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Showing posts from October, 2012

Incredible October

October 15: We inch towards (or gallop towards -> depending on how you feel about this year) the closing of 2012. I don't know if the present month of October has been more frenetic than the rest of the months. But it feels to me as if it has been. So I am inclined to do a running summary of the month as a diary entry for future reference. Among the many October surprises have been the *win* attributed to Romney in the first Presidential debate as we approach the quadrennial presidential election in the U.S. Felix Baumgartner jumped from 40 kms up in the atmosphere and thanks to the magic of TV, perhaps billions of human beings -- sitting in their drawing rooms, waiting at the airport lounge, drinking beer in the bar or elsewhere -- were witness to the successful accomplishment of this feat of superhuman dare-devilry. There are not many records to be made left to make - this was one of the last for the forseeable future and the door is now closed on this one as well. Unless

Weekend Reading

Second U.S. Presidential Debate: Obama vs. Romney 2012

Hopefully President Obama will have managed to silence the commentators with his spirited performance during the second debate. Maureen Dowd won't be pointing to Barack Obama's biographies in next column pointing out how the President is averse to confrontation and how that's at the core of who he is. I thought the over-reaction to the 1st debate had been unjustified -> I knew Mr. Obama will be in a feisty-er mood this time around since that's what the constituency demanded. Mr. Obama stood up to the pretentious and oh-so-fake Romney without appearing to be jarring or a bully -> both qualities that are the trademark of Mr. Romney. The candidates got to almost a dozen questions with a tough-to-rollover Candy Crowley as the moderator. On Libya, Romney was particularly egregious as a foreign policy novice. On financial matters and tax issues, Romney sought to show that he had a plan -> the only problem was that this was a plan that is entirely distinct from t

Ayn Rand Was Right

Do we exalt the John Galts and Howard Roarks among us or despise them? Do we admire the ultimate, self-centered and selfish capitalists or the selfless, self-sacrificing altruists? Oh sure there are the Martin Luther King, Jr.s and Mahatma Gandhis and Nelson Mandelas and Aung Sun Suu Kyis we like to point to as icons and worthy role models for our children. But look deeply and we find that we are obsessed with the wealthy. And who are the wealthy? Why do we let the Robert Rubins, Sandy Weills, Jakc Welchs, Jamie Dimons and their Wall St. brethren keep their millions? Because we consider that right and their right. Let alone the hedge fund people whose entire purpose is to become billionaires. How many people explicitly make life choices that will lead to a life of service -> not be a charlatan like Mother Teresa but just helping the underprivileged without trying to 'achieve' greatness by so doing. So Lance Armstrong and Greg Mortensen and the Evangelical Christ

Why Obama Will Still Win in November

The historical record which clearly shows that presidents don't get re-elected when the unemployment rate is high doesn't much reflect the demographic reality of today. There are not that many white, young, unemployed people who buy into Romney's vision of the free-market creating umpteen millionaires and hence removing poverty and making Social Security, Medicare and other safety nets unnecessary. May be Obama will win because of these factors even if he comes across as wonky or lackluster or not-aggressive-enough in the debates as the media and all the pundits have been harping on. It's tough to believe that Americans can be so forgetful about recent economic history when W. came into office with a surplus and there was debate between Gore and W about what to do with that surplus. Bush explicitly cut taxes for the rich as he had promised to do (at a cost of a trillion dollars) and ran up a trillion dollar bill for an unnecessary war in Mesopotamia. The TARP des

Strange Creatures of Planet India

So, who are you? Or, what? Are you a Congi? A CRT? Perhaps a pseudo-secular Indian. Or an Internet Hindu. Or a right winger. A Hindu nationalist (dwelling outside India?). These are some of the gems that one comes across as the frenetic debate rages in this country about the direction we wish to take. Clearly, India is 'resurgent.' India is not the first nation in the history of the world where people suddenly acquire a heightened sense about who they are just on the basis of their imagined or real history. History is fact -> except when it's entirely fiction that people want to believe . Nationalistic pride has not been a positive force in world history - just think of Japan, Italy and Germany in the 20th century. A sense of superiority based on notions of nationality, race, or religion makes people blind to reason and facts. Yet in the 21st century, despite the world wars and the Rwandan  and  Balkan  genocides of the '90s, we are again seeing resurgent na

