News and Gloom

This is what happens to freedom of speech, and other basic freedoms protected in the first amendment when progressives have control of the tools of force.

Dear Focus on the Family: your stance on vaccines is polarizing, and it is neither biblically nor science based:

Are you aware that there are more than 23 vaccines that contain aborted baby DNA, cellular debris, cells, and protein? These include, Adenovirus, Polio, Dtap/Polio/HiB Combo, Hep A, Hep A/Hep B Combo, MMR, MMRV Pro Quad, Rabies, Varicella, and the Shingles vaccine, and there are more in the pipeline. A lot more.

You know what I find telling?  Those on one side of this issue encourage people to make their own decisions, just be fully informed. They encourage parents to read the package inserts that come with the vaccines, and to read what the CDC says.

And those on the other side mostly encourage parents to do what they are told and not worry their dotty little heads about package inserts and other such complicated matters.

Automakers want people to stop working on their own cars:

“Industry concerns are mounting that modifying these ECUs and the software coding that runs them could lead to vulnerabilities in vehicle safety and cyber security. Imagine an amateur makes a coding mistake that causes brakes to fail and a car crash ensues. Furthermore, automakers say these modifications could render cars non-compliant with environmental laws that regulate emissions.

But exemptions from the DMCA don’t give third parties the right to infringe upon existing copyrights. Nor does an exemption mean consumers don’t have to abide by other laws and rules that govern vehicles passed by the National Highway Traffic Administration, Environmental Protection Agency or U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

“It’s not a new thing to be able to repair and modify cars,” said Kit Walsh, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s actually a new thing to keep people from doing it. There are these specialized agencies that govern what vehicles can lawfully be used for on the road, and they have not seen fit to stop them from repairing cars.”

Aftermarket suppliers and home enthusiasts have been modifying ECUs for years without dire consequences. By tweaking the ECU codes, a process sometimes known as “chipping,” they’ve boosted horsepower, improved fuel efficiency, established performance limits for teen drivers and enhanced countless other features. These innovations have contributed to a “decades-old tradition of mechanical curiosity and self-reliance,” according to the EFF.

Those innovations could be curbed precisely at a time that automakers believe personalization of vehicles is emerging as a significant trend. Software is allowing for all sorts of technology, such as 4G LTE wireless connections, and motorists can use this software to choose from an increasing array of infotainment options. But the car companies, paradoxically, want to be the ones doing the personalizing.”

More at the link.

Testimony to WHO about the persecution of Christians:

http://player.piksel.com/p/o9c8prl7

REfugees on their way from Libya to Italy- muslim refugees mobbed the minority Christians in the group and threw them overboard to die.

The Italian PM lied about it.  Obama is silent.

As Renzi was questioned about the incident, Obama was mute on the killings. He failed to interject any sense of outrage or even tepid concern for the targeting of Christians for their faith. If a Christian mob on a ship bound for Italy threw 12 Muslims to their death for praying to Allah, does anyone think the president would have been so disinterested? When three North Carolina Muslims were gunned down by a virulent atheist, Obama rightly spoke out against the horrifying killings. But he just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or theeradication of Christianity from its birthplace.

Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.

More at the link.

Kirsten Powers suggests Obama stop hectoring Christians and start protecting them.

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25% off books

Better World Books is having an Earth Day sale. Take 25% off used books shipped from bwb with code EARTH25.

You have to buy four or more, but that’s a good discount.  Earth Day Sale.

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Compassion and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cost- benefit analysis is compassion:

when we teach cost-benefit analysis, what we’re really doing is teaching compassion — that is, we’re teaching our students to stop and consider *all* the people who are affected by a given action or policy before deciding whether to support it.

