Friday, August 31, 2007

Canada, Germany, Afghanistan blame Korea for Hostage Deal

You know, when Canada criticises you for being soft on terrorism, you’re in big trouble.

Canada’s foreign minister, in a rare public blast at a close ally, has criticized South Korea for negotiating with Taliban militants to free a group of hostages.

“The Canadian position on dealings with terrorists is well-known to all those with even a passing familiarity with the subject. We do not negotiate with terrorists, for any reason,” Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said in a statement. “Such negotiations, even if unsuccessful, only lead to further acts of terrorism.”

And from Germany, we have this:

Opposition Green Party defense spokesman Winfried Nachtwei said he was pleased the hostages had been freed but at a political level it was nothing less than “a political triumph for the Taliban.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government would not change its strategy in light of the release of the Korean hostages. “The situation concerning the South Korean hostages will not change in the way we are dealing with it,” she said..

And out of Afghanistan, we have the following (from the same article linked above):

“It is a very dangerous message when we give the impression that the international community and the Afghan government are able to be blackmailed,” said Aghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta.

The day before, Afghan commerce minister Amin Farhang had also criticized the South Korean government for bypassing the Afghan government and dealing directly with the Taliban. “This release under these conditions will make our difficulties in Afghanistan even bigger,” Farhand said German radio station, Bayerischer Rundfunk. “We fear that this decision could become a precedent. The Taliban will continue trying to take hostages to attain their aims in Afghanistan.”

I’m extremely happy for the hostages and their families, but in addition to whatever ransom was paid (and we all know that one was paid), what price has South Korea paid in terms of political credibility and national prestige for giving in to the Taliban, and especially for bypassing the Afghan government and negotiating directly with terrorists?

Taliban does not hate Korea

Get your barf bags ready.

The Korea Times has just printed a letter from the Taliban to the Korean people.

Here are a couple of choice parts:

Now that we have released the remaining seven captives, we wish to tell the Korean people that we have no enmity toward you.

Well, that’s a relief. I guess those two bullet-ridden bodies were just an accident.

Your government is also partly responsible for the killing of the two Koreans, because, being a partner of the Afghan and American government, it should have forced the two to accept our demands in order to ensure the peaceful release of the hostages.

Chung Dong-young will have a field day with that one.

I know I shouldn't have to write this but there are enough confused people out there that I think I have to do so: The only people responsible for the kidnapping of the 23 Koreans and the murder of two of them are the Taliban. They are not some random force of nature but human beings who exercise moral responsibility for their own actions. The deliberate taking and killing of civilian hostages is a crime in any tradition, including that of Islam.

Read the whole thing if you have the stomach for it.

If this letter does not get a few companies of Korean special ops to Afghanistan, I don’t know what will.

To Qari Yousaf Ahmadi: If you can take some time from murdering Korean civilians, straping bombs on six-year-olds and buggering little boys, please feel free to kiss my ass. (RIGHT ON!!!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Excavation Team at No Gun Ri Comes Up Empty

I can’t say I’m not surprised:

The search for the remains of victims of a U.S. massacre during the 1950-53 Korean War is likely to end Wednesday with no remains found, officials said, adding that the remains may have been damaged by heavy rains or taken away by their bereaved families. [Yonhap] (HT: Reader)

Just think this team could not find any evidence to support a massacre at No Gun Ri, yet the journalist concludes the article by repeating the mythology:

In July 1950, U.S. soldiers opened fire on approaching South Korean refugees at Nogeun-ri, about 160 km south of Seoul, believing North Korean soldiers were hiding among them, according to a 2001 Pentagon report. Hundreds of South Koreans, including many women and children, are believed to have been killed.

The Pentagon Report never supported the claim that “hundreds” were killed yet that does no stop people from repeating this claim over and over again. If the only things you know about this issue is from the media than you know nothing about No Gun Ri. I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, to read this posting supported by fact instead of mythology, about what really happened at No Gun Ri. It is a bit long, but it takes longer to explains facts than to report mythology thus please take the time to read it if you haven’t already.

The body count mythology surrounding No Gun Ri was long ago highly cast into doubt by the US aerial surveillance of the area one week after the alleged incident took place where no evidence of a massacre could be found. You can try for yourself and see if you can find the massacre:

Aerial footage of the bridge in question at No Gun Ri.

If you couldn’t spot a massacre don’t feel bad because both imagery and forensic experts from both the US and South Korea could not find any evidence of a massacre either. This is why I’m not surprised that the excavation team searching around No Gun Ri found no evidence of this massacre as well.

Despite all the evidence against it, the term “hundreds” is still commonly used by the media, such as in this latest Yonhap article, when no evidence can be produced to support this outside of the claims of the Korean witnesses. These same Korean witness also just so happen to be demanding a multi-million dollar compensation payment from the US government.

Additionally, notice how quiet the media has been of this story. One buried story by Yonhap about this significant story and that is it. Imagine if the excavators did find evidence of a massacre what the headlines would be.

It just so happens that I visited the No Gun Ri site in June and saw for myself the excavation taking place:

Excavation site on the hill side at No Gun Ri.

They had the place staked off in grids like a typical archeology site and when I visited they had found nothing and two months later they had to admit formally that there was nothing. Despite the claims that nothing could be found because of heavy rains and bodies being removed let me give you a perfect example of how absurd this claim is.

Korean recovery team working with Australian soldiers to recover Korean War remains.

To this day bodies and artifacts from the Korean War period continue to be found at former battle sites. Some how the heavy rains didn’t remove these artifacts and bodies. The sites are filled with every day artifacts from the soldiers that fought there:

Recovered Korean War artifacts on display at the Korean War Memorial June 25, 1950.

How come none of these every day items have been found scattered around the No Gun Ri area? The No Gun Ri mythology states that about 700+ people were moving along the railroad track that day on July 26, 1950 when US airplanes strafed and bombed the refugee column leaving bodies blown to pieces, wagons burning, and the refugees possessions scattered across the countryside. None of this physical evidence can be found at No Gun Ri, yet at Korean War battle sites from the same time frame excavators continue to find these types of artifacts:

Recovered Korean War artifacts on display at the Korean War Memorial June 25, 1950.

However, the search for the truth of what happened at No Gun Ri ended long ago when this issue took on political and ideological contexts to where the No Gun Ri myth makers have to much to loose by admitting they were wrong about what happened at No Gun Ri. Thus the sliming of an entire generation of Korean War veterans with the mythological claims of “hundreds” of civilians “massacred” at No Gun Ri will continue despite all the evidence saying otherwise.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Halloween (2007)

Opens In South Korea. Unknown

How i saw it. Leaked Workprint DVD Screener.

Plot. After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.

This film is a remake of Halloween (1978)

HEAVY SPOILER ALERT REVIEW...........................................

This is the second workprint review that I have done. I was also able to get a copy of Hostel 2 a week early also. I must ask, "What is going on with Dimension Films?"

This is the 2nd leak of a big release film for them this year. I keep wondering who is trying to destroy the studio or is this just greed or revenge. Eli Roth, the director of Hostel 2, believed that the leaked released destroyed the film in the box office. Now with this release will the new Halloween be destroyed on opening weekend or not. All that I know is the rumors that I am reading at the time of this review. That the workprint is not what we well will see on opening day and that the ending is different than in the workprint.

I am reviewing the workprint.

I have always wondered why I loved the original film. To me it was always a case of revenge. A huge payback for what happened to the young Michael Myers. I always thought that this had been one of the first horror films that I had seen as a child that made me fall in love with the movies.

So when I heard of a remake of this film, my first thought was WTF! After seeing the film, I am glad that they gave the film to Rob Zombie to write and direct. I thought that the film was allot better that I had expected.

The opening few minutes of the film, we see Mike as a boy who likes to kill animals and we see that his home life is just horrible. You see that the boy only gets love from his mother and his so called step-father is a joke. You also see the start of his fascination with wearing a mask. You also see that he loves his baby sister, Laurie.

We see Mike kill his first victim, a school yard bully. You see him kill with the mask on, then when he takes of the mask, he's a kid. This was the start of Halloween night for Mike. As in the original film, he kills his older sisters lover and his sister, he also kills his evil step-father. When his mother returns from work, she see Mike with his baby sister, outside, in the cold, when Michael states, "It's all better now" The aftermath was well directed.

Then you see a young Michael Kill one more time in the hospital and after that his mother, realizes that she has helped to create pure evil, kills herself at her home, while watching home movies with her little boy.

What I also really liked about the film was the music, they even used "Don't Fear the Reaper" as in the original. another part I liked was the small role of Ismael Cruz,m played by Danny Trejo, you see him as a janitor/guard always treat Michael with respect and you see that Michael never hurts him. Its only when disrespect comes to Michael that he kills.

The rest of the film is your typical slasher film. A innocent girl, that, for some unknown reason to her, the killer wants her dead. Over sexed teenagers, that are killed while they are having sex, and the one person, Dr. Sam Loomis, who understands the killer.

It was an excellent choice to select Malcolm McDowell to replace the late, Donald Pleasence, as the role of Michael's surrogate father, Dr. Sam Loomis.

If you want to see a good horror film, then this one will do. Please remember, if you download the workprint, it may not be the same film you see in the movie cinema. Please see it when you can.

Grade B+

(Dr. Loomis.) These eyes will deceive you, they will destroy you. They will take from you, your innocents, your pride, and eventually your soul. These eyes do not see what you and I see. Behind these eyes one finds only blackness, they absence of light, these are of a psychopath.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Daejeon's Buses


When you first come to Daejeon, one of your biggest worries is how you plan on getting anywhere. Luckily there are thousands and thousands of taxi's everywhere. But to save serious money, it is wise to learn the bus system if you don't live downtown. Buses cost 1,000 won (1 buck) for the non seating (there are some seats) and 1,500 won for the seating buses (more seats). Usually you take the non seating buses, seating buses have 0 in the middle of their 3 digit numbers. The 185 is my life line to work and downtown. But I can also take the 133 or 132 to close by areas of Daejeon. Riding one of these shaky things is equivalent to trying to standing on wagon that a two year old is dragging around at 90 mph. There are handles bars on both sides of the bus and to maintain your balance, you have to hold on for dear life. I guess Koreans have a better center of gravity than me so I might find it more difficult. Another major problem is that all buses are stick shift and have terrible transmissions so no gear change is a smooth transition.

