Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Saturday C.C.C. and I went to a BP gas station (gasolinera) to get some morning coffee and dulces (sweets). Upon entry to the gasolinera a gentleman who was sitting at a table reading a newspaper said “Hello."

I ignored this provocation.

After making our purchase, C.C.C. and I—for the first time in history—sat at one of the tables, and opposite Hello no less, to drink our coffee and eat our dulces.

“I said to a friend ‘If you had a billion dollar business who would you want running it, Obama or Romney.’  That’s all I said. He didn’t say anything.”

He-he-he-he-he. First, “Hello,” and now, throwing gasolina on the fire, this. No-no-no-no-no. He’s not going to get me to go there.  I have read the treatise “Rules of Affability,” rule A-120.35(c) of which is “Never Engage in Political Discussions with an Unknown Man at a Gas Station.” And sub (i) of the aforesaid says “humor him.”  That is what I did.  “Yeah, you’re right,” I responded affably, eating quickly.

The Rules of Affability do not apply to blogs.* 

United States of America” may sound vaguely like a corporation but if it was it would have an “Inc.” at the end. There’s no inc. The United States of America is a “country;” it has its own word (“country”) which is different from the word for corporation (“corporation.”).   And there may be other distinctions between countries and corporations. Hello, and there are many Hello’s in the U.S.A., acknowledge this semantic distinction of course. Nonetheless, the economic efficiencies of corporations, especially U.S.A. corporations, are of such renown among Hello’s that experience running said economically efficient corporations has become a political desideratum. Some years ago we had a fellow with very big ears, “Rose Perot,” run for president as an independent. Perot’s political raison d’etre was that he had founded a corporation called Electronic Data Systems and made it hugely profitable. Hello’s positively swooned over Ross Perot for a time, at one point he was leading both the Republican and Democratic candidates in the polls. The idea is that economically efficient people like Ross Perot can make the U.S. government economically efficient too. “Profits” may be another distinction between countries and corporations (in “output”) and whether Hello’s want corporate types to make the U.S.A. government “profitable” too is beyond our knowledge. Perot sold EDS, as corporate founders are permitted to do, for $2.5 billion in 1984. It is not believed that Hello’s wish one such as Perot, or Mitt Romney, to actually sell the U.S.A. after making it profitable, so that may be another distinction between running a corporation and running a country.

Mitt Romney sells himself as a presidential candidate largely on the basis of the aforesaid reasoning. Romney did not found Bain Capital but he was instrumental in making it, and himself, very wealthy and able to afford houses with car elevators and horses named Dressage. Among other things. We wish to make the following point however: Bain Capital is not Electronic Data Systems (different names). Not only different names, different stuff they do. EDS managed data processing for other corporations and also for the U.S. government’s Medicare program. Medicare. So Hello, “good” economically efficient corporations and corporate-types can make money, big money, off “bad” economically inefficient government programs?  Yes they can because corporations and Medicare process a lot of data. Perot and E.D.S. said to them, “Hey, look at all that data over there. It needs processing. We will do it for you for $X.”  And corporations and Medicare said “okay” and EDS and Perot made a lot of money. Employed a lot of people too, 136,000.** That’s the size of McKinney, Texas.

What’s good for McKinney is good for the U.S.A.

So Hello, who gets credit for the Medicare jobs created at EDS, Ross Perot or who?  Oh, we're affable, let’s give him the whole credit. Ross Perot created 136,000 jobs. Jobs. Mitt Romney said last night all the U.S.A. needs is jobs and he, off his experience at Bain Capital, can do it.

Bain Capital employees: “400+”.***


Hello, Bain employs as many people as RBM Building Services, Inc. “the largest solely owned janitorial company in the state of Utah.”****  Bain is worth $66 billion today and employees 400 (+) people. The successor corporation to Ross Perot’s EDS was worth $22 billion in 2007 and employed 136,000.  So some kinds of businesses are “worth” more but employ far fewer people. What kind of business is Bain? Bain is a “private equity” firm. What the hell do they do?  A private equity firm invests. A private equity firm is an “investment manager” that invests the firm’s and other people’s money in other people’s businesses.*****   


I invest. Can I be a private equity firm?  If I had enough money I could. If you or I (or better, you and I) had enough money to buy other people’s businesses we could. Could we then take credit for the jobs created by the businesses started by other people that we invest in?  That’s what Mitt Romney does.  Mitt Romney claims that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs through the companies it invested in, like Staples. Through. That’s still less than the 136,000 people that EDS employed.  How many more jobs could Ross Perot claim he created through EDS?  I don’t know.

