father has been having increased trouble walking for various reasons over the past year to the point that he even has a handicap placard now because he has trouble walking even short distances, although he isn’t quite at the walker or even cane stage yet. I was talking to my mom yesterday about how he was doing and in describing the way he used to walk, instead of just describing a limp, she said (paraphrased from the Korean):
Remember the Korean president who had trouble walking? He was limping like that.
She was talking about Kim Dae-jung (김대중), president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003. I was actually lucky enough to hear him speak at Stanford (and see him limp in real life) shortly after he won the Nobel prize in 2000 for his policy of engagement with North Korea, known as the Sunshine Policy.
Now, the reason Kim had a limp was from being injured during the years of political persecution and exile along the road to his presidency and his longtime involvement in the struggle for democracy in South Korea. (Yeah, news flash: the Korean War didn’t magically make South Korea a democracy. It’s not even technically over.) According to Wikileaks data, when Kim passed away in August 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul described him as “South Korea’s first left-wing president”. Specifically, Kim was a vocal dissident of the Yushin (유신) program of then president Park Chung-hee (박정희) which granted him near dictatorial powers, and after narrowly losing the presidential election to Park in 1971, Kim permanently injured his hip joint during a car accident. The accident was actually a failed assassination attempt by Park himself; later, in August 1973, Kim was eventually kidnapped by intelligence agents of the then military government of South Korea that was, of course, led by Park.
This was all around the time my parents immigrated to the U.S. and this is how my mom describes a limp. This is literally her automatic / natural frame of reference to describe something as relatively simple and seemingly innocuous as a limp.
And FYI, who was the father of the current and first female president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (박근혜)? Former president Park Chung-hee.
Just listen to this crazy idea for a second– there’s a nice and funny Colbert Report interview for you at the end:
Many believe World War II not only helped, but was one of the biggest factors in the US pulling itself out of the Great Depression— some do not— and I’m sure it’s been joked many times over that another war– in addition to the one we just finished fighting like, 5 minutes ago (did you know military operations had websites?), and the one we’re still fighting in Afghanistan— would help us out of this Great Recession. Well, the thought of someone in government or similar sphere of power seriously considering that idea is a morbid thought, but perhaps this is an even more twisted one: although domestic growth created to support wartime efforts could help us get out of our current, particularly deep economic rut, the thought of waging war for economic benefit– essentially letting the blood of American soldiers be payment for a way out of our current economic state, one created by Wall Street’s high risk, shady deals with subprime mortgages and derivative markets— is too “distasteful”. So, instead, those in power look at alternatives and given the somewhat misguided, but constant ranting about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its regulations are “job killers”, a conspiracy is born to systematically lower EPA regulations to allow corporations to redirect resources they would normally have spent ensuring they were abiding by various environmental laws and regulations, knowing that it may cause adverse health effects on millions of communities around the country. They decide that considering it takes much longer for you to die from cancer than a soldier to die from a bullet or a bomb, and it is much harder to prove that the chemical waste improperly dumped near your home’s water source is the direct reason why you get a particular type of cancer at a particular point in your life– especially if litigation gets tied up in the court system and you die before its conclusion, should you decide to sue your health insurance company and/or the owner of the factory or plant that caused the pollution in the first place– that slow, causally ambigous death of a few million is not only a more preferable and conveniently politically advantageous, but morally justifiable route for economic growth compared to more American soldiers dying in another war (or ideally, just working harder to come up with better economic policies). Besides, the increased health problems may boost the healthcare industry and once we’re out of the rut, the EPA can create even more jobs by raising– or in some cases, re-raising– regulations, therefore creating a need for corporations to go back out and hire workers and obtain other resources to abide by them.
And then the next time there’s an economic slump, all over again… until they find “the next thing”…
I’m not saying this is what could happen under a President and/or Congress that rails just a little too much against the EPA or that anybody is even seriously considering it, or if anybody seriously believes anybody is seriously considering it, but if I thought of it, someone else must have…
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Indecision 2012 – Job-Killing EPA – Carol Browner|
There are many wonderful things I could say about the HBO documentary “Citizen USA: A 50-State Road Trip“, but here is a quote from newly naturalized citizen and intentional American Zeenath Larsen that captures not just one of the primary reasons people to come to the US (legally and illegally), but a valuable message for US-born American citizens (especially those who think immigrants come to the US just to steal jobs, collect welfare, and commit crimes), the politicians who are looking to influence, lead, and win over the support of the people, and any American who has ever taken America for granted (me included):
“The bottom line is that your country and you have to be on the same page where values are considered, principles are considered, what you believe in. And if that is not the case, then it’s… you may be born somewhere and brought up somewhere, but then you don’t feel that same type of loyalty. Because loyalty comes through ideas, not through the earth, not through mud and trees and hills. That’s the same everywhere in the world. Is there any country in the world that has it enshrined in the constitution that you have a right to be happy?”
And to underline the point even more, note that Larsen is originally from Pakistan. Food for thought– check out the trailer for “Citizen USA” below:
Excellent (as usual) Daily Show segment on the NPR/Juan Williams firing. I already tweeted the hilarious part on DC’s city design/architecture (do you know how to navigate a roundabout?), especially re: all of the columns on the buildings– “… simultaneously magnificent and useless… like they designed the whole thing as a metaphor.” But the best part is discussion between Team Black and Team Muslim, having fun by playing on the irrational fear of Blacks and Muslims, culminating with Aasif Mandvi’s response to the accusation that their behavior only feeds into things:
“If they’re not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?”
It’s been a whole year since my last IdeaFarm post and I thought I would post an update. I didn’t see the truck around for a while (at least in Mountain View– they apparently have people at locations all over the Bay Area), but then, a few months ago, they popped up again, parked near the intersection of Central Expressway and Rengstorff Avenue. They’ve apparently downsized to this trailer and bike (plus what looks like solar panels?).
This week, the trailer was parked at the corner of El Camino Real and Phyllis Ave after having been “silenced by MVPD” (Mountain View Police Department). I’m not sure what they did since I’ve never actually seen anybody next to/around the truck or trailer, but I suppose just parking for long periods of time in front of businesses and at busy intersections could cause problems. Nevertheless, I haven’t seen anything that would actually be illegal and if they had done something illegal, I assume the truck/trailer/whatever would have disappeared altogether.
So, I’d be curious to know what caused them to be “silenced” and how MVPD silenced them, but I still haven’t figured out what the actual, practical purpose of IdeaFarm is, what they do or how they do it. (One commenter summarized it as a version of “libertarian socialism”.) In any case, the IdeaFarm website has been updated once again, so maybe you can take a look and try to make some sense of it.
Otherwise– or perhaps as background– you can check out my previous posts:
I meant to post this a while ago, but here it is now: the IdeaFarm™ truck reappeared at the corner of Castro St. and El Camino in Mountain View, CA in late August. It disappeared apparently on September 11 at the conclusion of its Political Economy course. If you can’t read the sign, it reads (I think): “Mexicans colonize because you don’t receive them as brothers.”
On The Colbert Report last night, Stephen Colbert faced off against himself in “Formidable Opponent” to discuss the high price of oil, the weird practices of oil spectators, and off-shore drilling versus alternative energy plans:
Another example of his great talent for explaining complex issues so that more people are aware of and understand these issues (and have a laugh while you’re at it).
It’s official: gas prices are over $4.00 per gallon (at least for premium). Taken in the Palo Alto/Mountain View, CA area. President Bush should have been paying more attention to those rumors.