Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sad as it is , we can't afford Bush to lose

Iraq hase been a powder keg on a short fuse for the last 2 1/2 years since the invasion euphimistically labelled as the liberation. Inspite of the seeming lack of progress in Iraq for a while the Bush adminsitration had things to cheer about , including the election in Iraq, the pro-democracy demonstartions in Lebanon, Sharon agreeing to withdraw from the West Bank, democracy flowering in Egypt etc. The administration could reason that the loss of american life, and Iraqi( who is counting really?) and the general destruction of Iraqi infrastructure was not in vain. For reasons best known to them, the adminsitration blustered their way into an expensive war. None of the explanations or justifications are offered any longer long since disproved.
Fast forwarding to the present, I think it would be safe to say that the shit has finally hit the fan with a Sunni-Shia civil war looming. Bush's first instinct would be to pull back troops to satisfy a restive public that no longer buys any of the justifications for the war. But if he does that , the last thing stopping a full scale civil war from breaking out would be gone.
There maybe many who will be sniggering at the United States plight. "U'r mess u clean it" seems to be the underlying theme. All those with such a view are not wrong by any standards.
But this sitiuation is way to dangerous to just walk away from it. Al Quaeda is a threat not just to the US but to the whole world. Just as the Soviet withdrawl in Afganistan, strenghtened the Islamists and made them set their eyes on bigger things, Victory for them in Iraq will unleash another attempt to at the very least terrorise and disrupt life in countries that do not subscribe to their world view. Just as Afganistan led to the disintegration of the 'evil' Soviet empire, Iraq will have a lasting affect on the role the US plays in todays world. Are we really ready for this tectonic shift in the world's geo-politics? This situation reminds me of a cartoon i used to watch as a kid. Insoector Gadget was the buffon, who was always bailed out of trouble by his niece Penny's pet dog brain. The best part was he never knew it.
George Bush is our Inspector Gadget who has blundered his way into a position between a rock and a hard place. The rest of the world has to pay the part of brain for the greater good.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It'll be a while

For the last 3 months I have been going to the gym religiously. I was intent ( I still am) of recovering from the surgery I had on my knee in September. I had help in the form of a gym buddy who was way more focussed and driven than me.
Naturally I like what I see in the mirror. Only today at the gym I was working out close to where one of the personal trainers was lifting weights. The PT in question has easil one of the better bodies at the gym. I looked at the mirror and for a brief instant thought "Hey! I am almost there, I look not much smaller than this guy". The moment came and passed. It passed when He picked up a 120lb dumbell. So now I have t revise my estimate, I'll be there but it will be a while.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Getting jiggy with it.

I have a couple of friends who have been telling me to try out Salsa. My roomate who is also an expert in a few dance forms was encuraing as well. In keeping with my cheap-ass ways I signed up for a 4 hour crash course($25 only!!) in Salsa on Superbowl sunday. I was scheming to be one of the few guys in class. ( who the hell would want to take a salsa class on Superbowl sunday?)
Turns out a lot of people think like me :( . Mommy I am not so special after all.
The class was packed beyond belief. We spent the next 4hrs doing a few basic salsa moves first with the instructor and then in pairs. I thought I was doing preety ok, till I had to pair up. Again I schemed my way to finding a partner who wasn't 60. I did preety ok considering that I ended up dancing with a gorgeous asian girl. I have never felt more intimidated in my life. Pairs dancing is a the very least a huge leap from all the gibber/jabber i had done till now. I guess she felt my fear cos she did'nt stick around.
I jiggled my ass like there was no tommorow for 4hrs. And i have a sore ass to prove it.
Salsa here I come (maybe)

Did the NFL want the Steelers to win?

During the AFC divisional championship game, with the Steeler's in the lead and time running out in the fourth quarter, Steeler's safety Troy Polamalu came up with what would have been a game winning interception. On a review, the Referee quite schockingly overturned the play. The Steelers went on to win, but the call left a bad taste in the mouth and drew allegations from people prominent amongst whom was Steeler's Linebacker Joey Porter. It was alleged that the NFL wanted the Colts to win.
It would seem the script was repeated in Super Bowl XL. But this time the beneficiary were the Steelers. No one expected Seattle to win. The tough as nails Steelers were going to ride roughshod over a team that had nohopers The Cardinals, the Rams and 49ers. But what happened was quite the other way around. Seattle managed to come out with the right mx of run and pass to dominate the first half. In all their wisdom the Ref's denied Seattle a touchdown for an absurd pass interference call. And the half ended at 7-4. Then there was the Ben Rothlisberger attempt at running in the ball that clearly did not break the plane.
So Joey Porter, was the NFL rooting for u this time?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Are we really That out of ideas?