Bain Capital invests. It makes money. Bain can make money when the companies it invests in create jobs and Bain can make money when the companies it invests in don’t create jobs.  Mitt Romney is no more qualified a job creator than Jon Moss, the head of “the largest solely owned janitorial company in the state of Utah.”


* E-1.1.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Mittster gives his speech tonight. Maybe he'll display his tax returns on the big screens?

Search Keyword of the Day.

"paul ryans tic," two people. Didn't know he had a tic, if he does. Don't have a TV.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"The Real Romney," David Brooks.

Oh my God, David Brooks                                      :

He [was born] hair first, believing in America, and especially its national parks. He was given the name Mitt, after the Roman god of mutual funds... [ed note: Oh my God!]

He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under…

Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil

...his fourth-grade project, “Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known,” was widely admired.

He developed a lifelong concern for the second homeless…[ed note: Oh my God!]

Romney also went on a mission to France. He spent two years knocking on doors, failing to win a single convert. This was a feat he would replicate during his 2008 presidential bid.

...he attended Harvard, studying business, law, classics and philosophy, though intellectually his first love was always tax avoidance.

He once canceled a corporate retreat at which Abba had been hired to play, saying he found the band’s music “too angry.”

Mitt helped Ann raise five perfect sons — Bip, Chip, Rip, Skip and Dip…[ed note: ditto]

After a successful stint at Bain, Romney was lured away to run the Winter Olympics, the second most Caucasian institution on earth, after the G.O.P.

Brilliant, brilliant writing. David Brooks, YOU sir, deserve a Pulitzer Prize for that column alone...No, a Nobel Prize, ALL the Nobel Prizes. This was Mitt Romney's week. Until now.

Image: "We are not worthy."
This is the world's biggest loaf of bread. No, it's the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, relocated from New Jersey. The Barclays Center is brown on purpose, not for want of paint. That's "weathered steel" there, Pilgrim, i.e. rusty steel.

An attempt to capture Brooklyn's industrial past.  The rust drips on the sidewalk. Stains windows, shoes.
This is Microsoft's, and its new logo's, week.

This is the Republicans, and Mitt Romney's, week. After six years of effort Romney officially became the Grand Old Party's candidate for president last night. Mitt Romney has succeeded, spectacularly, at everything in life. He has a good chance of being the next president as half of Americans prefer him to Barack Obama.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Band On The Run.

Two members of Pussy Riot reportedly have fled Russia.  Balaclava and Serafima are on the loose and have gone abroad to recruit additional feminist protesters according to the band's website and confirmed by the husband of Nadezhada Tolokonnikova, one of three jailed members. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sheldon Adelson.

From the New York Daily News, August 23

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who is one of the largest donors to Mitt Romney and the Republican party, has been accused of bringing “ruin” to Israel’s newspaper industry. 

The American owner of the Sands Casino in Las Vegas has poured money into a free daily newspaper called Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) that shows a slavish loyalty to Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. 

Aggressive marketing and popularity among Netanyahu supporters has rocketed the paper to the top of Israel’s newspaper industry, bringing competitors to their knees. 

The iconic Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv is close to bankruptcy — and is likely to soon become an online-only publication except on weekends.
“I don’t know what his motives are, but he’s touching Israeli democracy’s holy of holies — he’s molding the face of Israeli society,” said Daniel Ben-Simon, a Labor Party legislator. “Personally, I feel badly that a man who made most of his money in casinos or by means of casinos, who doesn’t know a word of Hebrew and doesn’t live here, should hold such a key.” 

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

Armstrong was American.

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

"One giant leap..."  No, not a Great Leap, China, a giant leap.

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

"One giant leap for mankind."  For all of us, China. 

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Mr. Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, died today of complications from a cardiovascular procedure.


Why does China not win more gold and win the overall medal count in every Olympiad?  A large part of the answer to this question is because the International Olympic Committee refuses to give Olympic status to certain sports that Chinese would be sure to win, such as the struggle session (two person and four), water torture, slavery ("modern"), copyright infringement, trade piracy and cyber warfare. Thus the I.O.C. intentionally discriminates against Chinese.


In a sense we can understand Wu Jingbiao's tearful breakdown. He was the favorite to win the weightlifting gold medal and didn't. In the same sense we can understand his statement: “I’m ashamed for disgracing the motherland, the Chinese weightlifting team and all those who supported me, I’m sorry!”  Oh God maybe not. Maybe in a little sense, in the sense that China is the largest country on earth with a longer continuous history than any other country. Add to those advantages their acknowledged racial superiority and shouldn't China be the favorites to win more gold medals and more medals overall than every other country in every Olympiad? Yes, they should. So why don't they?

China did win more gold in 2008 than any other country, but those Olympics were held in Beijing. And they still came in second overall. And this year, without home field advantage they came in second overall and in gold. Why? 

Friday, August 24, 2012


Has Mitt Romney, so interested in foreign affairs,--and so good at it--addressed the recent political protest event in Russia?  I want to hear Mitt Romney say "Pussy Riot." 


I just saw a headline, something like "Obama team doesn't find Romney birth certificate joke funny." If a spokesperson for Obama made some statement to that effect (and I didn't read the article), I suggest that that is precisely the wrong response because what Romney said is funny--for what it says about Romney. There isn't much to Romney's statement to get worked up about, that is, he has clearly stated that he believes Obama was born in the U.S. What it says about Romney is that he is tone-deaf and not funny even when he makes a slight attempt at humor. You know people who can't tell a joke to save themselves?  That's Mitt Romney. And humor is such a big part of being American. We love to laugh, we laugh at ourselves, at each other, and if someone doesn't have a sense of humor, if they "can't take a joke," it's almost un-American. That's Mitt Romney. It shouldn't be the Obama campaign, it certainly isn't the president, who has a great sense of humor.

Some time ago a fourth estater or fifth dimensioner asked Romney what comedians or comedic acts he likes best. Romney paused...bad sign, and with his brain going a million miles an hour reached Laurel and Hardy. You could see his mind at work, "Don't want to say I like X because maybe X said something off-color or impolitic once" and so he reached for the safest example he could. That was funny, seeing Romney's brain massage the question. In the same way Romney's birther statement today was funny. He cannot tell a joke. The way things have been going this summer, Obama doesn't have to campaign much. He can just let Romney be Romney and the Republicans be Republicans. 


“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.”
                   -Mitt Romney in Michigan today.

By Romney standards, this almost doesn't count. He's the Galloping Gaffe. 

"They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred." *

I wish President Obama would run a more "Us vs Them" campaign. There are more us's than them's. Obama is going to win re-election. Right now, the election will be close. It should not be. Obama can make Romney a foil rather than an opponent.  Romney is in the 1% of "Them's."  His experience at Bain Capital was as an investor, not as a business owner, not as a job creator, not as an economist. Romney is a poor candidate, a poor campaigner, and he's wrong on the issues. Romney and Republican supporters like Judge Head, Sheldon Adelson, and the Tea Party people are caricatures. They are perfect foils. They hate Obama and he should welcome their hatred. With them against him Obama can rout Romney-Ryan, and the Republican Congress too. It's good to have enemies.

*Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936. 
I, personally, would like to thank Republican Judge Head for that clear articulation of his opinion. And the people of Lubbock, Texas for electing him. And the Republicans who have come to his defense. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Judge Tom Head, Republican from Texas:

Judge Head: "As County Judge I am the emergency management coordinator. As emergency management coordinator I have to think about the very worst thing that can happen and prepare for that and hope and pray for the best, OK? And in this political climate and financial climate, what is the very worst thing that can happen right now? Obama gets back in the White House. No. God forbid."

Jeff Klotzman: "That's the political aspect of this."

Judge Head: "OK. What's going to happen. Now I'm going to tell you my opinion, OK. Obama has put executive orders and whatever other documents his minions have filed. And regardless of whether the Republicans take over the Senate, which I hope they do, he is going to make the United States Congress and he's going to make the Constitution irrelevant. He's got his czars in place that don't answer to anybody. He's got his documents in place. They're going to be irrelevant.

"He is going to do what he wants to do. Now what do you think he is going to try to do in this next term? One of the things, my opinion. One of the things is he's going to try to give the sovereignty of the United States away to the United Nations. What do you think the public is going to do when that happens? We are talking civil unrest, civil disobedience, possibly, possibly civil war, OK? Now what happens? What happens? Now I'm not talking just talking riots here and there. I'm talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms, get rid of the dictator. OK, what do you think he is going to do when that happens? He is going to call in the UN troops, personnel carriers, tanks and weapons." 


That looks low-tech by today's standards.

