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Hold Up, James Jay Lee [Updated]

September 1st, 2010 | 3 comments | Posted by Diana

Note: This post has been updated from its original version.

Radical environmentalist James Jay Lee held up hostages at gunpoint in the Discovery Channel building in Maryland today for several hours in order to make a statement about their programming. He had a long-documented history of protesting Discovery’s material.





At roughly 5pm EST, Lee, considered armed and dangerous, was shot by police in order to free the hostages. It was reported that the hostages were safe and Lee in custody.

Soon after, word was released that Lee was in fact dead from his injuries.

Sigh. Guess summer is officially over. Rough day back on the job.

[NY Daily News: Radical Environmentalist Gunman James Jay Lee Holds Hostages At Discovery Channel, May Have Bomb]
[Post Now: Discovery Suspect James Lee In Custody]

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Bachmann Tea Party Signs

November 6th, 2009 | 11 comments | Posted by Diana

HuffPo has culled together the best-spelled worst of the worst protest signs from Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party yesterday, which was designed to “scare members of Congress” into voting against healthcare reform.

Our top three:

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Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Bachmann Tea Party Signs

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Whitten Up

October 26th, 2009 | 2 comments | Posted by Diana

Larry Whitten, a Texan and former marine in his sixties, purchased a failing hotel in Taos, New Mexico, and revamped it as the Whitten Inn.

Trouble in Taos

Whitten and his "whitened" Inn. Just talk American, why dontcha!

Quickly, he showed the staff there was a new sheriff in town. And this new sheriff was looking at his largely Latino staff as too spicy for future clientele. Soon, orders for employees to Anglicize their names (from “Marcos” to “Mark,” for example) were enforced. These were joined by demands to only speak English, a measure meant to prevent staff members for talking shit about Whitten behind his back. And those who did not respond well to these new rules were fired.

Whitten’s reasoning for altering just “ethnic” first names? From AP:

“I’m not doing it for any reason other than for the satisfaction of my guests, because people calling from all over America don’t know the Spanish accents or the Spanish culture or Spanish anything.”

Oh, of course! Because a tourist headed to TAOS, NEW MEXICO–which was established in the 18th century by Spaniards and currently boasts a Hispanic/Latino population of over 54%–should most certainly expect an experience free of all things Spanish, including names/accents/culture/architecture/blood in every inch of soil! Why should they have to deal with that shit? Especially when they’re forking out a cool $49 for their luxury suite??

In reaction, the people of Taos have quickly protested, picketed, and publicly slammed Whitten in the media, calling him an ignorant racist. I applaud ‘em, by golly, but think it could be even simpler than that.

Whitten may or may not be racist, but for absolute certain: he is a REALLY DUMB FUCK, and moreover, a BAD BUSINESSMAN.

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BIRTHDAY CELEBRASIAN!

June 18th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

People have been lighting candles lately for Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who turns 64 on Friday, but, sadly, they haven’t been birthday candles. Because Suu Kyi, who has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, should have been freed by now. But in May, the Myanmar government found yet another bullshit reason to keep her captive, and presently, she’s on trial for “subversion.”


Show your support for Suu Kyi at 64forsuu.com. Leave a 64-word message for her by her birthday tomorrow, and help give her the birthday wish she so deserves.

[64forsuu.com]

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Remembering Tiananmen

June 4th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

It’s been 20 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing.

There were 7 weeks of nonviolent student protest leading up to it.

The exact number of people killed in Tiananmen Square on and around June 4, 1989 is unknown. The Chinese Red Cross initially gave an estimate of 2,600 dead that they later denied.

20 years ago, I sat in my friend Patti’s kitchen, looking at this Time magazine cover:


We had been cooing over Patti’s new baby sister, who was the 9th child in her family.

10 years before Tiananmen, in 1979, China instituted its one-child policy.

In my one year of living in China, exactly one person spoke to me about what happened in Tiananmen. The story he told me was a secondhand account.


There was only one “Tank Man.” But there were 4 photographers who captured him stepping in front of those armored combat vehicles.

A recent NY Times story maintains that the Tiananmen Square protests are regarded by Chinese students today as “almost a historical blip,” although it is not as hard to get information about them as it used to be. 7 out of the 8 Peking University students interviewed for the article were able to download a banned documentary on the protests and watch it in their dorm rooms, for example.

5 years after I sat in Patti’s kitchen looking at pictures of the massacre, I played frisbee in Tiananmen Square.

The Chinese government estimated in 2000 that its one-child policy had prevented 250 million births, which was the population of the United States in 1989.

The Chinese government’s official death figure from Tiananmen was 241 dead (including soldiers), 7,000 wounded.

The one detail I remember vividly from the secondhand account of Tiananmen I heard was that the person whose story it was survived by hiding in a tree from the Chinese military for days. How many days, I don’t know for sure.

20 years later, the fate of Tank Man still remains unknown.

