Sunday, March 14, 2010

FP: What's in a word?

Check out this article by Stephen Walt on how the US may not be taking Iran's interests into account as Obama promised:

Given his loquacious style, it's probably not a good idea to parse Joe Biden's words too closely. Nonetheless, one comment he made during a speech in Tel Aviv yesterday caught my eye. Among other things, Biden told his audience "The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons" (my emphasis).

The interesting word in that otherwise unsurprising sentence is the verb "prevent." No, I don't think the vice president was signaling that the United States is going to take military action (i.e., to engage in a preventive military strike). Rather, I thought the use of that word revealed the underlying mindset that still pervades a lot of national-security thinking. If there's something undesirable happening out there, U.S. foreign policy mavens immediately assume that Washington must to take action to prevent, halt, reverse, negate or stop it. Implicit in that choice of words is the assumption that it is our responsibility to do this and that our actions are the essential ingredient to success. We are the "indispensable nation," to use Madeleine Albright's infamous phrase, and nothing good can happen if we don't will it.

This is a rhetoric that takes American exceptionalism for granted, and it conveys a sense of unilateralism that one normally associates with Bush and the neoconservatives. This formulation also marginalizes and discounts Iran's own motivations and decisions: it is up to us to prevent them from getting the bomb and they have no say in the matter.

To see this more clearly, consider the other verbs that Biden might have used. He could have said "the United States is determined to persuade Iran not to acquire nuclear weapons." This formulation doesn't deny the United States an active role or preclude the use of carrots and sticks to achieve the desired outcome. But instead of declaring that we are determined to decide this outcome more-or-less on our own, it leaves open the possibility of convincing Iran that it would be better off forgoing weaponization. (I can make a pretty good case for that option, although I obviously don't know if Tehran would be convinced by it). Plenty of other potential nuclear powers have ultimately decided not to join the nuclear club, and we ought to be exploring ways to encourage similar thinking in Tehran.

And it's not simply a matter of ramping up pressure, because tightening the screws just increases Tehran's desire to have a more reliable deterrent.

This slightly different formulation acknowledges that whether Iran eventually gets nuclear weapons or not is at least partly up to them, and it treats diplomacy not as a step we have to take in order to persuade others to support sanctions (or to lay the groundwork for "kinetic action" later on), but as a genuine option that may not work but deserves to be pursued with real purpose. Bottom line: I wish the vice president had used a different verb.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Window of Life...

In a time of the economic crisis, health care debacle, job losses, it is stories like these that can sometimes be lifting. This particular story has being going around in emails and I thought it was a bit touching. So why not share it...

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'

Here is another interesting short story but it's true:

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton. After flying over an enemy airfield, a pilot called Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere. Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane. Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe.

When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.
More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.
They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day. Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz Steigler had moved to Vancouver, BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years!!

Hope you found them at least a bit meaningful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Best video you'll see: Republicans stealing credit for Obama's Stimulus Efforts

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Equus, Can you forgive?

A news report by ABC shows that horses our losing their freedom to roam in the wilderness due to overpopulation and starvation. The government is now for good reason rounding them up for the horses' own welfare. I was very sad to read this. Personally I really love horses. I think they are one of the most beautiful creatures. They are just like the dolphins of the land in my opinion. And they have contributed a lot to humanity. They helped shape cultures, empires and civilizations yet we treat them like junk. For what they did for mankind, I think horses should now get more respect. Polo and horse racing were definitely sophisticated and beautiful sports for riders back in the dawn of mankind, but today I think these sports are primitive and unnecessary entertainment for the 21st century. If you are a polo fan, I'm sorry for that.

Here's a poem to show what horses did for us:

O Equus! My Equus
Share your sharp equine ear
Nature's most graceful of beauty
That provides the most loyal seat
That extends the most friendship to humanity

A gallop so beautiful
That it tells a story
Of battles and adventurous tales that are so part of yourself
How could we just forget it for a history shelf?

Your tail so high, your gait so proud
A music that is not heard but seen

We are ungrateful for your skilled legs
Filled with nature's soul itself
Delivered us from that frightful darkness
To civilization and cornerstone of our empires
What you gave us is of undeniable truth

A wind behind our achievements
A protective harness only a mother could give
From your pure ebony kind
To your starry innocent white

Can you forgive?
That we did not see
How we owe our progress to your caballus feet?
Those very hooves that showed us what alone we couldn't see

Equus we have betrayed you
We have ignored that loyalty we were so used to
You do not share from the fruit of our bond
The use we have today for you
To abuse you and neglectfully respond

Can you forgive?
Our Generous Equus
That we did not care for
What true companionship really is

Friday, November 27, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame street at the center of FOX News controversy

Fox news is apparently at war not only with the White House, but also Sesame street:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Micronutrients for the Malnourished

Africa, one of the continents with the most resources in the world, but still the poorest of people. But also the continent raped most by colonialism. Coincidence? No.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Does Iran Really Need the Bomb?

I just came across a great article at Click Here!

Take a look.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ahmedinejad vs Couric

Though I strongly disagree with Ahmedinejad's analysis of the Holocaust, I found much of what he said legitimate. He's no doubt a sharp and thoughtful interviewee, but Couric maintained her reputation as a tough interviewer as well in my opinion even though every one's talking about how she got "pwned."

I strongly believe that Israel backed by US is a thousands times more of a threat to Iran than Iran to Israel. And don't forget that Iran is surrounded by US troops in the east (AfPak) and the west (Iraq). And based on the logic that Iran can't have nuclear weapons because of "inflammatory rhetoric," then why can Israel have an uninspected # of warheads by the US for PROVEN inflammatory violence against innocent people in both Lebanon and Palestine? The truth is that Israel has an untold number of weapons pointed at Iran and Iran is the one feeling threatened not Israel. Israel is using this "Iran threat" as a way to score political points within their own country and as a complete distraction from the issue at hand: the Palestinian deaths. Don't believe me? Go to the United Nations aka legit international authority and see what they think of Israel and its actions.

Here are the videos:

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dealing with AfPak

Pakistan, a large third world country has a literacy rate of 49.9%. Compare that to countries like Finland and the USA respectively: 100% and 99% Only about half of the Pakistan's school age kids go to schools. The fact that those "schools" are poorly funded and planned is another story. In my opinion, British Colonization has also played a big part of this, but that is also another story for another day.

