Is this Fujimori’s “plan?”

Fujimori’s hop through Chile comes in a convenient window, as the Chilean government is changing its procedural laws on extradition, and it isn’t clear which regime should control his case. From yesterday’s Miami Herald:

Under Chile’s old judicial system, extradition hearings could take up to two years, because judges were required to do the grueling work of investigating facts. If those rules are applied, Fujimori would miss his date with voters. The new system simplifies the process by requiring judges in extradition cases only to review evidence presented by attorneys, which would cut the time to an estimated four to six months. That could free Fujimori or send him back to Peru before the elections.

And, by the way, he didn’t fly through Atlanta and Mexico City, as previously reported, but instead took a private plane and stopped in Tijuana. Apparently, he was in and out before the Mexican government even knew what had happened. The immigration inspectors in Tijuana have been fired.

Recommended reading: Okamoto’s Iraqi “Food” Diary

If you’re “nihongo-ready,” or don’t mind wading through unreadable text to look at awesome photos, visit Okamoto’s Iraqi “Food” Diary. Hiroshi Okamoto is a photographer who went to Samawah, Iraq on assignment. He took pictures of food, people, more food, more people, and the occasional borderline war zone. And, like any good Japanese person, he complained about the lack of beer.

Adamu’s initial response: “That is the most hep blog ever… tagging AND Iraqi food!”

Down with the airport security overlords!

One of Marmot’s recent posts confirmed that the Transport Security Administration (TSA, also rumored to be an abbreviation for “Thugs Standing Around“) is the biggest waste of money and time since the lawyer was invented. I would make an argument about how none of our airport security procedures would be sufficient to stop a terrorist attack on an airplane, but it’s more fun to point out random gripes from across teh intarweb:

  1. There are too many of them where they aren’t needed.
  2. They have a ridiculous no-fly list that appears to be based on Arabic names.
  3. They piss off foreign government officials who return to their countries determined to undermine American foreign policy.
  4. They lead to wives taking the fall for their husbands and penises taking the fall for their owners.
  5. They are cruel to robots and people traveling on a different airline each way (I can confirm this personally).
  6. They can’t decide whether shoes are optional or not, but they make you take your shoes off anyway.
  7. Besides nail clippers, they also take away bowling pins and thongs.
  8. Even though they inexplicably force you to show your boarding pass twice, people can STILL get onto planes without tickets.
  9. For an agency designed to thwart terrorists, they have a funny way of involving themselves in the War on Drugs.
  10. And half of these procedures can be avoided completely if you have money.

Oh yes… there’s now a mobile phone game where you win by beating TSA security at every major airport in the US. Fun times.

Granted, they aren’t quite as dastardly as Japanese Customs

Abe the tight-lipped?

The Yomiuri Online has posted an portions of a transcript of an interview with newly appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo under the headline “Abe tight-lipped about political ambitions.”


Here’s an excerpt:

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Opinion polls have shown you to be the front-runner in the race for the post-Koizumi era. Are you willing to take power?

Shinzo Abe: I’m in a position in which I must fulfill my duties as Prime Minister Koizumi’s right-hand man. I therefore must refrain from speaking out about my own political agenda.

How would you make good use of your current position as you seek to take power?

I’m still immature as a politician, really. As chief cabinet secretary, I must play a leading role in coordinating policy making processes in which all ministries and agencies are involved. I’m sure I’ll face a number of ordeals. My position will give me a chance to continue working hard as a politician.

Tight-lipped you say?

I’d say he’s made it rather clear in these comments that he fully intends to make a run for the LDP presidency next fall (not that anyone who is paying attention really needed another confirmation of this).

One of the most common criticisms of Abe as a candidate for Prime Minister is his lack of political experience. And one frequent commentary on Koizumi’s appointment of Abe as Chief Cabinet Secretary was that it was a move calculated to make up for Abe’s lack of experience. Now, here we have Abe first recognizing this weakness, and then hinting that his new role will provide ample opportunity for him to lessen it.

Don’t be surprised if next Semptember we hear it pointed out that, “when Abe first took this position, he was still rather immature as a politician. However, he’s faced a number of ordeals and come out of them more mature and experienced.”

p.s. He also wasn’t very tight-lipped about policy towards North Korea, including the use of sanctions to force the return of all abductees, even those merely “belived to be abducted.” Given the grass-roots popularity for the abductee issue, if that’s not openly campaigning for office, I don’t know what is.

ROC Armed Forces English Manual

Earlier today I bought two neat old booklets from an old man on the sidewalk just outside Taiwan National History Museum.

Both books are from the same series, published by the Republic of China Military Foreign Language school in 1965.

As you can see from the table of contents, the range of material is a little different from the typical English textbook.

As you may expect from a language textbook published by the military of a fascist government, there is a certain amount of propaganda. For example, a sample sentence for the phrase”come from” is:

The refugees all come from the mainland.

Most the “humorous stories” are also demonstrations of the evils of Communism.

Budapest schoolteacher “What is the cause of the increase of population here in our capital city?”
Pupil: “The population increases because the people from the country flock to town.” Teacher: “Now think carefully, children. What could be done to prevent the influx of the country population?”

