Twenty-two more hours until the L.A. Meetup! There’s still time to flee!

L A meetup.jpg Ennis wanted me to remind you that tomorrow night is the L.A. meetup.

I briefly toyed with the idea of not posting this, just because I like intercoastal chicken* and I’m hyper-competitive about everything. Then I realized that even if the L.A. meetup was dazzling, glorious and fornication-laden…it would still occur in Los Angeles ;)

Please take lots of pictures, the SM Flickr group has been woefully neglected, as has our Facebook album for the SM “group”. Really, you have no excuse, since you’re all going to have your cell phones with you and even the lamest o’ phones now takes pictures, hokay?

So.

Twenty-two hours from now.

Redwood Bar and Grill.

316 W. 2nd Street, Los Anjalis, 90012.

Got that?

.

*Why chicken? Well, it can’t be beef, because lots of desis don’t eat red meat. Can’t be pork, because lots of desis think it’s

gross

…you thought I was going to say “haram”, didn’t you? HA. Suckers.

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Another film trailer

There is going to be a new Tarsem Singh movie, The Fall and here the trailer is funny, albeit for somewhat different reasons than The Love Guru:

There is sort of a S&M look here, which might be appealing if one is into that sort of thing… On the other hand, all the leather and stylized violence might also just come across as kind of kitschy and pompous — this is the kind of imagery that’s very, very easy to mock. Continue reading

Timberlake in a banana hammock? I’m there!

Behold, the trailer for “The Love Guru” (tagline: His karma is huge). I have mixed feelings, because I really lurve Mike Myers; I quote something from Goldmember almost daily. But, as familiar and fun as the shrimp/gnome scene in this trailer is (“Moleee Moleee Moooole”, anyone?) seeing Myers travel around on a pillow, flying carpet-ishtyle made me want to smack someone.

Plot nugget below:

Pitka (Mike Myers) is an American raised by gurus who returns to the USA in order to break into the self-help business. His first challenge: To settle the romantic troubles and subsequent professional skid of star Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) whose wife Prudence (Meagan Good) left him for rival skater Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake). [wiki]

We should totally do a meetup on June 20th, so we can shriek about what offended us, afterwards. ;)

p.s. Thank you to lion and astrosmurf, for the tip! Continue reading

‘Every Unsavoury Separatist is Gloating’: Questions about Kosovo

Via Crooked Timber (and also 3QD), there is a learned critique by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Indian Express, of the recent “engineering” of independence for Kosovo by western European powers and the U.S.

The key paragraph in the argument for our purposes (i.e., with South Asia in mind) might be the following:

In the 19th century, there was a memorable debate between John Stuart Mill and Lord Acton. John Stuart Mill had argued, in a text that was to become the bible for separatists all over, including Jinnah and Savarkar, that democracy functions best in a mono-ethnic societies. Lord Acton had replied that a consequence of this belief would be bloodletting and migration on an unprecedented scale; it was more important to secure liberal protections than link ethnicity to democracy. It was this link that Woodrow Wilson elevated to a simple-minded defence of self-determination. The result, as Mann demonstrated with great empirical rigour, was that European nation states, 150 years later, were far more ethnically homogenous than they were in the 19th century; most EU countries were more than 85 per cent mono-ethnic. (link)

In his Column in Indian Express, Mehta keeps his focus sharply on Kosovo’s status within Europe, and also considers the seeming double standard as the Western powers disregard Russian objections to Kosovo’s independence, on the one hand, while they go out of their way to accommodate China’s (unconscionable) policy on Taiwan, on the other.

But there is obviously a question for South Asia here as well, and India in particular. Mehta briefly alludes to the history of nationalism in the Indian subcontinent when he invokes Jinnah and Savarkar, but his column raises questions for us as we think about the present too — specifically the questions over the status of Kashmir and Assam (maybe also Manipur and Nagaland, not to mention Punjab in the 1980s).

The debate between Acton and Mill Mehta invokes isn’t so much a “conservative” versus “liberal” debate — John Stuart Mill is considered one of the architects of the philosophy of liberalism, but in this case his views come out as less “liberal” than Acton’s. Mill supports thinking of nations as defined by race/ethnicity, but that approach can reinforce ethno-religious differences, rather than leading to an environment where different communities have equal status in a diverse nation. I tend to favor Acton’s approach, except perhaps in cases where minority communities face imminent violence, or genocidal suppression.

