Author Archives: Nina
Tribal women in line to vote.
Today concluded the first of five phases of the Indian election, where 60% of voters turned out to the polls. (Refer to my earlier post for the basics of the Indian political system.) The states where voting began were Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Lakshwadeep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Â Thousands of troops have been deployed to the states to
With month-long elections in the world’s biggest democracy, it can’t be expected for the process to without a few kinks — or violence. Maoist insurgents in central and eastern India, with landmines and rocket bombs, killed 17 people in 14 attacks at poll stations across India. The Naxalites, the Maoist insurgents, have been battling with the Indian government forever and a day.Â One would think with so many troops deployed, even localized events like this could be avoided.
Currently, it seems as though the current Congress (I) Party and the Bharataya Janata Party will get the majority of votes, while some smaller ethnic and minority parties will take a smaller piece of the pie. Regardless, after the election, new coalitions will have to be stitched together to keep the Indian government in functioning order. The Congress Party, as a reminder, is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s party and India’s explosive economic growth is attributed to them. On another note, the Congress Party has often been criticized for its handling of the 11/26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year. BJP, on the other hand, tends to take hardline stances on terrorism, while inciting friction between Indian Muslims and Christians.
With this only being the beginning, it will be interesting to see the elections pan out. (A whole month of election day coverage? Yes! I know you’re pumped!) Have any questions? Field them here! I’ll definitely do some research and incorporate it into any future blog posts.
I don’t think my brother is the intolerant talking head he plays on television. Rather, he’s just using old, outmoded tactics in a desperate attempt to bring his party back from the dead. He is parroting the old canard that LGBT people cannot be people of faith. Ergo, people of faith cannot be supportive of LGBT people. If I may repeat myself, that is so 90s, bro.
But it isn’t the 90s anymore–far from it. Newt doesn’t realize he’s already lost, because the next generation won’t fall for the rhetoric that once was effective for the right-wing. (Candace Gingrich)
Sibling similarities and differences are particularly interesting to look at, especially in the case of Newt Gingrich and his sister Candace, a LGBT advocate. Recently, Ms. Gingrich wrote a very articulate piece for the Huffington Post defending Harry Knox, Obama’s appointmentÂ to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Not only did she stake this ground, she also criticized the flawed rhetoric her brothers uses to expandÂ the Republican base. I genuinely recommend giving it a read — it is definitely well-thought out. (Do it now.)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Barack Obama.
At the Group of 20 economic summit held last Wednesday in London, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and our President Barack Obama took the fledgling steps to thaw the characteristically frosty relationship between the two countries.Â Both leaders have stated their interest in reducing their nuclear warheads and have agreed to begin talks — the first in more than a decade (BBC). Not only did Medvedev extend an invitation to Moscow, Obama whole-heartedly accepted it, saying the relationship between Washington and Moscow should be “reset.”
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which currently limits the U.S. and Russian arsenals to 1700 to 2200 warheads, is due to expire at the end of the year, making it even more essential for Russia and the United States to begin talking on good terms. The presidents both echoed the necessity for Iran to cooperate with the UN to ensure their nuclear program is peaceful. They also “agreed to work together on Afghanistan and expressed concern about an upcoming North Korean rocket launch,” a fact which certainly pleased President Obama (BBC). In addition, Obama agreed to support Russia’s World Trade Organization bid and seek U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty — two things Moscow has wanted for a while.
There is no doubt that there are many issues between the two countries that have yet to be resolved and will definitely have to be addressed in the future (e.g. missile shield, expansion of NATO). On the same note, I am glad Obama is taking the required steps for a good relationship with Russia and generally attempting to promote friendlier, but firm, foreign policy altogether. There is no better time than now.
After watching David Paterson, Governor of New York, on the Colbert Report last year, I took a liking to him — not because he reminded of a big teddy bear, either. That man is sassy. Anyway, the dear guv today remarked on Rush Limbaugh’s emphatic declaration that he is leaving New York because of the “millionaires’ tax,” which taxes those making $250,000 and over.Â (His condo is up on the market now.) Funny, since Limbaugh spends very little time in New York.
If I knew that would be the result, I would’ve thought about the taxes earlier.
– Paterson, in response to Limbaugh (via time.com)
President Obama exits following his address on Monday.
