Friday, September 30, 2005

Rape Capital

For sometime, i have been repulsed by the frequent reports in the newspapers about rapes in Delhi. Initially it was a feeling, 'why the hell should the publicize these?', 'why sensationalize?'. But soon i realized that if these stories stopped, that wouldn't stop the rapes. That would only embolden the criminal within. Now these stories hit the media sooner and get more coverage, it is good, because it will help solve the problem. People are less prone to sweep these under the carpet, when it is out in the open. And it should also strengthen the ones who have always been trying to help the victims and increase the resolve to punish the accused.

Not one to support capital punishment, this is one instance when it has be used to the fullest. Death is a not a good option, because it could lead to the victims being murdered after the crime. How about 'castration' ?

Woman raped and robbed in New Delhi - Sept 2005
Three minors were raped in separate incidents on Monday - Sept 2005
Woman gangraped by husband's friends - Aug 2005
'Rape incidents in Delhi have decreased' - Oct 2003
Delhi graduates to country's rape capital - Oct 2003

Another freak show

There is no dearth to freaks in this world. Here is another example of one. Even at moments where people can meet and unite, there are some who seek to divide and seperate.

Sangh's Dandia song: no Muslims, please

Additional Benefits of Outsourcing

Here we go. It was bound to happen sooner or later. In retrospect, it was probably happening even before, but on the sly, and in limited fashion. But now it is a fad. It is part of the economic boom, we were all waiting for.
Each successive Government in India, is slowling but constantly removing the bottlenecks and controls that were in place, that stopped or limited such practice before. But now, in the name of same medicine, and humane testing practices, these voilations are only on the rise.

Cheap human guinea pigs attract foreign drug firms -

Monday, September 26, 2005

Too bad Too sad

It was in the offing for sometime now. Lot of talk had been generated about this vote before today. Politcal parties had done their job of tom-tomming about our independent stand.

But now, we have played our cards are required by some of the bigger bosses. And why, so that we can get civilian nuclear deals from the US. Why do we need that ? I always thought we were a country that relied on self-reliance, we always wanted to re-invent the wheel ourselves. Of course until yesterday, it was because we were not allowed access to the wheel. But now it is because we want to play real-politick.

I am ashamed of what the Government has done. It is proof that every country can grow to a size, at which point it will need to indulge in double-speak.

The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : India's shameful vote against Iran

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Anti-War Protest this weekend in DC

I was in DC for the last one. Altho' i didnt participate, because i felt it was for a lost cause. I thot since the war had started, what was the point.
But, i think there is a point. And now, it has been going on and on, specially after our goof friend announced 'Mission Accomplised' way back in May of 2003. The White House site has even preserved the entire address from the warship. Oh man !! They must be mighty proud about it.

Charlotte Observer - Anti-war mother brings protest to Washington
WAVY.COM - Anti-war activist arrives for weekend protest - Peace activist brings anti-war campaign to Washington

O' Reilly: I wish i hadn't !!

Finally, someone who could stand-up to this bastard. And on his show. I wonder why people with dissenting opinion show on the OReilly bullshow to be shouted at by this moron. I wished i had watched this one LIVE. But this was just as satisfying.

Donahue KO's O'Reilly
You can also see the video on Crooks & Liars

Hurricane Rita

Take a look at this picture !! (Hurricane RITA)

And here are some funny comments from the site i first saw it at, click on the comments and enjoy !!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Advani to Quit !!

So finally the drama is too end in December. Oh well, it will be over when it is over. There is no quitting after being in the limelight for so many years. The man who helped propel the BJP to its towering heights, by playing the most divisive politics ever in the country, is just going to sulk away and sit in a corner.

I learnt a lesson, after understanding that the Ram temple is rhetoric to win elections, i kind build a soft corner for the BJP, on two issues 'universal civil code' and 'disciplined party'. What a sucker ? In politics, there is no discipline. Its just one crook vs another.

Eagerly awaiting december..... for what tho ?

