Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tap Dance

Bush is still tap dancing around 'to withdraw or not' syndrome. Obviously, anyone expecting any bold decisions before the fall of 2006, is foolish. The Iraq war strategy will depend a lot on what people (politicians) think will be the outcome of the coming 2006 election, which sadly, is almost a full year away.

Here are some tidbits from the article below:
+ "We expect, but cannot guarantee that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience," - There you go, from the horses mouth, nothing will change for a year.

+ "While our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize." - Interesting. I thought the whole point of the current discussion was that this kind of confrontation is becoming disastrous for everyone concerned.

And from the same article, about the speech given by Bush regarding this paper and strategy:
+ "That's what's important for the American people to understand -- that, one, we are not going to cut and run; two, we'll achieve our objective; and three, the president is going to listen to those who are on the ground who can make the best assessment," - we heard this before with 'Mission Accomplished'.

+ "If they tell me we need more troops, we'll provide more troops," - this is slightly out of context, but this particular quote highlights the 'tap dance' i am referring to.

White House releases 35-page 'National Strategy'

Tags: iraq, bush, wmd, war, withdrawal, troop+reduction, election, 2006

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cool Advertisement

This is in response to a posting by '--xh--' (i wonder what means, i am sure he has real nice story behind that).

A friend of mine send this (a long while ago) neat advertisement put by EA Canada. Even the name of this company is interesting.

It is a brilliant idea. Talk about targeting the right audience. You do research and sample surveys, but very rarely can you get your message across to the right people.
Here is the ad. Am sure, you can figure it out.

If not, post a comment....

Tags: eacanada, advertisement, ad, cool

Sunday, November 27, 2005

When the liberator turns tyrant !!

So you set out 'with the objective to liberate the people of Iraq and Afghanistan', ofcourse there are very few who actually believe it. And then indulge in the same practices the local tyrant did. Its very clear, that the people of America and generally the world, save a few exceptions like Poland ( i wonder why !!), are dead against this invasion and everything related to it.
But the elected Governments of these people are not so vocal about this. I wonder if they know more than i know about this. And that frightens me even more.

On a related note, i wonder if Bush would attempt to bomb the BBC, or maybe even me for writing articles that he doesnt like to read.

US abuses in Afghan jails
Iraq abuse 'as bad as Saddam era'
No US charges over Afghan bodies

Tags: iraq, usa, bush, war, wmd, abuse

Friday, November 25, 2005

Bad Precedents

The match in Kolkata set a lot of bad precedents. The coach showing his middle finger and the crowd jeering the Indian team for not including Ganguly. The crowd jeering the team is nothing new, but before this, it has always been for poor performance on the field. The crowd at Eden, has been in the news before for both bad and good things.
And i think a coach like Greg, is bad news. Ever since he has started, it has been some issue or the other. Compare this with the previous coach. It could also be that, Greg doesnt put up with bull shit. But to show the finger is again pushing it beyond levels decency.

Chappell shows the finger
Crowds jeer India, cheer when Safs score runs

Tags: cricket, ganguly, india, blue, men+in+blue, eden+garden, kolkata

Cricket - Ganguly - far / unfair

Ganguly has been included in the test team as a 'bowling all-rounder' because of his prowess with the ball !!

After a long gap, cricket in India is back to its ugly game of player vs player, a peek back to the era of Sunil Gavaskar/Kapil Dev conflicts. Player conflicts always existed between people, many of these dont even deserve mention. But when the top performers, or big figure heads of the team start going head to head, the conflict starts to pour out and the stink becomes unbearable.

I am a big fan of Ganguly. I believe he has achieved more Indian cricket than most others. He is not the best player, but i think his record as a captain speaks for him. As a batsman he is probably only a tad behind Tendulkar or Dravid. And i am big fan of Dravid, 'the wall' as he is called here in India. Probably the most underrated cricketer ever, meaning all ratings that he tops, still doesnt do him justice.

My problem with Ganguly, is grace. If i have cricket in me, go out and prove. Go out show, what they miss. You still have public sympathy. You also have a big fan following, and you have a lot of cricket left in you. Go and do it !! If you have to shine in domestic, and county cricket in England, so be it. I think he could have brought a fresh life to the whole domestic cricket games. Meaning, added a lot more glamour to those matches, by playing in it more often, while he was sitting out. But his recent comments and remarks to the press could have been avoided. Kapil Dev said it right recently 'Sourav must not beg for a place'.

Anyway, now he is included in the team. And what becomes of it. Will he command the same respect as before ? He is doing well in domestic cricket. As it stands today, he has scored 159 runs for Bengal in the 2005-06 Ranji trophy match between Maharastra and Bengal. With this kind of performance, doesnt he deserve a better treatment.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rain in Chennai

Its raining again in Madras (chennai). Its been about a week since i landed here, and the climate was surprisingly cool and pleasant. I was beginning to enjoy the current trip and then the rain starts. The rain is good. But this time, it appears that it is going overboard. We havent had decent rains in Madras for a long time, and so this is like a breather. But the city is just about recovering from the last bout of rains.

I was up and about this Sunday, and noticed long queues near the ration shops (Public Distribution Centers). People were collecting what the Govt had given out as aid. Some clothes, rice and few essentials. The queues were exceptionally long, specially in this day and age. Meaning when there exists computers and other technology to help people avoid this wait. But i am sure people know their Govt better and rather trust some person who they can shout at, instead of a letter or appointment card asking them to come at a certain time and date. And when you turn up, there is no one to receive you. To me it brought some memories of my childhood, when we had to wait it out, get sugar and kerosene, because there was a time when these things were is short supply and the price in the free marked, was beyond what my parent could afford.

Things have changed in India, we are out of the clutches of the ration shops. But there are still 1000s who are impacted by it. With all the different revolutions (IT, white, green, etc.) run amok in the country, there are still large chunks of people who are completely untouched by it. Hope the Govt takes note and attempts to understand the economic impact from all aspects before proceeding full steam ahead.

Tags: india, ration, rain, chennai, economy

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Free speech & premarital sex

Its ok to do it. Its not ok to talk about it.
Its ok for you to talk about it in private but not in public.
I wonder if the people who take exception to this, are people who missed out on this oppurtunity, and are now feeling 'j' about the whole thing !!

This topic has been in limelight for a couple of months, since Kushboo, actress from the tamil film industry made comment to India Today. The India Today article was about the 'sex' in India, opinion polls, discussions etc. And that started a spate of protests and lawsuits. Apparently the tamils took offense to her words that men in tamilnadu should not expect their wifes to be virgins at the time of marriage. A simple passing comment, may be outrageous in Indian society and context, but not far from truth and defnitely not something that people should be offended personally, to cause mental agony and trauma.

I dont support or condone it. I fear of the consequences of it. But to shy away from this and take offence because someone sought to talk about it, is meaningless and does not make the issue go away. The bigger question is, 'is this an issue ?'. I dont know. I am not an authority on this. But the impact of this, is largely felt on the women, rather i should say 'girls'. Because we are talking about the reducing age-barrier. This trend defnitely has problems for the society at large, and cannot be ignored.

The sooner you talk about it, the better it is. Filing for an injunction in a court of law, or protesting the comment made by someone is surely not going to help. Not to talk about free speech and civil liberties that are being trampled upon.

53% do it in India - The Pioneer - Nov 19th 2005
Protests in hyderabad !! - Times of India - Nov 19th 2005
PUCL flays protests against Kushboo, Suhasini - The Hindu - Nov 19th 2005

Tags: india, protests, liberty, freedom, free+speech, premarital+sex

Friday, November 18, 2005

to leave or not to leave

It is an unfortunate situation. It is very clear, when you look at things from the US point of view, again from the point of view held my majority of the people in the US, they want the soldiers back home. But the Govt has a completely different viewpoint. They know if they withdraw now, all what it thought it had gained till date, is lost. This withdrawal in their minds will not be any different from the infamous withdrawal from Saigon. A quick search on the web, yielded an interesting article, highlighting some of the same thoughts i had in mind when starting to write this.

The Democrats and the US People are getting more and more vocal about their demands for accountability and withdrawal from Iraq. The people have been divided from day one, but with each lie being uncovered on a frequent, if not daily basis, the faith in this president is shaking. The democrats, on the other hand are playing by the falling job ratings of the president. They suddenly find the voice to ask questions they should have asked almost 3 years ago.

"Yen yendra kezhvi illamal vazhkai illai", goes the lyrics of a popular song from the 70s; translated from tamil, it reads, "there is no life, if you dont question why".

Immediate withdrawal from Iraq, is bound to create more confusion and chaos, and a not so impossible bloodbath. The question again, is that, is the occupying force achieving anything different. Some of these similar questions were asked of India, in the run up to the 1947 Independence. And yes, the british troop withdrawal did cause a bloodbath, but in the final analysis of that event, it was more the ineffective policing and control that caused it, rather than the simmering discontent. But like all occupying forces that leave, they would rather the people feel the pain of their leaving, rather than help in the last minute policing. I not for a moment arguing against withdrawal, but i only wish to highlight the price that someone will have to pay.

