Saturday, January 29, 2011

Worlds largest democrary celebrates "Republic Day"

Sacremento Bee has a very nice photo journal where they published some gorgeous pictures of India's Republic Day parade. Like a peacock, the Indian Armed Forces strutted their unbelievable colors! I have never seen the parade in person, but as an ameture photographer I would love to some day be able to go with my camera and take pictures of this beautiful ceremony.


Photo credit: AP / Gurinder Osan

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reality vs Sputnik moment

Yesterday President Obama spoke of the "Sputnik" moment, referring the need to do more in education and in research to improve America's competitiveness. Today, a friend sent me a link to "The Chronicle" which has a great graphic showing adults with college degrees in the US, by county.


Unfortunately, the reality is just too discouraging. The national average for college degree holders per county is only 27%!! For the most powerful nation on the earth to have such low numbers is shocking. Here is another look at a similar statistic, this time comparing US with other countries.


Clearly, a lot more needs to be done to encourage our kids to complete their college education. You can download and read the full report of the College Board.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holy Cow! Just look at the cost of starting a business in India!

I always knew that it is challenging to start a business in India, but these numbers just blew me away!!

By the Numbers: Small Business in the U.S. & Abroad

Obama's ally in cutting Pentagon budget!


There have been several reports in the press about Tea Partiers demanding that the Pentagon budget face the same scrutiny as the rest of the Government spending. In CSM, there is a big story on this issue.

This surprised me! Usually, the rank and file Republicans (and tea partiers are very much on the RIGHT of rank and file Republicans) who like to wear the badge of patriotism by ever increasing the defence budget, would be opposed to any Pentagon budget cuts. Thus, Defence Secretary Gates proposal to cut the military budget ....

The Defense Department cuts include shrinking the size of the Army and Marine Corps after 2014, as well as reducing the use of contractors, on whom the Pentagon has become “far too dependent,” says Gates.

... would have been expected to meet Republican opposition. But for a change, it appears that Tea Party is on his side!
“I think they’re going to have to look at defense in the same way they look at everything,” says Mark Meckler, co-founder and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “If we are going to have a nation to defend in the future, then everything has to be on the table, from entitlements on the left to defense on the right – everything is going to have to be considered, and until everyone gets serious about that, we won’t have a nation to defend.”

The tea partiers, who came to power on the ticket of anti-establishments, seem to be going against the Republican establishment on this one, and so, it appears that Prez. Obama will have some friends on the "RIGHT" he can rely on! Politics makes such strange bed fellows!

Cairo Erupts

Following the unusually successful demonstrations in Tunisia that succeeded in overthrowing the long time dictator, demonstrations have now broken out in Cairo, which is due for an election in just about a month. Will Mubarak meet the fate of Ben Ali? Remains to be seen!!




This from Christian Science Monitor...
But activists, political analysts, and average people in Egypt insist that something crucial shifted for Egypt today. Egyptian political scientist Mustapha Kamel Al Sayyid predicts that now the dam has broken, protests will continue. “The reservoir of discontent is huge,” he says.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inflation in Emerging Markets emerges as a new threat

BRIC Inflation Imperils Consumer Stocks as Food Rises - Businessweek

Impact on consumers is huge. Comment below from Business Week is quite illustrative of this...

"Economic growth and supply shortages sent a United Nations gauge of food prices to a record last month, cutting the buying power of 2.8 billion people in Brazil, Russia, India and China who spend 19 percent of their income on groceries, compared with 6 percent in the U.S., Euromonitor International data show."


This is the kind of stuff revolutions are made of. We have seen this movie played out in Tunisia; we are likely to see other dominos fall if inflation keeps its upward trend unchecked. Despots, dictators and democratic governments are all under the gun. It'll be interesting to see how the story evolves over next 8-10 months.

Bhimsen Joshi's Passes Away

The Hindu : Arts / Music : Bhimsen Joshi's death orphans music community: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the magical voice of Hindustani Classical music is no more.


This quote from The Hindu...
"Prabha Atre, an exponent of the Kirana Gharana, called Joshi an extraordinary man, “who was not just Bharat ratna but ‘vishwa' ratna. With his demise, the entire Indian classical music community feels orphaned. It is now a big responsibility on us, to continue the rich tradition left behind by him,” a tearful Ms. Atre said."

I was introduced to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's golden voice at a concert held in St. Xavier's institute in Mumbai and was hooked on it immediately. Often when I wake up early around 5 am, I start my day with a cup of tea and the pure sound of Pandit Joshi.

Pandit Joshi will live forever in our hearts!