10 Step Program to riding Bus.

1. Go to local bus stop and look for a blue sign with peeling numbers to make sure your bus line meets there. (Also make sure the bus is going the direction you want it to, otherwise you'll do a lap before you get back to your destination ((Don't Ask)).)

2. Wait and listen for the roar of the bus taking the closest corner at 60-70 mph.

3. Jut out into the street with 1,000 - 1,500 won ready while waving the bus over like a taxi so the bus driver knows to stop for you.

4. Attempt to climb on to the bus before it stops because the driver will open the door way in advance in the hopes that he doesn't fully stop to get you on his bus.

5. Dive on to bus.

6. Place 1,000-1,500 won in money receptacle and look for a seat quickly while holding tight onto handles. (If packed look for seat past mid-point because the front is saved for older men and women, its called Confucianism!)

7. If seat found don't worry, keep eyes open for your stop. If not, hold on tight as the bus driver will accelerate and stop as fast as the Hyundai made parts will allow him too, also keep eyes open for stop.

8. When your stop is close and next press red button to alert bus driver to stop (don't press too early otherwise you will get nasty stares and snickers from people and possibly some cuss words from driver).

9. Make your way towards the back of the bus to exit off while holding on tight for reasons mentioned everywhere.

10. Wait for doors to open, not bus to stop, to start getting off. Drivers close the doors when the bus stops, he keeps it open while the bus is still kind of moving.

These 10 steps are essential to riding the bus is Daejeon. They go relatively fast but taxis are a more relaxing and faster environment to get around in so if you have the cash spend it. Although the bus gives you a great chance to feel like you are a fellow member of Korean society even if they really don't want you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

So true, its so true.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

very interesting cartoon.

Monday, August 20, 2007

ANOTHER GREAT BLIP BY Brendon Carr, At first I was all for the FTA, Then when I got a better look at it I went ANTI-FTA, fast. AS a loyal voter of the GOP and one who supports FTA, this one was a bad deal for the USA and a great deal for Korea, and the idiots were still opposing it here in Korea. I recall an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it."


Thanks to an eagle-eyed Korea Law Blog reader who sent me this article (Thanks, reader!), we report that the Wall Street Journal says the Democrats won’t allow the United States’ Free Trade Agreement with Korea (KORUS FTA) to receive its necessary Congressional ratification. As I have predicted here and at the Marmot’s Hole, this deal—rightly or wrongly—suffers from a number of perceptions that conspire to make it unpalatable. Chief among them are that it doesn’t do enough to open Korean markets, when compared to the benefits Korea gets from US.

The Wall Street Journal says something is better than nothing:

In any case, the U.S.-Korea FTA is a big new opportunity for American goods and services. As soon as the deal goes into force, 95% of tariffs on consumer and industrial goods will be eliminated. Within a decade, almost all remaining tariffs will hit zero. In financial services, U.S. firms will have carte blanche to start up or acquire South Korean companies, part of Seoul’s aspiration to become a regional financial hub.

Agriculture has long been a bulwark of Korean protectionism, but under the deal more than half of all U.S. farm exports will receive duty-free treatment. The pact also guarantees that U.S. investors will be treated on a level playing field in Korean courts. And it sets up an international arbitration panel for U.S. firms that believe they’ve been wronged by the Korean government.

Even in autos, the pact is a big improvement over South Korea’s current protectionism. Last year Korea imported 4,344 U.S.-made passenger vehicles, while the U.S. imported more than 695,000 from Korea. Seoul has also failed to follow through on its 1995 and 1998 auto agreements with the U.S., but the biggest losers on that score have been Korean consumers. The free-trade pact would eliminate South Korea’s 8% tariff on passenger cars (versus 2.5% in the U.S.), and it would introduce a new mechanism to provide a head’s-up about Korea’s bad habit of imposing non-tariff import barriers.

The problem with U.S. autos in Korea is more than trade barriers, by the way. European car makers are subject to similar barriers, but their sales are doing just fine. It’s also worth noting that, while Ford and Chrysler oppose the FTA, General Motors does not, perhaps because it is doing well in its joint venture with Daewoo.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Making Excuses for the West Sea Naval Battle

This is just another hint of what South Korean government is prepared to give up to the North Koreans during the second Inter-Korean Summit actual physical South Korean territory.

Lee told the parliamentary standing committee on unification the “characteristics and historical background” of the sea border are important, but so are “the purposes South Korea aims to achieve through the establishment of the maritime border.” The minister made the remarks in response to Grand National Party Rep. Shim Jae-yup, who had asked why South Korean soldiers risked their lives to protect the sea border if it was “not a territorial concept,” as Lee had asserted on Aug. 10. There has been intense speculation that South Korea will discuss redrawing the NLL at the upcoming inter-Korean summit.

Shim said Lee seemed to mean that the 2002 battle would not have occurred if Seoul had accepted Pyongyang’s demand to redraw the NLL. The lawmaker accused Lee of insulting the memory of the South Korean soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

It is quite sickening that Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung is declaring that the six sailors killed and the eighteen more that were wounded in the deliberate North Korean attack died for nothing because they should not have been defending South Korean territory in the first place. The Roh Moo-hyun administration has been treating the soldiers killed in this battle as if they never existed, so it should come as no surprise that they are about to give up South Korean territory that has been defended for years with the blood of South Korean naval personnel. Can the men that died and were wounded that day be any more dishonored by this administration than by giving away the territory they gave their lives and blood to defend?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why I Don’t Drive in Korea and You Shouldn’t Either


I’ve been living here in Korea for more than a decade since I graduated law school, and during that time I haven’t driven a car.

Somehow I stumbled across the Korea Beat weblog, which features high-quality translations from the Korean press (apparently as a study aid for the blogger) and the occasional lurid cheesecake photo—thanks for that!—and read a translation that perfectly captures why I don’t drive. It’s definitely recommended reading.

Korea handles automobile accidents according to an odd “blame-sharing” concept whereby both parties are always deemed to have some fault in the accident. The usual apportionment is 60-40. What this means is that the driver who caused the accident bears 60% of the responsibility (and therefore cost), and the driver who simply got crashed into gets stuck with 40% of the responsibility on some cockamamie theory that had he not been operating a motor vehicle he would not have gotten into the accident. So the 60% driver pays 60% of the damages incurred by the driver he struck, but receives from the driver he struck an offsetting payment of 40% of the 60% driver’s damages.

This concept on liability is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to and expect that a foreign victim of an accident is usually stunned at the weirdness of it all.

We had a client and friend, an avid motorcyclist, who got himself struck by a bus—from behind, after the bus blew through a red light. Our friend was still deemed 20% responsible for the accident even though he spent weeks flat on his back laid up in the hospital, and had to pay the bus company some settlement for its damages (this was offset against what the bus company owed him, of course).

The translated article at Korea Beat notes one absurdity that follows from the blame-allocation method followed here. If a driver of an expensive car recklessly smashes into a driver of an affordable car, that 60-40 split usually means that the “guilty party” has much greater damages. Luxury autos here run about W100,000,000—if that car is totaled through its driver’s recklessness and stupidity, the victim would have to pony up W40,000,000 for repair costs. If the victim’s car is worth, say, W10,000,000 and is totaled, the luxury-car driver pays only W6,000,000 for those damages.

So the innocent driver gets his car totaled and receives a bill for W34,000,000 from the guy who hit him. If his insurance policy limit is less than this, the net result of the accident is cash out of pocket for the innocent driver.

Add to that the equally frightening concept of criminal responsibility in all cases of personal injury by vehicle (I might write more on this in the future), and I am absolutely not interested in getting behind the wheel of a car. My office is a W1900 (basic flagfall) fare from my home, so my daily commute cost is only five bucks anyway.

Here’s the business-lawyer twist at the end: One of the common benefits to expatriate managers here in Korea is a company-furnished car and driver. That seems extravagant to an outsider, and as a lawyer who handles a lot of employment matters I get asked about the car-and-driver demand all the time. In my opinion, Korean law makes a car and driver (and a big insurance policy limit!) a very good idea for anyone who can afford it. (In essence, that’s what I do with the short-to-mid-distance taxis.) The time that one loses in the case of an accident is potentially too much of a distraction from getting the job done.

And going to jail for a simple car accident is something totally unexpected to an expat. You can’t get much work done from jail.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hour 8/4 8/5 8/6 8/7 8/8 8/9 8/10 Total
---- ----- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ -------
1 1 30 38 5 4 3 1 82
2 2 430 55 3 2 2 3 497
3 0 790 49 2 5 3 1 850
4 2 587 24 12 6 2 1 634
5 3 275 36 10 2 1 1 328
6 1 136 24 5 6 1 0 173
7 0 207 12 9 6 1 0 235
8 0 197 25 7 6 0 1 236
9 1 166 19 7 7 6 1 207
10 0 156 15 3 4 2 4 184
11 3 166 7 2 6 2 0 186
12 0 173 11 6 2 0 2 194
13 1 76 11 8 6 2 2 106
14 0 58 7 4 1 3 0 73
15 0 48 6 3 2 0 0 59
16 0 31 4 5 5 3 0 48
17 0 28 3 2 1 1 3 38
18 0 20 2 5 1 0 1 29
19 0 29 5 2 0 1 1 38
20 1 37 6 5 2 2 2 55
21 0 73 14 3 4 3 0 97
22 2 59 4 7 3 3 1 79
23 1 39 4 7 2 4 4 61
24 1 36 7 3 2 2 2 53
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ -------
19 3,847 388 125 85 47 31 4,542

You know sometimes things go on around you and you just have no idea why.

on the Blogspot comments block for the D-War review, I received 3 replies. 2 were in English and I had one in Korean. I think mine and the Korean reply ios what caused this whole little blip.

