Friday, March 20, 2009

Some thoughts inspired by St Pat's day

I have often noted -- particularly on my personal blog -- how frequently these days in Australia one sees Eurasian couples about the place. Smart little Asian ladies seem to be very good at catching big burly Caucasian men. It is also such a phenomenon in American college life (particularly the Ivies, I believe) that Caucasian college women have a name for it: Yellow fever. They get a bit burnt up about how so many of the big men have an Asian lady on their arm -- to the exclusion of the Caucasian women.

And it happens a lot in my personal environment too. An Asian lady attached to a big Caucasian man is common. Even my 6' tall and well-built son has a lady of Han ancestry in his life. And the lady in my life -- Anne -- has a nephew who recently married a Korean lady. I went to the wedding. And two of my old friends now live in China with their Chinese wives, etc.

Now the gap between Asian language and culture and Anglo culture is so wide that the pairing concerned is rather surprising. Though I approve of it thoroughly. The Asian ladies bring excellent qualities to such unions, in my opinion.

What tends to be forgotten is that we have been there before. There has long been great hostility between the English and the Irish. The Irish hate the English and the English despise the Irish. But: Guess what? The rate of intermarriage between the English and the Irish has long been phenomenal. Particularly in Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand, there must be few people of predominantly English ancestry who do not also have some Irish in their ancestry. I certainly do.

And it even happens in England itself. I mentioned recently that I knew of a lady with the wonderfully Irish name of Concepta Finnegan. But the reason I know of her is that she has recently married into a wealthy English family with the family seat near Cambridge! I am sure she is far from alone.

I am inclined to think that it is mostly an example of "opposites attract". I suspect that it serves to create hybrid vigour. But that is a very large topic so I will content myself with just noting the phenomenon.

Just one more small note about that, though. When I was a young guy, we all used to think that the Catholic girls were best in bed -- because they thought it was a sin so got into it more! And I still have some happy memories about that! So Irish Catholicism could explain a lot!



More Obama destructiveness: "When the U.S. closed the southern border to Mexican trucking last week -- in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- Mexico promised to retaliate. Yesterday it did, releasing a list of 89 U.S. products that will face new tariffs of 10% to 45%. Mexico's decision wasn't taken lightly. Since 1995, three successive Mexican administrations have worked to get the U.S. to respect its Nafta obligation of allowing long-haul trucks across the border. In 2007 the two countries agreed to a pilot program that permitted a limited number of Mexican carriers into the U.S. under rigid safety regulations. After 18 months that program proved that Mexican carriers are as safe as their U.S. counterparts. That was bad news for the anti-competition Teamsters union, and last week it got Congress to kill the pilot program. Yesterday Mexico fired back. Trade wars are never pretty. But given the downturn in demand that already exists in the U.S. economy, this one could be ugly, and dangerous. Mexico is the U.S.'s third largest trading partner and the new tariffs will affect some $2.4 billion in goods across 40 states. California, an important supplier of fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts to Mexico, will be hit hard."

Markets rally as Fed cranks up the printing press : "Financial markets did a dramatic 180-degree turn Wednesday, with stock markets erasing losses to surge higher, the U.S. dollar plunging, bond yields tumbling and gold soaring after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would crank its printing press into higher gear in an all-out effort to revive credit markets and thwart deflation. The U.S. Federal Reserve said it would buy up to US$300-billion worth of longer-term treasury bonds over the next six months, wading into the market to buy up government paper for the first time since the 1960s, and expand an existing program to buy mortgage-related securities by another US$850-billion to US$1.45-trillion this year."

West Bank: Israelis round up Hamas political leaders : ""Israeli soldiers rounded up at least seven of the Islamic militant group's political leaders in the West Bank in a pre-dawn arrest sweep Thursday, Hamas officials and relatives said. The detentions come after the failure of recent efforts to win the release of an Israeli soldier Hamas is holding in Gaza. . Israel has detained dozens of Hamas politicians in the West Bank on various occasions since the capture of Sgt. Gilad Schalit, 22, in a cross-border raid in June 2006. The detainees in this latest raid include Nasser Shaer, a former Palestinian deputy prime minister, and several Hamas lawmakers, Hamas officials and relatives said."

Pentagon to phase out "stop loss" at last: "The military will phase out its 'stop loss' program, the contentious practice of holding troops beyond the end of their enlistments, for all but extraordinary situations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday. Instead, the military will use incentives programs to encourage personnel to extend their service."

Obama drops plan to bill veterans' private insurers : "President Obama yesterday abandoned a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment at VA hospitals of combat-related injuries amid an outcry over the measure from veterans' service organizations and members of Congress. The proposal would have authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to charge private companies for treating injuries and other medical conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are related to military service. The measure was intended to save VA about $530 million a year, but the administration's pursuit of third-party billing sparked resistance from leaders of veterans groups, who met this week with Obama. "

How FDR promoted racial segregation: "President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a reputation as a friend of black people, yet he signed laws that promoted racial segregation throughout the United States. The laws were supposed to promote `affordable housing.' Concerns about risk were borne out during the Great Depression, when people across the United States defaulted on their mortgage loans. FDR stepped in so that more people could afford to buy their homes. On June 13, 1933, he established the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) which replaced his predecessor Herbert Hoover's Federal Home Loan Bank. HOLC spent some $3 billion refinancing mortgages for people who had trouble making their mortgage payments. In the process, HOLC promoted the long-term, self-amortizing mortgage. As many as 40 percent of HOLC-financed properties ended up in foreclosure. In an effort to minimize risks, HOLC developed more formal, consistent methods for assessing properties. HOLC rated properties and neighborhoods on a descending scale from most desirable to least desirable, and maps were produced to help speed-up the process of evaluating mortgage applications. Neighborhoods were marked as A (green), B (blue), C (yellow) or D (red). An "A" neighborhood was suburban with recent construction, low crime, business and professional people - a white neighborhood. A "D" neighborhood was inner city, old buildings often in need of repair, sometimes high crime - a minority neighborhood. HOLC avoided "D" neighborhoods. This was how official redlining began."

