Thursday, February 28, 2013

Working from home-The Employee Version

A few days ago, I wrote about how the people who work from home are mostly entrepreneurs who for the lack of space utilize their homes and garages to do start their business and then expand from there. As I wrote this one, the huge explosion (negative mostly) regarding Yahoo®- the online company's new policy of not allowing their employees to work from home has made many people who do work from home agitated. This included mompreneurs-moms who work from home. Most of the people were up in arms about the new policy since it casted everybody who works from home as lazy and not doing their work. I have never worked from home so I cannot say much about it but my wife has and after seeing the benefits I think that the new policy misses a point regarding working from home. The point is that some companies think that if all the employees are at work then they will work all the time and the management will keep an eye on them. Are we in school that we need to be monitored like that? What if somebody shows up just for showing the face and waste more time in the office then in the home environment? I can understand that there are distractions at home but to avail and keep this privilege the people will make sure they work harder than when they come into the office. They will still finish their work on time and even may want to work later to achieve that.

Desperate for money-2

As everybody knows by now, the cities, states and the country have pledged so much money to their citizens that they will not be able to pay in the future and that is why they keep on asking from us more just to keep their governments running on a daily basis. Same thing happens with human beings, we always need money for something, we have so many needs that what constitutes enough money is not defined. We need money for paying our bills, cars to buy, house to buy, clothes to wear and maintaining of the house and when and if we are done with that then we need to take care of our families and kids, their school and college education, and in this economy praying that after college they find a decent job as we are almost bankrupt by the time their college is done. Then even at that point we may have to support them if they find a job right away and we have to take care of our retirement (if we ever retire) and make sure we have enough in our kitty to outlast us and hopefully leave the rest to our kids. All of these things cost a lot of money and then we have to entertain ourselves and our families and hopefully give to charity (if we have anything left after all the expenses). So you can see that it is not only individuals but everybody from countries, states, cities, corporations and individuals above all are too much desperate for money and it will always happen.

Desperate for money

There may not be a single adult person in the world that is not desperate for money, and it is not only people but every institution, state, city, town, country is looking for either ways to raise money or is seeking new funds from their superior authorities. You can start from anywhere and see that everybody is crying foul about not have enough money to cover their expenses or pay for the goods that they need or not need. Take a look at schools, despite paying a ton for property and school taxes, you can always find some or all of the schools are doing fund raising and teaming up with local businesses to give extra money to schools which the state or federal government is unwilling or unable to provide. For the schools I don’t really understand where all the school taxes go that even when they get the funds, they are still short of it and are trying to raise funds in creative ways. This I have already discussed in one of my previous posts so I am not going to delve on it anymore. The same thing happens with city and state governments, they are always trying to raise taxes and other forms of revenue and then still appeal want more of it as they are not tiring of crying poor all the time. It is as if you are putting money in a bottomless money pit with no end in sight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is being busy equal to absent mindedness

Have you ever encountered who have this excuse of being busy that he/she forgot something which was very important? I have encountered many (including myself) who use this excuse to get out of situations or get mad at ourselves for being not vigilant about things that are really important. Usually you will find that mommys are the most forgetful in terms of being busy with their kids that they sometimes forget things that are important to them. Most of the time it is trivial items but sometimes it becomes so important that it becomes an issue. This happens that you are in such a hurry to do things that something will always be left behind. And often this happens when you are going out for a vacation. If it is domestic, it is fine since you can find most of the stuff in the stores or you can do without but if it is international, you really go crazy for even little things like passports, and other things since you don’t know if you are going to get the same thing that you are used to at home. So being busy does not mean that people are absent minded and careless, but there are so many things to take care of that even if you are used to multi tasking you will unintentionally forget something and then you come full circle to blaming not only yourself for being forgetful but other cases to your significant other and your kids and the whole life for leaving things behind.

What does pro or anti mean?

