Outsourcing Issue Also Not Dead: More Nasty Politicking

Via DailyKos, I came across this ad, in the current Arkansas Senatorial Primary race. Bill Halter is a Democratic challenger to the sitting Democratic Senator, Blanche Lincoln. The ad is technically sponsored by the Arkansas Chamber of Congress, not Blanche Lincoln’s campaign.

You thought it was dead, didn’t you? Nope, the “our jobs are going to India” bogie is also still alive and well in American politics.

According to Kos, the backstory is that Halter was once on the Board of Directors of a firm called WebMethods Inc., which had opened an office in Bangalore some years ago, though there’s no evidence that the opening of that office actually cost any American jobs. This type of ad is a bad precedent, since it basically puts anyone who has run a high-tech company or a financial services company at risk of attack.

The ad is also clearly a form of “race-baiting” — a cousin of the nasty kind of racial attack ad that would prominently feature some sort of threatening black person (sometimes a criminal) to scare white voters. But apparently it’s not Willie Horton with which these folks are trying to scare people in Arkansas, it’s smiling middle-class people in Bangalore!

Here’s Bill Halter’s website. Continue reading

Tripta Kaushal is Guilty of “Worst Parking Job Ever”

Last October, a Canadian Auntie from Richmond Hill— a town in the Greater Toronto Area– decided to go to the gym. She entered a parking lot, attempted to park her BMW SAV (no, that’s not a typo)…and gained international infamy for what happened next:

If you’re having trouble viewing that video, all you need to know is that it shows a blue truck in a parking lot driving in a wide arc towards a space. As the vehicle approaches the barrier which exists to keep cars in their designated parking spaces, you assume it will stop, but it doesn’t. Continue reading

‘Funny Names’: The Issue that Refuses to Die

Ohio, congressional primaries… I’ll let this story in the Washington Independent speak for itself:

With the Democratic primary just days away, state and local party leaders are ripping into David Krikorian, one of the hopefuls to challenge GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt in November, for disparaging remarks he’s made recently about his chief primary opponent, Surya Yalamanchili.

According to accounts given to local politicians, Krikorian has appeared at campaign events to ridicule Yalamanchili, an American of Indian descent, by dramatically pronouncing his name to emphasize its foreign nature.

“Now do you really think that a guy with a name like that has a chance of ever being elected?” Krikorian allegedly said to members of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Clermont County.

The comments — which Krikorian denies – drew a quick response from local Democratic leaders, who shot off a letter to Krikorian Wednesday calling his behavior “deeply disturbing.”

“Your comments on Surya’s name are are best insensitive and worse appear racist,” wrote Timothy M. Burke and David Lane, the Democratic chairmen in Hamilton and Clermont counties, respectively. “It is deeply disturbing to us that you would use his name, which is obviously derived from his ethnic heritage, against him in a denigrating manner, especially considering how strongly you value and celebrate your own heritage.” (link)

Now, there’s no excusing this comment (hmm, I have $10 burning a hole in my pocket; can I donate it to a Congressional candidate somewhere…? Aha.). But arguably, in Krikorian’s defense, “Yalamanchili” is a bit of a toughie as far as complicated Desi names goes.

Yalamanchili, of course, was already well aware of this, judging by his campaign slogan: “Vote Chili”.

Macaca. Piyush Jindal. D-Punjab. Gogol Ganguli. The mis-naming issue is surprisingly persistent. Continue reading

The “Lighter Side” of Dark Beer, Humor, Whatever

Thanks to a tweet from legendary BlogHer Samhita— Executive Editor of Feministing.com, I finally got to see the Newcastle beer ad I’ve heard many of you murmur about. Here’s what I thought while and after watching it (in order!):

1) I can’t believe I’m watching an ad about an American-Born-Confused-Desi 😉

2) This is kind of funny!

3) It is much better than most commercials which feature brown themes.

4) Wait, why don’t more people like this ad again?

5) I am now way more favorably disposed towards Newcastle, which is huge, because I hate beer. It looks like the pee of the dehydrated and often tastes like spit, and two nasty bodily fluids are not what I like being reminded of when I’m drinking something.

6a) I don’t feel offended by this.

6b) But, like Samhita my sense of humor is questionable. (At least I’m in good company!)

6c) Proof of questionable taste/sense of humor available here.

