Overheard : Comment about politics

Milwaukee mayor, Tom Barrett commenting about his political goal while speaking with Robert Siegel on all things considered

I will never be the rock star of the far right and I’ll never be the rock star of the far left. What I want to be is rock solid and create jobs in the state.

Entire interview can be found here http://www.npr.org/2012/05/31/154093267/political-battle-heats-up-as-wis-recall-election-nears

Protesting SOPA and PIPA

Unless you are living under a rock or outside the US :).. you probably heard about the crazy legislation that the US congress and senates are proposing to help protect content creators (AKA Hollywood) from privacy. While I personally don’t have any issues with giving protection to content creators, it should not be at the cost of freedom for the rest of the world. Go to http://americancensorship.org/ to get more information about why this proposed legislation are bad.

Today (1/18/2012) has been designated as “Protest SOPA/PIPA day” by the technology world. I believe in the old adage, put your money where your mouth is :).. so I checked on the top 25 US sites (according to Alexa) to see how many of them are supporting this protest in a visible manner. Only 4 out of the 25 sites, put visible content on their websites regarding the protest. I think Google’s message was the most effective, where they did not reduce the functionality of the website, but provided a lot of visibility to the protest. I know which companies I am going to support/use moving forward :). I was very happy to see that three of the sites that I use on a regular basis (google, amazon and wikipedia) are supporting this protest. Here are screenshots of the protest from the the  4 sites that are in the top 25 visited sites in the US





Screenshots of some other sites that I visit on a regular basis and are supporting the protest






Visit the Indian Railway's official site for dating advice

I was reading this post (http://mindprince.blogspot.com/2011/10/state-of-railway-e-ticketing-in-india.html) by Rohit Agarwal and happened to check out the official site for the Indian Railway (which is a public enterprise).

And what do I see there? Ads for dating services and Penny Auctions!! Last I checked, the Indian Railways was one of the most profitable ventures in the pubic enterprises in India. What gives? Here’s a screenshot for proof 🙂

Overheard : Comment about Greencard

You have to be an immigrant to the USA, to understand this :).

My friend, Hareesh, sent this posting on an online forum related to immigration matters

I am so HAPPY today. My lawyer told me that my daughter can sponsor both me and my wife once she is 18. She is only 3 now, so thats 15 years away only. It would have taken 20+ years with my EB2-based case (PD May 2008). I am so HAPPY today.

What does one trillian dollars get you?

If you are a Zimbabwean, it will get you USD30 worth of stuff!! Ran across this story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7832601.stm) on BBC, about the government of Zimbabwe releasing a trillian dollar note to cope with inflation. Zimbabwe was one of the most stable and prosporous country in Africa, until Robert Mugabe, started to enforce his lunatic policies. I can never understand, why people allow such morons to rule them..

BTW, One trillion has 12 zeros in it :-).. It looks like this..


I would like to get my hands on one of these notes.. just to look at it :). I tried a search on Ebay and it looks like there is an active market for the Zimbabwean currency. At least Robert Mugabe managed to make a Zimbabwean product desirable :).

Yes we can..

My voice is horse… I can barely talk or rather croak. I was at the post election celebration organized by the Democratic party in Chicago. It was a historic moment. ~150 thousand people turned up to watch the election results and celebrate the first African American president of the United States of America.. Barack Obama.

I went there with Sri and Hafsa.. It was exciting to watch the results come in real time and with each state that Obama won, the crowd went wild. And we went wild with them :). Hence.. the state of my voice.

I thought John McCain was very gracious in his speech accepting his defeat and congratulating Obama. One could clearly see how much this man loves this country and is a class act.

Barack Obama was thrilling in his acceptance speech. This was my first live speech by Obama. And all I can say is that he is as inspiring in person as he is on TV.

Here’s a quote from his victory speech, that got me close to tears..

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome”. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

Check out the full text of the speech here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/us_elections_2008/7710038.stm)

And for the first time in my life.. I didn’t have a camera with me!!! Aaah.. the irony :).

Response to "Is this the end of affordable flying in India?

My friend, Ravi, responded via e-mail to my ranting about the end of affordable flying in India and the note that we might be slipping back to socialism..

I understand that there will be no Rs.99/- deals in future (Yes, Rs.99! + Taxes, which are close to 20 times the price of the ticket). There should not have been such deals in the first place. Many airlines to gain market share have priced their fares dirt cheap and are now facing the consequences. If they are not even making money to pay the salaries, how are they going to become profitable by bearing operating costs and considering all loans they are unable to repay even after 5-10 years of starting their operations.

In a way I feel it is good that the airline sector is making some adjustments at-least now but the managements made some blunders in implementation of their ideas. If you followed the story of Jet employees getting sacked, it looks ridiculous and shows how stupid the management was. This is a perfect example as to how a company will have to take back it’s decisions due to social pressures if it makes decisions without proper implementation plan. People like Raj Thackeray making comments like the Jet airways will not be allowed to land if the employees are not taken back, etc and his previous hatred comments against North Indians shows how narrow minded politicians are able to speak whatever they want and can come to limelight and ENJOY their actions.
Read the below article which describes how a CEO of a company was attacked and killed recently in India. There may be various versions of the same story but what bothers me most is people get away with no one being held accountable for the crime.
Also, there are so many political games in all states in India that it has become difficult to feel secure to do any business though you abide by the law, unless you have local support. Recent move of Tata Nano plant from Singur in W.Bengal to Gujarat is a perfect example of how things can turn due to political gains.
Yes, there is corruption anywhere in the world but in India you can get away with relatively easily, even if caught. This is a major setback and I fear things will get much worse before some radical decision comes out later to tackle such situations.
Sorry for going into social aspect of the problem rather than financial aspect.
Anyways, we need to have political power to do anything better for the society on the large scale and to get there we will face the same issues of combating corrupt and dangerous politicians who are ready to do anything to regain their position.
I will go back and spend money for the betterment of the system if I win BigGame 🙂

Is this the end of affordable flying in India?

The Indian airline industry went through explosive growth for the last 4-5 years. Not long ago, Indians had to deal with only one state owned airline (Air India) to fly around India. With the free market reform of the Indian economy by Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, back in the late 90s,  a lot of private air lines opened shop.

Flying has historically been relegated to the rich and influential in India. But with the opening of these private air lines a lot more people could suddenly afford to fly. These air lines initially offered cheap rates to grab market share. They were so successful that the state owned Air India had to start getting it’s act together and a new air line was opening shop ever day. There was King Fisher, Air Deccan, Go Air, Indico, Sahara and the list goes on..

Cheap Rates, Explosive Coverage Growth, Competition.. what more could the Indian customer ask for? Life was good :-)..

The Government finally got off it’s back end and started building new airports (they should have done it back in the 70s) and privatizing them.. India was going to enter the group of “developed” countries.

And then came the fuel cost increases of 2007/2008 and the credit crunch that is currently affecting every economy on this planet. These airlines have started to raise prices, merge with competition and lay off people (gasp!!) And customers, being the fickle ones :), are going back to the cheaper and trusty railways [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7669301.stm]. This is a crucial period for this nascent industry in India. They just showed ordinary people the joy and productivity of flying. They created a new customer base. But if this economic slowdown continues for another year or so, I am afraid, we are going to go back to the old way of high prices, bad service and monopoly..

P.S : I followed this interesting story about some lay offs at Jet Airways and wonder if we are are moving back from capitalism to socialism in India..

While I am happy for the folks that got their jobs back.. I don’t know if this will allow the company to tighten it’s belt and survive the economic slowdown.