Hong Kong’s political evolution

A detailed Newsweek article takes a look at how recent politcal pressures have forced Hong Kong to mature from a commercial center relatively uninterested in politics into an epicenter of political consciousness, as the Mainland faces off against politcal activists in the SAR. A true baptism by fire.

For decades the conventional wisdom was that Hong Kong was almost solely a commercial city—the politics could be left to Taiwan, thanks. Some analysts even tried to explain away last year’s massive rally as more a reaction to Hong Kong’s moribund economy, and the public-health panic over SARS, than the dawning of a new political era. Not true. Today, in defiance of a Beijing —ruling in April, many Hong Kong citizens are asking for something they’ve never had before—universal elections. And led by a savvy new generation of activists, they’re digging in for a long, hard struggle with the mainland’s conservative elite and their proxies in Hong Kong. “People have to keep coming back, year after year, until we get [direct elections],” says lawyer Audrey Eu, one of the democratic movement’s new leaders and a first-time Legco member. “Hong Kong will never have universal suffrage until you stand up for it….”

The democrats are not the only ones demonstrating a new political purpose. Even the stodgy pro-Beijing DAB party, which claims 2,000 members, is seeking a new image. After a dismal showing in the November 2003 elections for district council seats, it’s been promoting younger, better-educated personalities such as chairman Ma Lik, who’s praised the new surge in political activism. Last year’s July 1 turnout was a call for better governance and accountability, Ma says. “Hong Kong’s political paradigm is shifting, and it’s doing so for the better.”

The article implies that things have cooled substantially since last year’s half-million man march on July 1, and that Hong Kong may well be resigned to no free elections for several more years. As always, money is the No. 1 consideration for the practical-minded Hong Kongers, and the Chinese tourists are spending lots of cash in HK. So maybe rocking the boat too much will be counterproductive, at least in their eyes.

Nevertheless, with the July 1 anniversary next week there will be another massive protest, and from all I can tell there’s still plenty of dissatisfaction with the Mainland’s plans for Hong Kong’s political future. Has rebellion been replaced with resignation? I guess we’ll have a good idea next week.


Yet another review of “that movie”

A commenter told me a few days ago that I shouldn’t paste entire articles here, and I rarely do. But this is going to be my second exception in a week, as this review of Fahrenheit 9/11 is very special and I want every visitor here to see it. I want them to realize just how powerful Moore’s depiction of our government in action, of our tax dollars at work, actually are. I want them to get that it is almost impossible to walk out of the the theater the same person you were when you walked in.

Those with small minds who refuse to see the movie and who take comfort in their pre-conceived notions and hearsay-based prejudices may be unreachable. But because of the type of person I am, I won’t stop trying. I apologize in advance if it is redundant, tiresome, and annoying. But people have to wake up to what is going on here. They have to know what forces were at work to get us into this war. They have to know why their children are dying. They have to know who their president is. And Moore doesn’t need to tell them — his clips of Bush do all the talking. In other words, Bush himself tells you just who he is, in a way you’ve never seen him before.

Here is the review I just read, that I found more powerful than any other because it does not review the movie — it reviews how people reacted to the movie. What it did to them, and to their belief systems. And that is a powerful story indeed.

Before the movie started, Leslie Hanser prayed.

“I prayed the Lord would open my eyes,” she said.

For months, her son, Joshua, a college student, had been drawing her into political debate. He’d tell her she shouldn’t trust President Bush. He’d tell her the Iraq war was wrong. Hanser, a 41-year-old homemaker, pushed back. She defended the president, supported him fiercely.

But Joshua kept at her, until she prayed for help understanding her son’s fervor.

Emerging from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, her eyes wet, Hanser said she at last understood. “My emotions are just… ” She trailed off, waving her hands to show confusion. “I feel like we haven’t seen the whole truth before.”

That’s the reaction Moore hopes to provoke with his film, which explores the ties between the Bush family and Osama bin Laden’s relatives, the president’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq. Moore has said he aims to shake the apathetic, move the undecided — and inspire voters to deny Bush a second term.

Even teens ‘glued to screen’

Riding a week of enormous publicity, and controversy, Fahrenheit 9/11 was a hit at the box office, taking in $8.2 million to $8.4 million in its first day, positioning it as the weekend’s No. 1 film. Opening Friday on 868 screens, the movie grossed more than the farces White Chicks and DodgeBall, even though those films showed on far more screens.

