Moyers, Chinese Education, China Airborne

I get on a plane at Dulles Airport* with the main question concerning David Petraeus being the what/when/where about Benghazi. And I get off in Seattle to find ... good lord!

So let me buy time with a programming note.


1) Yesterday morning, in New York, I had a genuinely wonderful time talking with Bill Moyers on his Moyers & Company show about what our election showed about America, and what China's current transition of leadership said about them (and about us-and-them). The show airs on various stations starting this evening. Here is a preview link; here is a schedule of broadcast times in different cites. Update: Here is the segment online. Thanks to reader MG of Hawaii.

To illustrate why I thought this was particularly interesting: We were talking about whether Barack Obama's re-election, in greatly increasing the probability that Obamacare will go fully into effect, will have a political effect similar to that of Medicare's. By which I mean: Medicare was bitterly controversial before it was enacted; now, it's practically part of the Constitution.

As I was making this point, I realized: sitting three feet away from me is someone who was a key member of Lyndon Johnson's White House during the very effort to get Medicare enacted! So I go to ask him what that was like -- some portion of that discussion was on air, and some afterwards, which I'll describe at some point.

2) I also did an interview this week with Steven Roy Goodman, about the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese education system - and what Americans should and should not learn from it. The YouTube version is here.

3) The transition-of-power underway in China is bringing to the fore many of the tensions and uncertainties in the country that I tried to deal with in my book China Airborne. I have meant for two months to, but am only now getting around to, express my appreciation for the kind of review that writers remember and appreciate, by Ian Johnson in the New York Review of Books. It's here. (Oops, I see that it's behind a paywall -- which I didn't know because I am a subscriber. But, hey, subscribe to them too.)

In my heap of posts-almost-ready-for-posting, along with extra installments of Foxconn pics and the readers' defenses of the Atlas Shrugged guy, are more on the strengths and weaknesses of China as I went into them in my book and as we're seeing them now. (Plus the right Chinese title for the book.) They're all on the list.
* Where I had another of my experiences with TSA pre✓™. I am still so disoriented that I'll have to discuss it later.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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