Friday, February 17, 2006

My buddy Baron at the paper sent this to me. (He's a photographer.) He told me he found it while he was cleaning out his storage space.

This photo ran front page when I was 13. Baron took it and Karin, another buddy, and actually my one-time supervisor while I was a reporter at the paper, wrote the article. Baron said he actually remembered the interview and taking the picture because I was "cute and talking as if the words couldn't come out fast enough."

Some things don't change. Except for the cute part, of course.

From headline to byline...

Maile93back, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Maile93front, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Piaoliang Mei Mei

leilani, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
One of my roommates expressed an interest in seeing photos of my family, and to be honest, I don't really have any.

My family's kind of special. Our extended family is almost negligible, as we left for Hawaii when I was quite young, so it's always been just the four of us. I left for college when I was 17, then my folks split, and we've been slightly scattered since.

We're all independent as hell, and this wild one in the photo is the most conventional of all of us.

This is my little sister. She's the tall, beautiful, popular one. (Whereas I'm the short, agressive, "clever" one. [She's smart in her own right, but really, you're better off having me than her on your trivial pursuit team.])

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


So I log into the New York Times this morning see news about Bush's most-recent budget proposal: $2.77 trillion assigned to security, made possible, in part--perish the thought of raising taxes for the uber-rich--by cuts in education and health care.

It is days like these where I put down in ink my plans for the future that do not involve a return to the country of my birth.

Shortly after I read this article, I came across another one where several members of congress sharply criticized the proposal. Most unfortunately, I cannot relocate that article, otherwise I would quote directly from it. But, for sure, people on the left, as well as the right, were not too keen on the plan.

But here's the thing. We should not be all that surprised by all this. Yes. It's shocking. Yes. It's upsetting. And yes, the fact that people are getting pissed does offer a faint glimmer of hope, BUT we should not be THAT surprised.


In 1997, during Clinton's second term, a group got together and formed the PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY. This is a legitimate non-profit educational group chaired by William Kristol (son of neo-conservative and long-time Republican presidential advisor, Irving Kristol).

The aims of this group are, as quoted on their Web site, to "promote American global leadership." (To give you a better idea of their sentiment, here is a snippet taken from the article mentioned later: "At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future
as possible.")

The group's Statement of Principles, which can be read at describes the importance of America's role in the world's recent history (the victory of the Cold War) and in order to maintain the U.S.'s dominance:

- "we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

- we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

- we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

- we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."

The statement concludes:

"Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next. "

The Statement of Letters was signed by Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad , I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel , Paul Wolfowitz


I'm hardly an expert in this area, but I'd bet the farm that more than one or two of these people, aside from the obvious ones emboldened, are sitting pretty close to Bush's ears.

So while this preposterous budget proposal is shocking and alarming, it should not be that surprising. What would be surprising is if the country can manage to make it out of this mess unscathed.

If you want to check this out for yourself, log on to

If you wish to see other things I found on the site, carry on. If not, here's a good breaking point.

Thanks for reading.


Further perusal of the group's site resulted in the discovery of a number of articles, including a 90-page plan for "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New American Century." The specific date of this report was not given, as it was in all the other articles; it was simply dated September, 2000. In this epic, these points are clearly made:

The United States must:

ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for U.S. military forces:
- defend the American homeland;
- fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
- perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
- transform U.S. forces to exploit the "revolution in military affairs;"

To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations.

In particular, the United States must:

MAINTAIN NUCLEAR STRATEGIC SUPERIORITY, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.

RESTORE THE PERSONNEL STRENGTH of today's force to roughly the levels anticipated in the "Base Force" outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.

REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting
permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia. Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

MODERNIZE CURRENT U.S. FORCES SELECTIVELY, proceeding with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey "tilt-rotor" aircraft for the Marine Corps.

CANCEL "ROADBLOCK" PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.

DEVELOP AND DEPLOY GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.

CONTROL THE NEW "INTERNATIONAL COMMONS" OF SPACE AND "CYBERSPACE," and pave the way for the creation of a new military service--U.S. Space Forces--with the mission of space control.

EXPLOIT THE "REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS" to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which
- maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies, and,
- produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts.

INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually.

Fulfilling these requirements is essential if America is to retain its militarily dominant status for the coming decades. Conversely, the failure to meet any of these needs must result in some form of strategic retreat. At current levels of defense spending, the only option is to try ineffectually to "manage" increasingly large risks: paying for today's needs by shortchanging tomorrow's; withdrawing from constabulary missions to retain strength for large-scale wars; "choosing" between presence in Europe or presence in Asia; and so on.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I've cut it again...

haircut, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
The beauty of cutting your own hair is that you can do it anytime, as long as there are scissors and a mirror handy. The bad thing about cutting your own hair is that you begin to get too confident, and then a touch too experimental, and soon you wind up hacking off huge amounts and giving yourself bangs very similar to the ones you had when your mother dictated the kind of hairstyle you should be burdened with.

That being said, I kind of like the new do. It's a bit uneven, but I reckon it should work itself out in a day or two. It will grow back, after all...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fireworks update:

Although most people have gone back to work (with the very salient exception of the man who fixes water heaters - we have had NO hot water since Saturday!), strings of firecrackers continue to be lit in parking lots, sidewalks and playgrounds. What's amazing is that no one bats an eye at the noise. They just pause their conversations, wait for the noise to finish, and then finish where they left off.


P.S. I have yet to finish my homework. This post is a testament to my urge to avoid the issue.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Speaking of Chinese New Year and fireworks:

China's Lunar fireworks frenzy kills 36

In Chongqing:

"...There were 191 fires caused by fireworks overnight on New Year's Eve ... a record for the city," Xinhua quoted a local fireworks official as saying."