Industry sources estimated that the weekend gross for Fahrenheit 9/11 could top the $21 million that Moore’s Bowling for Columbine — until now, the highest-grossing documentary ever — took in during its entire run.

Fahrenheit 9/11 got a shot of free publicity when Walt Disney Co., concerned about the movie’s partisan edge, barred a subsidiary from releasing it. The buzz only grew last month when the film won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Yet its appeal seemed to take some by surprise: In the heavily Hispanic and Asian community of Downey, Calif., southeast of Los Angeles, theater manager William Vasquez was a bit astonished at the line, which was so long that he decided to show the film on two screens simultaneously Friday night.

“I don’t know of any documentary that has created this kind of stir,” he said, noting that even teenagers seemed “glued to the screen.”

In many cities, and even in conservative suburbs, the crowds were predictably (and loudly) liberal, hissing and hooting their reactions to Bush on-screen.

In suburban St. Louis, in a multiplex catering to well-off neighborhoods that were flocked with Bush/Cheney signs in 2000, the rowdy throng cheered when a man in back stood to shout an appeal for Democratic Party volunteers. “Anyone here for Nader?” another man called out. He was soundly booed.

In another conservative neighborhood, the audience at an Orange County, Calif., multiplex chanted: “Throw Bush out, throw Bush out” as the lights came on.

College student Jebodiah Beard, 25, characterized the crowd this way: “I think we’re preaching to the choir.”

Moore has acknowledged as much but sees no need to apologize.

“It’s good to give the choir something to sing,” he said at a politician-packed premiere in Washington last week. “The choir has been demoralized.”

If so, the movie was an electric wake-up call.

Outside a sold-out screening Friday in Santa Monica, Calif., activists stamped hands with peace signs and passed around petitions calling for universal health care, gay rights and the repeal of the Patriot Act.

“I can’t imagine anyone coming out of (the movie) and not working their brains out to get rid of this administration,” said Mimi Adams, 70, who was holding a sign that said: “No One Died When Clinton Lied.”

In theaters nationwide, many viewers said they couldn’t imagine loyal Republicans coming to see a movie the Bush administration has dismissed as a twisted montage of misleading innuendo and outright falsehoods. But for all the partisan hooting, the movie did appear to draw at least a strong smattering of the Republican and the undecided voters that Moore most desperately hopes to reach.

And some of them said they were deeply moved.

Moved enough, perhaps, to consider voting for Kerry in November.

For Richard Hagen, 56, it was the footage from Iraq: The raw cries of bombed civilians, the clenched-teeth agony of wounded American troops. A retired insurance agent from the wealthy River Oaks neighborhood in central Houston, Hagen described himself as a lifelong Republican. But then, standing by his silver Mercedes, he amended that: A former lifelong Republican.

“Seeing (the war) brings it home in a way you don’t get from reading about it,” he said. “I won’t be voting for a Republican presidential candidate this time.”

Mary Butler, too, may not bring herself to punch the ballot for Bush.

She didn’t vote for him in 2000, but Butler, 48, said that until this weekend, she was leaning strongly toward supporting him this year. “In a war situation, I figured it was too hard to switch horses midstream. I thought the country would be too vulnerable,” she said.

Butler, a librarian from suburban St. Louis, said one sentence in Moore’s film made her rethink.

After showing faces of the men and women of America’s military, Moore reminds his audience that they have volunteered to sacrifice their futures for our country. We owe them just one obligation, he says: To send them into harm’s way only when we absolutely must.

That got Butler. She doesn’t feel the war in Iraq fits into that category. And that one sentence — a filmmaker’s accusing voice-over — might cost Bush her vote in the pivotal swing state of Missouri: “This is probably the strongest I’ve ever felt about voting against him,” she said.

‘An impact of some sort’

Many viewers seemed especially moved by the story of Lila Lipscomb, the mother at the heart of Fahrenheit 9/11. When Moore first encounters her in Flint, Mich., she speaks with pride of her children’s military service, of all the opportunities the armed forces can give them. Then her son is killed in Iraq.

Appearing with Moore at the film’s premiere in Washington, Lipscomb received a standing ovation.

“President Bush said he was a president of war,” Lipscomb said. “Well, I stand before you tonight as a mother that is now a mother of war. I urge all of America to stop being ignorant. Open your eyes to see. Open your ears to hear. Open your mouth to speak.”

Many who watched Fahrenheit 9/11 over the weekend vowed the movie would spur them to do just that — to look deeper, listen closer, to speak out with conviction.

In the end, however, some doubted whether a summer movie, however pointed, could really affect the outcome of November’s election.