This is the very reason why the youth are turning to terrorism in Pakistan. Here's why: Before being recruited by terrorist organizations like LeT (responsible for the Mumbai attacks) most of them are severely poor and have been brutally wronged by the current corrupt system. Their lives are already headed in a downward spiral. Then they are approached by a recruiter who brainwashes them with stuff like: "they could change their life around and become a hero" by fighting "evil America" with its vicious torturing techniques, etc, they could become a martyr and go to heaven, know where I'm going with this. Essentially the recruiters bank on these poor, hopeless youth's hopelessness and desperation to be acknowledged. How do we stop this? Education and opportunities. If these youth were educated, they could be analytical and understand that Al Qaeda isn't really a religious group, but rather a political group hijacking religion to recruit more support. Al Qaeda understands this very well too. Which is another reason why they are against schools. They prefer not to have their large recruitment base destroyed when hope is introduced into the minds of their youth.

These youth could also help the struggling country about to go bankrupt by going into public service, education, health care and further contribute and expand those sectors that are in need of desperate attention currently. Good schools which provide good education could change the current plight of these people by introducing opportunities and HOPE to these people and make them realize that they are being blackmailed and brainwashed into a wrong, hateful cause that does nothing but destroy. President Obama's inauguration speech mentioned how 'we will be judged on what we create rather than what we destroy."

Recently, I came by Jon Stewart's latest interview with the ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Mr. Husain Haqqani. I highly recommend that you watch it ( It's an excellent thought-provoking discussion of how to face the perils of Taliban and Al Qaeda militancy within Pakistan. (Yes, I know Jon Stewart is "just a comedian," but note that he's a well informed one)

Stewart also briefly mentions how our support of Al Qaeda during the Cold War era helped it grow and now its backfiring. This is similar to how the Pakistanis supported terrorist groups such as LeT to prepare for war against India but now it is backfiring on the entire country.

In my opinion, we (the USA) need to invest in non-military operations within Pakistan to fight recruitment into terrorism rather than investing in military. You can expect any military investment to go straight down the drain as it is used purely for skirmishes with India. Those of you who have visited my column often will have noticed that my previous header was pretty relevant to this issue: "books not bombs defeat terrorism" and the introductory rant of this article.

An interesting point made by the ambassador was on our President Obama understanding the situation there well and addressing it appropriately by considering to provide aid to their non-military sector. The ambassador brought attention to the fact that President Obama had visited Pakistan before during his college years.

For those of you who did decide to watch the video, here is a supplementary link to enjoy with it:

However, I must say that I disagree with many of the points the above link brings up. For instance, unless the quick "infusion of US cash" is on non-military sector of Pakistan then I am completely against it as you probably understand by now. Plus, the article brings up Musharraf's "dictatorial moves" as the reason to why he became unpopular. Sorry, but I personally believe that Musharraf was the best President Pakistan had for decades. Not "best" in the sense that he changed the wrong direction the country was going in, but "best" in the sense, he made it go in that direction slower than anyone else preceding or following. This is because he was no where as corrupt as the Bhutto dynasty which destroyed the entire nation's resources. Mrs. Bhutto rightly accused and exiled on corruption charges was obviously wrongly assassinated last year, but her husband, the current President of Pakistan has been charged with both corruption and murder. That reason alone is enough for me to dislike him. Yes, Musharraf was a dictator and no one likes dictators. But sometimes when the democratic system of a country is so broken due to intense corruption and worthless elections, dictatorship is necessary to serve as a temporary corrective measure as Musharraf himself stated. Words are obviously not enough. So he backed it up by showing boosts in the GDP of the country under his leadership, GDP boosts that are non-existent in other administrations before and after him. So by simple logic, he must have been doing something right. Of course events play a huge part in the GDP. And we can't attribute the GDP success solely to the Leader, but looking at the situation right now, Pakistan is back to corruption as it was before Musharraf's time and the GDP is down. Some may question the credibility of the corruption accusations. One of the biggest evidence we have of corruption is "before-and-after." Only after a while in office, did the Bhuttos and Sharif create Swiss accounts with billions of dollars of money.

To bring this rambling back to the point, let me add that POTUS is indeed attempting to triple non-military aid to Pakistan in order to "raise standards of living" there. And there is also some talk of the controversial drone and their highly classified technology being possibly shared with the Pakistani military. A technology that the CIA hasn't shared even with the closest of our allies. More info in this can be found on

Follow Iran on Twitter

Who knew that Iranians were so tech savvy? A huge % of youth in Iran use Twitter. And after the Iranian election and the resulting protests, the twitter activity in Iran has surged. As you may know the landslide with which Ahmedinejad won is thought to be a scam by many Iranians since the belief that the vote was counted by a partisan Interior Ministry thus leading to the Mass protests.The Twitterers in Iran are collectively sharing links to "Page Reboots" of Iranian gov't website so that it is shutdown. Also Twitterers who get their info from an Iranian in Iran can't reveal the name of the source for fear of his/her safety. Instead the source is credited with a simple, standard "RT Iran" on Twitter for proof of info straight from a Tehran street. You may follow this historic event minute by minute best on Twitter by using the following hashtags: #iranelection #iranians #iran9 #tehran of the popular ones. Now that Ahmedinejad has left Iran, it will be interesting to see how this plays out tomorrow. As far as POTUS response, I agreed with them that it was not the United States' job to dictate Iran's internal politics rather however expressing concern is licit. The Iranians living and residing within the United States gave him a solid thumbs up for that response.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pics of torture vs torture

Alan S Keller writes in the Letters to the NYT Editor:

There are other crucial voices missing from the torture debate, particularly those civilians who were arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned, tortured and then released months or years later without being charged. This happened in Afghanistan, Iraq (remember Abu Ghraib) as well as in Guantánamo and at C.I.A. black sites.

In the Physicians for Human Rights 2008 report "Broken Law, Broken Lives," my colleagues and I documented the profound physical and psychological suffering resulting from the torture and abuse of 12 people, all of whom were ultimately released without charges, but not before being subjected to beatings, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, death threats and extremes of heat and cold. In other words, they were tortured.

In several instances, health professionals were complicit. Then there are the voices of torture survivors, like my patients at the Bellevue-N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, subjected to brutalities in their home countries eerily similar to what we did. Their voices must be heard along with those of innocent civilians living under despot regimes who now face greater risk of torture because of our misguided policies.

There needs to be an independent and complete investigation.

Why is it that the GOP doesn't understand that there were innocent people swooped up in the process and were tortured mercilessly? This is the main reason why we shouldn't be torturing.

