Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do I Know Rajiv Shah?

I came across this on the New York Times page earlier today, and the face and the name made me think. This face looks familiar. Is this that guy I met in Philly in summer 1999? No, can't be. (Video: 10 Minutes With Rajiv Shah) I watched the nine video clips. That confirmed it. No, I have not met the guy, although he does remind me of someone I met over a decade ago. That put the matter to rest.

After a nap, the name kept coming back at me. So I told myself, why don't you just google up the guy? That will put matters to rest. I googled up his name. And that did put matters to rest. I have met the guy. Rajiv Shah is the Rajiv Shah I met back in 1999. I was in Philly doing my summer stint with that was trying to be the premier South Asian online community. I found myself at his apartment for a gathering of I believe it was called IAPAC, Indian American Political Awareness Committee. I might have mangled the name right now. He was leading the organization. So I met him once. I got to meet his fiance, Shivam. We connected because she was Bihari. I am half Bihari, Laloo Ka Aadmi. My gripe had been you literally don't meet Biharis in the US. You meet Gujaratis, Marathas, Tamils, but no Biharis. The other day I was at a SASI - South Asia Solidarity Initiative - event here in New York, and I met three Biharis. When it was my turn to speak I said I have been in America over 13 years now, and I have met a total of five Biharis, three of them I met today. SASI is lead by my friend Prachi. Prachi passes the landgrab test.

(At that SASI event only a few days back, I show up and I meet this guy who is from Sri Lanka. "Oh, you from Sri Lanka?" I said. I started talking to him about this Sri Lankan I met several years back. Ends up I was talking to Ahilan about Ahilan. "I sported a beard back then," he said.)

So I met Shivam, and I met her again randomly at a mall in Philly. We talked on the sidewalk for a few minutes. Then I went to another Rajiv Shah event, this was not at his place. I was talking to a white guy friend of his. We must have been talking a lot because Rajiv then walked over and expressed a slight jealousy that I was getting along so well with his friend. I guess they were pretty close. I did not know. I forget the guy's name. Actually I never learned.

Chaitime went down after two years. The nuclear winter set in. And this morning I meet Rajiv Shah again on the pages of the New York Times. The Wikipedia entry on him says he is "the highest-ranking Indian American in any presidential administration." Now we need someone to become Secretary and then for Bobby to become president, and the circle will be complete. I'd think Rajiv has as good a shot as any Indian to become Secretary of this or that or the other. (Independent For Bloomberg)

So I looked up Shivam on Facebook, and there she is in her family portrait. Facebook says we have a mutual friend in Akin Salawu. Akin I got to know doing Obama 08 in NYC.

I sent a friend request. But Shivam's Facebook page lists Seattle as her hometown. Something tells me she does not log into Facebook all that often. And Shivam has not done the Facebook land grab thing yet. That also makes me wonder. (Facebook Landgrab: A Friday Midnight Call)

At the time Rajiv was at Wharton and Shivam was at Harvard Medical School. That is where my sister Babita's husband is at right now. Babita was in town a few days back. It was so good to see her after months. (Landgrab test. Fail.)

Is Rajiv Shah on Facebook? You gotta ask.

Reshma Saujani for Congress - Democrat for the East Side and Queens
Reshma Saujani Takes On Carolyn Maloney for U.S. House -

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Obama's Got Momentum: He Could Defy History In November

Barack Obama has momentum. The guy has wind behind his back. Having turned the Great Recession into an upswing, the guy is on his way to his original agenda. History will tell you this guy is supposed to suffer losses in November. Midterm elections are not for presidents. But this guy has a track record of defying history. Black people were not supposed to be president. He became one. Now he is on track to defy history again and do well in November. Passing health care will cement his grip on Congress so he can go on to do bigger and better things.

If this guy can cure the Great Recession, if this guy can deliver Universal Health, I am going to argue this guy could even deliver Peace In The Middle East. Is there an upper limit to how many Nobel Peace Prizes any one individual can get? I am wondering.

This guy has confounded me since I got to know of him. His successes seem so effortless. I guess he is extraordinarily charming. He keeps his cool. He stays positive. He has challenged some of my assumptions.

I was one of those who at some level thought his talk of a new kind of politics was at some level naive, but I was willing to cut him corners as long as he kept scoring political successes, and I watched him primary after primary, caucus after caucus. Finally at one point I declared myself a student of his new kind of politics.

How can you make progress on race if you don't even talk about race, I thought. This guy has done as much for race relations as anyone in history already, and he does not seem to believe in talking about race, not much.

There is tremendous power in positivity, Obama teaches by example. Stay positive, and get things done.

There is this intoxicating mix of idealism, pragmatism and ambition in his personality that really gets me. He smells of possibilities. When he does big things, instead of looking exhausted, he makes you feel like bigger still things are possible, and are in the works.

He has shifted so many major paradigms. He has redefined so many old ways of doing business.

This guy delivers health care, and then he begins his presidency. That is what I am feeling right now. I love this guy as much as ever.

If Obama keeps the House and the Senate in November, he will have defied history. I think he will. November 2010 will be a repeat of November 2008. History will be defied.

New York Times

As Health Vote Awaits, Future Of A Presidency Waits, Too the presidential equivalent of an all-in bet on the poker table .....  his hopes of passing other ambitious legislation like an overhaul of immigration and a market-based cap on carbon emissions to curb climate change.... the legislative procedure Democrats are using to avoid another filibuster.....Democrats have bitter memories. “A lot of them have P.T.S.D. from 1994,” said a White House official, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder. .......Mr. Clinton’s problem was not taking on health care but losing on health care. opposition with its own challenges
A Broader View of Health Care if at least 25,000 people die per year for lack of insurance (it may be twice that), that’s a greater toll than America suffered in World War II
Access, Access, Access one-quarter of Californians are now uninsured......Republicans today are lined up overwhelmingly against a health care package that is more modest and moderate than one that Richard Nixon proposed in the early ’70s........American women are 11 times as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as Irish women. The average person in Honduras or Vietnam is expected to live longer than the average African-American in New Orleans.........there is one group of Americans who do fine in international comparisons — and that’s the 65-plus crowd. They have Medicare........uninsured people are significantly more likely to die than insured people. That’s because diseases are caught at later stages on uninsured people.......the best way to hold down abortion numbers is to improve access to health care
Obama’s Strong First Round
Fleeing A Sinking Governorship

John Liu, Future Mayor
June 3 Immigration Court Date


DL21C Out Of My Mind Forever

The Manhattan District Attorney
Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan District Attorney, 1975-2009 .... he grew up knowing Roosevelt. ..... In 1961, after twelve years of practicing corporate law, Morgenthau accepted an appointment from President John F. Kennedy as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was the Democratic nominee for governor of New York in 1962, but was defeated by the incumbent Nelson Rockefeller. He then was reappointed U.S. Attorney and served for the remainder of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. As a United States Attorney Morgenthau established a special unit to investigate securities fraud and prosecuted highly publicized bribery cases against city officials and IRS attorneys and accountants....... He was eventually forced out of office at the end of 1969 ...... seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1970 ...... Morgenthau returned to private life until 1974, when he was elected to the office of District Attorney of New York County. This was a special election caused by the death of Frank Hogan, who had served as D.A. for more than thirty years. Morgenthau defeated Hogan's interim successor, Richard Kuh. He was elected to a full term in 1977 and was re-elected seven times. He was not opposed in a general election from 1985 to 2005. ...... In the general election, he was once again the candidate for all political parties in the election, having been nominated by the Democrats, Republicans and the Working Families Party. Morgenthau won re-election with more than 99% of the vote....... On February 27, 2009 Morgenthau announced that he would not seek re-election in 2009, saying "I never expected to be here this long ... [R]ecently I figured that I’d served 25 years beyond the normal retirement age." He was replaced by Cyrus Vance, Jr., a prosecutor under Morgenthau and the son of former President Jimmy Carter's secretary of state Cyrus Vance. Morgenthau officially endorsed Vance on June 25. Vance went on to win the primary election on September 15, 2009 and the subsequent general election on November 3. On January 20, 2010, Morgenthau joined the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. ...... Notable Assistant District Attorneys under Morgenthau ...... Sonia Sotomayor (1979-1984): Current Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Andrew Cuomo (1984-1985): Current New York State Attorney General, and previously served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. Eliot Spitzer (1986-1992): Former Governor and Attorney General of New York State. John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1989-1993): First son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. Former journalist, lawyer, pilot, and socialite. .... The character of District Attorney Adam Schiff (played by actor Steven Hill), the New York district attorney in the long running TV series Law and Order, was loosely based on Morgenthau. It is reported that Morgenthau was a fan of the character.
Richard Aborn For Manhattan District Attorney

Charlie Rangel

Sorry, Charlie - Rangel Makes More Excuses for His Failure to Pay Taxes Sep 15, 2008
Charlie Rangel, Rental Income, Tax Evasion: Stop The ACLU Sep 5, 2008
Caveat Bettor: The Charlie Rangel Tax Evasion Story keeps on giving Sep 16, 2008
Charlie Rangel Tax Evasion Sep 16, 2008
Charlie Rangel Tax Evasion Sep 16, 2008
GOP calls for Rangel to step down - Los Angeles Times Sep 10, 2008
Charles Rangel's tax problems | flashpoint Sep 15, 2008
2008 Most Embarrassing Re-Elected Members of Congress - Home
Why Charlie Rangel stepped down as Ways and Means chairman / The Christian Science Monitor Mar 3, 2010
Charles Rangel on the brink of losing Ways and Means chairmanship Mar 2, 2010

Governor Paterson Kickoff Event In Harlem


If the FBI has a file on me, that would make the FBI people motherfuckers. My guy is in the White House. That would be your boss, assholes. I got the White House. What else do I need to get for you to stop engaging in racist demonization?

I first witnessed this tendency to demonize in Kentucky in 1997. I did not like it. I am not putting up with it. You are going to back off. Fuck 9/11. This is nothing to do with 9/11. Your racism is older than 9/11.

The Obama FDR Parallels
Iran: An Opportunity

February 2007: Jupiter And Obama
November 2006: Switching To Obama

Bollywood actor detained at Newark airport -
Stopping of Bollywood's Shahrukh Khan at Newark Is Talk of India...
Shah Rukh Khan Detained at Newark Airport - Sepia Mutiny
Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood Superstar, Detained At Newark Airport
SRK detained at US airport for being a Khan - India - The Times of...
Dr Abdul Kalam frisked at Delhi airport - India - The Times of India
India Insulted -- Former president Abdul Kalam frisked away at...
Kalam was frisked, made to wait at Delhi airport
2009 Frisking of former Indian President Abdul Kalam, Event...
Kalam frisked by American airline at Delhi airport -

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Obama FDR Parallels

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...Image via Wikipedia
"The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who fears a lost decade, said in a lecture at the London School of Economics last summer that he has “no idea” how the economy could quickly return to strong, sustainable growth."
FDR's was the Great Depression. We are calling ours the Great Recession. FDR gave us Social Security, Obama is going to give Universal Health Care. The recession is over. The recession is not over. You love me, you love me not.

I think there are obvious parallels between the Great Depression and what we are going through right now, but it is also important to realize we are treading new territory.

(1) The Bailout

That was necessary. It is interesting that many of the banks have already paid back most of the money. I am on record at this blog saying that is what will happen, although I did not see it happening this fast. But they have not paid back all the money, so.

The bailout was putting the fire out. Without the bailout it would not have been a Great Recession but Great Depression II.

(2) The Stimulus 

It was necessary but insufficient. When it was put together, I was not shocked by the size of it. What did bother me was it focused too much on the past and too little on the future. I was surprised how little was allocated to broadband, for example.

(3) Banking Regulation

Work here has not gone as well as needed. Wall Street needs a new set of pants. Take off the boxer shorts. Put on some pants.

(4) Public Works Programs

Basically I am arguing for a second stimulus package that might be similar in size to the first one. This would be one pig push to create a truly post-industrial America. The first big wave of job creation will have to be the government's work, otherwise the 10% unemployment figure is feeling pretty comfortable where it is. You did not rely on the market for the bailout, or the stimulus, you sure do not expect the market to do the regulation work. That same courtesy has to be extended to job creation.

Most of the job creation will happen in the education and health sectors. Instead of creating a Tennessee Valley Authority, you would create a program to hire a ton of mentors to kick-start the inner cities, for example.

Universal and faster broadband is fundamental to this very idea. That is the centerpiece. That basic physical infrastructure is what will take both education and health to their next levels. Obama has to build that universal, faster broadband infrastructure like Eisenhower built the interstate highway system. Without that America is not going to become a post-industrial society. People will have to be plugged in.

The idea has to be for the government to hire five million people. If you are going to do it anyway, it makes no sense to do it later, or do it in small steps. Creating new jobs has to be the centerpiece of the second stimulus bill.

Education and health will have to be reimagined. That is why getting health care right is so key. It can't just be about adding entitlement programs for people who are known will not pay in, although everyone has to be covered. It also has to be about bringing the costs down across the board. You inject technology and the market forces into the sector.

On Deficits And Debts

The time to reign in the deficit and the debt will come, but that time is not now. Once the recovery is full, the political wind will blow in that direction.
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