(Incidentally, Mehta builds his arguments on an essay called “The Dark Side of Democracy” in New Left Review, by Michael Mann; for those who have subscriptions, you can find the article here.) Continue reading

Follow-up: Hillary Clinton’s Op-Ed in India Abroad

It turns out Barack Obama is not the first presidential candidate to publish an Op-Ed in India Abroad, after all (see earlier post). In fact, Hillary Clinton had her own Op-Ed appear there three weeks ago. An anonymous source close to the paper sent me a link to the article.

It’s very different from Obama’s, and looking at the two side by side one gets a clear sense of the different approaches taken by the two campaigns. Hillary stresses the India-U.S. relationship much more than Obama does; Barack, for his part, seems to be more attentive to the Indian-American community in its specificity. Hillary has a number of specific events she can cite — experience! — whereas Barack is all about ideas (admittedly, most, though certainly not all, of the events Hillary cites are from her husband’s administration). And Barack goes on a bit longer (too long?), while Hillary goes for the crisp, content-stuffed bullet-points. Here, then, is Hillary Clinton:

As First Lady, I traveled to India twice to represent the United States. I’ll never forget my visit in 1995. In Ahmedabad, I met women taking advantage of microcredit to start their own tiny businesses and achieve economic self-sufficiency for their families. I was inspired by these hardworking women and moved by their hope for the future of their families and of India.

In New Delhi, I was warmly welcomed by Sonia Gandhi, and at a speech at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, I spoke about the importance of opening up educational opportunities to girls, as well as boys. And I was so gratified to see the progress India had made when I returned a few years later.

On my second visit, I went to Kolkata where I met with President Narayanan. We discussed the great strides being made to send more girls to school and to bring girls and women into the circle of economic and social opportunity. That circle is growing by leaps and bounds in India, encompassing more and more people, lifting millions out of poverty.

I am proud that the Clinton administration helped build a strong partnership between India and the United States and I was proud that president Clinton made that historic visit to India in 2000.

As co-chair of the Senate India Caucus in the Senate, I’ve been working hard these past four years to build on those efforts. And as a Senator from New York, I have been honored to represent a thriving Indian-American community, among the most successful immigrants in our nation’s history.

I visited India in 2005 and have met with India’s leaders both in the United States and in India. I also voted to support the US-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement to pave the way toward peaceful nuclear cooperation — and to move toward greater cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation. (link)

Which Op-Ed speaks to you more? Continue reading

Obama Says “Ji, Haa” To Indian Americans

Via SAJAForum, Senator Barack Obama has written a substantial Op-Ed (PDF) in India Abroad, outlining his appeal to Indian Americans. India Abroad doesn’t publish online, so we’re grateful to the SAFO people for posting the full text of it.

There are several paragraphs relating to Obama’s opposition to racial profiling and support for hate crimes legislation — that much we certainly knew. Also references to Mahatma Gandhi, his admiration for Indian success in technology fields, as well as points where he draws a comparison between his father (who came to the U.S. “without money, but with a student visa and a determination to succeed”) and the experiences of Indian immigrants. The Op-Ed is well thought-out and polished on the whole.

(Incidentally, is this the first time a Presidential Candidate has published such an Op-Ed type piece in an Indian American community paper? It’s certainly the first time I can remember seeing something like this.)

Something struck me on reading the paragraphs on Obama’s Pakistan policy:

The United States and India must work together to combat the common threats of the 21st century. We have both been victims of catastrophic terrorist attacks, and we have a shared interest in succeeding in the fight against al Qaeda and its operational and ideological affiliates. That fight must not be undercut by a misguided war in Iraq.

