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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Obama and America.

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I was one of those people who believed that Obama was the change America and the World so wanted. I believed that this Harvard educated man had the right credentials to turn around America’s fortunes and restore it to its lost glory.I believed his strategy would be based on facts and rationales and that he would act with absolute conviction. Suffice to say, I’m deeply disappointed with a man mildly content with just sitting on the fence on issues such as Afghanistan.
So Afghanistan’s terrain isn’t quite a flat piece of land. So Russia had its rear end handed to it during the Soviet-Afghan war. To make matters worse, Taliban and Al Qaieda have become all the more formidable- what with all the support of the locals.  I don’t understand why America wouldn’t commit all it can to put an end to this money pit called Afghanistan. Yes, it means spending more American tax dollars at a time when America’s economy is pretty sick but prolonging this so called war with half-hearted measures will only result in more casualties with really nothing achieved.  If Gen. David Petraeus requested 60,000 troops, send in a 100,000.  The money spent in sending these additional troops will aid in eliminating the militia faster and maybe, even put enough pressure on them to sit at the table for negotiations, if thats what the Americans want. Send in a 100,000, guard the border with Pakistan – well, do your best to guard it.  Keep Taliban inside Afghanistan and then, either negotiate or eliminate.
This 30,000 troops surge is like a few morsels of food given to a hungry man. Yeah, sure it’ll help but hes gonna be hungry again real soon. Feed him generously and then, teach him to hunt, or grow, or fish or whatever…and you’ve just given him independence. 30,000 feels like a half-hearted attempt aimed at pleasing everyone. The military wants troops, they get some. The congress will likely be content with the fact that we aren’t emptying wisconsin or Iowa to send all the troops requested. Everyones mildly happy and nothing has been achieved. This is politics just as usual. I suspect the nobel peace prize that Obama is slated to pick up this month during his visit to Copenhagen has something to do with this.
Obama. I don’t get you and not that it matters, but you are slowly but surely dashing the hopes of millions of people worldwide.
The troubling part of all this is the notion that if this is the best a Harvard educated man can do, what hope can America have? Even as Obama loses brownie points as a result of such actions, people such a Sarah Palin, with IQs in the vicinity of 0, are gaining ground. I think I’m moving to New Zealand.

p.s : Neither am I a Dem, nor am I a Rep., I just think Sarah Palin isn’t very smart.

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Written by Au Fait

December 6, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Opinion

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The Lost Symbol – A review

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Before doling out cash to buy Dan Brown’s latest novel “The lost symbol”, I figured I’d give the reviews a glance. So, I looked it up on Amazon and after reading a handful of reviews, I came across this review……

“Dear Dan Brown:
Six years of waiting for this? Really! Here’s what I think happened…you had a contract to get a new novel out this year but you spent the last 5 1/2 years enjoying yourself with all the money you made…okay, you earned it…enjoy! But wait, now you have to hustle and get a novel to the publisher. No problem, you think as you take out the outline for the previous books. Instead of the grail, you’ll make it some “Lost Symbol” mainly because you’re at a loss as to how you’re going to meet that deadline. For the female role, you’ll turn her into a scientist in some unknown field. Just so you can have another female star in the movie, you’ll throw in a CIA agent. Instead of the crazy priest, you’ll make that role just a plain psycho that another Hollywood hunk can play. You’ll go through the motions but this time Langford won’t be as sharp as before which makes sense because you aren’t either. Instead of the Catholic church, you’ll use the Masons because you can Google Masons and get all kinds of alleged secrets and mysteries as you sit by the pool and sip on some expensive scotch. You’ll use Washington DC because, like the Masons, it’s easy to Google and maybe you’ve seen National Treasure. Okay, that takes care of the first 2/3 of the book. You’re almost there and you can see the money rolling in so you just wrap up the whole package with your optimism and hope that you can pull it off. Well, congratulations. It worked and I was amoung the million that were suckered on the 15th. I give you one star for the book and one star for the balls. I hope you enjoy my money but, Mr. Brown, please know that I don’t believe you earned it and I don’t think even you do. Really.
Signed,
Disappointed”

Despite such reviews, I intend to read this darned book but instead of looking for it in the book store, I’ll be watching for it in the local library.

Written by Au Fait

September 27, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Books, Hmm..., Humor, Opinion

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The White Tiger

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The White Tiger

The White Tiger

On my way to California, over the July 4th weekend, I got to read a book  the name of which I had heard a few times too many. Authored by  the Chennai born, now Mumbai resident Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger is a story of a village boy by the name of Balram Halwai. The story, written as a letter to a Chinese diplomat scheduled to visit India in the near future, starts off with Balram walking the diplomat through a series of events in his life leading to his present day life . The author, over the course of the story, tries to shed some light behind the way the poor in India are treated by the rich and through the eyes of Balram, tries to put the reader in the shoes of Balram Halwai.

