AP Hearts Peng Liyuan, Amazing Race Apologizes

What the heck is wrong with the AP? They put out puff pieces on Peng Liyuan, China’s first lady, that start like this: Glamorous new first lady Peng Liyuan has emerged as a Chinese diplomatic star, charming audiences and cutting a distinct profile. . .

Chinese First Lady, Madame Peng Liyuan, left,, waves as she is accompanied by Tanzanian First Lady, Salma Kikwete, right, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam
Chinese First Lady, Madame Peng Liyuan, left,, waves as she is accompanied by Tanzanian First Lady, Salma Kikwete, right, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam

On a similar subject, Phil Keoghan apologized for the Amazing Race’s Vietnam segment filmed near a crashed B-52. The show required that the contestants sing a pro-Communist song: Vietnam Communist Party is glorious. The light is guiding us to victory. . .

Xi Jinping Kiboshes the Dim Sum

Bad news for all of you in the Chinese military, the diktat has cancelled those tasty banquets y’all like so much. No more kung pow chicken, no more pot-stickers:

China has banned senior military officers from holding alcohol- fuelled banquets or from staying in luxury hotels when on work trips in the latest move by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping to fight corruption, state media reported on Saturday.

Receptions will also no longer feature welcome banners, red carpets, flowers, honour guards, performances or souvenirs, the powerful Central Military Commission, which Xi oversees, has decreed, major newspapers reported.

Officers will have to cut back on both the number and length of inspection tours, overseas visits, meetings and reports, according to the new rules.

Speakers at meetings should avoid “empty talk”, while the use of vehicles equipped with sirens will be “rigorously controlled during official visits in order to prevent public disturbances”.

You win some and you dim sum. Only if you’re PRC military, you will not dim sum for free.

Heavy-handed Communists

It is easy to forget the freedoms we enjoy in the United States, especially those offered by the First Amendment. In Vietnam, a country that practices soft communism, a capitalist hybrid, three bloggers found themselves in hot water:

Prosecutors in Vietnam have charged three well-know bloggers with spreading anti-government propaganda.

Lawyer Ha Huy Son said Monday that his client Nguyen Van Hai and two others, Phan Thanh Hai and Ta Phong Tan, have been charged. The state-run newspaper Ho Chi Minh City Law said the three are accused of posting 421 articles on their blogs that “distorted and opposed the State.”

All three belong to the outlawed “Free Journalists Club.”

British businessman Neil Heywood

I support the bloggers, naturally. Even though I don’t know the content of their writing. Of course, communist countries are not known for their soft hand in dealing with opposition:

The British businessman whose murder has sparked political upheaval in China was poisoned after he threatened to expose a plan by a Chinese leader’s wife to move money abroad, two sources with knowledge of the police investigation said.

It was the first time a specific motive has been revealed for Neil Heywood’s murder last November, a death which ended Chinese leader Bo Xilai’s hopes of emerging as a top central leader and threw off balance the Communist Party’s looming leadership succession.

Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, asked Heywood late last year to move a large sum of money abroad, and she became outraged when he demanded a larger cut of the money than she had expected due to the size of the transaction, the sources said.

Moving the People’s money abroad? Sounds very communist, no?

A Pittsburgh Steeler Has Communist Blood?

Are you ready for the super-big NFL game looming between the Steelers and the Broncos? Unfortunately for the terrible toweled, one of the Steelers’ stars is going to sit out this Sunday:

Ryan Clark sat down in Mike Tomlin’s office and did something a little out of character for the normally verbose Pittsburgh Steelers safety. He listened.

And when Tomlin told Clark he couldn’t play in Sunday’s wild card game at Denver because of a sickle-cell trait that becomes aggravated when playing at higher elevations, Clark just shrugged his shoulders and nodded.

Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers Safety

Ryan had some blood-work done this week and it yielded surprising results. I had a spy in the lab and got some advance intel. Fresh from under the microscope, here’s an actual picture of the bloody slide:

Ryan Clark’s blood, Sickle Cell Trait

Just kidding, obviously. The sickle cell trait is serious:

People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait. That’s compared to people who inherit one sickle cell gene from each parent, who may get sickle cell anemia, the most severe form of sickle cell disease.