The Hindu : Front Page : Advani to step down, criticises RSS

Go Sania

She is now at 34 in the world ranking and has potentials to go higher. I have seen her game at the US Open, and feel that she has the potential to do it. The question tho' is after Sania who !!

Why this question, so soon, when she is just 19 and has long career ahead ? Well her opponent who beat her at the US Open was only 18yrs old, and she already had won the Wimbledon. So the question is important. Surely, my bets are on Sania to go all the way to the top and remain their for a long time. But i would equally like for a small but good group to follow her and start breaking the ranking table. Lest, Sania becomes another flash in the pan.

Sania mania hits WTA officials- The Times of India

Monday, September 12, 2005

Only In India ?

Two stories reported today in the Indian Express (online) speaks volumes of the contrast we often exhibit in India. You can often find both extremes co-existing, not always in peace and harmony, but co-existing nonetheless.

Minor knot: Girl marries lover’s brother for 2 yrs

Pushkar pandits fume as Israeli newlyweds kiss

This happens only in India. Well.. not exactly.. but you do see a lot of these kind here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Freedom of Press - a myth afterall

There have been several instances where the myth of a free press in the US has been exposed. As is often said, the biggest casualty of war is the truth. The press in the US has been engaged in covering up several truths in the many wars that the Federal, State and local governments in the US fight. War on Iraq, War on terror, War on drugs, War on.... oh it goes on.
The Bush government has successfully placed a ban on covering the body bags that arrive from the war in Iraq. Now there is an attempt to do a similar cover up on the death toll from Katrina. It should stated that the deaths in New Orleans were less because of Katrina, and more to do with the inept government officials.

Freedom of Press - a myth afterall

There have been several instances where the myth of a free press in the US has been exposed. As is often said, the biggest casualty of war is the truth. The press in the US has been engaged in covering up several truths in the many wars that the Federal, State and local governments in the US fight. War on Iraq, War on terror, War on drugs, War on.... oh it goes on.
The Bush government has successfully placed a ban on covering the body bags that arrive from the war in Iraq. Now there is an attempt to do a similar cover up on the death toll from Katrina. It should stated that the deaths in New Orleans were less because of Katrina, and more to do with the inept government officials.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


The delays in the rescue effort to the city of New Orleans, created a sort of revulsion and a more important resolve. A resolve, a self-determination amongst the people here in the US to step forward and do what the Federal Govt was stalling about.

My first such experience was in Dec 2004 after the tsunami, in India, when i saw an outpouring from the people of India, and the world stepped forward to help the people in need. Here it was not because they felt help was not available, but more because they felt it may not be sufficient.

In the case of Katrina's after effects, i am not sure if the response would have been so high, had the Feds stepped in and done what they could have done. And thanks to their inaction, here was another reason for the country to come together and help out. And what an outpouring, overwhelmed is the word that comes to my mind. I guess it was because of the response i got from the various agencies i contacted to over my services. I hope it remains that way, because the path to recovery is long and painful.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Orleans - Racism - Captured in Pictures ??

Looting vs Finding - Some interesting observation presented by two pictures from New Orleans

A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana. (AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)

Also see Salon, HungryBlues, Yahoo News, another Post in Flickr, some redemption by the photographer as posted in Poynteronline

Freaks - them or us ?

One minor girl, many Arabs

Who is more culpable in this deal ? The Arabs or the parents of these girls. Instead taking and fighting these kind of issues, the stupid RSS and VHP wants to fight for another Temple (like we dont have enough already).
And the other side the good old Mullahs and Maulvis, conviently silent at this time.

It all goes to show, money and power, can quickly silence most crimes. And the fundamentalists and irrationalists are more concerned about religious insignias, symbols and practices, rather than the right of people to have a decent living.

- as published in The Times of India

Indian Air Force Superiority over US Air Force !!

