Thursday, March 31, 2005

Three Hot Women of Taiwan

Three Hot Women of Taiwan: The Non-Swimsuit Edition
Due to the overwhelming popularity of our bloggence on Hot Women of India: A Pictorial Review, we're winding up Women's Month with a new Taiwanese version. This time instead of intellectuals, the spotlight is on women who are famous in Taiwan for three different reasons.

If you live in Taiwan, none of these women will be very surprising, and in fact they're so famously visible that you might be tired of seeing them. But the rest of the world has never heard of them, so . . .

1. Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is Taiwan's Vice President, elected twice.

The last century cannot boast of many female vice presidents. The U.S. for instance has never yet had one. Moreover Annette Lu is bluntly outspoken. A few years ago she upset the Party in Beijing by saying the obvious during a TV interveiw. In reaction, they called her a "lunatic" and the "scum of the nation". I'm not sure if this means that they won the argument? (She's pro-independence and pro-democracy.) Back in the '70s Lu abandoned her PhD studies in Harvard Law School in order to run back to Taiwan during a period of intense pro-democracy activism. In reaction, the KMT government back then sent her to prison for 5 years. She was released for medical reasons, survived a bout with cancer, and then went on to help establish the very first peaceful transfer of political power from one party to another in the history of Taiwan and China both. Last year she survived with a minor knee injury from a bullet fragment during an assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian. An outspoken woman in Taiwan makes them nervous. Many Taiwanese from the retrograde bourgeoisie hate her just as much as the Mainland Bosses do. So she must be doing something quite progressive. While Annette Lu does indeed sometimes say things that lack diplomacy and good sense, still most Taiwanese realize that they owe her a very great debt for their democracy.

For more about Annette Lu's unsinkable controversial daily job, see:

2. Young musical pop star, Chang Hui-Mei, (張惠妹) usually just called A-Mei hails from an aboriginal tribe in Taiwan, the Puyuma people on the rural southeast coast. More than just another pretty face, and more than a pop singer who can actually sing (uncommon in Taiwan), A-mei stirred up controversy when she cancelled a concert in Mainland China after people there protested her support of Taiwanese independence. A-Mei was also blacklisted and banned by the Mainland Bosses for singing the anthem of Taiwan. She has since then tried to make nice again, no doubt with sponsor Coke-Cola's urging.
You can read more about her pop capers at: And an interesting look at A-Mei in the context of her Puyuma tribal origin at

3. Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師) is the founder of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, with four million members internationally. It is the world's largest and most successful Buddhist social work organization. She is the most famous Buddhist "nun" in a country that has a lot of them.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen's foundation has established hospitals, universities, schools, and provides humanitarian aid both in Taiwan and abroad for the international community since 1966. Her disaster relief programs have reached people in all corners of the world. In doing so she helped to change the tradition of Buddhism from one of solitary withdrawal to social action. She gives Buddhist sermons on TV every week.
You can read more about Tzu Chi Foundation and Master Cheng Yen at:

This post brings International Women's Month to its inevitable closure. We'll miss them! (Actually I doubt that they're all going very far away. They all seem to be hanging around stirring up controversy and solving problems.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Feeding Tube Frenzy: 6 Theses

I haven't said anything about last week's American meltdown into national hysteria over the case of Terri Schiavo because I didn't want to add to the hysteria. (If you live in a sane country, please see the summary of the three ring circus with sad clowns at the end of this post.) Such cases occur daily in every city of the world, albeit amid quiet family grief, in private discussions between doctors and loved ones. That this case was whipped up into the froth of political opportunism and propaganda is hardly worth condemning. What's the point? You either get it or you are unable to get it.

Yet . . . yet it might be worth taking a lingering look behind the hysteria here.
Six Theses:

1. Why for instance, only in America? Americans have complicated these family tragedies to an extraordinary degree because we deploy advanced technologies that are able to keep a dead person physically "alive." The border between life and death, once thought to be absolute, is now technically fuzzy. And this in a country where a large portion of people say they believe in angels and in Satan! America is in a rigid denial of death. That's a recipe for a fiasco such as this case and much worse.

2. Also at question in other places but not in America, ironically, is the social problem of whether it is indeed ethical to spend $3 million dollars to keep a brain-dead person alive for 15 years while thousands and thousands of other people have no access to health care whatsoever. 40% of Americans today don't even have adequate medical insurance. (Do you see Christians chanting in parking lots about that?) Those overwhelming numbers of personal bankruptcies that prompted a new federal law restricting bankruptcy turned out to be due to Americans using their credit cards (at 20% interest!) to pay for doctor and hospital visits.

3. The current regime is taking advantage of every opportunity such as this case to roll back the clock to 1650 when the Northeast was under the tight control of a Puritan theocracy. They are determined to push this agenda regardless of how much hysteria is produced along the way. This case was to be merely a small stepping stone to the far shore, exploited for the the greater goal of fundamentalist theocracy.

4. Try a thought experiment: whenever this Bush gang of theocrats says "X" then try suspecting why they unconsciously (I'm being generous) mean "not X". So when they're quoted as saying this is above all about the sanctity of life ... well remember how little they actually care about the lives destroyed in various imperial invasions, in our own ghetto, etc. In other words, unconsciously they're over-emphasizing an abstract "sanctity" that in concrete practice is utterly ignored. They doth protest too much. Bush: "I'm pro-life." "and ...that's why I support the death sentence."

5. Then what is the unconscious motive beyond this contradiction? The State owns a monopoly over the right of life and death. The State alone gives itself the right to execute prisoners and to kill enemies and to send our soldiers to their possible deaths. Individuals who attempt to take this right for themselves are the very definition of outlaws. Oregon's "Right to Die" movement was legally challenged at the federal level from the top down. In order to keep this sovereign right over death, the State is jealously guarding against the medical profession and families and individual persons who would seek to have any say about death.