Has anyone actually seen this on television? Were you shocked, then awed? How would you rate it? Oh, and if Samhita sounds familiar to you, it may be because Taz profiled her on SM way back in 2006. You can find Samhita on Twitter @desifeminista. You can find us @sepiamutiny, natch. Finally, you can probably still find 50 cent in da club, bottle full of Bub, even if it is no longer 2003. Continue reading

Who was “The Great Oom?”

The Houston bureau of Sepia Mutiny (our southernmost outpost) has shuttered its doors, a casualty of the economic upheaval. The Houston bureau chief (me) has returned to Los Angeles to rejoin our offices there. One of the things I will miss most about Houston in my yoga teacher/class. A good yoga place is hard to find (even in the “yoga capital” of the U.S.). And isn’t it wonderful how so many of you nodded your heads in agreement just now. For many of us, finding the right yoga class is as important, and as difficult, as finding the right doctor. On the airplane to Los Angeles last night I read a blurb in a magazine that made me aware that many of us owe a debt of gratitude to one Pierre Arnold Bernard (a.k.a. The Great Oom). He had a significant hand in ensuring that Yoga is now essentially a part of everyday American culture:

… men and women came to his ashram on the Hudson River, two hundred acres of leafy real estate in Nyack, New York, that included a zoo, a yacht, airplanes and a dozen mansions that Mitchell could only describe as the “English countryside estates one sees in the moving pictures.” Bernard had made his fortune teaching yoga, and his students made up a Who’s Who of American life: college presidents, medical doctors, ministers, a spy or two, theologians, heiresses, a future congresswoman, famed authors and composers — some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world. Doctor Bernard, they called him, and like a benevolent physician he ministered to their needs, body and soul. He sheltered them, entertained them and gathered them together to teach them the art of living. They stood on their heads for him, worked in his fields, sang in his theatrical productions and performed in elaborate, professional-level circuses for his approval. Some of them came to delve deeply into hatha yoga and the philosophy behind it, some for romance and fresh air, some for the Bernard cure, having been abandoned by hospitals and mental institutions. These he literally led back from ruination — from ledges of despair, lethal addictions and Great War nightmares. How he managed to do this has remained his closely guarded secret…

But who was he, really, this uneducated savant who could lecture extemporaneously for three hours on the similarities between the philosophies of ancient India and the Gnostic heresies of the early Christians? This same man was known to stage a three-ring circus, manage a semi-pro baseball team, train a world-class heavyweight boxer, repair a Stanley Steamer automobile and whoop it up on fight nights at Madison Square Garden with nicotine-stained reporters. This last was where he was most at home, some said, shouting, swearing, happily chomping on a cigar. Who was this man of such wild contradictions, a name as familiar to headline writers of the 1920s as Charles Lindbergh? The answer depended to a large degree on who was doing the asking. [NYT]

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[NSFW] MIA’s new happy upbeat video about a boy and a girl in love

I tweeted yesterday about the new MIA video, a short, happy upbeat bit of bubblegum pop about a boy and a girl in love. It’s uplifting and heart warming, yet light and subtle. She’s clearly leaving politics behind and trying to challenge Taylor / Miley / Gaga / Ke$ha in the hearts of tween kids everywhere. Based on this video, I figure her next move is to team up with Justin Bieber for a saccharine duet, something that will show up on Glee within a month. Or maybe she’ll decide to give Jay Sean a run for his money, with a song called “Up.”

CAUTION: The video really is NSFW because of both violence and nudity. Also, you really don’t want to watch a 9 minute long video with graphic imagery at the office, unless you work at the SEC..

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

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Like The Economist, I Always Strive for Fly Titles.

My friend Shani, a brilliant blogger at the ever-scintillating Post-Bourgie, tweeted something which caught my eye: “Click this link before the Economist fixes it!”. I dutifully did so, and then chortled. Look!


Post text goes here, bla bla bla. 🙂 Oh, like you could’ve resisted.

Sir – I am rather fond of your publication The Economist, especially when it inadvertently publishes “ghost” posts online which have to do with the city of Delhi and the sport of Cricket. How’s your Monday, Mutineers? Hopefully better than some Economist-employed web-editor’s, hmm? 😉 Continue reading

Pakistan’s New 18th Amendment: More Stable, Democratic Government

Though the news hasn’t gotten a huge amount of attention in the U.S., given our discussions of Pakistan’s political situation a couple of years ago, it seems worth noting that Pakistan’s Parliament just passed, and President Zardari signed, a series of reforms designed to make the Parliament stronger and more independent of the executive. The package of reforms is included in a new Amendment to Pakistan’s constitution. Along with the Parliamentary change, there is also an attempt to clarify the relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive branches of Pakistan’s government, so we don’t see a repeat of the power struggle between the Chief Justice of the Pakistan supreme court and former President Pervez Musharraf that began in 2007.