Arvind Adiga has a weird style of writing. This intelligent kid, nicknamed The White Tiger narrates the story in such a manner as to portray himself as a naive village idiot. Strangely, this intelligent but naive village idiot (yes, i recognize the contradiction) resorts to a very formal way of narration in the latter part of the book and concludes the story with a certain air of authority that is almost impossible to associate with a village idiot.  Now, it could be that the character matured as the story progressed but thats a supposition the reader would have to make based on the style of writing for there’s certainly nothing in the story that will tell you that the character is maturing as a result of, let’s say, his experiences or age. While I’m not a prolific reader of books authored by Indians (and no, I’m not biased), I feel Jhumpa Lahiri, the Indian American author, stands a notch or two above Aravind Adiga.

All said, the book is a light read. So, if you have nothing better to do, this book might just help you kill some boredom.

Ashwin’s Rating: 4/10

Written by Au Fait

July 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Books, Opinion

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Dubai – The Riches to Rags Story of a Slave Society

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Growing up, besides the name America, the one other name I heard a few times too many was Dubai. I  heard often from  an awestruck  relative or friend who visited Dubai about its glitz, glamor  and flamboyancy. Almost no conversation of Dubai would be complete without a mention of the its gold, an Indian indulgence. Stories were told of how inexpensive everything was and of all the luxuries one could experience at prices that seemed very affordable to the average middle class family.

Of course, these were the days when Dubai saw its economy grow at an unprecedented  rate. While America’s consumption of oil grew, so did Dubai’s fortunes. Even at a time Indians awoke each day to find new never-before economic possibilities on their own soil, brought about by historic economic policies of the then Finance minister Manmohan Singh, Dubai continued to captivate and enchant the average Indian’s mind.  I distinctly remember the promotion of the Dubai shopping festival that aired frequently during the Sharjah cricket cup. Glittery aerial views of  Dubai coupled with commentaries of never ending praise for this city, that fought and won the desert, were all aimed at tempting the viewers of indulging in the lavishness of Dubai.

During these years of economic prosperity, a boom in construction led many Indian (and other Asian) construction laborers, who were eager for a better pay and a better life, to migrate to Dubai. Soon were born many consulting firms who ‘helped’ these poor, uneducated and illiterate workers seek construction jobs in Dubai using the hard earned money of the workers themselves. With the hope that this land, that they had heard so much about, would be the answer to their poverty and to their dreams of a prosperous future, these workers often times pooled in their entire life savings, left their families and friends behind and signed up for, what would be their biggest mistake, a one-way ride to Dubai.

Little has been written about the life of these immigrant workers. The long hours and little pay coupled with inhuman living conditions not only shattered the dreams and aspirations of the workers, but it left them further behind.

Added to this, was the economic downturn caused here in the United States that rippled its way across the rest of the world. As investments into Dubai dried up, so did many of their ambitious construction projects. What were horrific conditions for the workers to begin with got worse with the economic recession. With no work, soon there was no pay for a week at first and then, for months on end. Experiencing, the reality of the immigrant’s life in Dubai, while most workers longed to return to their family and friends back at home, almost none had with them their own passports that they were forced to leave with their employers as a guarantee that they would show up to work each day. When these employers lost their projects, in the quiet of the night, many fled the country leaving behind these hapless workers prisoners in a foreign land.

Find here a very eloquently written but rather disturbing article titled “The Dark Side of Dubai” about one of mankind’s greatest exploitations of human labor in the 21st century and another article here titled “Carnage for Dubai’s Creative Class” about the decline of the slave society known to us all as Dubai. For the sake of humanity, I hope Dubai returns  to its rightful owner, the desert.

Written by Au Fait

May 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Posted in News, Opinion

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The Sully Landing and the Buffalo Crash – A Pilot’s Word

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I always knew that the now famous Sully water landing couldn’t have been that extra-ordinary. Finally, a pilot’s word to back me up!  True, Sully saved a few hundred lives from an imminent tragedy but equally as important as his text book water landing, as pilot Patrick Smith adequately points out in this article for Salon, was the fact that Capt. Sully had luck on his side.

Turns out that Patrick Smith regularly authors a column titled “Ask the pilot” where he talks about the nuances of flying an airplane, offers some insight into some of the airline standard operating procedures and helps answer many a question that people have about airplane travel in general.

What scares me a bit though is a statement he makes regarding pulling back an article because he wasn’t sure about its aerodynamic correctness. You’d think that, if anybody, the pilots have a thorough understanding of the aerodynamic behavior of  airplanes. That a pilot, withdrew an article because he wasn’t sure of its aerodynamic correctness freaks me out, somehow.

Written by Au Fait

May 4, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Housing Slump

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I thought the falling house prices was generally a bad thing for humanity……… and then, I read this

Written by Au Fait

February 25, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Posted in News, Opinion

Is Bombay in South India?

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Is Bombay in South India?

Is Bombay in South India?

Written by Au Fait

October 16, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Opinion