The real story behind Indian Air Force Superiority over US Air Force - USAF underestimated Indians as Iraqis or Iranians
Balaji Reddy, Special Correspondent
June 18, 2004

"Surprising sophistication of Indian fighter aircraft and skill of Indian pilots" stunned the US Air Force. A June 2 article in the magazine Inside the Air Force reported -"The exercise, in which US F-15Cs were said to have been defeated more than 90 per cent of the time in direct combat exercises against the IAF, is causing US Air Force officials to re-evaluate the way the service trains its fighter pilots while bolstering the case for buying the F/A-22 as a way to ensure continued air dominance for the United States."
The magazine quoted US officials who participated in the exercise as saying it should "provide a reality check for those who had assumed unquestioned US air superiority."

What really happened is as follows: US Air Force underestimated the India Air force Pilots and their numerical skill. They thought these are another set of Iraqi or Iranian Pilots. The numerical analysis and problem solving capability of IAF Pilots are well known and are probably the best in the world. In absence of signal intelligence, satellite guidance and automated software control, USAF faced Indians who were world class and
far superior than their US counterpart. IAF recruits the country's best brains in Air Force. It is prestigious too. USAF can only recruit willing average or slightly above average. In addition, in absence of superior communication and jamming, Indians proved absolutely formidable.

On the face of it, the performance of the IAF, with its oft-reported air crashes in an aging, non-American fleet, might seem surprising. But US officials told the magazine that the Indians were much better than they had bargained for.

"What happened to us was it looks like our red air training might not be as good because the adversaries are better than we thought," the article quoted Col. Mike Snodgrass, commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, as saying. "And in the case of the Indian Air Force both their training and some of their equipment was better than we anticipated."

"Red air" refers to the way the US Air Force simulates enemy capability in air combat training. US officials emphasised that such simulation deliberately handicap US planes and pilots against the enemy because the service has assumed for years that its fighters are more capable than enemy aircraft.

In Cope Thunder, four F-15Cs were pitted against 10 or 12 of same model Indian fighters such as the Mirage 2000, MIG-27 and MIG-29s in offensive and defensive counter air scenarios. But the two most formidable IAF aircraft proved to be the MIG-21 Bison, an upgraded version of the Russian-made baseline MIG-21, and the Sukhoi SU-30K Flanker, US officials said.

"What we faced were superior numbers, and an IAF pilot who was very proficient in his aircraft and smart on tactics. That combination was tough for us to overcome," the magazine quoted a US airman who took part in the exercise as saying.

While acknowledging the performance of their Indian colleagues, who they will meet again in another air combat exercise in Alaska next month, the US airmen also made a major pitch for the F/A-22 aircraft that the US government has been slow to embrace because of its cost and lack of a perceived threat.

"The major takeaway for the Air Force is that our prediction of needing to replace the F-15 with the F/A-22 is proving out as we get smarter and smarter about other [countries'] capabilities around the world and what technology is limited to in the F-15 airframe," Col. Snodgrass said. "We've taken [the F-15] about as far as we can and it's now time to move to the next generation."

- as published in India Daily

Tsunami - Dec 26th 2004

Dec 25th started of as a peaceful morning for, my family and me. We were at the Hotel Ashoka just outside of Pondicherry. Having spend 2 days there, my sister, kids and wife wanted to spend another day, given that 26th Sunday was also an holiday. Well i could have, but i had to conduct an interview in the city.
Good call there, because the next day Tsunami hit the beaches here, and most of the hotel was washed out by the waves. My sister and brother-in-law wanted to take the boat out into the sea again, after the cool ride we had on Friday. And the plan was to have done that, if we had stayed an extra day. The kids were playing out in the garden by the beach, based on the timing the waves hit the shore, they may have just been doing that again on the 26th. I know people have had closer calls, but this was ours.