Dress Sense and Common Sense for Women

I read one more article by one female about how women have the right to wear what they want, when they want, where they want, etc. I would love it if women wore revealing clothes whenever they were in a public place -- not merely skin-hugging tight jeans, but short , short skirts like those Hollywood celebs wear which reveal their panties intentionally or otherwise. The top of the dress should reveal good amount of the boobs as well or preferably have wardrobe malfunctions - manufactured or otherwise. Young good-looking women wearing these clothes should preferably visit areas of Delhi at 2 a.m. which are particularly untouched by the rule of law. May be they can have their grandmother accompanying them who should be carrying 2 lakhs in cash or wearing a good amount of gold jewelry. The amount or number of incidents of rape in India seems not-too-high -> that's probably because most such incidents are in fact not even reported to the police either because the perpetrato

The Abortion Debate

Just want to put my thoughts on the topic on the record here. I haven't thought about this issue much. But it seems to be a recurring issue in developed nations such as the United States and the U.K. It seems obvious to me that there are far more important and serious challenges facing the world out there. In India, the far bigger issues facing women have got to be issues such as domestic violence. I believe millions of women must be silently suffering from malevolent males -- drunk or otherwise. Society in India is structured in such a manner that women have very little explicit economic value and in a poor society, it's the men who make the money -- howsoever little it might be -- who hold the strings. To change this state of affairs, women will need to realize that taking care of kids and cooking have got to be secondary to developing skills and expertise. It's a kind of long term change that is tied in with a lot of other issues and in the next 30 years, we'l

First U.S. Presidential Debate: Obama vs. Romney 2012

This is the early take from the media pundits on this debate. The verdict being that Obama lost the 1st debate. I think that's a bit over-the-top because: Remember Obama's "long-game"? This is the 1st one. Two more to go. Are voters going to vote based on Romney's enthusiastic lying or Obama's soberly pointing out the fact that Romney doesn't really have an alternative, that Romney talks about repealing Obamacare without saying much about how. Here are the takes from a few pundits. Well, I’m with all the other talking heads: Mitt Romney won this debate. Barack Obama lost it. I mean, he got his butt kicked. It was, in fact, one of the most inept performances I’ve ever seen by a sitting President. Romney–credit where it’s due–was calm, clear, convincing (even when he was totally full of it) and nearly human. The real mystery was Obama. Where on earth was he? Why was his debate strategy unilateral disarmament? W

If Gandhi Were Alive

Let’s consider a few fun possibilities that would occur if Gandhi were around today. What would happen to all the self-proclaimed Gandhians? Would Gandhi be in favour or opposed to Anna Hazare? What would Gandhi do with lying lawyers like Kapil Sibal or tendentious toadys like Digvijay Singh? May be Gandhi would go on an obligatory spin in the skies in the Sukhoi and the LCA Tejas. Would Gandhi have been miffed at Pokhran II ├áIndia’s famed nuclear tests of 1998? May be he would have gone on a fast unto death. And how would the glacially moving poet Vajpayee have reacted to that? Though he was lean and thin, still Gandhi would need a knee-cap replacement surgery at this age. Would Gandhi hum along with the catchy Kolaveri D tune or criticize it as nonsense … somewhat like … err … Javed Akhtar? May be Gandhi would have preferred Gangnam Style and we would all be seeing a YouTube video of him dancing merri

The Inscrutable Enslaved Indians

The rich Indian shall spend her honeymoon basking in the sun draped sands of the beaches in Mauritius and Seychelles and Pattaya and elsewhere. She shall go saree and shoe shopping in Dubai and London. Depending on her social class, she shall sashay down the London High Street (is that where the top brand-name shops or boutiques or whatever they are called are located?) and shoo in to Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and then Bergdorf Goodman and also visit the Bijan boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. These are surely the immutable laws of nature --> enforced more stringently by the ruling gods of the universe than other may-be laws such as those said to have been discovered by Newton upon the fall of an Apple iPhone. Indians will surely continue to perform these activities even in the 22nd century. Or till all the hydrogen in the interior of the sun runs out and the dying sun blows out like a grotesque, bloated corpse in another five billion years and devours Earth itself