Sunday, November 29, 2009

A for Attitude

What makes Kobe Bryant a great basket ball player? A recent article on Kobe soliciting help from another past great player Hakeem Olajuwon during summer this year shows Kobe’s mindset. It is Kobe’s willingness to be always learning and improving his game. Kobe does not control whether Los Angeles Lakers will ever win another championship. He does have control on improving his skills and the best he can be as an individual player and as a team player. If every one in Lakers does that there is a good likelyhood that they will win many more championships.

Kobe is already one of the best players in NBA. This article just shows that he is always striving to improve himself. That is why he gets an "A" for attitude.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fort Hood & Beyond ......

The latest disturbing information regarding Major Hasan alleged web postings and his past contacts with a pro Al Qaeda Imam indicates that Hasan is more likely a Jihadist and the Fort Hood carnage was a terrorist act. Whether Hasan acted alone or is a part of wider conspiracy is yet to be established. It also looks like that many signs of Hasan’s past troubling behavior were more likely ignored for political correctness. The Fort Hood massacre is a wake up call for America and the secular world. If America does not get its act together it will be disastrous.

Regarding Islamic fundamentalism, most people seem to be missing what is involved here. So far we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of the challenges the secular world is facing. Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalists have same global agenda and want to establish their brand of Islamic Caliphate to rule the world. What is happening is not new. It is a continuation of the relentless execution of a plan which has been going on for over past one thousand years. Just look at the history of the Persian and Byzantine Empires. The Islamic fundamentalists know that the secular democracies are weak hearted and divided and will fall sooner and later. They will never give up unless they are totally eliminated. The secularists need to decide whether to face up this challenge now or meet the fate of Persian and Byzantine Empires.

As far as fighting the Islamic Fundamentalism in Afghanistan and rest of the world is concerned, it can be effectively done only by winning the hearts and minds of the majority of Muslims who are also the victims of these extremists. The continuing protests in Iran after 30 years of Mullahs’ autocratic rule and self initiated positive changes in a small enclave in Afghanistan are indications that the Muslims are ready to oppose the Islamic Fundamentalists. The secular world should help these progressive people in Muslim Countries to counter the Islamic extremists.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Civilian Trial of 9/11 Terrorists….

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has announced that the hardcore 9/11Attack terrorists will be tried in a Federal Court instead of in Military Courts as was planned by the previous Administration. No matter how you spin it, these terrorists are enemy combatants who attacked America. Why should they be granted the constitutional rights of American citizens? The more appropriate place to try them is in Military Courts. This decision therefore appears to be made just for political correctness.

Further the American Court system is not experienced to handle cases like these. There are no precedents for conducting these trials as indicated in the following New York Times Report and the risks of Defense Lawyers converting these trials into a circus and propaganda events are high.

If Obama Administration wishes to try these terrorists in American Courts, why start this process with the most dangerous terrorists like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? Why not to gain some experience in prosecuting these case with lesser criminals? This decision shows the inexperience of the Obama Administration in general and this Attorney General in particular. While upholding the American Justice System is prudent, we also need to be fair to the victims and their families. They have rights too.

Doomsday 2012

The movie 2012 has just been released. I have not seen the movie yet, although the initial reviews do not look very good. People have worried about apocalypse for a long time and there have been predictions and panics during 2000 years as discussed in an interesting National Geographic article on 10 Failed Doomsday Prophecies.

The latest one, the 2012 end of the world prediction is, based on the theories of ancient Mayan prediction for the end of the world in year 2012 or December 21, 2012 to be exact is based on the end-date of the Mayan Long Count calendar as well as a Nostradamus prophecy. These are further fueled by the aggressive marketing of related websites, books and the movie 2012. This time, the built up of this upcoming disaster is even bigger than the Y2K panic.

Will 2012 be any different? I guess not. Another National Geographic article debunks the six myths associated with 2012 and is worth reading.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wither GOP?

Despite recent election victories in gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey, the Republican Party must realize that its future lies in becoming inclusive for all Americans in general and the fast growing minorities in particular. The goal should be to build a long lasting coalition to meet the challenges the country and the world face. Instead of being a naysayer, the Party should focus on providing cost effective and fiscally responsible solutions for issues of importance to all Americans. For example the health care reform is not only a Democrats’ issue it is of importance to all Americans.

Lately the Republican Party seems to have been hijacked by the religious right and the ultra conservatives and has become out of touch with main stream America. It has an image of serving the special interests and the wealthy. It does not appear to be Mr. Lincoln’s Party any more. Unless it changes its course, it will continue to lose its base and may eventually be headed for demise like the Whig Party.

Is the Economy heading for a Double Dip?

The September unemployment report was a warning about a possible double dip in the economy. The October unemployment report just confirmed this trend. The broader measure of unemployment is now reported at 17.5% which is at its highest level in decades.

President Obama’s problem is that he is trying to do too many things at the same time and his administration’s lack of prioritizing. The economy and job creation should have been his first priority while the health care reforms and climate changes could have been handled next year. High unemployment also means higher health insurance costs as employer’s portion of funding ceases. However, Obama and the Democrats are too consumed in health care reforms which will create another trillion dollar deficit over the next decade.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fort Hood Massacre

The massacre at the Fort Hood Army base was a shocking and deplorable act. Thirteen unarmed soldiers were killed and 38 hurt at a secure army base by one of their own, a medical doctor and trained psychiatric who was supposed to heal them of war traumas. It appears that Major Nidal Malik Hasan himself needed a shrink. I pray for the peace of the departed souls; for strength and courage to their families and love ones to bear their irreplaceable loss and for the quick and full recovery of those who were hurt in this terrible carnage.

While Hasan’s horrific act of violence at Fort Hood should not be used to hold the Muslims and Islam responsible for his deplorable and terrible killing spree, this incident needs a thorough investigation. If the reports of Hassan’s alleged web postings, rationalizing and glorifying suicide bombers are correct, his may itself be such an act. Let the facts come out. Treating or spinning this incident as another crazy act for the sake of political correctness will be a blunder and very dangerous.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

There was a Reason behind the Punishment…

When I was in elementary school back in India, the school teachers used to have a number of simple techniques in their bag of tricks to control the hyper and naughty boys. We did not have co-education at that time. To us these were of course punishments.

One of the common punishments was “Kaan pakro aur utthak baithak karo” i.e. Catch your earlobes and squat down and up. Of course we hated to do it. However, doing 15 or 20 of these in a stretch used to calm down even the naughtiest kids. Recently a number of articles have been published on this exercise which is now known by its glamorous name “Super Brain Yoga”.

The following article in AARP Magazine gives a simple description of this exercise.

For more details check out the links below:

Decades later, as a grown up, I am voluntarily doing “Kaan pakro aur utthak baithak karo” or should I say the “The Super Brain Yoga” for three to five minutes a day to keep my brain stimulated and intact.