If you need a good laugh, read H.L. Mencken


On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. H. L. Mencken

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.

Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.

To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia – to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.



The Healthcare hierarchy with gender factor


I wrote this short piece today and posted it on LindedIn. I don’t have a clear idea as why I wrote it. Perhaps I want to cause people’s attention to this well-known phenomenon.

More female nurses than male nurses.
More female nurses than female doctors.
More male doctors than female doctors.
More male doctors than male nurses.
More nurses than doctors.
Naturally, more money paid to a doctor than to a nurse.

In a team building event at my work place early this month, an announcement was emailed out, “Bowling lanes will be reserved: 8 people per lane/6 lanes so be thinking about how you want to construct team competition!” One doctor replied all, asking to have four guys on his team. I replied to him, “From my observation, the healthcare hierarchy is like a pyramid, the downward you go, the larger is the crowd, the less guys you will find there.” So I wished him good luck on getting four guys among nurses.

A quick search on the Internet confirms my observation. Beckers Hospital Review’s “Gender ratio of nurses across 50 states” reveals ratio of females to one male in America as 9.5 to 1. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows the distribution of physicians by gender in percent with female taking up 33 percent and male 66 percent in America.

I was wondering how other countries are like in this regard. So I got the data on female doctors as percentage of the total in 2000. See my article posted on LinkedIn. At least we are getting better now than 16 years ago.



Kansas City 220 Rally for Peter Liang


This is the article that I wrote for KC Star, that I mentioned in my last post.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Last Saturday, February 20, 2016, history was in the making. A new chapter began in the Chinese-American fight for equality and justice when over tens of thousands Chinese Americans in over 40 American cities walked peacefully on the streets protesting the injustice against former NYPD probationary officer, Peter Liang.

Such large turnout of protesters is totally unprecedented in Chinese Americans history. This is the first time that Chinese Americans united as one behind a brother and it represents a kind of political coming-of-age for the community.

Liang was charged with second-degree manslaughter over what William J. Bratton, the New York police commissioner, called an “accidental” shooting death of Akai Gurley. He could face up to 15 years prison time.

Protesters believe Liang has been scapegoated to release tensions between the African-American community and the New York City Police Department. They believe Liang is a victim of selective justice, especially in light of the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death by a white office. In this context, he appears to have been convicted to assuage dissatisfaction over the acquittal of white officers. The Chinese Americans throughout the country have never been so enraged.

The protesters carried these banners and slogans,
“Justice not politics”
“One Tragedy, Two Victims”
“Equal Justice, No scapegoating”
“No Selective Justice”
And Martin Luther King Jr.’s words — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The Chinese community in Kansas City shared the indignation over the injustice against Peter Liang. When they came out last Saturday, they first offered condolences to the family of Akai Gurley. Below is their statement to the press.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Today, the Chinese community in the greater Kansas City Area have joined hundreds of Chinese communities across the country to march the Martin Luther King March. Over 200 local Chinese Americans rallied in downtown Overland Park to show solidarity for Peter Liang.

Their message is loud and clear–
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“No selective justice.”

Tomorrow, we will fight wherever justice is denied, whatever the color of his skin. We want the world to know that Chinese Americans are not a silent minority. We will continue following the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. for the realization of a shared dream: equality and justice for all!



What has happened to my article to KC Star


This is what happened last week in regard to my article submitted to KC Star. I sent my article to the editor of As I See It section on the morning of 2/23, then again the next morning trying to get an update. I needed to get back to a group of Chinese friends. On 2/25, when I still have not heard from that editor, I wrote to another one on 2/25.

I said, “I don’t really want to bother you. But I do want to know whether or not S.P. is in the office this week. I have not heard from him, even though I have tried to reach him twice this week. If he is not in the office, what would you recommend me to do regarding the article that I submitted this Tuesday? Appreciate your help.”

That editor was very prompt in getting back to me. He wrote, “His desk number is 816-234-4762. If he doesn’t want to run it, we’ll have to wait until your next event for coverage. I know you are keenly interested in this issue, but because it’s mainly a New York story, we would judge that it doesn’t matter so much to readers around the KC area. There are many such community actions we don’t cover for just that very reason. Regards”

So he has been in the office all these days and still pretends like he has not read my email. When you are ignored and left no other options, how would you feel? I need to let him know how I feel at the moment.

