The repressive communist government of North Korea follows just three people on its official Twitter account: the country of Vietnam, a propaganda outlet in Pyongyang and, for some mysterious reason, a 25-year-old businessman from Texas named Jimmy Dushku.
Dushku, for his part, says he has no idea why he’s such a favorite of Kim Jong-un’s digital arm, according to a report in Texas Monthly. The businessman got rich at a young age and has investments all over the world. (Residential properties in Texas, construction projects in Europe, mining and farming in South America, etc.) But, of course, he’s never done business in North Korea, though he does have an interest in Korean culture.
“I used to think maybe they don’t even know how to use Twitter the appropriate way,” he explains.
North Korea’s account went live in 2010 and now has around 13,000 followers. When Dushku noticed he was being followed, he tweeted a friendly message in Korean: “Have a nice day, my friend.”
That turned out to be a big mistake. Kids, remember never to play nice with brutal dictators on social media. The Texas Monthly explains what happened next:
Dushku’s account became flooded with heated messages, including accusations of being a spy for the Korean Worker’s Party and graphic death threats. Most of the threats came from South Koreans and Korean Americans, according to Suebsaeng.
Dushku has avoided the spotlight after becoming concerned for his safety. He rarely gives interviews to Western media outlets. “Jimmy Dushku” isn’t even his real name, according to the New York Daily News. A representative for Dushku said that he has been using that name online for several years, but would not reveal his real name. That is perhaps wise considering all the vitriol aimed at him online.
Dushku apparently has a standing invitation to visit North Korea. Somehow, we doubt he’ll take them up on the offer.
Filipinos now biggest Asian group in California
California’s Filipino population grew by 34 percent over the last decade, according to a report in the U.S. edition of the Filipino newspaper Inquirer. With a population of 1.5 million, they are now the largest Asian minority in the state. Chinese Americans number 1.4 million. California has 23 distinct Asian minority groups.
Asians in the state have a faster growth rate than both Latinos, who are projected to become the state’s majority ethnic group in 2014, and whites, whose population is declining. Around 55 percent of Filipino Americans were actually born in the Philippines, and some 19 percent have only limited fluency in English. Many members of the community graduate high school, but college is another story:
Filipinos are relatively well educated. Up to 93 percent of Filipinos have a high school diploma or higher, and 46 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. But along with Laotian, Cambodian and Pakistanis, young Filipinos have the lowest University of California admission rates.
While California’s per capita income is at $29,188 and the Asian per capita income is $29, 841 Filipino per capita income lags at $26,971. Indians have the highest Asian per capita earnings at $40,303. White per capita income is $42,052. However, the Filipino community is next only to Indians in having the least poor and least low-income members among Asian groups in the state—6 percent of Filipinos are poor and 17 percent low-income.
Florida school faces questions over global expansion
Facing budget cuts and limited state funding, Florida International University is hoping to boost revenues with online classes aimed at students from Latin America and, eventually China. The Miami Herald reports that FIU is teaming up with a firm from Dallas, Academic Partnerships, which the newspaper calls “an experienced, successful (and politically connected) player in the fast-growing Internet education industry.”
Academic Partnerships has connections to former Governor Jeb Bush and the school apparently did not inform faculty of the company’s involvement in the new program, called “FIU Global.” That’s led some to grow suspicious, according to the Herald.
“I’m very concerned with FIU Global and our relationship with Academic Partnerships,” history Associate Professor Brian Peterson told FIU President Mark Rosenberg at a recent faculty meeting. “It seems like political pressure is being put on FIU to do this thing.”
Academic Partnership’s founder, Randy Best, is a close friend of Bush, who serves on the board. The former governor appears on a promotional video on the company’s website. “This is a time of incredible change,” Bush tells viewers. “Great opportunity, but also great peril for universities that don’t want to change.”
The school did not employ a competitive bidding process, leading to complaints from many faculty members, though it is not required to by law. Academic Partnerships is already in charge of recruiting students for FIU’s MBA program, though it has met its target goal for new students only once. It currently has contracts with 40 other state universities across the country.
Academic Partnerships could not, however, overcome faculty concerns at the University of Toledo when the school’s administrators tried to hire the company.
“Some of our alumni said, ‘Don’t cheapen our degrees,’” one professor explained. “We just said no, and provided evidence as to why we didn’t think this was a good product for us.”