(In Korean)

당신의 영화평가는 잘 읽어보았습니다만.
당신의 글로 기사화시킨 기자가. 다른영화에대한 평가를 제쳐두고. 디워라는 영화 C-준것만 기사화시켜 저는 정말 안타까운 생각이 들어 메일을 보냅니다.
지금 충무로나 여러 영화를 찍는사람들이 안그래도 디워심형래감독을 안좋게 보고 깎아 내릴려고 합니다.
그런데 당신의 글까지 인용하여 디워의 안좋은점만을 기사화시킨것에대해서 매우 유감스럽게 생각합니다.
같은 영화판에 있으면서 사람이 사람에게 그런식으로 상처를 주어선 안된다고 생각합니다.
그리고 국민을 상대로 여론조작을 하는것도 나쁘다고 생각합니다. 당신의 글이 , 유독 디워의 글이 기자들에게 인용되지 않게 해주세요.
그리고 당신이 미국비평가가 아닌걸로 알고 있는데.
미국비평가라고 거짓된 정보도 흘러나오고 있습니다.
문제의 심각성을 알고 기자들을 처벌하든가 조치를 취해주세요.
이런메일을 보내는 저는 단지. 정당한 방식으로 정당하게 평가되길 바라는 마음에서 이러는겁니다.
미국에서 오셨다면 정당한것이 무엇인지 우리나라 사람들에게 보여주세요.


You motion picture evaluation only tried to read well. With you writing article anger the journalist whom it makes. It lets to clear away the evaluation regarding a different motion picture.

The D we the motion picture C which is only giving article anger it makes and I listen to and truth tantalizing thought i send the mail. Now the people who take a B multi motion picture in Ch'ungmu are not like that but the D we well report it will cut a core elder brother Rae supervision and it will hand down and lye it does.

Until you writing it refers but and the D we against article anger making only a good point sensibility it thinks very be. There is by a same motion picture petal and the person gives wound to the person with like that and it thinks that the line it does not become. And it thinks the citizen that also the thing which it does is bad a public opinion fabrication with relation.

You writing, the D we the writing is not referred only in the journalists not to be, do as a favor. And will not be this American critic of you and it will hang with the place where it is knowing. As the American critic also information which has become lie is coming out flowing. It knows the serious characteristic of problem and it punishes the journalists to take a management.

Me who send like this mail the jar. It is a political party in the method which is legitimate evaluation Doe route le hangs from the mind which it wishes. If come from the United States and in our country people where the fact that it is legitimate probably is what show.

I guess that the person did not like my review. To be honest, its still a very bad film. At the time of this blog entry, D-War has sold over 6 million tickets in Korea so far.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The ultimate NASCAR moments: No. 1

In the days leading up to his 23rd Daytona 500, Ralph Dale Earnhardt shared the same declaration with anyone who would listen.

"I've got it all, man! I really do have it all!"

The seven-time Cup champion was 49 going on 29. He'd spent his first four fist-clenched decades clawing his way out of the cotton mill and into a race car, no matter what the cost. Young Dale left a trail of wreckage in his wake. Unpaid bills, fractured friendships, two failed marriages, three children who barely knew him, and a pile of ruined race cars.

But this, Earnhardt's fifth decade, had been dedicated to repairing that damage. His third marriage was a wall-to-wall success. His fourth child had become such a permanent resident nestled in his arms that friends had long joked that she'd never learn to walk. Inspired by his newfound knack for fatherhood, he worked to make sure his three older children became a part of his life.

On the track, he'd mended fences with his enemies, even befriending Darrell Waltrip, his most bitter rival of the 1980s. He'd bridged the gap between the eras of Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon, making the unheard-of transition from his sport's least respected racer to the garage's elder statesman.

Dale was also still damn good behind the wheel. He was making noise about an unprecedented eighth Cup title after finishing second in the 2000 points standings, an effort anchored by a mind-bending dash from 18th to first at Talladega in October. What's more, Earnhardt was now a team owner with three Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars in the field, driven by handpicked protégé Steve Park; Waltrip's little brother, Michael; and one of those formerly distant kids, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

In those days before the Daytona 500, Earnhardt had pledged to help NASCAR promote its 53rd season in grand style. He volunteered for television interviews, offered promotional aid to help FOX kick-start the first race of a new billion-dollar television package.

"I think it's important for those of us who have earned so much because of NASCAR to give back," he said two days before the race. "I want to make sure I have as much impact as I can in growing this sport."

On Sunday, Feb. 18, 2001, the hype was quieted and replaced with racing. With one lap to go in the Great American Race, The Intimidator was playing The Defender, running third and shamelessly blocking the wad of cars behind him, helplessly herded behind his ever-widening back bumper. Why? Because the two cars up front were his cars. That's right -- Michael and Junior were running 1-2, and by God, Dale was going to make sure they finished that way.

Then suddenly, the unthinkable happened.

Between Turns 3 and 4, Earnhardt took a shot from the impatient pack. The famous No. 3 car wobbled left, then darted up the banking and into the wall. To first-time NASCAR viewers, the millions who had been lured to their televisions in no small part because of his efforts, the crash didn't look like much. The car sustained little damage and limply drifted to the infield grass. Compared with the multicar melee earlier in the race, one that sent Tony Stewart's car end-over-end through the air, this looked like nothing.

The wreck that killed Dale Earnhardt didn't seem that bad to the casual fan. Longtime followers knew better. Much has changed in NASCAR since the accident, and a lot of that change came because of Earnhardt's death.

Because of the near-instantaneous loss of momentum and the angle at which the car struck the wall, old-school fans knew better. And Darrell Waltrip, working his first race as a color commentator, knew it as well, so much so that he was unable to celebrate his brother's first career win.

His heart wanted to go downstairs to Victory Lane, but his head was saying "Get to the hospital."

Earnhardt had died instantly, killed in the final turn of NASCAR's biggest race in front of its largest-ever television audience.

The blow staggered the sport like no other of the many deaths it had absorbed over the decades. Not Little Joe Weatherly and Fireball Roberts in '64. Not Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison in '93. Not even Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty less than one year earlier.

To NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt was Elvis … John Lennon … JFK. People will never forget where they were when they found out. Everyone will remember the moment our racing innocence was ripped away.

Once the initial shock wore off, everyone agreed that his death marked the end of an era. What no one could know, what no one could even imagine, was that The Intimidator's impact on the sport he loved was only just beginning.

His death sparked initial ugliness, with finger-pointing, an investigation and accusations. But soon knee-jerk reactions evolved into, simply, action. NASCAR mandated head and neck restraints, devices Earnhardt himself had resisted. Everything within the drivers' cockpit cocoon was redesigned, from seats to headrests to belt harnesses, and tracks began wrapping their concrete retaining walls with energy-absorbing materials.

The weeks after Earnhardt's death were filled with memorial services, from impromptu candlelight vigils in small-town churches to trackside ceremonies before every stop on the Winston Cup schedule.

Park won the next week at Rockingham, and two weeks later, Kevin Harvick -- the youngster who took over the GM Goodwrench Chevy -- narrowly defeated Gordon at Atlanta. Throughout the entire season, fans paid tribute to their hero with a three-finger salute during each race's third lap.

Dale's death made things happen that had never happened to us before. We were on the cover of Time magazine, The New York Times, the lead story on the network news. People gravitated to the sport to see what the fuss was all about.

H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler

Through it all, the audience grew. TV viewership reached never-before-seen levels. Tracks couldn't sell tickets fast enough. And NASCAR-themed newspapers and magazines flew off the shelves.

Earnhardt had promised to grow his sport, and damn it, that's exactly what he was doing.

"Dale's death made things happen that had never happened to us before," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway and a friend of Earnhardt's for more than 30 years. "We were on the cover of Time magazine, The New York Times, the lead story on the network news. People gravitated to the sport to see what the fuss was all about. When he was killed, it also opened some very cocky eyes in the garage and forced drivers to embrace the new safety advances.

"If Dale Earnhardt can die in a race car, anyone can. As sad as it was -- and is -- to race without him, he changed the way we race by not being here."

Six years later, the pain of Feb. 18, 2001, doesn't sting quite as sharply as it did that day, but the impact of the moment endures. Fans still wear the 3. The Earnhardt family, together or apart, still races.

And the safety revolution continues to roll on, providing an increasingly more protective environment even as the racing itself becomes increasingly more fierce.

Six years later, thanks to Dale, we have it all. We really do have it all.

Even if we'd trade it all in to get him back.

Phil Rizzuto

NEW YORK -- His speed and spunk made him a Hall of Famer.

"Holy cow!" made Phil Rizzuto famous.

Popular as a player and beloved as a broadcaster, the New York Yankees shortstop during their dynasty years of the 1940s and 1950s died Monday night. "The Scooter" was 89.

Rizzuto had pneumonia and died in his sleep at a nursing home in West Orange, N.J., daughter Patricia Rizzuto said Tuesday. He had been in declining health for several years.

"I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He epitomized the Yankee spirit -- gritty and hard charging -- and he wore the pinstripes proudly."

Rizzuto was the oldest living Hall of Famer and his Cooperstown plaque noted how he "overcame diminutive size." At 5-foot-6, he played over his head, winning seven World Series titles and an AL MVP award and becoming a five-time All-Star.

""Phil was a gem, one of the greatest people I ever knew. A dear friend and great teammate," said Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who frequently visited Rizzuto in his later years. "When I first came up to the Yankees, he was like a big -- actually, small -- brother to me."

Rizzuto's No. 10 was retired by baseball's most storied team, and the club will wear his number on its left sleeves for the rest of the season.

The flags at Yankee Stadium were lowered to half-staff before Tuesday night's game against Baltimore and a bouquet was placed by Rizzuto's plaque at Monument Park. A moment of silence was held and a video tribute played on the center field scoreboard screen.

Yet it was after he moved into the broadcast booth that Rizzuto reached a new level celebrity with another generation of Yankees fans.

Rizzuto delighted TV and radio listeners for four decades, his voice dripping with his native Brooklyn. He loved his favorite catch-phrase -- exclaiming "Holy cow!" when Roger Maris hit his 61st home run -- and often shouted "What a huckleberry!"

In an age of broadcasters who spout statistics, Rizzuto was a storyteller. He liked to talk about things such as his fear of lightning, the style of an umpire's shoes or even the prospect of outfielder Dave Winfield as a candidate for president.

"He didn't try to act like an announcer," Hall of Fame teammate Whitey Ford said. "He just said what he thought. It added fun to the game."

