Thursday, April 20, 2006


Omigod. The fanfare, the flags, the marines. First time I've seen Bush arrive to "Hail to the Chief" instead of "Stars and Stripes." It's the arrival of Hu Jintao.

They're playing a waltz as Bush and Hu review the troops. The marines are wearing sabres. There's a unit of redcoats complete with tricorns countermarching with their fifes and drums and Yankee Doodle. There's Bush squinting into the sun, Hu not squinting. Maybe his glasses have non-glare lenses.

There's loud protesting in the background. I think in Chinese. Now Bush is really scowling. Yes, there's a woman with an Asian photographer. And there's a security guard taking her away. Didn't take MSNBC long to get this up. CNN reports the ceremony, and the presence of protesters, but not the gist of the woman's shouting. (edit - twenty minutes later CNN has a hyperlink to a full story about the protester.) Fox News has the story, complete with a hyperlink to a search for Falun Gong, the group the woman is shouting about. It's worth noting that the first non-sponsored link in the search is to wikipedia. Likewise, the C-SPAN link to Hu's biography is to wikipedia.

Hu is reading his speech, as did Bush, pausing frequently for the translator. "Win-win outcomes" were mentioned at least twice. It took me a minute to figure it out 'cause it sounded more like "wing-wing." "Respect each other as equals..." That might be a challenge

Oh, damn, there it is, Stars and Stripes as Bush exits.

I have to say, if this were anyone but Bush I'd be optimistic. I can't imagine Bush's "my way or the highway" method working in this situation (or any other, frankly.) Then there's the inevitable mangling of the language that makes it hard to respect what he's saying. One can only hope that if Bush has to say anything unscripted, Hu doesn't speak english and the translator is generous.

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