Friday, February 18, 2011

The Middle East protest continues

Now that Egypt and Tunisia have quieted down as the demands of the protesters have been met, it has increased or started in other countries namely Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and renewed in Iran. The flame of change that started in Tunisia has spread widely in the Middle East and caught the governments and the West off guard and worried. The people in the Middle East are completely fed up with their long server rulers who are unable to deliver them opportunities in jobs and a higher standard of living and a say in how their lives should be run. Before the governments were able to put lid on the protests by isolating the areas where the protests were occurring and then clamping down on protesters without igniting more broad protests.

But with the advent of face book, twitter and other social media outlets, the governments are slow to response to the spread of protests. The protesters were used to get silenced by the heavy handedness of their government but now they are ready to bring about a change even if they have to lay their lives for it and that is what happening in the Middle East. The governments in trying to maintain their power are using their usual security apparatus to kill the protests but are facing an increasing determined and restive public. How many more governments are going to fall, only time will tell as the events are quickly unfolding.

Love for chocolate

I have never met a person who hates chocolate. In fact for some (including me) chocolate is just super delicious and incredibly irresistible. No matter where I am I never hesitate to eat chocolate. And in this case I have my favorites too, since some chocolate does not click with me. Even when eating ice cream or get a cake, I try to buy chocolate flavor of them. I like peanut coated chocolates but also chocolates from countries where they are famous for it, like Britain, Switzerland and Belgium. But chocolate is not restricted to these countries alone but several countries of the world make world class chocolates, the trick is to find a place where they sell it, which has become easier due to the internet.

Chocolate chip cookies and generally cookies where chocolate is involved heavily is also one of my favorites. Chocolate is just so irresistible and despite all the efforts of my family not to each too much, I have a hard time stop eating it. And if you eat too much of it then you have to make sure you go to the dentist regularly since the sugary stuff in the chocolates can clearly give you cavities and enough of these can also upset your stomach. So eating moderate amounts of chocolate can be sure way to enjoy this treat.

The Need for instant gratification.

People are becoming more demanding nowadays and that is because in this day and age, people don’t want to wait for the next day to see news coming in their newspaper and by the time they have it in their hands, the world has moved on much farther away. Although, different people buy newspapers for different reasons like sports perspective, comics, advertisement etc but the whole internet phenomenon has changed the way people read and watch news. Now everything they want is live or instantly. They may still read the newspapers but not for stale news but for in-depth analysis of a news event.

I, for one am a news junkie and read almost eight to nine news websites each day and sometimes even more than that to find out different articles and perspective of different experts on a wide range of topics. The best thing about the internet is that it satisfies the need for speed as on any given hour, the web sites are updated two to three and maybe more times. This flexibility and instant update feature can never be achieved with newspapers, magazines or any other printed media. And the best thing is that you can reach out to the internet while you are at the go since smart phones with internet ready capabilities are readily available. This need for speed has made people more informed and updated about events due to the instant availability of the internet anywhere they are.

The Bankruptcy of Borders

It is a sad day that Borders the second biggest book store chain in the United States filed for bankruptcy. You can blame their misfortunes on discount retailers, both offline and online but they were also slow to adapt to changing times like having their own website late in the game and not being fast enough on electronic books. Another thing is that although it is nice to go to a book store and browse the books there but still if you can get the same book for 30 percent or more off the retail price why would you pay the whole price unless you want to get it that instant and do not want to wait for a few days to arrive in your mail box.

I can understand that having a physical location with its numerous overhead costs and other issues can put any store at a disadvantage against online retailers, but still despite this many stores are indeed thriving both offline and online. This is what happens when some company is slow to adapt to the environment in which it is working and the lack of vision to take the company to the next and evolving new level. Although they have said that they will close many stores and operate on leaner workforce and inventory, and I am sad that we would not be seen that many Borders bookstores, hopefully they have learned their lesson and come out of this stronger than before.