People with the trait usually do not have the symptoms of sickle cell disease, but they might experience complications of the disease, such as pain crises, which occur when the sickled cell becomes stuck in the blood vessel, causing painful swelling. In rare cases, people with the trait can face harm when they’re dehydrated, in an atmosphere with increased pressure – like when scuba diving – or when they are in areas with high altitude and low oxygen.

Stay healthy, Ryan. Since it is not quite the Super Bowl, but still a very important game, fans (well, one fan, me) have taken to calling it the Super Soy Sauce Bowl. You know, one of these tiny things:

Go Broncs!

The USS John Murtha and the USS Cesar Chavez

I try to adress all things Navy without stepping over that imaginary line that active-duty should not cross. This is a delicate topic, but we have two ships slated to hit the fleet with controversy over their names. CenTexTim, a Texas blogger and military vet, sent me this email:

Hey NavyOne –

I’d be interested in your thoughts regarding the recent brouhaha about the naming of Navy ships.

What initially brought this to my attention was the naming of a San Antonio-class ship after an individual (John Murtha).

I live near San Antonio, and there was a fair amount of local publicity about the USS San Antonio.

USS San Antonio, LPD-17

I always thought the theme of ship names was consistent within a given class, so the discrepancy caught my eye.

The Chavez thing seems to be another break with tradition. (Lewis and Clark class ships being named for explorers.)

It’s not so much the controversy about Chavez and Murtha (although I fail to see what either of them have done to deserve the honor of having an United States warship named after them) as it is the break with long-standing naval tradition.


The positives of naming the vessels after Chavez and Murtha is that both served in the military. Yet despite this fact, each has glaring downsides.

Cesar Chavez, Navy Sailor

Cesar Chavez recounted his time in the Navy as the worst two years of my life, which is nothing to speak of his probable Communist ties.

BLACKFIVE covered the subject:

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California suggested that Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta would be a better choice (than Chavez) for the ship.

Peralta was an immigrant from Mexico that earned his citizenship while in the Marine Corps, and was killed in Iraq in 2004 when he covered a grenade with his body in order to shield his comrades nearby.

The Conservative Hispanic Society even has a Facebook page:

  • Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza No!! He is the reason my dad left Cali and moved us tho Houston. He stopped working as a labor farm worker soon after Ceasar started unoinizing. He said C C was a mafioso who only looked out for his pockets and didn’t care about the people. My dad’s words.
    Cesar Chavez
  • Daniel Cardenas My grandfather worked in the fields in California and he did not much like Cesar Chavez either.
  • Elizabeth Raquel Sanchez Cesar Chavez considered his time in the Navy the worst time of his life! He may be a hero to farm workers, but he is not deserving of this prestigious honor!! This is a disgrace and an outrage!

As for John Murtha:

Mr. Mabus was also wrong to name the amphibious ship LPD-26 after the late Rep. John P. Murtha, breaking with the tradition of naming San Antonio class ships after U.S. cities.

Although Murtha was a Marine, he was criticized by veterans groups for calling the U.S. Marines facing charges for killing 24 Iraqis in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005 “cold blooded killers.”

Almost all the charges were later dropped. When Murtha died in 2010, an extensive federal corruption investigation was underway against him.

His name is not fit to carry our heroes to war.

John Murtha with Code Pink (the folks who vandalized the USMC Recruiting Center in Berkeley, CA)

I am not going to comment more extensively on either gentlemen other than to stress how important a ship’s name is. A friend of mine served aboard the USS Robert Stethem:

Robert Dean Stethem (November 17, 1961 – June 15, 1985) was a United States Navy Seabee diver who was killed by Hezbollah militants during thehijacking of the commercial airliner he was aboard: TWA Flight 847. His Navy rating was Steel Worker Second Class (SW2).

And he told me of running into SeaBees who tried to buy his command ballcap off his head. So naming a ship is a highly personal affair. Neither Murtha nor Chavez appear to be the best choice. What do you think?

USS Robert Stethem, DDG-63