Yeah I need to know the answer to this question are you really all the way pro or all the way anti on any particular issue? Are you pro choice but what would you do if your own daughter decides to have an abortion during marriage, are you going to give her a choice and stay out of her decision and lose your grand child or are you going to talk her out of it. Are you anti gay but what would happen if your own son and daughter turn out to be gay are you going to shun them, embrace them, get embarrass by them or be confused. Are you anti death penalty but what would happen if God Forbid your own flesh and blood gets killed randomly, would you genuinely seek the death penalty in that case of forgive the killer out of kindness. The above mentioned questions and countless other ones are confronted by us daily during our lives and it is easier to see them as black and white and straight pro or anti of anything but if it happens to yourselves, would you act the same way. It is easier to fight for or against something you believe in when it does not affect you but once you are in the center of it, then this label comes to haunt you and you are double minded. It really takes a big man/woman to stand on some issue despite all the risks and dangers and the main test comes when you are confronted by it. So before you embrace some issue and take a stand, try to be in the shoes of that issue and see if you can withstand all the tests including yourself and then become pro or anti something.

The attraction of peace, justice, equality

No matter what your religion is or whatever you believe in, every human beings long to have peace, justice and equality in their midst. Whether they are extremists, radicals or any other kind, nobody wants to stay in perpetual state of war, injustice and inequality. I am talking this because increasingly there have been migration from the poor and war torn countries to the countries where peace, stability, justice and more or less equality in the eyes of the law prevail. And these are mostly western countries (who have no doubt achieved this after centuries of struggle). I sometimes read other countries newspaper and I have noticed that mostly poor countries and war torn one, people are trying desperately to enter the western nations legally if they can and illegally if they cannot. This urge to migrate to the west is not without hardship since people really die trying to reach the Promised Land. These people are so desperate that despite knowing all the risks and the ongoing financial crises in western countries, they risk it all to get a chance to earn some money, live peacefully and give education to their kids. This urge is so overwhelming that even if they are against the western values, they cannot help but see the good side of them which is so elusive in their countries that in some cases leaving behind their families is the only way out for them to make something of themselves and help their families monetarily back home. And this elusive lure of peace, justice and equality is not going to go anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Working from home-4

Work at home needs discipline and support from your family members so they can understand that what you are doing is for the whole family not for your personal self. Even if you are working alone initially, it is better to incorporate than to be sole proprietor (that is my preference). As you expand your business you need not have to incorporate again as you have done initially. Other than this sole proprietorship does not entail registration with any government entity (mostly you should check with your local jurisdiction about their laws and regulation) if you are doing work quietly from your home. If it is a business where you have to meet certain government regulations then it is imperative that you should incorporate. Although working from home will be tiresome to some and may feel that you are losing some of the down time but that is not the case. In this economy, it has become essential that you have a plan B, C and even D since the threat of losing your job and not finding one easily is going dramatically up and even if you have a job, the salary has not kept up with the inflation and all the inflation that comes up now and then. Even if you don’t want this sort of hard work, you should at least give it a try since there is nothing wrong with trying and if you fail, it can have an experience that is more valuable than playing it safe and moving along like the ordinary person that I see every day.

Working from home-3

Since working from home is unlike working in an office environment, you need to be clean and organized because your home office is never closed for business. Your phone (which should be separate from the house phone) can be ringing any time of day and if you have not dedicated a space for your business you will be constantly interrupted by your kids and other noises. Although you can have an internet based fax service but nowadays it is so much cheaper to get a multi function printer (preferably a laser one) which has all the functions of scan, fax, print and copier all bundled into one. Adequate supplies like printer paper and stationery should be on hand at all times since you don’t want to run out of it in the middle of a business deal. Furniture should be comfortable enough to conduct your business and if you have products which needs to be stored, either you can use your garage, basement or a storage place near your home so that you can rush out and fulfill your orders or replenish your supplies when they run out in your garage or storage area. A business license is essential since you don’t want to annoy your neighbors and your town by conducting a business without their knowledge. I would prefer that you incorporate your business (I have done mine) instead of sole proprietorship since it has many advantages (you should consult your accountant for the best form of business structure or you read about it on the internet).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Working from home-2