6. Do you really want these kinds of people running such a hypocritical regime of denial to own the rights to how you will eventually die? Personally I think that my death should belong to me, and if I'm "half dead-alive" on high technological support, then my death should belong to those who actually cared about my life, not to a gang of mediocre theocrats in denial.

P.S. I also haven't blogged on this last week, because the issue has been brilliantly and thoroughly worried about over at Jill's: Brilliant at Breakfast

P.S.S. Summary of Schiavo hysteria, according to Harper's --
"Terri Schiavo, a brain-dead woman in Florida, was still
alive. The Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought by
Schiavo's parents to force the reinsertion of the woman's
feeding tube. Outside of Schiavo's hospice, protesters
knelt in anguished prayer; many wore red tape across their
mouths with the word "life" written on the tape. Disabled
protesters cast themselves from their wheelchairs onto the
driveway, shouting. Schiavo's parents asked the protesters
to go home. A North Carolina man was arrested for trying
to have both Schiavo's husband and the judge who denied
the request to reinsert Schiavo's feeding tube killed, and
a man who wanted to "rescue" Schiavo was arrested for
attempting to steal a gun from a Florida gun shop. Senator
Bill Frist--a doctor who as a Harvard medical student
adopted pound cats as pets, then killed them to practice
his surgical technique--diagnosed Schiavo from afar,
suggesting that her condition could improve, and it was
discovered that Tom DeLay permitted his brain-dead father
to be taken off life support in 1988, even though his
father lacked a living will. Most of America thought
Congress should shut up about Schiavo."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Female Soldiers PTSD

An update here for my ongoing thread about The Brave New Military. Actually I can't keep up with the number of reports pouring out daily about the bizarre novelties of today's military. But since it's Women's Month:

1st, you've heard about women having emotional instability from PMS, but you haven't heard about how much worse that can be from PTSD. This report reveals some new developments in American military history:

Two US Army female soldiers Private Miranda Nichols (left), 18, from Georgia, and Private First Class Leysha Williamson, 27, from Texas, wait in a foxhole during a dawn defensive alert south of Baghdad, 31/3/2003. Photo: AFP

  • More females are being thrown into actively fighting battles, killing, and witnessing the horrors of war -- because the military is stretched too thin and because the occupying force can be attacked anywhere anytime. Such tasks were formerly off-limits for female recruits, but now suddenly "routine". The chaos of this occupation has dragged women into the bloody mire of kill-or-be-killed in situations where injuries are severe and where civilians are often killed.
  • A consequence of this is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) where of course warriors do not return home as happy normal people. Instead they return with nightmares, depression, addictions, social alienation, violent outbursts, etc., leading to divorces, unemployment, and suicides. "And studies indicate that many of these women suffer from more pronounced and debilitating forms of PTSD than men."
  • More pronounced because more trauma = more stress. The article suggests that many women go into the military in order to escape from traumatic abuse and "adverse environments" (a.k.a., "America") only to encounter new trauma. The military studies cited are genuinely interesting. E.g., PTSD typically follows not from being shot at but rather from having to kill.
  • And another sign of our brave post-contemporary times: "One children's book increasingly popular among military families illustrates what the effects of this most recent war might mean for society in the years and even decades to come: Why Is Mommy Like She Is? A Book for Kids About PTSD."

Female GIs Hard Hit by War Syndrome

Female GIs Report Rapes in Iraq War 37 seek aid after alleging sex assaults by U.S. soldiers.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Material Matters

George Monbiot: God of the Soil

This is really thought provoking research out of the University of Oregon. Gives whole new meaning to the "ground" of religion, to the "roots" of Easter too. Probably the biggest discovery about the socio-historical background of mythology since Sir James George Frazer's
The Golden Bough back in 1890.

See also:

Demeter, a.k.a, Ceres. Greek goddess of the earth, farming, grain.

250,000 Protesters Against China's Pressure

Saturday saw some 250,000 people in Taipei gather for a peaceful demonstration for peace.

The protest was against China's new "anti-secession law" which mandates the use of force against Taiwan if they formally declare independence.

Meanwhile the Taiwanese legislature is attempting to pass an "anti-annexation" law in response. The irony of course is that Taiwan actually can pass such a law since they have their own democratically elected government.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Confused? Do this.

"This is what you shall do:

Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

-- Walt Whitman 1855

Friday, March 25, 2005

Women as Custodians of the Environment

Some interesting info in this link to an article by the UN director of Environment Programme about women's close familiarity with their natural environment, often tied in with their survival. The usually obscured nexus between ecology, gender, and poverty is highlighted. The UN guy attempts to make this hopeful and uplifting.

Girl carries a basket of bread to market in Sichuan, China. (Photo by Peyton Johnson courtesy FAO)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pope Porn

The Pope investigates something called "Internet pornography."
Could this be the real reason for his sudden hospitalization?

You be the judge to pontificate this matter.

(And please don't hate me for teasing an old sacred cow, His Excellency Himself, since a vast portion of the poor population remains hoodwinked by his holy aura, obedient to his repeated warnings against birth control. And this in places where the land and the people are both endangered by the resulting birthrate.)

Taiwanese Sleep More Peacefully Tonight

Now that the European Union has changed its mind (or had its mind changed) about selling weapons of mass destruction to China, those of us here in Taiwan are sleeping a little bit more peacefully. Good night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Stormy Weather - EarthFuture

Stormy Weather - EarthFuture

Positive message today, to balance out all the negative. Climate change is happening but we know how to prevent the worst case scenarios with existing technologies and with no drastic cost to the overall economy. Solutions are sitting around by the dozen. Click around within the website link above for many.

