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Read This Article and You’ll Know More About China and Taiwan than Trump Does

Good article on the background of the relationship between China, Taiwan, and the US in today’s New York Times:

“…The disagreement dates to 1927, when civil war broke out in the Republic of China. The war culminated in Communist revolutionaries, led by Mao Zedong, mostly defeating China’s Nationalist government in 1949.

But the Nationalist leaders fled to Taiwan, at that time a region of China, which their forces still controlled. Though fighting eventually stopped, both sides continued to claim all of China. The Taiwan-based government considered mainland China to be controlled by illegitimate Communist rebels. The Beijing-based government considered Taiwan a breakaway province.


In this sense, the civil war was never fully resolved. Thus, Taiwan’s formal name is still the Republic of China. Mainland China — controlled by the Communist government in Beijing — is called the People’s Republic of China…”

There is a lot more; enough for even me to understand why Trump should have deferred the phone call to the State Department.  Or even have taken State Department and intelligence briefings altogether.  It is one thing to not know you’re making a mistake, especially when starting a new job.  It is reckless to refuse all of the resources available to learn the situation; only to ignore them.

Something else.  Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has a bit on one of the behind-the-curtain players in this mess, a Republican foreign policy bigwig named Stephen Yates. Apparently Yates was behind the idea for Trump to take the call, poking his finger in the collective eye of Chinese government.

Back in 1999, conservatives and the incoming Bushies labeled the anti-nuclear treaty between North Korea and the rest of the world “appeasement”. What were their problems with exchanging aid for shutting down a rogue nuclear program?  Basically take the same set of complaints conservatives and Trump have with the current Iranian nuclear treaty and go back 17 years. Stephen Yates (along with his boss, VP Dick Cheney) was instrumental in creating the political ground to abandon the treaty.  They were successful, and not long after the West stopped sending food and fuel oil, North Korea restarted and completed their nuclear weapons program.  Clearly, Yates is a bomb-thrower when it comes to East Asian foreign policy.

As far as yesterday’s call, Yates now says he was not a part. But he is in favor of challenging the Chinese, this time using Taiwan as a proxy.  I’ll let Josh take it home from here:

“…That is where I fear and believe we are with Trump. Not everything in foreign policy is sacred. But here we have an impulsive and ignorant man whose comfort zone is aggression surrounded by advisors with dangerous ideas. His instinctive aggression makes many of their most dangerous ideas possible; and their ideological formulations give his actions a rationale and logic that transcends psychological impulses and the anger of the moment. Even President Bush had a coterie of more Realist-minded and cautious advisors to balance out the hotheads. They lost most of the key debates – especially in the first term. But they provided a restraining counter-balance in numerous debates.
At present there is no one like that around Trump at all.”

Tiger Woods is Back. But is He BACK?


I’m watching the third round of the 2016 Hero World Challenge. Tiger Woods, back from over 425 days off, has risen to 4-under today from a opening round 73 (1 over).  Eldrick is playing his brains out.  He looks relaxed.  His swing is effortless. Everything looks and feels wonderful.

And then the commentators start talking.  To a fair amount of them, this is the “second coming” of the Baby Jeebus of golf.  And it’s boring already.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tiger Woods.  As a golfer, he has been great to watch. As an African-American golfer, he’s been a source of pride.  I’m glad to see him doing so well.

But I want to see him play more before I say, he’s BACK.  Because there is a difference.

I want to see him play enough tournaments to go through a cycle of playing good, playing like shite, then figuring it out to play well again. Playing through that cycle, to me, is a better path to follow. I think playing enough to beat back one cycle of adversity is a better way to check the 360-degrees of one’s golf game.

Tiger is back. I can’t wait until he’s BACK again.

New BLUE1647 series wants to help local businesses better utilize their data

From Built In, January 29, 2016

What would your neighborhood corner store or dry cleaner look like if it took full advantage of the data available to it?

CivicBLUE 1647, a data education project based out of Pilsen’s BLUE1647 , is now accepting registration for its CivicBLUE Curriculum, a 9-week series of seminars and labs.

The series, which is provided free of charge by the civic-minded technology center and co-working space, teaches local businesspeople and nonprofits practical data skills.

The goal is to help participants make better use of open data sources as well as their own organizations’ data, and show them how to leverage data to grow their businesses and improve delivery of nonprofit services.

“The Curriculum is a fulfillment of one of our goals, which is to start an ongoing conversation between technologists and the community,” said program director Sebastian James in a statement. “There is a lot of knowledge and experience about data and technology that can easily be passed on to business and social entrepreneurs. CivicBLUE wants to use the Curriculum as a conduit for the community to learn and use as a catalyst for innovation.”

Starting with a “Data 101” course on February 11, the course and workshop series will cover a number of topics ranging from using spreadsheets to mining data, using social media, researching public opinion and ensuring data security.

The curriculum was developed in collaboration with Microsoft and Accenture. Courses will take place at BLUE1647’s Blue Island location from 7 to 9 p.m., but will be live streamed to other BLUE 1647 locations.

The Curriculum series is part of a broad portfolio of initiatives by the organization, which strives to foster greater diversity in the tech community. Its 1919: Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship Initiative provides mentorship, networking opportunities, and workshops to its participants completely free of charge. Other offerings include Latina Girls Code, a programming bootcamp for girls ages 7–17, and a Minecraft Coding Camp that teaches Java to children ages 7–12.

Late last year, BLUE1647, which was founded in 2013, launched a new business incubator in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, which is home to 55 local businesses and is providing advanced IT training for youth and adults in partnership with Microsoft and Cisco. It also has a center in Lawndale, as well as two centers in St. Louis.