“It will have an impact of some sort,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who is interviewed by Moore in the film, “but I’m not sure what.”

Of course, the long-term effect has yet to be seen. It should be out on DVD before the election, so those who may have forgotten can enjoy a healthy reminder.

As for myself: After seeing it yesterday, I drove to the Kerry volunteer office and got my Kerry bumper stickers and tickets to see him here in town next week. And I gave money — a sizable sum for me while I’m trying to get on my feet. Looking at the effect the film had on people in the above article, I expect that by the time the weekend’s over, millions of others will have done the same or more than I did.


China bloggers, beware!

Despite China’s much praised “leniency” toward cyberdissident Du Daobin, China’s net surfers and bloggers (and especially Shanghai’s) need to know they are being closely watched by the CCP, which is ruthlessly revving up its control of the Internet, according to the NY Times. Emphasis added:

Both in China and abroad, some commentators quickly applauded what seemed like an official show of leniency toward the accused man, Du Daobin, a prolific author of online essays on issues of democracy and free speech.

But many among China’s rapidly growing group of Internet commentators are warning that what appears to be government magnanimity in this high-profile case conceals a quiet but concerted push to tighten controls of the Internet and surveillance of its users even though China’s restrictions on the medium are already among the broadest and most invasive anywhere….

As its first line of defense against what in another era China’s Communist leadership might have called ideological pollution, Beijing controls the Internet by insisting that all Web traffic pass through government-controlled servers. Now, coming on top of these measures, which are all deployed at the national level, China’s provincial governments are getting into the act, introducing regulations of their own that critics say severely impinge on privacy and freedom of speech.

In recent weeks, Shanghai, China’s largest and most Internet-connected city, has quietly introduced a series of controls, arguably the country’s most far-reaching yet, and critics fear, a model eventually to be used nationwide. Described by city officials as a measure intended to combat pornography and to bar entry for minors to Internet bars, the Shanghai regulations require customers to use swipe cards that would allow administrators or others to record their national identity numbers and track their Internet use.

The regulations have kicked up little public debate, in part because they have received little publicity here during the planning stage. But fierce protests have appeared online, where many active Internet users are interpreting the new regulations as an extension of the police state….

Some experts on China’s Internet censorship say that in releasing Mr. Du recently, the government may have been making a subtle bow to China’s own domestic public opinion, as expressed through online communication and debate.

International analysts who follow China’s Internet scene say that the government has been particularly taken aback by the explosion in a new form of online communication for China – the Weblog, or blog. It started last year with a celebrated case of a young woman who made a running online commentary about her own sex life, and now hundreds of thousands of people take enthusiastically to this form.

Ah yes, Muzi Mei (or is it Mu Zi Mei?). No matter how the blog phenomenon caught on in China, it certainly appears to have the CCP in a tizzy.

According to the analysts, the country’s censors, always eager to contain waves of public opinion before they get out of hand, particularly in matters of politics, have become alarmed that despite their intense efforts, Internet technology is quickly making free expression far harder to control.

“With the Du case, the government is saying, ‘Look, our actions may be nicer than in the past, but fundamentally, the judgment of the crime is unchanged, so don’t be fooled, we are also willing to be harsh,’ ” said Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley. “No matter how hard they try, though, it is a fact that the volume of online information is increasing vastly, and there’s nothing the government can do about that. You can monitor hundreds of bulletin boards, but controlling hundreds of thousands of bloggers is very different.”

I wonder if the new controls have anything to do with recent remarks I’ve seen in some Chinese blogs about problems connecting to certain sites, and long page-load times. If I remember, some of these were from Shanghai blogs (but I’m not certain). I also have to wonder, what is to stop China from banning blogs altogether. First blogger, then typepad and some native blogging services. If blogs pose such a threat to social stability and harmony (gimme a break), why not impose a blanket ban?

In any case, it’s not good news. It also seems wasteful, because most of us believe, sensibly, that the government simply can’t win the battle to wrap its tentacles around the hydra that is the Internet. So the fact that they’re so intent on investing huge numbers of renminbi and man-hours to do so is irrational — but it is also completely in keeping with the government’s mindset. Sadly, it is proof positive that the change for which so many thirst is arriving more slowly and less impressively than anticipated. This is a step in the wrong direction, perhaps even a Great Leap Backwards.


Dump Internet Explorer, switch to Firefox

I switched to Firefox after reading this post, and this article.

I am definitely glad I did. Firefox is quick (it took seconds to install), easy to use and, most important, it isn’t Microsoft. It’s great.

