Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Change

June 13, 2008

One of the hilarious posts I have seen in a while…

http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/change/

(via donkelephant)

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Candidate Facetime

January 10, 2008

Compete is a web analytics company that estimates site traffic using its member base of over 2 million users. Recently, it introduced Candidate Facetime – a mechanism to analyze the online popularity of the presidential candidates. Candidate Facetime tracks the popularity of candidates online based on the amount of time people spend across the candidates’ websites and related sites on MySpace, YouTube, flickr, etc.

Here is the candidate facetime for December 2007.

candidate facetime - republicans.png

Having followed it through the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, it appears that there might be some validity to the parameter after all. Before any of the primaries started, Ron Paul and Barrack Obama had the major share of the online activity. However, as the race neared the primaries, Huckabee and Clinton have eaten quite a chunk of the above two online leaders.

Google also unveiled its Google Trends service recently, which can report similar analytics. For instance, here is how the democratic and republican candidates fare amongst search and news results currently. Click on the picture to run the query using up-to-date data.

Democratic Candidates:

democratic-candidates-trend

Republican Candidates:

republican-candidates-trend

It remains to be see how these online predictions will fall out for the rest of the primaries.

Ron Paul on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show

October 31, 2007

I know there is like a gazillion links to this video, but it IS a must-see. My favorite quip from Dr. Paul is ‘There’s probably a risk I could win”.

Ron Paul for President

October 23, 2007

RonPaulGoldFrontRonPaulGoldBack

I have finally made up my mind, thanks to Jim. Yay!

I have always thought myself to be a democrat, going strictly by my ideology. After all, I am from the largest democracy in the world. And Dr. Ron Paul, even though he is contesting from the Republican party, is as liberal as it gets.

Who is Ron Paul? Well, if you didn’t know that, you ought to pay a little bit more attention to Politics. If you are stateside, that is. But Ron is gaining momentum in other countries too, so there really is no excuse. Ron Paul is more of a libertarian candidate, contesting as a Republican. His campaign has gathered a lot of steam of late, mainly because of his grassroots-level supporters. He is referred to as Dr. No, because he vehemently opposes any bill that does not abide by the constitution. (And oh, he is also a former physician, which explains the Dr. part).

Why Ron Paul? Mainly, because of his stance on the war. But even more, because of his non-interventionist ideology. United States has no business meddling with Iraq or Somalia or wherever the US military is currently spread. I also like his ideas on Income Tax and The Fed, but I must say that I do believe that his views are a little extreme here.

How Ron Paul? That question exists because I’m not a US citizen yet, and so can’t vote on this presidential election. However, I will have my voting rights for the next election, and hopefully, an opportunity to vote for Dr. Paul. But more than voting, I believe I can make a difference by campaigning for him. And making contributions for his campaign. If I can make at least 5 persons aware of Dr. Ron Paul, I would consider my deed done.

Now, go on. Catch up on his stance on other issues.

Shadow Company

October 15, 2007

ShadowCompany

 

Shadow Company is an amazing and powerful documentary by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque about the “private military companies” – or “mercenaries” depending on your idealogical beliefs. But whatever your idealogy is, you will come out of this documentary much better educated about the issues surrounding such ‘private guns for hire’. The documentary takes an even-handed approach and explores a lot of issues – the historical background of mercenaries, their sudden growth, their hardships, the ethical dilemma and the need for more thought on how this industry should be handled further on.

ShadowCompanyClip

The presentation is very stlyistic and captivating – with all the video game clips, comic book style reenactments, inter-weaving of war and news footage, pop-up explanations for military terms. It will definitely keep you hooked to the end.

Before I started watching the movie, I had already come to the conclusion that these companies cannot be obliterated in one fell sweep. This documentary only bolstered my opinion, in that our government and politicians need to take a hard look at all the relevant issues and create some balanced and pragmatic regulations to guide this industry. Although there would be no place for such companies in an ideal world, we no longer live – perhaps, never have lived – in such a world. Huffington Post has a nice article from the director of this movie about what the congress ought to be doing now on the issue of PMC’s.

One quote that stands out is from an author that is interviewed – Robert Young Pelton.

“George Bush has created the ultimate entrepreneurial wild west scenario in Iraq. If you have a gun and you are in Iraq, there is plenty of job to do.”

My take on Blackwater

October 8, 2007

Blackwater

Blackwater has been in recent news, after Iraqi officials complained that Blackwater personnel were involved in an unprovoked shooting of Iraqi civilians. If you don’t already know, Blackwater is a private company that supplies security personnel to guard American ambassadors in foreign countries. The Virginian Pilot has an interesting series on Blackwater titled Blackwater: Inside America’s Private Army.

Blackwater is owned by a single man named Erik Prince, a former navy seal. The corporate history of Blackwater is an amazing testimony on how successful private military has become these days. According to Fast Company, Blackwater has had 600% revenue growth between 2002 and 2005.

There is a lot of criticism – mostly of which are right on – against the mere existence of Blackwater. There is the lack of accountability, drain on the military talent, aiding political machiavellians in hiding the actual cost of war, the sheer immorality of going to war for monetary gain.

Now, the Congress has passed a bill to make companies like Blackwater answerable in the civil court. In my opinion, such actions and bills are somewhat useless, unless we stand up and face the real reason for the existence of such companies. Unless the US of A abandons its interventionist policies and stops meddling in the international affairs, companies like Blackwater will keep finding means to make profit. Even if Blackwater is brought back, what about the hundreds of other private corporations on which the US depends for war zone activities.

Although there are a lot of statistics with high shock-factor when it comes to Blackwater, there is one that stands in my memory. In the first Gulf War 15 years ago, the ratio of private contractors to troops was 1 to 60; in the current war, it’s 1 to 3. Go figure.

NY Times Presidential Debate – Transcript Analyzer

September 28, 2007

Transcript Analyzer

Yesterday, I happened to see the debate of the Democratic presidential candidates, and was amazed at the presentation mechanism of this debate. The above page has a video of the entire debate, and the first thing you notice whenever you start watching an online video is…, yes, the total length. And I was promptly disappointed, because the debate was over 100 minutes long. Now, I don’t have that kind of a time, even for a presidential debate.

And then, I looked at the other parts of the screen and was thrilled. The second column is the actual transcript for the video. And a third column lists the major points or agenda in the debate. So I can very quickly scan the transcript of the current topic and skip sections I am not interested in. Or, I can jump an entire topic and go to the next topic. I thought, “Wow! This is great! What a nice way to watch video! Just like my DVR, perhaps even better because I can scan at the items coming next in the video!”

But wait, the amazement didn’t stop there. They also have something called a transcript analyzer, for people with even little time. This list presents you with the number of words spoken by each debator, and also marks each passage when you scroll over each candidate. You can also enter a few words – like Syria, for instance – and find matches for your text inside each candidates transcript.

Now, that’s a killer app, right there.

Zeitgeist – The Movie

September 13, 2007

Zeitgeist [tsahyt-gahyst] -noun German : the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

Recently, I happened to watch Zeitgiest, The Movie. It is available completely free online. I cannot say that I was blown away, but it definitely piqued my interests in the ‘Federal Reserve System‘, ‘The Gold Standard‘, and also to an extent on the Christian beliefs on the origin of Jesus.

Although it lost a little of its charm for me because of its propagandist attitude, it still was a revelation.

Take a peek. You will be hooked!