Slideshow of protesters and police in Hong Kong

This is one photo in the slideshow at To see more, go to Yahoo News.

Explaining the unrest in Hong Kong

JISHOU, HUNAN — If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about the protests in Hong Kong. Media accounts are portraying this as anti-Bejing, but the unrest has much broader objectives than telling the mainland government to mind its own business. Occupy Central is essentially an effort for universal suffrage, which Hong Kong has never had. Nevertheless, an important side issue is the extent to which the mainland government will have control over local politics. Historical background Before 1997 Hong Kong was directly ruled as a colony of the United Kingdom by a viceroy appointed by the monarch. The viceroy — known as the Governor of Hong Kong — appointed other government officials, including members of the advisory Legislative Council (LegCo). Indirect elections of LegCo members began in 1985, and beginning in 1995, 35 of the 70 members are now chosen through direct elections. British control of HK ended in 1997, and Hong Kong once again became a territory of China as a Special Administrative Region (SAR). Replacing the Governor was a Chief Executive with essentially the same civil powers. A 1200-member Election Committee, whose members are appointed by the mainland’s Central People’s Government, chooses the Chief Executive by ...

Someday, kid, you’re gonna be a star!

Someday, kid, you're gonna be a star!
JISHOU, HUNAN — So, I’ve been a little busy these last three weeks. Classes started just two days after I arrived, then the freshmen started two weeks later, doubling my class hours. Oh, and then I was asked to act in a movie. Before you all get too excited, this is probably not a movie you’ll see in America, on TV, the theaters or DVD. It’s what they call in China a “micro-movie” — a 45-minute teleplay for the web only. In fact, it’s half a promotion for the local tourism scene and half a comedy-romance. Two weeks ago, my foreign affairs officer Cyril Hu called me to ask if I had time to appear in a movie about Xiangxi, the prefecture of which Jishou is the capital. I agreed, figuring it would be a one-day TV thing, no big deal. Then I met the director, 陈晓曦 Chen XiaoXi, and a few members of his crew, all from Beijing. His assistant, Xiao Hong, and one of my seniors, Li Dongling, served as interpreters. I was to be a foreigner who comes here looking for the “empress of Xiangxi.” It would not be a speaking part, and I would have to ...

Resuming the narrative

Resuming the narrative
JISHOU, HUNAN — When we last heard from our intrepid traveler (me), he had just returned from Toronto and was in New York City. Now we resume the narrative. Yeah, so the last two weeks of my visit to the States were busy enough that I didn’t around to blogging about them. So, here we go. Aug. 10-13: The Maple Leaf pulled into Penn Station about an hour late. Not too bad, all things considered. My hotel was the Lexington NYC at 511 Lex. I had gotten a good deal from ($98 for a midtown Manhattan hotel is quite a steal) and I’ve gotta say I was much impressed by this hotel. The room was comfortable, the lobby inviting, and the food in the restaurant pretty good and priced fairly. While my inclination was to laze around in bed, my mission that day was to visit the 9/11 Memorial Site and have lunch with another former student from China who was interning at the UN Peacemaking Commission. I had waffles at Pershing Square and took the Lexington Line downtown. There is still a lot of construction around the WTC site, so reaching the memorial was not as easy as ...

Correcting a Facebook post: the drummer girl is from Taiwan, not S Korea

The video in question: JISHOU, HUNAN — So, while I was noodling on Facebook last month in the USA, I came across this video of a young street performer playing a mean drum cover. I was impressed, so I shared it on my timeline. The originator of the post said she’s Korean, which I found out today is wrong. The drummer is Luo ShiRu 罗仕茹, who goes by the stage name S. White (小白 xiao bai). She’s from Taipei, Taiwan, not South Korea. Here’s her Facebook page. Here she is performing another cover. S. White sometimes performs with another Taipei drumming talent, Vela Blue, the stage name of Chen Manqing 陈曼青, outside the Ximen metro station in Taipei, sharing the same drum kit. Vela Blue, 26, also has some good chops on the drums. Here’s her Facebook page, and a sample of her work. I notice both Xiao Bai and Vela Blue have the same right hand drumstick twirl.

And on a lighter note, a trailer for the next holiday blockbuster

SNACKPOCALYPSE with Chloe Grace Moretz, Tyler Posey, and First Lady Michelle Obama from Funny Or Die It helps if you’ve watched Divergent and The Hunger Games before watching this video. Oh, the heroine played Hitgirl. Yeah, I watch a lot of movies.

In an animated video, a student explains, “Why did I study physics?”

