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Alert

Right now China is having a huge government meeting which happens every five years. You may have heard on the news that Pres. Xi wants to raise himself up to the level of Mao or Deng Xiao Peng. He may not appoint a successor for 2022, which is the norm.

I just saw this alert on a listserv.

China just sent a warning to foreign students:

“To all international students – The 18th Congress will be held next week. Over these few weeks the immigration bureau will be strict when dealing with foreigners. The police will conduct checks in major cities, including Nanjing Take your ID (Passport and Student ID) at all times. Foreigners are prohibited from traveling to Beijing and Shanghai during this period. International students must obtain permission from their school and respective immigration bureau before traveling to these destinations. Foreigners are not allowed to organize or gather in large numbers during this period, and this applies to religious and social settings. Students who are working illegally should be extra cautious during this period. The immigration bureau will be conducting checks in each district. Any violation during this sensitive but important period for China will result in automatic deportation. The school will not be able to help.”

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Mr Weinstein, et al

Ahh! Harvey Weinstein has been in the news so much. His behavior towards women appalls me, but I’m not surprised. It’s amazing that it took so long for his misdeeds to come to light, but it was the same with Bill Cosby.

What the news hasn’t said though and I suppose they can’t without proof, is that this is common in the entertainment business, and has been for years. Some famous cases involve Fatty Arbuckle, whose victim died, Errol Flynn, Louis Meyer who lusted after and groped Judy Garland in her teens, studio heads who lusted after Shirley Temple, and countless others whose victims probably never became famous and were too afraid to speak out.

As distasteful as this news story is, it’s good that it’s come to light again. From working in Hollywood, though never directly experiencing sexual harassment, I did routinely hear of horrid behavior. Most television writers’ rooms are despicable, i.e. very much like what was presented on The Comeback. Churlish writers will spew all kinds of disgusting talk like jokes about how many abortions they think a particular performer has had. Some secretaries, who had to work amidst profanity and vicious talk, sued Friends because it was a hostile work environment, but lost because the judge figured that kind of talk was necessary for creativity. (I disagree.)

I remember being asked in an interview for an assistant position if I would mind if the producers swore a lot or swore at me. Why would they have to? Note – the producers were women. I remember temping at a studio and hearing violent threats and horrible profanity spewing from more than one executive. When I was working in the human resources office, I remember a secretary calling in fear. She had run out of her office when her boss started throwing staplers and ash trays at her. He frequently used cocaine at work.

I’ve been told that secretaries in some offices are expected to schedule prostitutes for their bosses.

This problem goes way beyond one man. It’s the work culture and civil behavior is the exception.

I hope more people come forward and the business cleans up its act. This behavior should not be tolerated. Is it any wonder how much swearing, violence and salacious sexual relationships feature so much in today’s films and shows? I realize this dates back to the 1920s, when films were innocent by comparison, but do we need brutes deciding what films are made and what aren’t?

I think Harvey won’t be back in the States till whatever statute of limitations passes. His seeking help seems insincere and I hope he’s extradited if charges are made.

I do hope this emboldens women to speak up. I understand how hard that is, but if a man knows what he does will become public, perhaps he’ll act more civilly. Let’s stop this harassment.

China & the Lewis Turning Point

According to the Financial Times, China’s boom has peaked and opportunities are drying up. This short video is well made and includes interesting interviews with Chinese factory workers who’re heading home or contemplating such a move and with a Vietnamese worker who went to China. I had no idea that Chinese factories were bringing in illegal workers from Vietnam.

Solar Villages

CCTV America, the Chinese international news service, has some rather interesting programs. I like to watch Americas Now for stories that don’t get told in the U.S. (Cable subscribers probably get CCTV so check your guide.)

On Monday I saw two fascinating segments. One was on villages in Mexico where a man is teaching people permaculture and trades so that they can better their homes and villages using recycled items and their own craftsmanship.

The other was on Argentinian solar villages, desert villages which use solar power in innovative, inexpensive ways.

I input the link associated with the Mexican villages story, but it seems to go to a story on illegal mining. If you go to YouTube, search “Americas Now Earth Day 2016.” Subscribe to their channel as it’s got some interesting stories.

Brian Williams Fiasco

Driving around yesterday I heard Chris Fabry Live’s show when he took on the Brian Williams issue. Williams said on air that he was in a helicopter that took fire when actually he wasn’t. All hell’s broken loose as we know and Williams was suspended for six months without pay.

Fabry asked callers what they thought should happen. Some thought he should be fired–period. Fabry kept mentioning that we’ve all embellished and misremembered. Again many pointed out that we just don’t misremember being shot at or targeted. True enough.

I don’t know Williams so I’m not sure whether he’s a good guy, an arrogant guy or what. I do believe in forgiveness, but don’t think everyone’s entitled to keeping a highly paid dream job. I doubt whatever happens to Williams he’ll become destitute. He’s probably got a book contract and will have six months to write a book.

Still I’m sure he’s chastened, humiliated and hurting.

If I ran NBC, I’d query the public on this. Let the people decide. I’d cross check William’s stories. And if this lapse was the only one, I’d put a poll on the NBC website and ask people to write in. If the audience thinks, they can rebuild trust with Williams. So be it. We’ll see him back on the air in mid-August. Television is driven by ratings anyway. If they let him back on the air, but his ratings fell, they’d yank him off. This idea makes it clear to the audience that NBC is listening.

What’s the Consensus?

It’s odd being off in China when all this news about Bill Cosby has broken. My friends and I don’t know what to think. What’s true? What isn’t? It’s a he said, she, she and she said situation.

The internet can offer so much information, but is it good? Is it reliable?

What made this come out now?

I welcome civilized comments.

Hank Green Explains Hong Kong News

The Men Who Made Us Thin

This is a fascinating documentary on how Western culture got hooked on diets and the idea of being thin when we really didn’t need to in the 1950s. An insurance executive pretty much changed what “thin” means and convinced healthy people they were fat. The result is perpetual dieting for many that doesn’t work and can just make us gain weight.

Well worth watching.

Poor Countries Aren’t Doomed

Bear in mind that South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the 1970s and now it’s neck and neck with Spain.

2013 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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