The people of the country have to face the consequences of the actions of their government. But if they dont rise up to this occasion and teach the government a lesson, never to repeat this mistake, it will be an opportunity lost.

2000+ US (not to talk about countless iraqi civilians) lives have been lost, because someone lied. That someone has to pay !!

Tags: Iraq, USA, bush, troop+withdrawal, democrats, polls

Monday, November 14, 2005

George Bush - falling falling falling...

Click this link to see Bush falling: George Bush falling  (if he comes to rest on the bubbles, give him a small nudge)

Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush's trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile. Bush's 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  - CNN

Tags: bush, falling, polls, ratings

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Technology and Life

Ever wonder how people got work done a few years ago, a decade, a century ago ?

I carry a laptop, a palm treo 600, another cellphone for use in the US, and am considering an MP3 player.

I switched from a desktop to a laptop from about 1998. Because i wanted to be able to keep all my stuff in one place. My consulting work had me moving to different clients sites and the laptop ensured that all my stuff moved with me. But quickly what this meant was that, i was working at home, during weekends, but the consolation was i could do it at home.

My cellphone, which replaced a pager, enables me to stay in touch with anyone, anytime from virtually anywhere. But it also meant that i was reachable anytime too. Soon there was only number i needed to give people out. My cellphone number. Although it is technically possible to carry this one number all over the world, i think it doesnt make financial sense, and so i have two cellphone #, one for the US and one for India. I am sure, i will abandon one of these numbers in about a years time.

The weirdest thing, is that, my lifestyle hasnt improved drastically because of these technologies. The biggest pain i have is the ability of people to reach me. I just cant hide anymore. There used to be a time, when i could be on vacation and people simply waited till i return back to my desk, before they bugged me with stuff. Oh then the laptop, takes this interference a step forward, by allowing me to login to my corporate lan, from my home or other network accessible hotspots. To ensure that i dont loose touch or break the umbilical cord with the mother ship, my Treo 600, has a worldwide GPRS connection allowing me to check email and read webmail and other websites in case of emergency.

All these technologies which were supposed to make life better and improve quality of life has had a detrimental effect instead. No, i am not completely dismissing the benefits of these technologies. But, as always, every choice you make in life comes at a cost. There is 'no free lunch' as they say around here.

Tags: technology, treo 600, laptop, lifestyle, cellphone

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yo Yo Yo Give us our dough

A Novel protest started by a kid and his friend, 10 yrs and 13 yrs old.

Yo Yo Yo Give us our dough; no Mc-D on December 3!

We Want our Money Back - Luke McAndless-Davis

Tags: canada, lumber, mcdonalds, protest,

Non-Bailable warrant against Khushboo

Tamilnadu is big on defamation cases. Anything anybody says will affect somebody somwhere and the next recourse is filing a civil suit.

If the aggrieved can make political mileage out of it then there could be protests, more protests, followed by mobs running around wild, causing trouble and creating a scare, that is quickly followed by apologies. These activities could range from a legal and genuine protests, to not-so-legal gherao (picketing), to the clearly illegal blackmailing. The blackmail is subtle tho' and so can never be bought to book, like 'we cant be responsible for actions of some stupid people, if they are offended by these statements', clearly implying 'you better watch out, you never know when someone is going to get you'. Its tough not to give into these pressures. Specially since most of the people who are targetted by these mode are people in the film or politics industry. The politicians have a wider support base, and so threats dont make a big impact.

Not to digress, my worry and concern is with the courts. When the courts are having huge backlogs of cases, the judges complaining of over-work, reduced vacations, the vacant benches that have not been filled for long. And to reduce the pressure on the judicial system, the Govt has established, consumer court, Lok Ayukt, Lok Adalat (dont know if they are the same),... oh there are new ones being introduced regularly.

Yet, with all this issues and problems, our courts have time to look into a case, where the claim is that 'i am offended by what she said on TV'. Below are two cases being pursued in the courts of tamilnadu right now.

Non-Bailable warrant against Khushboo - Yahoo - Nov 12th 2005
Sivakaasi- Case filed against Vijay, Asin - Yahoo - Nov 12th 2005

Tags: India, tamilnadu, courts, defamation

Friday, November 11, 2005

a Mission Accomplished ?

