Wednesday, March 27, 2002

How Much Influence did Big Oil Have?

From the Washington Post
Bush Energy Order Wording Mirrors Oil Lobby's Proposal

This is kind of shady. I know it seems to blatant to be true, but Dana Milbank's story in the Washington Post seals the deal for me.

"The lobby group recommended a directive requiring agencies to consider whether environmental or other regulations would cause "inordinate complications in energy production and supply." On May 18, Bush issued Executive Order 13211, directing agencies to assess whether regulations would have "any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution or use."

It looks like this whole energy/Enron thing might turn out to be George W. Bush's Whitewater. The whole time VP Cheney refused to turn over these records, he was citing the loss of Presidential Power in the last 35 years. Incidentally, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into law by President LBJ on July 4, 1966, a little over 35 years ago. The National Security Archive did a briefing book (In efforts for full disclosure, i was a co-editor along with Will Ferroggiaro and Tom Blanton, of the study on the state of the FOIA at 35.) *I know it is corny, but I had to give a shot-out.
It now appears that Cheney and the administration were blocking release of these documents in fear that some of this energy and oil industry patronage was going to become public. That is just my opinion, from the left of the box.

Free Ansar Mahmood

I must echo the sentiments of todays Washington Post editorial suggesting that Ansar Mahmood, a LEGAL Pakistani immigrant to the United States, must not be repatriated back to Pakistan. He worked hard in the U.S., like many immigrants from South Asia to provide for his two sisters schooling, and his ailing fathers medical needs. Now, under the new strict U.S. polciy, Mr. Mahmood is scheduled to be sent back, not because he had overstayed his visa or because he knew some of the alleged terrorists. Rather he is being sent back for harboring illegal immigrants because he helped a couple, friends of his sister, find an apartment. The couple was here illegally, and he is now guilty by association.

This kind of action is symbolic, i think of the Bush administration's attitude towards the progression we have made democratically as a state. It seems the current administration is using the guise of September 11 to promote their right wing agenda that gets hidden under Bush's seemingly "idiot" and "country" outward appearance. The administration must re-think some of these policies and should allow Ansar Mahmood the ability, to have an ability. Free Ansar Mahmood.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

The Onion Represents

I love this past weeks onion.

From the 3/20 issue of the onion
Indian-American Child Having Difficulty Finding Bicycle License Plate With His Name On It
HAYWARD, CA— Dinesh Parekh, 9, continues to struggle to find a bicycle license plate with his name on it, the Indian-American child reported Monday. "This is the third store I've checked today," said a dejected Parekh, exiting a Toys "R" Us near his Hayward home. "Derrick, Diane, Dillon and Dylan, Dirk... no Dinesh." Parekh, who has pedaled his brand-new Schwinn to more than a dozen stores during his three-week search, said he plans to ask his mother to drive him to the KB Toys in San Leandro next weekend.

I feel for you Dinesh.

I was always curious, i guess it is obvious, but why can't there be multicultural name license plates for kids bikes. For every Dinesh, there is probably an Abdul, Sergei, and Shanequa that want one for their bike.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Even after 6 years of being in this city I still get awestruck at seeing the Washington Glitterati. Today, after work as I was on my way to get some groceries at the Watergate Safeway-who did I run into, but one of the main warriors against terrorism and battlers against Sen. Byrd,, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil. Ok, he was only getting his dry cleaning, but still, it was quite neat.

I cannot believe it has been ten days since my last post. Sorry, papers and work have been keeping me quite busy. The world has only gotten crazier in the past ten days. Lets see, the VHP performed their Shila Puja near the sight of the disputed territory. That group really needs to be labelled as a terrorist one--it does nothing but destabilize India. Then there is news from Pakistan that militant groups, in attempts to destablize President Musharraf's power killed some chruchgoers last sunday, including two Americans.

I will try and post a little more later.

Friday, March 08, 2002

McDonalds and Beef Fries

A recent story from indicates that McDonalds is close to settling a law suit by admitting some fault in not letting customers know that there were elements of beef in their french fries.

