Steve Kelman on Politics, Culture, and Life

I am Steve Kelman, Harvard Kennedy School professor. I do research on improving government performance and I am interested in China. This blog will reprint many of my Facebook posts in these areas.

10.06.2021

Fox at it again with vaccine refusers

Guess what? Fox has an interview this morning with two New York teachers who have refused to be vaccinated. What a surprise!

Trump: Withdraw Times and Post Pulitzer prizes

Trump has issued a demand to the Pulitzer Prize selection committee that the awards to The New York Times and Washington Post for their reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign be rescinded. Jews have a word for this, chutzpah.

Dialogue with a friend

Me: Another plug for Taiwan food products. For a number of years I have eaten, though only occasionally, bamboo shoots marinated in a mild chili oil. Just opened a new package I had bought at my supermarket and discovered it is made in Taiwan. Yummy.

Friend: Past years' trips to ROC (aka/ Taiwan or Free China) are my own personally favorite memories of subjects culinary, et al. Yet Steve, were you likewise impressed that nowhere in East Asia is dessert anything but lame? Is it cultural or economic or sociDessert is not part of the Chinese cultural tradition. China has a large number of sweet cakes that people eat on various occasions. In China, I don't remember Taiwan, people usually eat orange slices for dessert

Me: Dessert is not part of the Chinese cultural tradition. China has a large number of sweet cakes that people eat on various occasions. In China, I don't remember Taiwan, people usually eat orange slices for dessert.

Government run for the benefit of its employees?

Government Executive has a long article today on agency plans to go back to in person work. They seem unaggressive, to say the least. At the Kennedy school, we are back to in person classes and meetings, with a weekly requirement for covid tests. I don't have a good idea what is happening in corporate America. I worry a little bit that  this slowness to bring people back to the office may reflect simply making life easier for employees rather than furthering the mission. What do people think?

John Pomfret, China Lessons

I am finishing this book by the American Washington Post reporter John Pomfret.  China refers at one point to china's "strange jumble of repression and freedom." That sounds right to me, and more subtle than the views of many.

The book is filled with fascinating China anecdotes, I recommend people to read it

One I see right now is that Japan gave China since the 1970s many hundreds of millions of dollars of loans and contributions as a sort of reparations for Japanese treatment of Japan during World War II. China has never publicly recognized these contributions. However, after years of complaints from the Japanese government, China put up a plaque acknowledging that the Beijing International airport was built with Japanese help. However, the plaque was placed in the administrative wing of the airport, where no travelers could see it. So gracious!

He reports that many Chinese teenagers say that their favorite hobby is sleeping. He also reports in his new book that around the mid nineties people started dangling pictures of Mao from the rearview window on their car. I have seen these myself in China.