But why? Because of the latest information from last month's international conference formed to advise Tony Blair which brought together the world's top 200 climate scientists. Blair wondered how to prevent global warming or climate change. Their advice is this:

  • Global warming cannot absolutely be prevented since it has already begun over the past years. Where have you been hiding?
  • We scientists are not asking for more funding to research whether or not global warming is occuring, nor whether or not it is caused by humans. In fact, we've been saying the same thing for quite a few years now. Government commissions to further study those issues merely avoid the real issue. The only new thing we have to say this year is that recent measurements show that global warming has happened sooner and more rapidly and just plain more than we predicted last year. Our warnings have been too conservative. This year our best models and measurements indicate that climate change is coming sooner than we thought, and its effects are giving us the heebeegeebees (technical jargon). We're more scared today than we were last year.
  • Doing nothing and keeping the same old business as usual will lead to climate chaos, rising oceans, major species exctinctions, unprecedented floods in some places and droughts in others, and mass migrations of human populations -- oh, and also economic depression by the way -- over the course of the 21st century. This damage will begin to pick up significantly about 15 years to 30 years from today. The "day after tomorrow" is in your lifetime.
  • We estimate that the crucial window of opportunity to prevent the worst global warming damage is within the next 15 years. If we don't act quickly and sufficiently enough, then after the 15 year window, global climate chaos will be unavoidable. After that, all bets are off and no amount of cure will help, even if we stopped pollution 100%. Our conservative estimate is that 15 years from today it will be too late, period.
  • The good news is that taking action today, albeit radical, will indeed help a lot to prevent the worst. We now have 15 years in which to cut the release of greenhouse gases in developed countries by 30%. That and similar measures over the next 30 to 50 years will probably get us through the crisis without tipping the world over into climate chaos.
  • The rest of the good news is that the radical action above is actually do-able and cheap (compared to the eventual cost of climate change). We know what to do and how to do it. We have the technologies to reduce greenhouse gasses. We've measured how much more recycling, reducing, and reusing can save us. It will cost money to invest in such a large socio-economic change. But our estimate is that it will cost only 1% of the gross economy spread out over the next 30 years. This is much less than the eventual cost of climate chaos. Many if not most people around the world recognize that such changes are necessary. All we need is a government of realism in order to put such social and economic change into place.

    I should add that since the largest polluter, the US Gov, is not responding to this latest warning, but instead continues to pursue more oil drilling and more SUVs and more of everything the same, then we cannot sit around on our hands waiting for the Government to save us. It is DIY time. Invest in your own alternative energies. Copy the list of solutions from the website above and implement a few little by little. Start donating time, money, effort to those public NGOs such as Greenpeace, EarthFuture, Earth Policy Institute, and hundreds of others.

    And the next time you vote, think about this 15 year window. Wouldn't you really rather have leaders who understand that? Only candidates who have effectively addressed this should be elected.

  • Gothic America

    American Gothic 1930

    American Gothic 2005

    We've come a long way, baby!

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    Way Out Cloud: on Tsai Ming-liang

    On a new film by Tsai Ming-liang: The Wayward Cloud or in Pinyin Mandarin: Tian bian yi duo yun.

    I saw a new kind of film in Taipei yesterday, where the director, Tsai Ming-liang, stopped in for a surprise speech before the show. (Wouldn't it be great to meet the director before every film instead of sitting through the assault of those damned previews, previews evidently aimed at folks who are deaf and dumb?)

    He spoke informally for a few minutes just to assure the audience that he intends the film to have redeeming social values -- as US lawmakers used to say. This seems necessary because the government in Taiwan spent 2 weeks meeting with consultants to decide whether or not to censor the film. They let it show uncut.

    That is to say, don't bring your kids to see this! But actual adults will be able to see that it is not porn, but rather a critique of porn. This is a simplification, since the main theme of the film is general alienation. The wayward cloud and the drought in the film are shown to be symbolic of the emotional and interpersonal "drifting" and "dryness" that each scene highlights. The film shows how porn is merely one symptom of people's awkward and failing attempts to connect with each other on a deeper level. Another way to sum this is up is that The Wayward Cloud shows how thwarted desires seek fulfillment in all the wrong places.

    The film is unusual in style, so don't expect it to imitate Hollywood conventions. It is recognizably in Tsai Ming-liang's previous quietly grim and dim style (i.e., "The Hole" and "The River" and "What Time Is It There?") but here he adds a lighter note of wit to that.

    I don't usually enjoy musicals, but the handful of musical interludes in this film are delightfully surreal and humorous, and while they address heterosexuality, the aesthetic is gay in both senses of the term. I especially liked one of these, where a smiling state statue of historical dictator Chiang Kai-shek is the central prop for a tongue-in-cheek erotic song & dance troupe of lovely ladies, the object of their sensual desire. Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places! Also the music in itself is attractive since we don't usually get to hear those old songs from Shanghai in the '30s and Hong Kong in the '60s.

    The final scene officially raises the bar for the visionary use of a sex scene to reflect on alienation. Those who remember the historic shock of "Last Tango in Paris" so many years ago will see what I mean by raising the bar. The Wayward Cloud will make its own peculiar mark in underground film histories.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005


    BREAKING NEWS: World Goes to Hell in a Handbasket!
    Imperialists run global banking. Nations arming to the teeth. Nuclear weapons spreading. Explosive growth of private armies and mercenaries. Children conscripted into 3rd world militias. Torture legalized. 34 POWs murdered. Pre-emptive invasions, offensive strike-first policy becomes law. 6000 US soldiers AWOL in past 2 years. Corporate corruption is business as usual. Social services drastically cut. Education budget slashed. Hate crime back in fashion. Neo-nazis hold memorial. Scientists say climate chaos now unavoidable. Ocean chemistry change will end sea life. Species extinctions rising exponentially. Lead and mercury pollution stupified half of population in 20th century. Doctors say eating fish once per week is now too dangerous. Children watch 6 hours of TV daily. AIDS to plague 40% of African women. Slavery and prostitution at highest level in history in parts of Asia. Journalists censored. Governments increase spending on PR advertising. Students request less freedom. Christian program rakes in $13,000,000 profit. Another church slaying. Continued page 2 . . . .