The New Proposed Federal budget

The President has recently proposed a new Federal Budget which has more than a trillion dollars in deficit financing. As with any budget, this one has also set up a fight between the Republicans and Democrats. Nobody is happy about it since the Republicans (which include the TEA PARTY candidates) want a more drastic cut in the spending and the Democrats are not happy because it cuts too much from their pet social programs. Also it proposes more than one trillion dollars in cut in federal debt over ten years. All these proposals are just the beginning of the battle that will be played out among various competing interests.

Everybody meaning the Politicians of both major parties are right but the main thing is we cannot sustain this huge deficit each year unless we attack the entitlement and this has started to get addressed by the President. But this is a major fight with huge and powerful constituents and they will not want to give up their entitlements without a fight even if we have to print more money (that is borrowing our way to bankruptcy). The people don’t understand that the markets would not wait that much longer to fix our house and they will punish us (meaning demanding higher interest rates) to finance our wasteful ways. The politicians should start talking about reducing these entitlements even if it brings short term pain for long term gain. This is what I have been emphasizing always and it will have to be done sooner not push it down decades later.

Travelling abroad

While travelling inside one’s country can be stressful with all kinds of preparation and transportation and lodgings, at least the language is the same and the currency to use is the same. But when you are planning to travel abroad then whole new issues crop up. Where to go (within your means), what kind of attractions you want to see, when the right time to go etc. Once you decide to go to a particular place, then the issue of visas come up.

This can take various amount of time and the cost of visas should also be included in your allocated funds for vacation. Depending upon where you are going, you need to have enough money to convert it into local currency.Although it is not necessary since English is widely understood around the world, but it will be an added bonus that if you can learn some come terms of local language so that you are not at a loss of words if you venture into a small place where English is not understood or spoken. Although I know that going to some unknown place is a bit scary but if you are well prepared in advance, know where to go and see, treat it as an adventure and a learning experience, there is nothing like exploring different cultures other than your own.

The unthinkable now thinkable

It used to be that Public employee’ pensions and health benefits were untouchable. But now that is also on endangered. Many states trying to balance their budgets and facing billions of dollars in deficits are trying to rein in costs and any amount of money they can find that will slash their expenditures is no longer sacred. First it was the pensions and now they are attacking the health benefits that were promised when we were living high and having a party. Although I can understand that public employees make much less than private employees but times have changed and you cannot tax the already overtaxed public with more property tax increases.

Either the pensions and health benefits would have to roll back or cut or there will be layoffs since states and cities are cash strapped and unlike the Federal Government, they cannot print money or run a deficit year in and year out. Although the unions are out in force and trying to fight the reduction in pensions and health benefits but they are starting to realize that sacrifices are due and the already cash strapped public is not going to pay more taxes to support the out of control pensions and health benefits. The states are looking down on budget deficits in the billions and they are cutting to the bare bones and still can’t get out of their budget mess and since the pensions and health benefits are really the biggest expense in their budgets, the Public employees should start to brace for cuts.

Planning for a vacation-2

The place where you would be visiting is also the most important decision in planning a vacation. The further away your destination is the more you would have to spend on transportation and lodgings. And also the number of days you would plan to stay also bears a factor in the amount of money you have to spend. If you are going on your honeymoon, then you have to spend less (or more) money as compared to when you are going on with your family and kids. Then once you have decided where to go, the next part is to book your flights and hotel reservations (if you are travelling far) and if you are travelling nearby, then you can take either your car or take the train and book only your hotel.

Packing your stuff is also very stressful, since you have to decide what kind of clothes and how many you would be taking depending on period of vacation. You have to make sure not to over pack so that you are stuck with clothes that you don’t want. The destination you are going and on what climate you would be travelling bears on what kind of clothes you would be taking. Everybody knows that colder climate needs warm cloths and vice versa. All this vacation planning needs considerable amount of money that you would have to allocate in advance and is additional to all the other expenses that you incur day to day. This amount of money will also include cash that you have to take with you to spend on your tours, park entrances and other attractions which is besides the transportation and lodgings amount that you have already paid in advance. Believe me we have gone through this and I believe that you will agree with me that the word vacation sounds nice, unless you start planning for one.

