Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'd Rather Live in America

I've been following a story that has made the recent tragedy of a shooting spree in Arizona seem tolerable.  I would like to compare these two stories side-by-side
Gabrielle Giffords Salman Taseer
PositionA member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The governor of province of Punjab in Pakistan.
PoliticsA moderate/left-leaning politician A left-leaning politician
ControversyNone, really. She supported Obamacare but she is actually quite moderate: supports gun rights and stronger immigration laws.Defended a poor Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was condemned to death for blasphemy.  He also was outspoken against the anti-blasphemy law
AttackWas shot by Jared Loughner, a mentally disturbed young manWas shot and killed by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was part of Salman's security detail 
ReasonNo reason was given, but apparently Jared was unhappy with a letter Gabby wrote to him in 2007 regarding questions he had asked her at a public meetingMalik was more forthcoming with his reason: he didn't like Salman's opposition to the blasphemy law in Pakistan
ResponseJared was immediately arrested and is being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Additionally, his civil rights are being respected by being assigned a high profile defense attorney, Judy ClarkeMalik was arrested but his supporters blocked the attempts by the police to bring him before a judge.  They also threw rose petals on him [1].  He has been called a hero by religious groups [2].
Why I'd rather live in AmericaEven though there was some unwarranted finger pointing of blame for the attack, there was still universal condemnation of the attack. There was wide spread acceptance of the attack on Mr. Taseer.  The blasphemy laws are so oppressive that even questioning them is blasphemy.  There is little legal recourse since hearsay is sufficient to convict since the stated blasphemy cannot be presented in the charges or in court since doing so would be blasphemous.  


"Staring into the abyss: Pakistan's increasing radicalisation", The Economist, January 8th-14th, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union

A couple thoughts on President Obama's State of the Union Address tonight:

  • I liked the idea of having the Democrat and Republican members of Congress sit together.  I had heard some partisan comments before about "why didn't Democrats didn't suggest doing it when the Republicans were in the minority?", but I think it was a great gesture no matter who suggested it or how long it took them to think of it.  It was much better than watching half the room sit during a standing ovation.
  • I think that the election in November helped remind Congress and the President who they work for.  I sensed a much more civil tone from the President and Paul Ryan.  They must have read my post on civility
  • I was pleased to see more attention being focused on the economy.  Obama and Ryan must have seen the Economic Headlines that I posted.
  • I was impressed that in his Republican rebuttal, Paul Ryan acknowledged that both parties are responsible for our enormous federal deficit.  He must have read my post Civility, Debt and Partisanship.
  • I'm VERY glad that I'm just a blogger and I don't have the actual burden of trying to fix the problems we have.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inciting Violence

Here's some content in the media that could be used to incite violence.

Palin's "Hit List"

The Global Warming/Climate Change "10/10" project

Update 1/21/2011
Bears/Packers Playoffs (Parody Video)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Asian Envy

It all started in High School with the smart Asian kids.  My envy had a nasty flavor since I was in the top of my class and the Asian kids were competition.  Later my envy became healthier as I matured and enjoyed exchanging culture with my Asian friends in grad school: learning a little Chinese at lunch time and comparing our different worlds.  I still remember being told that the English words "Soup" and "Soap" sound identical (as well as "Shirts" and "Shorts").  Try saying them with an Asian accent - you'll see why.

My best friend at my first job was genetically 100% Asian, but really 33% Asian, 33% Hawaiian and 33% Californian.  He invited me to play in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at his Asian Christian church.  It was the most civil basketball experience I have ever had.

Now my group at work is about one third Asian: my boss is Filipino and a new hire that I'm mentoring is Vietnamese. Even my Caucasian coworker's wife is Chinese. Two years ago our group climbed Mt. Whitney and I partnered with a Chinese coworker (hiking is a good bonding experience).  At the summit, we video taped ourselves talking to friends and family.  Mine was lame.  My friends was very heartfelt.

To top off the Asian influence in our lives, we currently have a Japanese student living with us.

What do I think of Asians?  They are disciplined, hard working, cohesive, fun and friendly.

So is there anything wrong with Asians?  Here's a couple of observations:

  • Our house guest has dual citizenship (U.S. and Japan) since his parents were living here when he was born.  Japan makes him decide when he is 21 which he will be.  I was asking him about naturalized citizens in Japan and basically there are none:  no Blacks,  no Latinos, no Europeans, no Russians, no Indians, and no other Asians (not even Central Asians).  Senator Jim Webb, in his book "A Time to Fight" talks about how wonderful the Japanese prison system is compared to the U.S., but if you have no immigration and no cultural conflicts, it's not surprising.
  • Recently there was a WSJ article explaining "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior".  It has received much attention (which I am also envious of).  If Amy Chua's thesis that Chinese Mothers are superior, then explain this:  Due to China's One Child Policy (limits couples to having one child), the ratio of male births to female births has increased drastically.   The result is that there will be millions of men with no prospects for marriage.  So what is happening to the girls?  Since the Chinese culture values sons more than daughters, many girls are eliminated by selective abortion, infanticide and abandonment (Our neighbors adopted one of these neglected Chinese girls).  Chinese mothers may be superior; if your not a girl or you can survive their murderous ways.
  • China owns all of our debt.  What this means is that the government has lots of wealth due to a trade surplus with the rest of the world, and instead of raising the living standard of their people (the average annual salary is about $7400) they keep the money, throw lavish parties and buy foreign debt.
I know that it would be wrong to call Asian cultures anti-immigration, greedy dictatorships full of baby-killing mothers.  That narrative doesn't fit with my personal experience.

New Look

I just finished creating a new look for my blog.  I've resisted doing this on the premise that simple is best, however I asked my son-in-law for constructive criticism.  He, of course, pointed out things to change, which happened to be things that I liked most.  I planned on ignoring his suggestions but I have since softened my stance.  It's funny how we don't like criticism (and consequently I think that we aren't vocal enough with our criticism; we're too afraid to offend even though we secretly may have strong opinions about how things are).

Wouldn't it be nice if we could get honest feedback from others and learn how to not be offended?

Here are the changes:
  1. Warmer colors to reflect my attempts to be less polarizing and more civil  (Also the previous black and white colors do not reflect reality - there seems to always be an exception to black and white rules).
  2. A picture of myself (I tried to cartoonize it to hide the bags under my eyes).
  3. A border of words around the title to reflect some of the themes of my postings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tucson Shooting and the X-ocrats

What's an X-ocrat?  It's anyone person or organization whose utmost concern is obtaining or retaining power (being the ruler).  An X-ocrat is the person that turns a terrible tragedy (such as the shooting in Tucson that killed several people and injured Congresswoman Gifford) into an opportunity to play the blame game in hopes of grabbing more power for yourself [1][2][3].  This X-ocrat power struggle becomes a greater reality than any other real issues.  Americans long for the days after 9/11, when people were engaged emotionally and united in working to solve real problems.
The current X-ocrat's disconnect from reality is what keeps getting them voted out of power (Republicans lost the House in 2006 and the Senate and Presidency in 2008; the Democrats lost the House in 2010).    Note that X-ocrats are Democrats, Republicans, the Main Stream Media, unions, Wall Street.

Links Added Jan 13,2011:
WSJ, Postings of a Troubled Mind

Here is some interesting commentary from two comedians.  I guess poking fun at the X-ocrats helps them not to become blinded by the power struggle.  

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Arizona Shootings Reaction

Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Pundits Lay Blame for Senseless Arizona Attack
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive