Monthly Archives: March 2011

The New York Times Paywall

As many of you already know, the New York Times is now requiring people to “pay” for their content. Actually, it’s a little more complicated then that.  While NYT wants to realize additional revenues for their content, they also don’t want to chase away too many people and have the effect of reducing advertising revenue.  The wall is thus “leaky” by design. Continue reading The New York Times Paywall

Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

This 20 minute video is worth watching if you have thought about how technology impacts education. A friend of mine who used to develop games at Electronic Arts is now writing software for Khan Academy. Their collection of ideas could have a significant impact in education. The organization has gotten Bill Gates very much excited too. Pay attention to the teachers dashboard. Pretty fascinating. Technology may finally make the type of inroads people have been predicting for the last few decades. Not because of technology per se, but because of the ideas.

Maternity Tourism

The 14th Amendment legally makes any baby born in the United States an American citizen. This was originally legislated to make children of African American slaves legitimate in the United States. Since then, the law has been exploited by foreign nationals to gain foot-hold into the country. Illegal immigrants come to the U.S. for birthing and in turn use the babies’ status to gain legal residence.

Apparently, there is a rising wave of Chinese nationals exploiting the 14th Amendment too. The New York Times recently reported, “Arriving as Pregnant Tourists, Leaving With American Babies” where a San Gabriel, California residence was illegally converted for use as a nursery for such purposes. Following passage basically summarized the issue: Continue reading Maternity Tourism

Ding Shilu takes off on self-made $395 bike airplane

Pictures below are of auto mechanic, Ding Shilu, successfully taking off in his airplane built from recycled parts. Innovation is every bit about achieving things on the ‘cheap,’ especially in our world where we are consuming earth’s resources at alarming rates. I was especially impressed by his price tag.


Continue reading Ding Shilu takes off on self-made $395 bike airplane

FAIR: “How Many Afghan Kids Need to Die to Make the News?”

Afghan children killed in the Afghan war (note: NOT from the March 1, 2011 U.S./NATO attack)

(Warning. Image on the left is graphic. Clicking on it will show a larger version of it. Seeing it has made me sick to my stomach.)

The U.N. reported in 2009 346 Afghan children were killed and more than half were killed by NATO, mostly through air strikes.

Just in the beginning of this month, nine Afghan children were killed by U.S./NATO helicopter attack in Kunar Province. Media watch-dog, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), has systemically documented the lack of coverage in the U.S. over this tragedy. I wondered if Americans are aware of the brutal deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan would they still support the bombings in Libya.

I just searched for images of children killed in the Afghan and Iraqi wars and saw some of them. If there is any real humanity in the Western media, they need to show these pictures, not just words justifying the wars. Without the images, Western citizens will continue to be apathetic to the horrific deaths the wars are causing. Below is analysis from FAIR: Continue reading FAIR: “How Many Afghan Kids Need to Die to Make the News?”

Fukushima, dropped phone calls, and a three-minute summary of U.S. foreign policy

The three topics in the title are really disjoint. I have been wanting to blog about them over the last few days but decided to give a quick take on each in this post.

Seeing the mindless buying of salt in China, I am reminded in a land of 1.3 billion people, there must be at least some millions of lemmings. That being the case, I do believe at any moment in time, there will be enough lemmings heeding the calls of ‘democracy’ nut jobs from outside China for a Jasmine Revolution. 1.3 billion is a huge number. A small percentage of that is still a huge number, which can be critical mass for almost anything.
Continue reading Fukushima, dropped phone calls, and a three-minute summary of U.S. foreign policy

Dalai Lama Retires…

There is a lot going on in the world.  A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.

Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week.  And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.

Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?

Yes! Continue reading Dalai Lama Retires…

Libya, what’s going on?

Lately I have been trying to make sense of the U.S.-led coalition with Britain, Italy, and France bombing of Libya. Many in the West believe this bombing is for humanitarian purposes, but I disagree. The right way to deal with problems on the ground is to authorize U.N. troops to get into Libya and ensure no civilians are targeted by either Gadhafi or the rebel faction soldiers. NATO (fine, short of Germany) is not a humanitarian organization nor a peace organization. It is a military alliance.

The question is then why did Germany abstain from the ‘no-fly zone’ vote? It is interesting to note that China, Russia, India, and Brazil (the BRIC countries) all abstained from the vote. The remaining 10 of the 15 Security Council members, Bosnia, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Britain and the U.S. voted in favor.
Continue reading Libya, what’s going on?

Chinese U.N. Ambassador to International Media, “You are the sixteenth member of the Security Council.”

Ronda Hauben
Ronda Hauben
Ronda Hauben has an excellent article on how the international media can play a constructive role with United Nations in fostering peaceful relations between nations. Her article appeared in the the 4th Media. She is a correspondent at the United Nations for a number of media organizations.