Rizzuto liked to acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries, read notes from fans, talk about his favorite place to get a cannoli and send messages to old cronies. Once he noticed old teammate Bobby Brown -- then the American League president -- sitting in a box seat and hollered down, trying to get his attention.

"He would keep getting in trouble with WPIX for announcing birthdays and anniversaries," one of his daughters, Patricia Rizzuto, recalled.

And if Rizzuto missed a play, he would scribble "ww" in his scorecard box score. That, he said, meant "wasn't watching."

His fans and colleagues never minded. Because with a simple shout of "Hey, White!" to longtime broadcasting partner Bill White, it was time for another tale.

Rizzuto's popularity was such that at a recent auction a Rizzuto cap embedded with a wad of chewing gum sold for more than $8,000. In the New York area, Rizzuto's antics became a staple for TV ads. Nonbaseball fans got to know him, too, when his voice appeared on Meat Loaf's 1977 rock smash "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

"Phil was a unique figure who exemplified the joy of our game to millions of fans," commissioner Bud Selig said.

Rizzuto was a flashy player who could always be counted on for a perfect bunt, a nice slide or a diving catch in a lineup better known for its cornerstone sluggers. He played 13 seasons alongside the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle in a career interrupted by Navy service in World War II.

Often overshadowed by Hall of Fame teammates, it made sense that Rizzuto was the first "mystery guest" on the old game show "What's My Line?" in 1950.

A leadoff man with quick feet that earned him his nickname, Rizzuto was a staple on the Yankees teams that won 11 pennants and nine World Series between 1941 and 1956.

"He was a Yankee all the way," Indians Hall of Famer Bob Feller said. "He knew the fundamentals of the game and he got 100 percent out of his ability. He played it hard and he played it fair."

Rizzuto came to the Yankees in 1941 and batted .307 as a rookie. After the war, he returned in 1946 and became the American League MVP in 1950. He batted .324 that season and also went 58 games without an error.

He led all AL shortstops in double plays three times and had a career batting average of .273. He played errorless ball in 21 consecutive World Series games and DiMaggio said the shortstop "held the team together."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rizzuto compiled a .627 personal winning percentage during his 13-year major-league career (1,039-618). No active position player with even 200 career games played has a winning percentage that high. The only active position player with a career personal winning percentage in the .600s in at least 1,000 games is Derek Jeter (1,081-713, .603).

Long after his playing career, Rizzuto could often be found talking ball in the Yankees clubhouse. He especially enjoyed his visits with Jeter.

"Mr. Rizzuto serves as the ultimate reminder that physical stature has little bearing on the size of a person's heart," Jeter said. "Nothing was ever given to Phil, and he used every ounce of his ability to become one of the greatest Yankees to ever wear this uniform."

On Phil Rizzuto Day at Yankee Stadium in 1985, the team gave him a fitting present: a cow wearing a halo.

The cow knocked Rizzuto over and, of course, he shouted, "Holy cow!"

"That thing really hurt," he said. "That big thing stepped right on my shoe and pushed me backwards, like a karate move."

Rizzuto was passed over for the Hall of Fame 15 times by the writers and 11 times by the Veterans Committee. Finally, a persuasive speech by Ted Williams pushed Rizzuto into Cooperstown in 1994.

"If we'd had Rizzuto in Boston, we'd have won all those pennants instead of New York," Williams often said.

"I never thought I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame," Rizzuto once said. "The Hall of Fame is for the big guys, pitchers with 100 mph fastballs and hitters who sock homers and drive in a lot of runs. That's the way it always has been and the way it should be."

The flag at Cooperstown was lowered to half-staff and a laurel was placed around his plaque, as is custom when Hall of Famers die. With Rizzuto's death, executive Lee MacPhail, 89, became the oldest living Hall member. Among the eldest of living Hall of Famers are Bobby Doerr and Feller (born in 1918), Monte Irvin (1919) and Stan Musial (1920).

Rizzuto is survived by his wife, Cora, whom he married in 1943; daughters Cindy Rizzuto, Patricia Rizzuto and Penny Rizzuto Yetto; son Phil Rizzuto Jr.; and two granddaughters.

A private, family funeral is planned. The family is working with the Yankees on a memorial to be held at Yankee Stadium, Patricia Rizzuto said.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Korean Hostage Crisis Day 25

Many developments as the Korean hostage crisis moves into its 25th day. After the conflicting reports of the release and then reimprisonment of two Korean hostages the Afghan government has banned all media from the city where direct negotiations with the Taliban have been taking place:

Marajudin Pathan, the governor of Ghazni province where the hostages were kidnapped on July 19, said the ban – which bars interviews, photography and videotaping – was imposed during the negotiations because the Taliban might exploit the media spotlight.

“It’s because the Taliban will take advantage and show off, so we don’t want to give them that chance,” Pathan said. “This is a terrorist group.”

Not only are they trying to hot dog for the cameras, but they are also spreading disinformation with the over the release of two hostages that initially proved to be false. Now the Korean government must have finally paid off the proper bribe and two hostages have been released. The two released hostages are Kim Gina, 32, and Kim Kyung-ja, 37. They have been taken to a US military base to be examined and will be returned to Korea. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception they will they receive in Korea. Will they be scorned or will they be heroes?

Here is why the Taliban says they released the hostages:

The purported Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi backed the speculation. He said, “Now that we have released the two women as a gesture of goodwill following demands from the international community and human rights organizations, the Afghan government should also now fulfill its responsibility and accept their (Taliban) demand for the release of their prisoners.”

He added, “Our negotiations with the Korean delegation will continue for the release of the rest of the hostages, but now we want the release of our men, who are languishing in Afghanistan jails.”

However, reports from Afghanistan say a huge ransom has been paid:

Despite the Taliban claim that the release of the two was a goodwill gesture, sources said the militants had received a huge ransom from the Korean side _ however, the exact amount remains unknown.

The Taliban is keeping the demands for prisoners alive because they are using it as a cover for the ransom payments they are receiving. They look less Islamic and more like common criminals if they are kidnapping people solely for money. Thus the Taliban needs to keep the prisoner swap charade going while the Korean government wants to keep the charade going as well in order to deflect blame towards the United States while they continue to pay increasingly large bribes to the Taliban. It will be interesting to see how many more weapons and explosives will brought into Afghanistan after the huge ransom was paid.

Some additional information that has come out is that the Korean government has stopped the US and Afghan governments from launching rescue operations, twice:

South Korean officials have twice blocked rescue missions to free 21 of their countrymen held by Taleban rebels amid concerns that Afghan military action could spark a bloodbath.

On one occasion Afghan and US troops were mobilized and ready to storm the Taleban positions. Separately, Afghan secret police were ready to arrest the families of the Taleban commanders involved as a way of applying pressure. But Korean officials vetoed the plans over fears that they would cause more bloodshed. […]

“The reason we have not launched a military operation is the Koreans repeatedly requested we don’t. They are sure they will solve this by talking face to face,” Ustad Merajuddin Pathan, the Governor of Ghazni province, said. (HT: Marmot)

The Koreans also stopped attempts to arrest family members of the kidnappers which would have been a great way to get leverage in the negotiations:

A senior intelligence source said: “We know who the Taleban commanders are and we wanted to arrest their families but the Koreans wouldn’t let us.”

All of this just confirms what I have stated before that despite the Korean governments attempts to blame the hostage crisis on the US, the American military and the Afghan government are doing more to free the hostages than the Korean government.

Despite all this, this is what the Korea Times has the nerve to say:

This demand is beyond what the Korean side can do as the United States and Afghan government hold the key. The release of two hostages will put pressure on the Korean government to persuade the U.S. and Afghan governments to do something to meet their demands. The United States, in particular, is asked to take a more proactive approach to ensure the safe return of the hostages.

There has been concern that the hostage crisis will be a protracted one. And in the process the possible sacrifice of more lives will generate public wrath, which will hugely burden the U.S as well as the Taliban. Should the U.S. continue to maintain a lukewarm attitude and sit idly by, it is feared that it will fan anti-American sentiment among the people because they believe that only the U.S. can solve the problem.

Totally ignoring the Taliban will not help settle the matter. The U.S. tacitly approved the swapping of an Italian female journalist for five Iraqi prisoners. The U.S. started the war in Afghanistan and induced South Korea to join it. So it needs to feel a strong sense of responsibility for this recent case. Saving innocent people is more important than ideologies or principles regarding war.

“Proactive Approach”? The US and the Afghan government has been the only ones taking a proactive approach in this whole crisis and has been stopped from acting by the Korean government. “The US started the war in Afghanistan?” Am I mistaken or did I see hijacked airplanes kill 3,000 Americans and cause significant damage across the east coast on 9/11? Also last I checked the Republic of Korea was a sovereign nation that could choose where it deploys its troops. The fact of the matter is that these Koreans would have been kidnapped if Korea had no troops in Afghanistan at all because they are foreigners. The last line is borderline racist because obviously the writer could care less about Afghan lives that would be lost by releasing a bunch of Taliban killers on the civilian population in Afghanistan.

I could go on and on about the absurdity of this article and the writer doesn’t even have the courage to put his name on it. What an absolute poor excuse for a newspaper the Korea Times. I can’t even remember the last time I have purchased a copy of that rag mag, but I know for sure I will never purchase one ever again. I don’t know how great writers like Michael Breen and Andrei Lankov can stand writing for that newspaper.

In other news the Times Online article goes on to say that the bus driver appears to have tipped off the Taliban of the unguarded Korean missionaries traveling on the road and has since been arrested. Also the Afghan government is claiming one of the Taliban mullah negotiators is in fact a Pakistani ISI agent. Surprise, Surprise.

Michelle Malkinmeanwhile asks where the human rights outcry over the hostage crisis is at. I just went to SHwebpageAmnesty International and there was nothing on the Korean hostage crisis on their front page, but there is a big orange graphic about closing Guantanamo Bay right below the other big graphic about human rights in Darfur. Just another example why this organization has no creditability when its equates Gitmo with Darfur and can’t even make front page news of the hostage crisis. If anything deserves its own big graphic on the Amnesty International webpage it is not Gitmo, but this hostage crisis.