I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, arguing that we needed to “finish the fight with Bin Laden and al Qaeda” in Afghanistan. I have argued that we need to do more to roll back the al Qaeda sanctuary along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and that we cannot put all of our eggs in the Musharraf basket in Pakistan. That is why I proposed, long before the declaration of martial law in Pakistan, that we need to condition our assistance to the Pakistani government so that we encourage stronger action against al Qaeda and a restoration of democracy. Our goal remains not simply an ally in Pakistan – our goal is a democratic ally, with a vibrant civil society and strong institutions. (link)

The policy laid out here isn’t new — Obama was talking about this approach to Pakistan back in August (notably, before the State of Emergency, and before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto). But what is new might be the use the position is being put to: it may be that Obama’s hawkishness on Pakistan might eventually be an asset for him in appealing to Indian American voters (and perhaps more importantly, Indian American campaign money).

I wonder if Obama will be posting something similar in an English language Pakistani-American paper. If so, will he tweak the language at all, or keep it as is? Continue reading

Jindal: Off to a Good Start in LA

I’ve grumbled some about Bobby Jindal’s ultra-conservative views on social issues. But he campaigned heavily on cleaning up Louisiana’s state government, which is an issue that nearly everyone, irrespective of ideology, would probably agree with. It looks like in his first two months in office he’s remained focused on those goals. Indeed, his first major legislative battle went in his favor:

Six weeks into the term of Gov. Bobby Jindal, an extensive package of ethics bills was approved here this week, signaling a shift in the political culture of a state proud of its brazen style. [...]

Grudgingly, pushed by public opinion and business pressure, it went along. When the legislative session ended Tuesday, lawmakers had passed bills aimed at making their finances less opaque, barring their lucrative contracts with the state — some have been known to do good business with them — and cutting down on perks like free tickets to sporting events. The bills, which advocates say will put Louisiana in the top tier of states with tough ethics rules, now await Mr. Jindal’s signature, which should come early next week. (link)

Interestingly, one of the most glaring signs of potential corruption is a particular steak house, located next door to the Capitol building:

Similar indulgences, of course, have gone on in other state capitals, though Louisiana does rank low nationally on state ethics charts. Here, however, they are carried out with particular frankness: lawmakers are known to scour the chambers for willing lobbyists when a day’s session ends, hoping to cadge a dinner invitation. They need not look far.

Mr. Jindal took that penchant on as well, effectively aiming a blow at the Capitol’s de facto sister institution, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where business is transacted nightly, courtesy of lobbyists (“sponsors,” in legislators’ parlance).

The governor, ignoring cries of pain and going against the unswerving devotion to Louisiana’s food culture, pushed for the $50-a-meal cap, at any restaurant. No more unlimited spending. (link)

Time for the lawmakers to go easy on the free steaks, I guess. Maybe a trip to the gym instead, courtesy of coach Jindal?

Another thought: how long before someone makes a ‘holy cows’ joke? (Think: steak house + Jindal’s Indian ancestry –> attempt at teh funny)

Incidentally, here at Sepia Mutiny, our stringent anti-corruption rules dictate that bloggers have a free meal cap of exactly $4.60 — just enough for a single Kati Roll… Continue reading

Hotness, thy Name is Thara

What do you get when you combine a half-Black, half-Irish Mom with a Guyanese-Indian Dad? A lovely Pinay woman named Thara, with an even lovelier voice, that’s what. ;)

Blogger Cherez (thanks!) helpfully left a tip on our News Tab which inspired much googling and listening after my very late dinner. I had no expectations as I surfed and contemplated a possible post, but then I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard; this girl can sing. In fact, she can sing well enough that I’ve finally listened* to a Jay Sean joint! The duo collaborated on the single “Murder”.

The second time I hit play on the video above, for Thara’s “Jump on”, I focused on her voice vs. the video. I did that for two reasons:

1) The video doesn’t do the song justice

2) She really does look like one of those Sigma Omicron Pi princesses who inspired all the boys (Filipino or not) to go to MGA Kapatid meetings at Davis.

Hence my “pinay” joke. :) I know. She’s a quarter white, a quarter black and half-brown, but to me, she looks Asian. In fact, the first time I watched “Jump on”, I nearly jumped, because I swear I used to race this girl (and her white, ’92 GSR) to the last covered parking space across from Freeborn Hall at Davis, every other day. Couldn’t be Thara, though…she was six back in 1993. ;)

If Thara, whose full name is Thara Natalie Prashad, looks familiar, here’s why: Continue reading

DC Meetup: Sunday, March 2, 1pm [UPDATED]

UPDATE:  I just got off the phone with the Freer Gallery– they apologized profusely for sending us on a wild ticket-chase.  It is only possible to reserve "free" tickets for CONCERTS.  Never for films. They weren’t supposed to include the ticketmaster information with this listing.