Planning for a vacation

It is always a stretch when you are starting or even thinking about a vacation. But for most Americans and most of the people all over the world it is a ritual that when the New Year starts, they start to think about vacation and where to spend it. If you single that is not a problem that much since if you go alone (rarely) you can decide on one destination that’s about it. But when you have to go with your friends and family, that is a whole different situation. With friends you have to decide which the party city is and where you can enjoy the most as a single person. But with your spouse and family then you have to make a collective decision.

And if you have kids, then it is a whole new story, since every kids has this favorite place to go to even if they have gone there once. It is really hard to come to a decision when each of the family members have their own idea of where to go. The kids who are small don’t have much choice but the ones who enter the kindergarten and above, then you have to really convince them that the place you have decided will be much fun than the one you visited before. Usually all this decision making boils down to how much you have budgeted each year for vacation time. Again if you and your partner are only there, then the money allocated would be less than when you have kids.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The New European Foreign Policy

A news article stated recently that since the creation of a new Post of European foreign policy in 2009, it has been struggling to give it a combined European voice to world event just like the United States but it is having a hard time finding one. Although the post has been created, but each individual country has its own foreign policy and they don’t want to give the new European Foreign “Minister” enough power to speak for them. For example the biggest crisis was the Egyptian democracy movement but no less than three European foreign ministers voiced completely different reaction to the events happening in Egypt. It will take a long time if ever to give a combined European voice to foreign relation matter since each European state want to jealously guard their turf and not to outsource it to some European Bureaucrat in far off place.

This is the central problem with the whole European Union. They may be European in nature with shared religion and boundaries but they still think in terms of individual countries and nationalities. Will this ever change, only time will tell but looking at the history, it does not bode well for them since the bond of nationalities and belongingness to one ethnic group is too overwhelming that the dream of having one European State with everything delegated to a central authority would have to take more than just shared currency.

The change from within-Egypt and Tunisia

The end finally came in Egypt as that country’s President resigned and the Military took over (temporarily). Although only one day before, the former President was vowing to stay on till the next elections this year but the next day, he abruptly resigned in the face of massive protests. So after Tunisia, Egypt was the next Arab government where the long reigning ruler succumbs to the will of the people. Despite the best (or half hearted) efforts of the western government and Arab governments to propel the former President of Egypt, it was ultimately the people of Egypt who made the decision to get rid of the 30 year old regime.

Despite the more than one billion in U.S. aid to that country, the people are still poor and jobs are scarce. There is no accountability of where these billions go. People in the Arab world (especially the ones with large populations and less money to go around) are fed up with their governments. They want somebody to solve to their day to day problems. They want fresh faces and they want accountability. All these protests would not happen if it were not started in Tunisia which was lack of jobs and opportunities. And these changes came from within without outside help. It just shows that revolutions are created by events when people are not happy with their situations and they become determined to bring about a change with or without outside help.

Valentine's Day

So today is Valentine Day. It was supposed to be a Western Tradition but like any of these traditions; it has spread to countries where people loathe the U.S. like the Muslim countries where it has become a big tradition. Anyway, flowers rule the day today as well as the second most popular Chocolates. But for the affluent, people escape with vacation time. Also now the valentine is not restricted to two partners but also between parents and children. The other big thing is that people try to propose or get married on this day. As I said before that Valentine day was confined to western countries before but due to the marketing and shrinking of the world community due to the internet, it has now spread worldwide and many billions of dollars are spent specifically on this day.

Despite the efforts of anti American clerics and governments around the world, the excitement that this day brings has not diminished and people with different cultural and religious background are spending money on gifts for their loved ones. This just shows that if people are determined and does not affiliate a particular holiday with any religious group, the world could become a better place and an understanding can develop among different cultures.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The new Confessional app

In this digital age, where almost everything has now an app on the smart phones, this was bound to happen. A new app, reportedly with the cooperation of two priests, has been introduced through which the faithful can send messages to do their confessions remotely. As the news article stated that this is for those who supposedly don’t have time to come to church to do their confession. As was expected, the Vatican has said that this app is not right and people should come in person to do their confession. Obviously the Vatican seems to be upset since it will reduce the number of people coming to the churches and ultimately their bottom line.