I did dig around their webpage and did find this one document lecturing the Taliban for violating the Geneva Convention; like they really care. Of course on the document’s webpage their is another prominent link about closing down Gitmo. What a joke this organization is. They could care less about the violation of human rights by the Taliban and the North Korean regime while having close Gitmo links all over their webpage.

Anyway I’m glad the two hostages were released safely, but I also feel for the Afghan people that will now have to contend with a refinanced Taliban enemy that all indications appear is about to get a whole lot richer as more hostages are released for cash. Meanwhile I await the human rights outcry from SHAmnesty International. I could be waiting for quite some time.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And this is going to cost the taxpayers how much?


One of things critics of the 2nd Inter-Korean summit have been bringing up is that Kim Jong-il promised Kim Dae-jung during the 1st Inter-Korean summit that he would visit Seoul for the 2nd meeting. The excuse that Kim Jong-il is using is that "security concerns" are preventing him from traveling to Seoul. Kim likes traveling by train when he leaves the country and the South Korean government expects people to believe that Kim Jong-il can’t take his train on the new train track laid through the DMZ that cost the South Korean taxpayer $80 million bucks to do one test run on, to come to Seoul?

In response to criticism about a secret payoff the South Korean government is claiming there was no secret pay off:

Kim Man-bok denied that there was any cash attached to the deal. Such talk, he said, is “groundless and absurd.” He said the summit was worked out in a “transparent manner.”

If the Roh administration has not provided any secret bribe than that means the likelihood of Roh signing an agreement which makes South Korea have to give unconditional aid to North Korea for a fixed number of years is more likely. I began digging through my archives a bit more and found what Roh administration may have planned:

The government provides rice and fertilizer to the North on humanitarian grounds. But that is not enough to address the fundamental poverty there, and a different approach is needed. Lee appears to be thinking of comprehensive economic aid so Pyongyang can overcome poverty. Experts speculate that the government is thinking about a large-scale economic package similar to the Marshall Plan that revived Europe after World War II. ROK Marshall Plan?


On Tuesday, the unification minister said, "We need to offer aid to North Korea from a more productive and longer perspective beyond what is currently being done. We need to restate our concept of aiding the North so that it can continue under the next administration." Kim Tae-hyo, a political scientist at Sungkyunkwan University, says "it sounds as if the government wants to help North Korea in infrastructure or logistics systems, beyond cooperative projects like package tours to Mt. Kumgang or the Kaesong Industrial Complex. It seems to have concluded that it must do it in a way so the next government can’t change the policy on aid to the North it has set."

I think it is now pretty clear that this is what the Roh administration has in store, a massive unconditional aid package that when the conservatives come into power, they cannot over turn. The fundamental problem with poverty in North Korea that such a massive aid package won’t fix is that the cause of poverty in the country, the North Korean regime! You can give them fertilizer and food, you can pave all the roads in North Korea, but poverty will remain because it is in the regime’s interest to keep the people poor and the South Korean government knows it and does not care.

I think it is now pretty clear that this is what the Roh administration has in store, a massive unconditional aid package that when the conservatives come into power, they cannot over turn. The fundamental problem with poverty in North Korea that such a massive aid package won’t fix is that the cause of poverty in the country, the North Korean regime! You can give them fertilizer and food, you can pave all the roads in North Korea, but poverty will remain because it is in the regime’s interest to keep the people poor and the South Korean government knows it and does not care.

It is all about The Photo Op and maintaining the "Myth of Progress". Sadly I believe most people in South Korea want to believe the myth is true, which means people like this 66 year old grandmother will be left fighting to expose what the regime really is.


I come home from work today and find out that peace in our time is at hand, with the announcement of a second Inter-Korean summit. At least that is what would think after reading this South Korean government’s press release:

President Roh Moo-hyun will visit Pyongyang Aug. 28-30 to hold a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Roh’s office Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement Wednesday.

"The two Koreas have agreed to hold a summit in Pyongyang Aug. 28-30. For the summit, Roh will remain in the North Korean capital for three days," said the statement.

"The second inter-Korean summit is expected to contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The talks will also provide momentum to settle the North Korean nuclear problem," it said.

Hmmmm, "peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula"? I don’t know about the peace portion, but I guarantee there will be some prosperity for at least one person, Kim Jong-il. The last inter-Korean summit that Kim Dae-jung lined up in 2000 that earned him the Noble Peace Prize was only agreed upon after $500 million dollars was secretly sent to North Korea. The going rate for this meeting had to be much more expensive considering the lame duck status of President Roh Moo-hyun. Whatever the bribe is this time, it won’t be found out after the election, but as usual it will be the Korean taxpayer that will lose out.

President Roh has already put down some pretty good down payments on the inter-Korean summit bribe. Anyone remember the suitcase stuffed with $400,000 in cash or the hundreds of tons of supposed humanitarian aid, not to mention all the oil the North Koreans received from the denuclearization agreement, which will never be up held. Plus Kim Jong-il is earning millions more from his slave labor camp at Kaesong. Also don’t forget the one billion dollars in aid sent to North Korea this year along with the $80 million to Kim Jong-il to allow the South Koreans to test drive one train across the DMZ in what I like to call the World’s Most Expensive Train Ride. Remember all the unification talk and feel good stories about riding trains from Seoul to Paris via North Korea after that train ride? Well what has that train ride accomplished since then? Well nothing, and that is what this summit is going to accomplish for the people of South Korea.

Roh thinks he is going to get some kind of legacy over this and the leftist politicians think this summit will help them in the presidential election this year. They will end up losers in all of this and the only winner of this summit will be Kim Jong-il who has been banking in the money from all the South Korean extortion payments and may get what my biggest fear of all is, some kind of agreement for unconditional aid for a set number of years that a future conservative president cannot over turn. Why would Roh Moo-hyun care about the loss of Korean tax payers dollars when he has scored the World’s Most Expensive Photo Op.

If President Roh had any ounce of decency and moral courage in him he would demand that Kim Jong-il return the 3,790 South Korean citizens kidnapped by North Korea over the years along with accounting for the many thousands more of Korean War POWs. If he was able to win the release of these people from the gulag that is North Korea, than Roh would be worthy of some legacy, but I fully expect that winning the freedom for these South Korean citizens will be left to 66 year old grandmas to do. But, hey "peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula" is on its way. The only question remaining is if Barack Obama can go with President Roh or not.

Actually predicting that a second inter-Korean summit was going to happen was quite easy and predicting what is going to come out of it is even easier. Expect Kim Jong-il to only make vague promises and declarations with no substance. President Roh understands Kim Jong-il won’t denuclearize or make any major concessions, but that isn’t what a second inter-Korean summit is about. It is all about the photo-op and keeping the myth of progress alive.

Personally I think a photo of President Roh toasting Kim Jong-il, ala Madeline Albright, will be a fitting legacy for Roh.

A Higher Level

Update 4: Bruce Klinger in an article entitled, “Seoul’s Impetuous Summit Initiative” (H/T Paul) gives some details on the mechanics of the deal for the second North-South summit, and speculates on the likelihood of another massive cash infusion to pay for the honor of meeting Kim Jong-il:

It is unlikely that Seoul made a secret cash payment to induce Pyongyang to the meeting, given the scrutiny that followed revelations that the Kim Dae-Jung administration paid at least $500 million to secure the 2000 summit. But Kim Jong-Il does not cooperate for free; thus the Roh Moo Hyun administration probably offered some inducement, such as new developmental aid or expansion of existing South-North economic projects.

Be sure to read the rest of the story.

Update 3: After reading a few more reports and considering the information, it’s likely that North Korea agreeing to the August summit is a precursor to once again delaying or otherwise reneging the 13 February agreement (DOC) to denuclearize. This falls in the pattern of appearing to engage – by taking actions that could have been taken at any prior time and would have indicated actual sincerity if done during Six-Party Talks and related negotiations – only to break off said engagement soon thereafter. The regime feigned many such positive moves only to backtrack later during negotiations leading to the 1994 Agreed Framework.

Now that North Korea has agreed to meet with Roh in August, it would not be surprising if North Korea made the summit conditional on suspending Ulchi Focus Lens, a joint U.S.-ROK exercise that the northern regime has railed against for years, which is scheduled to occur this August.

Update 2: A quote from presidential chief secretary for security affairs Baek Jong-chun:

“The second inter-Korean summit will serve as a stepping stone for the establishment of a peace framework on the Korean Peninsula through frank discussions on the issue by the two leaders… At the summit, the two leaders will also discuss new initiatives to raise inter-Korean economic ties and exchanges in terms of both quality and quantity… With the second summit, a foundation for regular inter Korean summits should be established…”

A, “a stepping stone for the establishment of a peace framework on the Korean Peninsula”? This bit of hollow rhetoric raises more questions than answers for anyone paying attention to the peninsula for the last couple of decades. For example, wasn’t the last inter-Korea summit, seven years ago, supposed to do that? What about the 1994 Agreed Framework and all the related inter-Korea nuclear deals that were to lead to a “peace framework”? What about the last eight plus years of “Sunshine Policy” with no reciprocal action on the part of the Kim Jong-il regime? And despite all of that, North Korea has developed nuclear weapons.

Planning for this event must have been going on between the two governments for awhile, so yesterday’s exchange of fire along the DMZ may or may not have been directed from Pyongyang.

The opposition Grand National Party has raised some very valid concerns that Roh is pulling a election year stunt (particularly in light of Roh’s demonstrated disdain for election laws):

“We are deeply concerned that the government is pushing ahead with a second inter-Korean summit through behind-the-scenes procedures and just a few months ahead of the [December] presidential election. . . The question is whether holding a summit between the two Koreas now is appropriate. This inter-Korean summit is highly likely to be a trick to prevent the opposition from taking power by creating a political stir before the election.”

Original post: A “higher level” of crack use, perhaps:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will hold a summit later this month aimed at raising relations between the two nations “to a higher level,” according to a joint statement released by their respective governments on Wednesday.

The two Koreas’ second-ever summit is set to take place on August 28-30 in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

The summit is the second in seven years between the two nations, since Kim met then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in June 2000. (emphasis added)

Let’s take a moment to remember that in 2000 Kim Dae-jung arranged for Kim Jong-il to receive ~$500,000,000 (yes, half a billion dollars) to meet with him. What has Roh promised Kim for this summit? Also, in 2000 Kim Jong-il vowed to come to Seoul for a summit, something that Kim Dae-jung is still no doubt hoping for.