Although people who could not find a job or don’t have the option to work outside their house desperately try to find something on the internet which will bring steady income to their households but in the process they sometimes fall into traps where they go much deeper into debt and instead of making money, they lose it. Remember the saying if it is too good to be true it is. No work at home will be without hard work and dedication and forget about becoming rich overnight since unless you win a lottery, there is no such thing (even in that case you must be super lucky to win one). I would not touch anything even from far away if it does not involve significant amount of investment from me. By significant amount, I do not mean money but my hard work in order to earn the money I deserve. That said, working from home is easier said than done. There is much work than people think and also some kind of investment in infrastructure and equipment making a special area of your house a dedicated place where you can do all your business and where the kids are not allowed to go in at all hours. Although I know that once you have dedicated that area as business area, you will be tempted to deduct it from your taxes. I am wary of that unless you can show it to be exclusively for business, the tax people will look verily at the deduction.

Working from home

As you know that this economy really is in the dumps despite all the statistics churned out by the government showing otherwise. People are having a hard time finding job as jobs either disappear, outsource or just not there to apply for. This has given rise to working from home phenomenon. Although it is not new but some people had always wanted to work from home. And women who have to take care of their kids or newborns are especially interested to work from home and some of them have successfully transformed their work from home into multimillion dollar business and helping their family along financially. Is it fun and productive to work from home, yes and no. Yes in the sense that you have the freedom to take care of lots of home stuff but you lack the interaction and dynamic of being in a work environment. But again it is more productive if you keep yourself concentrated on your work during the time you have allocated yourself to doing your business. Distractions are not allowed in any circumstances and your house area where you have the business should only be used for business and organized accordingly. And unless you like working in your night suit, it is not better to dress as if you are going to work (which is really like going to the office in your house). Although I have my own business (which for some reason I have not yet started) but after reading so many books on home businesses and entrepreneurial, I guess I can give some valuable advice to someone wanted to work from home and make some money.

Are laws made to be broken?

This is one of the famous idioms that I have come across and it is really true. As you all know that we deal with several laws daily in our lives. Don’t go through the red signal on the road, give way to pedestrians, don’t speed, don’t do this and don’t do that. Of all the laws on the books there is bound to be a time where you violate some of them on a daily basis. It is not intentional, as a law abiding citizen will tell you but sometimes in order to comply with one law, you get caught up with another. We also know that laws are for our own benefit, but laws have been enacted because somebody somewhere did not follow the previous law or some lawmaker found out that people are violating something which will bound to hurt somebody so new laws crop up every year. But it is also true that laws are indeed made to be broken and you can see it all the time, you name the item and you will find out that you have inadvertently broken some law even if you think that it is the rational thing to do. We usually do that because either we are in a hurry or we don’t see any law enforcer (usually the Police) that will put us in trouble. I do not mean to say that laws should not be made (as it is wishful thinking) but my point is that if you make one law, you are bound to find somebody violating it one way or the other.

Should U.K. stay in the European Union?-2

Although I understand that the European Union and hence the currency is in turmoil and it is doubtful to outsiders to see if it ever be an alternative to U.S. Dollar as a reserve currency (although in some ways it is for now) but they will eventually overcome this problem as the E.U. has one of the strongest and largest economy, Germany behind it. And U.K. is not in such a great situation right now while it is integrated with Europe, how it will fare when it is out of it is anybody guess. On the other hand, Europe without U.K. seems incomprehensible and hence the push to keep it in the fold and the criticism that is accompanying it to not to go through with the vote. It will be said day if U.K. gets out of European Union altogether and the turmoil it and the European Union will face if it in fact does. I know that efforts have already started in favor and against this vote, although I still believe that staying in the E.U. is much beneficial than out. But it is also true that U.K. is a highly dynamic economy and one of the largest in the world. They will still be able to survive without European Union (see other examples of countries in Europe but outside the Union) and thrive and it is now up to the British people to decide which way they want to take their country to.

Should U.K. stay in the European Union?