“It is very kind of you to write back.
I was fully aware of the fact that my article would not go down well with some people…
Back to my communication with your As I See It editor, you know, it is one thing that he doesn’t want to use my article for whatever reason which I don’t take personally; it is entirely a different matter that there is a lack of professionalism and the basic courtesy to even do one acknowledgement. Your editor has employed the most effective tool against someone he doesn’t like, that is, by totally ignoring that someone as if that one is beneath his time and attention, that my voice has been ignored for whatever excuses. To say I don’t feel hurt is a lie.

But realistically speaking, what option do I have? None. I already know he has decided to ignore me for some unknown reason. Calling him to confirm what I’ve already known? No. What purpose does it serve to dig him out and confront him by calling him? None. I am speechless in face of such a lack of professionalism. It is like a child play, hiding behind his computer as if he had not received my email. I once worked for China Daily, an English language newspaper in China. To put things in perspective, in the long run, this is one unique experience of mine, hopeful once in lifetime.

Once again, thank you for getting back to me. Appreciate this greatly especially in this context.
Sincerely,”

I really don’t mince my words here, because I am sure they don’t care. So, go ahead ignoring me. I don’t care either.

On 2/26, the editor for As I See It wrote to me, finally. Too late, I am already upset.
“Keith forwarded your notes to me, and I obviously need to explain that I get dozens of submission every week and have only so much space for them. You should not take my miscommunication as a personal affront. The fact is, I only have so much space and time to consider these. I generally only respond to the people whose submissions I’m considering. I have not even read yours yet, and probably won’t get to it until next week

We only run one or two As I See It columns a week. The pipeline is always full. And I will suggest to you what I tell others: You would more likely be published on a timely basis if you resubmit your piece as a letter to the editor, at a maximum of 200 words.
Thanks for understanding,”

I wrote to him, with due respect in due time. I didn’t tell him that I thought he deliberately ignored me because he is prejudiced against Asian Americans, which I am not sure of and I will never know. And I also didn’t tell him that he only reads email from Keith and gets back to me only because of Keith email. Is Keith your boss or what?

“Thank you for your explanation.
I don’t want to sound like whining for attention. However, I do believe one short acknowledgement to the sender as a due courtesy is better than a total silence. Silence can be interpreted in many different ways. I thought you tried to ignore me which left me no other options. I hope you could understand that being ignored together with having no option does not give people a good feeling.

I am not going to do a letter to the editor, for two reasons. 1) It is a time-sensitive event. 2) A letter to the editor does not stand as high notability as other options. To be honest, I don’t want to sound like an average reader because I am not. Being a Chinese and writing about Chinese Americans objectively can be a challenge. I will continue writing on Chinese American communities in the future and I do want our voices to be heard. I hope you can appreciate my being honest.
Thank you for your response.”

He still tried to explain,
“I certainly understand your position, and I would welcome a piece from you about Chinese American issues, which, I agree, are vastly under-represented in the media. But my time for editing that column is very limited and I can’t possibly respond to everyone who offers an unsolicited submission. My time frame for answering people who have offered something I can use is usually within a few weeks, which is not unreasonable in the publishing world. And though you’re right that an OpEd column is a little more high profile than a letter, those column spots are very limited and the letters column is generally very popular.

As I said, I’ll take a look at your piece next week.”
I gave him the last word, “Again, thank you for the explanation. I should have known. Have a nice day.”

I am not sure if he realized or not that his one short reply to my initial email could have avoided it all. Some people never learn anything. I don’t know if that editor is one of that some people. It is such an agonizing experience. For now, I want to put it all behind me.



“a woman a decade younger than him — and she’s as ugly as he is! #jackass.”


It seems more like a lifetime nightmare than a bunch of tasteless jokes when Jofi Joseph, former White House Official on national security, lost his plum job — after it was discovered where these sarcasm and snark tweeted out.

Jofi Joseph spit out whatever in his mind like an idiot when he thought he was anonymous under the name of @NatSecWonk, when he had no clue that nobody can truly hide his true identity on this seemingly innocent cyber world.

It really doesn’t take much effort to dig him out. Now that his identity is revealed, “it’s fair to say Joseph has pretty much burned bridges with everyone in Washington.”

For the rest of us, it’s lesson to be learned.



The most expensive places in the U.S.