This is a small update, with a whole lot more to follow.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

i wonder How Much This One Will COST?

North and South Korea announced Wednesday that their leaders will hold their second-ever summit this month, reprising the historic 2000 meeting that launched unprecedented reconciliation between the two longtime foes.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will meet Aug. 28-30 in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, South Korean presidential security adviser Baek Jong-chun told reporters.

At the only other such North-South summit, Kim met then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in June 2000, also in Pyongyang.

North Korea also released a statement confirming an agreement on the summit signed Sunday between the heads of the two countries' intelligence agencies.

"The meeting between the top leaders of the North and the South will be of weighty significance in opening a new phase of peace on the Korean peninsula," the statement said, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"The second inter-Korean summit will contribute to substantially opening the era of peace and prosperity between the two Koreas," South Korea's presidential office said in a statement.

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, but the 2000 meeting led them to embark on economic cooperation projects and hold reunions of families split by their shared border — the world's most heavily fortified.

Kim Dae-jung won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to engage North Korea through his so-called sunshine policy.

However, the first summit's achievements were tainted by later revelations that the South Korean government made secret payments to foster the meeting.

Kim Jong Il believed the timing was right for a second meeting due to the state of relations between the two Koreas and the improved regional situation, South Korean National Intelligence Service head Kim Man-bok quoted his North Korean counterpart as saying earlier this month. Kim Man-bok twice visited the North to arrange the summit.

Kim Jong Il promised in 2000 to make a return visit to South Korea for a summit, but it appeared security concerns made that impossible for this month's meeting. Kim Man-bok said North Korea had proposed Pyongyang as the venue and that Roh accepted it. Kim rarely travels abroad, and leaves the country solely via train.

The two sides will work out the agenda for the summit this month in meetings at the North Korean border city of Kaesong, site of a joint industrial park that is one of the most tangible achievements from the 2000 meeting.

At the first summit, Kim Jong Il warmly greeted his South Korean counterpart on the tarmac immediately upon landing, showing a human side of the reclusive North Korean leader known for his trademark jumpsuit and sunglasses.

The summit comes at a time of optimism on the peninsula as North Korea has made strides in abandoning its nuclear weapons program, including shutting down its sole operating nuclear reactor last month in exchange for oil aid. The United States and other regional powers are negotiating with North Korea on a timeline for the communist nation to declare all its nuclear programs and disable the facilities.

Roh has repeatedly said that he would meet with Kim at any time and any place and there has been persistent talk this year that a North-South summit was possible. The conservative opposition blasted such potential plans, however, calling them an election ploy ahead of South Korea's December presidential vote.

Roh is set to leave office in February and has seen his popularity plummet amid perceptions he has bungled handling of the economy and security policies.


Associated Press writer Kwang-tae Kim contributed to this report.


The Blue House has just announced that Pres. Roh will make a state visit to Pyongyang from Aug. 28th ~ 30th and hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jeong-il.

There has been speculation in this blog regarding the visit and it has now become reality. Although I doubt it, if there is some sort of breakthrough during the talks, fine by me. But if this is an attempt by the current administration to leave something of a legacy for Pres. Roh, while increasing Uri’s chances before the elections, and if this involved a huge payment to the North, then I’m afraid that this visit is nothing more than an expensive publicity stunt.

UPDATE 1 (by Robert Koehler): Here’s the link to theYonhap (Korean) breaking news report. Apparently Cheong Wa Dae and North Korea’s KCNA announced the upcoming summit simultaneously. Ain’t that special?


Unable to find a Taliban leader senior enough to surrender to, Roh turns to the next worst thing.


“Can you smell it? That’s a Nobel Peace Prize cooking.”

It’s unlikely that the Nobel committee will fall for that trick twice.

How much do you figure Roh will give to Kim Jong Il in order to secure a visit to Seoul before his time is up?

R. Elgin

There are so many things one could say about this but I think I can safely say that the average South Korean will not be impressed at all, especially considering Roh’s tenure, the revelation of KDJ’s money-for-summit deal and the North’s steady provocations.

If the north and south wanted to talk, they can do so without such a visit. This is pure political show.


Well, this is what I normally say: the more exchanges, the better even if it means compromising. But in the case of a summit there are three important considerations. This summit is exclusively a pre-election trick, do not forget this. Normal summit would be a good idea, but it should be planned carefully and hold in Seoul or other location outside Pyongyang.

1) Roh and his group are pressed by their low ratings, and this means they will make far more concessions than necessary. There might be illegal payments again, and a lot of other things the South Korean public will not learn about any time soon (until after the elections, at least).

2) A visit by a South Korean leader is supporting the new assertions of NK propaganda. Now the NK propaganda-mongers admit that South is relatively influent, but they strill insist that it is spiritually corrupt, so the Southerners are looking to KJI as the only hope for their moral redemption. They presented Kim Dae Jung’s trip as a visit to submit tribute, and they will do this again. It is especially important that the summit will take place in Pyongyang. Within NK symbolism this is clearly a sigh of an inferior position.

3) There are almost no chances that the additional aid Pyongyang will receive will be subjected to any control by Seoul. This means that 90% of the aid will go to strengthen the system, e.g. to provide full rations to the security police and their families, to give some special rewards to the most zealous officials, to boost propaganda and the like.


and this will cost me how much?

According to Yonhap, President Roh will go to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-il 28-30 August (Anyone care to speculate how much this summit cost?):

President Roh Moo-hyun will visit Pyongyang Aug. 28-30 to hold a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Roh’s office Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement Wednesday. “The two Koreas have agreed to hold a summit in Pyongyang Aug. 28-30. For the summit, Roh will remain in the North Korean capital for three days,” said the statement. “The second inter-Korean summit is expected to contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The talks will also provide momentum to settle the North Korean nuclear problem,” it said.

The U.S. was “surprised” by the announcement, but ”expressed deep interest”. Well, da prez needed something to bolster those numbers and this summit, if successful, will also give him something to be remembered by.

No Use Staring at the U.S. in Hostage Crisis

With the hostage crisis in Afghanistan dragging on while the number of casualties rises, certain groups in Korea have begun to shift the blame on the United States. One group opposed to the dispatch of Korean troops overseas has held a candle-lit vigil saying the U.S. caused this tragedy, while the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy issued a statement saying the negligence of the U.S. government was the reason behind the lack of progress in negotiations. Certain news media are starting to take that perspective, and the Uri Party hopped on the bandwagon.

It is difficult to believe Washington will be completely open to the idea of freeing Taliban prisoners. The U.S. government has refused to deal with terrorists even when its own citizens were taken hostage. There may be exceptions, but in Iraq alone, six American hostages were killed after the U.S. government refused to negotiate with terrorists. At present, the fate of 10 American hostages remains unclear. U.S. government officials say if this principle is compromised, then terrorism may spread like wildfire around the world.

Even though that may be Washington’s position, this crisis cannot end simply with a decision by Washington. The government of Afghanistan may rely on the U.S., but the people of Afghanistan are fighting against the Taliban since their own livelihoods depend on winning that fight. The government of Afghanistan freed Taliban prisoners in exchange for an Italian journalist and the Taliban have reportedly learned the value of such tactics. If such incidents are repeated, the government of Afghanistan is afraid its stability may collapse and their very lives come under threat.

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman, who is briefed on relevant information, said Seoul does not think Washington has independent authority. He said it was wrong to think the U.S. held all of the cards. He added the U.S. was cooperating very closely with Korea in the areas of diplomacy, military and other information.

The goal of the Taliban is to dump all of the responsibility on the U.S. government. The fueling of anti-American sentiment by certain groups in Korea will only play into the taliban’s hands and justify their atrocities. As Mehra Juddin Patan, the governor of Ghazni Province said, the U.S. is in a dilemma too, because the Koreans had come to a country where they shouldn’t be.

The more anti-American groups demand the participation of the U.S. in the hostage negotiations, the more they are trapping Korea within Washington's policy of not making concessions to terrorists. The floor leaders of Korea’s five main political parties are seeking to visit Washington D.C. to call for U.S. participation in the hostage negotiation process. But there is a strong possibility that this trip may end up being a political show to get more votes during the presidential election in December.

As the situation grows more serious, efforts by certain groups to use it to fan anti-American hatred will only intensify. Already, those groups may be planning a second version of the mass rallies that happened after the deaths of Shim Mi-sun and Shin Hyo-soon, two schoolgirls who were killed by a U.S. armored vehicle here. The public must be able to distinguish between those who truly want to save the lives of the young Koreans and who are simply trying to capitalize on the suffering.


Easy thought experiment: replace "the Taliban" with "North Korea," then note that South Korea's strategy is consistent in both cases.

Day 19

The summit between President Bush and Afghan President Karzai has made it quite clear, he is not giving into terrorist demands:

U.S President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karazi agreed on Monday morning not to give in to Taliban kidnappers of 23 Koreans in Afghanistan. In a meeting at the U.S. presidential retreat of Camp David in Maryland, the two made it clear there will be no release of Taliban prisoners in return for the freedom of the surviving 21 Korean hostages, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. “The Taleban are brutal and should not be emboldened by this,” he added.

This is probably joy to the ears of the anti-US groups in Korea. Now all they have to hope for is that the terrorists kill the Korean hostages and then they can really start jumping for joy because they will probably get more traction with their anti-US campaign. Truly disgusting people, but when you are used to making excuses for North Korea making excuses for the Taliban comes easy.

Meanwhile the Taliban continues to want the UN to intervene to set up direct negotiations with the South Korean government, but the UN is unlikely to get involved because they say they don’t deal with terrorist groups. The Africa Union has condemned the Taliban kidnappers as well today if anyone cares because I’m sure the Taliban doesn’t.

The Korean media is beginning to come around with the Joong Ang Ilbo and the Chosun Ilbo releasing editorials bashing the anti-US groups, politicians, and media who are trying to foment anti-US sentiment over the hostage crisis. It is good to see some sanity returning to the Korean media, but we’ll see how long it lasts once the Taliban starts killing more hostages.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Karzai’s dilemma

Suppose you are Hamid Karzai. You are the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, elected in October 2004 by the first-ever popular vote in the history of Afghanistan.

