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thoughtsnips
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
 
Re: Inzi, Shoaib wanted to boycott Tests over fixing charges - Newindpress.com

There was definitely no match-fixing. Watch how the Pak players pump themselves up in this Pepsi ad featuring the Pak cricket team...

Pak Pepsi Ad


 
Inzi, Shoaib wanted to boycott Tests over fixing charges - Newindpress.com
An interesting followup to Carl's posting the other day abt the match.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
 
FindLaw's Writ - Cassel: Is Playing Paintball and Firing Legal Guns Terrorism?
I agree with Cassel that this conviction is weak, and also stupid. An appeal is almost sure to overturn the verdict. The problem, however, is deeper.

Pre-emption as a doctrine cannot be rationally expected to apply only to states, especially when it comes to the question of terrorism, which obviously involved non-state actors.

Thus, when the US administration applies such a doctrine to Iraq, it becomes only rational that the same can be applied to three American citizens in Virgina - the justification remains the same. Add to this the unconstitutional holding of Jose Padilla, u have a pretty dangerous prospect.

Interestingly, this case involved India and Kashmir problem too.

 
Re:In my opinion, the greatest thing about America is innovation

Here's another good article in today's ATimes.

US complicit in its own decline

 
Re: Poll Results on emerging leaders

Rahul Gandhi is out for the simple reason that he is clinically retarded. But more interestingly, you will (hopefully) soon read news of the money he accepted from the KGB while he was "studying" in the USA. This bit of news made a very brief appearance a couple of years ago when a book (in Russian) was published, and it will likely resurface pretty soon.



 
Re:'Priyanka's personality itself is enough':

I hope good sense prevails and the people of Mumbai North elect Ram Naik and don't fall for Govinda. Let him stick to movies and his brand of senseless cinema.

 
'Priyanka's personality itself is enough': "Priyanka doesn't even need to speak. Her personality is enough, which speaks a lot about her."

Our slavish addiction to personalities over policies is clear from this statement. I have nothing against actors entering the poll fray, IF they bring something to the table more than this kind of stupid belief that personality-can-solve-problems idea. Govinda is just another celebrity who knows nothing of what he will do in the parliament. Sample this interview... what seems to be his view on the direction the country needs to take? What do we need to become a better nation? His prescription is simple - three spoons of Rahul, Priyanka, Jyotiraditya, Minlind Deora, and a dash of blessings from God and elders!

Monday, March 29, 2004
 
Who has the future?

Poll Results on emerging leaders

I am not very familiar with any of these guys - they all emerged after I left India five years (!) ago. However, from what I read, I think Varun sounds like a decent bloke (full disclosure: I voted for him). Of course, his father has a despicable record. But I do not believe he should be punished for that. The fact that eminent anti-emergency leaders like George Fernandes, Vajpayee and Advani have accepted is a good sign that he is capable of transcending that barrier. He sounds like he has that tinge of idealism in him that is essential for political leadership. He also does not mind the grime that grassroots work throws at you. He has worked in him mothers campaigns. And at 24, he is still a baby!

Rahul.... well, I have an open mind. But of course, the burden of proof is more on him to make me see why he would be a good guy to lead - being the son of Rajiv Gandhi does not, AT ALL, suffice.

Jyotiraditya, Sachin Pilot - well, I do not know much abt them. Except that they had a Draupadi birth - they came into politics fully grown out of the fire of a family tragedy. That, in my sight, is a minus (Rahul also carries this burden).

Omar Abdullah. I must say that I dislike his father as much as I dislike Karunakaran. These are people who are absolutely irresponsible... very pure slime. However, Omar comes across as an interesting person. He has sustained the party - saved it from demise, at least. He has established himself in Kashmiri politics as an important figure thru some hard work. Interestingly, like Naveen Patnaik, he has pulled it all off though he did not even know the local language when he came in. If he can clean up the Abdullah name, he certainly has a future.

Some might think that it is sad that only scions are present in the list. Take heart. These are guys who are way too young. Prospective leaders of the generation after next - my generation (saying it feels good). There is a LOT of time for new leaders to emerge for that generation.

 
The New Republic Online: Porn Apart

A very interesting idea. In a related development, I came across an article on some company that provides some one privacy guarantees while taking the credit card number to check the age. If you qualify, they give u an ID, which can be used in participating sites in lieu of ur credit card for age verification.

 
Re:In my opinion, the greatest thing about America is innovation

Ramki, Rachit,
This is a common statement, and it is true. But think about it a little and it seems that technological "innovation" is not such a "great" thing per se, in the longer run. In fact I think its a pretty extensive topic.

Chicago school-type economists have this faith in this bird called "innovation" that will swoop down and rescue the American advantage everytime others catch up and start to steal America's beef. So far it has worked, but I think things are reaching a head.

Having grown amidst terrific resource availability, the American culture has been one of untrammelled exploitation, of nature, and sadly also of humans in the earlier days (this was the case with the West in general during colonial times). But as the population has increased, and in a globalizing environment where it is the norm for a freer flow of capital and resources, that environment has changed a little. From the resource scarcity and population point of view, you can compare the economic cultures of Europe (softer, socialistic) with America (still gung ho about laissez faire). Within America also it is possible to contrast the densely populated California with the others.

Apart from population to resources ratio, I think the globalized environment aspect will play a greater role. For instance, I wonder when people say that American companies have increased their productivity like never before, howmuch of those productivity gains are local and howmuch due to tapping into more productive foreign resources. It is debatable. Of course the same applies in reverse to those foreign countries, but I think the primary lever in America's hands is non-economic and geo-strategic (militarized national power).

In any case, can you suggest what sort of innovation will help prevent the potential harm to American society (I'm not using the word "economy" here) now? I've said it before: it seems to me that America's standard of living will have to lower itself, and the better way to do it is to open up to renewed immigration. Otherwise we will see more Iraqs.

Meanwhile, here's an Asian perspective. India's doubts over Us strategic partnership

 
I, Antichrist? - I'm Jewish. I'm male. I'm alive. By Jerry Falwell's standards, that puts me on the short-list of candidates. By Jeffrey Goldberg
This would be comedy - if only it did not have potentially tragic consequences. What's worse, people have been believing this kind of BS for two millenia!!

 
Re:In my opinion, the greatest thing about America is innovation

Ramki, you said it.

 
BBC NEWS | Technology | Simputer for poor goes on sale
In my opinion, the greatest thing about America is innovation. They have needs - some say ever increasing needs. But they innovate to satiate those needs. I think that is the only way a country can break out of its limitations. India may be on her way.

 
Sehwag's triple hundred

Congratulations to Sehwag on being the first Indian cricketer to score 300+ in a test innings ! Good job ! I think the first match will end in a draw.

Sunday, March 28, 2004
 
Gay? No Marriage License Here. Straight? Ditto.

Equality, Now!! :-))

 
Op-Ed Columnist: Awaking to a Dream

I had titled my post about the previous Thomas Friedman article "Poor Mr.Friedman dreams on." That is precisely what he has conceded in his column today on NYT :-) .

I can relate to what Mr.Friedman says. I feel the same despair that he does. Not a day goes, when I do not wonder (with heavy worry) just what kind of world we would leave for our children (if we do leave them a world at all). However, it is important that we realize that dreams mean something only till we empowered to do something, and when we are so empowered, we actually do something. In the free world, the best we could do to turn our dreams into reality is to create a leadership that strives to realize the dreams that we carry around.

It is this Bush has failed to do - miserably. All he has created are nightmares. Nightmares about terrorism, about Iraq, about the economy, about the environment.

That is why he needs to go. Now.

Saturday, March 27, 2004
 
A Kerry Team, A Clinton Touch
This is a very important piece. For sometime now, Carl and Rachit have been a bit skeptical of Kerry's economic policies. Hope this alleviates ur worries. :)

Friday, March 26, 2004
 
Hehe...

Jacob Levy on Volokh Conspiracy:
QUOTE
[Jacob Levy, 3/26/2004 06:13:14 AM] (See posts that link to this one)
Thought on watching the Democratic Unity DInner on C-SPAN: Note to self:

Never, never, never, not even with an epically hagiographic video of one's own life as an introduction, be the guy who has to give a speech after Bill Clinton.
UNQUOTE


 
Senate Passes Bill On Harm To Fetuses (washingtonpost.com)

"It was the second narrowly focused initiative by antiabortion forces to pass in the past two years, fulfilling a strategy aimed at incremental gains in the absence of a congressional majority to ban abortion outright."

This bill is criticized by instinctive pro-choice supporters. However, it may not be as bas as it looks. While Feinstein alternative would have been a much better version.

I found the arguments in favor of this kind of a law forwarded by Prof. Sherry Colb pretty convincing.

Prof. Jack Balkin clears up some misconceptions and fears that pro-choice folks might have.

 
Re: On 9/11 Panel, Bob Kerrey Seconds the Emotion (washingtonpost.com)

Yes, this is indeed the Kerrey who was speculated to be on Kerry's VP list. As a fmr Nebraska Senator, and a popular fmr Governor, Kerrey could influence the voters in the Western states like Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. He is also a Vietnam veteran, a fmr Navy SEAL and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. He lost a leg in Vietnam. He has also served on the Senate Intelligence committee.

One reason for him to be unpopular among the participants here: he served on the Agriculture Commitee, and has been an ardent supporter of farm subsidies.

 
Newindpress.com: Bangarappa Jr quits BJP
After the Karunakaran clan in Kerala, I revile this junta the most - they represent the very essence of brash, self-serving politics. Good that both families have now split - might help destroy their influence.

Thursday, March 25, 2004
 
Re:On 9/11 Panel, Bob Kerrey Seconds the Emotion (washingtonpost.com)

Is this the same guy who was on some Kerry Veep lists?



 
One Nation, Under Hallmark, Indivisible - Is the God of the Pledge of Allegiance a deity or a greeting card? By Dahlia Lithwick
A very good description of the day in the court. Of course, I could not rein in my glee around where Rehquist got it back from Newdow. :)

 
On 9/11 Panel, Bob Kerrey Seconds the Emotion (washingtonpost.com)

 
Re:Re:Clarke - Hitting too close to home

Ramki, the first AQ attack took place under the Clinton administration. His admin was in-charge when the whole plot was hatched. Anyone could ask why more decisive action was not taken then? Bush could always argue that he was just 8 months in office when this attack took place. Do you think any President would have attacked a foreign country in this first few months in office? Highly unlikely. To that extent the Bushies have a strong argument.

I agree that its difficult to leave 9/11 out of the debate, but Kerry is better off not playing the blame game for 9/11. Its impossible to pinpoint blame on any one entity for something like this. One of the criticisms against Bush is that he is trying to use 9/11 for political purposes. Again, Kerry would want to remain above that debate and let the media do its job. Also, Bush is currently perceived as very strong on defence. All polls show that. Do you want to attack him on his strongest point at this time by making policy speeches that could backfire? Or do you want to focus on his weak point - the economy?

Further, the 9/11 commission in its interim report has sort of indicted both Clinton and Bush administrations. Their report is out in late July. You don;t want to make 9/11 too much of a political issue and then be forced to eat dirt at a later stage. I think Kerry is better off focusing on the Iraq war and its shortcomings and not explicitly using 9/11.

Richard Clarke is a good distraction from Kerry's perspective and is saying everything that Kerry would love to hear. I see no reason why Kerry would want to get into the mess.

 
Re:Clarke - Hitting too close to home

Well, it's true that if Clarke is bubble, Kerry is much better off being at a distance. However, I do not agree that Clinton is as culpable as Bush when it comes to Al Qaeda. That is precisely the point Clarke is making.

Another note - as unfortunate as it is, I do not think this campaign can stay away from talking about 9/11. An elephant that big cannot - and should not - be ignored.

 
Op-Ed Columnist: No Vote for Al Qaeda

Poor Mr.Friedman continues to dream.

I agree with almost everything that he says - that Europe needs to understand that Al Qaeda is as much a threat to her as it is to America, Israel, India, Japan or any other non-Islamic state.

However, Mr.Friedman completely misses the point when he states that this war is between Islamist Al Qaeda and democratic states, and then proceeds to justify acts of the leaders of the democratic states blindly. Democratic states are good because the people are believed to take take decisions in good conscience with good amount of quality information. If this is violated, then democracies are no better than dictatorships - mass hysteria is no better than a single man's hysteria.

Be it Bush or Aznar, they violated this principal rule of popular democracies - that decisions are taken by leaders after legitimizing them by levelling with people, and deserve to lose. It would have been a bad day for Spain had the conservatives gotten away with it all.

The only way to put all this back together is for these countries to come together again under new leadership. The entire crop of leaders we have now - Bush, Blair, Chirac - have to lose. Let's hope that happens sooner than later.

 
ShaBot 6000

Thanks to OxBlog... this is quite funny.

In the words of its author, Ben Baruch: "ShaBot 6000 is the continuing cartoon saga of a pious Jew who purchases a robot to work as Shabbos Goy for his household. The inquisitive robot, ShaBot, decides that he is Jewish, and is therefore unable to fulfill his duties as a servant."

A sample:


More can be found here.

PS: It might help if u know some Jewish terminology.

 
Flags, Graded

As an amateur vexillologist, I loved this site. Thanks Volokh.

I thought both Indian and Pakistani flags were okay... but I always liked Nepalese, Sinhalese and Bhutanese flags.... none of them mustered good grades. Other disappointments are the American and Albanian flags. I agree with high scores for Japan and South Africa... but was horrified that Uzbekistan got only a C, while a similar pattern for Gambia made an A+!!!

 
Entrance test for class 1

This is the school I went to in Bbay. This perhaps sums up the Indian education system. Exams, exams and more exams. I don't like it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
 
Re:Clarke - Hitting too close to home

Ramki,

I disagree. I think Kerry is doing the right thing by keeping quiet about it. With allegations flying left and right, he'll probably wait and see which way the dust settles before he makes his attacks. If Clarke is descredited and successfully portrayed as a liar and opportunist, Kerry certianly would do good by staying away. Also for every finger pointed to Bush's lack of action there will be four pointing to Clinton. Also, Kerry would not want to make 9/11 a political issue.


 
Microsoft

The EU has slammed the expected fine on Microsoft. A couple of other interesting things apart from just the fine.

Microsoft will have to offer two versions of its windows software - one with the media player bundled and one without. Also, MS will have to share some of its code and open it up for competition. They are likely to appeal the case. I dunno the technical details of codes, but having an installed base, in this case, creates 'unfair' competitive advantage for MS. Maybe Ramki can throw some light on this.

Also, Red Hat, the open source software company showed better financial results on the back of the rising number of linux users.





 
India Win

Phew.. that was some scare by Moin. Anyway, we win comprehensively. This is certainly the best Indian one-day team ever. Great performance.

I dunno who'll be man of the match, but for me its Irfan Pathan.. excellent bowling..3/32 in 10 overs. Though Laxman's century was key, it was Pathan's bowling that gave us early inroads.

Other notable contribution in this game from Murali Kartik. I hope he has a good test series.

This Indian team rocks !



 
India almost there..

The Pakis are 99/6. Looks like we have it all sealed up. Go for the kill India !




 
Boston.com: What Went Wrong?
If you want to read an intense story of a Doctor's fall.

 
India's rebuff
OxBlog reports:
"In deshi news, India is rebuffing an American offer to extend Major Non-Nato Ally status to it as well as to Pakistan. Also, in the lead-up to Lok Sabha elections, BJP is running a series of adverts cataloguing the country's nationalist leaders, and then, cutting to a shot of Italian-born Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, warning ominously "and now there is a conspiracy to hand the country over to a foreigner." (BJP is also running on an India "feel-good" campaign of national pride.)"