Of course, we have both the cheapest and the most expensive cities in the U.S. here are 10 most expensives ones in the U.S.

10. Los Angeles
9. San Diego
8. Oakland, Calif.
7. Boston
6. Washington, D.C.
5. Stamford, Conn.
4. San Jose, Calif.
3. San Francisco
2. Honolulu
1. New York Cost of Living in NY: 125.4% above average (Manhattan only)

My son has been living in Manhattan since he graduated in 2011. I wrote this to him. “Everything has a cost. The ultimate cost is time. You use time to earn money, with money to buy convenience, health, entertainment, etc. How much you can afford depends on (1) amount of time you pour in and (2) value of your time.”



Places where you can live cheaply in the U.S.


I can’t say they are among the greatest cities in the U.S. but they are certainly the cheapest ones. Here it is from Kiplinger site — 10 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In. I am surprised that some of the southern poor states like Mississippi and Georgia didn’t make it to the list. I am curious to know how Kansas goes when comparing to east and west coastal cities.

10. Idaho Falls, Idaho
9. Conway, Ark.
8. Springfield, Ill.
7. Pueblo, Colo.
6. Wichita Falls, Texas
5. Fayetteville, Ark.
4. Memphis, Tenn.
3. Norman, Okla.
2. McAllen, Texas
1. Harlingen, Texas



Happy Fourth of July: eat and be happy, Obesity In America


When I think of 4th of July, I think of America.
When I think of American, images of obese figures emerge. Therefore, ironically, celebration of America seems like celebration of obesity.

Thanks to NPR National Public Radio, we have these facts and numbers on obesity in America — “Obesity In America, By The Numbers” May 19, 2011. I know these figures are two years old and we surely have much more of them now. Still, isn’t that something that Mississippi has the highest obesity rate and also with the highest percentage of people living in poverty? This article presents many useful figures and facts on obesity in America.

Also, if Long John Silver’s is your favorite restaurant, read this one -‘Heart Attack On A Hook’: Meet America’s ‘Worst Restaurant Meal‘ – and think again next time you want to visit it.



New education guideline: children must learn about evolution


The end of new Dark Age.
This is how I felt when I read on 4/9 an article from New York Times site, “New Guidelines Call for Broad Changes in Science Education.” Two key points will mark the end of Dark Age in America, if they are followed.

(1) On Climate change: “Educators unveiled new guidelines on Tuesday that call for sweeping changes in the way science is taught in the United States -including, for the first time, a recommendation that climate change be taught as early as middle school.”

(2) On evolution: “The guidelines also take a firm stand that children must learn about evolution, the central organizing idea in the biological sciences for more than a century, but one that still provokes a backlash among some religious conservatives.”

The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, are the first broad national recommendations for science instruction since 1996. They were developed by a consortium of 26 state governments and several groups representing scientists and teachers.

This is only a guideline. I don’t expect all people will accept and follow it. Still, it’s a progress.



Blackwater shootings in Iraq


For some reason, prior to April Fool’s day, I thought of Blackwater shootings in Baghdad on September 16, 2007. The incident left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and 20 people injured. It happened in Nisour Square, Baghdad, Iraq. They were killed by Blackwater Personal Security Detail.

Of course, Iraqi people were angry with the U.S. for the killing of the innocent people. In the end, no one was punished for the crime. This seems a small incident when you think of thousand of innocent Iraqi people who lost their lives during the Iraq war. Blackwater settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of six of the victims, for an undisclosed sum, on 1/6/2012.

Some Americans wonder why people in that part of the world harbor such a strong anti-American feeling, “We bring you democracy. We came here to liberate you,” said some Americans. But the dead cannot be forgotten. And death is what war means.



Affordable Care Act turns three years old on 3/23


Yes, here’s another birthday this month, the Obamacare or Affordable Care Act which was signed into law on 3/23/2010.

To be sure, Obamacare has had a very rough time since its birth. The GOP has tried over 30 times to repeal it. Even with the Supreme Court upholding of the law, the GOP still has not given up its fight to outlaw it.

As with anything that is progressive and representative of historial trend, the Obamacare will have to experience vehement attacks of various sort before it finally becomes as established as our social security tax and Medicare.

This law might go down the American history as the single great achievement of Obama administration.