 

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“Sit down and let us abolish you

Free speech is at risk. It’s about how the extreme on the left, the SJW, and those who are afraid of them, treat everybody else.  It matters, because these tactics are not just for video gamers or sci-fi writers, they are tactics use against everybody- not even just those who disagree, but those who have any kind of opinion the SJW hates, not just unpopular opinions, but even if you agree, just not hard enough and publicly enough and not from your knees before the self designated learders of the SJW crowd. Neutrality is not allowed.  conscience is not permitted.    “Safe Space” means ‘dissent-free zone- nobody may disagree with me here- or even say something I don’t like.’

They are coming for you (unless you’re muslim, they are afraid of muslims so they will leave the ‘religion of peace’ alone), so watch how they operate.

 

Polarize, divide, conquer, shame and blame, it’s all very Marxist, and should they get their way, I’m sure reducation camps and forced time spent reflecting and repenting of your less than fully enthusiastic opinions will be in order.

 

Don’t believe it’s that bad?  Well, look at these messages purportedly from writers to straight, white males in the publishing industry (actually, a rapidly fading breed).

Indulge in a little thought experiment- imagine the messages were addressed to black publishers, or woman publishers, or Muslim publishers, or….. ?”

I know the PC answer to that is “But those groups haven’t any power….”  Really?  What would happen to a group of young white professionals who sent the exact same message to white woman reporters, for instance?  “He’s coming for you” complete with angry flipping of the middle finger would clearly be seen as an actual physical threat, as would “Sit down and let us abolish you” and numerous others.

Those people who sent some messages would be ridiculed, harrassed, swatted, threatened- they’d lose thier jobs, if they attended public universities they’d be required to attend diversity training if they were even permitted to stay in school without a lawsuit.

Tell me again that there’s not lockstep groupthink on the left.

 

 

 

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A Few K-Dramas

Gangnam Blues- movie, starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Rae Won- loosely (I THINK loosely, maybe it’s true to life, in which case I feel sick) based on historical events behind turning Gangnam from a bunch of paddies to the most expensive district in Seoul.

Not recommended- lots of nudity, graphic everything, and language, though some of the language I know was a translation issue.  One scene where the character just groans was translated into expletives in the subtitles.   Lots of horrific violence as the main feature of the film is gang wars and assassinations, and the gangs are using axes, knives, machetes, shovels, bricks, and finely filed umbrella tips.

Tazza 2: The Hidden Card:  A Tazza is a card shark and/or a con artist in the gambling world.  This is part of a longer story, parts of it told in previous movies and a television show.  It stars T.O.P. and a bunch of other most excellent people but, you know…. T.O.P.  TOP was pretty fantastic.  So were those other people.

The story was terrific, very well done, clever.

Not recommended, though, because of the nudity and some of the violence (though nothing like Gangnam Blues level).  One funny bit- TOP has a well known quirk in K-Pop Idol land.  He won’t take off his shirt.  Mostly, he doesn’t even wear short sleeves.  He’s a member of Big Bang, and all the other members have done shirtless scenes in their music videos (Taeyang surprises viewers more if he leaves his shirt on), but not him.  There are some shirtless scenes here, and I think they are all CGI.  I mean, I know or a fact most of them are, it’s so obvious, I assume all of them are.

Super Daddy Yeol: Not recomended because it’s stupid.  The storyline is that several years ago Yeol’s girlfriend (Cha Mi Rae) broke up with him, dumped him really cruelly and left for America.  Now she’s back in Seoul with a daughter, and she wants Yeol to be her daughter’s dad, and she gets him to get back together with her.  He’s sincere, in love, and trying his hardest.  She’s dying of cancer and isn’t telling anybody.  Also, if it wasn’t obvious,  she’s selfish, manipulative, dishonest, unfair, has a grotesque double standard, and she’s abusive.  I really, really hate shows that play it for laughs and have women kicking men in the groin for no better reason than the man say something like, “I like you”.  And the way the show plays this couple, Yeol is the dumb loser who just needs to get his act together, and she’s a wonderful mom – when it’s really the single mom who behaves in ways that are are just appallingly selfish and cruel- for the daughter as well as Yeol.  UGH.