 
William Safire: Of God and the Flag: "The justices shouldn't use the issue of standing to punt, thereby letting this divisive ruckus fester.

Certainly, I agree. This is a substantive issue. But it's a tricky issue, all the same.

Personally, I am ambivalent about it. I agree that the fact that California does not require the to student to recite the Pledge makes this less offensive. However, I think it is a wrong assumption to say that the children are capable of exercising their right to remain silent (!) when others say "under God."

However, given the circumstances, I think the Justices would, at best, certainly strike out for a moderate ruling - such as what Safire has advocated.

 
Cricket

India has scored 293 for 7. Pakis are yet to open their innings. Three things are striking about this match till now:

1. Almost all Indians (except, may be, Dravid) scored decently. Good job. Dravid should, of course, be excused.
2. Pakis have worked hard on their disastrous concessions in Extras.
3. ABV did not rush to Lahore. Good job keeping stunts at bay.

 
Clarke - Hitting too close to home

If I were Kerry, I would concentrate a lot on this. I would cry foul that Bush come clean on the intelligence failure issue. I would give a major speech in the Senate, and ask Bob Graham of Florida to second it as the Ranking Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, with Edwards, Bayh and, may be, Landrieu joining in to boot, in demanding just why 9/11 happened. I would plead with Clinton to speak up, for, when Clinton speaks, it is bound to make headlines. If it becomes clear that Bush is not really that reliable even in homeland security, he will be much more vulnerable than he is now.

However, MOST IMPORTANT of all, I would give at least two major speeches enunciating my own beliefs on the issue. Democrats cannot win by simply criticizing Bush. They should tell us just how they would do it.

 
Re: Medicare

This is definitely a campaign issue, given that seniors are a HUGE votebank in this country. And this report, if given proper exposure in the media, will surely fireup opposition to W. The problem for W in this is that he had hoped to make the 'new' medicare coverage of prescription benefits a centerpiece of his campaign. That might backfire now if Kerry goes to town showing this report, and claiming the taxcuts are the reason why Medicare is bankrupted. I can already hear the Democrats saying "I told u so."

 
Re: Medicare

Carl,

Unfortunately I don't know much about this issue. I intend doing some research on this before making a post. Pls. bear.

Thanks,


Tuesday, March 23, 2004
 
Re: Medicare

Surely a big campaign issue. Rachit, what do you think of the Canadian healthcare system? Some people are suggesting a transition to a Canadian-style system.

 
Medicare

Apparently, medicare has run into huge problems. The Trustees say it'll be bankrupt in 2019, five years before it was originally thought to erode. Kerry has been quick to accuse Bush's policies. I am yet to read the background and the facts, but will comment on it later.

Seems like another major campaign issue.

 
The 9/11 hearings

Woke up enthusiastically to watch the hearings.. but couldn't stand them beyond a point. In a nutshell, both the Clinton and the Bush administrations screwed up. And general consensus was that nothing could have prevented the tragedy from occuring.

For some reason no one sounded confident that such a tragedy could be avoided in future. Lets hope nothing untoward happens.

On Richard Clarke, John Kerry chose not to comment on his book. Maybe he wants to make sure he gets the right response first time itself so that there is no question of flip-flopping. I am also interested in seeing Clarke testify before the commission tomorrow. The Bushies got hold of Clarke's resignation letter where he praised Bush's leadership during 9/11. As I said, these guys are great at media management and very very smart. What an offensive on Clarke. I can bet that 75% of the people would think of him as some kind of a political opportunist.



 
Cricket

Heard Ganguly's statement? 'Dil Jeet liya, ab Cup bhi Jeetenge'... Saurav, you still have a few more years of cricket left in you.. leave such statements to the politicians. Another statement of his 'Jo team acha khelegi woh jeetegi'..yeah right.. I didn't know that. Btw, Javed Miandad rekindled memories of the last ball Sharjah sixer off Chetan Sharma's bowling. I can't stand him. But I guess the Pakis need a coach like him.

Apparently various Pujas and Havans during this Navratri period were conducted specifically to pray for India's win. IN some cases, pictures of the Indian cricketers accompanied pictures of the Gods. As they say, It happens only in India !

However I do believe that this Indian team could do with a little less help from God than prior Indian teams. THese guys have great talent and amazing killer instinct. My money is on India to win the fifth match. Fingers crossed.

Ps: would've been great if Vajpayee and Mush got together for the game. The Nobel peace prize was in the bag for sure.





 
Re: This n That

Hehehee....

1. Saroman, yeah, I agree. Unfortunately, Yassir ain't that photogenic.
2. Rachit was very sure too. Another of his prediction was that Bush and Atal would turn up at the fifth match... another shot at the Nobel Peace Prize.
3. Hilarious? Nah... simple question of being loyal to the funder.
4. Now I understand Kushwant Singh.

R

 
This n that

1) Sheikh Yaseen kinda looks like Saroman, the evil wizard in Lord of the Rings, na?

2) Doubt if the cricket series is fixed. But Aloo made a significant slip during the post match interview, saying that he "knew" that it would go till the 5th match. Either he said that because he didn't have anything else to say (because he's mentally retarded), or because he really "knew" something and said too much on TV (because he's mentally retarded).

3) Hilarious that their best staduim is named after Muammar Ghaddafi.

4) Some of the paki chicks in Lawhore were sweet. Catch me holding a candle at the Wagah border sometime soon.

 
Business..

Some business stuff now..

Walmart finished #1 on the Fortune 500 list yet again, followed by Exxon Mobil and GM. If someone has the entire list, could you please post it here. Also, any clues if ONGC and/or Reliance made it to the list?

The markets reacted to the Israel situation and the global security shocks and concerns are having an impact on the market. They finished at new lows for 2004 so far. I'll be carefully watching the markets for the rest of the year.

Microsoft is likely to be fined a huge sum of $613.5 million by the EU. They have about $53 billion in cash reserves so its not too bad for them. However, they will appeal but I think they will lose the appeal.

Thats abt it for the moment.





 
Middle East

Am very concerned about an escalation of violence after the killing of Sheikh Yasin. I think it will just worsen the situation and was not the smartest thing to do. The solution to this problem does not lie in killings and counter killings. Why can't they look for alternate solutions !

I hope good sense prevails on all sides.



 
Richard Clarke controversy, Hannity, Media management

Caught up with the controversy about this book. The Bushies say its politically motivated. Such books normally are. But Clarke does raise several uncomfortable questions for Bush. Perhaps the first time that Condi Rice has been confronted directly. Scott McClellan was at pains discrediting everything Clarke said. These people are really good at turning the heat on anyone who questions their abilities and basically corner them. Kerry hasnt said anything on the controversy and am waiting to hear his remarks.

One of Kerry's advisors, a guy called Michael Meehan was clobbered on Fox news (dunno why I saw it), Hannity and Colmes. Hannity was brutal in his questioning and was clearly clearly partisan. Hate it when they say its fair and balanced. If I were Kerry, I would not let Mike on any other news show. Pathetic performance by him. I think he let Hannity successfully project Kerry as a perpetual flip-flopper. A neutral person watching Fox would certainly believe it. Mr. Kerry, better get out of ur vacation soon.

Also saw Jeanne Shaheen.. again not very impressed with her performance. The Republicans clearly have much more savvier and stronger spokespersons and seem more like the BJP in that regard. The Dems need to get their media management in place, else it will be a huge task combating Bushies massive war chest coupled with their much smarter media management.



Monday, March 22, 2004
 
Re:Ganguly must open + other things..

Spoke too soon I guess. Both Zaheer and Kaif played a key role in the Indian victory. This really is a 'new' Indian team. We gotta keep the faith. There was also some usual chatter abt the match being fixed etc. Given what has happened in the past, I wont be surprised at all if it were true. I am just assuming its not true. And am all set for the 5th and final match. I have a feeling that India will win.. one of those gut feels..lets wait n watch.