But on the other side, I don’t think that people are so busy that they can forget to go to church at least on Sunday, how long it takes for the church services, maybe hour and at most two (including preparation to go out, meet people there, confession etc). This app will make them even lazier to avoid the church altogether. I don’t really want to intrude into people’s religious lives or what they do when they have spare time, but doing your confession in person would not destroy their free time and like they make time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and go to parties and vacation, one or two hours to do confession in person would not alter their lifestyle that much.

You can’t please everyone

You may or may not have heard about this expression but that is the truth and it does not only involve individuals but nation’s relationships as well.On an individual basis, whatever you do, some body would always not like you and even if you are the best citizen, there will be some body out there being jealous of your humbleness or plain just hatred, even if you don’t know that person on a face to face level. Pleasing everybody is impossible and you should not even try it since it is a waste of time and you may in the meanwhile displease somebody else in the process. Even among your immediate family, you may please your parents but not your wife and vice versa.

The same holds true with regard to relationship among nations. Some of the acts of individual nations would be looked upon favorably by other nations and some may not. Here is the same thing that you cannot and would not make an effort to please every nation. Even among neighbors,What is good for your country may be disastrous for your neighbor. All this is because the interest of every body diverges and no one cause can be agreed upon with upsetting some segments of society. So do your best on every thing and hope that your best pleases the majority of the people.

Is it right to promote homeownership too much?

The U.S. government has been promoting homeownership too much lately. Before this recession, I believe that it was okay since everybody had steady job and could have more or less afforded the houses in which they lived in. Also the main argument was that the price of the house has always historically never gone down so people were pretty much satisfied with their long term investment. But now with more and more houses going underwater (meaning people owe more money on their mortgage than the house’s worth), homeownership does not sound like a good idea to me. Owning a house is just not signing mortgage papers and getting the keys to the house. It involves lots of things that the government fails to identify.

Apart from the above, there is maintenance, landscaping, renovation, utilities, water bills, parking your cars and many more. The mortgage just covers your interests, principal and property taxes. The rest is additional expenses that people even with jobs are struggling to make due to reduced pay and job loses and overall investment losses in the economy. So now the best idea right now for people with limited means to rent and wait this recession out. Otherwise as you know I am all for real estate ownership but the costs and expenses should be explained to people so that the unrealistic and inflated expectations should be toned down regarding the appreciation and other wealth generation concepts of the real estate.

Crazy about the celebrities

I don’t know about you but I see teenagers going gaga when they see their favorite celebrities. They cry, they sometimes faint, they try to get autographs, they brag about it among their friends and what not. Now I have been a teenager too but I have never tried to go crazy about the celebrities. I use to have an autograph book but it was empty from the start and it did remain that way. But to see teenage girls going crazy on celebrities, like crying and coming from far off places just boggles my mind.

I know that celebrities are famous people but they are just like us with all the normal organs and they act like us too (when they are not in top form). Just to go bananas on them since more than one person know them or have seen them in the media is just plain whacky. And then to say that they should act like a role model to us “ordinary folks” is not even cool. You have seen how some of the celebrities act when they are in their true form, so crying over them, trying to stalk them and become crazy over them is beyond my understanding. You can meet them or see them in a different mode but that is about it and then go on with your lives.

Car obsession among celebrities

I was watching a show on MTV recently and they were showing houses of celebrities but the most prized possessions that the celebrities were proud of were their cars. And it is not the first time I have watched or heard this. There is really a craze among celebrities to buy unique, classic and expensive cars. It is like a second (or in some cases) first wife to them. Then to top it of some of the celebrities fit their cars with gizmos and accessories to make the cars more unique.

