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woo hooooo!! My daughter woke up and brought in the newspaper and she was asking me why Clinton had such a big smile on her face? Maybe she noticed a little more joy in the face? No idea. It felt so wonderful to share the results with her. For those who are new, it was some time ago, where she truly believed she needed to become a boy to be US President and she was convinced she would have to move to India to be the PM (when I shared with her Indira Gandhi was my country's first PM and then we had Sonia Gandhi - who is a foreigner as head of a major party (she nominated Manmohan Singh to the post - which itself was historic for India!). She had brought home a book that explained how/what roles US Presidents play - and all she saw were men. So, she was convinced!




So, just for that, am happy! Guess now the battle begins.
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Glass half full
I am going to try. Three days and every time I read anything regarding elections and politics I find myself shutting my ears and screaming in my head like a child *na na nananna...I can't hear you!* and skipping over the whole article and skipping over all my thoughts. Until the day comes that I can vote, I am going to do that.

aaaaaaaahhh....

So, America, enjoy your elections. I am going to drink my wine and enjoy watching cat videos online or somehow find entertainment in my 5 year old's meltdowns over how unfair life is and how N&I are all out to get her. oh wait.

I might need to stick my head in sand to help...
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I wonder how many watch the whole SOTU address in its entirety and how many see it through the lens of media analysists - CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.? I have watched President Bush's last one (my first time since I arrived in 2007), and everyone since then. I missed watching it live twice, but have read the transcript or watched it later. As I am doing now. And until I watch, I don't read any of the stuff, usually on NPR. I always remember Mr. P from my history class's voice urging us to "watch for yourself, judge for yourself, think for yourself, no one can take that away from you, unless you let them."

It goes with any speeches really, even when the RNC and DNC hold their events, I watch C-SPAN. Hubby loves switching from CNN & Fox News. All I hear is shouting and yelling and no one actually sharing the original source. But I also get that not everyone has time to sit and analyse. I feel they have abused the responsibility placed on them. Fox New is entertainment and no further comment from me on them and CNN has stumbled a few too many times in my book to watch.

I don't know the point of this post. I guess I did take a glimpse of CNN this morning when N turned it on. And I am just ranting/rambling. 
smittenbyu: (distraught)
In India, my friends/family joke about politicians who get elected who have absolutely no knowledge or experience in the subject matter of running a government! I would half hear their grumbles. They have this image that it's a little better here in the US.

So, here's one who frightens me: Senator James Inhofe! And guess which committee head he has become, Environment & Public Works Committee.

How do they get these positions? Is it at random? Really?! I heard about it a few months ago. I as usual, closed the browser window thinking it was some horrible joke. I was hoping anyway. Alas, as usual it's me in denial.

I doubt with anyone else anything would happen anyway. So, maybe he will provide some comic relief? Again, I am looking at the positive. Trying really hard. Because the alternative is living in fear and dread. 
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I forget what I was looking up but one article led to another and I found out (old) news that there's a shutdown possible from July 1st if the budget is not resolved in Virginia!

It's not making front page news here, even in the metro section. It shows how little Richmond affects our daily lives compared to the nation's capital.

yikes...
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WTF?! I wonder why people watch Bill O'Reily. Maybe for the laughs. Because, I don't see any other reason. And now apparently Bill O'Reily thinks a woman President is a bad idea! The woman on the right of the frame is looking so incredulous! It's hilarious (and of course, sad)! I thought O'Reily was all about not letting any country bully the US and to do whatever we want kind of guy. Suddenly he is all concerned about what Iran or China would think if we have a (possible) woman President?

ugghh.. I know, wasted time on this. But just really.
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Virginia governor's race ended last night. A new governor was elected. If just this race was considered ugly and horrible, I can't imagine how ugly & bloody expensive the 2016 Presidential elections will be!

If my daughter ever tells me she wants to be a President, I would have to sit her down and share we just can't afford it. I guess this is where the Super PACs come in?!

It's funny though, super PACS and any money in politics is considered corruption and is illegal activity in India. (It happens plenty though). There's talk to legalize it so at least we will know who is giving whom what. And would reduce some of the corruption.