It appears that US has completed the mission, not want it started out to do, but what ended up because of what it started.

Was it short sightedness, was it foolishness, was it oil, was it personal vendedtta that lead the US to fight a war, that it could never have won. What is more astonishing is the audacity, the lies, the fool-hardiness that went into the creation of the myth and rationale for war. Instead of wiping out the Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism, the US just created a fertile ground to recruit, organize and train future terrorist. The US directly may not be affected by this group of terrorists, but the rest of the world will pay a big price for being a silent spectator to the rape of Iraq.

I have no sympathy for Saddam, like i have none for Musharaff or for that matter even George Bush. But does that mean i take my army and lead them into a war to overthrow them. Do i lead my country to believe a bunch of lies so that they support this effort to overthrow the regime ? And then expect that the people who have been oppressed for years will suddenly all rally around me, support me and yield to my every wish. A good lesson can be learnt from the Indian sub-continent, where Bangladesh that owes its very existence to India, looks upon India as a monster that needs to be controlled and curtailed. That is mainly because liberators quickly replace the tyrant they removed.

Freedom is important, but only after our daily bread. Oh, by the way, my thinking can change once my stomach is fed !!

American occupation and the rise of Al-Qaeda - The Hindu (Opinion)- Nov 10th 2005

Tags: USA, al-aqaeda, Iraq, middle-east, quagmire

Thursday, November 10, 2005

National Portal

A cool begining !!
If the Govt can really pull this off, meaning keep it current and add more e-governance content. This will be great. Everyone knows how painfull it is to visit a Govt office to get a form or deliver an application etc.

National portal of India - The Hindu - Nov 10th 2005

Tags: India, portal, e-governance

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sign of things to come ?

Elections day yesterday. And in two key, or the only elections for governorships in the state of Virginia and New Jersey went Democrats. Actually nothing changed in these states. The previous Governors were democrats too. But in the state of Virginia, President Bush had stopped by to help with the election campaign of the republican candidate.
Well he met with no success. But i dont think the democrats have anything to crow about either. Am not sure if there is any kind of movement one way or the other amongst the people who went to the polls. People seemed to be in a state of disbelief, with respect to the choices available.

No choice is good choice. or is it ? Viva Democracy !! of the fools, for the fools, by the fools

Tags: democracy, elections, bush, democrats, republicans, fools,

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wind Power

It appears that efforts of the Govt are paying off, in pushing alternative sources of energy. But is it enough. Absolutely not. I hope that the Govt doesnt sit back and enjoy this pat on the back.
We need to be very aggressive in pushing Wind Power generation, solar energy and other alternative sources. India is going to soon run out of Oil, Gas and Water. We will need energy from sources other than oil and gas to power the industrial machine it is building, and also to power the 'reverse osmosis' plants it will desperately need to convert salty ocean water into potable and drinking water.

I recently came across an article about Energetech in Australia, who has developed a new system to generate energy from waves in the ocean. Wind, Solar, Wave, Nuclear are all options, of which Nuclear being the least desired option. But the Indian Govt it appears seeming to be pushing the Nuclear option for more than one reason. I hope it would wise up soon and push the hugh flow of funds into the country to design, develop, build and deploy systems to fully exploit these alternative sources of energy.

India ranks fourth in global wind power list - Yahoo - Nov 9th 2005

Tags: windmill, energy, india, power generation, wind power, ocean waves, wave energy,

Monday, November 07, 2005

Its a Pity

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish - Mother Teresa

Wow. A pro-lifer slogan. I wonder then, how that a group of people who care so much for an unborn child, care so little for people who are still alive and trying to live. If only some timely help had been extended to the people in New Orleans, the fate of many would have been different.

Mr. Brown are you listening ? Oops sorry. You are too busy worrying about your attire. Well enjoy your time off. It looks like you have been let off the hook. Because no one really cares for the many poor who are dead now. But i do hope you wake up in the middle of the night, many a time, wondering if you could have done something more, or even done anything, that could saved a few more lives.

We'll return for your sister's body, the rescuers said. Two months on she was still in the house - Guardian Unlimited - Nov 7th 2005

Tags: NewOrleans, guardian, katrina, fema, death, flood, brown, emails

Riots in France

I have been trying to get some info on what is going on in France. There is ofcourse a lot of news on CNN, Fox and other news programs in the US. But i would rather hear it directly from some of the parties affected. Another point, is that probably the coverage i am getting and seeing (on CNN) is probably more balanced than i can read or get from France or other European countries.