FBI’s motto of “fidelity, bravery, integrity” or lack of FBI


Last Friday, I read this piece of news, which made me laugh “FBI battling ‘rash of sexting’ among its employees.” For the first time, I learned of the motto of FBI–“fidelity, bravery, integrity.” So nicely put, yet so far from reality.

I learned that what sounds like bad movie plots are all real — “bugging your boss’ office. Sending naked photos around to co-workers. Sexting in the office. Paying for sex in a massage parlor.” For the detail of this, see a confidential internal disciplinary report.

I cannot help laugh out loud when I read these words by FBI assistant director Candice Will: “When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.” Don’t we already know that?

Hope you get a hearty laughter out of it.



Thought on Girl scout fund raising


It didn’t start when someone knocked at our door selling Thin Mints. Nor did it occur to me when a colleague walked around hawking those cookies on her child’s behalf. It suddenly dawned on me when I noticed some extremely overweight adults helping young girls sell cookies outside the Walmart store.

Sometimes people sell homemade cookies for fundraisers, since there are rewards for top sellers. Some parents simply buy many boxes of these cookies in order to help their children meet the target.

When I put together these facts, it didn’t make sense: cookies, young girls, overweight adults, and America’s obesity epidemic. Even if girl scouts management was said to try to reduce fat in their cookies, cookies are the last thing we need if we want to overcome our weight problem. Why can’t people sell something else, in addition to cookies? Are cookies really the only thing that will sell?

Even in fundraising or in doing any kind of charity work, we need to learn to be innovative and creative, and to be so at an early age, like combining fundraising with something else, something more challenging and healthy than selling cookies, like helping girls come up with healthy and nutrious recipes, like growing plants or doing some craft work during holiday seasons and selling them for fund raising, like mixing with boys in their fundraising activities. I am sure boys also have fundraising task. In this process, the girls can learn something other than making cookies. I am sure there are many things that people can learn to make and sell.

One last thing that is a bit disturbing is the fact that the only thing that I, as an outsider, know of girl scout is about girl scout cookies, as if that’s the only thing they are good at or they are expected to be good at. That’s purely a view of an outsider. I am sure the insiders would argue with me on this.

On the other hand, I never hear of boy scouts selling cookies. On the contrary, I have heard of many fun things that boys scouts are doing. Do we have a different expectations when it comes to scout’s gender? Or are we enforcing gender stereotypes by preparing our girls to be cookie-makers/homemakers?

For our nation’s girls to grow up meeting the challenge of the future, girl scouts organizers should prepare girls to be anything but cookies makers or cookies sellers.



The hopeless battle over gun control in the new year


As a reaction to the Newtown shootings, we have seen it from both President Obama and the head of NRA, Wayne LaPierre.

While the president is determined to take some meaningful actions following the mass killing, NRA head said Congress should “act immediately” to put armed police in US schools, making it more like barrack than campus.

The matter involves both the powerful NRA who is determined to make a profit from Newtown tragedy and the most absurd gun obssession rooted in the culture.

An opinion poll by Gallup shows a majority of Americans – 53% – stands by NRA’s response to the shootings, as opposed to 43% supporting a ban on assault rifles.

The president will have a very steep road ahead over any gun control initiative. On this matter, I am not optimistic, unless there are more similar events happening to some key figures. See what made Ronald Reagan change his mind.



Remembering the Sandy Hook school children


some of the victimsSix of those being killed during Sandy Hook’s tragedy. It hurts tremendously seeing these lovely faces, knowing they are gone forever. I know nothing can fill the emptiness that these children left in the hearts of their beloved ones.

It’s been a week since the infamous Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. There has been talks about this mass killing on TV, in the office, at home, with my mother over Skype, and nearly everywhere.

Insane people can be found in all countries, but insane people equipped with semi-automatic guns or some other assult weapon are uniquely American products.

While we mourn the death of these innocent people from Virginia Tech to Colorado theater to Wisconsin temple to Columbine high school to Sandy Hook elementary school, we live in dreadful fear that someday something similar would happen again.

Now there are more police on high school campus, probably more at elementary schools. Unless we restrict gun ownership, unless there is a drastic change in this gun-obsessed culture, unlike all civilized countries, the U.S. has to live with constant fear and high alert.



When can we or if ever we can end this senseless killing?


Last week seemed to be the bloodest one in American history, as far as I remember. First we learned of mall shooting in Portland, Oregan, next there is this Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, killing 20 children and 6 adults. Recently the country has witnessed too many senseless shootings like the one at Sandy Hook. I cannot imagine how their parents deal with this loss.