And those pictures that Obama has decided not to release because somehow they will "endanger our troops." How in the world will they endanger our troops? Thats the most pathetic argument I've ever heard. It's not like our opponent isn't already "motivated" enough and its not as if there isn't already any "advertisment for Anti-Americanism" in the first place. It's not the pictures, it's the torture itself that is the issue and the advertisement.

The whole argument seems pathetic and fishy to me. Plus Nancy Pelosi is a total tool. And it's pretty obvious she was lying about CIA lying. She'll only oppose torture when it's convenient. There is no doubt in that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What she said

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Amnesty for Illegals

FOX has officially lost it:

I'm not going to discuss every issue that Glenn Beck touches in his act, just immigration.

After it became clear that Obama may decide to legalize the 12 million illegals in America, the GOP just lost it. They were like: "Why would someone do such a thing? The illegals are responsible for all the crime here! They should be deported and should come through the front door like everyone else, not the back door."

First of all, why do you think illegals come here? They come here for a chance of feeding there kids back in Mexico or any other South American country. They are more desperate than legals. I'm not saying that illegal immigration is ok. Obviously it creates problems for the country, but do you really think it will be easy to round up all 12 million of them and get them deported? Why not have the illegal ones legalized so that they won't be forced to rob? They rob because they aren't allowed a job. As long as they are in this country they will continue criminal activities. Giving them citizenship will give them a second life and basically food stamps and other services that they can use to help their kids that they couldn't in their developing home countries because of extreme poverty present there. I know we should work on securing our borders before legalizing them, but maybe these were the fundamentals Obama and Bush had in mind when they want to legalize illegals. It may seem counter intuitive at first, but legal immigration is actually tougher than illegal immigration. To legally immigrate, you have to be healthy (ie: no AIDS, diseases for instance for licit reasons) and have some connections in the US or some work/education skills that the US could use before you can be eligible. You can't pick up a poor guy from the streets and have him legally migrate. Their only hope is via the illegal option if they want a new life. Again, I am not saying it is right, but that these illegals have no other option and are forced by their extreme circumstances. Now that these illegals have somehow made it into this country, they should be legalized and forgotten about and then we should work on securing our borders to prevent more from coming in. Reform is what we need and I think Obama has that in mind. I know this rant is very disorganized, but the above video is how extreme FOX is taking this.

To sum it up in a bit more organized fashion than the rough rant above:
  1. Forget about the illegals here - hardest part
  2. Naturalize them to potentially reduce domestic crime and give the kids a future
  3. Then, focus on securing borders instead of worrying about the illegals
  4. Act quickly if you don't want more illegals
  5. Take power away from drug lords in South America to reduce poverty there.
Obviously, some things are easier said than done. So these steps are probably oversimplifying the issue.

The GOP argues that legalizing these illegals makes it harder for Americans to get jobs in these tough times. That is a perfectly legitimate argument, but what should we do with these illegals here? Once again, instead of rounding them up one by one and wasting our resources, why don't we focus our resources on securing the border and give the illegals citizenship so that their kids who were born in this country and shouldn't have to deal with the pain of deportation, can lead a normal American life with normal services available to all Americans. Illegals are currently living in disgusting conditions which force them to contribute to crime and I hate that these kids of the illegal families who had nothing to do with all of this, who were just born in the wrong household will not be able to enjoy and pursue the American dream like everyone else even though they were born in this country, but to the "wrong" type of parents. Naturalization for their parents will open up a lot of opportunities for them.

So let me know what you think. Most probably will find this disorganized rant flawed. So don't be afraid to say it in the comments.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sign of the times?

I typed in "what is a..." and in the Google suggestion drop down list, I got:

  • a good credit score
  • a ponzi scheme
  • a hedge fund
  • a short sale
  • a torrent
  • a recession
All of these except 'torrent' are related to the current financial crisis. Google says that the suggestion list is basically generated based on "the spirit of times." Here is what they say on their website:
Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marijuana will be the top issue in online POTUS town hall today

A huge number of the questions submitted by the public via this highly sophisticated, tech savvy website were on marijuana in the 2 days we had to submit our questions for the online town hall starting in 2 hours. Around 40, 000 questions of the total 104,000 questions submitted were on the drug that many liberal Dems want legalized. Pretty much all of these 40,000 were in support of legalizing it based on my own personal estimate.

We know very well that President Obama is opposed to legalizing to marijuana as he said during his campaign trail, but I think this online town hall will be very interesting to watch Potus respond to the overwhelming support. Since it is the top issue, he can not avoid this question. So I guarantee you that he will answer this question unless he is fine with turning down ~35% of the participants.

UPDATE: POTUS blew off marijuana advocates by laughing the question away and suggesting it may have something to do with the online community. While I'm not quite a marijuana advocate, I thought it was unfair of President Obama to not respond with a rational opposition to legalizing the drug.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Topless Coffee shop waitresses

So I'm sure many of you read about the topless coffee shop and the interview with some of the waitresses and the 150 applicant pool for 10 positions. Here is what I think about it.

Firstly, I hate it when women state the common argument "no, I love it...I find it very empowering, not degrading" because it's so stupid and illogical as that waitress said. I was so shocked to hear that. Why could not she just be honest and say "I need the money" instead of lying?

So to those of you who are advocates of such coffee shops, please cut the nonsense, how is it NOT degrading?? You're being viewed as an object, not as someone who's opinion matters. If those men got their way, they could get rougher not more respectful. Respect comes with power. And those women are not in a position of power; they are serving coffee to those in power. How's that "empowering?"

If that is not degrading then I wonder what is.

Here is the original article.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crushing Piracy

Via FP Passport: Piracy in Lebanon is being crushed quite literally. And I really like this picture because it demonstrates that so powerfully. All those illegal CDs, DVDs and hours of great movies being crushed. It reminds of drag racing cars being crushed in the US as it is illegal here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wisconsin: Dad shoots son in the buttocks

Associated Press: A 9 year old son wrote a school essay in which he mentioned his Dad shooting him in the derriere with a BB gun once. The school teacher showed the essay to the authorities which ended up having the Dad arrested.

First of all, if I was the teacher, I would have not believed it knowing how wild imaginations can get from 9 year olds. So good work teacher! Good work in knowing when a child is telling the truth and when not.

Secondly, why would the Dad shoot the son? There was no description of that by the Dad who may now spend six years in prison. Kind of silly how the kid wrote this in an essay. This probably means think before you write if you want to hide something. Of course the Dad does deserve some punishment, but I won't be the judge to how much. A very weird story indeed.

Indonesian women protest Hillary visit

Indonesian women are protesting HRC's upcoming visit. According to Reuters, they are saying "you are not welcome here Hillary!" The reason for the protest is due to HRC's ties with Israeli lobbyists. The women are saying that HRC has no interest in diplomacy with the Muslim world except for defending Israel.

This was expected. Hillary will have a tough time carrying out Obama's agenda as she has ties to the complete opposite of what Obama would like to do. She basically disagreed with Obama's positions on Israel and Iran during the campaign. What makes anyone think that she'll happily give up those previously held notions for the POTUS? No one is that subservient. This is why I still don't understand Obama's picks. Why is he not picking someone who can actually pass his agenda rather than someone who can destroy it? He is focusing too much on bipartisanship. And we've already seen the results of that after the stimulus package was tried to be passed. Hats off to Judd Gregg for stepping aside quickly instead of staying and ruining Obama's agenda. In this case Gregg was much more of an honest man than any of the other Obama's other tax fleeing nominees. 4 nominees have already left due to tax issues. Why should anymore of his nominees be trusted? So my thanks to Gregg for not having tax issues and for recognizing that he had fundamental differences in philosophy with Obama which may hinder his and Potus' success in Commerce department. Thank you Gregg, for not waiting until someone pointed you out. Thank you for realizing that the friction of bipartisanship can sometimes be not so useful.

Maybe Obama picked Hillary to garner the support of the half the Democratic congress and to flatter the general American public. It was part of that secret deal that they had after she lost the campaign. Obama probably promised her SOS position while she promised to campaign for him. But who knows, as shrewd as she is, she could have asked so much more besides the SOS position, such as being able to pass her own policy and being completely independent from the President.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Plan

Please check out this great link. Former POTUS discusses how Israeli attack was completely unnecessary and could have been avoided in this latest interview. Also, in the interview he discusses how we can achieve peace there in his new book: "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land." It's just one reason why he is my favorite US President. His previous book got him controversy ('controversy' only in the US and Israel, but got him Nobel Prize and praise from around the world) for his position against some of Israeli positions and even led to Barack Obama avoiding him which is disappointing. But I am sure that Barack has something up his sleeve and was just trying to take a neutral position on this. So far Barack is juggling and struggling with cabinet nominees and waiting for Iranian elections to take place. So it will be a while before we see any major achievements in the Middle East. Soon, I will be assessing in more detail Barack Obama's Presidency in the coming days!

Sorry Israel: Shahar visa rejection not a big deal

Calm down everybody.

CNN and FOX relax. Tennis player Shahar Peer's Visa rejection by UAE is nothing huge. It's just like rejecting Iranian athletes or Soviet Union for Olympics. Dubai is known in the world for one of the most globalized and networked cities and this may sound backward to some. However, UAE has nothing against Ms. Peer personally. It's just the fact that UAE along with the United Nations, and Ban ki Moon does not recognize the recent butchering of innocent civilians in Gaza.

I'm sorry to all Israelis, but Israel broke the ceasefire first this time if you remember clearly. Know that I respect Israel's right to exist, but as in the video below, Palestinian civilians are dying like flies. There are millions living without electricity there and hospitals are no better than slums.

Ehud Barak, what is your 'objective' if not peace? Meanwhile US intelligence is predicting an Israel-Iran war by the end of this year. Why is US putting up with this? Let's take a step back and go back to the basics. Israel is being supported militarily and being provided nuclear weapons for killing innocent civilians! Let me go back to the old argument: just because you were the victims 60 years ago does not mean you can do what you like! You are no more the victim. In fact, this is another holocaust. And the United States must not let the Israeli lobby to bend US policy towards Israeli interests instead of US interests. It not only hurts Americans, but it is hurting the world.

Here are some videos from early 2009 worth watching. Especially watch how the UN describes this as disproportional killing and death of Human Rights workers. And the last 2 videos also discusses how 'talking' with Hamas can pause rocket fires. Stop discouraging POTUS from talking. Bill O' Reilly and Ann Coulter need to realize that as in the last video unless the occupation and strangulation of Gaza ends, there will be no peace and Hamas will continue fire. And don't say "Hamas will not negotiate" because they WILL and they have in the past. Yes, they have objectionable tactics, but would you rather kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians, then talk? If yes, then thats the most pathetic strategy ever. Former POTUS Jimmy Carter won a Nobel Prize for exactly this and was criticized by only 2 groups for receiving it. Can you guess who they were? Yes, only Israel and US. Finally, know that Gaza blockade will only feed terror. Make sure to watch this video which was in my earlier posts too. Also make sure you watch the Rabbi video below too. We need more people like those in the world.

Also, a Jewish Rabbi gives his take on the Israel-Palestine issue:

Part 1

Part 2

Thank you for those who read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What does it feel like to have a high IQ?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Clowns of the year 2009 showing up faster than expected

So we've already heard about Christian Bale and Michael Phelps. Bale as we already know has acted in 'angry' movies (Batman films and the American Psycho) which show that he may make a great angry actor for any future searching director. Either he is a pathetic actor who is actually the angry, frustrated guy he plays in films in real life too, or after playing a character it's hard for him to go back to the real Christian Bale mode.

Apparently some new members have also joined the gang (that was fast!); 19 year old singer Chris Brown and singer Rihanna, 20. Basically, the story goes something like this: Brown and Fenty were in an argument and got physical. Physical as in beating each other up. Both Brown and Fenty had injuries, though Fenty (I prefer to use people's last names) showed more. Chris Brown till now had a completely clean image and a promising career, but now is facing a career setback as major radio stations have taken his songs off the radio and some sponsors had dumped him and he got arrested. After all, singing love songs about a woman on TV when you've actually beaten up one and been arrested for aggravated assault doesn't fit nicely.

Also, you might be interested to hear this latest rumor. Possibly Brown got angry because as pathetic as the timing was, Rihanna decided to inform him that she gave him herpes and threw Brown into an uncontrollable anger. Sounds ridiculous and is definitely not too funny.

Haven't heard of this rumor? See it here for yourself. It's gone crazy on Youtube.

Hockey Mom turns 45

Meanwhile somewhere in Alaska, a small town, folksy, media sensation, mom turns 45. Thanks for bringing entertainment into politics Sarah! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Got Fresh Air?

As the threats of global warming loom, we discover that there are three types of plants that can help with climate change. This is a talk given at Ted on how we may 'grow our own fresh air.' Worth checking out the talking points here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

3 Timelines

Three ways of getting out of Iraq.