“International Media ‘the 16th Member of the Security Council'”
Ronda Hauben
13:19 BeiJing Time,Thursday, March 17, 2011

“You are the sixteenth member of the Security Council.”
– China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong speaking to the international media

In March, China took over the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month. As is the practice at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on March 2, the 2nd day of his presidency, Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the UN, held a press conference for journalists at the UN.(1) At the beginning of the press conference, he welcomed the media, saying that the media is the “sixteenth member of the Security Council.” (There are 15 member nations on the UN Security Council.) Continue reading Chinese U.N. Ambassador to International Media, “You are the sixteenth member of the Security Council.”

Russia Today: “Tsunami wave spills over seawall, smashes boats, cars”

While watching it, my knees felt weak. In general, I feel the world is responding with support for the Japanese people. During the 2008 Sichuan 8.0 magnitude earthquake, I remember supportive reactions from around the world too. In our world seemingly full of conflict, it is kind of weird that it takes tragedies of this proportion to see the “good” in us. And I like this idea too.



James Fallows, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media”

James Fallows has just published an article, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media,” which I thought was really excellent. I don’t particularly care for his China articles, but Fallows is a veteran in the Western media business. It is a hefty read, but I highly recommend it, in its entirety. His intro below:

Everyone from President Obama to Ted Koppel is bemoaning a decline in journalistic substance, seriousness, and sense of proportion. But the author, a longtime advocate of these values, takes a journey through the digital-media world and concludes there isn’t any point in defending the old ways. Consumer-obsessed, sensationalist, and passionate about their work, digital upstarts are undermining the old media—and they may also be pointing the way to a brighter future.

Continue reading James Fallows, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media”

Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirms political and economic reforms

Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirms political and economic reforms
Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirms political and economic reforms (China Daily)
China Daily has just reported Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirming political and economic reforms. On the table are government transparency, creating conditions allowing people to criticize and supervise the government, and media being a watch-dog.

Given how Wu Bangguo’s speech was skewed by the BBC (see my prior post, “Wu Bangguo on ‘multi party rule’ ruffles some feathers in the West“), my gut feeling is that BBC will continue this narrative of Wen and Wu disagreeing. (If so, someone remind me to buy a copy of the paper so I can use it to wipe my butt.)
Continue reading Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirms political and economic reforms

TNN – Bahrain Revolution, Saudi Intervenes, US Ignores Abuses

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0314/Saudi-troops-arrive-in-Bahrain-as-protests-escalate

Bahrain Revolution escalates, with Opposition majority Shiites protest against Ruling Sunni government block discrimination.

Bahrain deployed police, backed by Saudi police and government block supporters carrying guns and sticks, tried to disperse protesters, but were unable to.

The Entry of Saudi security forces to crack down on the protesters with deadly force is a complication for US policies, to say the least, since US is reluctant to criticize its oil ally dictators in the region.

(Or do the talk, but not the walk).

Long called the “Las Vegas” of the Middle East, Bahrain is home to the US 5th Fleet, as well as being a favored “sin city” type destination for the Rich Saudi’s, who are forbidden by Islamic laws at home from indulging in alcohol and prostitution, but who often vacation in Bahrain for these reasons.

Bahrain is ruled by Sunni’s who account for no more than 30% of the population, while the majority 70% Shiites are relegated to the status of 2nd class citizens.

One could only ask, where are the sanctions and no fly zones?

TNN – Tilted News Network Debuts on HH.

OK,

I realize now that I can’t fight CNN, because it’s apparent that the West is winning the ideological war based upon a mindset of active ignorance and sometimes complete shameless lying.  (But no, I’m not admitting defeat).

So, I’m debutting a CNN style news network, informally, here on HH.  I call it TNN, Tilted News Network.  It will publish articles in CNN style, complete with inaccurate reporting, erroneous photo captions, completely annonymous sourcing, outlandish assertions, and no fact checks at all, (focused on the West of course).
Continue reading TNN – Tilted News Network Debuts on HH.

Wu Bangguo on “multi party rule” ruffles some feathers in the West

Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, recently precautioned other Chinese leaders of “chaos unless correct path is taken.”

Wu’s key point is that China should not blindly follow others’ political systems for the sake of following. Rather, China should advance one suiting her own conditions.

He even pointedly said, “on the basis of China’s conditions, we’ve made a solemn declaration that we’ll not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation.” Continue reading Wu Bangguo on “multi party rule” ruffles some feathers in the West

Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake Hits Japan

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011 in the northeastern coast, near Tokyo. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was a massive 8.0, releasing about 15 megatons (of TNT) or 63.1 petajoules of energy equivalent. At 9.0, it is 474 megatons or 31 times that. (Wikipedia) Given Japan’s relatively earthquake-proof buildings, the resulting tsunami is what causing most of the damage. Japan’s foreign ministry has announced 69 governments pledging support as of today. China’s rescue team has also arrived with personnel and equipment to help find survivors. I just want to take this opportunity to offer condolences to the Japanese people. I was also moved today to see a group of volunteers at a local Chinese grocery store collecting donations for Japan. Some of them represented the The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. U.S. citizens can make tax-deductible donations to them through here. A summary of the earthquake situation can be found here.