Easy access to gun is a big contributing factor here. Yet, no matter how many people have been killed, to protect the interest of weapon industry, the politicians will not do anything to restrict gun possession. Next, the killing hopelessly continues, really hopeless… This often reminds me of this song.

Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.



On the election day, November 6, 2012


I know it is way after election. Still, there is something that I must write in order to let it go.

I received a Certification of Registration card prior to the election. The card notifies me of the following.
Registration ID:
City: Overland Park
Ward: 3
Pct: 20
US Congressional District 3
KS Senate: 0011
KS Representative: 0020
State Board of Education: 0002
County Commission: 4
Voting Place: National Bank of Kansas City 10700 Nall Ave

I misplaced this card on the election date, so I had to go online to find out the polling station that I was supposed to go. I left office early on the election day.

I thought it was going to be crowded. But it turned out there were more volunteer workers than voters. A good hearted lady described to me in great detail how I should vote electronically, and with each instruction, she wanted to make sure I followed her, not a challenge to my thick head.

In her gracious manner, I sensed a bit of condescending there. After over 28 years of staying in the U.S. I still impress people as a fresh off the boat soul, being assumed as a foreigner unless I prove otherwise. An interesting thought of the day.



Birthday, colleague, keeping good working relationship


This is one of those boring moments for my children. I write it down in order to forget it.

During August 2011, there were three of us in our office, K, F, and me. Someone from another office told K that F’s birthday was on 8/12, meaning we should consider sending her something on that date.

K shared the news with me, asking me if I wanted to pinch in. Of course, I couldn’t say no, ending up throwing in $10. After F got the present from both of us, she asked our birthdays and on our special day, around September for both of us, she gave us something in return. All happy.

I marked their birthdays on my calendar. This year I gave F a birthday card and a gift on 8/10, since her birthday falls on Sunday. K moved to the next door building this year. When she came over a few days later and saw the birthday card that I gave to F, she asked F, “Why don’t you tell me?” as if she cares.

Did she really expect people to tell her their birthday and to make sure that she buys something for them on that day? This is an undisguised hint asking for a gift. We all mark down important dates or anything we care to remember. I remember one lady said it was easy to remember my birthday as it was the same day as her son’s wedding date. Still she forgot it every year while she was my colleague. Interesting.

Of course, both K and F forgot my b-day because they have not done what I have done — mark it on my calendar. Do I regret having remembered their birthdays and given them presents? No. Most likely I will do the same next year, if I am still their colleague. Not because I care about them but because I care a good working relationship.



Long working hours yield lower productivity


I learned from my mother that people get 8 days off for the two holidays, mid-autumn festival and National Day.

I told my mother that we never had such long official holiday here in America. Our long weekend is just one day longer than the normal two days.

I read it long ago that America is one of the countries where people have the longest work hour per week. This also means we have the shortest vacation days. Sound like we don’t have any life outside office. How nice!

The length of working hours reminds me of a study who reveals that long working hours are often associated with lower productivity per hour.

This is absolutely true when I look at the situation at work. Once we got an email that the department manager was not in that day, one colleague said “Hurray! Party time.” Party while the boss is absent. Talk about productivity!



My neighbor expects me to move back to China


Life is never bored with diversities like America. On the morning of 8/24, one of my neighbors joined me on my daily early morning walk. While talking about her children and grandchildren, she asked about mine. Next she asked me when I would move back to China.

I told her I didn’t know yet, even though I was puzzled by her question. She further asked if I ever wanted to move back to China. I told her if I could get a job and have medical insurance in China, I might consider moving.

I told her healthcare was the largest expense for seniors. If I stay here, I can at least benefit from Medicare. She told me Medicare would not be enough, etc. That is, don’t expect to stay here and get this benefit. How straightforward is this!

By the end of that day, I was still wondering why she expected me to move back to China. I am still as puzzled as a first-grader holding a James Joyce’s fiction. One thing I know about her, she is a republican. That helps, doesn’t it?



We know where to live…


On 7/29, a hot Sunday, I read this one “10 Worst States for Women’s Health” written by Anne Harding, out on 7/26/2012. Here are some interesting facts about women, health, location, and their implications. One step further for research: check the state’s education level.