Mother 'cooks' her daughter; this is why a big stimulus package is NOT 'just spending'

Honestly, this is outrageous. A 40 year old mother is now in custody for beating her kids with a crowbar and heating up a nail and using it to burn the lower eyelid of the daughter. The kids are safe now with Social Services, but if one of the daughters had not managed to get the neighbor to call the police it would not have been pretty. According to this article, this happened regularly when the dad was not at home. My question is why? Why would the mom want to hurt her own kids in such a brutal manner. Even the punishment in jail is not so severe as the punishment given by this 40 year old mother. Either she has mental issues or those kids give her a real, tough life. And I doubt it that those kids gave the mom such pain to deserve such a punishment. Seriously, child abuse is now reaching depressingly new heights. And the family planning and law enforcement funding provision cut from the stimulus package by the stubborn GOP does NOT help one bit.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Prison

Funny cartoon from the New Yorker.

Bin Laden's Twitter Page

OBL using Twitter in a cave? Check it out here. Really hilarious.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nailed 'Em

The man Bale unleashed on

This is the Director of Photography or "DP" as Bale referred to him, Shane Hurlbut.

"Seriously, man we're _ done professionally." - Christian C. P. Bale

Though this will seriously hurt Bale in the media, without doubt, this flap only brings increased interest and attention to the movie. Commercially, Bale did a great thing for his movie. Way to promote your film, Bale! If this was just a stunt to grab attention to the Arnold-less movie, then I must say Bale is not bad at acting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What forced him out

Pretty much every press agency discussed and criticized President Obama for keeping Daschle as HHS Sec. despite the new facts that have burst into the scene. It's true that Daschle is highly experienced and very knowledgeable on passing bills in Congress, but it does not make sense to appoint a cabinet member who violates the ethics you created especially when you've promised ethics reform and established new ethics rules for a more "transparent" White House. Yesterday, of course, the Obama administration's response to this controversy was pretty dry and not meaningful. So what changed his mind to stay?

Two main things forced him to withdraw:

1. Another member, the Chief Performance Officer withdrew her nomination also because of tax issues before Daschle did which perhaps pushed Daschle over the edge to make the decision to withdraw.
2. This morning the New York Times editorial asking for Daschle's withdrawal was read by Daschle himself. The editorial spoke on behalf of the New York Times as a whole. The editorial's update then says that he "did the right thing."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Harry Potter is "deeply embarrassed"

I don't know why, but he reminds me of Harry Potter. Anyone else also see him that way? Any way he seems really "deeply disappointed" with his actions and it's pretty much guaranteed that he'll be HHS chief. But I don't care about that now. See the most important thing is fixing the health care system. That's the top priority. If he can accomplish that, then it's okay whoever he is or whatever lobbyist funding he's received.

Obama, the supermodel?


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mr. President, Ditch Daschle Now!

This is not cool, Mr. President. In fact it's sickening. Your Secretary of Health & Human services has not paid taxes and received lobbyist funding for being chauffeured in a limo during bad times for Americans. Don't you think someone about to take control of the health care sector should abide by your newly created ethics rules? I can understand why Geithner's situation isn't that bad because at least he didn't request and waste US taxpayer money on chauffeured limos! I'm also aware that Daschle kept this fact from you until now which is not your fault, but now that you're fully aware of his bad actions, dump him please, for the sake of your new White House ethics rules and to send a bold message to future staff tax evaders.

What a pathetic fool!

Seems like Israel prefers hostile relations with Iran and does not want Iran-America talks no matter what good it may bring. And they don't want the media around either!

News Agency Messes Up

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Michael Phelps is ruining America's image

Michael Phelps was caught smoking cannabis. Yes, marijuana. Not surprisingly, this report was done by a UK news agency rather than an American. This diminishes his hero status and also makes him lesser of a role model and more of a "bad influence" like Lindsay Lohan. Here is a picture of him smoking the illegal drug with a "bong." The news agency also states: "Phelps’ aides went into a panic over our story and offered us a raft of extraordinary incentives not to run the bong picture." And also: "If he continues to party like that I’d be amazed if he ever won any more medals again." The article goes on to remind us of how Phelps had previously gotten into trouble with DUIs and possibly had smoked cannabis before.

Make no mistake, I've always been an admirer of the six-four legend for his record-breaking swimming performances and long list of highly prestigious awards. Believe me, it's hard to bash a national hero. But his hard partying record makes him something parents would discourage young swimmers or other athletes or future Olympians from looking up to.

This also ruins America's image as this guy is not only the best swimmer, but the best Olympian! Hence, he should represent the best of America ethically too as he is sort of like the face of American athletes to the world.

The news agency that filed the report approached the US Olympian Committee, which recently awarded Phelps the Sportsman of the Century award, but obviously they got no comment. And they were equally unsuccessful with Phelps' coach. But the picture sure does look a lot like him.

Borrowing Money

Perfect timing for this video:

Tax and Lobbying issues

So not only Geithner, but also Daschle has not been keeping up with taxes. Not only that lobbyists (remember Raytheon?) are being considered for posts violating the ethics rules just set. What is going on, Mr. President?

Hopefully, incoming Commerce Secretary Gregg is up to date with taxes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

RNC has a New Face

In a desperate attempt to rid themselves of the "old, small town white guy" image, GOP-ers thrust Michael Steele, an African American for the first time in the RNC's history to the chairmanship of the RNC.

Keep one thing in mind: An African American heading the RNC will not necessarily change the attitudes of the GOP to crucial issues facing the African American community in places like New Orleans and the rest of the nation or attitudes towards issues relating immigration, health care, stem cell research and war. It's just a new face.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Excellent Video on the History of the Internet

Al Arabiya TV is NOT representative of Middle East

The first televised interview as President by Barack Obama was given to Al-Arabiya TV, an Arab news channel in the Middle East and is known as "friendly" to US image. The interview definitely showed a new brand of politics in the White House and was generally well received in the Middle East and by American Dems. However, to be clear, unlike what many websites are saying right now, Al Arabiya is not the mainstream news channel of the Muslim world. It's Al-Jazeera. In fact, Al Jazeera has around as much TV viewership as BBC world. BBC and Al-Jazeera have this agreement now on being able to share each others footage among other things. But Al-Jazeera is largely regarded as "confrontational" by the US which was probably why Obama dodged granting them an interview instead. That is understandable especially if you're trying to bolster US image. But just know that Al-Arabiya is not mainstream and it is the 'FOX' of the Middle East to some. But I'm not complaining. You can't be that fussy about these things. Small baby steps must be taken first before we actually speak to Al-Jazeera.


