Tiger Woods Wins PGA Player Award, Loses Tag Heuer Watch Deal

The relentless wave of bad news about Tiger Woods took a brief respite Friday when his fellow professional golfers voted him the player of the year.  This was the 10th time in 13 years as a professional that Woods has won the award, a testament to his domination of the sport. Coming back from knee surgery this year, Woods won six PGA Tour events, captured the FedEx cup, won the most money and posted the lowest average score.

However, the retreat of Woods sponsors continues. Swiss luxury watch maker Tag Heuer distanced itself from the golfer Friday. "The partnership with Tiger Woods will continue but we will downscale the use of his image in certain markets for a period of time, depending on his decision about returning to professional golf," Tag Heuer said in a statement released Friday. "We will continue to actively support the Tiger Woods Foundation."

The company, which had initially supported Woods, was paying him $2 million annually, according to the Wall Street Journal. Friday's announcement comes one week after Gillette announced a reduction of its advertising with the 33-year-old Woods and Accenture, the global consulting firm, ended its six-year relationship with him last week.

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Racism in China

When a mixed-race contestant appeared on China's equivalent of American idol, she drew racist attacks on the Internet and triggered a national debate about what it means to be Chinese. Lou Jing, a 20-year-old daughter of a Chinese mother and an African-American father she has not met, considers herself 100 percent Chinese. As many as 20,000 African traders may be living in Guangzhou, China's manufacturing center. They recently protested again police harassment. But, the New York Times reports, as China expands its role in the world, many Chinese are not ready for a country that is increasingly diverse.

China has long been a melting pot, says Yan Sun, a professor of political science at City University of New York, pointing out that frequent invasion from the east and north has melded many ethnic groups into the Chinese people of today. Sun notes that many of China's imperial dynasties were not from the Han people, the dominant ethnic group in China, and that Mongols and Manchus, nomadic tribes, once ruled all of China.

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Racial prejudice was suppressed under Mao in the name of solidarity in the struggle against Western imperialism, says Ho-fung Hung of Indiana University. But negative attitudes toward dark-skinned people reemerged in protests and racial violence against African students in the months leading up to Tiananmen in 1989. Hung says the "Han chauvinism" that Mao warned against has resurfaced in recent years as interactions and frictions with other ethnic groups and races occur.

Dongyang Blachford, who teaches at the University of Regina in Canada, says Han Chinese who have lived outside China often return with a new awareness of the casual nature of racism in China. If China is to play the larger role it craves on the world stage, it will have to learn about rainbow coalitions.

Quadruplets Accepted To Yale

Yale University has accepted two brothers and two sisters - quadruplets - from a single family of color. Ray, Martina, Carol and Kenneth Crouch of Danbury, Connecticut are the first set of quadruplets to earn acceptance to Yale in recent memory. The four are among 730 offered admission to next year's freshman class. They would graduate in 2014.

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The Crouches are 18 years old and students at Danbury (CT) High School where they have distinguished themselves.  Ken was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and is standout sprinter. Carol is a school leader. Ray is captain of the cross-country team. Martina has been honored for her writing.

Their mother was born in Nigeria and has been a stay-at-home mom while she studies for a master's degree in social work. Their father works for Connecticut's department of mental health. While admission to Yale is need-blind, the Crouches worry that they could run up large debts if all four decided to attend the same university. They have applied to 30 other colleges. We'll bet that Yale will do the right thing.

Grading Barack Obama

Now that Democrats in the U.S. Senate have lined up the 60th vote for their health care bill, passage of the landmark legislation may well be the final exam of the year for President Barack Obama. The president gave the pundits an opening to grade him when he gave himself a B+ in a television interview. Pundits will be giving the President report cards in their year-end wrap-ups and they are not likely to agree with his self-assessment.

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While passage of the health bill would be quite an achievement, the discordant ending of the climate talks in Copenhagen (as Dayo Opolade reports) and the rest of his foreign agenda may drag the President's grades down.

In the Financial Times of London, columnist Edward Luce gives Obama a solid B.  Luce praises the President for restoring diplomacy to its rightful place. Luce also notes that Obama's conciliatory tone "has cut a lot of ground from under those who always hate America."

The 2009 Pew survey of global attitudes showed large jumps in the support of the view that "the US will do the right thing in world affairs" in 24 of 25 countries surveyed. "By any standards that is a revolution in global opinion," says Luce. However, Luce chides him for the failure to bring Iran to the negotiating and the botched efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table. One thing the Prez can be sure of, there will be another round of exams in 2010.