You were originally a member of the mujahideen, or the national alliance that fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the 1980s. You currently receive strong support from Western countries, including the United States.

More fundamentally, the fervent hope of the Afghan people to end the civil war got you elected president. You cannot let your people down. You must end the war that’s been going on in your homeland for some 30 years.

Recently, however, Taliban insurgents have taken over several parts of the country, and the entire nation has fallen into war. The Taliban took power in 1996 with the support of Pakistan with a vision for creating what they saw as an ideal Islamic country.

They still dream of establishing this kind of society. Their goal is to recapture power and to that end they will not hesitate to kidnap or murder innocent people.
This is the group you are at war with. Despite being derided as the “mayor of Kabul,” a way of implying that your authority outside the capital city of Kabul is limited, you throw yourself into efforts to establish peace.

In the midst of this, 23 Koreans were kidnapped by Taliban fighters who know no rules and no pity. Two of the hostages, Bae Hyeong-gyu and Shim Sung-min, were killed. It has become a heartbreaking tragedy.

The Taliban is giving you no room to negotiate. They have demanded the release of rebel prisoners and are threatening to kill the rest of the hostages if your government doesn’t comply. The Korean government, desperate for the return of the 21 remaining hostages, is pressuring you to make a deal with the rebels.

The Korean government reminds you that after all, you swapped a rebel prisoner for the release of an Italian journalist who was kidnapped in March. At the time, you made it clear that this was going to be a “one-time deal,” but the Koreans seem to have forgotten that part.

You now sorely regret having succumbed to the Taliban threat in March. It seems to have encouraged them to kidnap more locals and foreigners. As president, you cannot ignore public sentiment. At the time of the March incident, the cruelly beheaded body of an Afghan journalist who had been with the kidnapped Italian had been found. The public was livid.

“Why do you, who turned a blind eye when an Afghan national was kidnapped, listen to the Taliban’s demands when a foreigner is kidnapped?” Afghans said. You had to bear the brunt of your people’s anger.

The reason you had to comply, however, was because Italy had threatened to withdraw some 2,000 of its soldiers from the country if you didn’t. If Italy withdrew its troops, the faint hope of ending the civil war would have grown even dimmer.
Korea, too, is threatening to withdraw its troops and is asking you to release the rebel prisoners in return for the hostages. Roh Moo-hyun, your Korean counterpart, even held an official news conference three days after the kidnapping in which he seemed to reconfirm the withdrawal of the Korean troops within the year.

The Koreans are very sly with their offers. They have promised economic aid if you only comply with the Taliban demand of releasing rebel prisoners in return for the hostages. However, they do not mention a word about helping to end the civil war. What good would economic aid do when the country has fallen into the hands of the Taliban?

Moreover, the Korean media portrays you, the chief of a sovereign country, as the head of a puppet government that the United States has set up. The Korean media has gone beyond calling for the United States to act and now blames the U.S. government for what has happened. They seem to have forgotten that Afghanistan has a government of its own.

You don’t feel as if the Dong-eui and the Dasan, the Korean troops in your country, are playing a particularly crucial part in the resolution of the civil war. After all, they have not set foot outside the U.S. base in Bagram, and the situation in Afghanistan is too serious to attach much importance to these stationary and inactive troops.

If the Koreans so desperately want the deal, they should offer to help oust the Taliban in return. Only then would you feel any incentive to consider the release of major rebel prisoners.

What you truly want is peace in Afghanistan. It’s not about money. May President Roh understand your desperate wish.

Lee Chul-hee
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Opens in Korea. 2007.08.23

How I saw it. DVD Screener.

Opening weekend in USA. $74,036,787 (USA) (29 July 2007) (3,922 Screens)


When the first preview came out for this film last year on April fools day, I did not believe it. I finally believed it when I saw a real coming attraction for the movie. This film has had so many rumors that when it finally had an opening day in the USA, it still seemed like a shock.

Now, to be honest, I am a part time watcher of the TV show. I have not really watched it steady for years. This is why I will keep the review spoiler free.

I have no idea why I actually liked this film. It wasn't that funny at times. It seemed too rushed and way too short. But for some reason I was laughing at the right times and when it was funny it was one of the funniest films I have seen this year.

The drawings were first rate and much better animation that I have usually seen on the tv show. The guest voices were a great surprise and definately added to the joy of the film. After the movie is over, please watch all of the credits. The extras during the credits were a bonus for the casual and serious fan of the tv show.

Please see it when it arrives in Korea.

Grade B

Ned Flanders: Look at that, you can see the four states that border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky!
Bart Simpson: Oh yeah.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Michael Irvin: 2007 Hall of Fame enshrinement speech


Following is the transcript of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin's enshrinement speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio Saturday night:


Hey, man, that will fire you up there. What an honor to be here with you, to be right here on this historic ground with these champions, these champions sitting here behind us.

You know, it is unique what can be the makeup of a championship team. A championship team can have a catalyst. They can have a spark, someone that can put a fire in another person's heart.

The Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s were champions. They were in three Super Bowls and won them in four years' time. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you tonight that the heartbeat, the heart and the soul of those championship teams, was Michael Irvin. Michael came to Dallas with a self proclaimed nickname, the Playmaker.

Now, at first many people didn't understand why this young guy would brand himself with such a bold nickname. But we begin to figure it out real, real soon.

When it was third and long, opposition coaches knew exactly where Troy Aikman was throwing the ball. The defensive backs knew exactly where Aikman was going with the ball. Everybody in the stadium knew where the ball was going, but they couldn't stop it.

Michael Irvin stands with his bust after delivering an emotional acceptance speech.
Troy Aikman often said the greatest thing about Michael Irvin is you could throw him the ball when he was covered or you could throw him the ball when it was open, and the results were usually the same almost all the time. It was either a completion and most of the time it was for a first down.

Now, when you've got a quarterback that has that kind of confidence in your receiver, you can have some offense. That's how you earn the name Playmaker, and that's how you keep it.

His performance always improved as the level of competition increased. He routinely had his best games against Deion Sanders, Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Aeneas Williams. And his numbers increased as that long season went along and we got closer to the playoffs. From the regular season to the playoffs, from the playoffs to the Super Bowl, that was Michael Irvin's best days.

At the pinnacle of his career in 1995, he had 11 100 yard receiving games, a mark that is still an NFL record today. But the Dallas Cowboys' offenses really weren't designed for the receiver to get big stats. They really weren't designed for Troy, the quarterback, to really rack 'em up in statistics.

The teams were designed to win championships, and what that meant was take what the defense gave you. Now, with the backdrop of all of that, the fact that one team could produce the NFL's greatest all time rushing leader in Emmitt Smith, the fact that last year the first opportunity that he had a chance to be honored with these men, Troy Aikman came into the NFL Hall of Fame.

And the fact tonight that Michael Irvin is going to go in the Hall of Fame, it just shows you the team concept and shows you the balance that was there. The player that epitomized it more than anyone on the team, the player that taught it, the player embellished it, that was Michael Irvin and his leadership.

You can't get to Canton, Ohio without exceptional talent. But athletic ability alone was only a part of Michael's gifts. His hard work is legendary. In two a days, the grind of all of it. When you'd be on the field in the morning and in the afternoon, someone would look around and find, Where is Michael? He'd be down on the field with pads on in the hot sun getting some more in.

His passion, his competitiveness were really possibly his greatest gifts he shared them with his teammates on a daily bases. He practiced every day with the determination of a rookie that was hanging by a thread to make the team, and that's the way this great player approached it.

Aikman told me yesterday that Michael would never let the team have a bad practice. If there was a lull, he would create something between the defense and the offense. He'd get some stuff going just so that team could practice and get better for what they had to face Sunday.

Maybe that's the quality that separates the good players from the great players, the Hall of Fame players. Or maybe it's just the natural instinct of a man who had 16 brothers and sisters and knew that nothing in life was going to be given to him.

In the locker room, he was a teammate first, a competitor second, and a superstar third. His leadership style not only transcended the cliques in the locker room, but his leadership style on our team and our organization went from the locker room and the equipment room all the way to the boardroom. It permeated it.

I don't know that we'll see again a professional football player with a combination of his strength and his skills as an athlete on the field and his unbelievable people skills. Smart, resourceful, communication, charm, the kind of charisma and tremendous will with the strength to get the respect of the team. He had his faults. But in a unique way, that only Michael Irvin could pull off.

His fallibility by the people who followed him, by the people who were looking at him, his fallibility gave them strength because they knew, too, how fallible they were, and they wanted to see somebody that could go down and come up stronger and try to get better when they got on their feet. That's what Michael Irvin brought to the Dallas Cowboys and his locker room.

He learned his game from his older brothers in Fort Lauderdale. He had a great high school he played for, St. Thomas High School. He became a star at the University of Miami, drafted by Gil Brandt and Tex Schramm. He was nurtured by coach Tom Landry. He was coached in college and embellished when he got to pro football by one of the greatest coaches, Jimmy Johnson.

He spent his entire career in the loving embrace of the Dallas Cowboys. His journey reaches a destination tonight here in Canton, and it was a longer journey than most, with a lot of bumps in the road. He got knocked down for the last time at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. But tonight he'll get up again and he'll take his place among the immortals of this great game.

Michael Irvin, he's a friend. If you're in my shoes, you feel like he's a son. He's an inspirational and natural born leader. He's a loving father and husband. He's a wonderful brother and son. He's a Dallas Cowboy.

And tonight, forever more, he's a member of the professional football Hall of Fame. It's with pride that I present to you Michael Irvin. C'mon up here.


Thank you. Father, I'd like to thank you for allowing us all to travel here safely, thank you in advance for the same in allowing us to travel home.

Father, thank you for the man that you sent me to help me in Bishop T.D. Jakes, my spiritual father. I ask you now to put your arms around my Hall of Fame classmate Gene Hickerson and his family. Father, hold them tight and love them right. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen.

Thank you.

I want to send a special love to all the people in Dallas, Texas, special love to all the Dallas Cowboy fans all over the world. Special love goes to my hometown of South Florida and all the Miami Hurricane fans, St. Thomas Aquinas fans.