The Beast and the Beauty:  She’s blind and beautiful.  He’s a taxi-driver.  They start dating.  He lies to her about a lot of things, but he means well- he makes the world around her a prettier place than it is, turning a trash littered, stoney park into a grassy, flower strewn meadow that he piggy backs her through.  Unfortunately, he also lies about how he looks, because he’s not very handsome, but he doesn’t want her to know. Of course, she has an operation that restores her sight, and he’s too ashamed to let her know what he’s done. There’s some crime and suspense in here as well.  It’s cheesey and kind of lame, but if there are a thousand better things to do with your time, there are a thousand worse things as well, and it’s innocent enough.

High School Love On: Super cute, very adorable.  Sad in places and I do not understand the mother or the mother-in-law at all, but the three main actors are adorable.

Pinocchio- The ending was flat.  The beginning was heart breaking.  There’s a totally inexplicable turn towards psychopath land by one of the most lovable characters in the show (not the grandpa, he’s always a perfect darling) and I found it hard to overlook that. and an explicable revealment of the psychopathic character behind another seemingly lovable character,   But the middle was fun, interesting, charming, sometimes funny and other times suspenseful. There are murders here, as well as a suicide, so it’s not for small kids, but I could watch this with teens.

Healer: My drama crack for this season.  Five episodes in and I’m still totally wowed.  “Healer” is the code-name for a loner ‘courier’ who will collect and deliver anything, no questions asked, if the price is good enough.  He does cyber espionage, among other crimes, and he’s very cool.  He gets tangled up in a case, and we are off on a romp of mixed espionage, thriller, suspense, romantic comedy, and some very cool history as well.  I almost jumped for joy when I spotted Court Lady Choi from Faith (really, the incredibly gifted actress Healer court lady choi turned ajummaKim Mi-kyung), this time dressed in yellow socks, sandles, with frizzy hair, as Healer’s computer whiz woman dispatcher.  Part of the story reminded me a bit of  of Sandglass and Story of a Man, and if you want to know more about that painful part of South Korea’s recent past when their ‘Democracy’ was a secretive and bloody dictatorship, you should watch them.  Lo and Behold- same writer- Song Jin-Nah.

Healer is played by Ji Chang-wook, whom I had never seen in anything before, and I will be remedying that.

The other female lead is played by Park Min-young- Kim Na Na in City Hunter. I love her, too. She’s adorable and fun to watch. She mostly plays the same kind of character, but it’s a character I like and she does it with charm. Here she plays an abandoned, abused child, adopted at 7 or 8 and raised by a doting and loving criminal justice lawyer dad who also owns a coffee shop staffed by the criminals he put behind bars and then helped out when they served their time.  He was married, but the adoptive mom has died before our story begins.  Min-young’s character is an entertainment reporter for a second string organization, but she aspires to be a real reporter.

There are other characters, threads, and plots running this tale of espionage, revenge, set ups and more.  I’m not going to go into that. I just love this so far, and I hope it keeps living up to itself.

Conclusion: it lived up to itself.  There’s one bedroom scene where the indication is an unmarried couple slept together, but otherwise, all the romance is sweet and innocent

 

SPY:  I got TWO drama cracks the same season!!   Jae Joong (Triangle, singer for JYJ, the singer in the K-Pop rock video Mine, and more)- based on an Israeli spy thriller where the mother is a former spy for the other side and her family doesn’t know it, her son is now a spy for the good guys, but his family doesn’t know it, she gets found by her old colleagues and forced back into action to protect her son.  Jae Joong’s last project before going into his army service.