Update: Amazing. For two weeks my Yahoo email has been loaded with bugs, ever since they upgraded the service and increased the storage. I was totally unable to send attachments; when I clicked “attach files” it said “Your browser does not allow attachments.” I was totally screwed. After I switched to Firefox today, not a single problem — I can attach as many files as I want. I was having other serious problems — pages on Living in China and many other sites failed to fit on my screen; I simply couldn’t read any article posted to that site and others. Now they are all perfect.

Fuck Microsoft! How come no one told me about this before??


Censorship in Korea — An Appeal

[The copy below was sent to me by fellow blogger Kevin Kim. Censorship is just about my No. 1 hot button, so I hope you can all take a moment to read his letter. It is complete and unedited.]

Fellow blogger,

I am sending this message to the bloggers on my blogroll (and a few
other folks) in the hopes that some of you will print this, or at
least find it interesting enough for comment. I’m not usually the
type to distribute such messages, but I felt this was important enough
to risk disturbing you.

As some of you may already know, a wing of the South Korean
government, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MIC), is
currently clamping down on a variety of blogging service providers and
other websites. The government is attempting to control access to
video of the recent Kim Sun-il beheading, ostensibly because the video
will have a destabilizing influence. (I haven’t seen the video.)

Many Western expat bloggers in Korea are in an uproar; others, myself
included, are largely unsurprised: South Korea has not come far out
of the shadow of its military dictatorship past. My own response to
this censorship is not so much anger as amusement, because the
situation represents an intellectual challenge as well as a chance to
fight for freedom of expression. Perhaps even to fight for freedom,

South Korea is a rapidly evolving country, but in many ways it remains
the Hermit Kingdom. Like a turtle retreating into its shell, the
people are on occasion unable to deal with the harsh realities of the
world around them. This country is, for example, in massive denial
about the atrocities perpetrated in North Korea, and, as with many
Americans, is in denial about the realities of Islamic terrorism,
whose roots extend chronologically backward far beyond the lifetime of
the Bush Administration. This cultural tendency toward denial (and
overreaction) at least partially explains the Korean government’s move
to censor so many sites.

The fact that the current administration, led by President Noh
Mu-hyon, is supposedly “liberal”-leaning makes this censorship more
ironic. It also fuels propagandistic conservative arguments that
liberals are, at heart, closet totalitarians. I find this to be a
specious caricature of the liberal position (I consider myself neither
liberal nor conservative), but to the extent that Koreans are
concerned about what image they project to the world, it is legitimate
for them to worry over whether they are currently playing into
stereotype: South Korea is going to be associated with other
violators of human rights, such as China.

Of the many hypocrisies associated with the decision to censor, the
central one is that no strong governmental measures were taken to
suppress the distribution of the previous beheading videos (Nick Berg
et al.). This, too, fuels the suspicion that Koreans are selfish or,
to use their own proverbial image, “a frog in a well”– radically
blinkered in perspective, collectively unable to empathize with the
sufferings of non-Koreans, but overly sensitive to their own

I am writing this letter not primarily to criticize all Koreans (I’m
ethnically half-Korean, and an American citizen), nor to express a
generalized condemnation of Korean culture. As is true anywhere else,
this culture has its merits and demerits, and overall, I’m enjoying my
time here. No, my purpose is more specific: to cause the South
Korean government as much embarrassment as possible, and perhaps to
motivate Korean citizens to engage in some much-needed introspection.

To this end, I need the blogosphere’s help, and this letter needs wide
distribution (you may receive other letters from different bloggers,
so be prepared!). I hope you’ll see fit to publish this letter on
your site, and/or to distribute it to concerned parties: censorship
in a supposedly democratic society simply cannot stand. The best and
quickest way to persuade the South Korean government to back down from
its current position is to make it lose face in the eyes of the world.
This can only happen through a determined (and civilized!) campaign
to expose the government’s hypocrisy and to cause Korean citizens to
rethink their own narrow-mindedness.

We can debate all we want about “root causes” with regard to Islamic
terrorism, Muslim rage, and all the rest, but for me, it’s much more
constructive to proceed empirically and with an eye to the future.
Like it or not, what we see today is that Korea is inextricably linked
with Iraq issues, and with issues of Islamic fundamentalism. Koreans,
however, may need some persuading that this is in fact the case– that
we all need to stand together as allies against a common enemy.