"The settlement offer calls for McDonald's to pay $10
million to charities that support vegetarian causes,
issue a public apology and form an advisory board that
conveys issues related to vegetarianism to the

I think this is an important step for these corporate giants to finally recognize that they cannot lie to their customers without repurcussions. While they shifted in 1990 to vegetable oil, their fries were still not vegetarian. According to the rediff story under the new settlement, 12 plaintiffs from Illinois,
Texas, New Jersey, California and Washington will receive $4,000 each. The $10 million will be distributed among vegetarian organisations, Hindu or Sikh groups, children's hunger relief and an organisation that supports kosher diets. The apology is as follows:

"We regret that we did not provide these customers
with complete information, and we sincerely apologize
for any hardship that these miscommunications have
caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others," the
company said. "We should have done a better job in
these areas, and we're committed to doing a better job
in the future."


I was in Texas the past few days doing research at the George Bush Presidential Library, and thust no postings.
Great article in the New York Newsday the other day. I think its main point is very significant-we, as a generation, want our voices heard. It is not so much about being confused as to how to be labelled. I think South - Asian Americans have moved past that in a sense. Of course the confusion will still exist, but the realization that we are not South Asian, and we are not just American has finally landed upon us. We are this whole new entity, a very cool entity, with a pretty neat culture. Read on...

Thanks to Corey Takahashi for doing a good job


Saturday, March 02, 2002

Some Good News

Here is a link to a story from Bihar state-one of the most backward states economically (and socially in India). Gujarat on the other hand is a commercial city, home of Mohandas Gandhi, and home to the majority of the Indian Immigrants in the U.S.

Hindus Protect Mosque in Bihar

Continued Gujarat Violence
I cannot stop writing about the continued violence in Gujarat as a result of communal tensions. I think it shows the inhumanity of people, especially the politicians who use religion, or any sort of difference between people in attempts to raise their own political power. To hear about people, neighbors burning one another alive because of religious differences is so incomprehendible.

At the same time, I equate it to social ills. In America, there are many places where black people, or any person of color, are still looked down upon. Anyone remeber the LA riots after the Rodney King verdict? These social issues must be dealt with and soon, everywhere, not just in the U.S. and not just in India. I hope, at a minimum, the Indian government will begin to take action not only against the people involved with the violence and savagery, but also attack head on many of the inequalities between the different religious communities that exist in India. Despite all that is going on, I still 100 percent believe in the notion of a secular India--India is more than Ahemedabad, more than Gujarat, more than anyone. Going back to the novel by Sunil Khilnani, the Idea of India, is really more than any one notion of Indian nationalism, Hindu nationalism, Islam, Secularism, Religious pluralism, democracy. It is all those things, but so much more. It is still a developing country with many many kinks to work out in its system However, as it is a functioning democracy, I hope to see the merits of that institution begin to take hold over the violence in Gujarat and punish the people who are tarnishing the whole idea of a thriving third world secular democracy.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Gujarat Violence
Well the VHP/RSS and the Hindu fundamentalists are in the process of communalizing Gujarat-if not India. In retaliation for the burning of train compartments by some Muslim deviants, ritoing, looting, and savage murder has hit Ahemedabad. The police and firemen are not able to break the mob mentality and do their jobs-in essence thier has been a breakdown in law and order.

In my own opinion, the VHP should be labelled under POTO (Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance ) as a terrorist group promoting both disunity and sectarian violence in India. At best the VHP is a destabiliing force to democracy-as are ALL fundamental religious organizations.

ARI FLEISCHER: How does the Foot Taste?

So Ari Fleischer finally gets told to shut up by the administration. In yesterdays briefing he, not in so many words blames fromer President Clinton for the mishandling of the middle-east peace process and the current violence that has continuously increased in the region since the fall of 2000. To his credit, I think this is one of the few major gaffe's to come out of the Press Secretary's mouth since he started. It has got to be difficult to be up at that podium day after day, being harrassed by the Press Corp and not go off at the cuff. At the same time, it is his job to remain calm.

Regardless, I like the power that Condeleezza Rice has and wields in the White House. She really put Fleishcer in check.

Here is a link to the story
"Bush Aide Regrets Remark"