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Don't Know Much About History, Geography, Politics:

The AP reports:

A group of Korean-American leaders left a meeting with Comptroller William Donald Schaefer today without the apology they were seeking for comments he made at a recent Board of Public Works meeting....

Schaefer, talking with reporters after the meeting, was adamant in his insistence that he had said nothing offensive....

Korean-American leaders requested the meeting to discuss Schaefer's comments at a July 6 board meeting when, as he periodically does, the comptroller complained about immigrants and U.S. immigration policies.

"I get so irritated that we just open the borders, let everybody in, put everybody in the schools, educate them, all that sort of stuff, and that's the way it is. And Americans [are] going to have to bear the cost," Schaefer said during a discussion of a state contract to teach English to students who speak another language at home. He followed that up with a comment: "Oh, come on. Korea is another one. All of a sudden they're our friends too, shooting missiles at us." ...

Schaefer said he is a longtime friend of Korean-Americans and provided police protection as mayor of Baltimore to owners of inner-city stores that were often targeted by armed robbers.

It's perfectly legitimate (whether or not one might think it's correct) to argue against foreign-language instruction, and to point out that one cost of immigration is that it burdens our educational system in certain ways.

But, jeez, if you're going to do that, at least (1) don't try to tar immigrants with the sins of governments, and (2) even if you are going to ascribe that sort of group responsibility, know a little about the geographical / political references you're throwing around. Recent Korean immigrants are overwhelmingly from South Korea, not North Korea (news bulletin: North Korea doesn't let people emigrate, which is one reflection of its heinousness). And, say, hasn't South Korea been our ally for, oh, over 50 years? Weren't they on our side in a war once upon a time (I forget its exact name, but it was something like "the Korean War")?

J..:
My g0d; Schaefer still exists? Amazing. That is the real story here; this is one political dinosaur.
7.18.2006 8:56pm
froz (mail):
The South Koreans have been on our side in more than one war -- Viet Nam, Iraq...
7.18.2006 9:15pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Animal House)
7.18.2006 9:46pm
wm13:
Gee, I don't know, the South Koreans seemed a lot more upset when an American soldier accidentally ran over some Korean girls than they were when North Korea purposely fired off missiles. Certainly South Korea is not a dependable ally for any purpose other than defending South Korea. Of course, it's possible that immigrants to America find the attitudes of the compatriots back home contemptible, as they should, though I've never seen any evidence of that.
7.18.2006 9:55pm
Snarking Snark:
You know, letting the Koreans in is one thing, but why on earth did we let in the pinko commies from the Soviet Union? Next thing you know they'll be trying to take over our legal system. And whats with the funny letters they use to write their words. You can't trust someone who thinks that borshch is a four letter word.
7.18.2006 10:06pm
...Max... (mail) (www):
But you can well suspect someone who knows that it IS indeed a four-letter word, not to mention misspelling in English transcription of the same. I'm afraid you've just blown your own cover :-D
7.18.2006 10:22pm
Bruce:
Schaefer's an embarrassment who needs to be kicked out of office as soon as possible.
7.18.2006 11:05pm
John Armstrong (mail):
On the ground in MD (for the moment), it's hard to ignore the mounting evidence that Willy-Don is edging into senile dementia. He claimed today that he "obviously" meant North Korea, and that he's "been a friend to South Koreans" for over twenty years. To me this sounds very much like his aging mind forgetting that the country was divided and now trying to come up with an explanation for his words that doesn't involve admitting that he's losing touch.
7.18.2006 11:23pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Heck, the guy was edging on dementia when I was back in DC area (1980s). It's wonder enough that he knows Korea is outside the US.
7.18.2006 11:30pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):

Heck, the guy was edging on dementia when I was back in DC area (1980s). It's wonder enough that he knows Korea is outside the US


If he's complaining about immigrants, then I think it might be safe to assume so
7.19.2006 12:27am
Fub:
Eugene Volokh wrote:
And, say, hasn't South Korea been our ally for, oh, over 50 years? Weren't they on our side in a war once upon a time (I forget its exact name, but it was something like "the Korean War")?
PC speech at the time designated it "the United Nations police action in Korea".
7.19.2006 2:08am
Doug Sundseth (mail):
"Certainly South Korea is not a dependable ally for any purpose other than defending South Korea."

In fact, South Korea has been a very dependable ally, and not only in matters that impinge directly and obviously on their interests. (See, for example, the Vietnam war.) The actions of groups of college-age kids (in Korea, in the UK, in the US, wherever) should not be taken to reflect anything, really.
7.19.2006 2:21am
berkeley01 (mail):
But keep in mind that nearly a majority of S. Korean youth (age 18-23) say they would support N. Korean in the event of a U.S. attack against the north. And nearly 40 percent chose China as the partner most important for South Korea to keep friendly relations with. (The U.S. came next with 18.4 percent.) link The times may be a-changing.
7.19.2006 2:34am
Fooburger the Foo (mail) (www):
Personally, I think your tone is excessive. Perhaps this particular person is a bit of a dolt. But your tone of rhetoric is quite reminiscent of a person on a tirade. It quite surprised me.

-fooburger
7.19.2006 3:09am
The Voice of Reason (mail):
I think the man misspoke. He meant to say, "Those Koreans, with their scandalous scientists who falsify experiments." Is that better?
7.19.2006 3:26am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
I would sort of agree with Fooburger: This is an inconsequential man, making a trite comment.