Kill Me, Heal Me: Make it THREE Drama-crack shows that  season. I don’t think I can take anymore.  This season is Daeback.  This is not a drama I had any intention of watching, but I saw a review that made me curious and I’m glad.  The main character has split personalities- about seven of them.  It’s also part rom-com.  That just didn’t sound appealing to me.  But the lead actors are fantastic, the female character’s family is so delightfully adorable, and charisma and skill of the lead, who has to be all these different people, is just incredibly riveting.   There’s also, of course, a lot of mystery and dark secrets behind just why poor Cha Do Hyun has/needs seven personalities, including the tall, dark, and dangerous Sen Gi.  I was really surprised at how good this is.

Updated to add- the first part of the first episode is not so great- it’s set in American and you get horribly painful English, and nasty, nasty brutality in a stereotypical cardboard (and thankfully, short-term) villain of a white father beating up his Asian daughter and calling her horrific names.  Just ugh.  Once they came back to Korea, I loved it all the way through.

 

Legendary Witches: a weekend family drama.  the lead female actress is rather plain vanilla and doesn’t make her character terribly interesting- but the rest is pretty interesting, even if it does have some of the usual fare- chaebol jerks, birth secrets, revenge plots, and a second lead female who cannot take no for an answer.  It had other things that make up for it- feisty female leads who stick up for themselves, a makeshift family that supports each other just because, not because of blood ties, cute family relationships, a son-in-law and father-in-law who are too cute for words, and a smart alec little girl who is hilarious with her father.  Lots of cute, lots of love- and then the story stumbled into a deeper makjaeng ditch and limped along to the end.  Meh.

turtle dragon blog link

Dramas I’ve completed, recommend, and reviewed: see here.

K-Dramas I almost liked- most of these are  darker than I usually prefer. Some are also-rans- I thought I was going to like them, which is why I started reviewing, but they there were just too flawed.

Things to know when watching a K-drama

More Things To Know

Addiction, and why I like K-dramas

You might be watching a K-Drama if….

Where to get your fix: Sites where you can find subtitled K-dramas (and dramas from other countries, as well. I’ve watched a handful of J-dramas (Japanese) and TW (Taiwanese) dramas, but I vastly prefer the K-dramas, even though I know more Japanese – I got an A in my Japanese 101 class back in the day, when we actually lived in Japan and once I even knew both hiragana and katakana- but still K-dramas interest me vastly more).

Need to read still more about K-dramas?

CrazyforKDramas

Dramabeans- must reading.

Outside Seoul

Learn more background stuff about Korean culture from askakorean

belecticground

The social commentary at one of the above sites  in particular drives me nuts. It won’t take long for you to figure it out. You can tell they were well indoctrinated either by direct contact with a woman’s studies program in college, or by some secondary influence. The double standard is bad, but it’s the near complete blindness to it that is absolutely jaw dropping.  They freak out over all alleged, perceived, imagined or real disrespect, misogyny, and patriarchy involved in a wrist grab (a common K-Drama thing, and also something I actually do to my husband and kids when I am really excited about something and want to drag them over and make them share the moment with me).  I understand that many of the wrist grab scenes are about asserting male power, I just don’t agree that all of them are, nor do I agree that asserting one’s gender is always and everywhere a bad thing.

But what really sticks in my craw is having somebody who cannot bypass a wrist grab without genuflecting to one’s Womyn’s Studies brainwashing also giggle, chortle, and cheer like spiteful school girls when a female character is violently abusive towards a male. I’ve witnessed the giggling and cheers over scenes like  a female kicking a male character in the shins, or worse,  in the groin, merely because he has annoyed her by being in her way, making a dumb suggestion (not a lewd suggestion, I mean stupid stuff like coming up with what she deems is a foolish suggestion for fixing a work problem) or had the audacity to ask her out or tell her she’s pretty.

I have watched them issue virtual high fives of delight over scenes which have the female lead demonstrate her ascendancy over the male lead by leaving him with a fat lip, black eyes, and/or a bloody nose- again, only because he’s annoyed her, not as a matter of self defense against an actual attack, or even a verbal threat.