I was going to write this post on the subject before but due to some other problems I was unable to and I am glad I did since over the week, the U.K. with all its austerity rhetoric could not convince one of the rating agencies to stay put on its triple A rating and it was downgraded because of the weak outlook for its economy. Although the impact of losing this top notch rating would be minimal but the blow to U.K. ego and prestige would be huge. Now apart from this unfortunate turn of events, the most urgent is the referendum on the question of U.K. remaining in the European Union and how it will affect its economy and world standing on various issues. This is really a tricky issue and the one on which the future of the U.K. is now riding on. As you all know that I just voice my opinion on things around us and this is also my opinion that U.K. should not get out of the European Union. You know what they say about in Unity there is strength, by getting out of the Union, Britain would not be consulted on major issues facing Europe and it's decision would not carry that much weight as compared to if the voices is heard in unison. The access to the European Union market would be much restricted as compared to before and cross border trades which are now free flowing may in the future be subjected to more tax.

Matters of the heart

Most of the personal decisions that we take are primarily based on emotions linked to what our heart desires not what are mind thinks is reasonable. This conclusion can be based on when you are getting married, buying a house, choosing a college and a career and many other things which you may think are based on reason but there is always a dosage of heart inserted sub-consciously somewhere. You are smart people and know that it is the case. When are getting married, you want to marry someone with whom your heart clicks not what is financially reasonable. When you are buying a house, you see many houses but when you heart sets on one, all reasonableness is out of the window. You don’t care if you can afford it or not, you want to buy it because you have become emotionally attached to it without even staying there for one day. Same thing you can see when you are choosing a college and a major. You are so hung up with college rankings and where your friends are going and what major you want to take that financial and others factors get put on the back burner when you are making that decision (the regrets come much later). I am not saying that following heart is always bad but doing so on crucial matters when you need the reason and logic the most is not the best idea. It is hard to reconcile the two when you are much emotionally involved in something but if you can take a step back and think it over, you can be glad that you made the right decision.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Playing to the audience

Have you ever notice how everybody tries to play to the audience meaning they change their views according to whom they are addressing. They can say one thing to one audience which is clearly receptive to that idea and then slightly or sometimes more significantly change their tune when addressing a completely different audience. This may be due to the fact that they want to desperately accept by their target audience or maybe they want to make everybody happy and widen their base. Any which way you see it, this creates a conflicting view of the person who is addressing the audience. Where does that person stand of some views and why does he/she have to change his/her stance every time he has to address their audience. Although everybody does that from time to time but the most notorious in this case are the politicians who say several different variations of the same thing to different audiences and then the main message gets muddled along the way. I mean if you believe in something that is right why changing it from one target to the other, let the people decide who you really are. I can understand that everybody wants to be accepted by as many people as possible but does his makes it more acceptable to other people. If you try a bit harder, an honest depiction of your stance on a certain issue being consistent throughout every target audience will get you more approval rather than create confusion in the minds of the people and then you are not accepted as honest by anyone.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freedom of Religion

We are fortunate enough to be living in a country where freedom of religion is guaranteed constitutionally. No matter what your religion is or no religion, you are guaranteed to practice it without any harassment from any governmental or non governmental entity. This freedom is cherished more by people who have been persecuted by in their native countries for their beliefs. I really don’t understand that who gave the right to anyone to interfere in the religious beliefs of others if it is not harming or threatening anybody. Religion is a private matter and it should remain so, if someone believes in one thing which may or may not be right in the eyes of other person, he/she does not have the right to make them put on the righteous way as they deem fit. If somebody is going to hell, why does it have to bother other person, the fewer people there are in heaven, the better. That said there are certain countries where the majority feel threatened by the tiny religious minority and they persecute them to the extent that either they forcefully convert them to the majority religion or make them flee their native and ancestral land for the safety of foreign lands. This is really pathetic and shows the narrow mindedness and myopic view of the majority who can't accept any views different than theirs. That is why despite all the propaganda against the Western countries about their moral decay, many people in third world countries long to go to these places where they are pleased to practice any religion without fear of being persecuted. I don’t have to name countries as the U.S. government publishes a list of countries based on the relative freedom to practice religion. All I can say is everybody has the fundamental human right to belong to whatever religion they have chosen for themselves and this right should not be taken by anyone on any pretext.

