Friday, December 29, 2006

Run, Obama, Run

Reasons to run.
  1. This is not about you. This is about the country. This is about the world. This is the call of a new generation. Step up.
  2. This is about your children, and the children of the world. You want them to have a great future. And so you run.
  3. This is a new century. Old fights need to be laid to rest. There is a need for a certain freshness. There is need for fresh air.
  4. The economy has to be reimagined.
  5. Restore intelligence to the White House. End the dumb war in Iraq. Forge lasting peace. Spread democracy the progressive way. Nudge the Middle East towards a final map.
  6. Export hope to Africa. The dictators need tough love. They need ouster slips.
  7. It is a fairly good career move for a politician. The perks are fine. They play music when you enter a room, things like that.

In The News

Lalu flags off train to Saharsa in Bihar Hindu
China, India investment banks 2006 revenue hits record highs MarketWatch
MetLife to pay $19 million to end Spitzer investigation San Diego Union Tribune
California mourners say farewell to Ford
NEPAL: UN monitoring of arms and armies to begin
Reuters AlertNet
First UN arms monitors arrive in Nepal Reuters AlertNet
Spitzer Inaugural Includes Tribute to New York Food
Spitzer: We'll build a snowman if the weather is bad Newsday
Spitzer's wife gets own office at Capitol Newsday
Apple Clears Jobs; Questions Remain
Cindy Sheehan arrested outside Bush's ranch
San Jose Mercury News
NC offers up to $4.7M to lure Google BusinessWeek
Google does no evil, still can’t win
US Urges Inclusive Dialogue on Somalia's Future Voice of America
Google to expand newspaper ads experiment
Guardian Unlimited
Google newspaper tie-up exceeds expectations Direct Traffic News
Saddam's execution expected Saturday, officials say Los Angeles Times
Millions gather for haj climax Times Online
India’s external debt rises to $136.5 bn in September Financial Express
‘Americans are more comfortable with India’ Financial Express
Protecting polar bears: Your e-mails CNN
Holiday iPod Sales May Have Beaten Expectations Mac Rumors
Bush sheltered during tornado alert
Boston Globe
Will you marry me? And live unhappily ever after in China? San Francisco Chronicle
Mike Tyson released after DUI, drug arrest Actress Archives
Tyson to Cop -- "I'm an Addict"
Edward Norton back injury on set of 'The Painted Veil' Monsters and
Obesity battle starts young for urban poor Boston Globe
Housework wards off breast cancer

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Laloo Yadav: Future Prime Minister Of India

What are the possibilities?

There are 545 seats in the Lok Sabha. (Parliament of India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) The chances of his party the Rashtriya Janata Dal getting half those seats on its own are nil. (Rashtriya Janata Dal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

List of political parties in India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Political Resources in the Net - India I (Parties and Organizations)
Indian Political Parties,Party Profiles,Political Parties in India ...
Political parties of India
India - Political Parties
List of political parties in India: Information from
India Election 2004 - Manifestos of Indian Political Parties

The second best option would be the emergence of a Third Front. All the non-Congress, non-BJP parties would come together and go at it. That coalition would best be formed before an election. Maybe such a Third Front will gain a majority. If it does not, maybe that Third Front will still be larger than the Congress, and will get the Congress to support it by default.

A likely scenario would be where the Third Front is larger than the Congress, and a Third Front-Congress coalition takes over power. That is Laloo's best shot. He sure is qualified. He represents what is the Arkansas of India, Bihar. He represents the oppressed castes and Muslims. That is progressive. He has been an excellent Railway Minister. He has more than proven himself.

What comes to mind is a 1996 scenario when Jyoti Basu had the option to become Prime Minister but his party unwisely refused. Laloo will never refuge. Make him the offer he can not refuse.

Even today the seat distributions are as follows:

Congress 145
BJP 138
Rest 260

Should not 260 lead 145? But that asks for the creation of a Third Front, and within that Third Front, Laloo will have to build a coalition that makes it the largest group within that Third Front.