Contrary to what I thought, westerners still visit Iran. Given the current tensions, this may be a shocking video to some. As you know President Obama recently said "the Iranian people are a great people and the Persian civilization is a great civilization." Obviously that was not well received by Fox news and the GOP, but the Middle East largely praised him for being kind.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Matt Damon: Bond is "repulsive"

Award winning American actor, Matt Damon, had some not so polite words for James Bond, the fictional character of the famous/infamous Bond serious:

''They could never make a James Bond movie like any of the Bourne films ... Because Bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. He's repulsive."

This article goes on to describe the Harvard-educated Damon as "very smart" and a political thinker calling Republican Bill Kristol who appears regularly on Fox as an "idiot."

Shocking: Girl marries dog amidst superstition

Reuters: "In India's eastern Jharkhand, villagers 'married' off a young girl to a stray dog to ward off an evil spirit. The locals at Munda Dhanda village performed the ceremony as they believe it will overcome any curse that might fall on the family. Interestingly, the girl is free to get married later in life to a man without even seeking a divorce. Superstitions are widespread in India, especially in rural areas where literacy is scarce."

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Poll on the right should be gone, but...

Sorry guys, blogger is not letting me remove the now useless poll on the right. So if you're wondering why it's still there, I haven't forgotten about it and I will just have to wait for the number of days it indicates it is open for.

Image of US already changing

Iran was staunchly anti-America during the days of the election and many Iranians had serious doubts that America would elect a black man. However, today that has changed slightly. President Ahmedinejad of Iran said he is ready for a new relationship and talks with America. But many Iranians are still skeptical that a US-Iran relationship would bring any good. Iranian students were seen demonstrating against the US' extensive support of Israel on the day Obama came into office.

Susan Rice, the new UN ambassador said we would engage in "direct diplomacy" with Iran. Hopefully, that means Iran won't be left completely isolated by this administration. That leaves poverty rate high in Iran and at the same time gives Iran a reason to pursue nuclear technology. But believe it or not, diplomacy with Iran could help lower gas prices. But, first you would need to lift those sanctions.

Hey, it worked with North Korea. They are now officially not a terrorist nation.

Oprah for Senate?

Blago considered Oprah for senate. Goddard of Political Wire writes:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) told ABC News "that when he was deciding who would take President Obama's Senate seat he considered appointing talk show queen Oprah Winfrey."

Said Blagojevich: "She seemed to be someone who had helped Barack Obama in a significant way to become president," adding that "she had a much broader bully pulpit than a lot of senators."

Update: Oprah responds: "If I had been watching from the treadmill I probably would have fallen off the treadmill."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's all yours captain!

Now watch this drive...

Top 15 National Losers of 2008

  1. George Bush
  2. The Middle Class
  3. Rod Blagojevich
  4. Sarah Palin
  5. Dick Cheney
  6. Eliot Spitzer
  7. Tony Rezko
  8. Hank Paulson
  9. Hillary Clinton
  10. Soulja Boy
  11. Mitt Romney
  12. The American Investor
  13. Sam Zell (Owner of Tribune Company)
  14. John McCain
  15. Sean Hannity & Friends

Thursday, January 15, 2009

US: Bin Laden not a threat anymore

Apparently, the US government and Obama have dismissed a newly released Osama audio tape discussing Israel-Gaza and the inauguration as a gentle reminder of a long lost enemy. According to Reuters, the tape does not in anyway disprove that Osama is too weak to be in a position to attack or cause any disturbances during the inauguration. Even PE Obama is now sort of shifting his position of capturing Osama. Commenting on this tape, Obama just said that if Bin Laden is having a tough time commanding or communicating from his secret location somewhere, then America is secure and suggested that capturing him wasn't the biggest of the biggest priority. This makes sense, Osama is now just a mere symbol (and symbols transcend a single individual) and the heavy bombing in Afghanistan should have bought America at least this far if nothing else. Right now, the top most priority is defeating Al Qaeda, not by military might, but by winning the hearts and minds of Al Qaeda's biggest supporters, the desperate hunger stricken poor, through compromise, aid, promise of a better life and smart psychologial warfare against Al Qaeda.

Here is the first psychological step we can take to derail Al Qaeda: Reprimand Israel as its ally for wrongly killing innocents and force a ceasefire. Too many are dead and Osama is taking advantage of this by seeking to tie Israel and the US to incite anger in the Muslim world. So do the right thing and throw Al Qaeda completely off and spoil its goal of sparking more hate-filled terrorism.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best Movie of the Past Year

For those of you who have yet to see the film Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture, this is a good one.

In my humble opinion, this has been one of the best films of the year. Directed superbly by Danny Boyle, the film mainly portrays the harsh lifestyle of street kids in third world countries and the class-consciousness that exists in such societies. We just aren't doing enough.

And I'm pretty sure, it will not leave the February Oscars empty-handed either (though I didn't quite like the ending).

See it!

Silence speaks louder than words

President-Elect Obama's commitment to closing Gitmo is highly commendable, but with the murderous campaign raging in Gaza, his silence is too loud. The UN has stopped sending aid workers to Gaza due to deaths from Isreali airstrikes, Human Rights Organizations condemn Israel and more than a 1,000 have been killed. And yet he is silent. Why? He says "there is only one President at a time" but we MUST know what our future President will do. If he's going to do the same thing as the 'Washington Insiders' than there was no point in electing him. What frustrates much of the world is that we are in the dark as to where he stands on Gaza. Will he jump on the Bush bandwagon and support Israel until Hamas 'stops?' Or will he be in his right mind and be unbiased and neutral when dealing with both sides?

For those of you who say "Israel has a right to defend itself" from Hamas that refuses Israel the right to exist, then know that Israel also refuses the Palestinian people the right to live as an independent nation free from wrongful and tyrannical occupation. If Israel didn't blockade Gaza, the Palestinian people would've probably never have elected the Hamas in the first place. The blockade has garnered criticism from Human Rights groups.