The disaster that was the cruise ship

Recently a cruise ship hit the disaster territory and all hell broke loose on the ship. As stories started to come out about non working toilets and spoiled food, it was a PR disaster for the company also and as I was reading the details of the hapless customers I was thinking here comes the lawsuit and to no surprise, a few hours after hitting the coast of Alabama, the first lawsuit was filed against the company and I definitely believe that more will come as anger starts to resurface for people who suffered the agony of being on a cruise ship without basic necessities. I feel for those passengers as I can't imagine what they have gone through during their ordeal on a non working cruise ship. Although a $500 payment and free next trip through the cruise liner was announced as a compensation but I don’t think that same people would travel again anytime soon with that cruise liner. Now although it was a nasty experience I am sure for all the people but cruise ships (when they are working) are a great way to travel. I have traveled via a cruise ship northward towards Canada a while ago and I fondly remember it and term it the best vacation I had in my life. Although we were at sea, but it never felt that way with ample amount of food and entertainment on board and docking at various ports was actually more fun as we got to see many new places on one trip without paying much extra. So even with this bad experience in mind, I still encourage people to take a cruise vacation once in their lifetime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-Sinister (2012)-Ethane Hawke

Horror/Mystery movie about a crime writer who moves into a house and finds a lost footage tape and discovers that the previous residents have been murdered mysteriously. Good story and plot and scary but not gory. Recommended for horror fans.

On the lighter side-Movies-Argo (2012)-Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck stars as a government agent tasked with getting six American Hostages out of Iran during the Iranian Hostage crisis of early 1980. Good plot and acting supposedly based on a true story. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Skyfall (2012)-Daniel Craig

A completely different bond movie with James Bond trying to catch an enemy within MI (the British Foreign Intelligence Service) who is targeting the agency and its head M. Minimal action and lots of talk, you will be surprised by how much it is completely opposite to the bond movies of yesteryears. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Moonrise Kingdom (2012)-Bruce Willis

Weird and cute movie about two young lovers who run off together and the search that ensues in this 1960s based movie shot on an isolated island off New England Coast. Also stars Bill Murray and Edward Norton. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Dark Knight Rises (2012)-Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway

Great movie sequel to the Dark Knight series showing how Batman comes out of forced retirement and combat his nemesis Bane who is hell bent on destroying Gotham by way of a Nuclear Weapon. A must see. Highly Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Night at the Museum-2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)-Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson

Fun, entering sequel to the blockbuster movie about exhibits coming to life in a Museum. This time, Ben Stiller is an inventor, who has quit is night guard job at the Museum but still is nostalgia about it and had to rescue the exhibit when they are shipped to Smithsonian Museum. Recommended

Friday, February 15, 2013

Can anyone be

I said maybe because what Amazon is doing is being done by dozens of other websites too like overstock, and other smaller sites but what Amazon had is that they were the first one to come in and they have massive economies of scale and a recognizable name which makes it easier for them to raise cash and draw more customers to their site. You will need to start small and then build up your business but even if you aspire to be the next Amazon, by the time you have done it the original Amazon may have gone too far to be caught by anyone. You can still try to make it big but only in some areas which they are not dominant but again you will need massive amounts of capital for that including starting where you put your merchandise till the time they are sold meaning the warehouse. And as you well know, they have massive amounts of cash just lying to be invested and they can experiment with that money without the fear of loss. Additionally they may also have massive lines of credit and investment and connections with top manufacturers. So in theory you can still compete with Amazon but maybe you would have to a steep learning curve in doing it since they are in the business for so many years that you need many years just to catch up to today's Amazon. So instead of discouraging you not to take on the number one online retail website in the world, you can still pursue to be number three and beyond ( number two is still the biggest one but since they are way behind Amazon, you may need massive backup to catch up to them but you can still can).

Can anyone be like Amazon?