Pupil: We could set up collective farms here, too”

And a history lesson:

The arrival of Soviet “technicians” in Cuba brought forth this story from that Communist-dominated island:

A Cuban pupil in a local school was asked by his teacher: “Pepito, who was Napoleon?” “That’s easy,” the boy replied. “He was a technician who left Francee to help Italy, Egypt and lots of countries.”

What you might not expect is that the quality of the English is often very poor. Bold marks the phrase they are trying to explain.

At the same time he will do it if you pay him some money.

The very day at his marriage.

We have lived together for that time on. [The other example correctly says “from that time on.”)

It is better
for a woman to marry a man who loves her not a man she loves.

When you’re very lucky, you can even find propaganda and poor English in the same text sample.

Why is the statement that the Principle of Nationality is equivalent to the doctrine of the state is applicable in China but not in the West?

Answer: The statement that the Principle of Nationality is equivalent to the doctrine of the state is applicable in China but not in the West? For the reason that China, since the Ch’in and Han dynasties, has been developing a single state out of a single race, while foreign countries have developed many states from one race and have included many nationalities within one state.

Congress v. Constitution, chapter 942

[11:09] Wade: I love it when Congress acts unconstitutionally
[11:09] Joe: ?

In a 49-42 vote, senators added the provision by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to a sweeping defense policy bill. Under the provision, Guantanamo Bay detainees would be allowed to appeal their status as an “enemy combatant” one time, to the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. But they would not be able to file petitions known as writs of habeas corpus, which are used to fight unlawful detentions, in that or any other U.S. court.

For 200 years, ladies and gentlemen, in the law of armed conflict, no nation has given an enemy combatant, a terrorist, an al-Qaida member the ability to go into every federal court in this United States and sue the people that are fighting the war for us,” Graham told his colleagues. (AP report)

[11:11] Joe: hmmm

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2)

[11:11] Joe: well, this is a "case of invasion," I guess
[11:12] Joe: not an invasion of us, but still . . .
[11:13] Wade: If Asahi Metal could be heard by the courts, I think the habeas motions for "unlawful enemy combatants" are definitely worthy of the federal courts

Now, the Supreme Court already said that enemy combatants can file habeas motions, and only Clarence Thomas dissented from the notion that enemy combatants get due process protection. Even with that fact aside, Graham’s quote makes no sense whatsoever. Its lack of logic is matched only by its lack of factual basis.

Though I’m no fan of terrorists, lawyers in the Senate should know better than this. You don’t mess with the Constitution, especially when the Supreme Court has just told you not to. Want to get rid of habeas corpus? Vote on a constitutional amendment. Call it the “Deprivation of Rights Amendment.” That’ll go over real well.

Just a mutant frog.

Lou The White Frog Is A Connecticut RarityMutant frog

This frog was all white, with black eyes. Mr Taylor says, “We looked it up online and it didn’t seem too rare. Just a mutant frog.” Because it looked unique, though, the family kept it over the summer. The frog was set up in an aquarium habitat, where he spent most of his days resting on a rock near the water. Says Mrs Taylor, “We didn’t even think it would live.”

The white frog did live, however, and on a diet of crickets and mealworms that the Taylors bought for him and by September “Lou Albino” (named after the pro wrestling manager Lou Albano) had doubled his original size, to three inches.

East Asia in sexual trouble

Coming Anarchy filed a report on the latest Durex Global Sex Survey (get the PDF here). Some disturbing numbers to report out of East Asia. First of all, Chinese women have unnecessarily exciting lives, demonstrated by the following rates:

China Japan World
Unplanned pregnancies under 16 17% 1% 4%

Unplanned pregnancies, 17-19 18% 2% 5%

Unplanned pregnancies over 19 20% 6% 10%

Sexually transmitted infections 18% 8% 13%

East Asians don’t particularly like their sex lives, but don’t seem to have high aspirations, either.

China Japan World
“Happy with my sex life” 22% 24% 44%

“Don’t have a high sex drive” 17% 16% 7%

“Sex life is monotonous” 17% 13% 7%

“I wish I had sex more often” 20% 25% 36%

Note that China has an historical aversion to sex of sorts, although things are changing there rapidly. Still, Japan is much sluttier than China: the average Japanese person has had ten sexual partners, while the average Chinese has had only three. Surprisingly, though, vibrators are slightly more popular in China than in Japan. Go figure.

UPDATE: Younghusband linked to the Japanese reaction in the comments over at CA. Priceless quotes:

Chisato, 28: “The problem is that many men are not aggressive enough in Japan. They are timid and do not hustle hard enough to get the opposite sex into bed.” SUSTAINED

Kawachan, 19: “Japanese in general are pure and not as perverted as other countries, when it comes to sex.” OVERRULED

The latest from Pat Robertson

The school board in Dover, Pennsylvania decided to adopt intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. Earlier this week, all eight of its members were voted out of office. Pat Robertson responded that God might not save them from disaster as a result. Draw your own conclusion.

Fun fact: Robertson has a law degree from Yale. More fun fact, courtesy of

In a March 1986 speech to Yale University Law School, Robertson admitted one possible reason why he failed the New York Bar Exam (and thus, never practiced law): “When I was at law school, I studied constitutional law for a whole year. I read a thick book of cases on constitutional law. I did all kinds of research. But I confess to you, I never read the Constitution. I graduated without anybody asking me about that.”

Again, draw your own conclusion. I’d say this goes further to support the notion that the American religious right is powered by evangelicals, but thought through by Catholics.