Anyway, the point i am writing about was the reaction to the Tsunami. Within 24hrs of the massive waves lashing and destroying the coastal TamilNadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Govt of India and TamilNadu moved their all the resources and were involved in a massive search, rescue, recovery and settlement operation never before seen and experienced in India. It was not all perfect, all the different agencies did have some issues working together. And things were compounded by many private and NGOs working towards the same objective, albeit without coordination. But in the end, there was only an issue of too much help and too much food and tons and tons of clothes. The teams didnot wait for approvals or red-tapes to be clipped, they were set in motion from the zero hour. The only issue in the case of Tusnami was, it took about 2-3 hrs to realise that a tsunami had hit the coast of India.

What still bothers me is how a Tsunami struck Andaman and Nicobar islands around 7am in the morning of 26th Dec, destroyed an Indian Air Force base and the country didnt wake up for another 4-6 hrs to react to it. Ya, ya, we have never had a Tsunami ever hit the coast of India. We have never seen anything like this before. But damn it, an air force base was completely destroyed. How the hell didnt the senior Govt officials hear about that ? And when they did what were they thinking ?
These were the thoughts i had. I compared this to the reaction in the US during 9/11. Where again there were so many questions ? But then the US is not bordered by countries like Pakistan and China, that is Air Force has to be monitoring all voilations of air space, so carefully. Anyway, i felt that India needs to learn a lot from the US about how to manage crisis management, and about FEMA etc.

Wow. What a mistake ? You rave about things you dont know. From far, everything looks perfect. Its only when you get close, you can actually the mole on the face. Too bad New Orleans had to suffer this ordeal. But i am sure the situation wouldnt have been greatly different for other parts of the country. But having said that, i wouldnt put it past the Federal officials in the US to look it as taking extra steps to help the poor and disabled, specially black poor and disabled people. I am absolutely convinced that the outrage would have been greater and higher if this problem had happened in some place in upstate New York or New Hampshire.

In retrospect, i think there is a lot that the US has to learn from India and countries that handled the Tsunami problem. In India, just like in the US there is a natural calamity every year. This year, less than 8 months from the Tsunami, was the Bombay floods. Where the disaster was more man made than natural, but the response was still faster and quicker. In many cases, being the superpower doesnt necessarily mean you have a solution for every problem.

I hope that the US, Feds, FEMA etc learn from this experience and sharpen their skills and increase their sensitivity to these kind of issues. In this day and age, every life is precious, be it poor or disabled. Or is it ?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

State of Emergency

The White House declares 'State of Emergency'
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 27, 2005

Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

Representing FEMA, Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.


Katrina Timeline

Katrina Timeline
What happened, from my view point
Today and Now - well i got to go now.... i am heading to the DC Armory to help out with the work in Washington DC
Sept 4th 2005 - New Orleans is now Ghost City. Not many people left.
Sept 3rd 2005 - Lots of help. A lot of complains. But that is to be expected. Help cannot be everywhere at the sametime. But one only wishes these complaints were the ones we heard on Aug 30th 2005. Not a whole week after the storm hit the city.
Sept 2nd 2005 - Finally some help. 5 days after the hurricane crosses land. Thats worse than the response by countries like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc when the Tsunami hit their coasts.
Sept 2nd 2005 - George is finally down on the ground in MS. But flys over New Orleans !! Why ?
Sept 2nd 2005 - Mayor Ray Nagin blasts the feds: "Get Off Your Asses And Let's Do Something".
Sept 1st 2005 - No help. Lot of talk.
Aug 31st 2005 - No help yet. Its self help. TV channels are worried about looting, when people are dying. Some credit to CNN, to highlight the fact 'what else can you expect people to do'
Aug 30th 2005 - The storm is long gone... now the wait begins for help
Aug 29th 2005 - 2 pm - Levee Breaks, flooding New Orleans and the sorrounding Parishes
Aug 29th 2005 - 12 Noon - It seems ok. The worst seems to be over. Or is it.
Aug 29th 2005 - at 6:10 am - Katrina meets New Orleans,again missing New Orleans very very closely.
Aug 28th 2005 - The wait continues... will it... will it not. The evacuation is at full swing. People are storming into the SuperDome.
Aug 27th 2005 - Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana - White House declaration of 'State of Emergency' ( I am also posting this statement, just in case, our good friends take it off their web site soon)
Aug 27th 2005 - Evacuation of New Orleans. Is this the Big One ? Or will this also be another 'wannabe'. (I am introduced to the word 'Contraflow'. But the weather tracking chart shows a dead-aim target on NewOrleans)
Aug 26th 2005 - Katrina grows in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Emergency Warnings for the entire coastline from Florida to Alabama to Louisiana
Aug 25th 2005 - Katrina - Hits Florida as Category 1 Hurricane, crossing land over the same place as Hurricane Andrew did in 1992
Aug 23rd 2005 - Tropical Depression 12 is named Katrina
Aug 17th 2005 - Weather Channel's Stu Ostro emails warning on TD-10
Aug 14th 2005 - Tropical Depression 10 Dissipiates
Aug 13th 2005 - Tropical Depression 10
Courtsey - The Weather Channel and a few other sources on the internet

