About brobrubel

Retired journalist. I've reported and edited for newspaper in Florida, Kentucky, New York, Brussels and London. I also spent a few years as a government flack in Pennsylvania. This blog contains random thoughts on politics, world affairs and entertainment

The new symbol of protests

Pro-Democracy advocates in Hong Kong are protesting China’s rule that says any candidate for office in the city has to be approved by Beijing.

(Your eyes glaze over)

OK, it probably doesn’t mean much to you because if you have the average American sense of geography, China is “out there” somewhere around Africa or Brazil, for all you know. I won’t try to bore you with why that matters.

But authorities are teargassing the protesters. And all the protesters are doing is this:

HONGKONG-CHINA-POLITICS-DEMOCRACYDoes that remind you of anything?

handsYes, these are the people of Ferguson, Missouri, protesting the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a cop. And in response, they were teargassed by the authorities. So authoritarian oppression is being met with the same response in different cultures on opposite sides of the globe, right down to the masks on the faces.

And now that I have your attention, here’s why the protests in Hong Kong matter:

Is Ebola out of control?

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States was reported today in Texas. Time to pay attention (Via Vox).

And yes, it did not come in through Central American refugee children as your friends at Fox News were fear mongering a few weeks ago. It came from Africa, where it always has been.

If it’s in America that means it’s in other places we don’t know about yet. But for now, here’s your world Ebola map.

ebola_casecountrycount_v2.0

Ted-DY, Ted-DY, Ted-DY

Teddy Bridgewater had a great day in his first start as the Minnesota Viking’s quarterback:

Teddy Bridgewater passed for 317 yards and a key two-point conversion before leaving with an ankle injury, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Atlanta Falcons 41-28 on Sunday.

The rookie was 19 for 30 with no turnovers and ran five times for 27 yards and a score in his first career start.

He hurt his ankle late in the game, but tests were negative and he looks good to go Thursday, when the Vikings meet the Green Bay Packers.

I will be tuned into CBS.

There she is, so where’s her scholarship?

A couple of years ago, I had a post on the Miss America pageant, where I was sort of perturbed about the amount of money the pageant said it awarded to the winner.

I’m sure there are lovely prizes, but here’s what gets me. There’s a scholarship involved, and according to news reports, Miss America’s scholarship prize is  $50,000. I know that $50,000 is a lot of money, but as the parent of a child in college, I also know that $50,000 isn’t going to cover costs over the four years it takes to graduate.

It seems like a minor complaint, but let’s break it down in terms of how the real world works.

If your kid is going to a state school and you’re a resident of the state, you probably pay $15,000 a year. That’s considered cheap for a college education, and a Miss America scholarship won’t carry you through graduation. If you’re going to a state school as an out-of-state resident, the cost will run you about $25,000 a year, so being Miss America gets you through your sophomore year. If you go to a private school, you’re talking $40,000 a year, so maybe you make it through freshman year and part of one semester. And if you go to an Ivy, you’re talking in excess of $50,000 a year, so maybe you make it through freshman year, and after that, you’re on your own.

About a week ago, John Oliver took a look at the Miss America pageant, and he’s sort of perturbed about the amount of money the pageant said it awarded overall:

I made my calculations on the back of an envelope. He called the IRS. That was impressive.

And he’s right about Donald Trump.