I don’t understand this craziness about the four wheelers. Maybe they have extra money to burn, maybe they were fascinated by cars when they were kids or maybe they want to one up with other celebrities. Whatever the reason, you have to see the childish joy in their faces when introducing their cars to their audiences. It is like a child showing off his or her toy when they first get it. I don’t want to sound like I am jealous or what not, but cars are cars and once you have driven it, it just becomes a routine like getting from one point to another. I guess everybody has a hobby and the major hobby of celebrities seems to be is to buy cars.

Good time to buy real estate?

Right now newspapers and websites are full of suggestions that now are the right time to buy real estate since the prices have come down to reasonable and normal levels and the interest rates are low enough. But I believe that buying real estate is always good no matter what the time. Although I can understand the higher interest rates and ridiculously high house prices, but apart from that if you do your homework, the prices would always be right for you to buy. An article came out that more and more people are cashing in their investment to pay cash for the houses to buy, although the financial advisers and experts would advise against that, but you should have a brain to figure that by yourself. You don’t need some unnecessary expense to pay to some adviser to guide you through an investment as simple as buying a house.

If you have gone through my posts since the start of my blog, I have always emphasized that buying real estate is the best investment, although not the most liquid. If I had extra money, I would buy land and farms and houses you name it anything to do with real estate, although mind you, you should be prepared to pay most of it by cash and not on mortgage since you won’t be able to get that much mortgage. But every body has a different level of risk taking, so do your homework and research before you invest in something.

Unnatural expectations of the West regarding Middle East

Since the Tunisian uprising and now Egypt, the West has been fretting about the going on revolution that is sweeping the Arab World. They want to keep their strong man so that they have to deal with one person rather than the whole parliament and so they are very slow or in some cases against the change in Status quo. The west has gotten used to dealing with one familiar face for such a long time now that they forget to groom other successors. They are afraid of the alternative. But let me get this straight, why then the West clamor or start preaching democracy when they are afraid to know what that democracy will bring about.

It is really unrealistic to expect one person to rule in one Arab country for decades on without being held accountable to their own people. How would the West feel that one of their rulers sit on them for ten to fifteen or twenty years with the same policy in place for ever? Either they should stop preaching democracy in the Arab World and keep on holding onto Cold war relics in the name of peace and stability or face the consequences when the people become so much fed up that even a hint of moderate leader would be hard to come by and then the West would be struggling to even find one person whom they could deal with.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Double standards and reality

There are always double standards when dealing with world politics. Maybe it is necessary and maybe it is not. Every country in the world, big or small have to play double standards in order to advance its own interest or see to it that they don’t get relevant in big powers game. Here I am talking about the fact that Egypt, who has been the U.S. ally for a long time have been not so secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, with U.S. knowledge. But since Egypt is our ally and so called source of stability in the Middle East, we have been looking the other way. But now with this turmoil in Egypt, the U.S. is looking hard into what to do about Egyptian ambition regarding nuclear power.

Although they have dismantled and stop working on the nuclear thing since they are signatory to the Nuclear Non proliferation Arms treaty who is to say that they don’t have ambitions, with Iran on one side and Israel on the other side, they will very much want to develop at least nuclear power and if that happens what is to stop other friendly Arab states to pursue the same. All of this is intended to say that we should stop this double standards and if we want to clamp down on the spread on nuclear weapons, we should apply it equally to every body and not selectively because today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy and vice versa.

Isn’t it time for us to care about world events

Although we do care about what goes on in the world but as a Superpower, we need to put more emphasis on world events since the world looks up to us in solving their problems. For example, during the Bosnian war, Europe was trying to solve the problem its own way but until the U.S. got involved, nothing was getting solved. Although in some places we have badly failed (for example in Somalia) but many places where our humanitarian crisis occurred, we have been the lead nations (examples are Pakistan Earthquake in 2005, The Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Haiti Earthquake, recent Pakistan floods and many more).

I can understand that American people are very busy with their own lives, but as a Superpower, we need to be the lead nation in most of the events taking place around the world and for that, we need to inject our selves in places where it not necessarily we are not needed. In this case, our media, although highlighting various world events all the time, should be emphasizing more of our responsibility towards the world, unless we and our politicians want to go back to the isolationist state (which we cannot anyway how hard we try).