[Frontline: Tiananmen timeline]
[NY Times: Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen]

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F*ck Your Mother Ship, F*ck Censorship

March 12th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Remember when you first learned to cuss and how great that felt? I can still recall the exact conversation I had with my friend Carolyn when we were 10, when we brainstormed every bad word we knew, and what I did after. I hopped on my red Schwinn bicycle–that I had nicknamed “Little Red Corvette”–and rode around my small-town neighborhood, which was surrounded by piney woods where you could often find petrified wood and, on occasion, an armadillo, yelling “fuck fuck fuck” into the wind. It was like a door being opened to a secret universe, a first taste of freedom on the tongue.

I didn’t learn how to properly curse in Mandarin until I went to China to teach English after college. One of my students, “Doug”–they were all given Anglo names freshman year–didn’t care a whit about the writing class I taught, but he did want to know how to throw down in English, and in exchange, he taught me a few insulting Chinese phrases. The worst was “Cao ni ma” or “Fuck your mother,” which Doug advised me never to use (and I still haven’t).

In January of this year, a video about the “cao ni ma,” or “grass-mud horse,” an alpaca-like creature, accompanied by an excruciatingly catchy “It’s a Small World”-type children’s song appeared on a Chinese web page and found its way onto YouTube. Of course the word for grass-mud horse has different tonal inflections than the insult, but the effect is the same:

But this is China we’re talking about, so the video isn’t just funny, punny wordplay. And since its appearance on the internet, the grass-mud horse has become a national symbol of resistance to authority and censorship. The NY Times reported Wednesday:

The grass-mud horse is an example of something that, in China’s authoritarian system, passes as subversive behavior. Conceived as an impish protest against censorship, the foul-named little horse has not merely made government censors look ridiculous, although it has surely done that.

It has also raised real questions about China’s ability to stanch the flow of information over the Internet — a project on which the Chinese government already has expended untold riches, and written countless software algorithms to weed deviant thought from the world’s largest cyber-community.

I also love the double entendre of “Fuck your mother.” Fuck your mother, Fuck your mother country, Fuck your mother ship. So what better time is there for me to finally bust out my nastiest Mandarin?

Hey Chinese government!

Cao ni ma!

Ahhh. The first taste of freedom on the tongue.

[NY Times: "A Dirty Pun Tweaks China’s Online Censors"]

UPDATE: The original video is removed from YouTube.

Thanks, Bobby!

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Pierre Berge

March 6th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana
Rabbit and Head bronze statues, stolen from a Chinese
palace by British and French troops during the second Opium
War in 1860, and auctioned by Christie’s last week

Media outlets swirled this week with the story of a Chinese art dealer’s phony $40-million bid for two Chinese zodiac status, included in Christie’s recent auction of the late Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection.

The dealer, Cai Mingchao, placed an anonymous phone bid for the bronze rabbit and head sculptures and later refused to pay–as an act of patriotism. The pieces were originally part of a 12-statue set–all abducted by British and French troops in 1860–and millions of dollars have already been spent by Chinese philanthropists to bring five of them back to the country.

These actions were not sanctioned by the Chinese government, according to both Cai and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

In the aftermath of this scandal, the statues’ owner, Pierre Berge, has decided to hold on to the statues.

From the LA Times:

Saint Laurent’s former business partner and life companion, Pierre Berge, was quoted in French newspapers Tuesday as saying he would keep the heads and put them on either side of a Picasso that also did not sell at last week’s auction.

“The heads were with me and they will return and we will continue to live together,” said Berge, a longtime critic of the Chinese government’s human rights policy. “If this was a maneuver so that the Chinese government could buy them back at a cheaper price, it won’t work.”

We’re obviously no fans of the Chinese government’s human rights policy. But China’s people are more than their government, and punishing the people of China–by withholding their country’s looted history–seems like a most unfortunate instance of wire-crossing to us.

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Michelle Malkin on the Swastika

February 18th, 2009 | 1 comment | Posted by Jen


What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing, if you believe Michelle Malkin, who posed for it at an anti-stimulus rally in Denver this week. If you have a problem with the swastika, you’re just being “hypersensitive,” according to her.

So quit your bitchin’, you emo, touchy-feely liberals. It’s just a swastika. It never hurt nobody!

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Thanks, Jasmine!

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Slumdog Protestasian

January 23rd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Yesterday, several dozen Mumbai slum residents protested outside of the home of actor Anil Kapoor–who plays the game show host in Slumdog Millionaire with the most delightfully grandiose elocution–because they object to the film’s name.

“I am poor, but don’t call me slumdog,” said Rekha Dhamji, 18. “I don’t want to be referred to as a dog,” she said.


Okay. Fair enough. And while y’all are at it, would you mind protesting the name of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which would have been more aptly titled, The Curious Case of a Big Budget Hollywood Movie Without a Story, or The Curious Case of a Pointless Waste of Two-and-a-Half Hours of My Life that I Can’t Get Back, or The Curious Case of Horrible CG Effects that Made the Child-Version of Button Look Like an Old, Wrinkly Dick? As well as the fact that it received more Oscar noms than “Don’t Call Me” Slumdog Millionaire?

That would be swell! Thanks.

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DNC Updasian: In Search of Crap

August 26th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

I spent quite a lot of time yesterday looking for tchotchkes to document my visit to the DNC, and between the McCain flip-flops and Obama plushies, there certainly was a lot of worthless shit!