Indian Imponderables
In The News

Amitabh Bachchan, ‘The biggest film star in the world’, India In 2002, he was voted as the most popular screen and stage icon of all time on a BBC online survey. ..... Singh, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal – who is of Indian origin – and Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai each followed with four percent votes each.
Lalu shares wisdom with Harward, Wharton pupils Hindustan Times
After IIM, Lalu makes an impact on Havard, Wharton
Lalu enthralls Harvard and Wharton students Telugu Portal Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, one of India's most popular politicians, Wednesday held a 'class' for 130 students from Harvard and Wharton, outlining in Hindi how he scripted the success story of the country's loss-making railways. ..... The students and their seven professors were clearly spellbound ...... Lalu Prasad hold forth on a subject that has generated tremendous international interest, igniting requests from one country after another to explain how anyone could make the Indian Railways a profitable venture. ....... since childhood I was greatly inspired by Jawaharlal Nehru's vision of Indian railways who rightly understood that this forms the most important part of the country's infrastructure ...... One of the students told a group of journalists later that he was impressed by the minister's witticisms and charisma. ..... The railway ministry gave the students a royal reception, greeting each of them with a garland of marigold flowers and applying the customary Hindu 'tilak' on their forehead. They enjoyed every bit of it, with some among them who had been passed over demanding that the 'tilak' be applied on them. ...... Lalu Prasad greeted them all with warm handshakes as he strolled into the National Rail Museum, located at the edge of the tree-lined diplomatic enclave. Before the "class" began ....... the students, elated to hear about the "magical transformation" story of Indian Railways as an American student put it, conveyed to journalists what Lalu Prasad said - and how they felt. ........ We have come here to understand how he turned around the Indian Railways," said Kunark Singh, an Indian origin student from Harvard who is a native of Bihar. ....... "Indian students like me are happy to come here to attend this class with Lalu Yadav and understand how we can give back to the society," he added....... The students, some of the brightest in the world, bombarded the minister with questions wondering if the railways' dramatic turnaround can be sustained - besides touching upon a rail network that transports 14 million people daily, linking the length and breadth of India. ....... A Pakistani student asked Lalu Prasad if he wanted to be the prime minister of India. The minister, who was calling the students "bachcha log" (kids), replied: "Everyone wants to move up, I also do. But there's no hurry. Right now I am busy concentrating on my work." ....... An American student was curious how despite having been a villager his entire childhood, he can cast a spell on intellectuals. ...... Yastten, a Japanese student from Wharton, said: "I have heard about Indian Railways and its venerable minister. I am very happy to see him in person and listening to him was a great pleasure." ....... "When the responsibility of railways was given to me, it was in a state of bankruptcy," Lalu Prasad said, discussing the findings of the Rakesh Mohan Committee that had forecast that Indian Railways would go bankrupt soon......... "The railways which a few years back was not in a position to pay dividends to the government now boast of a cash surplus of more than Rs.130 billion ($2.8 billion) in a short span of 30 months. This would take a quantum leap to Rs.200 billion by the end of current fiscal," he said in his baritone, interspersed with his usual witticisms that made many of his interlocutors laugh politely even though many did not understand him. ........ Lalu Prasad informed the students: "Over the last 30 months, freight volumes have grown by 8-10 percent and similarly growth in passenger volumes has also been doubled. ....... "On the supply side, increase in axle load coupled with reduction in turnaround time of wagons from seven to five days has contributed to an incremental loading capacity of 170 million tones resulting in revenues of Rs.100 billion."
India minister cleared of charge BBC News, UK A court in India has acquitted railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in a long-running corruption case. ... Mr Yadav was charged with amassing 4.6m rupees (more than $100,000) between 1990 and 1997 when he was the chief minister of Bihar state. ..... His wife, Rabri Devi, a former chief minister of Bihar, was also found not guilty by the court. ..... The charges relate to a case known as the "fodder scam", which first came to light in 1996. ..... Mr Yadav was charged with embezzling state funds intended to be spent on animal fodder while he was chief minister of Bihar. ...... The country's top detective agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, had charged the minister with having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. ..... Reacting to Monday's verdict by a special court in Bihar's capital, Patna, Mr Yadav said "justice has been done". ...... Laloo Prasad Yadav is one of India's most colourful politicians. He leads an influential regional party in Bihar that is allied with the Congress Party in India's national parliament. ...... He resigned as chief minister of Bihar after the allegations of corruption arose. His wife Rabri Devi was installed in his place. .... Mr Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal party lost power in state elections last year.
Graft charge for Indian minister 17 May 05 | South Asia
The lord of Bihar 30 Apr 04 | South Asia
Profile: Laloo Prasad Yadav 22 Mar 04 | South Asia
Bihar politician back in jail 21 Dec 01 | South Asia
Laloo Prasad sent to jail 26 Nov 01 | South Asia
Laloo Prasad taken into custody 05 Apr 00 | South Asia

UN envoy seeks Security Council action for Somalia CNN International
US Signals Backing for Ethiopian Incursion Into Somalia
New York Times, United States
Islamists in Somalia Retreat From Ethiopia-Backed Forces
New York Times, United States
Somali conflict is quickly deteriorating
Los Angeles Times, CA
Ethiopian forces march to oust Islamist leadership in Somalia
San Jose Mercury News, USA
Ethiopian, Somali Government Troops Score Major Advances Against ...
Voice of America
Islamists flee Ethiopian onslaught in Somalia, United Kingdom
Ethiopia predicts victory against Islamists
New Zealand Herald (Subscription), New Zealand
Israel moves to strengthen Abbas Monsters and
Regional riots in Nepal border town despite curfew Reuters AlertNet
Poll shows Clinton and Obama are neck-and-neck
Capital News 9
Giuliani Leads Gore, Rodham Clinton for 2008
Angus Reid Global Monitor
And Now: Ford and Toyota?
Ford Chief Seeks Ideas From Toyota New York Times

Recovering From Tragedy Washington Post, United States By Bill Clinton ..... more than 200,000 dead; 2 million people displaced; 370,000 homes destroyed or damaged; some 5,000 miles of coastline devastated; and 2,000 miles of roads ruined. ...... Nearly 150,000 homes have been rebuilt or repaired and 80,000 more are being reconstructed. ...... thus far translating some $13 billion in pledges into roughly $11 billion in firm commitments to critical projects. ....... the resilience of the human spirit ...... First, we must get better at managing risk. Climate change and patterns of human behavior ensure that more devastating natural disasters will occur in the future. ....... Second, we should pursue recovery practices that promote equity and help break patterns of underdevelopment. ...... Third, we must recognize that peace is critical to any recovery process. ..... Finally, we must do more to harness the talents of local entrepreneurs and established businesses, domestic and foreign, in relaunching economies. .... we need to do more to turn philanthropists into investors, and providers of access to new markets.

Olmert to meet Abbas in Jerusalem on Saturday Malaysia Star
UN Security Council sanctions Iran over nuclear program
Declare Nepal a Hindu state, demand religious leaders
Hindustan Times
Maoists call off year-end strike in Nepal
Times of India
Blogtalk: The Koran Debate
New York Times
'Bomb could flood NY tunnels'
Driven out: Hevesi pleads to felony, resigns Troy Record
Few signs of Turkmenistan change
The Age
US strike kills Afghan Taliban leader
Houston Chronicle
Hillary Clinton embarks on media tour
ABC Online
Toyota poised to become top car firm
Toronto Star
China's cotton output unable to meet domestic demand Hindu
Spitzer Secretary of State Is Company Lobbyist New York Times
Indian of the year: Big B again Times of India
Connecticut lawmakers hope to ban trans fats in restaurants Boston Globe
'Rocky Balboa' actually a pretty good movie San Jose Mercury News
Miss USA Contestant Katie Rees Nude Flashing 'Nothing New'
Post Chronicle
Discovery prepared to land, but location unclear People's Daily Online
Tri-Band Test System supports worldwide WiMAX frequencies.
ThomasNet Industrial News Room (press release)
Son performs last rites of living father
Times of India
Spitzer Adds More People to Administration
Goode Has A Lot To Learn About Islam: Ellison
All Headline News
Tunnel dangers in New York?
USA Today
NY/NJ Subway Dangerously Vulnerable To Even A "Small Bomb" All Headline News
Bomb 'could flood New York subway within hours' Guardian Unlimited
Wikipedia founder plans search engine to rival Google
Google Passes Yahoo in Tally of Visitors
New York Times
Turkmenistan sets date for presidential elections
Somali militia ready to fight Ethiopians
Houston Chronicle
Dell wants its batteries back
Soros sees India shining
Daily News & Analysis
Beware of capital inflows, Soros tells India Zee News
Soros Tells Booming India To Avoid Overheating Forbes
Pakistan, India to survey disputed marshlands in January
Monsters and
Four Marines Charged With Murder In Haditha Killings
Nigerian Militants Bomb Gov't Facility
ABC News
U2's Bono receives honorary British knighthood Reuters AlertNet

Bono Awarded Knighthood
Voice of America
Rosie Beats Trump, By Numbers
FOX News
NY Requires Health Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Patients
South Korea plans kills to contain H5N1 High Plains Journal

Sunday, December 24, 2006

New York Times: Hakeem Jeffries

The New York Times
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December 24, 2006

New Guard, and Style, for Politics in Brooklyn

In decades past, the politicians who came out of central Brooklyn, New York’s largest black community, were shaped by the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s, with many coming of age politically during the Vietnam War era.

But this year’s elections, as well as last year’s, represented a changing of the guard that could signal a wider shift of black political consciousness in the city: the emergence of a class of politicians spawned in the professional world, with experience in private industry, nonprofit organizations and other fields.

One new state lawmaker was recently a lawyer for CBS. Another raised money for private schools. A third was a police captain; while another, who is headed to the City Council, worked for the transit system.

They are largely politicians who have little to no association with Democratic Party clubhouse politicians in Brooklyn, which has been tainted by recent corruption scandals. And the sheer number of newly elected officials in central Brooklyn, perhaps the biggest changeover in years, is something of a milestone — particularly in a political world in which incumbency, at least for state lawmakers, can last virtually a lifetime.

“We are now seeing a very new group of political leaders in Brooklyn who are, quite frankly, crossover politicians who have successfully delivered a message that speaks to the interests of different constituencies,” said Craig Steven Wilder, a professor of urban history at Dartmouth College.

Mr. Wilder, author of the book “A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn,” said the new crop of elected officials was “different from the group who came to power in the 1970s and 1980s, who came to politics through civil rights issues.”

“This group represents the post-civil rights generation. And they have to deal with a different agenda,” he said. “That includes meeting the needs of people who are gentrifying their areas, people who have been there a long time and people who have been marginalized.”

Notable among the new breed is Hakeem Jeffries, 36, who left his job as a lawyer for CBS to go to Albany. He was elected this year to the Assembly seat held for 25 years by Roger L. Green, who was convicted in a petty larceny case.

Another new assemblyman is Karim Camara, 35, who served as the director of fund-raising for the Cush Campus Schools, a private elementary and middle school in Brooklyn. He is also executive pastor at the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights. Last year he succeeded Clarence Norman Jr., the former Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman who was first elected in 1982 and resigned in a scandal.

And on the City Council, there is Darlene Mealy, 42. She is a former executive assistant at New York City Transit who won a hotly contested primary last year, beating William F. Boyland Jr., the patriarch of one of Brooklyn’s well-known political families. Also elected this year was Eric Adams, 46, who will go to the State Senate, succeeding Carl Andrews. Mr. Adams, a former police captain, was also a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.

The best known of the new group is Representative-elect Yvette D. Clarke, 42, a city councilwoman and a former director of business development at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Ms. Clarke won a Democratic primary in September that received national attention when a white candidate, David Yassky, tried to capture the seat that for decades had been held by black lawmakers: Major R. Owens, and before him, Shirley Chisholm.

For many people in central Brooklyn who closely watch local politics, the new officials are a refreshing change after a period in which some of the incumbents they succeeded were tainted by scandal.

“The election of so many new black officials in Brooklyn has made a lot of people, including me, feel hopeful,” said the Rev. Clinton M. Miller, pastor of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

“I think many of these new leaders are viewed as representing the political prototype of what an elected official should be in this era: someone who is steeped in the community, but who also knows how to operate in corporate and business settings.”

Mr. Jeffries, for example, was an assistant general counsel who specialized in litigation at CBS. “We are all products of the community who have gone out and excelled in various endeavors,” Mr. Jeffries said.

“But we have come back to work in the community, to use politics as a way to make a difference in the communities that we come from. That’s what the civil rights movement was all about.”

But some Brooklyn Democrats question whether they will be able to avoid the infighting that has created friction among many of their predecessors.

In fact, a generation ago, central Brooklyn’s black leadership was splintered into two factions. One was a group whose de facto leader was Albert Vann, an assemblyman who started his public career as a teacher. Mr. Vann, who is now a city councilman, was a community leader in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville struggle between the black community and the United Federation of Teachers over the local school board’s power to hire teachers.

Mr. Vann, who was a supporter of Mr. Owens, was also the political mentor of Mr. Green and several others.

On the other side were politicians who were loyal to State Senator Vander L. Beatty. Mr. Beatty often worked in collaboration with Brooklyn’s regular Democratic organization, which until recently was led by white politicians from southern Brooklyn.

Indeed, a generation ago, candidates and officials in Brooklyn routinely complained that the infighting among central Brooklyn’s black officials often hampered their ability to bring resources and funds into the area.

The feuding among politicians in those days was heated. In one case, in a 1982 primary race for Congress between Mr. Beatty and Mr. Owens, Mr. Beatty’s supporters hid in a crawl space above a bathroom at the Board of Elections office in Brooklyn. After the office closed for the day, Mr. Beatty’s supporters went to where the voter files were kept and doctored registration cards of Mr. Owens’s supporters, apparently in an effort to thwart an Owens victory.

Although that was an extreme incident, there have been long-standing tensions and rivalries in the borough for years. The newer elected officials have hopes of avoiding such squabbling, with plans to meet often, perhaps at regularly scheduled breakfasts, to determine ways to allocate recourses to their districts.

“One of the things about that that I think is a good sign is that we all like each other and get along well,” Ms. Mealy said. “Some of them have not even taken office yet. But we have camaraderie already. And it will make things easier for us to work together and get things done.”

But getting things done might take more than friendship and amity. They all have the disadvantage of being low in seniority in their respective houses of government. And they generally have fewer staff members and less influence than their predecessors, who enjoyed the benefits of incumbency and the clout and resources that came with it.

Still, they insist that their lack of seniority will not limit their effectiveness.

“We have the wisdom and experience of our predecessors to build upon,” Ms. Clarke said. “And our job is to find ways of working together and making even more of a difference in this new era. And I’m sure that we will all find ways to make our mark.”

Hakeem Jeffries Debate 2
Hakeem Jeffries Debate
Hakeem Jeffries: Principled Compromise
Dean, DFNYC, Daily Kos, Justin, Brooklyn, Nepal

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

I just watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada. It shook me that it is a 2006 movie. This is today. It is scary.

Smart girl lands a job right after school at a top magazine as an assistant to the editor who is a legend in the industry. Her boyfriend flips burgers. As she progresses, the boyfriend grows away. Less than a year later, she quits her job. The guy is still flipping burgers. Her quitting brings them back together.

That is so Martha Stewart, guys not being able to keep up with successful women. If nothing else, go enjoy the money!

Of course the movie made me think of the Obama-Hillary tussle that will soon unfold. I am for Obama. It is personal. But I do strongly believe Obama will have to take in the gender theme. He has to carry both race and gender to a whole new level. He has to think in concrete terms, like having half his cabinet female.

Meryl Streep is ugh. She is so good at what she does. Al Pacino and Meryl Streep. I always wondered why they did not end up a couple. Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri, the two most talented actors of their generation in the Hindi film industry did. But I guess they got married and Amitabh said he would not want his wife to be working from 9 AM to 9 PM, and so she just went ahead and quit.

This love and work balance thing is so not settled at all. This continues to be a very real issue.

I would like to design a company where half the workers are women. Number one reason: that company will beat the competition because of that because it will be running on all cylinders.

There's some great Madonna and U2 music in there, two artists in the musical realm that I adore. The movie is really, really well done. I have never watched an okay or bad Meryl Streep movie. She is rare.

I love the way she says, "That's all." It is like Donald Trump saying, "You're fired."

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
The Devil Wears Prada
Apple - Trailers - The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada - Movie Info - Yahoo! Movies
The Devil Wears Prada The Devil Wears Prada: A Novel: Books: Lauren Weisberger
The Devil Wears Prada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Devil Wears Prada
Netflix: The Devil Wears Prada - Rent from Netflix - Free Trial
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Mark Goldblatt on The Devil Wears Prada on National Review Online The Devil Wears Prada (Widescreen Edition): DVD: Meryl ...
BBC - Movies - review - The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Devil Wears Prada, The Movie - Yahoo! Movies UK
Devil Wears Prada | Now Showing | Guardian Unlimited Film
The Devil Wears Prada (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Devil Wears Prada - Moviefone
ODEON - - The Devil Wears Prada
Barnes & - Books: Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren ...

Obama! Obama! Obama!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Money And Manhattan

This town is full of people who went to good schools, work good jobs, make good money, are never going to become millionaires.

Money is in the air, you can feel it. There are the outer boroughs, and there is Manhattan. Like there was this one guy, he used to come to some of the same progressive meetings I used to. Then he gave up. "It is all yuppies," he complained.

Most of them must have worked very hard to get where they are at. Most of them continue to work very hard just to stay where they are at. More than the per capita income, it is the density. There are so many of them. Midtown Manhattan has the greatest concentration of office space per square foot than any place on earth. Each cubicle is someone in a decent income bracket.

Politicians come from all across the country to raise money here. This is supposed to be their all-weather ATM. There are people who specialize in doing fundraisers. It is socializing, it is entertainment, it is I-did-my-good-deed-for-the-day the Manhattan way.

Where do you live? Upper East Side. What do you ride? A cab. Those are status symbols.

My car died on me recently. What is it about cars? Too many fluids to keep a tab on. But I was kind of rediscovering the joys of the four-wheeler. But when I came into the city last summer, I was just so happy not to have to need a car. Everywhere else in America, you need a car for everything. Grocery shopping? Car. Haircut? Car. I relished the subway. I still feel that is the only place New Yorkers meet, it is just that I don't understand why those walls have not been painted in a hundred years. There have been some late night sojourns when I have slept through my station. Once I went all the way to the very last stop. The sky was already early blue.

The drink. The cab. The dress code.

At Drinking Liberally, the drinks are free, but I have mostly rather talked. I don't think I have ever enjoyed beer in my life. And who wants a beer belly? I think I am going to show up much less often. It is the same 10 faces week after week.

I have experimented with the dress code. It used to be utterly casual. Then I started dressing up, minus the tie, say no to Jesus. Then it has been dress up bottom, casual warm top, going for the Matrix look.

I have a healthy feeling about money. Money is like a good conversation. Money, like words, is a vehicle of expression. Wealth creation is like writing poetry. There's art and science involved.

This is more commercial than most cities. What do you do? That can be a pointed question. What does your cellphone look like? What color is your parachute? Mine is the one I got when I first got a cellphone. I am not a big fan. I am a laptop fan, not a cell fan. But the thing about mine is, you connect it to a laptop, and the laptop goes online, for free, on the same free nights and weekends deal. I have a few different cameras. I don't need a camera phone. I hardly ever need a phone. Mostly it gets used when you are near some place you have agreed to meet somebody, and they are not there on time, or it is a tussle locating the other person.

Otherwise the phone stays in the pocket, turned off. Try voice mail. And if you really intend to communicate, nothing works like email, Gmail to be precise.

Sam Walton had plastic chairs at his headquarters. I am listening.

The thing is, it gets said, you meet someone at some event for three minutes, and you never see them again. So at events, the air is electric. People make all this effort to show up, and they end up spending most of their time with these three people they already knew. When you step outside that familiarity zone, there are sharks out there. You don't want to be seen like you don't have friends. Standing alone for a few minutes is not meditation, it is something else.

Good thing I get a kick out of conversation. I don't care two whits about baseball, etc. But talk politics, and I am on. And business. Impressive salaries are not that impressive, they are still just salaries. But it is really something to get someone to talk about their work that they are really into. Oh, the craft of it. I don't care if it is pottery. It could be lawyering, it could be banking. Better still if its is entrepreneurship. But those are few and far between.

What do you do? How do you do?

It gets said New York City is the most diverse city on the planet. It gets said New York City is the most segregated city on the planet. Attitudes don't go away just like that. But then it is easy. If you don't connect, you don't connect. The city is a civil war in motion. Only bloodletting has been outlawed.

"We don't like minorities up there in Connecticut."

"We are the same here in New York." Whites are minority.

Playful talk with the funnyman at MYD, Aaron Short.

Organized chaos that the city is.

But most of the jitters are just plain awkwardness. It is hard for all people to go to a party and say hello to strangers. Mostly it is that. Going to political events eases that. You go often enough, you end up knowing all the movers and shakers, all the top people. You get that insider feeling. There are only so many of them. And they go to each other's events. A lot of cross pollination.

The city is the Amazon forest. All sorts of human life forms can be found. I think that is what people are talking about when they say either you love New York or you hate New York.

Rent is steep. Cabs charge money. There is the occasional racist comment. But mostly people are just running. Catch me if you can. In the subway, people are mostly withdrawn. Remember what mama said, don't talk to strangers.

Cabbies stream in from the outer boroughs. Many of my fanciest comrades from the April Revolution are cabbies in the city. I don't know of Manhattan progressives who have done anything fancier, or are likely. Nothing like that has ever happened in world history.

There are 40,000 Nepalis in the city, three of them lawyers. They get rockstar treatment.

Map of Manhattan, NY
Welcome to Manhattan College
Manhattan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manhattan - New York City
Manhattan (1979)
Manhattan Institute
Manhattan, KS!
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce - New York City, New York Chamber of ...
NY1: Manhattan
[PDF]MTA Manhattan Bus Map
Manhattan Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chase Manhattan Bank
Maps & Neighborhoods - Manhattan


Staten Island Ferry
World Trade Center
Times Square

Barack Hussein Obama And The White Boys In The Media

Reminds me of the Buddhist monks in California that the right wingers went after in 1996, and the Dems failed to defend. Oh look at them Buddhists, they are giving money to Al Gore! As if being Buddhist is dirty. The donations were small, pocket change.

Times, they are a changing. These whities are just going to have to measure up. This might be a US presidential campaign, but it will take place in a globalized world. Racists jokes are offensive, they are not funny. These white boys are going to have to find other ways to bond.

Imagine making fun of the Rodham name. Rodham is Hillary's middle name. Or Jefferson, like in William Jefferson Clinton, or the Jefferson Davis pie, named after a guy who was on the wrong side in the civil war. Or Herbert Walker, like in George Herbert Walker Bush, or just plain W, W like in George Dumbo Bush.

It is offensive enough when right wingers do it, and they stand to pay for it. They are going to get hit back. Hard. But these supposedly mainstream white boys in the media, what are they up to now?

Fitzerald, like in JFK.

I once met a guy at my college in Kentucky who talked of Arabs as sand n______s. This was way before 9/11.

Those who see the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as wars against Islam deserve to go down in defeat. The Al Qaeda are like the KKK. No Muslim elected them. They don't hold offices. They are a few thousand in an ocean of hundreds of millions of extremely poor Muslims who just want the best by their families.

Obama is not Muslim. But what if he were a Muslim American? This question is personal to me because I am Buddhist.

Within the framework of religious diversity, I appreciate the various faiths, Chistianity, Islam, Judaism, and all the rest of them. There is going to be mutual respect. Take that framework out, and I don't give a f____ about Jesus.

Let this election be about ideas and who can best lead the country in this new century where globalization and the internet are all the rage. I think someone with a cosmopolitan message stands a good chance. Obama got to know paddy fields as a child, like I did. We bond.

Don't throw stones from your glass house.

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In The News

The Obama backlash. It's started. Chicago Sun-Times a body of anti-Obama material is surfacing--centering around his record and his religious beliefs and yes, his middle name, Hussein. It's a backlash--and a foreshadowing of what is to come. ....... Schlussel: Should Obama be president "when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam"? ......... several media figures have taken it upon themselves to issue warnings to Obama of a purportedly ruthless Clinton operation that will attempt to win by brute force, or, as Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund put it, "haul out the brass knuckles." ......... Dick Morris falsely claimed that Obama has "never introduced a bill" in the Senate .......... right-wing pundit and regular MSNBC guest, Debbie Schlussel ....... Answering her own question, she wrote: “NO WAY, JOSE ... Or, is that, HUSSEIN?” ....... the bigoted conservative attacks against Senator Obama ...... The public discourse surrounding Senator Obama has devolved into a petty game of who can say his middle name more often or insult his character and ancestry with the most zeal. It’s time for this bigotry to stop. News outlets like MSNBC can make the first move. They shouldn’t give people like Schlussel airtime to spew their hate-filled conspiracy theories because when they do, they undermine their own reputations as legitimate news organizations.”......... numerous media figures have gone out of their way to highlight Obama’s middle name in recent weeks, a detailed accounting of which is available below or online at the following link: ...... on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews remarked that Obama's "middle name is Hussein" and suggested that it would "be interesting down the road." ........ On November 27, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to radio host Bill Press as "a true member of the Barack Hussein Obama fan club." ...... During the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Republican strategist Ed Rogers referred to "Barack Hussein Obama." ....... On the December 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, senior political correspondent Carl Cameron told viewers: "Though he's written two books about himself already, most people know very little about Barack Hussein Obama Junior's uncommonly privileged life." ....... On the December 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "[o]nly one little consonant differentiates" Obama and Osama. She then added, "[A]s if that similarity weren't enough. How about sharing the name of a former dictator? You know his middle name, Hussein." .......... On the December 11 edition of The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield compared the similarity of Obama's "business casual" clothing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "jacket-and-no-tie look." Greenfield concluded the segment by saying: "Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread." He later explained on the CNN website that he was making "a joke." .......... On December 13, Matthews teased another interview with Rogers by describing the strategist as "the one who just loves Barack Obama's middle name Hussein." ...... On the December 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave Obama a "nickname" -- "Barack Hussein Odumbo" (in reference to Obama's "big ears"). ....... On the December 14 edition of Hardball, NBC's Mike Viqueira announced "a man named Barack Obama, whose middle name, incidentally, is Hussein, running for president."
Obama smackdown, round 1: his tainted blood Houston Chronicle Many months ago, readers began asking me whether Barack Obama is Muslim. [Apparently Schlussel's readers are unfamiliar with Google or Wikipedia. Or she's just making it up. - JW] Since he identifies as a Christian, I said, "no," and responded that he was not raised by his Kenyan father.......... In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not. ....... Imagine that - he's interested in the land of his parents. Unbelievable! (Excuse me while I go erase any signs of my own interest in Ireland, where my parents were born.) She closes the column hinting darkly that Obama cannot help but betray America.
Pins for Obama's balloon Washington Times Did you know Sen. Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein? You do now. ... Make no mistake: If he decides to run for president, quite a few people will be reminding you of it. Those people are not his friends. .... Republican consultant Ed Rogers' frustration was showing in the way he emphasized Mr. Obama's middle name on MSNBC's "Hardball": "Count me as someone who underestimates Barack Hussein Obama," he said, pronouncing "Barack" in a way that rhymed with hard rock. ...... Conservative radio windbag Rush Limbaugh similarly delights in mocking Mr. Obama's full name. El Rush-bo even posted a caricature on his Web site of Obama with huge floppy ears and the title "Barack Hussein Odumbo." Cute. Sort of like the class clown taking on the class valedictorian and prom king who is also basketball team captain. ..... he joked about the middle-name thing with just the right tone: astute, self-deprecating humor. His middle name is no big deal, he says, "when you are already starting with 'Barack Obama.' " ...... he tried marijuana and cocaine in his wayward youth, a refreshingly straightforward and revealing contrast to President Bush, who dodged probing drug questions as a candidate, and President Bill Clinton, who claimed never to have inhaled.
taking a second look at Barack Obama Kansas City Star
Video: Carol Marin Explores Obama's Political Past
Obama the anti-Bush
Los Angeles Times
Inexperience won't hold Obama back Wisconsin State Journal
Bill Clinton a looming force in Hillary's race
Hint: He's tall, in the Senate, on TV a lot Chicago Sun-Times
US has `never had a mother' be president, Sen. Clinton says
San Jose Mercury News

Obama to decide on White House run this week Chicago Tribune Another bit of Obama news is this. Gallup's pollsters are reporting today that nearly half of the public doesn't know who he is.

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People's Daily Online

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San Jose Mercury News
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People's Daily Online
Barack Obama Disappoints Re Israel/Palestine New York Observer
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Daily News & Analysis
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Times of India
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International Herald Tribune
Leader hints US should talk to al-Qaida
Leading The Charge
India to ask Myanmar to crack down on terror camps
Times of India
Nasa and Google reach for the stars
Financial Times “This agreement between Nasa and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars,” said Michael Griffin, Nasa administrator. .... Nasa had more information on the planet and universe than any other entity in history, but much of it was scattered and difficult to access. .... the concept of an interplanetary internet
Google Earth Soon the Be Followed by Google Space
US gives Sudan until year-end to accept UN force
Reuters AlertNet
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Daily News & Analysis
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Amitabh Bachchan, the most recognized face on the planet
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