If you are interested in giving the South Korean Ministry of
Information and Culture a piece of your mind (or if you’re a reporter
who would like to contact them for further information), please email
the MIC at:


Thank you,

Kevin Kim
(Blogspot is currently blocked in Korea, along with other providers;
please go to Unipeak.com and type my URL into the search window to
view my blog.)

PS: To send me an email, please type “hairy chasms” in the subject
line to avoid being trashed by my custom-made spam filter.

PPS: Much better blogs than mine have been covering this issue,
offering news updates and heartfelt commentary. To start you off,


Here as well, Unipeak is the way to go if you’re in Korea and unable
to view the above blogs. People in the States should, in theory, have
no problems accessing these sites, which all continue to be updated.

PPPS: This email is being cc’ed to the South Korean Ministry of
Information and Culture. Please note that other bloggers are writing
about the Korean government’s creation of a task force that will
presumably fight internet terror. I and others have an idea that this
task force will serve a different purpose. If this is what South
Korea’s new “aligning with the PRC” is all about, then there’s reason
to worry for the future.


Moore bashes the Democrats, too

This is an important point I forgot to include in my rushed review last night of Fahrenheit 9/11. In the opening scenes, when a series of black Congresspeople from poor districts of Florida plead with Al Gore and the Congreee to take into account the huge numbers of blacks who were denied the right to vote in 2000, all of the onus falls on the nation’s Democtatic senators — not a single one supported the Congressmen as the nation hurried to “move on” and inaugurate a new president.

This sort of thing threads through the movie — it is not just the dirty tricks, shady relationships and outright lies of George W. Bush and his cronies, but the total willingness of the Democrats to let them get away with it. After 9/11, it became “treasonous” even to think that Bush may be heading in the wrong direction, and the Democrats were a key source of this sheepishness.

It is in the case of Iraq, however, that Moore is most unforgiving, depicting the Democrats as thoughtless (as in devoid of thoughts), frightened, semi-paralyzed followers. Heavy-handed and one-sided, but his video clips sure help supplement his contentions.

My favorite pundit in America is Eleanor Clift, and I want to include a snip of her own review of the film. She spoke to Moore before the premiere in DC.

Moore may be preaching to the choir, but he says, “The choir was asleep—demoralized, despairing … Cynicism and despair are the great friends of the rich and powerful. The more Americans they can get to check out of the system, [saying] they’re not going to vote [because politicians are] all crooks—that’s music to the ears of those in charge. This film is a different tune.”

Moore is a propagandist in the best sense of the word. He wants to defeat President Bush, and he has marshaled facts and footage to make the case. It is unnerving to watch Bush sit stony-faced for almost a full seven minutes reading “My Pet Goat” after an aide whispers in his ear that a second plane has struck the World Trade Center and that America is under attack. Bush told the 9/11 commission he wanted to project calm; he projects paralysis.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” opens at almost 900 theaters this weekend, which is nine times more screens than Moore had for his last documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.” Attempts by GOP stalwarts to intimidate theater owners into refusing the film have only generated more demand at the box office. “Fahrenheit 9/11” broke all opening-day records in New York, out distancing “Mission Impossible” and “Men in Black.” Noting that President Clinton’s memoir, “My Life,” is also setting record sales, a pleased Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Party chairman, said, “It must be driving them nuts,” them meaning the Republicans.

The strenuous efforts of right-wing activists to curtail the showing of the movie suggest they understand the potential impact of this film. Because “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a cultural phenomenon, it just might attract the young and the politically unaffiliated, voters with the power to defeat Bush.

Wonderfully ironic, how the Republicans’ efforts to stifle the movie have now made it a must-see for young people.


A brief movie review

Everyone’s totally saturated with stories about Fahrenheit 9/11 by this point, so I’ll be concise.

I got to see it today, as promised, at its first performance here in Arizona. While the movie is unquestionably a tour de force, I also found it had its moments of silliness, tediousness and — is this a word? — farfetchedness.

Michael Moore is a master film maker, and the movie flows with its own unstoppable logic, building up the tension and taking you down and tightening the strings again. It’s bumpy at times, but the net effect is an overwhelming, emotional rollercoaster.

It starts with the 2000 election and effectively demonstrates — to my own satisfaction, at least — that this was a stolen election. He does this not by bloviating, but by showing us video clips of what happened. (Selective clips of course; everything in the movie is selective and subjective, as you’d expect.) There is no point in my describing these clips to you or arguing about them. It simply has to be seen. I don’t believe anyone can walk out of that theater without having at least some serious questions about the legitimacy of Bush’s victory.