It is not unexpected to see these kind of happenings. This is not a new French revolution or anything, but there is increasing divide between the rich and the poor, the corporation and the individuals, the government and the people, mother nature and her residents, islam and non-islam,super powers and the other countries and on and on and on.

Hope this issue is quickly resolved. It will be, the might will always win. Be it the French Govt or the rioter who can frustrate them to get some concession out of them. But the consequences of this riot will only help fuel the divide further.

French bloggers at odds over riots - BBC - Nov 7th 2005

Tags: france, , ,

Sunday, November 06, 2005

5K in 29 mins and 40 secs

Well not from a race. Just running on the treadmill. But the last time i ran a race, i actually did better than the treadmill timing. Now i am looking out to register for a race this weekend to officially clock my time.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Why the hatred ? against whom ?

There is so much hatred that Bush can generate, where ever he goes in the world. Other Presidents of the US also have had similar hatred expressed against them. But no one has had to endure so much for so long.

What's more interesting is that the countries around the world are truly aligning 'with them' and 'against them'. Of course there are shades of this. From the non-existent Taliban to the not-so-friendly France. Or the suck up Brits to the pussy-footing Indians.

World over people need to realise that the first impediment to any progress and cooperation between countries is their Govt. And when you have Govt like Bush's presidency, then the effect of their actions are mulitplied. Because they do it, talk about doing it, threaten to humiliate, publicly boast about superiority, shows no humility to other nations or people, be it big or small. This is not going to buy friends. And this is what is being demonstrated as he travels around the world. Luckily and thankfully this hatred is most cases is restricted to him , and not on the general american public.

Americas summit protest turns violent - CNN - Nov 5th 2005

One year ago !!

Does this seem so long ago !!

In Nov 2000, my mood was, 'what the f*** is going on?'.  It appeared that the Supreme Court appointed Presidents in the USA.

Then in Nov 2004, it was again 'what the f*** is going on?'. Dont people get it !!

Well its one year now, and it appears people are slowly getting it. Current Bush job ratings are hovering around 39%. Typically employees are fired for that kind of performance in corporate america, of which he is a product. But then he failed in business, why should you expect anything else. It will soon appear that the Google search on the word failure  is actually not yielding wrong results.

Have fun. But think !!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Firefox 1.5 RC 1

Check out the latest from Firefox....

What's New in Firefox 1.5 RC 1
* Automated update to streamline product upgrades.
* Faster browser navigation.
* Drag and drop for browser tabs.
* Improvements to popup blocking.
* Clear Private Data feature.
* added to search engine list.
* Descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, and RSS discovery.
* Better accessibility support.
* Report a broken Web site wizard.
* Better support for Mac OS X.

Firefox 1.5 RC 1

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

World will be a better place !!

This good news. No i am not bothered about SRK or his health. But it is good news. It will be better news if he also stopped smoking on the screen, meaning in movies. It is very clear and evident with all the many different studies in the US regarding patterns of cigarette smoking and underage smoking, that actors, sports, and heavy advertising showing macho-man has a major impact on children taking to smoking at an early age.

Another important factor, the age at you start smoking. Most, if not all people who smoke, started smoking before the age of 18. So for the cigarette companies, 'catch them young' is an important part of their business strategy. Thanks a lot of law suits and Govt regulations, the tobacco companies in the US have to now support advertising to stop smoking, warn about dangers of smoking and underage smoking. They cannot use popular icons to promote their tobacco products.

India has taken a step further by now disallowing smoking in the movies, tv and other entertainment mediums. The current health minister is fighting tooth and nail with the information and broadcasting, commerce ministries to impose this ban. The current date for the ban to start effect is Jan 1st 2006. (Cigarette Smoking and Movies)

SRK stopping smoking is an important step. If he really does it and like i said stopped protraying the same on screen. It will defnitely have an impact on kids and college students watching movies. One less person out there to say and show how cool it is to hold a cigarette.

Shah Rukh plans to quit smoking !! - - Nov 2nd 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google vs Microsoft

In another step to set itself as a rival to Microsoft, Google is planning to improve the offering of OpenOffice. Its been since i have used OpenOffice, but it sure has a few features that is still available with MSOffice. And from its origin, it has gotten better at opening, creating and editing MSoffice documents. Format changes is still an irritant.

I am forced to stick with MSoffice, because the rest of the organization does, and my using OpenOffice could create issues, which is avoidable. I see today that version 2.0 is available, which should be a major improvement over my version 1.1. Am downloading it and will give it a whirl.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice - - Oct 31st 2005