    IN OTHER NEWS: Random Act of Kindness From Stranger Reported

    • Witness: "It really was senseless."
    • Police: "No suspect apprehended because it is legal"
    • Bystander: "It happens. No one reports it."
    • Suspect: "We used to do that a few times a day."
    • Expert: "R.A.K.S. or random acts of kindness from strangers is being studied. Not fully understood yet, but we're looking for a genetic link. Need more funding."


    • Teen Star Gives Advice about Sex
    • Revolution said to be untelevised?
    • U.S. Army Invades Oregonarmy

    Saturday, March 19, 2005

    Appointees get a Screech

    For those of us in the reality-based community, Bush's growing list of offensive government appointees cannot be parodied or satirized. The list presents itself as auto-parody and black comedy. We are at a loss for words to describe the new level of obscenity. It can only be answered with a screech.

    OK, maybe I was wrong. Now that I see Ted Rall's editorial cartoon on this, I guess the intrinsic auto-parody could at least be pushed further just barely enough to make the point. But, really, I mean look at how little is the distance between Ted Rall's hillarious appointees and Bush's actual appointees! I might easily get confused and think that Bush's list is a parody of Rall's list.

    See Ted Rall's cartoon at

    Note: For those of you who are very young or live very far from the US, here's what you need to know about Rall's satirical list of appointees:
    * David Duke was a leader of the racist KKK.
    * Hugh Hefner is the founder of "Playboy Magazine"
    * Saddam Hussein needs no introduction; recall only that he killed many Kurds.
    * Satan is the anti-Pope. So following the Bush logic, of course he would be the best appointee as ambassador to the Pope's Vatican City.

    Next you need to know that Bush's real list of appointees is worse than this.

    Oily Oil's Invasion

    We now know that there was no connection between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist attack. Next, we also now know that Bush Jr and the neo-cons did not invade Iraq in error. They simply tried to cover up the real reason for invading Iraq by associating it with what was bothering most Americans: terrorism. The real reason, as you're tired of hearing by now, was of course Iraq's immense oil reserves. Yesterday's vote in the Senate to open a wilderness preserve in Alaska to oil drilling is part and parcel of this bigger picture. The neo-cons are afraid that the USA is losing oil, which will soon cause everything to grind to a halt.

    Greg Palast, the U.S. investigative journalist who was exiled to England, has come out with a new article and video documentary. This is not hasty-shaky conspiracy speculation -- and both the BBC and Harper's Magazine are cooperating with Palast's report. This one is about how the neo-conservative imperialists who have taken over the White House and half of the Pentagon, not only planned the invasion of Iraq in order to take over their oil fields, but also that there was a major fight over two competing plans of exactly how to take over their oil fields.

    "In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

    "Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants."

    If you can't catch the documentary on TV, you can read the article here:

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Warming in Portland

    This is the lovely face of global climate change.

    Winter in Portland

    For a look at the non-lovely face, see below...

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Iraq War Protest Locations

    What? Anti-war marches, vigils, protests, gatherings.

    Why? In a few days it will be the 2nd anniversary of the Iraq War. Two years of inept, unjust, and deadly occupation is more than enough. We must insist that this is intolerable. We will demand a real exit plan.

    When? On Saturday, March 19th. Hours vary. Some locations on Friday ....

    Crowds of passionate people, and also you.

    Where? Hundreds of locations all over the world and in a city near you. To find out where, see link above or here:
    United For Peace Calendar: Meetup search results

    And international locations.

    Update: After the protests:
    In addition to the massive protests around the world to mark this 2nd anniversary of the invasion, see below for the unreported protest in America from soldier's families.

    An alternative media video about the veterans and military families protest against the war at Fort Bragg, North Carolina:

    And. . . .

    Media Downplay Historic Day of Protests
    By Scott Galindez
    t r u t h o u t | Report

    Sunday 20 March 2005

    Fayetteville, NC -- The second anniversary of the war was the impetus for major demonstrations throughout the world. In the United States, over 800 communities held events calling for an end to the occupation.

    CNN, however, reported that in the United States "barely a ripple was made while large protests took place in Europe." The New York Times reported that protests in the United States ranged from 350 people in Times Square to thousands in San Francisco. Later in the same story, the Times reported that several thousand marched from Harlem to Central Park. If thousands marched in New York, why did the Times highlight the 350 in Times Square?

    CNN's report was worse … nothing about US protests. While they only saw a ripple, a huge wave passed them by. If CNN had been in Fayetteville, North Carolina, they would have seen what could be a major turning point in the anti-war movement. The largest Anti-war protest ever in this heavily military town took place.

    The march was led by two banners carried by family members of soldiers who died or served in Iraq. The first banner said "The World Still Says No to War" and the second banner was "Bring the Troops Home Now." A few feet behind was a banner carried by Veterans of the Iraq War. One of those veterans, Sergeant Camillo Mejia, recently served 9 months in jail for refusing to return to Iraq after leave. Mejia told the crowd: "After going to war and seeing its ugly face, I could no longer be a part of it."

    Following the Iraq Veterans was Military Families Speak Out. "I can't remain silent on these issues, slap a yellow ribbon on my car and call it supporting our troops," said Kara Hollingsworth, the wife of a soldier serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. "I support our troops by making sure they are not put in harm's way unless absolutely necessary."

    Many veterans of past wars were also among the ranks. Sections of the march resembled army units marching in formation calling cadence.

    Speaker after speaker told stories of loved ones they had lost during the war and the now 2-year-old occupation of Iraq. Flag-draped mock coffins were carried by many.

    Congresswoman Lynn Woosley of California called on the crowd to lobby Congress in support of House Concurrent Resolution 35, calling on the President to bring U.S. troops home.