We all know the points Moore makes — the Bush family’s cozy relationship with the Saudi royal family, its involvement with the Carlyle Group and the unbelievable profits the company reaps from war, the sudden and inexplicable shift from Afghanistan to Iraq, the obscene war profiteering of Bush’s cronies, the indiscriminate carnage of the Iraq bombings, the brutalization of prisoners and the growing belief on the part of many soldiers that they were losing limbs for a cause they didn’t understand, that they were being “sent to kill other poor people who aren’t a threat to us,” in the words of one soldier who swore he would never return to Iraq.

A technique Moore uses cleverly is the juxtaposition of images for maximum irony and theatrical effect. An officer says how it’s all about “winning hearts and minds,” and the camera cuts to soldiers terrorizing an Iraqi family for no discernible reason. The glee of the contractors is contrasted with the misery of the men in the desert. We’re shown the blanket prohibition of flying in the days after 9/11, contrasted with the sudden and secretive rush to get Bin Ladin’s relatives flown back home. Moore hits you over the head — something is just plain wrong, the movie screams at us.

Again, whether or not you can poke holes in Moore’s story isn’t the issue. As a movie, as entertainment, and as propaganda it certainly works. At the end the entire audience stood up and cheered and whistled. I’ve never seen Arizonans do that before.

I did have my issues. A section on how the Army recruits poor young men was over-long and tiresome, as was the dwelling on Osama Bin Laden’s family. I also thought that showing pre-war Iraq as a happy little playground was dumb and misleading, and I can’t believe Moore didn’t know this. But he wanted to create a dramatic juxtaposition — the smiling happy children contrasted with gigantic bomb blasts ripping the city apart.

Most poignant, by far, was an interview with the mother of a soldier in Iraq, Lila Lipscomb, glowing with pride and love of country. Then she is interviewed later, after her son, Michael Pedersen, is killed. She reads Michael’s last agonized letter, crying that Bush was a criminal who had sent them on a mission of murder. The mother’s rage and grief are so palpable, it’s hard to imagine not being moved. (I could hear people crying.)

Then there’s the usual Moore mischief, having the Bush team, along with Blair, portrayed as the cowboy family in Bonanza; Moore riding around in a Mr. Softee truck reading the Patriot Act; ambushing congressmen to ask if they’d like to enlist their children as soldiers to fight in Iraq. It’s silly, but it drives home his points. This is Moore’s specialty, and he is very, very funny.

As I said a day or two before, Moore must always be taken with “a gigantic grain of sea salt.” But all this talk of his being a liar and a demagogue– it’s just not the case. Most of his points are right there in the video clips — it’s hard to argue with them. You cannot brush them aside. It’s a take-no-prisoners approach, aggressive and relentless and savage. But it’s also backed up by a plethora of corroborating evidence.

Moore is a provocateur. And he opened my eyes with plenty of provocative footage I’d never seen before. For this alone, we should all see it. (Watch Bush reading My Pet Goat for seven minutes after being told America was under attack, and draw your own conclusions.)

It’s easy to see why the movie is so controversial. And at a time when the nation is so polartized, when swing voters are in such short supply, it could have a tangible impact on the election. (I certainly hope so.) There were plenty of young people there today, and Moore just might get more of them to vote this year.

See the movie. Then we can argue.


Another InstaPundit parody — maybe the best yet

How did I miss Ted Barlow’s brilliant InstaPuppy parody of 10 days ago? This is great — and check the comments. There’s one by a certain Jon H. that approaches genius.


Progress and poverty in Yunnan

Take a look at this beautiful article on how a small village in northern Yunnan province is slowly being touched by the modern age. Stacks of firewood next to a satellite dish, a TV set not far from the braying donkey, electricity for the very first time (if only for 8 hours a day)….

It’s a remarkable story of how things are getting better in China not only for the city dwellers but also, at least to some extent, for the poor peasants in remote and distant villages, where household incomes average as low as $300 a year.


Can’t People’s Daily afford good English writers?

Hot off the press, sublimely mangled sentences from a leading Chinese English-language newspaper:

Though there witnessed not a long history of MBA education in China, yet the glory that enveloped MBA has gone discolored within few years. With only a MBA laurel, one cannot obtain a high post or get in high salary any longer. When the training and enrolling advertisements of MBA posted like scabies on the street wire poles and in alleyways of China, criticism and query on the MBA education came along tempestuously.

Tempestuously? Has anyone used that word in the past 100 years? “Posted like scabies?” I don’t even want to go there.