False sense of Security

Before the horrible events of 9/11, we were in a false belief that since we are separated from the outside world by water and we are the superpower, we are insulated from the violent events of far off world in Asia, Africa and other trouble spots. But after 9/11, this false sense of Security has evaporated for most or maybe all of us. Airport security which was somewhat lax before 9/11 has changed dramatically, and so has every thing else like on the subways and trains and buildings, the innocence of feeling secure like a baby has been shattered completely forever and would never be the same again.

I remember the time before 9/11, that going through the airport security was not that much hassle but now you have to take off your belt, shoes, check your liquid and what not. And this is not only confined to the U.S. but all over the world the innocent world of safety is now clouded by fear over terrorist bombing and every body who looks different has become suspicious. People are basing their perception about how other people look before even meeting them. It is a shame but it is the reality and you can’t blame the people for behaving it that way. This is a whole new game and the rules have now changed forever perhaps.

There is a world out there

It is not our fault. Really. Due to our busy schedule during the week and also during the weekend doing our household chores leaves very little time to look beyond our own towns, cities and states, unless it affects us directly. Although we (meaning the U.S. government) have been involved with the outside world (beyond our borders) since the inception of our nation, but it is recently that the world events have started to affect us directly even when we are unaware of it. Before the first gulf war of the 1990s, we were pretty much insulated about the outside world but after the cold war ended, we have come face to face with direct competition with other emerging nations.

The effect of small events outside the U.S. directly affect us like higher inflation in China will affect our budget and less buying of our treasury securities will force the U.S. to raise the interest rates offered to investors (mostly foreigners) which in turn will affect rates on all things bought on credit. Our problem then is less interaction with the outside world since few of us travel outside the U.S. so we feel that outside events does not affect us directly, but with the advent of the 9/11 attacks that are no longer the case (will be discussed later). So I urge people to keep themselves knowledgeable about world events and travel more outside the U.S. to have the feel about how other people views American citizens and their government.

On the lighter side- Movies- The Book of Eli

Denzel Washington stars in this post apocalyptic world movie in which he plays a mysterious stranger walking the desolated America to reach the west and deliver a book. During his journey he meets with different characters one of who controls a town and is also looking for the same book. Plenty of action and religious material, but overall a good movie with the same usual great acting by Denzel. Also stars Jennifer Beals, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis. Recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies-Repo men

Jude law and Forrest Whitaker star in this futuristic thriller about how people can get their body organs on credit, and if they are unable to make payments, those organs are retrieved by repo men (just like cars and houses now). Jude law and Forrest Whitaker are two of those repo men, who work for the corporation and assigned to the job to retrieve the job. Every thing is going great for Jude law, when through a deliberate accident, he is injured and given an organ on credit which on his salary he cannot pay and he realizes how the other side feels when confronted with payment problems. Although an intriguing idea, this movie should be watched unrated since it is longer and much more violent than the theatrical version. Recommended for adults.

Friday, February 4, 2011


The art of cheating or copying other people’s work without giving them due credit is very old, and it has started to create a problem. Recently a University had to refuse admission to several students because their admissions essay was copied with only one line verbatim. I have also encountered case of Plagiarism. When I use to be a professor of managerial economics, I gave students to do one term paper and when it was handed over to me, not one line but whole pages were copied from news paper and not only that it was not an isolated event but I believe that several students copied the same newspaper article and submitted to me like it was nothing. They wanted to get the credit for the presentation of the paper (like laser typed, bounded etc), and I am talking to you about this incident when the internet was very young (mid 1990s).

Now with the internet being accessible, there are more reports that students are picking whole texts from sample essays from the internet. I guess that it is the nature of the competitive environment that we are in that they are under pressure to get into good schools and also of the economic environment and instant gratification that this is happening. But if the students are trying to get away with this, the educationists are not far behind in tracking and eliminating this thing. Software is available in the market which can track and scan the whole internet to find similar articles which were previously published. So word to the college bound aspirants, spend some time and create your own essays and if you are in college just try to stay away from the temptation to copy quotes, lines and articles and if you do give that article the due credit.