Anyway, whatever Israel does from now until the 20th will happen unchallenged, but after that lets hope the PE gets something done.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to be a "typical," ordinary small town family

  • Firstly, live in a small town. Preferably "mainstream Wasilla."
  • Buy clothes from the highly expensive, elite big city shops. Small town shops are not small town enough.
  • Spend a "reasonable" small town budget of $180,000 on personal clothes only in 2 months. Fairly "frugal."
  • Get married to someone arrested for drunk driving in '86 before marriage and was briefly jailed.
  • Marry someone who joined a group that wanted Alaska to secede from the United States.
  • Let your teenage daughter have her own doll of a child because you can't meet her demand of getting a puppy. Its ok as long as she's happy even if it's out of wedlock.
  • Force the same daughter to marry the playboy she used to get her doll of a child, without son-in-law's consent even if the playboy son-in-law's mom is arrested for drug abuse on 6 counts.
  • Shoot down animals from helicopters. Animal rights are not small town enough for you.
  • Fire your ex-brother-in-law for fun when you become a Governor.
  • Claim foreign policy experience due to proximity of your state to Russia even if you got your first passport in '06.
  • Use your Yahoo! email account for state business to avoid court investigations.
  • Run for beauty pageant, mayor, governor and the vice presidency.
  • Ramble something on the bailout and "umbrella of job creation" if you can't answer the question.
  • Call the interviewer by his nickname frequently to jinx him when you don't know what "bush-doctrine" means.
  • Dub yourself "hockey mom" and "average Joe-six pack."
  • Use public office for discussing future plans.
  • Discuss banning books with librarian.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Britney Spears music is torturous

Some may already find Britney's music painful to listen to. But, her music is being deliberately used to torture prisoners at Gitmo. Who knew? According to this article from MSNBC, even Sesame Street, rock music and Barney the purple dinosaur's music (imagine what kids would think if they knew what other purposes for Barney were) is blasted to unbearably high volumes at Gitmo. "Plenty lost their minds" and many ended up banging their heads on the wall in pain. Many musicians are protesting that their music not be used for toture as that was not the purpose of its creation. This musical type of torture is purely mental. Although to spice it up, they might also sleep deprive you for days and force you to sit in painful positions for overwhelmingly long periods of time. Some interrogators brag that they need only 4 days to break a new prisoner. I wonder if this has been mentioned on the Fox 24 show at all, and if Kiefer has any sympathy for victims of abuse at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

It is really amazing how much US taxpayer money is spent on researching for new and innovative techniques for torturing people, many of whom are alleged to be terrorists. There are thousands of other techniques used in the CIA's secret camps that are still unknown to the public. Waterboarding is only 1 out of a few known that drowned (pun intended) the world with concerns of Gitmo's human rights' violation. Pathetic. If Obama does not close Gitmo as promised, I will be deeply disappointed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Shoe Thrower

Muntadher al-Zaidi, the shoe thrower, is an Iraqi journalist from the TV station Al-Baghdadia. Thousands of Iraqis protested his arrest today and the TV station is demanding his release vigorously. Below is the statement by the TV station.
Any action taken against Muntathar will remind us of the actions and behaviors taken by the reign of the dictator and the violence, the random arrests, the mass graves and confiscations of freedom from the people - Al Baghdadia TV

Meanwhile many in the Middle East are calling him a 'hero' for having the guts to do such a thing. A minority, however, said that this was probably not the best way to send his message. Whether you thought this guy was outrageous or not, he has become the talk everywhere in the Middle East and that is probably what he wanted.

Friends described Zaidi as "emotionally influenced" when he was kidnapped by militants in 2007 for three days and traumatized when he covered US bombing of Sadr City in Iraq as a journalist. The bombing may have caused him to lose it, reportedly. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed along with 5,000 US soldiers. If this wasn't enough, in addition, today, a Human Rights group is accusing the Iraqi criminal court for poor treatment of prisoners such as Zaidi. Also Foreign Policy magazine says that: "a new 500-page government report detailing how $50 billion in U.S. taxpayer money was badly misspent during the reconstruction of Iraq may prove more significant to Bush's legacy. "

Zaidi has also garnered his own Wikipedia entry.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pathetic Security

I can't believe that even after two shoes thrown at Bush, the Secret Service along with others took almost 4 seconds to close in on the President. There was no agent next to the President during the shoe incident. This is really pathetic. The Secret Service needs to re-evaluate itself and its security protocols. Imagine if those shoes hit Bush in the face or imagine if those shoes were a pair of pocket knives that the security check during entrance failed to catch or even a pen that could have hit Bush in the eye. This scares me because Barack will be facing even more threats, so the secret service better be smarter about it.

Perino gets black-eyed

Press Secretary Dana Perino got hit in the eye with a mike during the shoe incident. Kind of symbolic, how the press secretary gets hurt, but not the President. Anyway I don't wish any harm on her. Hope to not see her during the press briefing with a black eye as symbolic as that would sound of the Bush Administration. Most likely, you can expect to see her only when that eye is cleared up. Good thing there isn't a 'B' carved on the cheek too. That would really creep out the Dems, if you know what I mean.

Post-election GOP drama

  • Palin's church burnt down.
  • McCain refused to say if he would support Palin in a 2012 run. Says: "We've got some great other young governors."
  • Joe the Plumber "appalled" by John McCain
  • Palin snubbed Oprah (possibly?)
  • McCain criticizes GOP for trying to link Obama to Blago scandal.
  • Palin accused of using public office to discuss post-election plans.
  • Powell: GOP must re-evaluate itself and change image desperately.
  • Shoes thrown at Bush by Iraqi reporter attempting to bid farewell (yells: "this is a farewell, you dog!) during Bush's farewell visit to Iraq.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Amish Genes

A new Reuters article discusses a study which discovered that Amish people have a rare abnormality in their genes that allows their triglycerides to accumulate slower than other humans. They only have 1 copy of the gene that makes the protein inhibiting triglyceride breakdown. Normally, humans have 2 copies allowing triglyceride levels to rise and as a consequence causing heart disease. This discovery will help scientists develop drugs that target this specific triglyceride breakdown inhibiting gene. That's a double score. Not only they get more exercise than us, they also have genetically desirable traits for the heart. The average life expectancy for Amish people is around 75 without the use of 21st century medical care. This is pretty good. Imagine the life expectancy of Amish people if they wound up using modern medical care. It would effortlessly shoot to 90s.

Future Pool

This pool was opened in Mumbai to create awareness on rising sea levels as a result of global warming. Looks scary, but its an excellent design and a great idea.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The First Washington Outsider

Finally! A true outsider in Obama's cabinet. I was getting sick of seeing Clintonites being picked daily. Dr. Steven Chu will be great. He has absolutely no political experience making him the outsider literally. Some may argue that it will be a liability, but think about it; no political knowledge implies: less likely to commit political corruption, less likely to revert to status-quo and politics as usual. Its like putting an end to the war on science started by Bush. Chu is a Nobel Prize winning physicist from Stanford. Think about how much he will get done as Secretary of Energy than a political guy. Chu will push for scientific innovation in addition to policies. It will be perfect! Though I admit, he may have a tough time passing policies, but this guy is a genius. I'm sure he'll figure it out. Obama gets an A++ from me on this pick. Good Job Mr. President-Elect. This choice assures me that you are not completely obsessed with the Clinton administration.