Voyager 2 was launched August 20, 1977, thirty-five years ago Monday. And, like the Energizer bunny of TV-commercial fame, it just keeps going and going. ..It is the longest operating space exploration mission in history. 2 (launched 16 days before 1) is now 9 billion miles from the sun and heading south.  1, scheduled to be the first man-made object to leave the solar system and cross over into interstellar space, is 11 billion miles from the sun and headed north.  The Voyagers are expected to keep going, and sending back data, until 2020 at least. Each Voyager carries with it a "Golden Record"

of the sights and sounds of Earth, in case intelligent life

ever comes across it. If Todd Akin comes across it the mission will be aborted.

"Our Origin," by Dr. Weimin Mo.

I have long encouraged Dr. Mo to write about his experiences.  He began to write about the Cultural Revolution one time but couldn't continue, it was too painful. The C.R. does that, did that, to people. Dr. Mo recently sent me the beginning of a family history and I immediately asked him for permission to publish it. 

In September 1981, I came to America as a visiting scholar, sent by my university in China for two years on an exchange program. I was so attracted to America that I decided to make it my adopted country. In 1986, I brought my children to this country and eventually we became Americans. 
Even though I was born and brought up in Shanghai, my family was originally from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.  According to my father, long ago in history, my ancestors came from Julu, Hebei Province. I never did any research on it and am not able to prove it.
I don’t know how to spell my grandfather’s name. He passed away long before I was born. Women’s formal names were seldom used at that time, so I don’t know my grandmother’s name. They lived somewhere in Shatianli, Hangzhou (沙田里, 杭州). They owned what local people called salted fish store (咸鲞店). Actually, according to what my eldest sister described, it was a kind of dried food store which sold all kinds of preserved fresh-water fish and seafood. The couple had a daughter and three sons. My father was the youngest of the three. I don’t remember my father’s sister’s name. I simply called her niangniang (aunt).
My grandfather on my mother’s side owned a coffin shop and lived at somewhere people at that time called the City Moat of Genshanmen, Hangzhou (杭州艮山门城河). My mother had an older sister. I don’t know her name and just called her “niangniang” (aunt), too. They lived at Huangjiajing of Genshanmen, Hangzhou (黄家井). During WWII, her whole family ran away from the Japanese troops and went as far as Shanxi Province (陕西省). By then my parents had settled down in Shanghai; our whole family lived in the French Settlement of Shanghai. I remember my mother’s sister well because in the 1950s, she came to Shanghai and lived with us for quite a while and my father helped her son and granddaughter find jobs and eventually settle down in Shanghai.
In Chinese tradition, parents usually favored the oldest son and would either pass their business or most of their inheritance to him. Therefore, my father came to Shanghai by himself at a very young age in an attempt to find his own space in the world.
My Father and His Business
My father was a self-made man. He didn’t have much education. When he was little, he was sent to an old-style clan/family school to learn how to read and write for a couple of years. I believe what he learned there was something equivalent to today’s elementary school.
Hangzhou was the capital of silk in China. Raising silkworms or doing silk textile business was popular in that area. When my father came to Shanghai around the age of 20, naturally he got into the silk-making business. At first, he worked as a pattern designer. One pattern he designed became very popular at that time. I have never seen it but according to what he described to me, it was something like a pattern of poker dots with some curve lines to connect them. Anyway, he was doing well in Shanghai and saved some money. In the 1930s, he started his own business. New technology brought synthetic fibers to the textile industry and the newly invented materials were more inexpensive and easier to take care of than purely silky materials. Besides, a richer variety of patterns could be designed to go with the new products. Therefore, my father made use of the new technology and opened his synthetic fiber textile manufacturer Mei Sheng (美生)The first Chinese character in the name meant beautiful while the second one was short for his name. The factory basically made synthetic fiber materials which were basically silk woven together with rayon imported either from Japan or from Italy.
When he made a little fortune in Shanghai, his brothers and sister felt Jealous. First, my second uncle pestered him to invest in a fabric store in Hangzhou named Tianxing (天星) and let his oldest son to manage it. My cousin was only a teenager, fresh from middle school and knew nothing about managing business. Not surprisingly, people began to take advantage of the greenhorn. Contractors ran away with money and employees stole fabrics from the store. Before long, the store was forced to close and my uncle took home what was left in the store. No wonder my mother made the comment when she talked about the fabric store: we didn’t get even a piece of diaper from the investment.
Since the business failure didn’t cause their financial losses, it didn’t discourage them from trying again. It didn’t take long before his two brothers and brother-in-law told my father that they didn’t want to live in the country anymore and wanted to move to Shanghai. They asked my father to help them with business. Therefore, in spite of my mother’s opposition, my father invested in two more synthetic textile manufacturers, Mei Yi (美益) and Zhong Guo (China). The reason there were only two new factories instead of three was because my older uncle was an opium addict and didn’t care about anything except opium. He died in 1944, the year when I was born. As a matter of fact, these relatives knew nothing about factory management, so, basically, my father took care of the management in all the three factories. Those relatives were, to the best, working as foremen there. Unfortunately, shortly after the factories were opened, WWII broke out and it was immediately followed by the Civil War; my father had problems with both the supply of raw materials as well as the market for products, so again he lost money in the investment.
China’s economy was on the verge of bankruptcy when the communists took over the power in Mainland China in 1949. In order to restore economy, the government encouraged entrepreneurs to expand productivity. Therefore, they talked my father into letting some small business people, who were almost bankrupt by then, merge into his company and he agreed. When the economy began to pick up, everyone was chasing cash for investment. I remember even restaurant chefs and public bath workers tried to curry favor with my father in hopes that he would agree to loan them money or invest in the business they dreamed of opening, to say nothing of relatives. My brother-in-law successfully asked my father to invest in the pharmaceutical factory he wanted to open and my father named the factory Mei Jia (美嘉). The first character represented my father, whose factories names all started with the character “Mei” except the one he opened for his brother-in-law and the second character was short for my brother-in-law’s name. Soon the factory made good money and my brother-in-law was elected as one of the nation’ young promising entrepreneurs and was received by Mao Zedong at the National Young Entrepreneurs Conference in Beijing in 1956.
The same year, Gong Si He Ying (公私合营), the nationalization movement began, communist officials began to be assigned to all privately-owned companies to be the CEO and the entrepreneurs were given empty positions in their own business. The following year, the Anti-Rightists movement began and my brother-in-law was labeled as rightist, a class enemy, and was demoted. Since then, together with the whole nation, the ordeal of my family never ended over the following 20 years or so. These were the bloodiest pages of China’s history with millions of millions of people being persecuted, jailed, exiled, or killed in one political movement after another till Mao died in 1976.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