The 10 worst states for women’s health include —
(1) Mississippi for its obesity, smoking, inactivity, and chronic illness.

(2) Arkansas for its high rates of obesity, smoking, sedentary living, heart disease, and diabetes.

(3) Idaho ranked last in the percentage of women over 49 who had a mammogram in the past two years (68%).

(4) Kentucky for having declined life expectancy between 1987 and 2007 for women.

(5) Louisiana as second-worst, after Mississippi, on its 2010 women’s health report card. .. rates of sedentary living, obesity, unhealthy eating, and smoking are high.

(6) Tennessee — women’s life expectancy declined from 1987 to 2007. Tennessee women also have the nation’s highest stroke death rate, and the third-highest breast cancer death rate.

(7) Oklahoma — only one place in the U.S. showed a state-level decline in women’s life expectancy between 1987 and 2007.

(8) Texas ranked dead last in the percentage of women receiving first-trimester prenatal care in 2006, and the percentage of women with health insurance (31% had no coverage in 2008-2009. Women in TX had the third-highest rate of chlamydia infections.

(9) West Virginia –in 2010, 36.8% of women living in West Virginia got no leisure-time physical activity at all, up from 31.3% in 2007. Obesity rates increased to 32.6% during the same time.

(10) Wyoming, female workers made about 64 cents per dollar made by men in the same job—the largest wage gap in the U.S.



The collateral damage of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape”


Seeing the massive negative responses to this famous Todd Akin statement, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney and many other Republicans lost no time in minimizing the damage by calling Akin to quit.

It is hard to imagine the storm would abate even with the stepdown of  Akin, if he does. The GOPs will sooner or later face the quagmire of their own creation — the consistency in their stands on pro-life, abortion, and rape.

If anything, Todd Akin is punished for being consistent and his lack of flip-flopping. If you are a pro-life and believe abortion is killing, you should oppose any form  of abortion. Allowing rape-pregnancy abortion seems to say this type of abortion is not killing, which runs against the belief of equating all abortion to murdering.

Sometimes, you give up something in order to gain something bigger. Some politicians, who want to keep total control on everything from economy to women’s uterus and fight battle on social, cultural and economic fronts, will end up losing the major battle, just like losing a whole water melon in order to keep a few melon seeds. This is something that Todd Akin accidentally taught us.



The superior customer service in Hong Kong


This is what I observed on my way back to China on 6/1. It’s been more than two months since then. I even forgot if I have written on the impression of Hong Kong.

I made two transfers on my way to Beijing, one in Chicago, one in Hong Kong. That was the first time for me to visit Hong Kong, not really a visit, just one-hour stay, enough to impress me.

As soon as I emerged from the UA plane, I saw a few signs, each direting to a destination. I quickly spotted the one to Beijing and sure enough there I even saw my name on the sign.

When I asked the man holding the sign for the direction to the gate of my next flight, he told me where to go and said “Hurry, you only have one hour and you need to get boarding pass, go through security.” His tone and expression conveyed a sense of real urgency.

Wherever I went, people worked at a super fast speed so that I rushed through everything in 20 minutes. I rated Hong Kong airport as number one in customer service. In comparison, people I met at Chicago seem to carry an cant-care-less attitude, as if they were telling me “It’s your fault if you are late.”



John Derbyshire being fired for divisive writing


The conservative columnist and author John Derbyshire wrote an article urging white and Asian parents to tell their children to avoid contact with black Americans they do not know.

He added: “If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.” And “if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for themselves. It may save their lives.” Derbyshire was fired by the National Review for these words.

When I read these words, my first impression is how can people think this way and have the guts to write and publish it. Some people do not care about the impact of their writing on the public, as if black were all illiterate and couldn’t read. It would be terribly awful if you were a black and read about this? I still can’t believe someone could think and write like this.

P.S. my second column comes out today. I have posted it here around the end of April. But I forgot having done so. Can’t believe I am getting so forgetful now.



No Absolute freedom of speech, Be careful what you post on the internet


I read an article on 4/9/2012 “Marine Sgt. Gary Stein fights losing battle over free speech rights.”

“A United States Marine Corps Administrative Separation Board recommended that Sgt. Gary Stein face a less than honorable discharge for criticizing President Obama on Facebook.”