Tech Savvy Terrorists

According to a new Reuters article, Mumbai security forces acknowledged shortcomings in their defense technologies and the surprising familiarity and ease of use of advanced technology by the gunmen. The sophisticated use of GPS, Google Earth, Skype, satellite phones and Blackberries made it increasingly difficult for Mumbai police and gave the gunmen the edge. The gunmen reportedly planned their operation using Google Earth, a highly detailed world map feature offered by Google for free. Lawyers in Mumbai are now trying to ban Google Earth because the incredible details could be 'security hazards' and are extremely sensitive. Also, the use of satellite phones along with the use of Skype made it difficult to track telephone conversations. E-mail communications before the operation were done through multiple servers making it also difficult for Indian forces to track.

This new tech savvy quality of the enemy is indeed very scary. The best way to fight this is probably not by banning the technology (that's just like saying: "lets go back to the stone age so that there are no more guns!"), but by improving classified technology used by the security team. But there is no one answer and it is incredibly hard to solve this as someone would have by now if it were that easy.

Governor's official website not updated

The Illinois Governor's website to no surprise was not updated to the current news of corruption scandal. The Governor is also coolly ignoring calls for resignation.

Jesse Jackson, Jr.

I think Jesse Jackson, Jr. deserves Obama's seat. Face it, he's witty, sharp, knowledgeable and a prominent voice in International civil rights. He was jailed in South Africa at age 21 for protesting the apartheid. He's a known friend of Nelson Mandela. Plus I think he shares the values of Barack very closely by the speeches he has given and the movements he has participated in. If anyone should replace Barack, it should be someone with Barack's vision and morals for the world.


Honestly, this election has added a whole new dimension to the word 'Change.' Whenever I hear that word in my usual day to day life, my mind immediately wanders to the election before drifting back. It almost makes me laugh how brilliantly the Obama campaign's message of 'change' and 'hope' have been articulated. But I'm sure that I am not the only one who thinks of that word differently after the election. I'm sure there are others out there who are beginning to think of 'change,' the word as more than an alteration or conversion of something, but also as a political tool.

Financially Hurting?

Gov. Rod said that he was "financially hurting" which is why needs "to make money." I don't get it. He is a governor and he lives in a fancy Executive Mansion in IL. Why is he hurting? His salary is already over $150k. What more does he want?

UPDATE: WSJ reports that Gov. Rod owed more than $500k to a law firm.

Most Corrupt State in America

Comment on the vandalized Muslim graves in France

Even though this post may be a bit late for it, I still think it is worth addressing.

French Muslims regularly experience discrimination by major institutions and hate crimes in France. However, this recent crime conducted a couple of days ago is one of the most disgusting. In a military cemetery, where the bodies of WWI Muslim soldiers who fought for France lie, 500 graves were desecrated with a swastika symbol drawn on some of them. Isn't this just pure irony? You're attacking someone who fought for your country and is now resting in peace. I was honestly shocked to see that the culprits had no respect for the dead.

I commend Sarkozy for denouncing the act, but frankly, it isn't enough. France needs to step up its act against discrimination. The Public school system bans headscarves, but not crosses and stars of david worn by students. As a result, Muslim students are forced to attend private Catholic schools with a tuition. This is wrong. The headscarf is simply a dress, like it was for many women in America and the Europe in the 19th Century. French politicians defend the ban by saying that headscarves are sexist. However, it is just a different standard of modesty. Women who wear it, wear it because they want to and because they believe it gives them dignity. Obviously this issue is more complicated than it appears and is a hot debate in France.

Also, French politicians must understand that there are global ramifications to organized discrimination in France. For example, terrorists at Al Qaida in Afghanistan will use this example for the purposes of recruiting poor, illiterate, and naive youngsters in Afghanistan by brainwashing. For instance, Al Qaida will say "See? These guys are the devils and we need to stop them. Sign up and we attack the devils." Sadly, this not only destroys the future of these young kids, but also ends up causing things like the Mumbai tragedy. Bottom-line: France, if you want to see world peace, you've got to do your part and stop discriminating and work on uniting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Motorcade?

I'm shocked. This guy has just entered the world lime light after being arrested as a governor charged with corruption with media helicopters chasing him and he has no motorcade? Apparently, the security detail inside that SUV is enough. He should have at least one police car behind him in my opinion.

In Retrospect

As usual, we have our "In Retrospect" segment that reminds us of the past and its irony, along with how it is so different yet similar to the present. If you don't find today's videos hilarious, then I don't know what to say.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cartoon of the week

Size is misleading.

On Pakistan Capturing Mastermind

This should put to rest any claims made by India that the Pakistani government was involved in the attacks. Yesterday, Pakistani security forces attacked a militant group camped somewhere in Kashmir and captured the mastermind, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who may have also been behind terrorist operations in Chechnya and Bosnia. This proves my previous point that India and Pakistan have to solve the Kashmir dispute and stop the stupid "tensions growing" story because that is only going to start war again. A recent bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan proves that both countries are victim to terrorism. PE Obama is right to propose to help solve the Kashmir dispute because that area is affected deeply by terrorist militant groups and daily skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani government. Pakistan can't afford to focus on other things besides the militants and its own domestic issues. Already, Pakistani forces are so stretched from Afghanistan to Kashmir to the Southern LOC (line-of-control) that its shocking how they are still able to perform these small operations against the militants. Keep in mind, that both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed nations too, making war highly dangerous. There have already been 4 devastating major wars between India and Pakistan. The citizens of both countries don't need more and certainly the world doesn't either because these wars fuel terrorism with weopanry and give terrorism the government's support to aid them to perform operations in civilian Indian cities. The United States must assess the Kashmir issue fairly to give satisfaction to both sides such as a compromise so that they can both work towards peace, diplomacy and the end of terrorism. Also, solving the Kashmir issue and reducing violence from terrorism will allow both countries to work on their desperate domestic issues such as famine, high pollution, no health care and lack of education. The military of both countries are spending money for defense that can be used to save millions from dying of preventable diseases. Looking back at the US, the Obama plan includes an innovative non-military aid package to Pakistan which I am hoping will make a huge difference. But at the moment all we can do is wait for this lame duck administration to fly by.