This is the Army, Mrs. Jones! : "The biting winds of change are blowing through ObamaNation. The same `volunteerism' that kept America running since the days of its founding, wiped out with the stroke of a pen, will no longer be volunteerism. It becomes forced labor and like the practice of another era, presses American citizens of all ages and creeds, unknowingly into military service. On paper, H.R. 1388 is the `Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act;' the more innocuous sounding `The Give Act,' for short. But `The Give Act' is not part of Obama's distant future for unsuspecting American citizens, because it hits the House floor tomorrow. . `The Give Act' puts tow-headed school children and silver-haired seniors in the official uniform of the new State, and encompasses every walk of life in main-street America."

Insuring disaster : "In last summer's blockbuster `The Dark Knight,' the Joker invites one of the top crime lords of Gotham City to the rundown warehouse where he has stashed his ill-gotten gains. The mobster stares in awe at the huge stack of money the arch-criminal has amassed. But a moment later, his awe turns to horror as the Joker sets the money aflame. `This town deserves a better class of criminal,' he explains. The exchange reveals the deep evil of the Joker. Unlike a common criminal, he doesn't just want to steal money from others. He wants to destroy their wealth. When Americans discovered a few weeks ago that federal officials had spent another weekend of Diet Coke-fueled all-nighters concocting yet another bailout of the American International Group, they might have been reminded of this scene. This was the fourth time since September that taxpayers had rescued AIG from collapse."

Cleaning up someone else's mess: "They were the responsible ones: thousands of service station owners and other business people across New England who made the effort to properly dispose of waste oil and antifreeze by sending it to the sprawling Beede Waste Oil Co. in Plaistow, N.H. Now they are being punished for their conscientious ways. Owners of gas stations and auto repair shops are being billed tens of thousands of dollars each to pay for the more than $65 million cleanup at the deeply contaminated Beede site. Its owners were prosecuted but don't have enough money to pay for the work. Under the federal Superfund law, aimed at cleaning up the nation's most polluted dumps, if the people or companies that made the mess can't clean it up, anyone who generated waste that wound up in a Superfund site such as Beede is responsible to pay for it - even if they broke no laws."

MO: Libertarians condemn "strategic report" as political profiling : "The Missouri Libertarian Party, the third-largest political party in the state, issued the following statement regarding a `Strategic Report' issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) on February 22nd, which became known to the public late last week: `An internal document designed for law enforcement education purposes inaccurately and dangerously implies that among the indicators of possible involvement in extremist, militant militia activity is support for the Libertarian Party. This memo and its findings are potentially dangerous to both the people of Missouri and to our system of free political speech.'"

Conspiracy theories still thriving: "The highest levels of the Obama administration are infested with members of a shadowy, elitist cabal intent on installing a one-world government that subverts the will of the American people. It sounds crazy, but that's what a group of very persistent conspiracy theorists insists, and they point to President Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, as the latest piece of evidence supporting their claims."

Let freedom do it: "Those of us who advocate freedom and capitalism run up against a difficult problem. Even though these ideas, hampered as they have always been by government intervention, have led to all the good things people say they want (wealth, justice, progress, personal liberty, etc.), they haven't got a prayer against the grandiose promises of those who prefer the alternate route of command and control. Government promises to protect us, feed us, comfort us, instruct us and make life fair. Freedom promises nothing more than the ability to pursue one's dreams as one chooses. There's no promise of utopia in such a system, but the results of leaving people free to their own devices tend to be pretty good, on balance. The utopian systems are the ones where you find the concentration camps and dungeons, despite the flowery rhetoric."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)



Robert said...

Re: Conspiracy Theories still thriving - I remember one of the predictions about a declining social mood was, along with an increase in magical thinking, more conspiracy theories would arise, and more people would believe them.

Anonymous said...

"They get a bit burnt up about how so many of the big men have an Asian lady on their arm -- to the exclusion of the Caucasian women."

Different races don't unconsciously stink to one another. 50% of attraction may be pheromones that are based on one's DNA, namely the immune system. We are always in an arms race with micro-organisms, there being 100X as many cells of those on and in our bodies than there are human cells. This ties into the immune system protein complex.

I now have a Chinese/Vietnamese gal with 5 shows on Broadway cooking for me using my Joyce Chen knife, bamboo cutting board, on my 100BTU induction WOK that gets almost red hot in ten seconds but the handles stay cold. She owes me $30USD for a computer cable so I'm on her cooking list. Still uses a bit too much grain-fed chicken fat so I have to perhaps teach her to skim that off the soups and replace them with olive oil. My Greek pepper grinder fits in one's hand yet is almost industrial in output.

You have been a role model.

-=NYC=- (Columbia area Ph.D. in nanotech after a short stint in Cambridge, MA).