Sgt. Gary Stein learned it the hard way that “When you join the military or other government service, you give up certain rights, including freedom of speech and expression. You are not allowed to advocate for certain issues or criticize policies or personnel in a public forum.”

In fact, there is no absolute freedom of speech no matter where you are. I heard of some people posting negative comments on her work place and got fired because of this. You got to be very careful when you voice your opinion on the internet. The consequence could be very costly.



Trayvon Martin Case Dividing Along Racial Line


On this case where a black boy was killed by a white Hispanic, it is rather disturbing to see white and black holding vastly different views.

One of my white colleagues complained of massive protest against Sanford Police handling of the killing. “We don’t know what happened. Why did media describe Zimmerman as the killer? Why do all these people jump the gun? There will never be a fair trial for Zimmerman.”

I can hear in my head the voices of the black demonstrators — Yes, this much we know — an unarmed black boy was killed by a white man, that the police set the killer free without further investigation. It is the police who first jumped the gun by deciding Zimmerman was not guilty of the murder. Without this massive protest, we would never be able to bring the criminal to justice. The police would not set the killer free if the killer were a black and the victim were a white…

I don’t think people will ever agree with each other because of their vast differences in race and experience.



No School Can Guarantee Your Future Success


In the evening of 4/1/2012, a friend of mine called. Her first child is about the same age as my daughter. Two of her children go to private school.

From our conversation, I could tell that she was not happy with her children’s school efforts so far. I shared with her my understanding of school and one’s success in life.

To be sure, school is important. It is the place where a person is first judged and evaluated. A good college opens door to many opportunities and important connections. In a way, nothing can compare to the friendships formed in college. These college connections can be hugely helpful.

Yet, keep in mind school is not everything. No matter how best a school is claimed to be, no school can guarantee your future success. To a large extent, it will depend on the students whether or not she can make full use of her college years to develop herself.

When my daughter came back from her classmate’s house, I shared this view with her again.



Time to Remove No Child Left Behind Act


Make no mistake here. No child left behind is a very lofty idea and very enlightening, too. But if the government metes out punishment on the schools and teachers whose students fail in state math and reading tests, this policy is no longer laudable.

The real danger of punishing teachers for students’ failure on tests come when teachers, for fear of losing their jobs, focus their time and energy on testing preparation instead of on learning. This reminds me so much of the practice in China. The end result is generating a bunch of students who are experts in taking tests but are weak in various ability.

Schools are important, but ultimately they are important only in the sense that they are to prepare students for the time when students no longer need school.



Battle over Obama’s Healthcare Reform Goes to the Supreme Court


The single biggest accomplishment in President Obama’s presidency so far seems to be his Affordable Care Act (ACA). And even that has been the target of the most hostile attack from his political opponents.

His opponents hate him so much that it seems they would totally eviscerate him if they got a chance. While the ferocity and the relentless nature of the attack on the president are extremely unfair and unjustified, they make me wonder why things have reached to this point.

There exist many explanations, but for some reason, I got the impression that the president has been too weak in facing his opponents, which has sent a wrong message.

American political arena is one of the ugliest, the most gruesome and hideous battleground, on which the strong bullies the weak. There is absolutely no room for civility. To survive this battleground, the weak must be strong and stare down any attack. No compromise whatsoever. Otherwise, your opponents think you are weak and strike you until you are dead politically.

This seems to be what is happening now in America. From very beginning, President Obama has been too polite and too conciliatory to his opponents, yielding too much, and overreaching too much to the other side of the aisle.

I am not optimistic about the outcome of the coming election. One thing I am sure, this first black president will leave tons of materials for historians and political scientists to talk about and for us to learn from.



Hot Days Bring Back Memories of Summer


On 2/22/2012, the weather was unseasonably warm. I went out and sat in my car in the afternoon. It was so warm that it reminded me of the hot summer days when I sent my daughter to summer enrichment program or when I went to get my son and later my daughter back from their summer school.

That day I gave a ride to my daughter’s classmate. On the way back home, I shared my feelings of the day with my daughter. I told her for some reason hot days always brought back the memory of summer activities, having nothing to do with work though. And I always felt summer was supposed to be the time for break, not supposed to work. If I were teaching at college, I would have at least three months off in a year, one month winter break, two months of summer break. I would have plenty of time to do whatever I please.

It seems my best memory always centers around summer when I was most free, either during my childhood or during my children’s childhood.

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