“Todd Akin” is a Congressman from Missouri. He is running for the Senate, which is considered the “upper” house of Congress, as opposed to the “lower” House of Representatives. Todd wants to be “upper.”  Todd is a Republican so he is against abortion.  Todd’s stance against abortion is a little unusual, a little…“purer,” in that he would deny a woman the right to abortion even if she had gotten pregnant via rape. In explanation, Todd said that he had arrived at his “purer” position only after consultation and,

[F]rom what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

The bird hit the air pump over this statement by Todd but let’s be fair.  We all know what he really meant.  All Todd was saying was, he was really just making common sense distinctions:  As we all know, there’s “rape,” which is forcible sexual battery—which, of course, is a crime--; there’s “legitimate rape” which is just a “longhand” way of saying “rape,” also a crime. And then there’s “illegitimate rape…”


Thus Todd explained rape.

Continuing, Todd said learned disciples of the Temple of Aesculapius advised that women’s biology is wily enough to recognize these common sense distinctions and not let the rapist’s seed fertilize their eggs.

Wily eggs.

No, no, this is not about Todd’s vetted exposition on rape and biology, the bird has hit the air pump because Todd has a head shaped like a Star Trek character that I remember,

 and grows his hair long on the left so that he can comb it over a bald spot on top.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and enemies, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate from the State of Missouri, Todd Akin.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"We must kill all Japanese."

The People’s Republic of China and Japan are involved in a territorial dispute over some islands, like China is involved in a territorial dispute with the Philippines, like China is involved in a territorial dispute with Vietnam.  I do not know the merits of this territorial dispute and I don’t care to find out because China is eager to flex its muscles and is itching for a fight with someone.

The point of this post is that this is not just a dispute between two governments.  It is the people of China who want to fight someone. The execrable words above were on a banner* carried by demonstrators in China; tens of thousands of Chinese have been demonstrating in cities across the country. Japanese stores have been vandalized; Japanese-made cars have been overturned. There is an aggressive, racial nationalism at work in these demonstrations, one that has always been just below the surface in China, one exemplified by soldier-boy at top.

So, whatever the merits, I’m with the Japanese.

*The full wording of the banner, from the New York Times, is "Even if China is covered with graves, we must kill all Japanese."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Last week was Paul Ryan's first as a vice presidential candidate and he seems to have made a good impression. He surely made a good impression on Mitt Romney and I've read that there was an evident chemistry between the two when they appeared together. I liked Ryan's casual-Friday dress; it's a look that everyone in the modern workplace is familiar with and it contrasted well with the top-of-the-ticket's stiff formality, both in dress and manner. "You know this guy" everything about Ryan seemed to say, even if we don't, and with Romney everything about him seems to say "You don't know this guy." As the American people get to know Ryan we will learn what he stands for and what his record is. Those I don't think will make such a good impression.