The good news is, the official I spoke with said we should be fine IF we show up at 1pm for truly free tickets.  We are allowed two per person. He said that the Sri Lankan films generally don’t "sell-out", if such a thing can be said about free events. :)   The reason Born into Brothels did is because it won an Oscar.  Got that?  No reserving tickets– it’s not possible.  PLEASE GET THERE EARLY TO REQUEST FREE TICKETS AT 1PM, ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SHOW.

= = = =

Against the Tide.PNG

After our left-coast counterparts paint the town Sepia on Saturday night, DC is going to get its culture on via our ninth meetup. Quality AND quantity…that’s how chocolate city do. ;)

First, we’ll head to the (Smithsonian) Freer Gallery, which is screening the Sri Lankan film “Against the Tide” in its Meyer Auditorium. Tickets are FREE. Once we’re spiritually nourished, we’ll head to Vapiano restaurant (1800 M Street N.W.), where we can drink wine, poach the free gummi bears or actually order Italian food (and the strawberries and cream, because it’s the best dessert there):

Vapiano is an innovative European concept serving made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads. [v]

The unique thing about Vapiano is that everyone who walks in gets a card, which tracks what you choose from the various salad, pasta, pizza, dessert/bar areas; when you leave, you return the card, they scan it, and voila– separate checks, no muss or fuss. :)

That’s an extra welcome concept considering what happened at our last meetup, at the underwhelming Nirvana. Three of you forgot to leave money before you left (though one of you realized this and apologized profusely and tried to make it right). That is the ONLY time that has EVER happened at a DC meetup, though, and all the remaining mutineers immediately chipped in and covered for you so I wouldn’t have to. See? Vapiano. Brilliant.

Okay, more to this post soon, but here are the barest details, so you can sharpie this in to your schedule:

Meet at 1 pm (that’s when they distribute the FREE tickets to the film).

See “Against the Tide” at 2pm.

Meet outside at around 4pm.

Take Metro to Vapiano (red/blue/orange lines) and eat. :) Continue reading

Kiss my … turban, HRC

As the Clinton campaign has suffered one defeat after another, the advice of Hillary’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, has been consistent: go negative. So yesterday, according to Drudge, a Clinton staffer leaked a photo of Obama in a turban to the press. The photo was taken in Kenya, and seemed obviously designed to raise fears that Obama was a “Manchurian candidate” a sleeper muslim trying to sneakily infiltrate his way into the White House:

Will voters find this turban disturbin?

With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a “dressed” Barack Obama. [Link]

Clinton’s campaign did not deny its staffers distributed the photo, and Obama’s top advisers were quick to blast what it called an underhanded campaign tactic. [Link]

OMG – he’s wearing a turban! He’s a mooo-salim! Oooooga Booooga! Oooooga Booooga!

The campaign’s desperation comes as it finds itself strapped for cash, having tapped out its major donors. The irony is that HRC might have a few more paisas in her pocket if she had not suddenly decided her long time Sikh friends had the cooties and were too uncool to be seen with any more:

Mrs. Clinton also scuttled a fund-raising breakfast at a nearby fairgrounds where Sikh leaders had hoped to raise $1 million for her presidential campaign. [Link]

Given that she’s spent only $11 million this month on ads, that extra $1 mil would have come in handy, even if only for her donut tab.

How about this one?

Honestly, I’m pretty steamed at this latest gambit. I understand that politics is a dirty business, but part of the risk of going negative is the possibility that you might piss off voters … like myself.

However, instead of spewing irate invective, I’d rather spoil her game. The best way to deal with “scary” images is to normalize them. Below the fold are a series of photos of politicians either wearing turbans or next to somebody who is wearing a turban. Let me know if you’ve got more!

[UPDATED - ptr_vivek pointed us at a great photo of Bill looking quite dashing in a Rajasthani turban. Thanks!]

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