Btw, the test team was announced today. No suprises, thankfully. However, I do hope that Sairaj Bahutule gets a full series some day. Also, good that Kartik was persisted with. Honestly, his career depends on this series. Remember that Pakistanis are excellent spin bowling players and Kartik & Kumble have their work cut out.

Bowlers to watch: Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain (if he plays), Kumble and Irfan Pathan.
Batsmen to watch: Inzy, Yousuf Yohana, Sachin and Dravid.

Also, Muralitharan crossed 500 wickets in test cricket. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest bowlers ever. Watching him is a delight. I am shocked that some people still doubt his bowling action. Find it downright ridiculous. Let them keep talking while Murali spins a web around the best in the world. Keep going Murali and break all records !




Saturday, March 20, 2004
 
Re: Taiwan

I think the ethnic-identity debate is either a sham calculated to highlight in bold relief the attraction of a Chinese identity, or is an anti-China gimmick that is bound to backfire for the same reason. If anything, they should highlight the difference of political cultures rather than some historical or ethnic dividing line. Is also interesting that the "pro-China" pan-blues are basing their arguments on the "pragmatic" idea that pro-independence moves will DEFINITELY incur the wrath of the middle kingdom in the form of attack. Why such certainty?

Last but not least, its also interesting that the Frenchies have been conducting naval exercises with the Chinese close to the straits. Euro geo-politics baffles me.

Friday, March 19, 2004
 
Tug-of-war for Taiwan's identity | csmonitor.com

Some background information on why the attempt on Chen Shui-bian's life is not a simple issue.

 
CNN.com - Couple arrested after 'Passion' fight - Mar 18, 2004: "'It was the dumbest thing we've ever done,' she said."

I agree. In a related note, I am going to this movie's free screening today. Will write more on that tomorrow.

 
Re: Chen Shui-bian shot at

What are the bets that the election will turn against the PRC and Shui-bian will win a second term? This is going to be a costly mistake for the pro-Chinese lobby, if not China.

 
Salman Khan: I am a man now

The title says enuf ;-)

 
Ganguly must open

Not to sound like one of the many knee-jerk reactionists but I believe that Ganguly and Tendulkar should open the innings for India in the next game. Sehwag comes one-drop and Hemang Badani should replace the out-of-form Mohd. Kaif. Zaheer should be dropped to accomodate Amit Bhandari. And I am wondering why Ramesh Powar isn't being given more overs !

 
Chen Shui-bian shot at

If PRC had anything to do with this, then I think it was totally unnecessary.

http://us.rediff.com/news/2004/mar/19taiwan.htm



 
Re: nothing gay abt India

Wow. I've been pilloried again for one remark in the entire post. That "gossip" bit wasn't the crux of my argument by any means, but you guys just had to latch on to it. Anyway, that bit was just an interesting supplement to let you know that even though this sort of thing happens, its not a big issue in India. The general public has other things to worry about right now.

I said I would stay off this issue on this board, and I broke my promise. Will try again!

 
Indian collapse in Peshawar

We just lost Rahul Dravid's wicket, writing epitaph to any residue of hopes we had of scrambling to a decent score.

Shab ba khair.

 
Why catching bin Laden is not as important as it seems

If some commentators are to be believed, when bin Laden is captured, the War on Terror will be nearly won. All the rest will be clean-up operations.

The reality is far more complex. There are two kinds of leaders - ones who build or redirect a movement around them, and those who build or re-organize them into a grassroots, confederal movement. The former is much easier to handle - take down the head, and the runt just falls apart.

However, the second one is much more difficult to take down. When u take down the leadership, the rest still covers up, and continues. This was the strategy of Gandhiji during the Civil Disobedience movement. Unfortunately for the world, bin Laden is the second kind (obnoxious as the comparison with Gandhiji sounds). Note that bin Laden did not create the biggest terrorist organization in the world - he created the biggest network, and created cooperative networks with organizations that differed with him on ideology - even some Reds were involved in deals with al Qaeda. In this case, capturing bin Laden does not do much, except possibly, demoralize, and/or infuriate, the public in Muslim world.

If it turns out that ETA elements or its breakaway factions were involved in the Madrid blasts along with al Qaeda, we know we have a huge problem at hand - besides bin Laden.

 
South Korea backs off too
Boston.com / News / World / South Korea cancels troop dispatch to northern Iraq, but says forces will still help rebuild nation


This is now turning really bad. Each one is speaking a different language, but the idea is the same - our commitment is not complete, and we could back off unilaterally. Nothing could be worse for the "War on Terror" than a public denuding of all notions of general unity and comity among States.

Thursday, March 18, 2004
 
Why I think Carl is probably be a sexual predator

There were 1.7 rapes of women by men per hour in India in 1999. That is the reported figure. That makes me suspect that Carl, if he straight, must be a sexual predator. I checked up with this social psychologist friend of mine.... I quoted those rape statistics, and that of sexual harassment at work place. She also agrees that there is a better than average chance that Carl is a sexual predator.

 
Carl,

I think you need to use more rational arguments than the one below. Sorry to say, but it sounds extremely naive, immature and frankly, ridiculous. Besides, whatever be the issue, pls don't trivialise it by relying on some cheap gossip to make your point.

"as per the gossip I got from a social-worker friend of mine. In fact, she told me these gays are dangerous predators who prey on young boys and homosexually rape them, causing immense psychological trauma."

 
Carl

I am very sorry to say this. But for some reason, u are stuck in the middle of last century when it comes to gays and gay rights.

> In fact, she told me these gays are dangerous predators who prey on young boys and homosexually rape them, causing immense psychological trauma.

Ask her to come to reality. This is the kind of bullshit that has been bandied about by people who have no real scientific study to back them up.

Moreover, just because there are rapists among heterosexuals, I cannot ask u to hide the fact that a guy sleeps with some girl. I do not see why the same should not apply to gays too.

And it is NOT a marginal issue. Suppose that there is a law that says interreligious marriage is wrong (and if my information is right, our society DID resist, and continues to have reisistance to such marriages), then instantly a couple of million marriages would be annulled, and millions of kids will be rendered into a legal limbo - essentially, bastardized. However, that would still be a very small percentage of Indian population. I wonder if Carl or any one else would feel that it is a waste of money to discuss such a hateful law is "wasteful!"

 
Will Rove be Bush's Trippi?

Sullivan is right about Rove, the man with no principles, for whom winning is all there is to it. However, I think he is swerving too much these days, thinking he can steady the campaign with the massive cash stash he has at his command. It could end up backfiring badly, if, say, the libertarians and fiscal conservatives, angered by the FMA and fiscal deficits respectively, decide to stay at home, and some one like "Ten Commandments" Roy Moore enters the fray to eat away the religious right votes. Money cannot always save a campaign. Ask Joe Trippi.

 
CNN.com - County retreats from call to ban gays - Mar 18, 2004

More than anything else, this makes me convinced that the Gay Rights movement has attained that critical mass when its opponents cannot deride its proponents, least of all, ignore them. If a place like Rhea County, famed for its still-in-medieval-age mindset, is forced to issue a mea culpa less than 24 hours after its tantrum, you know you are onto something. Way to go!

 
Re: Nothing gay about India

Ramki, Rachit,
More on this later, but here's a quick response:

1) Of course people can write about homosexuality in India...in an appropriate publication; not in a place like Asia Times where we are trying to cover political and socio-economic news and analyses from a vast geographic area. The only major article about India that day was about gays. That is odd, and seems to me to be a gimmick of a lethargic hack.

2) As a tax-paying Indian citizen, I'll be damned if I find my legislators wasting public time and money arguing about a currently marginal issue like homosexuality at this point of time. As it is a lot of time is wasted by those rogues in politicking about genuine issues.

3) Gays are not really oppressed in India. People who decide they want to do it certainly can. Most others don't give a damn, and a few may laugh at their expense. That's all. In Bangalore there are well-known gay pubs. In Hyderabad there are plenty of gay addas in the old city, as per the gossip I got from a social-worker friend of mine. In fact, she told me these gays are dangerous predators who prey on young boys and homosexually rape them, causing immense psychological trauma.

4) Rachit, so to "prove" (to certain unspecified others) that we're a "progressive nation", we should start debating homosexuality, public nudity, etc?

5) Ramki, I didn't finish reading the article on AIDS you wrote. But there is little comparison between the social threat of AIDS epidemic and debating the morality of homosexuality in India. Secondly, would be nice if you can re-format the article to be black on a white background...much gentler on the eyes.


 
Salon.com News | Poland may withdraw Iraq troops
After Spain, Poland. Remember - Poland's is the fourth largest contingent in Iraq. Add to it the fact that it is a so-called new-Europe leader.

 
US to make Pakistan non-NATO ally
I am not commenting on this right now. It's definitely troubling for India. However, I am not sure just where this is going. Let's see. I would, however, welcome takes from others.

 
Ayman al-Zawahiri captured?

There is a rumor that Ayman al-Zawahiri has been captured. Rediff quotes Musharraf as refusing to divulge if it is Zawahiri, while declaring that a 'high value target' has been cornered.

Interestingly, there seems to be a very strong corelation between the captures of Al Qaeda elements in Pakistan and visits of leaders of that country to the US or vice versa - Secretary of State, Colin Powell is in Pakistan right now.

 
Op-Ed Columnist: Axis of Appeasement

Thomas Friedman has some good points here. However, he gets it wrong at this point:
Unless President Bush dispenses with his discredited argument for the war — W.M.D. — no one will hear or listen to what I believe was always the only right argument for the war and is now the only rationale left: to depose the genocidal Saddam regime in order to partner with the Iraqi people to build a decent government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world — because it is the pathologies and humiliations produced by Arab misgovernance that are the root causes of terrorism and Muslim extremism.

The question that many people have been asking is, "why Iraq?" Every one around here knows that I have been a supporter of Israel, and her right to exist. However, I see it as a just question when people ask, "why did not Bush adopt Palestine as the place to set up an ideal democracy?" Given the fact that Palestine is one of the most sentimental issues in the Muslim world, would it not have been a much stronger statement had Bush gotten Israel to vacate the occupied territories, and set up a democracy there, under the aegis of the United Nations?

Given the fact that, for some time now, USA has been the only vocal supporter of Israel, this would have forced other governments to co-operate, and accept the reality of Israel, in order to move forward with the creation of a new state for the Palestinians. Why did not the Bush administration land its troops in Nablus and Bethlehem, instead of Basra and Baghdad?

Given the bad blood between the Bush family and Saddam, and the oil grab allegations, many, including a majority in the Islamic world, suspect the motive behind the war.

Unless these questions are properly answered, the war on terror will not be a cooperative exercise.

 
The Things they say......

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-08-92

Many more million dollar quotes from the Right here....

 
Spanish Withdrawal

I think that the Spanish withdrawal from Iraq brings out a major flaw in Bush's so-called Doctrine - that unilateralism is a double edged sword.

Pro-War commentators such as Andrew Sullivan complain that it hurts the cause against terrorism that an important ally like Spain is withdrawing without paying any heed to what happens to the cohesion among nations in the war against non-state actors such as Al-Qaeda. However, this is exactly what the Bush admn did when it rushed into the war in Iraq. To add insult to the injury, it rubbed it into the face of countries like France and Germany by petulantly calling them names.

Make no mistake. I am not saying that Saddam was a good man. That his was the sort of despicable regimes that need to be erased is a fact that is acknowledged by many people on both sides of the debate. I am not even suggesting that the Bush administration should have grovelled before France and Germany to support the war. They may have had their own ulterior motives in opposing this war. However, Bush should have cornered them into supporting the war. It was quite possible - as their ultimate acquiescence to SC Resolution 1441 showed. Bush was worried only about the impending elections then - local politics trumped the global foreign policy goals.

Now, the boot is on the other foot. In Spain too, local politics has trumped foreign policy goals. And now, the pro-war group is crying foul. As dangerous as this development is, they have no right to.

 
Re: There's nothing gay abt India

Well.. I don't see why these issues should not be raised in India. And I see no reason why someone who writes about these issues is labeled a Dork. As Ramki pointed out, this is how the situation is in India. In fact, we are so used to talking about the positives about urban India that we forget the extent of social injustices that still prevail across the country. And why are we afraid to raise these issues? Coz it damages our reputation as a progressive nation !! Further, for a debate such as this, it is often a good thing to contrast various societies' reactions. Carl, I would also like to ask you what exactly do you want writers about India to focus on?

More on this later.

 
Re: There's nothing to be gay about in India

> This dork couldn't find anything else to write about India

This is not a great argument. Sure, there are a million issue to write about India. It's his choice issue. I do not see why people should expect everyone to concentrate on a particular bevy of issues when they write about a country. And make no mistake. As I had complained in my earlier essay, Sleeping through an Implosion the attitude of Indian govt on this issue is both uncommonly silly, and worse, self-hurting.

It is understandable that the Brits enacted such a stupid law that was 'in line with' the commandments of the Bible, and the Common Law. I fail to understand why we should retain this law, which prohibits something, so radically that one could be incarcerated for 10 years, that has not been persecuted by our culture. We have been criticized by many, from UNHRC to our own Delhi High Court for this idiocy.

Having said that, the author of this article has ignored certain facts that ought to have been mentioned. The urban culture in India has certainly undergone a lot of changes, especially after the advent of the international media. I even hear of gay days in certain Mumbai and Delhi clubs. They see Will and Grace... and what's more, we see gay comedy in blockbusters like Kal Ho Na Ho.... mind you, that movie does not caricature gays, with the heroes playing the putative "gay couple." It was so popular, the two guys actually enacted more jokes along the same lines!

All said, I think in India, social changes don't come because they boil into political controversies - as is the case with the USA. India has her own way of pragmatic acceptance. And that is emerging gradually on this issue... as is typical of India.

 
Daily online newspaper: The Christian Science Monitor: "Scalia rejects recusal in Energy case."
And how exactly would Scalia explain the even weaker reason for his recusal from the Pledge of Allegiance case?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
 
This dork couldn't find anything else to write about India. Anyways, thought the folks here would find this interesting.

There's nothing to be gay about in India

 
An interesting theory

A decade back, it was rumored that the Bush clan was intimately connected with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). The Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee that investigated the collapse of that bank was led by one Sen. John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts.

Now, if the Bushmen were to go on an offensive, and try dirty dancing with Kerry campaign, would we see the scandal redounding on them, with a number of new 'leaks' or 'exclusive reports' in the press about the perfidies by the Clan in that issue?

Monday, March 15, 2004
 
The Greatest Mystery Solved!!!

You know that frequent claim of President George W Bush, that troops from very many countries are there in Iraq, and that it is a bigger coalition than the one that fought in Afghanistan? I have always wondered just what these countries were, and how many soldiers they sent in. MSNBC now reports these numbers. Take a look:

United States 120,000
Britain 11,000
Italy 3,000
Poland 2,400
Ukraine 2,000
Spain 1,300
Netherlands 1,100
Australia 1,000


South Korea 675 (3,000 on the way)
Bulgaria 470
Denmark 496
Thailand 443 (30 on the way)
Romania 400
Honduras 370
El Salvador 360
Hungary 300
Dominican Rep. 300
Japan 250 (750 on the way)
Nicaragua 230
Singapore 200
Mongolia 180
Latvia 120
Lithuania 105
Norway 150
Azerbaijan 150


Philippines 95 (175 on the way)
Czech Rep. 92
Albania 70
Georgia 70
Slovakia 69 (120 on the way)
New Zealand 60
Estonia 55
Macedonia 28
Kazakhstan 25
Moldova 25


Notice that the number of countries that sent soldiers in double digit numbers itself counts to double digits! Quite a coalition, this!!

Saturday, March 13, 2004
 
CNN.com - Spain arrests 5 in terror bombings - Mar 13, 2004

And two were Indians!!

Friday, March 12, 2004
 
US experts against protectionism

Rachit and I had a long discussion on this topic yesterday. Will post more details later today.

 
Indo-Pak Cricket

This is from OxBlog


MORE ON THE INDIA-PAKISTAN CRICKET LINEUP: OxBlog's friend Alex Massie writes in with more background for the India-Pakistan international tomorrow:

www.cricinfo.org is likely to have access to at least a radio broadcast and quite possibly video too. The BBC's site may also be of use.

It's true that this is the first full series in 14 years but the two sides did play three matches in 98-99 in India and have played numerous one day matches against one another on neutral territory such as Sharjah and even, somewhat bizarrely, Toronto. A test between the two at Eden Gardens, Calcutta (capacity 100,000+) would be one hell of an experience.

Incidentally, one way of understanding or appreciating the changing nature of India is through its cricket team. India has always produced some wonderfully talented players, but they have tended to be a fragile side that often crumpled under pressure. (Their record outside of India is, frankly, atrocious). It was as though they didn't truly believe they could dine at top table.

These days however they play with a grand swagger, fearing no-one and are confident (rightly so) that they can give anyone a run for their money. They played a thrilling series in Australia over Christmas that showed they could compete with the best in the world. (one of the good things about being back in Scotland from the US for the holidays was being able to get the cricket on TV).

Also - there's probably no sportsman in the world in any sport who plays under as much pressure as India's batting genius Sachin Tendulkar (a joy to watch incidentally - you could say he combines Barry Bonds' ability with the grace of Joe Dimaggio). His face is everywhere in India - on TV, plastered on billboards - and when he bats he does so with the expectations and hopes of a billion people on his back. Somehow he manages it, retaining a serenity that is quite remarkable.

One other point - cricket in India is one of the essential components that glues this remarkable country together. Rich and poor, Hidu, Muslim and Sikh alike are united in their passionate love of the game. (It was a pretty significant moment when Mohammed Azharuddin, another swashbuckling batsman, became the country's first Muslim captain in 1989).

Pakistan, meanwhile, though a team that also has more than its share of talented players have for the last fifteen years often played in a style that suggests they feel an unfair world is constantly conspiring against them.

Hopefully this series can be the beginning of a fresh rapprochement between the two countries.

yours etc

Alex Massie


 
Re: Is Kerry anti globalization?

I checked his detailed plan and conclude that on the whole, Kerry is not anti-globalization. He does not mention NAFTA or WTO as being bad. All he asks for is review and enforcement of already existing trade agreements. Here are some key points from his plan -

- Propose a new jobs tax credit to encourage manufacturing companies to stay and expand in America. When a manufacturing company creates jobs above their 12 month average, the payroll taxes of the new employees will be refunded for two years.

- Make Trade Work for America. The Bush Administration has neglected to enforce trade laws or respond to the unfair practices of some of our nation's largest trading partners. As President, John Kerry will: order an immediate 120 day top to bottom review of all trade agreements to ensure that foreign nations fully comply with trade agreements they sign with our country; vigorously enforce our trade laws to ensure our workers are not victims of unfair trading practices; insist future trade agreements incorporate within them core labor standards and environmental protections; demand that other countries, such as China, do not manipulate their currencies to gain unfair trade advantages; and help any workers displaced by trade develop new skills and find new jobs.

However, I do not agree with his statement that he will save jobs by ending the unpatriotic practice of U.S. corporations moving offshore simply to avoid paying their fair share of our nation’s tax burden. I don't see anything unpatriotic about it.

Kerry's economic plan



Thursday, March 11, 2004
 
These guys just don't get it. Attacking Vajpayee will only backfire. And look who's talking - Arjun Singh.

Vajpayee lacks clarity on issues

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
 
Cop sacrifices three fingers for `Amma'
This fellow needs to be thrown out of the police department. Sure, it is something he did in his private capacity. But I am extremely doubtful if a person of good mental health would inflict some such crude punishment on himself.

 
Seattle: NRI lesbians denied 'marriage' licence
Here we go.... the question comes knocking.

 
Is Kerry anti-globalization

My take is, NO. Kerry has always been voting for trade agreements such as NAFTA and WTO. He has pro-free traders like Rob Reich as his economic advisors. No - a Kerry Administration is not going to withdraw from these agreements. However, we could expect some withdrawal of priveleges that are provided to companies that would make outsourcing more difficult, and less enticing.

This is wrong in principle. However, globalization cannot continue to be unpopular in the most important economy of the world, and go on unchanged forever. May be, there are couple of things that need to change.

Pro-Globalization folks should not press the panic button the moment somebody mentions something faintly like protectionism.

As far as India is concerned, in the long run, we will benefit much more from outsourcing from Europe that is facing chronic under-population. We need to shift our focus there.

 
Another "poll" tripped...

American Family Association, another right wing group, has started an online poll, sending out emails to ppl on their mailing list asking them to vote on who they would prefer to win in November. Well, again, some how, it has gone kaput... the results, as of now are:

Whom do you favor for the next President of the United States?
John Kerry 89.92 % 44,956 vote(s)
George Bush 3.84 % 1,919 vote(s)
Ralph Nader 6.24 % 3,118 vote(s)

Hehe.... Bush trailing Nader. I like it!

 
Bush criticizes Democrats for opposing outsourcing

Quotes:
------------------
President George W. Bush accused Democrat members criticising his job creation efforts as "economic isolationists" who would raise new trade barriers and damage the US economy
[...]
Earlier, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick also told Congress while testifying before the Senate Finance Committee: "Given the fact we're now in a stage of an economic recovery, the worst thing we could do would be to turn to economic isolationism."

Increasing US exports to countries such as China and India, encouraging foreign investment in the US, and helping workers adjust to the loss of some jobs abroad were better responses than "bureaucratic interventions that will increase prices for our people", he said.
--------------------

Personally I think the proposals put forward by the Democrats are counter-cyclical in nature, at best. But the "problem" here seems to be of a long-term nature.


 
Re: US Govt employment

>though it works out that the govt. employed 21000 people, i would not be too concerned since this has been a historical trend.

What is this historical trend? You mean the govt employment cyclically varies by as much as 21,000 in a 5 year span?

>I also have a bunch of employment statistics that I intend posting in due course

Thanks.

 
UD Govt. employment

Carl,

I'll take this. I am not sure what you mean by where the US govt. has added employment. If you mean which departments of the govt have hired, I dont think that data is available. I quickly checked the BLS website for the information.

Also, though it works out that the govt. employed 21000 people, i would not be too concerned since this has been a historical trend. If the govt. hiring this time round was an anomaly(which it is not), I would complain.

I also have a bunch of employment statistics that I intend posting in due course.

Rachit.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
 
US govt employment

Ramki, still waiting. Where has the US govt actually increased its net workforce strength? Would appreciate any info on this.
Thanks.

 
UK wants India to reduce troops in Kashmir - Newindpress.com

Simple comment - hahahaahaaaa....

Sunday, March 07, 2004
 
>The only addition was because of the government that has hired nearly 21,000 jobs. Now, how's that for a conservative President?

I'd like to know where exactly the govt hired people. Over the last few mths I've come into contact with several people working for the federal govt, and in most cases, especially wherever the organization runs on a revolving reimbursement-type budgets, there has been massive downsizing.

Secondly, in 3-4 yrs, about 50% of govt employees are eligible to retire. The feds may use that and massively reduce staff by returement, buy-outs and normal attrition.

Thirdly, this article is a good read.
The good ship US economy and why it won't sink

Saturday, March 06, 2004
 
Jobs Produced
A very interesting fact that strikes u from this chart is that in the private sector, there was nearly zero job creation - the sectors that increased jobs evened out those that lost jobs.