The actual Vice President, Joe Biden, didn't make such a good impression last week. Biden was campaigning in Virginia and concluded his remarks by saying, "With you--and I mean this--with you, we can win North Carolina again."  Ah jeez. There does not seem to be good chemistry between President Obama and the Vice President. Obama has a "cool" demeanor, Biden a "hot" one and when Biden gets wound up he sometimes commits gaffes like that. Even when he's not wound up Biden sometimes talks without thinking. Earlier this year he preempted the President's announcement of support for gay marriage, to his own profound embarrassment and the fury of the President's staff. "The Vice President got a little out over his skis on that one" was Obama's only "cool" public reaction. Biden is like Obama's crazy uncle: family, but he'd just as soon keep him locked up in his room. Biden's in Michigan this coming week.

Paul Ryan is the architect of the Republican budget proposals.  One of those is to replace Medicare, government funded, pay-for-service, with government payments to consumers to purchase private health coverage. Medicare is very popular with voters, who trust Democrats more than Republicans on this issue, and words like "privatize" and "vouchers" are anathema.  Ryan's plan would cut $700 million from Medicare and increase consumer's out-of-pocket costs by over $6000.*  From every angle therefore this should be a dream issue for Obama-Biden, one on which they didn't think Romney-Ryan would engage, and so they got caught by surprise last week when Romney-Ryan did just that and attacked Obamacare for cutting $700 million to boot. Ryan has proved, albeit in just one week, to be an effective campaigner. I expect an up-tick in the new polls for Romney-Ryan.  Will voters like the Republican ticket on the issues come November 6?  I don't think so (but I could be wrong).


Dr. Weimin Mo has started a blog for his paintings, some of which I have posted here in the past. Dr. Mo has been retired for about a year, a status that he refers to as being a "loafer," which has never ceased to tickle me, and he's doing what he loves. Check out his site:

Image: "Weimin, Midtown, NYC, 2012/07/23," Brooklyn Theory
"Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Alex Song to Barcelona."
                      -August 18.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Death of a Football Club.

"Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United."  

In 2004 Arsenal F.C. completed an unbeaten season in the English Premier League. They were "The Invincibles." Managed by the brilliant Arsene Wenger and glamorously London-based Arsenal supplanted Manchester United in England and was one of the great clubs in the world. One of the richest too. In 2006 Arsenal moved into brand new Emirates Stadium, seating capacity 60,000. The club has reserves on hand of approximately $180 million in cash. Yet, that same summer of 2006 Arsenal sold one of their best players, Robert Pires, to another club. The next summer they sold Thierry Henry.

In these early years of the current era Arsenal's great rival was Manchester United. In the minds of Arsenal's fans that continued until the announcement at top. In reality it had ceased to be years earlier for Arsenal has not won the league since 2004. Chelsea, flush with Russian owner Roman Abramovich's money, finished top the next two years and United the three after that.

In 2009 the Abu Dhabi United Group purchased Manchester City, a club that was no challenger to their neighbors or to Arsenal. Soon however a player shuttle opened between North London and Manchester. First Emmanuel Adebayor and then Kolo Toure and Gale Clichy and Samir Nasri, all were sold to City. Arsenal's best player last year, Cesc Fabregas, was sold to Barcelona.  Arsenal had gone from "The Invincibles" to a farm team for Barcelona and Manchester City. City finished ahead of Arsenal in 2011 and won the league in 2012 with 19 more points.

None of this, of course, was acceptable to Arsenal's fans, who protested and chanted, but until that announcement on August 15 they comforted themselves with the delusion that their "real" rival was still Manchester United. Selling players abroad or even en masse to noveaue riche City was one thing but to hated, admired United, No!. Yes. Robin van Persie, the EPL's leading goal scorer last year, was Arsenal's best player. Monday he will wear the sweater of Manchester United. It was the death of a great rivalry. Rivalries die hard, delusions die hard. Death of a football club.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23 of Pussy Riot. Sentenced to two years in jail.


The people of Russia are more numerous among readers of Public Occurrences than those of all other countries save the U.S., the U.K. and China.

The women of the Pussy Riot band have been sentenced to two years in jail. To this American blogger that sentence must not stand and pressure from foreigners, especially foreign government officials, may help.

