The Anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre and Rising Chinese Nationalism

Xi Jinping gave a speech at the 77th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre memorial event that shamed Japanese massacre deniers.

BBC quoted Xi as saying,

“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, 1.3 billion Chinese people and all people loving peace and justice in the world.”

A subtle jab at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo who visited the Yasukuni Shrine, where some of the commanders who were found guilty by the military tribunal for involvement in the incident are enshrined?

While there is an annual ceremony at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, this is the first year the president has presided over a national event and the first year it has been a national holiday. It is one of three holidays recently implemented as memorials to Sino-Japanese War-related incidents, according to the BBC.
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Target Bans Grand Theft Auto…

Yesterday, I wrote about how a female activist was attacking games like Hitman and Grand Theft Auto for allegedly promoting misogynistic violence against women.

Both games are of the shoot-em up variety, so to criticize them for allowing players to commit violence against women is missing the point.

GTA is a game where you can drive a car around running over people and shooting people. Yes, it includes the possibility for violent scenarios. That is kind of the point of the games.


Now activists have pressured Target in Australia to stop selling the game.

According to the petition, “It’s a game that encourages players to murder [virtual] women for entertainment.”

One wonders why they chose to leave out half of the world’s population from their petition.

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Jonathan Gruber’s Speech Crimes

On December 9, Maoist Red Guards House Republicans hauled MIT professor Jonathan Gruber in front of a Congressional committee for a struggle session over his speech crimes.

Gruber was influential in the writing Barack Obama’s healthcare law. He became famous in American politics when controversial videos of him speaking about the plan were exposed. Most of the videos relate to a policy argument that I will summarize at the end of the article, however in one particular video he says that “this bill was written in a tortured way” in order to get it by the public. “[C]all it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting this thing to pass,” he said.

Naturally, anti-Obamacare Republicans were offended by Gruber’s comments. In fact, they were so offended they dragged him before committee on December 9. The comments he made about the subsidy policy of the bill* were actually somewhat relevant to the bill. The Supreme Court is actually hearing a case about the subsidies, though the House of Representatives, as far as I know, isn’t a part of the judicial branch. Anyway, many Republicans focused on the “offensive” comments.
Here’s Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is famous for being the chairman of a House Select Committee to investigate (and keep investigating) the 2012 terrorist attack on an American consulate Benghazi, Libya, sounding like a Red Guard at a struggle session: Continue reading

Wherein Earnest Pettie Confirms Thunderf00t’s Argument that Anita Sarkeesian is Wrong

This past year, a non-video gamer* named Anita Sarkeesian started making some reviews of video games that claimed video games are sexist. Since I, like Sarkeesian, am also not a video gamer, I didn’t know much about her until recently when her trope went all over the general media. It was the kind of thing where some niche story bubbles up from a small subject field–in this case video games–and becomes a major media story for whatever reason and then snowballs into an even bigger story about the story. In this case, some gamers responded and criticized her arguments and some of the gamers even made angry and threat-expressing responses, similar to the critic of many crazy people on the internet.

So I thought I would look at her arguments. Among them, a common theme is that women in video games sometimes dress too provocatively or express sexual desires too explicitly and that men sometimes murder people (including women) and express sexual interest in women and sometimes even sexually assault or rape women. To wit, one game called Hitman puts its players in the role of a man who, as the title suggests, murders people. In fact, Sarkeesian says players in the game attack strippers.

Thunderf001, a YouTube atheist, who makes a lot of videos about religion, science, and critiques of modern-day feminism, points out in one video that players aren’t supposed to attack strippers in the game. The game penalizes you for that. (From the point of view of media analysts who think media affects real life behavior, it could be said that the game teaches you not to kill stripper, although the effect of video games on teaching people real life actions is questionable at best.)

Earnest Pettie, who blogs at, thought she could dismantle Thunderf00t’s argument.

Turns out she only validates it. Pettie wrote: Continue reading

Glenn Beck Agrees With Obama About ISIS! (Or does he?…)

On multiple occasions, President Obama has taken it upon himself to declare that ISIS isn’t Islamic. Islam–and no other religion–Obama says, doesn’t condone the killing of innocents. He’s wrong, as I point out in my latest column at

To wit:

Indeed, wherever you go, you can see examples of religion sowing division and hate, from the conquests to the crusades to the inquisition to today’s terrorism, abortion bombings, and beheadings. Far from the claim that “No religion condones the killing of innocents,” the complete opposite is true.

“Why Obama is Wrong About ISIS,

Now, where does Glenn Beck, the famous Christian conservative radio host, stand on the issue? Well, judging by what he said last December, you might think he agrees with Obama. In his view, a religion can’t be analyzed by the way that its adherents now or historically have practiced it. If they practiced it (in this case Christianity) with hate, then it can’t be the “true” version of the religion, just what Obama was saying about Islam. Here Beck says it about Christianity:

“‘Look at that guy who is a Christian in Russia who says, ‘I think it’s time to put all of the homosexuals into ovens.” He’s not a Christian. I don’t know [in] whose book he’s a Christian. If he’s a Christian over there in Russia, maybe it’s because they haven’t had Christianity there for so long they no longer know what it is.”

Glenn Beck, Dec. 2013

It would be interesting to ask Beck if he thinks Rick Santorum can be a Christian even though he wants gays to go to prison (if they commit sodomy) or American pastor Scott Lively, who supported Uganda’s anti-gay bill, which carries punishment of life in prison (after the death penalty was dropped). (If you look in the Bible, there are actually a number of verses either of them could cite to justify supporting their discriminatory viewpoints on Biblical, non-rational grounds.)