But why do we need to spend a billion dollars to get a president elected?! Horrible and ugly.
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Senate passed the immigration bill! yay! oh right...the House. I guess we can forget about it happening this year.
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Felt horrible and once again, must change. Today's challenge was to capture a good habit. I had none!! I guess I could have gotten my healthy lunch but that was about all. I am drinking a can of coke had pizza and waffle fries, albeit from a gourmet place made of whole wheat flour. Their stuff is good though! But really, no exercise. Sleeping late, have dark circles around my eyes and it's no longer my daughter's doing. It's mine.

So, I took a pic of reading newspaper, which honestly I have not done in the last month with in-laws here, traveling, etc. I have been completely out of the newsworld. As I am slowly getting back into it, I am just disgusted at all the news and actions of so called "leaders". So, I stopped again reading the paper.

Day 16: good habit

The scariest article in the paper was Sarah Palin speaking at some Conservative Faith conference here in DC. People actually believe and say the things she and the others who spoke there does?? Really? So they want everyone in the US to convert to Christianity, take the Lord into their lives or leave? If you do that, how are you any different from the Islamic nations? Where is the religious freedom that you so cherish?! The irony....

I am starting to think reading the paper might not be good for health after all...

Politics...

Sep. 5th, 2012 03:45 pm
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We watched the Republican National Convention.... on CSPAN. We had begun watching it on CNN but we only got to hear what CNN thought we should see and that was just so annoying. And since yesterday we been watching the Democratic National Convention. 

I have to say though RNC was a little bit of a snoozer. The NJ Governor gave such an emotional speech the rest I almost fell asleep. But definitely Romney gave his best speech that night! People complained about Eastwood, but I found him funny. Yeah, he made no sense and probably didn't provide any boost to numbers, but it was a good laugh. I thought he was playing his character from the movie - forget the name now! 

The speakers at DNC were better speakers! Just wow...they kept me captivated. I am just talking about their communications style.  And the way the evening was organised, speakers focused on certain themes was nice not just having one speaker after another just rambling!

And the First Lady Michelle Obama was just spectacular!!

D has been around when the TV was on. All through these weeks of campaigning, D recognises Obama immediately and shouts his name "Pedent-Obama". N says I should be fair and teach her Romney too. I do, I have, on many occasions, even before he had suggested the idea. She never remembers his name. She repeats it so cutely, "Rommy" but doesn't recognise him when she sees him.

I am happy and scared that I will be away election time and when we are back a new President or the incumbent will be (re)elected! ooof...
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and Santorum doesn't seize to amaze me..... :X

sharing

Feb. 15th, 2012 09:59 pm
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I take D to many playgroups. It's a lot of fun to put several toddlers in a room and see what happens. They all want the same toy the one kid discovered. The host often shares how her kid had never shown interest in that toy before, too! Some mothers work very hard to get their kid to share. I have witnessed toddlers get into a complete tug of war over a toy, screaming and shouting. Sometimes, we moms have also had to get into the tug of war to separate the screaming kids. This is an age where they don't understand the concept of sharing.

And yet we try place such importance to it. We keep trying, failing miserably. Once they learnt to share, we forget about how important this skill is in the world.  It seems so trivial, a small thing. But if you see the numerous problems with the world today, it comes down to being unable to share.

Watching the news often makes me realise that not much has changed since toddlerhood.

Last week, I was home, and so watched the Republican Presidential candidates give their speeches at CPAC. I am not a conservative. But it's good to hear what the other side thinks. Additionally, I have low blood pressure and since their no cure for that except for adding salt to my food, this was a good solution. So, I listened.

At one point, Santorum made a claim that "climate change is a leftist scientific conspiracy to destroy America!" And he went on about this group uses the conservatives' sentimentality of being good stewards of this earth to gain power. I nearly fell out of my chair. Where has he lived in the last three decades? He referred to the positive correlation between energy consumption and standard of living and therefore we need to stop the "no-growth environmental radicalism".

hmmm... when people make such claims, there really is no way to argue. It leaves no room for a discussion. So, I return to the room this morning where D was enjoying her weekly music and movement class, filled with wild crazy toddlers in a room with lots of colourful balls and two small slides.

The two small slides required them to climb up the two steps and slide down and take turns. Some toddlers played with the colouful balls and quite a few were more excited about the slides. D was excited to crawl up the slide and slide down. We had to teach her that she had to climb up the stairs, slide, then get back of the line and go her turn. So, once she figured that out, everyone was happy!

As adults we also want the same "toy" - a comfortable life, with a house, car, running water, good health, the latest gadgets, and other consumables. But we live in a world where the resources are limited. So, we should relearn what our parents so painstakingly taught us - to share!

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I had a form to fill out for school. It was the first form I had filled out. But there was one question for which I didn’t know the answer. Dad was around and I went to ask him for the answer.

“Dad, what caste are we?”

“Backward.” he replied. I diligently wrote it down, b-a-c-k-w-a-r-d feeling a lump in my stomach with disappointment as I couldn’t understand how we could be backward caste. At a time when we would boast about our dads, this came as utter punch in the stomach. Dad was afterall a scientist! How could we be backward class?! I just couldn’t understand. I stuffed the form in my school bag and sadly still in utter disbelief showed the form to some of my friends in class. Maybe they would say it was not true. They just looked at me puzzled and life went on.

I was 9 years old. And it was my first interaction with the world of class/caste system. I forgot about this incident and the next time I heard the word caste system was when we left India, 20 years ago and was asked about it by a fellow Italian American classmate. I was speechless. I didn’t know. This time I had asked my mom and she shared with me of how some people follow this system in India.

So, no we are not of backward caste. It was just my dad’s view of the whole system in place. I guess dad always thought they were asking his opinion on these forms. :)

I had completely forgotten this story until recently and shared it with my parents. They also don’t remember this incident. It’s funny how certain things trigger old memories. And with race and class a topic in this country, the many articles on the subject remind me of that time. In the debate at Washington Post, The ‘Two or More Races’ Dilemma, I have to agree with Shelby Steele.

“Identity politics is a cynical and dehumanizing business that, in the end, helps no one. Better to eliminate all such categories and leave race and identity in the private realm.”

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We have become a generation that has excelled in finding excellent scapegoats for every problem. We have become a generation that wants everything at no cost. And we get upset if corporations take advantage of this. We all want higher wages and cheap clothes/food/products. So, what do companies do? Find places where it's cheaper to make stuff. And what happens? Jobs go elsewhere. So, if you want jobs to stay in the country and want higher wages, then pay for it. Corporations are not going to change their motto of making profits. If they don't your 401K will tank and once again you will be upset. It's funny how many oppose the health care reform because it's "socialist" but when it comes to jobs, they want the government to somehow protect it and keep it in the country. Isn't that "socialist"?

We often forget the power that we hold as consumers. Companies go to great lengths to make us forget that. They work so hard to market to us that we need all the stuff they sell. We forget that we are the ones to tell them what we want and like. Take up some personal responsibility before pointing fingers. Or accept it and move on. Blaming government for becoming too big and then in turn expecting them to protect you is just a double standard or as the political analysts say - wishy-washy.

That's my 100 words for today.
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N had to work. Some of the moms in the moms group and I thought we would go. I got ready on time by 10:45am. Jon Stewart had initially mentioned he was expecting maybe 20-30,000 people. We thought we would just drop in. We did expect crowds as it's also Marathon weekend! I wore her in an ergo that we got from Craig's list, packed a bunch of diapers, a few toys and a camera and was set to go to meet some moms two stations down if possible.

As I was walking towards the metro station, I noticed a lot of young people, some with rally signs and some in costumes. This is a lot of people for our area on a Saturday morning. hmmm... maybe it's some program at the high school close by. As I went down the escalators to the metro, I saw a line of a huge crowd come all the way to the end of escalator going down. It took me back to Mumbai Victoria station. As someone guessed right, they were all waiting to buy farecards to get on the metro.

I go towards the platform entrance and there's a bigger crowd. The platform is at a lower level so you can't see what to anticipate. I saw a bunch of people take photos of the platform that sent of signals of possible overcrowding. As I entered and was about to go down the escalator, there was no room on the platform! It was a sea of people! I immediately turned around headed out the station. But before I did I asked the station manager if it's just a metro backlog, he just gave me a look that said, it was a stupid question! He suggested trying the bus or heading home/wherever else that didn't require public transportation.

The bus station just outside had a line just as long! So, since I had a little one I decided to come home and watch the Rally to Restore Sanity. I am not a big Jon Stewart fan, but his message was a great one! On facebook 200,000 people said they would be attending. The number at the begining of the rally said 150,000 estimated. ah well...The blog summarises his message...