I want to send love to every fan everywhere because you hear so often that people say, Oh, these are the guys that built the game. No. It's your hunger and your love for the game, your love for what we do that make this game what it is. I thank you for loving the game like we love it.

Jerry, those were kind words. Thank you. You know, when I first met Jerry he had just purchased the Dallas Cowboys. He had a bit of a concerned look on his face. I said to him, I said, We will have fun and we will win Super Bowls. You see, I knew Jerry had put all he had into purchasing the Cowboys. That's the way I see Jerry. He's a man that's willing to give all he has and all he wants to bring the Cowboy family Super Bowls.

Jerry, I appreciate your commitment to family, the Dallas Cowboy family and your own family. He has a beautiful wife, Jean. I tell her this. I just love her to death. Her spirit exudes beauty. Her mannerisms exude class. She's one of a kind. Jean, I do love you.

They have beautiful kids, daughter Charlotte, son Steven and Jerry, Jr. Each have played a role in my life and I thank all of them.

A heartfelt thank you to the selection committee, especially Rick Gosselin and Charean Williams. Charean is the first woman to have a seat on the selection committee. Charean, congratulations to you.

These gentlemen behind me, these men, they inspired me to become the player that I became. As I spent this week with these gentlemen that I've admired growing up, I kept thinking about how gifted they are. Man, they're gifted to run and cut, gifted to throw and catch, gifted to run through blocks and make great tackles.

And then I met their wives and their families and I realized that it's not only about the gift God gave us, but equally important is the help that God gave us. It's the people that God put in place to support us on our journey. So I will try to put the credit in the right place tonight and share with you my help and my journey.

I thank God for the help of my father Walter Irvin, whom I lost at the age of 17. He was my hero and he loved, I'm telling you, he loved the Dallas Cowboys. I woke up this morning smiling knowing that my father had not be here in the flesh but that he is in heaven watching and celebrating with his all time favorite coach, Coach Tom Landry.

Also Tex Schamm, Derrick Shepard and Mark Tuinei. Those guys, we think about them here, we feel them here. They will always be with us.

Before my father made his journey to heaven I sat with him. His final words to me were, Promise me you will take care of your mother. She's a good woman. As you've heard, my mother raised 17 children, most of whom are here tonight. There were challenges. But she would never complain. She always walked around the house and said, God has promised me that my latter days will be better than my former days. My mom and my Aunt Fanny, her oldest sister, they are part of my travel squad now.

As we travel, all they want is a nice room and an open tab on room service. When my workday is done I get to come by their room and we tell stories and we laugh and we have fun. We always end the night with them telling me, Baby, this is what God meant when he said, Our latter days will be better than our former days.

I can't tell you how it makes me feel to know that God uses me to deliver His promise. I love you, mom. I love you, Aunt Fanny.

For better or for worse, those are the vows we take before God in marriage. It's easy to live with the for better, but rarely can you find someone who sticks around and endures the for worse. Sandy, my beautiful wife, I have worked tirelessly, baby, to give you the for better. But I also gave you the for worse, and you didn't deserve it. You didn't deserve it.

But through it all I experienced the depth of your love and I thank God for you. I love the mother that you are, the wife that you are, I love the way that you take care of our family, our daughters Myesha and Chelsea, and our sons Michael and Elijah. I thank you from a place that I can't mention, I can't even express, baby, for keeping our family together. I love you so much.

My football family, as Jerry told you, began at St. Thomas Aquinas High School under the wise tutelage of a great coach named George Smith. George Smith dedicated 37 years to that great program. He's a great man. I thank all the people at St. Thomas for believing in a young man like me.

And then I went on to the University of Miami. I think most of y'all know how I feel about the U. Yeah, the U. You better believe it. After that I was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys where I played and worked with some of the best to ever be around this game. For example, Emmitt Smith. Emmitt Smith is the all time leading rusher.

The great thing about that, his rookie year he said to me he was going to become the all time leading rusher. I doubted him like I think everybody would have. But what an inspiration to be in a room and see a man set a goal so high and then be persistent, be dedicated, and accomplish that which he set out to accomplish. Emmitt, you're an inspiration to so many.

The third part and the third member The Triplets is Troy Aikman. My quarterback, our leader. Troy Aikman led us to three Super Bowls. When I said "led," I mean led, to three Super Bowls. He's the winningest quarterback in the decade of the '90s. If you talk to him and you ask him what's his most memorable game, he will tell you that '94 NFC Championship game that everybody's talking about.

It's a game we were down by 21 and we lost, but we never gave up. That's the mark of a true leader. All he wants is for each player to give all he has all the time. That's Troy Aikman.

That game is one of my most memorable games for all those reasons, but it had a little something extra for me. We were down 21. Troy came to that huddle with those big blue eyes and he looked up and he said, Hey, I'm coming to you no matter what. Whew, let me tell you. As a wide receiver, that's all I ever wanted to hear. Just come to me no matter what. And he did, he did. He came to me no matter what.

But, Troy, you've always come to me no matter what, and I'm not just talking about on the football field. For that, you have a special place in my heart. You always will no matter what. I love you, Troy. I love you deeply.

As The Triplets, we received most of the press, the credit. But we were surrounded with some great guys, great players, talented guys. Guys like Darren Woodson, Dallas Cowboys all time leading tackle. My Cowboy counterpart Jay Novacek, what a great tight end he is. Daryl Johnston, the unsung hero, Moose. Larry Allen and Eric Williams are two of the better linemen, if not the best linemen, to ever play this game. The big fella, Nate Newton. Jim Jeffcoat. And one of the best cornerbacks and the finest athlete I've ever been around, that's Deion Sanders, Prime Time.

So, so many more.

You can't accomplish what we've accomplished with just great players. You also need great coaches. And we had that. We had guys like Norv Turner, Dave Wannstedt, Dave Campo. My position coach, coach Hubbard Alexander, who is my heart. Coach, you took me as a young man out of high school, and I know I gave you a lot of mess through the years. Thank you for being there, Coach. And our head coach, he had always be my head coach, that's Jimmy Johnson.

We worked hard. We had the best, and I'm telling you the very best, and I'm willing to take an argument with anybody on this, strength and conditioning coach in the world. His name is Mike Warsick. He has six Super Bowl rings. Six, people. Twice he has won three Super Bowls in four years, once with us and now with the New England Patriots. So if anybody wants to take an argument, I am a debater. I am here and ready.

Mike Warsick, you are, man, the very best. You put me back together from that knee injury. As we always tell each other when we say good bye, MissPaw (phonetic), which means may God hold you till we see each other again.

I also walked on campus at the University of Miami the same day with our PR director, Rich Dalrymple. I know some of you are saying it's fitting that you are tight with the PR director, Michael. But Rich has been a great friend. When I walk in his office now Rich has a picture of us. He has pictures of us at the University of Miami with this nice beautiful black hair, and then he has pictures of us now when he's all gray.

He says to me all the time, You see these gray hairs? I say, Yeah. He says, You gave them to me. I tell him, I say, Well, you see those four championship rings you have? I gave them to you, too.

I have experienced all this game has to offer on the football field, the losing, going 3 13, even 1 15. In my second season the career threatening knee injury, thinking I would never play this game that I love again. And even in 1999, the career ending neck injury. That which football players fear the most.

But I've also had some beautiful victories. We won three Super Bowls in four years. I can't tell you what that feels like. And we did it with guys that we loved to play with and guys that we loved. Folks, I'm telling you, that's the true essence of a football family, and that's exactly what we are not was what we are. I love all of those guys that I played with.

Since retiring I have developed a deeper awareness and understanding for this game. First as a fan and then as an analyst. That is why I've learned it's so much more than merely a game. Thanks to ESPN. Thank you, ESPN, for giving me the opportunity to travel to NFL stadiums throughout this country, visiting with fans, and seeing this game from a completely different perspective.

The movie, Remember the Titans, is my favorite movie, staring Denzel Washington. I love the way in this movie the game of football brings those boys together, it unites those boys on that football field. It unites a whole town, black, white, old, young, rich and poor. It happens every year around this time in NFL locker rooms and NFL stadiums. So don't tell me it's just a game.

My favorite day was Monday, September the 25th, 2006. New Orleans, Louisiana, site of the Superdome. I watched our people who had suffered so grievously through Hurricane Katrina fill a stadium hours before a game and stay hours after the game. I witnessed those fans as they looked for each other, hugged one another and just be thankful to be in that stadium.

You see the game flexed its greatest muscle that day: the ability to heal. I experienced a football game that contributed to the healing of a city. So don't tell me it's just a game.

You know the Bible speaks of a healing place. It's called a threshing floor. The threshing floor is where you take your greatest fear and you pray for help from your great God. I want to share something with you today. I have two sons. Michael, he's 10, and Elijah, he's 8. Michael and Elijah, could you guys stand up for me. That's my heart right there. That's my heart. When I am on that threshing floor, I pray. I say, God, I have my struggles and I made some bad decisions, but whatever you do, whatever you do, don't let me mess this up.

I say, Please, help me raise them for some young lady so that they can be a better husband than I. Help me raise them for their kids so that they could be a better father than I. And I tell you guys to always do the right thing so you can be a better role model than dad. I sat right here where you are last year and I watched the Class of 2006: Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Harry Carson, Rayfield Wright, John Madden, and the late great Reggie White represented by his wife Sara White. And I said, Wow, that's what a Hall of Famer is.

Certainly I am not that. I doubted I would ever have the chance to stand before you today. So when I returned home, I spoke with Michael and Elijah . I said, That's how you do it, son. You do it like they did it. Michael asked, he said, Dad, do you ever think we will be there? And I didn't know how to answer that. And it returned me to that threshing floor. This time I was voiceless, but my heart cried out. God, why must I go through so many peaks and valleys?

I wanted to stand in front of my boys and say, Do it like your dad, like any proud dad would want to. Why must I go through so much?

At that moment a voice came over me and said, Look up, get up, and don't ever give up. You tell everyone or anyone that has ever doubted, thought they did not measure up or wanted to quit, you tell them to look up, get up and don't ever give up.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Transcript provided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame