Toyota Becomes Number One Auto Maker

The story is on the media everywhere: Toyota has taken over General Motors as the number one auto maker of the world. Bad news just keeps coming to Michigan. One would think that the Detroit auto makers are now anxious to change the way they operate. But hearing stories from a friend at Ford, it is business as usual, at least at Ford. Things may be changing on the surface, jobs have been cut. But the real cuts are mostly happening to the labor level.

Hearing Paul Starr, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and its Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, talking about liberalism on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR is refreshing. Liberalism is about progress, not radicalism. The so called conservatives of today are really radical individualists with their private agendas. I guess that there will be a day, when real conservatives will wake up and reclaim the label from GWB and his gang.


"School dismissed for day"

School dismissed for day at Gabriel Richard. That is only one of the many stories of school closings on many news media today. Anyone writing Virginia Tech and blah blah is treated as a threat. I agree that they have to, with guns so easily available.

Gun ownership is fine. But making guns easily available for anyone and everyone is not. That logic seems simple, yet it seems to be incomprehensible to some. That is what bothers me.


The Killer

Cho Seung-Hui is the killer at VT. Media outlets call him twisted, crazy, madman, etc. That's may not be wrong, but I think they may be missing the point. Bill O'Reilly on Fox News whined about the US being criticized by the rest of the world as a gun paradise and for its gun culture. I think those criticisms need to be taken seriously. Live By The Gun, Die By The Gun is not just a saying. It is what happens.

(By the way, Fox News is the worst media shop I've ever watched, on par with the CCTV channels of the past and Bill O'Reilly is THE spinner of spinners. Unfortunately, CNN is not available in the Dish Network package I have.)

Many of the smart people on TV have been suggesting that the government should have warned the public about the person's mental conditions. Some even imply that he should have been locked up or something. I can't help wondering what kind of smart ideas these people may come up with. People don't think gun ownership should be restricted in any way, and these gurus think people should be casted out if they don't talk to anybody, don't respond to greetings and have been complained by a few others?

Yesterday, there were talks on Fox News about the killer being a Chinese who obtained his visa in Shanghai in October last year. The culprit who started the rumor is said to be Michael Sneed, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist. Fox News doesn't seem to mind at all to spread unchecked news. I guess their concept of news is anything new.

To put things in perspective, 80 some people died in one bombing in a Baghdad market today. Not many media seem to notice that. On the other hand, to his credit, Bill O'Reilly did say in his program that 100 some Iraqi policemen were executed today by the insurgents. But the way he reported that disgusted me. This is the fifth year of US occupying Iraq, he is still trying to make people believe that it is shocking that the insurgents are so cruel. Americas may be naive in 2003 at the beginning of the invasion. US forces may not expect the cruelty of this war back then. After 4 years of occupation, this kind of episodes only mean that the US forces have lost control of Iraq.


Shootings at Virginia Tech

The tragedy is all over the news media the whole day. I first heard it on NPR while driving to a work site. 32 were killed. It is labeled the deadliest campus shooting in the US history.

Beyond the tragedy in front of us, I wonder if any surviving family of the victims are opponents to gun control, and if any of them has any change of mind after this tragic day.

I am no fan of government controlling people's lives. But as deadly as they are, guns should not fall into wrong hands. Gun control does not mean people can not own guns either. So many people are so ready to give up liberty when the government comes to them in the name of war against terrorism, yet the same people are not willing to give up the convenience of easy gun ownership. I guess it is a matter of my life against other people's lives: I could care less whether others lose their lives as long as I can live my life my way.


"City of Angles"

It's a beautiful movie!

What is it like to become a human from an angle? What does it feel like for Seth to take that plunge? What is it like to bleed, to feel pain, for the first time? How much does it hurt to love and then lose everything?

It's a funny movie, too.

Being human is not just about having free will. Humans are fragile. They break easily. Humans can be cruel to other humans. Finally, humans die. That makes this movie a tragedy, too, I guess. To be human is to feel all the pain and yet having to go on. That's life!

I hear Sarah McLachlin's Angle again. That brings me back to almost 6 years ago. Another sad memory.



It was already yesterday. The ceremony was glamor-less. The judge spoke way too fast for most to follow. Receiving a letter from the current president doesn't give me any sense of excitement at all. Although I fully respect the presidency of the United States, my new home country of 14 years, this president gets no respect from me. But then again, this is the time to become a citizen. I will cherish the freedom and fulfill my responsibilities. That is personal.


Let there be another Saddam

I was thinking of writing that the other day. In today's Parade there is an article about the Iraqi army. The author is discussing if they are ready to defend Iraq when the US troops leave. The author might be too optimistic in asking that question. My question is: Is there anything or anyone that can hold Iraq, and the whole region, back so that they won't explode in the face of the United States?

This US initiated war in Iraq has destroyed so much of the country and so many lives with it, does anyone now expect that the country can ever be a functional state again without some strong man like Saddam? The hope of democracy has faded into a world of chaos. Now all the Bush administration can hope for is to get out of there somehow. I guess Bush's hope of throwing this hot potato to the next president is gone and he has to deal with it (Al Gore is smart not to run in 2008). There is only less than two years left. Hail to the cowboy and good luck!

Some US politicians have been talking about splitting Iraq up into three parts. I guess that might work in weakening that country and keep the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds fighting each other so that they won't be able to bother the west. However with so much hatred generated in the people by this war, there is a grave danger even that may not hold the explosion down for very long. Having another Saddam might be a good thing, if not the only hope, for Mr. GWB.

Reading the News

I don't read news papers everyday as there is just not enough time to do that. Besides, news is available online to the larger part.

It is interesting to read in the Ann Arbor News, right in the middle of the first page, about embryonic stem cell research. I guess it is about time, if Michigan wants another chance of getting out of the woods.

Another article of interest is the Other Voices written by Lynn Howard Ehrle titled Automakers, others need to support universal Medicare. It is interesting because my own thoughts are that health care, just like utilities such as electricity, needs to become universally available with the advances of a society. We could argue that having clean water is a personal responsibility, like many politicians say that health care is. However, if we make that a responsibility, what difference is there between today and the days of Jesus roaming the land of Israel? Today in this country hospitals must care for the sick when they arrive in the doors of an ER. Who is responsible for the cost of providing those care without universal health care? The answer to that question seems to be simple and clear. We might have saved a few bucks on those who never make it to an ER, just like the Bush administration may have saved some money by leaving the New Orleans to their own peril. But I just don't believe that is most Americans want this country to be like.

Just as the article writes, if the auto industry does not have to pay the $1250 per vehicle on health care, they would have saved $10 billion. That alone may not save the industry, but at least it gives them a competitive edge against companies from overseas. The big three of Detroit are hardly the only ones that need that edge.


Nothing to blog about, really.

This is my first blog online. But I haven't really done much with it at all.

The past year has been pretty much event-less for me. But it has been a bad year all around. Michigan's economy has been going down the drain for a while, with the down fall of the Big-Three auto industry giants. Their bad luck may have been made inevitable pretty much by themselves, IMHO. But their incompetencies will leave the state and the people in the ditch for a long time to come.

The latest bad news in Ann Arbor is that of Pfizer closing its research facility in town, laying off some of its 2000+ employees and moving a large portion of them elsewhere. That is just one latest example of big business carelessly trumping over the lives of people. The real estate market in Ann Arbor is already down with a large inventory. Now the housing price will stay down and flat for even longer.

One good news is that Google is coming to Ann Arbor. The word "coming" is still accurate at this point although it has been announced by Governor Jennifer Granholm for a while with a little bit of local media fanfare. It is indeed very easy to put too much hope into this Google move. Michigan's economy rides heavily on automobiles. It will take no less than that industry's revival to lift up the state. There are a lot of science, technology and research can be done around that industry. High-tech doesn't have to be life science if the Republican controlled state legislature simply does not have the vision to invest money in that. It is amazing to see that California invest huge sums into stem cell research and renewable energy while Michigan can't seem to get out of survival mode.

I am also contemplating moving to a different state. Leaving this town where the kids are born and grow up won't be easy. However, what have kept us here for years are the small college town life and the good public schools. Now the Republicans are cutting fundings to education because of the state's budget crisis, I fear that they will sink the state further.

Well, I'll see if I am really back to blog more.