Whether this sentence stands is going to be up to the Russian people, ultimately. Do they want the sentence to stand?  If so, it will. If they do not want the sentence to stand, as I hope they don't, are there enough of them willing to prevent it, by violence if necessary? If so, the sentence will not stand.

I do not know the Russian people, I do not know their "soul," I don't know a single Russian person. I hope they're not Chinese about this.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


"Romney: I've Paid At Least 13% Tax Rate in Each of Past 10 Years." 
                                                                       -Washington Post.

Great...or sorry to hear that, whatever. I believe him. So, why won't he show us the, like, actual tax returns? Because he's Willard "Mitt" Romney. He's the guy who had the state computers wiped clean when he left the governor's beehive in Massachusetts. Think there was evidence of premeditated hooliganism on those computers? A Pussy Riot? No. Why, then? Because he didn't want anything that could be used to political advantage by future opponents. He's on record as saying that's the reason he won't release his tax records. He doesn't want to give Obama opposition research anything to research. So he gives them "he won't release his tax returns."  That is premeditated stupidity. 

I bet Mitt Romney never committed "premeditated hooliganism." Ever.
What an awesome charge. "Premeditated" adds a bit of bling. Wish I could be charged with "premeditated hooliganism." 
I'm with anybody who engages in "premeditated hooliganism." 


"So your sister's bound and gagged and they've chained her to a chair."

Above three members of...Pussy Riot, a Russian "feminist punk-rock collective" (per Wikipedia (that means "band")) in the dock. Their offense:

Performing, impromptu, and without permission in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a song in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin's close ties to the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill I (known in these parts simply as "Pat").  The women are on trial, charged with "premeditated hooliganism."  I'm with anybody who protests Poot-poot and Pat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Penn State.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (that is a name in need of an acronym) has notified MakingLifeBetter U that it's accreditation is in "jeopardy." M.S.C.H.E. (Mishy?, Mushy?)...The Commission says it will send a "small team" to Penn State to investigate. Loss of accreditation would mean loss of federal funds which would mean loss of life. That should happen.  T'ain't gonna happen.


Governor Romney, did the Brits manage to pull off the London Olympics alright?  Certainly nothing can compare to your Salt Lake City Olympics, but on the whole, the Brits did okay?

He's like a bee, a busy bee.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I have written of the difficulty I have had in really getting to know the Chinese people, getting close to them.
Professor Frank Dikotter shared a link to an article in the journal Prospect titled "You'll Never Be Chinese." That's about how I feel. 

The Joy of America: "Mohawk Guy."

Bobak Ferdowsi, "Mohawk Guy," is the flight director for the Mars Science Laboratory. His good looks (and hairstyle) made him an internet celebrity when the Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room was filmed during Curiosity's landing. Maybe I ought to get a Mohawk.  We are all Mohicans.

Good Show.

There will always be an England.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I think I'm going to have my picture taken posing like that.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Now look at the ads here: Romney, Romney, Romney. 


Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. Ryan is the intellectual force behind Republican budget proposals. Romney made the announcement with a cellular telephone tool.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dressage Done.

It becomes our disagreeable duty to report that the Romney family horse, Dressage, is out of the Olympics. Apparently doing a belly-smacker was not part of the program...although it looks like quite the trick. Oh well, no gold medal for the Romney's this year.  

Monday, August 06, 2012


In addition to Sheldon Adelson, 

Mitt Romney picked up a few other endorsements last week.  Clint Eastwood said "the country needs a boost," 

and that Romney was "too handsome to be governor"...No, I did not make that up.

Romney also got a... boost from the big...guns (I'm going to stop right now.) on the other side of the entertainment industry when adult film stars Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy,

and Michael Lucas, 

"New York's largest producer of gay adult films" all...came out for the Stormin' Mormon.

Weird year. 

Seeking the Soul of America: Curiosity.

At 1:32 am today a car-sized unit of scientific instruments landed on Mars to determine if conditions there were ever favorable to life.  Curiosity cost $2.5 billion and employed 5,000 people from 37 states. It took over eight months from launch for Curiosity to make the long journey to Mars and was the most complex mission ever attempted. The Curiosity rover will spend two years roaming Gale Crater. All done because we are curious:  Are we alone?

In Times Square this morning people viewed the first images sent by Curiosity and the elated scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and began chanting: "NASA, NASA" and "Science, Science."