    The March was part of a series of events aimed at breathing new life into the anti-war movement. The first-ever Iraq Veterans Against the War national conference is also taking place, along with a Conference of Military Families Speak Out. A third major conference of Southern anti-war organizers is also taking place in Fayetteville.

    CNN missed the boat … perhaps a good thing for them, since they were only prepared for a ripple and not the giant wave that formed in Fayetteville.

    Chinese Squeeze

    The difference between China's state news agency Xinhua and America's news corporations is that in China you always know that you're getting government propaganda, while in America you think you're getting independent info. Now we know that America has been covertly producing its very own "Xinhua". (see Previous Post ---- Government "News" Tricks Public.)

    Xinhua (the one in China not America) yesterday reported that the Party of elite bureaucrats voted unanimously for a new law to authorize military force against Taiwan. The vote was 2,896 to 0. (Seems you probably don't want to be the only one to vote against the totalitarian leanings of the Party!) Actually they didn't say "military force" exactly; instead they said "non-peaceful means". Getting a bit Orwellian in the twisted language again!

    Don't you love it when someone uses "non-peaceful means" to persuade you? As the old saying goes, to resort to violence is to admit that your ideas are not working. China does not yet have the ability to seduce Taiwan into its fold, so it raises a fist instead. But imagine if China actually was able to seduce Taiwan with a country full of happy, prosperous, free people, with no censorship, no Xinhua, no forced labor camps, no death sentence, no authoritarian corruption, with at least the appearance of elections as in the USA, and with peaceful rather than "non-peaceful" means. Can't imagine it? Well, that's the problem.

    The new law authorizing force-- actually mandating force-- is aimed at preventing Taiwan from "seceding". Taiwan in reaction is trying to pass its own law against being "annexed" by China. Here again is that schizoid discourse I blogged about a month ago, the crazy split between de facto and de jure. Both sides must beg the question. How can Taiwan be annexed if it was part of China? How can Taiwan secede if it is already a separate independent country?

    The Chinese Squeeze includes the almost simultaneous resignation of the Chief of Hong Kong, installed by the Party 8 years ago when China regained the British colonial territory. Back in May, Chinese President Hu Jintao raised a stir by strongly criticizing Hong Kong's governing officials, insisting that they bring more order. Hong Kong has increasingly faced a crisis of legitimacy, with growing unrest and democracy protests. One such protest reportedly brought out 500,000 people into the streets, which in Hong Kong is really quite impressive.

    So now the ex-Chief, Tung Chee-hwa, is out. Leaving thereby a power vacuum. Here's the tricky part of the political dance move: the people of Hong Kong, who were promised a degree of autonomy under "One Country, Two Systems" will again not be allowed to choose their next Chief.

    So my letter from the East is just to say that the squeeze is on. China is consolidating its power in preparation for the next phase of its international strategy.

    Yahoo! News - China Enacts Law to Authorise Attack on Taiwan

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    I lived in the first century of these wars...

    by Muriel Rukeyser

    I lived in the first century of world wars.
    Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
    The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
    The news would pour out of various devices
    Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
    I would call my friends on other devices;
    They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
    Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
    Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
    In the day I would be reminded of those men and women
    Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
    Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
    As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
    We would try to imagine them, try to find each other.
    To construct pure peace, to make love, to reconcile
    Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
    Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
    To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
    To let go the means, to wake.

    I lived in the first century of these wars.

    ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Government "News" Tricks Public

    Karen Ryan was the supposed "reporter" in several government-produced "news" reports.

    Another expose today reveals that the White House successfully presented propaganda as regular news reports. The "reporters" appearing on TV news for a few of these were actually PR pros employed by government agencies, like the talking head in the photo above.
    See the link above for a lot of detail. Or here:

    In related news, the rightwing Republican governor of California, the "Governator", "Herr Groppenfuhrer" himself was also revealed to have followed the lastest trend. Schwarzenegger's "administration has acknowledged making several videos masquerading as news stories to promote its agenda, creating an uproar from Democrats and labor leaders in a controversy parallel to one ignited by the Bush administration."
    See here for more detail:

    So let's sum up the astonishing trend of successful propaganda nowadays:

    • The Bush Jr. team paid several journalists to publish pro-Bush agenda op ed pieces.
    • The Bush Jr. team created & ran on TV several "news" reports supporting their worldview.
    • The Bush Jr. team paid Jeff Gannon and gave him a press pass, a partisan freak who's not even a journalist, to pose as a journalist in White House press conferences in order to distract from real issues. Which Gannon did repeatedly.
    • The Bush Jr. team has the whole of Fox News on its side pushing all kinds of disinformation and spin. More Americans watch Fox News than those who watch CNN. In case you haven't heard, Fox News is now almost universally reviled among journalists for their unfair and hilariously biased reportage. It is owned by the richest Australian billionaire, Rupert Murdoch -- a fanatical rightwing partisan who sends daily orders to his news editors and anchors, telling them what not to say and how to frame the issues. Those who don't follow the Fox daily spin have been fired -- by the dozen.
    • Republican governors are apparently getting the same training in the above.
    • No one ever noticed or complained about any of the so-called "news" reports listed above. Only investigative exposes have revealed them long after they appeared.

    As Chomsky and many others have shown, mainstream news generally functions as nationalist propaganda anyway. This wasn't a conspiracy though, it just falls into place because the top news corporations are businesses afterall and the journalists tend to be indoctrinated in a centrist ideology, buying into ideas of American Exceptionalism, etc. But this 21st century trend is the next phase into a conspiracy to deliberately run government propaganda as if it were actual news reports on TV. Chomsky will probably say that this isn't very important, since the propaganda simply repeats what the mainstream was already saying. True enough, nevertheless this latest trend opens the door to further abuse of an already misinformed public.

    The proof of how far we've fallen into a post-American regime now is that no one will be indicted for this assault against democracy.