The only addition was because of the government that has hired nearly 21,000 jobs. Now, how's that for a conservative President?

 
Indian Proff here at OSU challenges Stephen Hawking's theory

Friday, March 05, 2004
 
A timely report amidst the frothy sentimentality of the peace-talks
India frets over Pak-Bangla nexus

 
The two faces of Lou Dobbs and other anti-outsourcing demagogues

 
Jobs jobs jobs and Bush

Ultimately this will determine Bush's re-election. Personally, I hope it was 125,000 jobs.. would make me feel more optimistic about getting a job on graduation.

 
Martha Stewart found guilty

Finally, we are beginning to see a crackdown on corporate crime. Though Martha sold just 4000 shares of ImClone, its a good message to others. Hope now the Enron buggers are brought to justice.

 
John Kerry: A thorn in India's side

Ramki, its not just the outsourcing debate, its also his position on the Non-proliferation treaty and a SC seat at the UN. I don't like this bloke so far.

 
Re: Kerry carries worry for India

As I said, in the very early days of his campaign, I read a position paper by Kerry on his website that lauded India, her liberalization, the strategic partnership with US etc. I do believe that except for areas like trade, we will be fine under Kerry. When it comes to outsourcing, well, I tend to be a bit more optimistic than reality justifies right now. Look, we had a million protest marches in India against free trade and liberalization before the benefits started kicking in. Now, u find even the Commies going around trying to attract investments in West Bengal.

This society is going through turmoil, and it is understandable. Things will take some time to reach an equilibrium. But ultimately, I am sure things will work out fine.

Thursday, March 04, 2004
 
Fresh glimpse of Justice Blackmun

> The latter, [Justice Blackmun] said, is how law is developed: one step at a time. "The frontier," he said, "is pushed back gradually."

I was reminded of Carl's statement when I read this. I agree with that sentiment.

 
Election's Holy Cow

 
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1040304/asp/frontpage/story_2965313.asp

THE TELEGRAPH, MARCH 4, 2004

Kerry carries worry for India

Washington, March 3: A close fight for the White House in November between George W. Bush and John Kerry will mean that after three years of unexpected comfort levels in relations with the US, India faces considerable diplomatic challenges in the months ahead.

Nearly two months before Kerry was virtually anointed as the challenger to Bush yesterday, the Massachusetts Senator got into hot waters when he referred to Sikhs as terrorists and was forced to apologise in the face of an uproar by Indian Americans.

The faux pas was not untypical of Democrats. A quarter century ago, President Jimmy Carter, unaware that the microphone was on at a civic reception during his visit to New Delhi, told his secretary of state as thousands of people listened in amazement that he would write a tough letter to Indians on the nuclear issue when he got back to Washington.

More recently, Senator Hillary Clinton cracked a poor joke about Mahatma Gandhi, apologised for it and then made amends by attending Indian ambassador Lalit Mansingh’s Republic Day reception on January 27. Republican leaders like Bush and Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, are only guilty of ignorance. Bush, the candidate in 2000, could not name India’s Prime Minister and did not know who General Pervez Musharraf was. They are usually less harmful for countries like India.

Part of the popular enthusiasm for Kerry in the unfolding presidential campaign stems from his promise to stop outsourcing American jobs to India and other countries.

If his expedient campaign bite is to be tempered into harmless — even if louder — barks in the event of a victory for Democrats in November, New Delhi has to start coordinating efforts to prevent a backlash from outsourcing.

Yesterday when victories in party primaries in 10 states and rival John Edwards’ decision to withdraw from the race all but crowned Kerry as the presidential nominee of the Democrats, it also became clear that outsourcing would be an explosive poll issue.

In Florida, the fight over export of American jobs spilled over into the streets when a group of protesters chanting “stop outsourcing” trespassed into Walt Disney property to attack those attending a conference on outsourcing.

An agenda for action by India is falling into place. Some 200 trade bodies, which want to continue outsourcing, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the American Bankers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Information Technology Association of America, have got together to create a Coalition for Economic Growth and American Jobs.

India will have to lean on this coalition in the coming months also in order to ensure that H1-B visas for Indian information technology professionals continue to be available. Those who oppose the import of Indian professionals have a major voice among Democrats, whose pleas Kerry will find hard to ignore.

Kerry is already on record asking India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). His endorsement of India’s claim to a permanent seat in the US Security Council is also conditional and half-hearted.

“While I think that in may ways India would be a good candidate, there is one notable problem. India is not a party to the NPT. All the nuclear powers on the Council not only directly shape the NPT, but also are parties that abide by it. This may be the most serious issue with respect to India’s candidacy and one that must be addressed by India.”

And yet, Kerry is no non-proliferation zealot. Two days after India’s second round of nuclear tests in 1998, the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence called CIA director George Tenet to testify on what many Senator’s thought was America’s intelligence failure in not knowing about the tests in advance.

Kerry was pragmatic that day. “India has broken into the nuclear age,” he acknowledged. “Unless tremendous restraint is practiced, so will Pakistan... People should stop finger pointing. We need to look at our own level of involvement in weapon sales. There is enough blame to go around”

All of which means the Indian embassy here, its lobbyists, the Indian ambassador-at-large B.K. Agnihotri with his political contacts across the board and the Indian American community have their task of putting New Delhi’s outlook across to Kerry and his team cut out for them in the coming months.


 
The Blackmun Papers: Documents Reveal the Evolution of a Supreme Court Justice

Justice Harry A Blackmun is my all time favorite Justice of the SC. Starting out as a conservative (he was a Nixon appointee), HAB went on to write Roe v Wade, and ultimately, became one of the most liberal judges on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating liberalism in modern sense here. But Blackmun had the humane aspect of jurisprudence at the heart of all his judgements/dissents. And that is important.


 
The Blackmun Papers: Documents Reveal the Evolution of a Supreme Court Justice

Justice Harry A Blackmun is my all time favorite Justice of the SC. Starting out as a conservative (he was a Nixon appointee), HAB went on to write Roe v Wade, and ultimately, became one of the most liberal judges on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating liberalism in modern sense here. But Blackmun had the humane aspect of jurisprudence at the heart of all his judgements/dissents. And that is important.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004
 
>This man, who was apparently trying to defend sacred marriage, is thrice married, and was an adulterer. And the man who signed it into law was Bill Clinton!!

They tried to push thru those laws under pressure from certain constituencies, which were definitely not the Adulterers Union or the Divorcees League. But there you go again...

I haven't put forward any "logical reasons" against gay-marriage? That's because I wanted to open it up to discussion, and so far have been tiresomely telling you that you haven't let it get off the ground, with the silly technicalities. For example:

>u have been asking me to justify that gays deserve this right. Wrong. You have to prove that they do not deserve the right

I'm not fighting a court case here. I wanted to discuss the issue from all angles, and as an issue in itself, for all societies. But you keep throwing specific American personalities, American court judgements, etc in my face (see above). What to do?

I'm getting a little tired now. Won't continue the discussion on this blog, but surely when we meet in person.

 
Mistake in my earlier post

The New Paltz mayor did violate an explicit law in the state of NY. Though NY does not have a law that says same-sex marriages are not allowed, he presided over marriages without licences. That is just as wrong. But, even if you take this into consideration, the trend in that post is correct.

 
On a separate note

"Its not the adulterers and fornicators who are anxious about further denuding the sanctity of marriage here."
BTW, ur lack of knowledge on the history of this issue is obvious from this single statement of yours. Remember DOMA? It was proposed by Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia. This man, who was apparently trying to defend sacred marriage, is thrice married, and was an adulterer. And the man who signed it into law was Bill Clinton!!

And who ARE these people genuinely interested? Half the marriages among the general population of America end in divorce, damn it! Wake up!!

 
Re: gay marriage

I have never stated that divorce or adultery is a justification for approving gay marriage. That would be demeaning those same-sex couples.

