Death by China

This video should be required viewing. It shows how since joining the WTO, China has uses currency manipulation, protectionism, lack of ethics vis-a-vis workers’ rights and pollution to gain economic dominance. It proves, as the book Poorly Made in China does, that China is outmaneuvering the world when it comes to business competition.

Narrated by Martin Sheen and based on Peter Narravo’s book by the same title, the documentary clearly explains how China’s strategy to decimate its environment costing thousands of lives by allowing rampant pollution, how its currency manipulation works as a tariff, and how they have no plan to open their markets to foreign companies. Instead their game is to steal as much intellectual property they can so that they can just make their own cars, machines, electronics, etc. using the know-how of other countries to move forward.

The experts interviewed have great credentials and their insights line up with what I saw and heard when living in China. The pollution and lack of ethics are not exaggerated. Yes, most of the people I knew were nice, but there is a glaring lack of ethics and the good people were afraid of standing up for what is right. And it’s true that the government’s philosophy is completely contrary to Enlightenment principles.

Once they are on top there will be no catching them. The film shines like on what we should do now.

The Way


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Emilio Estevez directs his father Martin Sheen in The Way, a touching movie about a father whose son dies suddenly as he just began a pilgrimage along El Camino a.k.a. the Way of St James (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Spain. Sheen plays Tom, a grieving suburban father, who is called to Spain to pick up his son’s remains.

Rather than return immediately to the US, Tom feels called to complete his son’s trek and sets out along El Camino planning to distribute his son’s ashes along the way. As the story unfolds, grouchy, taciturn Tom ponders his relationship with is son and meets three other hikers who join him, much to his own displeasure.

The photography is breathtaking and made me want to head out on this 500 mile journey. It seems like a rather jolly endeavor for most. According to the film, you walk along gentle slopes with beautiful vistas; you sleep in hostels, some of which were rather stark and grimy, but you feast on terrific food and wine. Not a bad life, huh?

The central story involved Tom reconciling with his dead son and therein lies the weakness of the film. By the end of the film, I had no better understanding of Daniel, the son, than I did at the start. Tom’s no chatterbox and deflects most questions about his son. When he speaks of his son, it’s in generalities. Daniel becomes a kind of Every Son, because all we know was he rebelled by ending his doctorate studies and taking to the road against his father’s will. Since Daniel was nearly 40 and wasn’t asking his father for anything, this isn’t so bad. Had Tom opened up more with his companions, perhaps the story would have been stronger.

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Still El Camino seems to be the star of the film and The Way is a pleasant enough way to experience it.

Some Favorite Irish Actors

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let me honor my favorite Irish actors and actresses including those of Irish descent.

  1. Gabriel Byrne of In Treatment. I am slowing getting through my DVDs for Season 2 and am loving the intense, intelligent drama
  2. John Mahoney, who’s in season 2 of In Treatment, and is a memberof Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. I’ve seen him in several plays there including. Mahoney is great on stage, the big screen or the idiot box. A piece of trivia, when I attended an event for the Steppenwolf, Mahoney pulled out the names of raffle winners and as he did this I had this strong feeling that I’d win. I did. So we shook hands when he gave me my prize.
  3. Meg Ryan has always been a favorite. When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail are among the best romantic comedies ever made.
  4. Aidan Quinn. He was great in Legends of the Fall and many other films. He’s also from Steppenwolf, though I’ve never seen him on stage.
  5. Moira Kelly from The West Wing and she was one of the best things on One Tree Hill, a guilty pleasure of mine. She also starred with Martin Sheen in Entertaining Angels, a biopic of Dorothy Day’s Life.
  6. Sean Connery. He’s got the tough, wise man down. Never saw him as James Bond, though I’m sure he did well. (Nothing wrong with that series just haven’t gotten to it. So little time, so many movies.)
  7. Glee’s Jane Lynch, her sarcasm is just delicious and she’s also great in Best in Show one of my favorite comedy films.
  8. The Glee Project’s Damian McGinty exudes “Erin Go Bragh” not that I’m thrilled with the lazy stereotyped role he’s got on Glee. Still glad this Celtic Thunder perfomer won the reality show competition.
  9. Bonnie Hunt, who I so wish was on television at least weekly. She’s both funny and smart and I hope someone gives her lots of money to make whatever film or show she’d like.
  10. Denis Leary plays up his Irish heritage in his humor and in Rescue Me, a show I found compelling, yet too graphic for my tastes. So I recommend it although I just can’t watch it myself.
  11. Martin Sheen‘s role as Jeb Bartlett has forever earned him a place in my heart. The West Wing was such a great show. Many’s the time I wish he was President.
  12. Diane Keaton‘s career from The Godfather to Annie Hall to Something’s Gotta Give her work always carries and imprint of wit and dignity.

As for Irish American actors, the list goes on and on.