The Coming Budget Fights

The times are here that the budgets are being fought between the administrators and the administered (if you want to call it that way). I am talking about the mayors and the governors trying to balance the budgets and the entrenched (although honest and reasonable and fair) constituents. For example take the New York state budget, the new Democratic governor wants to cut funding to the schools and the health care system since the New York State is already under billions of dollars in deficit. But here again the opposition is coming from people who run those institutions that it is not fair. But where to get the money is the question nobody wants to answer or have completely divergent views of how to raise the revenue.

The same can be said about New York City budget which will be under stress due to less funding from the state but the holdovers want none of their budgets to be cut. It is not just one city or one state but it is happening all over the U.S. and in addition to this, the above average snows that some states have been getting have busted the snow removal budgets of many municipalities. In this economy it is as difficult to raise the revenues as cut spending which people are use to that some body would have to give in. I don’t see any pretty solution that will satisfy everybody and that is the reality.

The Global village

This world of ours has become a global village not a huge world. You can get instant updates of what is going on around the world the minute it happens. Sometimes it takes longer but not days but hours or even minutes. With social media networks and other instant media available worldwide, you can gain access to a lot of news in real time. The current events taking place in Egypt has also included a bit of how it spread through social media networks. Although the government did shut down the internet for a while, but still could not contain the protest since people found other ways to stay in touch and spread the protest.

Even without the protest, we can instantly log onto the internet and get stuff from anywhere in the world (although we have to be careful that we don’t get duped by some fake websites). Generally the world is shrinking ever faster with huge advances in technology and only an isolated person living deep inside some forest of high up in the mountains would remain aloof of what is happening in the outside world. Otherwise, if people have their way, their rights would not be trampled by dictators since they can organize protest or anything common among them easily through the internet.

The turmoil in Egypt

It has now been the seventh day since the Egyptian protestors have been demanding the resignation of their President who has been ruling them since 1981 under emergency decree. The United States here is being careful not to antagonize either side of the protest for fear of more unrest. Foreigners have been trying to flee Egypt as the situation continues to deteriorate. It all started with Tunisia and now it has spread to the largest Arab Country with no letting up. The United States is as usual trying to buy time in Egypt amid fears that anything new will not be as accommodating to the U.S. in terms of relationship with Israel and crucial support among other Arab countries.

My question here is that if that same situation happens in the U.S. for example like the current of former President is ruling the country for the last 20 to 25 years, would the American public get fed up with the same rulers or not. I believe that now the Arab people are really fed up with all the corruption and lack of jobs and high prices for their staple goods and they real want change and want somebody who can listen to their problems. Even getting more than a billion dollars a year for the last 30 or so years have not improved the lives of the Egyptian people and it won’t be for the next 30 years if the same old policies are followed. Now is the time for people to elect their own people without fear and intimidation who can listen to their problems and try to solve them.

On the lighter side-Movies-Legion (2010)

Legion is an end of the world apocalyptic movie with enough action scenes which are mostly in the dark. It stars Paul Bettany as Angel Michael who comes to earth to protect an unborn baby at an isolated diner. Its premise states that God has somehow got fed up with humanity and send a horde of angels to destroy it with Angel Michael defying and standing with humanity. Silly story concept to say the least. But if you have 90 or so extra minutes in your life, watch it otherwise you would not miss that much. Also Stars Dennis Quaid as owner of the diner and Charles Dutton as his employee.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Box

I can’t define this movie because it seems to me a little horror, a little suspense, a little drama, a little moral story. Anyways it stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple who are living pay check to pay check who receive a box from a disfigured stranger ( played by Frank Langella) who offer them one million dollars if they push the button on the box but one person whom they don’t know will die. Cameron pushes the button and it sets of chain of events which are unpredictable for their family. Good intriguing movie and Recommended.