Since Carl has decided to be completely naive, let me explain why what that guy wrote abt presiding over marriages wrote is important. The main argument of Bush and other anti-marriage conservatives is that same-sex marriage would make people lose respect for marriage. Pro-marriage Conservatives have been arguing that contrary to that, it might make some couple appreciate just how valuable it is (that these people should fight for it), and will increase the presitige of the institution. They are right. And this is a case in point.

 
Re: gay marriage

Simple as it is, Carl, you do not get the point.

No one is granting any rights to homosexuals now. The conservatives are trying to deny gays marriage rights that they are afraid gays would assert as their liberty sooner or later. Earlier, homosexual behavior itself was considered outside some one's ambit of liberty. However, in Lawrence judgement Justice Kennedy declared the choice that who you have sex with is your liberty - if it is a person of the same sex, so be it! This is why Scalia was ranting.

Time and again, u have been asking me to justify that gays deserve this right. Wrong. You have to prove that they do not deserve the right. And, as far as I have seen, except for your narrow views on this subject, you have not forwarded a single logical reason.


 
Re: gay marriage

Ramki, I tried hard in several posts to get the point across that spiteful humour, or accusations, or arguments that flow not from cool logic but from vague and fuzzy feelings...these are the things that undermine any genuine argument that proponents of gay-marriage may have.

The ridiculous "jokes" you posted are a case in point. This latest article by the "Proud Bachelor" is another. Why am I supposed to take his opinion about the institution of marriage and its sanctity (which is the subject of discussion), when he seems to thing its uncool and dull? He sounds like an adolescent.

In other words, the basic argument I keep hearing is: Well, we Americans have undermined marriage so much anyway -- with divorce, adultry, fornication, etc, that there's no harm done if we make homosexuality (and maybe all the above) legal. That, I'm afraid is not convincing.

Its not the adulterers and fornicators who are anxious about further denuding the sanctity of marriage here. That would definitely be hypocrisy. But it seems to be those who are genuinely concerned about marriage and social values here who are the main lobby. So such arguments make no impression on the people you are trying to debate with.


 
Proud Bachelor Turned Marrying Man
This article captures the human drama behind a constitutional issue. Many times, we reduce social problems into intellectual abstractions that are, well, devoid of that human emotion. Here is a man, who may not be into Constitutional Law or Public Policy, but who sees the point in having all those.

 
Re: Colon Powell

Because he is one of those in the SD who insists on the Indo-Pak balance. A long record in this regard. Lately he tried to pull a fast one with his religious and human rights remarks about India. I hear Condi Rice is another partner is this balance-balance addiction. I dunno if the SD and Pentagon are REALLY at odds in this respect, or if that's the US's game of good cop bad cop with India. I just dont know.

 
Gay Marriage Licenses Issued in Oregon

Yet another front opens. This thing is spreading way too fast, which makes me slightly queasy.

But what I am satisfied about is that things have been getting better from conservative POV. Consider:
1. MA was a judicial diktat, but the court, instead of directly ordering that licences be issued, asked the state legislature to enact laws accordingly. It is, arguably, dubious case of judicial activism.
2. In san Fransisco an elected official decided to start issuing licences. However, he did it contravening the laws of the state that directly forbid same-sex marriages.
3. In New Paltz,NY, and now, Nyack, NY, elected mayors started performing marriages that were not in contravention of any law directly (but did contradict them indirectly).
4. Some Oregon county commissioners have agreed to issue licences now, and Oregon has no law that bans same-sex marriages either.

R

 
Re: Haiti

> I dont like "Colon" Powell.
Why?

PS: BTW, a poll shows that a Bush-Powell ticket will be a good bit stronger than Bush-Cheney. But Bush has already popped the question, and Cheney has accepted.

 
The New Republic Online: Campaign Journal:ON TO THE VEEPSTAKES
More on Veepstakes...

 
Op-Ed Contributor: The Next Best Thing to Being President
Hehehe.... a delicious possibility I did not discuss in my list of candidates for VP! :-)

 
>I dunno much about the whole Haiti mess. Carl, any idea?

Nope. Only that I'm amazed at how the State Dept can screw things up for US international reputation so easily so often. I dont like "Colon" Powell.

 
12 Reasons Same-Sex Marriage will Ruin Society

 
MSNBC - With Kerry in, let the veepstakes begin
YAY!! It looks like many candidates I had on my list are also on Alter's. Exceptions:

1. Hillary Clinton: as much as I would love it, I do not think Kerry wants a divisive person like Hillary (it's a sad fact) on the ticket. This time, he is hoping to run as the uniter.

2. Evan Bayh: I agree with Alter on Bayh. I excluded him from the list for these very reasons.

3. Kerrey: Could be a good candidate. I never thought abt him.

 
Veep hopefuls

My shortlist for Veep nominations (the names appear in the order of preference acc to my personal (first) instincts). Only well Governors/senators are included here. House representatives are not - that is another crowd worth looking at (Cheney was a House minority whip). Clinton administration officials could also figure in Kerry list, though I cannot think of many names from among them, given Clinton's strong pro-globalization stand.

Sen. John Edwards of NC: He has the popularity, the looks, and a good campaign base he has built. He could be competitive in courting independents and moderate Republicans. Downside? Kerry will inherit base anyway, he probably cannot deliver even his home states.

Gov Bill Richardson of NM. Wide experience as US rep in UN, Energy Secy, and now, Governor. Popular among Hispanics, being one himself. Can appeal to Sunbelt: AZ and NM are key swing states.

Sen. Bob Graham/Sen. Bill Nelson (senators from FL): Senators from key state of FL. Both can claim very good knowledge in Armed services issues (Graham has been the Dem leader of the Senate Intelligence committee, and Nelson has been on the Senate Armed Services Committee). Both are considered moderates.

Sen. Mark Warner of VA: Would be a bold choice from South. A fiscal conservative, and a social moderate, would be a very good choice. Whether he can deliver even Virginia or West Virginia is moot.

Rep. Dick Gephardt (Fmr House Minority Leader, from MO). Has experience, labor backing, and most importantly, is popular in a battleground state. Downside: Kerry has experience already, and labor backing claims are, at best dubious (given that he lost labor-dominated Iowa badly).

Sen. Mary Landrieu of LA: Could appeal to soccer moms. Landrieu proved that Bush could be beaten in South - in spite of his many personal appearances in Louisiana, she won the late-held reelection in 2002. Moderately conservative, she can appeal to independents and moderate Republicans. Downside: Could differ radically with Kerry on some issues - even yesterday, she voted against a ban on military-style assault weapons, something Kerry considered important enough that he broke off his campaign to be in the Senate to vote for the ban.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln of AR: Almost everything that applies to Landrieu, except, with a shorter bio.

Fmr. Sen. Sam Nunn: Very well known name in the south, may even swing Georgia/Florida. Well known conservative. Fmr chair of Senate Armed Services committee. Downside: Very conservative, Kerry's chemistry with Nunn is doubtful
(johnkerry.com at a point, describes Nunn as the "hawkish Democratic Senate Armed Service Committee Chair," way too much to the right of Kerry on social issues.

Gov Tom Vilsack of MO: Considered a popular guy, in a key swing state. Downside: Not a very well known name.

Gov Ed Rendell of PA: PA is a very crucial state for Democrats this time. A loss there could seal Kerry's fate (Unless, of course, he picks up two of Missouri, Florida and Ohio). I do not know much abt this guy.

 
Haiti

I dunno much about the whole Haiti mess. Carl, any idea?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
 
The New Yorker: Shouts and Murmurs
Samish Marriages :)).... Thanks to Andrew for the link.

Monday, March 01, 2004
 
Op-Ed Columnist: Not Peace, but a Sword: "The richness of Scripture is in its openness to interpretation answering humanity's current spiritual needs."

It's quite heartening to read a conservative commentator like Safire say this. And I am sincere when I say it.


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