But we might reflect, for a moment, upon the notion of "shooting missiles at us." I had earlier stated that the Taepodong-2C missile fired off on 7/04 was targeted at sovereign US territory. This was based upon very sketchy information, and has not seemed to draw traction.

Do I hear something about inconsequential men? :)
7.19.2006 3:39am
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
If the South Koreans are what passes for a reliable ally nowadays, God help the United States.

According to a Korea Herald poll:

39 percent of South Koreans cited the United States as the nation most threatening the security of the country. Only 33 percent saw North Korea in the same light. 58 percent of those in their 20s said that the United States posed the greatest threat to the country while a mere 20 percent thought North Korea. 80 percent of university students had an 'unfavorable' or 'somewhat unfavorable' view of the US.


I've lived in Asia for many years. If any American thinks a South Korean government would hesitate for a moment to screw the US, if the Koreans felt it suited their short term interests, they are sadly mistaken.

If there are a more bigoted, racist, rude, self-absorbed, xenophopic, obnoxious, duplicitous, ungrateful people in the world, I never want to meet them.

Compared to the Koreans, the French are steadfast friends.
7.19.2006 3:59am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Compared to the Koreans, the French are steadfast friends.
Really? Want to count the number of French troops in Iraq vs. the number of South Korean troops?
7.19.2006 4:05am
Cody E. (www):
Here are some visual aids to accompany Siamese Cat's post. Really, I had no idea this sort of bigotry was tolerated in that region.
7.19.2006 4:15am
froz (mail):

If there are a more bigoted, racist, rude, self-absorbed, xenophopic, obnoxious, duplicitous, ungrateful people in the world, I never want to meet them.


I've been to South Korea four times in the past year for somewhat lengthy periods. I have a much more generous opinion of the Koreans, but then I suspect I have a more generous opinion about a lot countries than what I am seeing expressed by some of the commenters in this thread.

I would even go so far as to say that sadly, your description of Koreans can just as easliy be applied to many Americans.
7.19.2006 4:15am
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
An additional historical note:
"I get so irritated that we just open the borders, let everybody in, put everybody in the schools, educate them, all that sort of stuff, and that's the way it is. And Americans [are] going to have to bear the cost"

I'm fairly sure that Schaefer's ancestors didn't apply for visas, wait for approval and cross a well-monitored border when they immigrated. [cite] They also got to enjoy bilingual education at public expense. [cite]
7.19.2006 5:31pm
Malvolio:
If there are a more bigoted, racist, rude, self-absorbed, xenophopic, obnoxious, duplicitous, ungrateful people in the world, I never want to meet them.

There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.
-- Nigel Powers
7.19.2006 6:20pm
mrjauk (mail):

Compared to the Koreans, the French are steadfast friends.

Really? Want to count the number of French troops in Iraq vs. the number of South Korean troops?


Number of French troops in Iraq (the country formerly controlled by Dick and Don's former ally, SH) : 0
Number of French troops in Afghanistan aiding the US in its War on Terror (you know, Afghanistan, the country that provided the base for training the people who attacked on 9/11?) : 1500
7.19.2006 10:15pm
KoreaLiberator (mail) (www):
Agree that Schaefer often speaks like a crotchety old man who applyies too many non-FDA-approved ointments. Disagree that South Korea is a steadfast ally, based in large part on having spent four years there with the Army myself recently, and on having carefully observed its government's behavior ever since.

Korea said nothing for a week when North Korea fired off its missiles, opposed U.N. sanctions on North Korea's missile procurement, and opposes any U.S. sanctions now. The Koreans deployed in Iraq are hunkered down in Irbil, the most secure region in the country, and don't leave post or go on patrol. Korea sent the troops after issuing quid-pro-quo demands to go easy on Kim Jong Il. (The soldiers who went to Iraq were all volunteers, and they, at least, are still true friends of ours.) The Korean troops, having been denied the permission to repay the sacrifice that saved them from a Juche hell on earth, are now on their way out. Members of the current Korean administration announced the Iraq pullout during the APEC Summit in Busan to achieve maximum embarrassment.

There has been quite a few violent anti-American incidents in Korea recently, and many of the most incendiary groups are receiving financial support from the government, which fails to prosecute their violent acts.

In its rush to cozy up to North Korea and China, South Korea has all but declared itself a neutral state, despite the presence over nearly 30,000 American service members who defend it.

Here's an archive of poll data on South Korean attitudes toward America. Not pretty. The positive news is that the current anti-American government will probably lose power next year, but this doesn't translate to South Koreans being steadfast U.S. allies.
7.20.2006 8:34am
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
Korea said nothing for a week when North Korea fired off its missiles,


And when the South Koreans did speak, they condemned . . . Japan. Accusing it of "making a fuss" and of "raising tensions" in the region by criticizing the North's missle test.
7.20.2006 11:27am
froz (mail):

"Roh expressed disappointment with the situation during a meeting with Uri Party members, saying, "This is a political act demanding American concessions, and the whole world knows this. Japan was making noise (about North Korea's missiles) before they were fired. If it had stayed composed, the North would have been disappointed and not fired."
7.21.2006 5:00am