South Vietnam: Before Bush visited Vietnam, the White House website managed to use the flag of the former South Vietnamese government! Is there some strategist in the White House who says the key to dealing with Asian Communist countries is to identify them as the losing American-backed side from half a century ago? Seriously, first Hu Jintao is president of the “Republic of China” and now Hanoi is the seat of the Republic of Vietnam. What is this, some sort of preemptive face strike?
Drive-Bys: But hey, what does it matter? Bush didn’t even get out of the limo in Hanoi. Bill Clinton, we’re reminded, went to the Temple of Literature, hit the noodle shops and helped dig for the remains of US airmen. Of course, Clinton was being hounded about Vietnam at the time. Republicans today seem happy that Bush is out of town, and probably prefer he not come back. Bush could have at least acknowledge he was in Vietnam at the anniversary of Lt. Calley’s My Lai trial.
Blueberries: Wong Kar-wai is banging out a movie in America, Blueberry Nights starring Norah Jones. Hmmm… that has me in the mood for blueberry pie. Has anyone ever seen fresh blueberries in China? Or raspberries?
Alternate Side of the Street Rules: China’s making more cars than they know what to do with. â€œThe demand will tend to shift toward fuel-efficient and middle-class vehicles,â€? said Xu Ping, the chairman of Dongfeng Motor, a large Chinese automaker. Right. That’s why everybody is unveiling more SUVs this year. Maybe the compacts are the bulk of demand, but it seems the moolah is in the Hummer with headrest flatscreens. How’s this for an emerging market in China: multi-story parking garages. ‘Cause one day there won’t even be room on the sidewalk.
Baby Blood: I’m surprised, since Guatemala is a baby farm, that no one has built an underground industry for Asian egg donation. One Chinese woman wants an Asian looking baby because she doesn’t want people asking if it’s hers. A Chinese student in NYC is donating, but doesn’t tell her family because “Chinese people pay very much attention to the blood relationship,” Serena said. “They think that’s a very, almost sacred thing. So they cannot allow that their blood is somewhere else.” Meanwhile, white Americans adopt various color babies from all over the place, as long as they aren’t from the US. Older black boys spend the longest time in the U.S. adoption system bouncing through multiple foster arrangements. Madonna really didn’t have to go all the way to Malawi to find a black kid who needed a home; she could’ve gone back to New Jersey.
Retarded Big Brother: Britain has new RFID passports, and the American ones are being printed as we speak! And the British encryption has already been cracked, by guys who already demonstrated that with a boarding pass from a dustbin, they can steal your entire identity. The British government says there’s nothing to worry about, and we all know the US government is way more competent with this sort of thing, right? Of course, you could get a World Passport and all your troubles are over – recognized by 150 countries to date!
Faces: there’s some big noises over Holland’s proposed burqa ban, but it’s really a ban against face coverings of all kinds – part of Rita Verdonk’s Giuliani-esque crackdown. The Netherlands may not have as many surveillance cameras as Britain, but obviously burqas and ski masks would screw the pooch. Imagine a similar law in China: all those clinical masks, gone! Meanwhile, as usual, no one is paying attention to the controversy about the Egyptian Culture Minister Farouq Hosni calling hijabs (not burqas, but just head wrapping!) backwards, which led to a calm hijab-ed television anchor professionally interviewing an aggressive Hosni on Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera, the voice of reason, Arabs slamming the qitab, Dutch going Big Brother, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!