Anyway, what surprised me that quite a few media groups prohibited their employees from attending - Washington Post & National Public Radio being some of them. I wonder if they were prohibited to go to other rallies.

ah well.. it was fun! and little one calls...
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Last night hubby and I stopped and watched Fox News for a bit... we were watching the beautiful documentary show "Life" on Discovery and during ad breaks we were channel surfing and we found a former presidential candidate doing his own show. For the life of me I am drawing a complete blank on his name!! 

Anyhow, he was so sweetly explaining one of the problems that could crop up with the healthcare bill in place. He believes that the bill would end up creating two classes of people. One who don't want to wait in long lines for government sponsored care and will pay for private care and the other class who have no choice but to wait in long lines for care. It made sense. I could see his point.

But what I couldn't understand was, isn't this how it is now as well? Do these rich folks ever step out of their comfortable bubble and see how it is for the poor who DO stand in long lines to get some medical attention, who then end up with huge bills that they can't pay, which ends up being paid by you and I anyhow. Really....
smittenbyu: (distraught)
Recently, I have been very embarrassed and disgusted to say I live in Washington DC. Some of the things that have been going on at and around the US Capitol and White House are just beyond comprehension. One has the right to their opinions and am glad this is a free country, but some of the racial slurs overheard, the threats made over people's lives, the pure hatred in people's eyes and hearts is just saddening. Usually at this time of the year we see happy tourists enjoying the blossoms. But I haven't seen much of that just yet. Well, the rains also hasn't helped any.

I also have to say that both Republicans and Democrats have been playing a horrible political game with an issue that is so important. I have seen not one but quite a few of friends and hubby's colleagues who have gone bankrupt because of medical bills, etc. Whenever parents or anyone comes here to visit our advice is, "Don't fall sick! It will cost you your arm and leg!" And their response usually (usually the older generation, who grew up in schools with visions of America being this heavenly place where it was number one in everything) is of surprise, "how can that be? This is USA?"

It's sad that a country that claims the best healthcare system in the world, one thing they seem to hide under the rug is that one has to be rich to access it and survive through. And one must also recognise that every system has its flaws. We should work together to fix those flaws. Not name call and threaten people's lives. And actually read the darned proposal at hand instead of listening to some third party who might have their own self-interest in twisting the facts to get your support! 
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Washington D.C. residents are taxpayers but they have no representation like other citizens in the country do in the Senate and in the House of Reps. oh wait ...they do... Technically all senators and House Reps not only are to represent their constituencies but also District of Columbia. And in the recent stimulus package one of the many things that the Republicans picked on was renovation works needed to be done to the National Mall. Some places that the world comes to see as the capital of the "most powerful country in the world" looks pathetic. I am glad that they did receive some funds to fix up the place. And they didn't get funds to put up signs of the many monuments people are visiting. ah well, who cares if the foreigners think that they are looking at just another Obelisk when it's the Washington Monument in memory of George Washington. We will just make do...

As for voting rights, the bill did make it through the Senate last month... all voted for it except one... that 1 was Senator McCain. hmmm.... bitter are we? The House is bouncing about with it. Lets see what happens with it.
smittenbyu: (distraught)
on offshore drilling. For that oil to reach the gas tanks will take another 10 years. Of course, Congress still has to pass it for it actually take any effect. If it's passed States will individually get to decide. Alaska is just eagerly waiting for this. The proponents of this claim that if the bill passes, then there's a possibility of releasing petrol from the country's reserves. But this is all an ASSUMPTION. President Bush Jr didn't make any such suggestions. Just another political move. Ironically, it was his father who put the ban.

Oil companies have so many number of land leases for oil exploration which they are not using (as shown in the article). The proponents of lifting of the ban claim that the lands set for this don't necessarily have oil. Fine. Did they return the land then? They are just sitting on it.

Anyhow, even if it does get passed, we won't really see much of a difference. And lets see then what the proponents have to say. And fine you get more petrol. Then what? You are still sitting on the problem of pollution, recession, unemployment, health care problems and the list continues. OPEC will worry that their biggest buyer will not be buying and further increase its prices or reduce its supply (this was one of their concerns when the US & UN asked them to increase production). What a solution!

Folks, it's all getting interesting for us.

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