Today, though, my goal was to get a sighting of the infamous “crap cannon,” a tool that local police apparently have on deck to shoot at protesters (Has tazing already gone out of style? When did that happen?) to stop them in their peace-disturbing tracks.

The crap cannon holds an almost mystical quality out there in the ether. Nobody really seems to know what it looks like, or, for that matter if it truly exists. But I believe it does exist. And I want to see it.

Ergo, in pursuit of the cannon I’ve lingered (perhaps suspiciously) past all of the many, many, many police officers trolling the streets of downtown Denver, eying their fancy accoutrement (which include large, plastic gadgets that look like a hybrid of handcuffs and a twist-tie, as well as those out-of-style tazers, and some unidentified black objects that look they could be crap cannons, but y’know, I just can’t be sure) as they eye me for bombs.

So far, I’ve been too nervous to ask anybody: “Hey, do you have a crap cannon? Can I take a picture of it for my blog?” Even more so after witnessing one of the single most frightening visions I’ve ever seen this afternoon:


Ignore the rad biker; that’s my new pal Brian. But next to the black Camry you’ll see the DNC’s flack jacketed brigade, which travels along the streets on the exterior of a fast-moving SUV–like puppies hanging off a bitch’s teat–all day long.

Holy shitakes!

I’m pretty sure the SUV doesn’t have people inside.

I’m pretty sure that inside is a crap cannon.

THE SEARCH CONTINUES. I’M SCARED BUT WILL NOT REST UNTIL I FIND THAT PIECE OF CRAP CANNON.

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Thanks, Brian!

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Grannies and Labor Camps Go Together Like Ramma Lamma Lamma Ka Dinga Da Dinga Dong

August 22nd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen
Wu Dianyuan and Wang Xiuying


I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “grandma,” I don’t think about knitting needles or freshly-baked cookies, I think “labor camp.” That’s because my great-grandmother spent her last years, almost up to her death, in a Chinese labor camp, or “re-education camp,” depending on your semantic inclinations.

You see, my great-grandma was a corrupt landowner, and when the Communists took over China in 1949, her privileged old ass needed to be re-educated. Her re-education included having her ancestral home taken away from her, hard labor, and torture, er, I mean, teaching. Unlike other members of my family, great-grandma couldn’t leave the country for Taiwan or Hong Kong because her feet were bound. (Sucks for her!) But I’m pretty sure that once she was re-educated, the government showed great-grandma how even those bound feet were made for walkin’. Her re-education package also included being rendered blind, which seems fitting for an old lady who couldn’t “see” the error of her disgusting, capitalist ways and who never saw her husband, children, or grandchildren again after ’49, save for one daughter.

I thought the era of putting grandmothers in labor camps was over, but then I heard about Beijing grannies Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, getting sentenced to one year in a re-education camp for filing applications to hold a legal protest. Before the Olympics, Chinese officials promised to allow protests in three city parks so long as protesters filed an application first. So far, none of the 77 applications have been approved. Wu and Wang, who are lifelong friends, applied five times to protest the fact that they have not received compensation for the demolition of their homes, bulldozed seven years ago to make room for new developments.

Like seasoned criminals, these two agitators, who both walk with the assistance of a cane, deny any wrongdoing:

What crime have we committed?” said Wang, as the two lifetime friends let out a burst of laughter.

“We never committed any crime when we were young. Now we are so old we can’t even speak clearly. How can we possibly commit a crime?“

Wang says that the two will keep “disturbing public order” (the official charge) and she’ll even refuse to serve her labor camp sentence.

Clearly, these two grey-haired revolutionaries are in desperate need of re-education. Daring to legally protest in a country that said a few weeks ago it would permit legal protests? That practically sounds like a threat to overthrow the government! Chinese officials should put their old anarchic asses in a labor camp before those biddies start a trend! Make them see the error of their ways until Wang, who is blind in one eye, and Wu are cleansed of their putrid, Westernized ideals! If they have to be made completely blind and crippled–like my great-grandmother–to learn their lesson, sucks for them!

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Bitch, Please.

July 30th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In the current issue of Vogue, Zhang Ziyi says that she doesn’t understand why people have been protesting the Olympics.

“I don’t see why people are so negative. The games are about friendship,” she says. “I’m Chinese and I’m proud of my country.”

Listen, lady. I’m Chinese and I’m muthafuckin proud of my mother ship, too. A lot of people like me are. But just because I’m juiced for the Olympics and ready to lock myself in my house for the next month doesn’t mean I don’t understand why people are “negative.” Yeah, it hurts me when people conflate the Chinese government with the people, and I’d like to think that if your average American lived one day in your average Chinese’s shoes, fighting their way onto a public bus, shitting in a dirty public squat toilet, watching every word they say, they would get why the Olympics matter so much to China. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Chinese government does a lot of shady shit. The Olympic Games are putting China on center stage and, for better AND for worse, China’s detractors. Don’t act like you don’t know the score, Zhang Ziyi. That’s plain stupid. And stupid, girl, ain’t very Chinese.

[via HuffPo]

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