At any rate, because murdering gays in ovens is wrong, Beck says the Russian guy isn’t a Christian. I suppose beheading innocent people is probably wrong, too. Let’s see what Beck has to say about that: Continue reading

Obama’s “Executive Amnesty”: Will it Caused Ted Cruz to Shut Down the Government?

President Obama announced a de facto legal status for 5 million or so illegal immigrants in the US. Republicans say this is an abuse of power, as only Congress can pass an immigration bill.

Is it constitutional? How can Republicans fight back? Will there be a government shutdown?

See why’s Noah Rothman says, “If it comes to a shutdown fight, I don’t think the Republicans will go forward with it. The results in 2013 were too catastrophic for the party.”

This audio is part of the collection: Community Audio
It also belongs to collection:

Artist/Composer: Mitchell Blatt
Date: 2014-11-24
Keywords: immigration; immigration reform; executive order; obama; amnesty; gop; republicans; ted cruz; politics; defunding; shutdown; government shutdown

Dali vs. Lijiang: The Paradox of Successful Ethnic Tourism Marketing

To create an ethnic tourist attraction, tourism officials need to promote the exoticness of a locale. Tourism officials have done that extremely well in Yunnan, in cities like Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, and Xishuangbana, where many minority ethnic groups live. The paradox is, to create the illusion of exoticness, they need to do some creating, and creating is somewhat fake, contrived. It is, what tourism officials call, staged authenticity. People want to see some minorities dance or sing in an interesting way, so they might make a show about it, but that show might be made to appeal to tourists rather than traditional culture.

That’s one aspect, but another aspect is that simply by having a lot of tourists come in, there will have to be hotels and bars and such to accommodate the tourists, and that, in and of itself, will make the location become more tourist-focused and cause some of the locals to move out as they sell or rent their property to high bidders.

I lived in Yunnan for a few months, and you can see that happened to Lijiang. It’s a fun place with its bars, and it still has stone streets and ancient-looking buildings and such, but it doesn’t have quite the same local flavor as Dali does.

Here’s another paradox: There are also some reasons it might be good to play down your ethnic culture. If there is discrimination against your ethnicity, then maybe you want people to think you have been assimilated and are no different than the majority culture.

In Dali, the local Bai people often say they have been Han-ified (China is 99% Han), and the Han, in their evaluations of the 55 minority ethnic groups have long viewed the Bai as one of the more advanced ethnic groups.

In Megan Bryson’s (University of Tennessee) paper “Baijie and the Bai” (pdf) published in Asian Ethnology in 2013, she finds that some Dali tourism officials feel they are stifled by this view:

Tourism industry employees and local officials I spoke to in Dali
lamented the greater success of their northern neighbor Lijiang in attracting both
domestic and international tourists. This success rests on the superior marketing of
Naxi culture as an exotic commodity. In the case of ethnotourism, being “almost
Han” becomes a liability rather than an asset.

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Republicans Take Senate – A Discussion with Me and Noah Rothman

The Republican party won at least 53 seats, probably 54, and maybe even 55 on Election Day, November 4, 2014, depriving President Obama of his Senate majority for the last 2 years of his presidency. Also: Marijuana was legalized in Oregon and Washington, DC.

Mitchell Blatt discusses the results with Hot political writer Noah Rothman. Listen as we answer questions like:
– How did Republicans like Cory Gardner escape the “War on Women” label?
– Will weed be legalized nationally? (And what will the GOP think of that?)
– Will a Senator with a 0% conservative rating (Angus King) join the Republicans?
– Why did the pollsters get everything so wrong?
– And more…

Furthermore, read my pre-analysis of the Senate elections at
After defeating Tea Party, GOP primed to defeat Democrats

“Occupying the Toilet but Not Shitting”

There’s a phrase in Chinese that literally means “occupying the toilet but not shitting.” The phrase “占住茅坑不拉屎” used by a character in the 1997 movie “Eighteen Springs” (半生缘) to describe a man courting Anita Mui’s character. It’s a long-standing idiom, and if you look it up on Baidu dictionary, the definition it will give you is “dog in the manger”. In the metaphor and the story, a dog occupies a manger while not eating the grain but preventing the horse from eating the grain.

Here’s the phrase broken down:
占住 zhan4 zhu4 – to occupy
茅坑 mao2 keng1 – latrine
不 bu4 – not
拉屎 la1 shi3 – to defecate

Yesterday there was an article on about people who occupy parking spaces with beds or chairs so that they can keep the parking spaces for themselves when they aren’t using them. Although these people do intend to use the parking spaces later (unlike the dog in the manger), the phrase ought to fit. Someone occupying a toilet while not using it could indeed use the toilet later. The people occupying a parking space with a chair have no need for the spaces at the time, and others have a need. (That you need to use put something there to occupy the space proves that much, and you are only making the parking shortage worse.)

Here’s the first photo from Ecns’s slideshow, and click here to see the rest.

Chinese Woman Wanders 1,900 km Away After Getting Lost Buying Groceries

A trip to buy vegetables turned into a 40 day odyssey for one 50-year-old woman.

The small town woman left her home in Nanning, in the southern province of Guangxi, and ended up in Kunshan, Jiangsu, about 1,900 km away (1,100 mi), 40 days later.

How did it happen? According to Nanjing’s Yangzi Evening Post from Oct. 29 (where it was the front page story), the woman recently moved to Nanning where her husband was working and went out to buy vegetables. After getting lost, she kept walking east because she thought that was the way home.

She Continue reading