Tag: Korea

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Returns are starting to come in. Korean presidents serve one five-year term, after which they either go into exile, commit suicide or go to prison. (Rimshot.) Why should we care? Current President Moon’s Democratic Party is shifting the country more into appeasement mode with North Korea and China, and away from a close relationship with […]

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Korea to the US and Back: Amped Up Hysteria


I’m not writing for style points, and I’m pretty sure I’m disqualified anyway because of the steroids, but I want to lay out my experience traveling to the US from Korea and coming back to Korea yesterday.

I left Korea for Oklahoma City on December 31. At the airport in Incheon, I took the required antigen test to enter the United States. It cost about $77. Because of this test and the time it took to get results, I had to be in the airport more than 10 hours before my flight. Also, I was refused service at a coffee shop, café, and convenience store because I didn’t have a negative test result, despite the fact that it is not a requirement in everyday Korean life. During my day in the airport waiting, I noticed the janitorial crew in hazmat suits and plastic visors emptying trash cans at 30-minute intervals and spraying them with disinfectant. (I always have loved performance art.) From that point on, there was no check of my health, though the airport was festooned (always wanted to use that word) with signs boasting, and promising, three temperature scans before boarding.

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WWII:Democrat President declares war on Germany and Japan after Japan attack’s US.We beat the German Axis and Japan. We remain in Germany, Italy and Japan to stabilize and protect them, even today, 75 years later. South Korean:Democrat President enters war with South Korean to push out North Korea.Republican President, and war fighter, takes over as […]

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Green Shoots in My Community


I live near Little Asia in Mesa. This commercial community has been flourishing, revitalizing a portion of a run-down part of town. The latest good sign is the opening of an H Mart. This is a Korean-American supermarket chain with everything from inexpensive to luxury items. The store opened as Arizona started recovering from the governor’s knee on disfavored businesses’ necks. The parking lot is full, every day. This entrepreneurial audacity is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.

H Mart entry sign You can see the lettering on the entry all the way across the parking lot. In huge block letters, this company set out its policy, before any state or local official edict:


Ave Korea: Things Will Never Be Perfect, Y’all

Lotte Tower

View of Seoul from the 123rd floor of Lotte Tower.

Y’all stateside are being set free by your government betters, so I thought it might be a good time to tell you how it’s going here in the Seoul metroplex: we had the outbreak earlier than you, so maybe our results will make for a good “coming attractions.”

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Yes, Koreans went to the polls and voted IN PERSON, not by mail. I saw one guy without a mask, and he WAS allowed in to vote….and everyone’s forehead was scanned for fever. But it was me who had fever, election fever, after seeing the crazy election returns on TV. Here are too brief snippets. […]

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Good morning, America, how are ya? I have in my hands a few KF94 face masks. These are the most common masks you see in Korea, and they’re an “all occasion, year round” accessory that you simply MUST have. Before the wet markets of China unleashed the Wuhan Virus™️, they unleashed SARS™️, so people bought masks. […]

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Colorful Korean Meal


Various forms of contemporary kimchi. National Institute of Korean Language [CC BY-SA 2.5]

Across the northern hemisphere, this is the time of year for harvest festivals. In Germany, Oktoberfest 2019 is in its final week. Two weeks ago, South Koreans celebrated ChuseokI claim no expertise in Korean culture or cuisine but have a few colorful memories of Korean food.

Start with green and white cabbage. Cabbage is preserved by fermentation, both in Asian and in Europe. In Korea, instead of sauerkraut, a mild dish, you get kimchi. Driving through the hilly Korean countryside north of Seoul, I noticed very large plastic sheets laid out on the sides of the road, near farming houses. They were covered, covered with small bright red chili peppers, laid out to dry. These would form the fiery base of the spices that separate kimchi from sauerkraut. There are many other possible ingredients, but you can usually expect orange carrots, green and white scallions, and white radish, ginger, and garlic.

ACF #27: Oldboy


Here’s another Eastern classic–after Kurosawa, a modern Korean movie by Park Chan-wook. George Dunn and Peter Paik and I discuss Oldboy, the centerpiece of the Vengeance trilogy, which won Park the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Korea’s transformation into a prosperous democracy and Oh Dae Su’s transformation into a superman go together to first conceal and then reveal the dark secret at the foundation of civil society: The sacred law on which politics is based is the family, which must obey public laws. This is tragedy in a modern setting, moving between the epitome of wealth and the underworld of crime, incredibly violent, but also strangely hopeful about the possibility of reestablishing civilization.

Robert Kelly is known worldwide. He is the “BBC Dad,” the scholar whose children and wife burst into the room, delightfully, as he was giving an interview. Do you remember? It’s good that Kelly has a worldwide fame – because he knows as much about the Koreas, North and South, as anyone. With Jay, he runs through many of the most important issues. And he also relates what it’s like to be the “BBC Dad.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2018 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for 2018.

35 Years Ago: Russians shoot down KAL 007, all lives lost


Thirty-five years ago, on September 1, 1983, Russian jet fighters shot down a Boeing 747 operated by Korean Airlines. KAL flight 007, even the flight number invites conspiracy theories! The facts are that the plane went down in the Sea of Japan with all 269 passengers and crew lost, the aircraft fatally damaged by two short-range air-to-air missiles. This was a dreadful mishap at the height of the Cold War, the civilian aircraft being mistaken for the smaller RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, and it also showed how far Russia would go to defend its territorial integrity from overflights.

RAF operated RC-135; Russians were tracking USAF RC-135s in the area.

Two blogs provide good accounts, with illustrations, of how the Korean Airlines plane got so dangerously off course, and the sequence of Russian air defense responses, ending in fighter pilots watching the crippled aircraft spiral into the sea.

Real Donald Trump Blunder? “Montenegro” Isn’t Montenegro.


No president is perfect, else we would allow unlimited terms. I support President Trump’s actions towards Russia, am not discomforted by the Helsinki summit, and believe the upcoming DC summit to be a good thing. I also recognize that the relentlessly hostile network and cable news media make the islands of apparently friendly forums attractive. With all those qualifications, I was jarred by the President’s response to Tucker Carlson on “Montenegro.” I am concerned because of history and because it is clear “Montenegro,” in Tucker’s agenda, is not Montenegro. A quick look at the map shows what I mean.

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast number 179 (!!) for June 14, 2018, it’s the Korean Condo edition of the podcast with your hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and artificially intelligent (but naturally blue-eyed!) Mike Stopa over here on the left coast. We get together with you every week to peel back the onion skin of excruciatingly complex events and happenings in the public square. We are, you might have already figured out, the embodiment of the marketplace of ideas, yessirrreeee.

And speaking of the marketplace of ideas, we have our good friend Heather MacDonald on the show who knows a thing or two about ideas (both good and bad ideas, for that matter). Heather will give us her perspective on the North Korean Deal (Condos, beach and all) and will spout off about The Donald in the process and then we get into the meat and bones of #NeverTrump and question where we might find the synthesis between sycophants like ourselves at HLC and lunatics like, oh, Jennifer Rubin – just to throw out a name that pops to mind. Heather is, as you mostly all know by now, the Stephen Curry of conservative political punditry – moves like liquid light and scores from *way* downtown.

As North and South Korean leaders meet to discuss a possible peace agreement and an end to decades of hostility, is President Trump’s next move a one-on-one summit with the “honorable” Kim Jong-un? Hoover senior fellow Thomas Henriksen assesses the stakes on the Korean peninsula and what Trump could and should not do to avoid the frustration experienced by recent American presidents.