The most detailed summary of the reforms are at the Center for American Progress. I would recommend readers read the whole article, but here is a list of the changes that will affect the relationship between Parliament and the President:

Removing presidential powers to circumvent the normal legislative process and limiting the amount of time the president may consider bills passed by parliament before approving them (Article 75)

Transferring the power to submit matters directly to parliament for a yes or no vote to the prime minister (Article 48)

Removing the infamous Article 58-2(b) instituted by President Musharraf, which granted the power to unilaterally dismiss parliament under vague emergency provisions

Consulting with the outgoing prime minister and opposition leader on presidential appointments of caretaker governments to manage the transition to a new government when parliament is dismissed (Article 224) ()link)

And that’s just one part of the Amendment. The part of Amendment 18 that leaves open some future areas of contention is the reform of the judiciary appointment system, where it seems like some of the planned changes are still up in the air. According to the CAP author, the most contentious issue in the Amendment thus far has actually been the plan to rename the NWFP along ethnic lines, as Khyber-Pakhtunwa. Riots by members of the Hazara community in the region have left several people dead. It’s too bad that there is some dissatisfaction, but the change does certainly make sense to me — Northwest Frontier Province is an old, colonial name that only made sense under the British Raj.

I’m curious to know what readers who have connections to Pakistan think of the changes. Will they be good for Pakistan in the long run? And what about India-Pakistan relations? Overall, I think it’s a really impressive roll-back of executive power — the real end of the Musharraf era, if you will. President Zardari has exceeded my expectations. Continue reading

Desi Douche of the Day

Happy Thursday, mutineers! Thanks to Ennis for sharing this jaw-dropping gem with the Mutiny. It brings to mind a couple of questions. First of all, who is this smarmy individual? Why is he wearing two button-down shirts one on top of the other (in clashing colors)? Is he aware of what he’s really saying? (I’m thinking he cobbled a couple of cliches together for a really awkward result.) How long did it take him to write and memorize this Bollywood-gone-wrong type script? Who is this girl that only likes BMWs? How successful was the proposal? It would be hilarious if they were married by now. I’m picturing twin boys wearing two button-downs a-piece riding BMW trikes.

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Sunil Chhetri, the Wizard from India

chhetri.jpgI don’t follow soccer closely anymore, so it came as a surprise to me when a friend sent me a link to an article about Sunil Chhetri, the first player from India to sign with an MLS team. What in desi-heaven’s going on here? The Pittsburgh Pirates sign Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the Indianapolis Colts give John Gill a reserve spot at defensive tackle, and now 25-year-old Chhetri is making waves with the Kansas City Wizards. Someone tell the Chicago Bulls to send their scouts to India immediately. The next Jordan could be jamming and juking on a court in Jalandhar.

Sunil Chhetri was little more than a name on a list when he first popped up on Kansas City’s radar.

The Wizards, like most MLS teams, receive dozens of letters, video links and DVDs each month from players seeking a chance to play professional soccer. The Kansas City staff feels guilty about not giving everyone a chance, so they take a look.

Chhetri immediately caught their eye, even in the limited video clips they were able to obtain. Find a way to get him to the United States and we’ll give him a shot is what they told representatives from the Indian team. [Link]

So Chhetri was smuggled across the Mexican border and taken to the Wizards’ headquarters, where the receptionist was excited to see him: “I’m so glad you came. Windows 7 has been giving me fits.” Actually, he showed up at the Wizards’ training camp in Arizona and dazzled everyone with his feet. And his nose.

Blurry-fast feet. Nose for the goal. Connected with the other players on the attack almost instantly. Good instincts, able to adapt to the team’s style of play without thinking about it. Quick to get the ball ahead instead of holding it too long. Hits well with both feet, uses his entire body to strike it. Pretty good in the air at 5-foot-7.

Even better, Chhetri had a burning intensity to go with his talent.

“We learned he’s extremely competitive, has a desire to be successful and when you have that, you can get a lot out of a guy,” Wizards coach Peter Vermes said. “If someone has the talent and they don’t have the fire in the belly, so to speak, every day you’re struggling to get those guys going. This guy just gets it.” [Link]

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