Sunday, August 05, 2012

"I am not Israeli.  The uniform that I wore in the military unfortunately was not an Israeli uniform it was an American uniform although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF and my two little boys, our two little boys, one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow, hopefully he'll come back, hopefully he'll come back, his hobby is shooting, and he'll come back and be a sniper for the IDF... All we care about is being good Zionists, being good citizens of Israel because even though I am not Israeli-born I have Israel in my heart. I might say that all of my children, four of my five children, are all Israeli..."

Sheldon Adelson unfortunately is an American Jew, not Israeli. Adelson and his family gave $16 million to help the failed presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich.  Adelson et al have given $10 million--so far-- to help Mitt Romney's campaign.  That figure may top $100 million or be a greater, "limitless," amount.

This is legal.  It should not be. When an American citizen states as clearly as Adelson has that the interests of a foreign country are so prominent with him, he should not be permitted to donate these large sums of money in an American presidential election.  This is Public Occurrences.

Image: Sheldon Adelson and wife. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

"China is Crazy."*

You're having a nervous breakdown when you won a silver medal at the Olympics? Because you didn't win the GOLD?  

*Various websites.  Yes, it is.
“I’m ashamed for disgracing the motherland, the Chinese weightlifting team and all those who supported me, I’m sorry!”

Dude, relax, get a grip, what did you do?




Are you in pain, did you break something?


Helluva salute there young man, helluva salute. Congratulations on winning a silver medal.


I think he's proud to be Chinese. 

"This Republican Economy."

163,000 jobs were added in June, more than the experts predicted, less than what is needed, and the unemployment rate rose from 8.2% to 8.3%. 

Image: Tempe, Arizona, population 164,268.

"Penn State and the Case for Harsh, Collective Punishment."

That is the fetching title of an article written by Stephen L. Carter, a Yale University law professor. Harsh, collective punishment is what I think should be done to Penn State and Penn State people. Professor Carter writes that "collateral damage" to innocents does occur legally and ethically in America.  As example he uses a hypothetical high-tech company that is bankrupted when it loses a patent infringement case. What of all the innocent people employed by the company?  "So what," says Carter. It happens and its legal.  Or when international entities impose economic sanctions against a "rogue" regime. Innocent civilians, victims of the regime themselves, are deprived of food and basic necessities. He gives the example of sippenhaft, the traditional German practice of familial punishment for the wrongs of a member; he may well have given the example of  株连九族, the traditional Chinese practice of exterminating nine generations of the wrongdoers family.  Carter recognizes the moral and ethical insult of such practices. He points out that in addition to being common harsh, collective punishment deters others. Thus Professor Carter defends the recent sanctions levied against Penn State.

No. Collateral damage is wrong and should be avoided at all reasonable costs. Innocents should never be punished within our earthly power to prevent it. The case for harsh, collective punishment against Penn State and Penn State people is that it and they are guilty.  It and they sold the soul of an entity nominally a university to the false god of football, instantiated in Joseph Vincent Paterno.  This sale occurred over a period of 50 years and reaped for the guilty hundreds of millions of dollars. Nearly every student who went to Penn State over the last half-century did so because of Paterno and football. Every merchant around Nowheresville who jacked up motel room rentals six weekends a year,  who sold "Nittany Lion" merchandise, who opened restaurants catering to 100,000 on those weekends, every dollar made off Paterno and football was an ill-gotten dollar reaped by people who knowingly bought into the sale of a university's soul. They are not innocents. They are guilty. Professor Carter points out that institutions like his hypothetical start-up and like Penn State are "legal fictions" behind which are real people. Penn State people are, legally and ethically, no more entitled to continued receipt of their ill-gotten gains than is the family of the drug cartel dealer who gets caught.  And Penn State as an institution should be prosecuted under racketeering laws and shut down just as the drug cartel institution is. That is not collateral damage.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


China was a sexually prudish society under Mao. I remember a chapter in a book, I think it was Spider Eaters by Rae Yang, titled "Red Guards Didn't Have Sex."  That was ingrained in me when I went to Beijing the second time and I wrote of the discomfiture I experienced upon entering the Gao Brothers studio in one of the "Beijing, November 2008" articles. China had changed.

Comes now an email with the following attachment headlined:


BVC---Shopping Mall in Beijing...Unbelievable !!!
This is in China..... Lian Wah Square shopping mall in Beijing.
Can you believe this is happening in China?
You would think China is the last place for you to see this.
China may still be communist but certainly it has opened up more than thewest in this case!
Where can you see this in the Shopping Mall in the west ?
China has certainly changed!

Nude, public body painting. Here's the link: China really has changed J