Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

China’s milk scandal is a political temblor

January 5, 2009

China’s milk scandal horrifies the public and undermines the authority of a one-party system with a hand in everything.
Selling contaminated baby formula is a heinous enough crime to shock a nation, but China’s leaders know they have a dangerously destabilizing political crisis on their hands.

The Seattle Times

The scandal goes to the heart of a covenant between any authoritarian regime and those who surrender freedom. They cede power with the belief, however wishful, they will be better off. Those in power promise to protect them from all manner of hazards, foreign and domestic.

The unraveling of China’s milk scandal has horrified the country. Last week, the chairwoman of a diary company pleaded guilty to producing and selling fake or substandard products. Milk products contaminated with an additive that produces kidney stones has killed six babies and sickened another 300,000.

Company officials knew milk products adulterated with melamine were making infants ill months before the scandal broke in September.

China’s one-party system has opened the economy, but the ties between commerce and government are closely held. Any indictment by public opinion goes to the heart of the legitimacy of power in Beijing.

Chinese authorities cannot maintain the illusion of control with broad failures to deliver. The killer earthquake in May near Chengdu, in Sichuan Provence, stirred outrage on two fronts. Authorities were sharply criticized for not getting emergency supplies to people. A second wave of anger came over grossly inadequate building standards, especially for schools that became death traps.

The milk scandal and trial is a variation on the theme of credibility and competence. As described by reporter Barbara Demick, in The Los Angeles Times:

“The case is turning into a showdown between the Chinese government’s opaque legal system and a consumer culture that increasingly clamors for information and accountability.”

The Chinese are turning to Web sites and texting to vent their frustrations and try to stay updated.

China’s problems compound. The milk scandal is already complicating international trade, with the discovery of contaminated products. Foreign governments, with their own constituencies, talk aloud about their ability to rely on Chinese authorities and inspectors.

The milk scandal is a grievous personal tragedy and a deep political temblor.

China: Free Speech, Poisoned Food, Dead Children


China: Free Speech, Poisoned Food, Dead Children

January 4, 2009

Five parents whose children were sickened by tainted milk have been released by Chinese police after being detained for a day in an apparent move to prevent them from meeting with journalists, a lawyer said Saturday.

The parents were unhappy about a compensation plan made public this week, saying the amounts were too low and the plan was formulated without any input from families.

A group of about 10 parents planned to meet with journalists Friday. But five of the parents, including organizer Zhao Lianhai, were detained Thursday and held at a convention center, said Beijing attorney Xu Zhiyong.

They were released Friday evening after other parents who were not detained managed to meet with a few journalists, said Xu, who is part of a legal team representing 63 families with sickened children.

A newborn baby holds onto his mother's finger at a hospital ... 
A newborn baby holds onto his mother’s finger at a hospital in Beijing. Chinese police have released five parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted milk, a day after detaining them to prevent them holding a press conference, their lawyer has told AFP.(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

Zhao, who has a 3-year-old child who fell ill but has since recovered, organized other parents and created a Web site about the contamination, said Li Fangping, another lawyer for some of the parents.

Zhao could not be reached for comment.

Police did not give a specific reason for the detention, Xu said, but he thought it was to prevent the meeting with reporters.

The Communist government, which seeks to control what the public sees and hears, frequently suppresses comments about disasters. Phones in the Beijing police information department rang unanswered Saturday, a public holiday.

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China Serves Hard to Swallow Poison Food Trial for Western “Consumption”

Addressing The Ills of the Black Family — Obama Has A Chance

December 6, 2008

In the nearly half-century in which we have gone from George Wallace to Barack Obama, America has another, less hopeful story to tell about racial progress, one that may be even harder to reverse.

In 1965, a young assistant secretary of labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan stumbled upon data that showed a rise in the number of black single mothers. As Moynihan wrote in a now-famous report for the Johnson administration, especially troubling was that the growth in illegitimacy, as it was universally called then, coincided with a decline in black male unemployment. Strangely, black men were joining the labor force more, but they were marrying — and fathering — less.

There were other puzzling facts. In 1950, at the height of the Jim Crow era and despite the shattering legacy of slavery, the great majority of black children — an estimated 85 percent — were born to their two married parents. Just 15 years later, there seemed to be no obvious reason that that would change. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, legal barriers to equality were falling. The black middle class had grown substantially, and the first five years of the 1960s had produced 7 million new jobs. Yet 24 percent of black mothers were then bypassing marriage. Moynihan wrote later that he, like everyone else in the policy business, had assumed that “economic conditions determine social conditions.” Now it seemed, “what everyone knew was evidently not so.”

President-elect Barack Obama, right, with his daughter Malia, ... 
President-elect Barack Obama, right, with his daughter Malia, 10, wait to greet people at a food bank at St. Columbanus Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By Kay Hymowitz
The Washington Post

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We at Peace and Freedom salute Bill Cosby for his outspoken remarks on Black society and culture….

As recently as July 1, Cosby hurled himself back into the hot seat by yet again openly criticizing the black community while alongside Jesse Jackson at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition annual conference.

In response to the charge that he is airing African American’s dirty laundry out in the open, Cosby answered critics by saying, “Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2;30 every day, it’s cursing and calling each other n**** as they’re walking up and down the street.”

“They can’t read, they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going no where.”

Above:  The Rev. Jesse Jackson (right) is side by side with Bill Cosby as the entertainer urges the black community to work harder to help their children build better lives and a better future. (AP)

But it was the comedian’s first public outburst that really got everyone talking.

On May 17, 2004, at a NAACP celebration that marked the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in schools, 66-year-old Bill Cosby made pointed comments about the way black youth dress, citing their oversized clothes as “ridiculous.” He also attacked lower class blacks for not speaking proper English, not raising their kids properly — by instilling corrupt and materialist-based values — and naming them silly names.

His bottom line: black people have to take personal responsibility and own up to the fact that (part of) the reason we have not advanced further is because of squandered opportunities.

From the front page to the Op-Ed section, the African-American press has been filled with commentary on the actor and philanthropist’s tirades. The past month has seen Cosby’s words rehashed and dissected, with opinions ranging from full on agreement to flat out denial.

Following Cosby’s lead, some commentators worry that blacks have not done enough to improve their situation.

Above from New America Media, by Danielle Worthy, Posted: Apr 03, 2005


Bill Cosby has long bristled at suggestions that his pioneering NBC comedy, “The Cosby Show,” was somehow unrealistic in its portrayal of a black upper-middle-class family.

So with the Obama family set to take up residence in the White House, Cosby reflected on those statements last week with a chuckle. “For all those people who said they didn’t know any black people like the Huxtables,” quipped Cosby in a phone interview, “all I can say is, ‘Will you watch the show now?’ ”

The entertainer and comedian, who was promoting Tuesday’s release of the 25th anniversary box set of “The Cosby Show,” also admitted to being pleased with observations about the role of the so-called “Huxtable factor” in Obama’s victory.

Bill Cosby’s TV family

Said Karl Rove, a former Bush strategist turned Fox News commentator, on election night: “We’ve had an African American first family for many years in different forms. When ‘The Cosby Show’ was on, that was America’s family. It wasn’t a black family. It was America’s family.”

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