They think wrist grabs are abusive but male battering is hilarious. I think the double standard is disgusting and very, very telling.

 

 

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Charity and Magical Thinking

not all help is helpfulOne definition of Magical Thinking is: “merely thinking about an event in the external world can cause it to occur.”

Personally, in some cases it also seems to result in the belief that merely thinking about it means it actually *did* occur.  Somebody says, “Yes, I will do that for you,” and then they never do, but they are rather put out that you hold them to it and point out it never happened.  Somehow, this is grudge-holding, but their oath-breaking is just one of things that could happen to anybody.

They are invested in thinking highly of themselves, in feeling good about themselves and about their interactions with others- so they promise more than they can deliver, thinking the promise is what counts.

IT happens with a good deal of charity related issues, too-  thinking about it, voting to force other people to be charitable on your behalf, and engaging in truly ineffective or even counterproductive therapy actually mean that meaningful, useful charitable acts occurred.  In this kind of magical thinking, criticizing ‘charitable’ acts that aren’t helpful, that are counterproductive somehow becomes *bad* thinking.

 

Economics emphasizes the unintended and unseen consequences of different actions. Suppose you could feed two hungry children with the same effort you’re currently using to feed one. Would you want to know how?

Some people really wouldn’t.

I think that if we’re really honest with ourselves a lot of our charitable endeavors have less to do helping the least of these among us than with showing that we’re the kind of people who care about the least of these among us.

Intending to help people isn’t the same as actually helping people. Good intentions and a few dollars will get you a cup of coffee, if you’re lucky: “good intentions” channeled through pathological institutions might leave you saddled with a body count. In one of the most provocative books I read this year, Timothy Keller explains how Generous Justice is more than just giving stuff away. It’s a lifestyle decision that requires getting meaningfully involved in the lives of others. Over the long run, this is likely to be far more effective than simply bunching all of our benevolence into a few frenzied weeks.

As a mentor has told me, economics shows us that it is very difficult to be charitable in ways that actually benefit the people we’re trying to help. Some people might find this sad–dismal, even. I actually think it’s kind of liberating because it suggests that–at the risk of being dramatic–a better world is possible. A new paradigm for charity and justice will require a lot of thinking outside the donation box. With Christmas 2011 and a brand new year right around the corner, it’s a challenge I look forward to meeting head-on.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/artcarden/2011/12/18/ruining-christmas-an-economists-guide/2/

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Of Books and Beasts

The Equuschick just finished a new Robin Mckinley, Dragonhaven. It was a different style than many of her previous books and in fact, especially for one who can write so elegantly, her writing here often came across awkward and abrupt. But she was writing from the point of view of a modern and very troubled adolescent young man whose mother died in mysterious and violent circumstances when he was 12, so of course he was awkward in his own writing, and to be able to write not-quite-well when in fact you know that you can write very well, that is a demonstration of skill in and of itself.

(Towards the end of the book a gay character is revealed in a very minor way, and what was perhaps just as frustrating to The Equuschick as anything else was the fact that it was only there that the writing seemed to falter at all, as if it had got distracted. This addition, brief as it was, seemed forced and obligatory.)

(And ok, if you’re picky, there was some language. But Robin Mckinley used it like any other literary device, i.e sparingly and well and it was very much in character and in a context where it was appropriate and not superfluous. And unlike the introduction of the gay character, it did not feel forced and as if it was a distraction from the rest of the story. The Equuschick apologizes if you’re stuffier than she is about that sort of thing.)

Anyway. It told the story of a young boy raised on a national park that is protected dragon territory and how he stumbles upon an orphaned dragon and raises it illegally, and how he learns to communicate with the dragons and its an interesting story that touches upon many of the politics of science, animal rescue, laws relating to the welfare of animals, what defines animal intelligence and communication, and other such things naturally of interest to an Equuschick.