    And that's the real news.

    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    So You Want to Teach English in Taiwan?

    Then here's my generic advice to an artist who's thinking about moving to Taiwan to teach English:

    Jobs teaching English in Taiwan are still easy to find, though not as easy as 5 years ago. Full-time pay is roughly US $1,400 per month and up. This is certainly enough to live on securely and perhaps comfortably --depending on what you're used to already -- but it will be difficult to actually save much money by the time you pay for air fare, rent, food, phone bills, laundry, hot water, and the astonishing number of things we moderns need to buy: a spoon, a blanket, a chair, an umbrella, a DSL connection, a DVD player, ad infinitum. Some people earn twice as much by taking on tutoring on the side and teaching at 2 or 3 schools -- but they don't have any free time, much less for artwork. If the job states it is "25 hours per week" then always plan to spend about 35 hours actually working, between preparing, grading, and even extra tasks such as phoning the students at home to practice a lesson (apparently this is simply to impress the parents who pay the bills).
    Most of the jobs are in privately run night schools, "cram schools" for kids. Some schools are for working adults. You don't need experience or even a particular degree to get such jobs, since there is a high turnover. Jobs in the public school system are much harder to come by, and at least require a related degree or credential and some experience. E.g., my own university hires part-timers now and then to teach the lower level English courses -- but it requires a TESOL certificate or MA degree.

    Living in Taiwan is a challenge and it takes some getting used to, some flexibility. If you are in your 20s, this is generally possible since there are enough ex-pats and backpackers and students studying Chinese of that 20-something age group around Taipei. But if you're in your 30s, it might be more difficult to get used to the change. There is much more crowding, noise, and air pollution for example, than in the US. Affordable apartments are not as nice. No one has a yard or garden in the city. Buses lurch around packed standing room only. It is impossible to read the Chinese signs that cover every available space. In the city though, you can find just enough bilingual English to get by. But it is still vital to learn a bit of Chinese language -- especially numbers and how to say "Sorry, I don't understand." The local Taiwanese are usually polite and friendly, but they will always treat you as a foreigner. This is not a multicultural society. So a big adjustment is to get used to being The Outsider on a permanent basis. Little kids occasionally point at you and say "Waiguoren!" --foreigner. Many people avoid sitting next to you on the subway. But they will, eventually, when no other seats remain. And so forth.

    The arts community exists as a minority of course just like in the rest of the world. Here it is really a minority. Taiwan is all business all the time. And when it isn't business, then it's shopping. This is consumer capitalism to the nth degree. Conformity is most common. Despite the tremendous emphasis on education, their educational outcome aims at business and technology, and does not lead to independent creativity except in rare cases.

    But the flip side of this is that the strong economy and increased standard of living has indeed created more gallery space, publishing, performance venues, and even grants for artists. This isn't Paris or New York, but a modest arts scene is flourishing in Taipei.

    I do have a Taiwanese friend who teaches art and has exhibited his postmodernist work in local shows. His fiance is also an artist (from Austria). They would be able to connect someone to the small artistic networks here. That network is precious to the few bohemian artists here, because they recognize each other as rare.

    For more on teaching EFL in Taiwan see:

    For a shot at an arts residency grant see:

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Art Imitates Death

    I wondered in a previous note about the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson {see, Gonzo Journalist Checks out of Hotel America} whether or not his fictional funhouse mirror-image in Doonesbury would follow suit. Well something strangely gonzoid is now happening over in that other world of Doonesbury, weirdly like our world. See the link above or here:

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Hot Women of India: Pictorial Review

    I know you've been waiting restlessly, so finally here is the pictorial review of Hot Women of India.

    1. Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, activist, and author of many books. In India she has founded "Navdanya", a movement for biodiversity conservation and farmers' rights. She also directs the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. She is one of the most important intellectuals today criticizing how the globalization of capitalist agriculture is ripping off indigenous traditions, privatizing the old commons (including water and genes!) and also doing lethal harm to farmers and the land.

    Among her many books are:

    Find more from Vandana Shiva online at
    BBC Reith Lecture 2000
    Lots of her essays at ZNet

    2. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is a professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University and one of the most recognized intellectuals in the world today. More specifically, she is a Marxist-Deconstructionist-Feminist-Postcolonialist-Humorist. She is not yet a bodhisattva, (too secular for that) but she is one of the few enlightened people alive.

    Among her many books are:

    Find more Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak at
    Wikipedia entry
    Postcolonial Web

    3. Arundhati Roy is a lefty activist, anti-imperialist, and Booker Prize winner from India. The prize was for her 1997 novel The God of Small Things, which is now widely read.
    Since then she has turned to non-fiction in an attempt to right a few wrongs in our fictional times. Her speeches condemning Bush's approach to the endless "war on terror" sent shock waves of vitality through the U.S. and demolished the rightwing's pretense to legitimate rule. She has been more concerned recently with ecological destruction and social justice in India.

    Among her several books are:

    Find more Arundhati Roy at
    Unofficial Bio up to her Booker Prize days
    The Salon Interview or, portrait of the artist as a young woman.
    a now mature and more political interview
    The New American Century essay in The Nation.

    4. What caused the women of India to become so darn hot? I don't know! Is this related to India's status as a postcolonial society, the country formerly known as "The Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire? Please write in and tell me your theory.

    Meanwhile, keep checking back for the bloggence about Three Hot Women of Taiwan: The Non-Swimsuit Edition Can you guess who?

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    On Women circa 2005

    International Women's Day just went by yesterday. If you didn't notice it, this is because you live in a patriarchy. Also it is ostensibly Women's Month, but no one realizes this.

    Riane Eisler published an article about bringing back the old feminist truism that "The personal is political" -- revamped for our new reactionary times. She asks:

    "How can we expect people raised in authoritarian families -- where men are ranked over women, and where children learn that any questioning of belief and authority will be punished -- to vote for leaders whose policies promote justice, equality, democracy, mutual respect and nonviolence?"