Some Near Misses

2002 - Hurricane Lilly - crosses land near Intercoastal Louisiana
1998 - Hurricane Georges - Hits Biloxi, after targeting New Orleans
1992 - Hurricane Andrew - Misses New Orleans, after completely destroying most of Florida (This is personal, my closest experience to a Hurricane in the US, and my experience as a survivor of a storm that never hit the Big Easy. But today, after seeing pictures of Katrina, i wonder what would have happened to me and my wife, if Andrew did come to land on New Orleans.)
1969 - Hurricane Camille - Misses New Orleans to smash into the Mississippi Coast
1965 - Hurricane Betsy - a direct hit on New Orleans

Early Warnings

PBS show on effects of a Category-5 storm on New Orleans.
The City in a Bowl - Sept 20th 2002 - PBS
"Well, when the exercise was completed it was evident that we were going to lose a lot of people we changed the name of the storm from Delaney to K-Y-A-G-B... kiss your ass goodbye... because anybody who was here as that Category Five storm came across... was gone." - WALTER MAESTRI

Article on Editor & Publisher
Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues
by Will Bunch ( a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News.
I am still searching for the original Times Picayune article. - ck

The foretelling of a deadly disaster in New Orleans
FEMA ranked hurricane scenario highly likely in '01
New Orleans in sinking - Dec 1st 2001 - Houston Cronichle
"So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country." - Eric Berger

Friday, September 02, 2005

We Dont want your Help !!!

Louisiana Officials Tell Loudoun Deputies To Turn Around
RSS Feeds From ABC 7 Friday September 02, 2005 9:04am
Leesburg, Va. (AP) - Plans for a group of Loudoun County Sheriff's deputies to help police near New Orleans are on hold.

Sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell says the deputies had to turn around at Virginia's border last night when Louisiana state officials decided they weren't needed.

The original request for help came from the Sheriff's Department of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans. Troxell says Jefferson Parish is still asking for help, but the state isn't giving the approval.

Troxell says they spent hours trying to get through to the state or Federal Emergency Management Agency before they were told to turn back.

The plan was for the 22 deputies to be sworn in as officers in Louisiana to help maintain order. They were carrying extra guns, ammunition and supplies for up to 14 days.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Remote Sensing

I found this on the web site, about the Indian Remote Sensing Programme. It has more details about two satellites launched by India. The Indian Remote Sensing program actually has four satellites in operation currently, making it the largest such constellation in service in the world.

The Antrix Corporation setup by ISRO to market it services globally. I am not sure if it is doing a great job, but it is defnitely getting the word out. But i am sure the Indian team is not getting the benefit of the doubt and has a long way to go, to establish its superiority in this area. A big competitor is the Ikonos satellite system that has images of 1meter resolution. I believe the IRS system also has the same capability, but i couldnt find many images that compared well with the Ikonos system.
In any case, i think the achievement of the team from India is not little. But i believe they are capable of doing something more.