Many of you have been going through tough times for longer than you care to remember.Â And I won’t pretend that the tough times are over.Â I can’t promise you there isn’t more difficulty to come.Â But what I can promise you is this:Â I will fight for you.Â You’re the reason I’m here today.Â I got my start fighting for working families in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant.Â I wake up every single day asking myself what can I do to give you and working people all across this country a fair shot at the American Dream. (March 30, 2009)
“Good, but not good enough.” President Obama emphasized this particular point in yesterday’s address that focused on the administration’s recommendations for the struggling U.S. auto industry. Recall in February, GM and Chrysler both offered to restructure their companies and provide the government with comprehensive plans to stay afloat. After thorough evaluation, Obama’s Auto Task Force decided that the the plans don’t go far enough in attacking the problems plaguing the auto companies and put a date on company restructuring.
The reactions to the administration’sÂ have varied from agreement to resigned dissent. Unsurprisingly, the Michigan delegation, though voicing support for the plan, is deeply concerned with the possible repercussions of the recommendations on an already struggling state. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) wrote only today, “I urge the Obama administration to review carefully the progress made by Chrysler and GM in 30 and 60 days, respectively, and give strong consideration to allowing more time for restructuring. The fate of these corporations and their cumulative impact on the national economy are too important to be subjected to an arbitrary deadline” (USA Today).
Is the deadline “arbitrary” and unjustified? There’s obviously multiple perspectives. Take a look at the actual plan and then make your own decision.
March 16, 2009: Chaudhry (center) surrounded by celebrating supporters
In the latest news from the South Asian continent, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has finally been reinstated to his bench (for the second time).Â To truly appreciate this news, we have to do a bit of a recap. Former Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, first appointed Chaudhry to the bench in 2000. Until he was elevated to Chief Justice in 2005, Iftikhar Chaudhry did not seem to go out of his way to carve an independent path for the judiciary, usually voting with the majority; he even sat on the bench during the case that legitimized Musharraf’s military takeover. Regardless, when Chaudhry became the youngest ever Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, he really dug in his heels and started work that made him a “symbol of justice” in the eyes of many.
From creating a “separate human rights cell at the court” to forcing Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to admit they were holding people in secret custody, it’s very easy to say that Chaudhry quickly got on the wrong side of the government. In March 2007, Chaudhry was asked to step down but instead refused Musharraf’s reprimands and faced the charges — actions which propelled him to a hero status for thousands of lawyers, who stormed Lahore, Pakistan in protest. Thankfully, in July 2007, Chaudhry was reinstated.
Most people know the mad love I have for the Obama Art Report and all the snazzy politically charged art it posts. Wooster Collective, the original site that found these images in a New York subway, is very similar to the Obama Art Report but solely focuses on street art. If you can’t read the bottom of the second poster, it reads, “Out of the White house, but not offÂ the hook. Arrest Cheney and Bush for crimes of high treason.” Admittedly, that is a bit harsh, but it is definitely one slick image.
Our belief and expectation is that we will get all the pillars in place for recovery this year. Those are the things we have control over and we have confidence that working with Congress we can get the pillars of recovery in place. How long it will take before recovery actually translates into stronger job markets and so forth is going to depend on a whole range of factors, including our ability to get other countries to coordinate and take similar actions because part of what youâ€™re seeing now is weaknesses in Europe that are actually greater than some of the weaknesses here, bouncing back and having an impact on our markets.
– President Barack Obama (to the New York Times)
Not going to lie, this pretty interesting interview with Obama the New York Times had a few days ago distracted me from the original post I was working on tonight. If you have not already read it, I encourage you to read (or listen to!) the interview now.Â The financial crisis, foreign policy, and Gitma: it’s virtually all covered. Granted, it’s not a perfect interview — the reporter, in one ridiculous question, asked President Obama if would label himself as a socialist — but it’s a nice look into our president’s current thought process.Â The transcript is a little lengthy, but it goes by quickly. Again, check it out.
Our democratic BFF in Asia, India, has finally announced the polling dates for the country’s upcoming elections: April 16, April 23, April 30, May 7, and May 13. Why the phased election? Holidays, festivals, possible monsoon weather, harvest season, and most importantly, school examinations. India’s elections will undoubtedly be intense — 714 million eligible voters? 4 million election workers? Oh, it’ll be glorious, you betcha.
Yeah, that’s right. India’s electronic.
As BBC tweeted this news to me, I realized I had no idea how the Indian government is structured. (Shame, isn’t it?) Still, with the Interweb at my fingertips, I decided to compile a little government guide (sans the judicial branch) for my benefit and yours becaues I didn’t want to study. (Yes, yes, I know. An educational blupdate. Exciting!) Read more and get informed!