In an animated video, a student explains,
Linky: The Atlantic

To Toronto and back

ABOARD AMTRAK’S MAPLE LEAF OUTSIDE TORONTO, CANADA — Despite my best intentions, I have not been able to blog about my travels until now. I’ve been too busy or too tired to write. Unlike the tribulations of my air travel from Changsha to Boston, everything since I have arrived has gone off perfectly. Here”s the highlights of my travels to date. July 30-31: Dallas-Fort Worth airport apparently shuts down between midnight at 6 am. No flights in, no flights out. I discovered they graciously provide cots and blankets to travelers with overnight layovers. The airport hotels are ritzy, and not suitable for budget travelers. On the downside, DFW was as cold as a meat locker, and the blanket provided is the thin kind the airlines provide. As soon as I started drifting off to sleep, I’d get cold and wake up again. At least lying down was better than trying sleep in one of the airport chairs. July 31, Boston: I was met by my son at Logan airport. We visited a few parts of Boston, including Fan Pier and Mr Dooley’s Pub for a pint o’ Guinness. By this time, I reckon I’d been awake or semiawake for about ...

Hello, PLA? Complaints department, please

SHANGHAI — The way I figure it, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army owes me about $244. About three weeks ago, I read an article announcing that the PLA would be doing training exercises in the East China Sea from about July 23 to August 6 or so. As a result, the PLA was going to restrict all commercial air traffic in the eastern provinces,causing delays. I was leaving for the US from Shanghai (that’s in the east, geography fans) on July 30. You can already predict where this story is headed, I’m sure. But let me set it up. My own flight plan was to fly out of Changsha around 10:20 am, land in Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport around 12, take the inter-airport shuttle to Pudong Airport for my 4:10 pm flight to the States. Under normal circumstances, this arrangement would have been fine. I had four hours to travel cross-town in Shanghai, which takes about 60-90 minutes by shuttle bus. It was not to be. Whenever I am about to take a long trip, I usually can’t stay in bed, no matter when my flight is. So, I checked out of the Hunan Civil Aviation Hotel at 6:30. An airport ...

Preparing for the big annual trip home 2

Preparing for the big annual trip home
JISHOU, HUNAN — In a few days, I’ll be jetting across the Big Water on my annual visit to the USA, with an added dash of Canada this year! This map will give you an idea of how busy this trip will be. 1. Arrive Chicago July 30 2. Providence, RI, to visit my son 3. New York City, to meet up with friends 4. Toronto, to visit with a Chinese friend and her family 5. NYC and New Jersey, to see my cousin 6. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to see my daughter and her husband 7. Louisville, KY, to see the rest of the family 8. Dallas-Fort Worth airport, to fly back to China Aug. 28 Three domestic flights, four train rides and one cross-country drive await me this time. I’m going to try to blog the whole while, like a travelogue. We’ll see how that goes. Hah. As the term was winding down last month, I had much more ambitious travel plans, since I had four weeks in July to kill.* My first idea was to stop in Tokyo for a few days, since it’s “on the way.” But the airlines are nefarious in their pricing. A layover of ...

Feds are smuggling 30,000 immigrant kids into states — Gateway Pundit

JISHOU, HUNAN — As another example of the tenuous hold The Gateway Pundit has on accuracy, check out this xenophobic, scaremongering headline: BREAKING: HHS Has Released 30,340 Unaccompanied Illegal Minors Across US This Year So breaking!! that it’s been going on for the last six months, but to continue with the post. According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement 30,340 illegal children were secretly released to sponsors across the United States in the first six months of this year. I’ve got some problems with the term “illegal children,” but let’s focus on the “secretly released to sponsors” aspect of this story. First of all, it’s not a secret if the ORR announces it’s happened. And second, by law, the government is prohibited from revealing the precise whereabouts of minor children. So, in that respect, there is some secrecy. Who are these sponsors? From the ORR website: We try to place the child with a parent, and if that is not possible, with a relative, and if that is not possible, with a family friend. We do not restrict placements based on the immigration status of the parent or other sponsor. All sponsors receive a background check that includes a public ...

Context is important, but not to Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft

Wheat-Dogg’s Law: Given the content of any article posted at The Gateway Pundit blog, we can assume the exact opposite meaning is true. JISHOU, HUNAN — Keeping this truism in mind, I had to wonder about this headline today at TGP: WH Lauds Sudanese Christian’s Release But Does Not Mention ‘Christianity’ in Statement Outrageous! It must be more of the anti-Christian propaganda coming out the White House these days. Obama is the Anti-Christ! No, wait, he’s secretly a Muslim! No, wait, he’s both! Two mints in one! Could it be true that the White House failed to mention that Sudanese refugee Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag was Christian? Ishag had been on trial in her native country for apostasy — specifically converting from Islam to Christianity — and had been sentenced to death. Instead, Ishag and her family were released, and she arrived yesterday in Rome. The only transcript I could find of the statement by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, besides the text on The Gateway Pundit, was at a site called, which publishes press releases verbatim. I had no success finding the transcript at the White House website. In fact, Hoft is literally correct: the statement does not ...
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