A woman cries after learning that her mother was successfully rescued from a building following an earthquake and tsunami in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. (China Daily)

“information freedom” vs real information freedom

Remember Hillary Clinton recently preaching Internet “freedom” and “information freedom?”

Have you just read my prior post where I examined a wrong mindset in the “West” thinking the rest of the world are lurking to “steal” their information?

You have one case of “information freedom” and another case of “information lock up” from the same direction. Both can’t possibly come from the same mouth; I say one must come from the butt.

raventhorn2000 has articulated the real issue beautifully here for us, and I just want to quote him:
Continue reading “information freedom” vs real information freedom

Toxic Products Double Talk, US Politicians Tried to Sell To China

Some say China has Quality problems with its manufacturing?

How about US?  Here are 2 US politicians, NOT merely looking the other way, but actually ACTIVELY pushing known bad products to China.  The same politicians who publicly criticized China for the “Made In China” quality problem.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/us-wiki-china-baxter-idUSTRE7287OR20110309?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Continue reading Toxic Products Double Talk, US Politicians Tried to Sell To China

“China & Industrial Espionage: When Will It End?” – a wrong mindset

I can accept this being an honest attempt at objectivity in talking about China, but invariably, this is a fallacy in the “Western” mindset I frequently see in the English language “China” blogs. Stan Abrams at China Hearsay recently published an article, “China & Industrial Espionage: When Will It End?” where he explains the Renault disputes are likely overblown and China thus unfairly accused.

Agreed.

However, he “justifies” these false Renault accusations by arguing a rise in Chinese espionage in recent years:
Continue reading “China & Industrial Espionage: When Will It End?” – a wrong mindset

Seiji Maehara, Japanese Foreign Minister resigns; for 250k Yen or Kuril Islands?

On March 6, 2011, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara resigned officially due to accepting donation from a Korean national. Most countries have laws banning officials from accepting foreign donations directly or indirectly. Obama was forced to return some donations in 2008 for this same reason. Maehara’s receiving of 250k Yen is paltry though, and I don’t think that is the true reason for his resignation.

It is generally known that Maehara is a Washington hawk. He takes a much more confrontational approach towards China, Russia, and North Korea. It is likely the mishandling of the Kuril Island dispute with Russia that is causing his resignation.
Continue reading Seiji Maehara, Japanese Foreign Minister resigns; for 250k Yen or Kuril Islands?

The beginnings of a multi-currency monetary system for the world

Zhang Monan
One of my favorite columnists for China Daily is Zhang Monan. She has a crisp picture of our world’s financial system. Her recent Op-Ed, “Rebalancing global economy,” lays out for us the benefits enjoyed by the U.S. for having the USD dominating the international monetary system. Precisely because the U.S. is diluting the value of the USD at the rest of the world’s expense, China, Russia, Europe, and generally rest of the world are now pushing for a multi-currency based system through G20.
Continue reading The beginnings of a multi-currency monetary system for the world

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on China’s Foreign Policy

Chinese FM Yang Jiechi on foreign policy
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held a live questions and answers session with journalists detailing China’s foreign policy. The session was done in both Chinese and English. I thought Minister Yang was very articulate and Chinese brand of international relations will be well received around the globe. I will highlight some points and also weigh in on the Reuters reporter’s questions.

On the question of Russia-China relations, Yang pronounced it a “strategic partnership.” I think that is very true. Russian leaders and Russian media narrate their relationship the same way.

On Africa and BRIC, Yang said that there are efforts underway to make BRIC a more formalized force in shaping development of the world; but not at the expense of the rest of the developing countries, Africa included. For example, he said BRIC will be inclusive. On responding to the journalist from South Africa, he said that the South African leader is invited and hoped to join the upcoming meeting of BRIC nations in China.
Continue reading Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on China’s Foreign Policy

Outline of China’s 12th 5-year Plan

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has just reported on the work of the Chinese government and outlined the country’s 12th 5-year plan (2011-2015). For China watchers, it would be a shame to not be familiar with at least some of these specifics. CCTV has all the materials in English, Russian, Spanish, French, and Arabic. For convenience, I have quoted below “Key targets of China’s 12th five-year plan.” It may sound superficial, but one of the things I like the most is the numbers in the targets. Continue reading Outline of China’s 12th 5-year Plan

Shaun Rein on Education, Inflation, and Other Issues

In light of several recent posts we have had relating to Shaun Rein (see, e.g., this one on how to mend relations between West and China), I thought some of us might actually want to meet someone with intelligent things to say … face to face.

Here is a recent video of Shaun on CNBC sharing some his observations on current events in China. On a blog, this is as close as we can get to “face to face.”