A friend forwarded me an article on "Anger in the Muslim world on the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad" . This did'nt quite inspire interest in me quite as much as a headline, "Embassies torched in Syria and Lebanon". Western leaders have quite predictably reacted with Righteous indignation asking that the Muslim nations in question provide adequate security and deploring violence. In the middle of this we hear voices that pipe up to reiterate the importance of freedom of speech and press. To me its more a case of common sense. Living in India with a Muslim population that is second only to Indonesia and Bangladesh, I have grown up with the view That muslims in general are not going to take kindly to that kind of stuff(cartoons of the prophet etc.)
Its another matter that everyone in India would have heard stories of migrant workes to west-asian nations having their photos/idols of thier God's being snatched at the airport and destroyed.
I can't imagine that someone with half a brain would think that they could publish those cartoons without evoking the kind of reaction we see today. This controversy is needless to say the least. Freedom of press also carries with a certain responsibility of self censorship. Call the rest of the world primitive , but its not an entirely redundant concept to view God as Holy. So please think twice before u stick a photo someone else's God on a thong as was done by a certain fashion designer with Hindu dieties.
No to flip the coin over. The cardinal rule of getting respect is to give respect. So muslims of West Asia, it might not be such a terrible idea to be more accepting of other religions. Just like watching Brokeback Mountain has'nt made anyone gay yet(I am still not taking any chances)
, so to being tolerant of other religions wont dilute your credentials as Muslims.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The President as Quaterback

The two positions I am comparing have a lot in common. The president of the United States is easily the post celebrated post on the planet. And the Quaterback the most celebrated position in sports(Hey! the Superbowl is called the world championship like it or not).
Both positions require deft handling of resources, a fine understanding of strategy and courage under pressure. Ultimately there are many reasons to fail or succeed but the buck stops at your door.
With these things in mind lets examine George Bush's Quaterback rating.
Here are various talking points that the Bush Presidency has harped on.
George Bush is not a Washington insider and will the Job done. Which by the Conservative constituency, means reducing the size of Government. The size of government has actually gone up.
George Bush has made America safer. How is that If may query. Burying parts of the 9/11 commision report that pointed out the lapses that lead upto 9/11? By Invading Iraq and turning a large and oil rich nation into a haven and breeding ground for terrorists.
George Bush's tax cuts boosted the economy. This one I can't biff. But its sustainable economic growth that would be appreciated. The reasl estate and home sale biz that has been a major reason for growth is slowing on account of increasing rates. So whats the next boom area?
George Bush wants to usher in an era of Freedom and Democracry in the rest of the world. By selectively siding with dictators like Musharaff? The only good dictators are the one who listen to the United States.
I don't know enough to biff the "No child left behind" either. But echoing the views of others , this legislation has imposed stringent testing on schools, without necessarilly providing schools with the resources to deal with them.
Now that these talking points have been rubbished, The Bush team has fantastically turned to new ones. "We will reduce our dependance on foriegn Oil". Hmm. sounds curious coming from a Texan oilman who believes "Someday the synthetic oil generated from soya will be used to power drills in Alaska". Sorry I did'nt catch that. Did u say power or lubricate. George , are u really trying to prepae the grounds for the invasion of Iran and $100 oil ?
Oh yeah and one final talking point , Bush will bring a new era of accountability in public life. Wait a minute did'nt we just have l'affaire
Jack Abrahmoff and Tom Delay , Scooter Libby and Carl Rove, Katrina and Michael Brown, and the ongoing Iraq saga. Is it just me or is there a serious lack of accountability for George Bush's inner circle?
So lets add that performance up. Quite a few passes intercepted, a few sacks, no real yardage, preety much no touch-downs and u have a preety lousy passer rating. The funny thing is America does'nt need fancy Quaterbacking, just somebody who is competent and manage the game. Well the Presidency and Quaterbacking are preety similar after all, only the Quaterback can actually lose his job.