Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ai Weiwei Released from Detention

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

The artist Ai Weiwei made a brief statement to reporters outside his home on Thursday in Beijing.

BEIJING — After 80 days held without charge, China’s most voluble government critic, the artist Ai Weiwei, emerged from detention late Wednesday night, thanked reporters for their concern and then did something almost unimaginable — he refused to say anything more.
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It is too soon to tell what kind of restrictions Mr. Ai might face on his ability to work, socialize or communicate with the outside world. Any impulse to speak out might also be tempered by the knowledge that three of his associates — a designer, an accountant and one of his assistants — remain in detention as part of the financial inquiry that his family says his groundless.

Even as they celebrated his release on Thursday, some human rights advocates said they feared the government might have successfully muzzled one of the nation’s most renownedvoices of conscience.

“A political power can easily silence an individual,” said Pu Zhiqiang, a rights lawyer in Beijing. “But in doing so, it also shows its fear and lack of confidence. And it also shows to the world the failings of China’s legal system.”

Mia Li contributed research.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture?

Creating Culture
Our best response to the world is to make something of it.

I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I'm afraid so. Why aren't we known as cultivators—people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren't we known as creators—people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?

The simple truth is that in the mainstream of culture, cultivation and creativity are the postures that confer legitimacy for the other gestures. People who consider themselves stewards of culture, guardians of what is best in a neighborhood, an institution, or a field of cultural practice gain the respect of their peers. Even more so, those who go beyond being mere custodians to creating new cultural goods are the ones who have the world's attention. Indeed, those who have cultivated and created are precisely the ones who have the legitimacy to condemn—whose denunciations, rare and carefully chosen, carry outsize weight. Cultivators and creators are the ones who are invited to critique and whose critiques are often the most telling and fruitful.

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Possibly the most insulting and degrading remark ever made

UPDATED Walmart Statements Regarding Supreme Court Ruling in Dukes Case

“Clearly today’s ruling in the Dukes case has important legal implications but just as important, it pulls the rug out from under the accusations made against Walmart over the last 10 years. Every female associate and every customer can feel even better about the company as a result of today’s decision.

"Walmart has a long history of providing advancement opportunities for our female associates and over the years we have made tremendous strides in developing women throughout the organization. In fact, we have created specific training and mentoring programs to help prepare women for opportunities at all levels in our company. As a result of our efforts, Walmart is often recognized as a great place for women to work.”

--Gisel Ruiz, Executive Vice President, People, Walmart U.S.

"Every female associate and every customer can feel even better about the company as a result of today’s decision."

This is by far the most insulting and degrading remark ever made by a corporate mouth-piece.  It is further laughable that this person sites "Executive Vice President, People" as their title - as if People were just anther department like Kitchen&Bath or Outdoors.  

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Three Simple Rules in Life

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