    See the rest at the link above or here:

    Meanwhile, intelligent people can still be heard to ask very different questions, for instance about why any distinction is made about the status of women, about why women's problems should be discussed when men have their own great problems (more male suicide, violent deaths, depression, stress related health problems). And they ask, aren't we all just "individuals"? These questions are not as intelligent as the individuals who ask them however, since the question is not a genuine inquiry, but rather defensive resentment.

    The answers are not far to seek. On the global scene including the so-called "developing" countries, the distinction made is this: The sheer quantity of women is much more than men for poverty, human rights abused, sex trafficking victims, rape and harrassment, restricted opportunities, servitude, sexual oppression through mutilation, force, threats; and lack of schooling, and rates of illiteracy.

    The deeper analysis would reveal how the specifically male suffering, the gender differential across society of male stress, suicide, and violence is connected directly to the patriarchal system, where half of humanity is made to dominate the other half. Domination extends throughout subtle hierarchies between and among males too for this reason.

    And the industrial domination of nature is woven into these hierarchies, where in order to dominate nature, historically it was necessary first to subdue and dominate classes of people. Oppression dehumanizes all parties in the hierarchy.


    Coming tomorrow to Bloggence . . . "Hot Women of India: A Pictorial Review" -- featuring Vandana Shiva, Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, and Arundhati Roy. Get your printers ready.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Late Nights in Taipei

    I always stay up long after midnight in Taipei, trying not to worry.
    But a new global survey reveals that I'm not the only one here.
    Taiwan polls out at Number 1 in the world for sleepless late nighters: 69% of Taiwanese say they stay up after midnight. The difference is that they also say they get up early in the morning -- something that is against my religion.

    Some things we worry about into the wee hours:

    • Why are the Australians sleeping earlier and longer than anyone else in the world?
    • Why do my students send email asking if the reading assignments are on the midterm test for a literature class?
    • Why is mainland China promising to attack Taiwan "only as a last resort" after other measures, when in fact China doesn't have any other measures?
    • How is it that everything worth saying has already been said, yet people cannot remember anyone having said anything?

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Part III: Targeting the Media the American Way

    Does the American military kill journalists? Yes -- that has occured over a dozen times in the past two years. The only question has been do they deliberately target journalists? You'll remember our previous bloggence {toward the end under comments} regarding the forced resignation of Eason Jordan from CNN because he dared to opine that the US military had targeted journalists.

    Since then the US military again "accidentally" targeted another journalist, firing hundreds of rounds into a car and killing an Italian agent. Again, the group Reporters Without Borders is calling attention to the need for a real investigation into the unexplained violence. The journalist claims that the Americans opened fire without warning, that "there was no bright light, no signal". More troubling is that she remembers that as her captors released her, they warned her "to be careful because the Americans don't want you to return." Like the rest of Italy, she doesnt support the US occupation of Iraq.

    Two related articles:

    Italian Journalist Wounded in Hostage Drama Recalls Her Ordeal

    t r u t h o u t - TO INVESTIGATION: Steve Weissman | Part III: Targeting the Media the American Way
    Caption: Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana, killed by the U.S. Army in Iraq on August 17, 2003.

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Superpower Recliner

    What do we talk about when we talk about the decline and fall of a superpower?

    I'm not the only one talking. So are the more informed voices of William Pitt, Immanuel Wallerstein, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Jonathan Schell. Their individual takes on this are linked to from within this article: Jonathan Schell on a Less Super Superpower. Jeremy Rifkin is yet another writer documenting the quantities of this decline in his new book, European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream.

    Motifs of this discourse include the declining dollar, declining influence on European politics, declining diplomacy, declining prestige and trust internationally, declining military performance due to imperialist over-reaching, and finally an increasing exposure to ridicule and scorn for our belligerent incompetence.

    Those topics all pertain to international relations. Yet they are coupled with internal domestic decline too. Bush is unraveling the basis of modern "society" itself, while instead increasing the rates of pollution and the depletion of natural resources. Surprisingly to me, Rifkin documents the steep decline of our former lead in scientific R & D, technical patents, and training of scientists. Seems knowledge itself is now being farmed out offshore to better trained populations.

    Meanwhile the U.S. is still Number One in drug abuse, weapons sales, gambling, debt (both personal and state), gun murders, and similar symptoms of an empire rotting from within.

    C.B. sent an article by Michael Ventura who gives an impressively long list of stats about U.S. domestic decline. It's easy to mislead or to err with statistics, and some of this list could be criticized for cherry-picking the numbers he wants while hiding other numbers that don't support his case. But look it over and see if you can tell which numbers are more valid: "America By the Numbers. No. 1?"

    Here are a few of the more wounding figures:

    • The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
    • Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

    Ah, this might explain why so many Americans actually believe that the world revolves around the U.S. or why Bush seems presidential to them!

    • "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).
    • The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
    • Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
    • The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).
    • "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.


    Saturday, March 05, 2005

    Foreign minister missive from Canada to U.S.

    I'm relieved to finally see a sane statement of position from a (former) government official, alas a Canadian rather than American. The link brings you to the whole statement, an Open Letter to Condoleezza Rice by Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister.

    In sum, he details how much Condi Rice--and by extension the U.S.-- could learn during her visit to Canada, not only about why they don't support missile defense spending, but also why they do support international institutions such as the Kyoto Accords and the International Criminal Court. These decisions are the opposite of the U.S. decisions. Incredible that such values have to be explained patiently to our deluded officials. Axworthy concludes:

    "Accept that, as a friend on your border, we will offer a different, independent point of view. And that there are times when truth must speak to power."

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Ted Rall on Bind Torture Kill

    Ted Rall on Bind Torture Kill
    Originally uploaded by zippinski.
    Ted Rall on BTK

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Depleted New Military

    "Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”
    -- Henry Kissinger, quoted in Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam.

