Daily archives: December 19th, 2007

Two Chinese Teachers Sentenced to Death


The BBC reports that two Chinese teachers have been sentenced to death for forcing more than 20 young girls — including their own students — into prostitution.

Zhao Qingmei and her husband, Chi Yao, were convicted of running a child-sex ring in the southern Guizhou province.

The girls, aged between 11 and 17, were taken to local hostels and reportedly told that their families would be poisoned if they refused to have sex.

And later:

Bijie Intermediate Court handed down the death sentences last Friday after hearing how the couple forced 23 girls into prostitution between March and June 2006.

Six of the victims were under the age of 14.

The court was told that the child-sex ring made 32,350 yuan.

Chi’s sentence was suspended for two years, and is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

The couple have until 24 December to appeal against the sentences.


Did Oprah Ruin It For Obama?

Did Oprah ruin it for Obama?

I wondered that this evening after I heard a friend remark that Oprah had brought the wrong kind of attention to Obama’s campaign.  Too many people see Oprah as “Hollywood” or removed from the real world, and Obama should not have accepted her help on the campaign trail, according to my friend.  He was also concerned that Oprah turned Obama into “the Black candidate”, where before Barack had succeeded in defining himself simply as a candidate.  The concern is that far too many whites will recoil now from Barack because he’s identifying too closely with Oprah.

Election politics always turn my stomach.

Meanwhile, as of today’s writing, John Edwards leads in Iowa — without Oprah.

Cheney On Fire

I know, it’s too easy.

The Washington Post reports:

A two-alarm fire broke out on the White House grounds Wednesday morning, sending 1,000 federal workers scurrying for safety and damaging Vice President Dick Cheney’s ceremonial suite in the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the West Wing.

Mr. Cheney was not there when the fire started about 9:15 a.m.; he and President Bush were in the White House Situation Room for an intelligence briefing. The two were informed of the blaze when they returned to the Oval Office, and later went outside together to shake the hands of firefighters who had responded.

And later:

The building’s centerpiece is the second-floor ceremonial office of the vice president, with two Belgian black marble fireplaces and wooden floors designed in a geometric pattern of mahogany, white maple and cherry. The office was used by 16 secretaries of the Navy beginning in 1879. In 1929, after a Christmas Eve fire damaged the West Wing, President Herbert Hoover moved in.

It’s too easy. Cheney was burning old CIA tapes. Cheney was incinerating files. Cheney was cleaning house, setting fire to all the “real” tapes out of Guantanamo.

The conspiracy theorist in me really believes that Dick just had someone torch the joint.  But the realist knows somewhere inside that the fire started for other reasons.

Or did it?

It’s far too easy.