It also reminded her of something she had been reading earlier about Merriweather Lewis and William Clark and Lewis’ dog, Seaman..

As fascinated as The Equuschick is by Seaman’s story she is not the historian in the family and she is not quite certain herself what happened to Seaman at the end of the journey, or if it is even known. However the historian she was reading at a Lewis & Clark center just the other day made this case: He said that he was quite sure that Seaman survived the entire journey, because he said, if anything had happened to Lewis’s well-loved dog it would have been such a note-worthy event that surely it would have been recorded in the journals.

This is stuffy academic poppy-cock. Again, The Equuschick does not have any real idea herself about Seaman’s final fate. But what she does know is that to assume that if something tragic happened to him it would have been recorded is just silly.

Any private and self-respecting person who has a rational face they must present to the world and a heart inside them who loves their beasts knows what a silly idea that is. If something tragic happened to Seaman, then recording it with finality into journals that they had to have known were destined for public use may have been the very last thing Lewis and Clark would have wanted to do. They just wouldn’t have done it. Because how? They were soldiers and scientists. They had a purpose and they had a mission and they loved their dog, and if something had happened to him they would have set their faces in a grim line and walked away and The Equuschick is willing to bet money that they never, ever would have recorded the event in any detail whatsoever in the journals. Maybe later on in their lives, they did. But they wouldn’t have done it at the time that it happened.

Because silly stuffy academic poppycock. Geesh. #seriously.

It is for much the same reason that The Equuschick has not talked much here (or anywhere else) about moving and the horse.

Because it has been a bit of a touch-and-go sort of thing, and the sort of thing where planning up to three months in advance is as good as it can get. Things were almost ready to be settled with something more like permanence when Shasta (and perhaps you don’t this yet either, The Equuschick apologizes) was let go for the job they moved here for. That was a rough blow.

However, things were resolved enough with the horse in the end that The Equuschick is now happy to report that he is currently happily installed at a boarding farm half an hour from here and that Shasta had an interview for another job yesterday, so things are looking up. And if The Equuschick still won’t be able to go out and ride as often as she would like, she is at least happy to know that he is happy and well-cared for and she can go visit him much more frequently than she could if he were still a few states away.

sky blog pic

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Since all the downward tracts of time

Cyber hymn link

Since all the downward tracts of time
God’s watchful eye surveys,
O who so wise to choose our lot
Or to appoint our ways?
Good when He gives, supremely good,
Nor less when He denies;
E’en crosses from His sovereign hand
Are blessings in disguise.
Why should we doubt a Father’s love,
So constant and so kind?
To His unerring, gracious will
Be every wish resigned.
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Graphic Novel on Armenian Genocide Revenge Plot

Operation Nemesis: A Story of Genocide & Revenge

If you’re older than me or more sheltered than me, a graphic novel is a comic, but usually for adults. Obviously, this topic is for mature readers, and I’m guessing the content is as well.

Based on a true story- After the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, there were Armenians who responded much like Jewish Nazi-hunters after WW2.

Amazon says:

An original graphic novel based on the TRUE STORY of Soghomon Tehlirian, a lone man who in 1921 killed the former leader of Turkey on the streets of Berlin and walked away a free man. Why? Because the German jury determined that the deceased was the architect of a nationwide massacre of over one million people. Honoring the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

More about the book here (which is where I found it), as well as some other good bookish stuff- a UK list of the 11 best kids’ books, too. OH, Yum.

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Blooming

It was 80 degrees today. I saw these blooms.

I almost decided to trust spring enough to take my gloves out of my purse, but I left them there a little longer. Just in case.

2015-04-16 13.26.33 2015-04-16 13.26.55 2015-04-16 13.27.05 2015-04-16 13.27.54 2015-04-16 13.28.25 2015-04-16 13.29.09 2015-04-16 13.29.44 2015-04-16 13.30.23 2015-04-18 15.34.19 2015-04-18 15.34.43

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