Colbert “testifies” before Congress – in character

Stephen Colbert (a comedian!) testifies (satirically!) under oath before the US congressional subcommittee hearing, on the plight of migrant farm workers and the immigration reform. Via The Hill: "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican, I want it picked by an American," Colbert said, appearing to parrot statements made in the past by Republicans. But then he continued, "And sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa, where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian." Is anyone else shocked by this? ...anyone? I swear my buddy Bill Tucker and all the bloggers writing this up is pulling my leg. But it looks like a real C-SPAN coverage... RT @alexlobov on twitter, who is perpetually tuned in to the broad scope of news around … [Read more...]

the Asian Barbie and Ken

Yeah.. I couldn't resist. Love this post on Dolls of Color about the new Mattel "Japanese" dolls. Love the blog too, just added it to my Google Reader feed. Speaking of interesting Asian Americans, check out these other blogs I found through Slant Eye for the Round Eye and 8 Asians. I already get feeds from the vastly interesting Angry Asian Man and DisgrAsian. … [Read more...]

will the oilspill finally generate a viable energy plan?

Rather than protesting further offshore drilling, isn't it better to channel activism towards a long-term sustainable energy strategy in national policy? Practically speaking, America’s current need for domestic oil outweighs the potential for disaster. As an oil junkie nation that's spent the past five decades building an entire infrastructure around oil, there are frightening few options. From Wikipedia: The US is the largest energy consumer, ranking seventh in energy consumption per capita in the world in 2005. The majority of this energy is derived from fossil fuels: in 2005, it was estimated that 40% of the nation's energy came from petroleum, 23% from coal, and 23% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 8.4% and renewable … [Read more...]

Do ‘Family Values’ Weaken Red State Families?

This is a vastly interesting piece by Jonathan Rauch, about the values divide between Red and Blue states, and is worth reading in its entirety. Here's an excerpt: Cultural conservatives revel in condemning the loose moral values and louche lifestyles of "San Francisco liberals." But if you want to find two-parent families with stable marriages and coddled kids, your best bet is to bypass Sarah Palin country and go to Nancy Pelosi territory: the liberal, bicoastal, predominantly Democratic places that cultural conservatives love to hate. The country's lowest divorce rate belongs to none other than Massachusetts, the original home of same-sex marriage. Palinites might wish that Massachusetts's enviable marital stability were … [Read more...]

on immigration and the global brain race

As aptly put by the Daily Kos: There goes the neighborhood! Increasing militarisation in the US (for the oil spill, the Mexican border, to quell waves of violent crime); the Arizona immigration law; then undocumented youths are marching on the Hill demanding their rights... The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World posits just one of the major reasons why smart immigration policy is needed: ...the competition for academic talent has gone global, with universities all over the world chasing the brightest students. Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge are now competing with the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Indian Institutes of Technology, and even the King … [Read more...]

Oil Spill Politics and the US Energy Policy

...and the political posturing and spinning begins. The majority of primaries and gubernatorial races are still ahead of us. See the schedule here for each state: For one, I'm disappointed with the administration's slow response to this crisis. I'm surprised that Obama issued a statement last Friday still supporting the expansion of offshore oil and gas production in US waters, but I agree. I'm not surprised there was not a chorus of Democrats jumping on this statement. Here's a nice technical blow-by-blow of the Deepwater Horizon explosion by one of the workers on the rig: Welcome to the World of Deep-water Risk As I've said before, this accident is Mother Nature's wake-up call to everyone. Deep-water … [Read more...]

how China sees Africa: We get commodities, you get infrastructure. Cool?

H/T Paul Kedrosky! On the shopping list for my next civilisation run is the latest bestseller "The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World" of Niall Ferguson, a Scottish intellectual gifted with breaking down history, finance and politics into simple understandable language. Here he talks about China and Africa in an interview: Q Is China’s rise to power a bad thing? A It is not a bad thing that the most populous country in the world is emerging from grinding poverty and hundreds of thousands of people who were in subsistence agriculture now have better paying jobs. That can’t be a bad thing. The problem is that in the realm of politics, China’s [position] is not necessarily benign. They [do not] remotely share our … [Read more...]

another blow to the New Orleans economy

Earth Day 2010 ironically kicked off with a blazing bonfire at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, 66km off the Louisiana coastline. The rig was contracted to a BP plc unit (who faces the brunt of bad PR), but it was owned and operated by Transocean Ltd, the world’s biggest offshore drilling contractor. After the initial explosion the platform burned for two days, then it sank into the Gulf of Mexico. WattsUpWithThat explains the drilling technology and below is a graphic from the Times-Picayune showing how difficult it is to shut off the leak. Images, like the one above, can be found on the site. Full-scale investigations are under way to determine the cause of this accident, with all parties using the event to advance their … [Read more...]