Winter holiday 2015: A Hong Kong pro-democracy rally

Winter holiday 2015: A Hong Kong pro-democracy rally
HONG KONG SAR — There was some newsworthy events happening in Hong Kong while I was there, Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, so I’ll start in the middle of my holiday travels. As you may have heard, Hong Kong has seen lengthy, largely peaceful protests in favor of universal suffrage, which was promised in the agreement between the UK and China when the British government handed its territory back to China in 1997. When I was in Hong Kong in December, the Occupy Central sit-in protest had just ended. Another protest rally occurred on Feb. 1, the same day the Hong Kong government announced the composition of the nominating committee for the next Chief Executive of the Special Autonomous Region. I happened to walk right into the rally in Causeway Bay before it began as I was on my way out of Hong Kong to Shenzhen. I snapped these photos with my cellphone as i walked to the MTR station from the bus stop. The former reporter in me wanted to stay and watch, but I also needed to move along to my next destination, so I resisted the urge to whip out my camera and play the journalist. The ...

Two historical photos, for different reasons

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve been too busy to post anything lately, and now I’ve got a tidy little head cold, so here’s a couple of cheerful photos. First, the much-talked-about Navy kiss, from Dec. 21. From what I understand, each boat’s crew runs a lottery to see who will be the first off the boat to meet their sweetheart, and of course, kiss her/him. Gaeta was the winner. For some reason, that photo reminds me of this one. This couple (actually, two strangers in Times Square) were caught up in the moment following the surrender of Japan on Aug. 14, 1945. The sailor saw a cute nurse, and spontaneously kissed her. (Wiki entry) Eisenstaedt and another photog were lucky enough to capture the moment. Granted, the circumstances were different, but both couples were celebrating a victory in some sense.

Chinese authorities charge Ai WeiWei with tax evasion, bigamy

JISHOU, HUNAN — Take this news with a grain of salt, since it comes from official sources via The AP. Dissident artist Ai WeiWei, who has been detained for the last two weeks, has been charged with tax evasion, destroying evidence and bigamy. No figures were given regarding how much tax Ai owes (if any), and his family has denied the charges, anyway. “He has made the government unhappy by speaking up for ordinary people,” Ai’s sister Gao Ge told The Associated Press. “Now the government wants to get him back.” Ai has been openly critical of government officials, challenging them through China’s own legal system to uphold constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and equal protection under the law. He was a public supporter of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is serving a 11-year sentence in China for “inciting subversion of state power.” (As in co-authoring Charter ’08, a call for more democracy in China. Very subversive. Yeah.) The government newspaper Wen Wei Po, which is published in Hong Kong, has been smearing Ai as part of the government’s efforts to discredit him. In addition to the tax evasion charge, he is being held for allegedly ...

That’s McMillen 2 – Itawamba Ag HS 0

JISHOU, HUNAN — The lesbian teenager denied a decent high school prom has won her discrimination case against Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi. The school agreed to revise its prom policy to be non-discriminatory and to pay Constance McMillen $35,000 in damages and her legal fees. McMillen last fall had asked her school if she could come to her prom wearing a tuxedo and bring her girl friend as her date. The school said no. So, she and her parents approached the American Civil Liberties Union, which agreed to represent her in a civil action against the school. So, the school canceled prom altogether. A judge subsequently required the school to hold a prom open to everyone, including McMillen and her date. Then, the school sponsored a fake prom, while a “secret” prom was held elsewhere for the rest of McMillen’s graduating class. McMillen was harassed so much at school that she transferred to a school in Jackson just to graduate with some dignity. Itawamba becomes the first high school in Mississippi to have a policy barring discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Talk about irony.

Judge battles defiant school officials in Florida

BEIJING — This story caught my eye, since mixing religion and public education is one of my pet peeves. Officials at Pace High School in Florida are openly defying court injunctions against public prayers at school functions. So the judge is charging them with criminal contempt of court. More Christian martyrs battling the lions (those nasty secular judges). Ed Brayton has all the details here. I’m too tired right now to weigh in on it myself. UPDATE Aug. 21: A school clerk, Michelle Winkler, was cleared of civil contempt charges today. U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers found that Winkler, who asked her husband to pray at a school awards banquet, was not named in the original injunction. Winkler told reporters she believed school officials were in a “battle” against the American Civil Liberties Union and their school district.

Of elections and other heartwarming tales 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — As elated as I was to see Barack Obama elected president, the full emotional impact of the event did not hit me until my class this afternoon. I got choked up enough I had to stop for a minute or two to pull myself together. I was giving the freshmen a short lesson on the election, on Obama’s background, and what he still needs to do before taking office in January. I started giving them a rundown of the inauguration, including the part where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist (NOT one of my favorite people) John Roberts swears in the new president. The mental image of that scene stopped me in my tracks. For someone in my particular age bracket, the image of a black man actually ascending to the White House finally puts to rest the acrimony and hatred we remember growing up through the 1950s and ’60s. I watched the news with my dad, and saw the riots in Los Angeles, the racist presidential campaign of George Wallace, the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. While I was not directly affected, living as we were in a gerrymandered-white school district on ...

Mid-Ohio science teacher to lose job — finally 1

John Freshwater will burn crosses on students’ arms no more (see picture released by school officials to the AP, at right), at least in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He has been sacked. On Friday, the Mount Vernon school board reviewed a 15-page investigative report on Freshwater’s actions in the classroom, and voted to dismiss the science teacher of 21 years. Freshwater had been accused, among other things, of using a Tesla coil to burn a cross in a student’s arm, proselytizing students, teaching creationism contrary to school policy, and refusing to remove a Bible from his desk. He and school officials still face legal action. The family of the student whose arm was burned filed a civil complaint in US District Court in Columbus last week, naming Freshwater and school officials as defendants. The law suit alleges Freshwater’s religious activities in the classroom violated the civil rights of the student, known only as John Doe. The complaint also alleges school officials failed to reprimand Freshwater sufficiently after the arm-burning incident, and permitted him to proselytize students in class in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Freshwater, a fundamentalist Christian by all appearances, became a poster child for the ...
WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :