Politics, Religion, and Trolling

Steer Clear!

The reality is, that the friends you socialize with i.e. dine-n-wine with; or the friends you socialize with online — they may have political views that may surprise/or shock you.

Well, will you continue to be friends with them, or will your turn your back on them? Don’t the wise often say, don’t discuss or argue about these matters? Not only could it turn into a no-win battle for either party, but you may well lose a friend.

I just saw a page ad pop up on Facebook. It also displayed which of my friends had ‘liked’ it. Hmm… never mind, I shan’t get swayed.

One more rebel… yet again, an American!

A sick mind, a sickening situation, or is it the beginnings of a sick nation???

Way back in July 2009, I referred to Bryant Neal Vinas, an  American rebel who trained with Al Qaeda; he had actively engaged in discussions to blow up the Long Island RailRoad in NY. Then, there’s the  case of Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado-resident, who, in 2009, had plotted to blow up NYC’s subway system. Then again, the case of David C Headley, age 49, a Chicago resident, also American, who colluded with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group, which caused havoc in Mumbai in November 2008. Since then, ostensibly, all these guys have co-operated with the FBI and/or other authorities, to reveal further details regarding proposed heinous crimes. There are others… many others, in the US, American-born rebels in their 20s who have been uncovered… many others may be in hiding, or in the making, who knows… until next time!

The Tucson terror last weekend is not likely to be the last, I’m so sorry to say so.

For the families who lost their loved ones, the pain must be deep; the anguish unforgettable! If it turns out that the gunman is “sick of mind”, it is unlikely to lessen the pain caused by the crime/s he committed…

For the nation, Tucson will be yet another event – sad – but again, sorry to say so… soon to be forgotten. After the initial angry outbursts, and a few op-eds later, each of us will get on with life. What’s more, some may even callously say, “So what, s..t happens.” Can’t you hear those NRA guys touting that? “To prevent that in future, let’s make it even easier, to procure guns…” Are Americans progressive in their thinking? Think again… if so, NRA couldn’t possibly have such a strong lobby.

Commonplace… money talks, after all… so what if it’s the Commonwealth Games?

Now, wait,  I’m not referring to Mani Shankar Aiyar’s rants about the Commonwealth. This is about India’s money power! Her trading partners – Australia and Canada, and the erstwhile mighty Britain too are heading to India, after all the brouhaha over the past few days.

Compromised or not, The Times of India’s screaming headline, “India’s cash and clout soften tough stand“, implies the ill-fated Delhi Games will go on

I’m tired… time to call it a day… both, figuratively, and otherwise.

Also read excerpts of the Zee interview with the vitriolic Mani.

Urban Indians’ bombastic attitude… nothing but talk!

“Words are cheap… “ is oft stated, and more so, it seems, by India and Indians. Charlie Chaplin went on to say ” … the biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant’.” Indeed, the Commonwealth Games 2010 may well turn out to be the proverbial ‘white elephant’, at least for India; to say the least, I’m ashamed! A mammoth opportunity to woe (and wow) the world… has fast faded, forever!

So, the stock market has spiked…  virtually to 20K, and along with it escalates euphoria among those following Mumbai’s Dalal Street, a.k.a. India’s Wall Street. There’s talk of going “from third world to the third most powerful nation”… would you believe that? I’d like to, but am sorry, and sad to confess… that just won’t sink into my head. So what, if the source (we’re lead to believe) is the US National Intelligence Council (and I can’t get around to believing the NIC has reported that, although, I concede, to not having read their entire report)!

Euphoria released a song, “Dilli Meri Jaan“, dedicated especially to the Commonwealth Games, one of four, created in recent times; if these weren’t enough, yet another one was released, “Come out and play, Balle Balle“. Kudos to its composer & singer, Anand Raj Anand, both, for the composition, singing, and above all for his implicit faith in the nation. Alas, not quite sharing this sentiment, at this moment, as I write, it seems the Games are “Khallas” (“over”), even  before they’ve begun. Doomed from the beginning, thanks to India’s ‘system’… i.e. corrupt government, now even the stadium ceiling has collapsed!

During July 2009 through March 2010 I assisted a buddy in India towards organizing a trade show, in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games; the event didn’t take off the ground, thanks to Indian bureaucracy, and lack of support from the sporting goods trade… only now am I beginning to understand that veterans in the local domestic trade could foresee the doom, way ahead. In hind-sight I’d say, promoting your brand of sporting goods in such a mired environment would indeed have been an expensive exercise… not quite in monetary terms, but certainly in the long run for your brand/s! A wise decision to steer clear, folks, I now agree, with a somewhat heavy heart, and long-faded hope.

Many will accuse non-resident Indians for an ‘unpatriotic’ stance, but the fact remains, that if most of the burgeoning middle-class India – and Indians – continue to wear an attitude that says “we’re resilient“, I say, this vindication is the fundamental reason for the nation’s slow progress… this tolerance towards mediocrity!   Again, many will react and say, “Hey, you’re being an armchair philosopher”; to those I say, we, out here, sitting so far away from mathrubhumi (motherland), are able to view India with a different perspective. Myriad and varied reasons lead us to make another nation our home; even so, it pains us to see India in this state, even until this day… along with pain, now there’s shame! Wake up ‘Shera‘! India, wake up to hard facts and reality… the roar from Beijing’s silent stadiums resounds!

Oversight… the contradictions in its meaning just irk me!

Talk about anomalies in language, particularly in English!

Even in the past, I blogged about this. Why can’t people just use another word when they mean “supervision”? Under the guise of ‘oversight’ so much damage has been done to this country… not all of it inadvertently!

Yet again, Mr Bernanke claims “lax oversight caused crisis“! I say, it will happen again and again and yet again… not through oversight; not inadvertently, but in full view and with the full knowledge of the powers that be! Until they stop pushing everything under the carpet with this blanket use of ‘oversight’… whoever cooked up the dual meaning of this word had to be all messed up… blame it on oversight – inside and outside! Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But this is just my weird blog… what about the weird goings-on on the stock exchange and in the world today… everybody suddenly seems to be on a high. Wonder if it is oversight… seeing above and beyond… you see, I’m extending the usage of ‘oversight’… surely that will pass? All’s not well with the world, and yet the markets are surging, folks are euphoric, thanks to improved oversight… or what???

You may ignore my diatribe (with a singular meaning) above, but someone please take a look at the text below, and the visual Thesaurus that follows…

Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: failure, omission

Synonyms:

blank*, blunder, carelessness, chasmdefault, delinquency, dereliction, disregarderrorfault, inattention, lapse, laxity, miscue, mistakeneglect,overlook, overlooking, preterition, pretermission,skipslip, slipup

Antonyms:

attentioncarerecollectionremembrancesuccess
* = informal/non-formal usage
http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/oversight#visualthesaurus
Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: care, supervision

Synonyms:

administrationaegischargecheckcontrol, custody, directionguard, guardianship, handling,inspection, intendance, keepkeepingmaintenance,management, superintendence, surveillance,tutelage

Antonyms:

ignorance, neglect
Defining Oversight_Visual Thesaurus

In the war against Al Qaeda, how will the US cope with rebellious local youth!

Billions of tax dollars are spent by US to wage a war against terrorist groups outside the nation. But then a young man from Long Island, New York, travels all the way to Afghanistan, receives training from Al Qaeda, then plots a terror attack over his home base, then goes on to confess… who and what should the American people fear more?

The anger and terror lies within the common people of the US. The reasons may be varied… frustration about the status quo, ignorance, prejudice, poverty, skewed perceptions, unreasonable expectations of life…

It’s odd though… people from other parts of the world have thus far believed that Americans have it all… with no reason to be frustrated, that they are all rich, beautiful and smart! The irony of it all… and now in the present downturn, we have already heard of how these pent-up emotions of frustration and anger of the unemployed can take shape!

“As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists”… a comment

Yesterday, a friend wished to post a comment on the much-discussed article that made the headlines in The New York Times. Some readers thought the article was newsworthy, others expressed their furore over the skewed perspective, and yet others posted counter-comments. The following is one which was written, but was not published, since all comments were being screened by the newspaper.

March 13, 2009 2:33 pm
In response to Editor’s selected comment # 167:

Editor's Pick of Interesting Comments
Editor's Pick of Interesting Comments

“Glad to hear your husband visited India. However, am amazed at the one-sided observations: Of the four months he spent there, he saw “people simply cut wires to hook into the electrical grid… “: Did he pay a visit to the electricity Bill Payment Centers (especially in the major metros), where there are long-winding queues of men and women, who do take time off from their work, or from lunch-hour to go pay their bills?
Daily power outages do not prevail in all parts of the country.

A woman who “stands up for herself” would be killed; yes, while Indira Gandhi stood up, she was “killed”, no doubt… but that has been not just her fate, but the fate of many leaders (in India and even in our part of the world and elsewhere)… incidentally, Indira Gandhi was India’s Prime Minister (stood up not just for herself) for several terms… of course she had ups and downs, but that’s history. (I am not particularly her fan.) The point is there are several strong women in the history of India – both, on the political front, as well as in every household in the country. The current President of India is Mrs Pratibha Patil, a woman – educated and an accomplished sportswoman.
Despite the high incidence of the infamous female infanticides, if women were so easily killed (as your husband may have observed), India would not have such a high population (over a billion) and the ratio of women to men is certainly not low at 930 women:1000 men. It is not as “simple as that” to kill women in India… incidentally, a woman, who (almost) could not read nor write, was even leading one of the largest states i.e. Bihar, as their Chief Minister
(circumstances notwithstanding) – and a totally male-chauvinistic state at that.

You’re right about the tax evasions (even among the ‘elite’ and people in power), hence the advertising to “beg people to pay their taxes” comes as no surprise. Even Rabri Devi’s husband was chased by the Income Tax Officials a decade ago.
And here is the very same Rabri Devi… almost an illiterate, happily married (not forced into it at the age of 14) who is the mother to 7 daughters (no less) and 2 sons… who has the “wisdom” and “guts” to comment on the ‘historic’ budget.

You’re right in drawing attention to the hospitality of people towards your husband, despite their poverty. Tourists and visitors (especially the fair-skinned) often have a fan following of poor kids and street urchins, in cities (or at touristy attractions) smiling and laughing around them, begging and chasing them for just a pencil or pen, while their tummies are probably growling with hunger.

Well, the whole point is the government certainly can do much, instead of filling their own coffers. It’s not enough to throw your hands in despair and say, “where do we begin”… Education is not an “impossible luxury”. The government can provide incentives to those who are educated, to teach or provide a basic education to just one other poor soul. Instead of having to scavenge from garbage cans, those who do have homes, could have just one homeless child come around everyday for one small meal – provide two rotis or a bowl of rice with a vegetable (or soup). In fact, come over to learn your ABC’s (K, Kh, Gh), learn the basics of hygiene, and grab a sandwich, for good measure! It really isn’t too much… many families waste and throw away so much food after every meal, that they can well-afford to part with a sandwich a day! How do you think those garbage cans get filled with wasted food that putrefies in there… followed by epidemics of diseases. So, the bottom line… no, the government has to take a lead, and so should those who have been blessed with far more than they can enjoy in their own lifetime… as their “giving back to the community”. They spend loads of money building schools for the rich and elite (so with their IB diplomas they can apply to schools in the US or UK). Those families are charged steep fees (no different from private schools here). How about schools in rural areas with nominal fees – a buck a day – nothing fancy, just the basics at least? Yes, they’re probably hoarding that for their future generations. Well, the future will take care of itself, if the present is provided for… even partially. Please follow my comment #206. India is a land of paradoxes (clichéd). Your observations may be true, but there is certainly another side. Something must be done to resolve the poverty issues… soon! Thanks.”


Ad Agency layoffs

In Spring 2008, when I referred to layoffs at marketing companies and ad agencies, some smart alecks scoffed at my words, merrily mocking me and my writing. Numerous people holding jobs then dropped pearls of wisdom… “Network, get yet another degree (since my MBA does not seem to cut it), or better still, change your profession“. Some even went as far as suggesting I change my personal [‘Look’ and ‘Feel’]… like I was some website that was long overdue for a total makeover!

Of course, last March, Bear Stearns, believed to have been firmly parked at 383 Mad Ave in NYC, was only just beginning to teeter…  we all are now privy to its change of address… they’ve moved permanently to the annals of financial history. At the time of their big move, the formal announcement of a recession that had already been three months in the making since December 2007 was at least three seasons away! It is highly unlikely then that A&M agencies could have been insulated, impending announcements notwithstanding! However, only those who were laid off, and those who never got  hired — despite job postings that continued to appear (to ostensibly lure fresh, “experienced” talent) — would have gotten a whiff of the hard times to follow; obviously, the rest of the world was happily oblivious to the latent harsh effects it was already beginning to experience!

Long before birds herald the onset of spring, you may have heard (and read) twitters about ad agency layoffs. Think back, the frequency may have been rising since mid-December 2008. Now why is that? It’s because that’s when the US government formally announced that the recession had already set in since December 2007! Looking back now, for 12 months this recession had stealthily taken its toll on jobs, home sales, the fate of companies and on families that depended on these organizations – directly, or indirectly; or even on retirees who lived off their fixed incomes! Wow, so now that it was official, it was okay to openly talk or twitter about how much even the ad agencies were hurting.

You just have to read the compilation of all the twitters (14 pages as I blog just now) to truly gauge the severity of this situation. If that’s too much work, especially considering you may be looking for work, take a look at BNET’s mind-boggling layoff numbers… including ad agency, media and marketing layoffs, ever since the recession started. These will show you why you’re meeting with little success in finding a new job. Or that if you do still have your job while your colleagues have been shown the door, why it’s no time to be smug… the pink slip may likely be well on it’s way to you! Perhaps it’s time to consider another field, go to school and acquire a new skill… and while you’re working on that resume, remember also to go for a makeover on yourself… I’m just sharing those pearls of wisdom I’d received from the mavens on Mad Ave!

The layoff counter keeps ticking.
The layoff counter keeps ticking.
No stopping to this counter's ticking!
No stopping to this counter's ticking!
The Twitter since December is getting louder in Spring '09.
The Twitter since December is getting louder in Spring '09.
When will the Twitters end?
When will these Twitters end?

Of layoffs… something’s not quite right.

Piecemeal layoffs avoid warning laws

Yes, this one sounds much like what I expressed almost a year ago.

Continuing job losses may signal broad economic shift

More on Jobs (Including  a Little Good News)

Thanks for the link, EON.

Ever Closer to 1982.

What to do when you lose your Job (Some advise from various experts)

Searching for work and not giving up

Three unemployed New Yorkers look for work as more than 4.4 million Americans have lost their jobs since the recession started in December 2007.

NJ Governor says he’s prepared to layoff state workers

Well, search and you’ll see more headlines… perhaps news like this best be buried. For the unemployed it may be wiser to focus on the “job search“; like someone said, “Make it your job to get a job.”

Easier said? Well, we don’t know unless we try, right! 😉

Hats off, to all those brave job-seekers in Manhattan!

“Wow!” said the cabbie in Gotham, and “Oh wow!” sez I, sitting at my desk after watching this video of gutsy New Yorkers. But for the video caption, I’d have wondered, “Who are all these people waiting in line outside the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd St in sub-zero temperatures!”

In contrast to the expected turnout of about 2000 job applicants at the Job Fair on 24th February, over 5000  applicants showed up! Including a few men but mostly women, they all waited their turn patiently outside the hotel in a long winding queue, until they could meet one or more of the 40 prospective employers that participated in the event.  With resumes and their portfolios in hand, donning business suits, here they were braving not only the bleak weather, but perhaps steeling themselves against looming possibilities that they may well have to consider even entry level positions, if at all… Most were mid-career applicants with numerous years of solid work experience and talent and these are tough times even for recent graduates! I learned later, there was another job fair at the Radisson Martinique in Midtown Manhattan just days before this one… thousands showed up, but with little luck.

The stock market reflects the goings-on in the job market… today, the scenario was even more alarming than last week. Did all those seeking employment at the Job Fair last week meet with success?  At this point, hard to tell… many of them were requested to apply online! It has the ring of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”? Perhaps it is the 21st century tactic adopted by foot-dragging clerks-posing-as-hiring managers from companies who must at least pretend they’re not going the penny-stock way.

Frankly, at this stage, I fail to understand why companies e.g. AFLAC or even Home Depot would hire more people at this stage; or for that matter Sovereign Bank!

In the past year, AFLAC stock value has dropped by over 78%, and last January the Chairman magnanimously  turned down his $2.8 million bonus for 2008, not to mention even some of his $26 million “golden parachute”. But it seems some folks who have attended AFLAC’s “training” sessions say they’re hiring in every state; apparently, their hiring practices reek of a pyramid scheme! Hey, this is hearsay (I do not know this for a fact since I have absolutely no affiliation to them one way or another.)

Again, less than a month prior to their participation in the aforementioned job fair, Home Depot announced 7000 layoffs, on grounds that dismal sales had hurt them. A month down the line they would set out to hire a new set of people, eh, is that how it works? I find it really hard to digest such information. Likewise, “1000 to be laid off”, indicated the announcement from Sovereign Bank (in their effort to lower costs)… just weeks before Christmas 2008; then they are displayed as prospective employers at a job fair the following February? What in the world is going on? Dangling carrots in front of hopeful (and sometimes desparate) job-seekers… without any qualms whatsoever!

I’m afraid to further research all of the companies who may have been actually present at the Job Fair… to confirm whether or not they recently laid off hundreds or thousands of employees. Only those who waited out in the cold that February morning can really tell their story. Those who are still awaiting responses to their applications, submitted in-person or online, may have another set of tales. Yes, and I’m also thinking of all those who were laid off by these companies and who may now learn that their past employers are hiring again! What has become of them… are they also waiting at other obscure job fairs, or knocking on the doors of some recently laid off employee posing as a hot recruiter?

It’s such a shame, these shams… boy, what a scam!

Sham, or Scam?
Sham, or Scam?