    C.B. sent along an interesting set of reports about DU -- depleted uranium used nowadays by the U.S. military for hardcore bullets and shells:

    • . . . Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.

      This week the American Free Press dropped a “dirty bomb” on the Pentagon by reporting that eight out of 20 men who served in one unit in the 2003 U.S. military offensive in Iraq now have malignancies. That means that 40 percent of the soldiers in that unit have developed malignancies in just 16 months....

      Not only were soldiers exposed to DU on and off the battlefields, but they brought it home. DU in the semen of soldiers internally contaminated their wives, partners and girlfriends. Tragically, some women in their 20s and 30s who were sexual partners of exposed soldiers developed endometriosis and were forced to have hysterectomies because of health problems.

      In a group of 251 soldiers from a study group in Mississippi who had all had normal babies before the Gulf War, 67 percent of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects. They were born with missing legs, arms, organs or eyes or had immune system and blood diseases. In some veterans’ families now, the only normal or healthy members of the family are the children born before the war.

    • See more about this here.
    • Considering the tons of depleted uranium used by the U.S., the Iraq war can truly be called a nuclear war. Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter charged Monday that the reason Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi stepped down earlier this month was the growing scandal surrounding the use of uranium munitions in the Iraq War....

    • See more about this here.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Annual Academic Award

    The pickings were slim, but the choices were decent. Another fair Academy Awards show has come and gone, but don't forget that next it must be time once again for the annual Academic Awards for the films most deserving of analysis-- whether psychoanalysis or sociological, semiotic, postcolonial, or ideological analysis.

    Yes, we're still starting small this year, but we will gradually grow to become another massively rumor-saturated and renowned annual event that seizes global attention by the eye sockets. We've got the glamour and the stellar personalities lined up. Future presenters may include the likes of Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak and Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek and Jean Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson. Winners will be asked to pick up their statuettes, featuring a bust that kind of resembles Christian Metz, at dazzling award ceremonies held in the gothic towers of Princeton.

    This year however we're starting out modestly with E. Heroux as presenter, and the winners will be asked to stop by for a free cup of green tea if they're ever in Taipei.

    Some further clarification about the nature of this award. It is above all serious. No monkey business, like the annual "Razzies" for the worst movie. Speaking of the Razzie, did you hear that "George W. Bush won the worst actor award for his role in Fahrenheit 9/11, and a poll found that 57 percent of parents would not like their children to grow up to be president" ?!? This item is from HARPER'S WEEKLY March 1, 2005.

    Beyond serious, the purpose of the Academic Award is to bring more attention to film-texts that cry out for further analysis. It is true that some films aspire to this status with titles such as "Analyze This!" --starring Robert De Niro-- but such blatant ambition is not enough. Most films that truly deserve recognition for an Academic Award do not yet realize that they actually desire it.

    And such analysis has little to do with the current division of labor between marketing for box office versus movie reviewers and professional critics. Sales experts for the box office deal masterfully with public dreams, but the PR folks must keep the open secret on a subliminal level rather than analyzed explicitly. Meanwhile, reviews and critics deal masterfully with aesthetic issues such as reception, influence, originality, acting, coherence, and genre, but the mere mention of Hegel in a review is forbidden by the Code of editors. In contrast, analysis must gather up both sides of this mainstream discourse and incorporate them in a much larger synthesis of current ideological issues as revealed in our most dominant cultural medium: narrative film.

    Perhaps an obvious example will illustrate: remember "The Matrix"? The PR sales is one level of discourse -- black leather, spectacular names, hacker aura, etc. Then the critical reviews are another level of discourse -- original, although with echoes of "Blade Runner", the illogical leaps in the plot, no chemistry in the romance, cold but thrilling effects, etc. Meanwhile for the next few years, articles, school papers, whole books, university conferences, and discussion groups arose to release the pressure that "The Matrix" had generated for more analysis. Such films tap into analytical currents running deep beneath our culture.

    OK then, you've got the idea. Now without further ado, I will finally introduce the 2005 Academic Award:

    • Picture Most Deserving of Analysis: Hey, coincidence! The Academic Award goes to the same winner as the Academy Award --Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby!! So much should be said about this film that has not yet even been suggested so far. The issues are bubbling up beyond the critics and reviewers. Yet the chief issues crying out for analysis have yet to be broached. Despite the subtle attempt by the Academy Award folks to generate the issue of right-to-die by awarding not one but two films on this topic {the 2nd being The Sea Inside for Best Foreign Picture}, still this is not yet tapped into the level of deeper analysis that Eastwood's film will eventually generate.

    Like the Academy Awards ceremony, the Academic Awards also gets bogged down sometimes with long speeches that have to be cut off by a swelling orchestra. Since I feel one of those coming on, I'll have to cut short here by merely suggesting that Million Dollar Baby is a late apology for reactionary masculinity, and it is purveyed so powerfully, with such dramatic impact, that the necessary analysis will have to wade through layers of subtle indirection and polysemic gestures. One of the most intriguing sites of inquiry for this film is in the sublime calmness with which Eastwood has laid out his reactionary political views, wittily using intertextual references to deepen the message. Remember, for example, that the last time co-winner Morgan Freeman played the aging sidekick to Eastwood's faded hero routine was in the equally well-made film of 1992, Unforgiven, an anti gun-control movie that slipped in the American flag for 2.4 seconds in a scene at the height of its dramatic revenge.... here comes that orchestra again.

    To get a more definite sense of what is meant here, it is highly recommended to read a study along this line of analysis by Susan Jeffords, titled Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era . Her book treated Clint Eastwood & company so thoroughly that she almost predicted that he would make a film like "Million Dollar Baby" a full decade before he decided to do so.

    In the future, the Academic Awards will include more winners in more categories, but this year we can hardly afford that many cups of green tea. Good night.