That is the question everybody has been asking since they have become such a dominant player in the online business that everybody is trying feverishly to compete with it. They started small (as every internet business should do initially) selling books and now they are the number no. 1 online retail site in the world and their dominance does not end there. They have also bought where they thought that they had some competition or some area where they were weak and now Amazon is just a name for numerous websites under their brand name each with its own name and identity. And it is just the books that they are dominant but everything almost imaginable, they are competing on the basis of price and less overhead costs since they are online with only the warehouses and the website to operate. They are also active in streaming media content and giving tough time to big box retailers since Amazon does not have to maintain big stores and pay all the overhead costs associated with it. Apart from this they have created their own hardware and they are big in cloud computing having massive spare server space where other massive sites use it for their own business. So Amazon continues to be the far more dominant player and other websites are just trying to follow it as best possible as they can. Now the question is can anyone be like Amazon with its massive cash and revenue and profits? The answer can be maybe.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is ethnicity more powerful than religion?-4

Even when you belong to one religion, perceived prejudices and superiority complexes creep up blatantly one and then and then you start to think that even when I pray the same way, I would never be accepted as them since I don’t belong that region and that is the source of the conflict. Religion was supposed to be the unifying factor for all humanity and it is not the fault of the religion but the people following it who fall prey to ethnicity, regionalism and statehood. It was not meant to be this way as everybody is human and one should be judged on their characters but even if you have the best character, it does not seem to matter as you don’t belong to "them". You may be the best person in the world in terms of your character and a model citizen but that does not cut it as you are not the same as "them". Add to this, then humans become victim of racism as black, white, brown, Asian, Latinos etc. So when even you are born in that particular region you need to be hundred percent like them otherwise then the natives start to ask you where did you come from originally like where you parents or grandparents were born like this ethnicity does not stop with you but has to go back to so many hundreds of years but maybe from the start of time. This is completely disgusting but it is happening and that is what I wanted to prove that ethnicity is far more powerful than religion and it will remain so.

Is ethnicity more powerful than religion?-3

Now this Asian ethnicity is quite diverse and everybody tries to fiercely protect their turfs than ever. They really don’t care if they are white, black, brown, Christian, Arab or Muslim, all they know that they belong to a certain geographical area and they are superior to others in some sense without knowing what that is Israelis think that they are superior because they are the chosen people and the Arabs think they are superior because they have oil and money, and then the Arabs discriminate against their poorer co-religionists because they don’t have money and then Arabs discriminate against other Arabs because they don’t have enough money than others. Even in countries which seem to the outside world as intact are teetering on the verge of collapse. Pakistan is a country based on many nationalities and those nationalities hate each other to the point that they don’t think themselves as one nation but from one province or region. India has multiple ethnicities in it and they are speak several languages but for some miracle reason, India has managed to stay intact and put a lid on separatist movements. In the Far east, the Chinese and Japanese are at loggerheads on some island issue with the rest of the East Asian looking haplessly. The Japanese think they are superior and somehow don’t belong to Asia because of their technological prowess and the Chinese feel superior because of thousands of year of history behind them. Then there are Cambodians, Vietnamese, Thais, Koreans, Indonesian and Malaysian who have their own issue with ethnicities.

Is ethnicity more powerful than religion?-2

Now we go to Italy. There is always tension between North and South as the North area has its own secessionist party ready to secede from the South part of Italy as they accuse them of being lazy. Then the Belgians have been have tensions lately as Flanders in the North accuse the mainly French speaking south of being lazy and feeding off the hard work of the Flanders and that nation has been on the edge of breaking up many times before. The same goes with Great Britain as it has a long history of Northern Island trying to go its separate way and now Scotland already on the verge of having a referendum on independence in a few years time. Also in Canada there has always been a tension between the English speaking Canada and the French Province of Quebec. They are always on the verge of being split in two as the French are more adamant to have their own country but always stop short of having an independent vote. Although ethnicity does not play as much a role in South America as it does in other regions of the world but still if you see the map, almost all are Christian nations with different nationalities and hence ethnicities and every nation wants to identify as such (which you can see the tension when the football (soccer as it is called in the U.S. happens). Now off to Africa and we have already seen that a big country of Sudan was divided into two as the south did not want to stay with proper Sudan. But it is in Asia that you see the biggest ethnicity pride and conflict based on it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is ethnicity more powerful than religion?

Based on the looks of it, it seems that it is indeed far more powerful than religion. Why I say that, just look around you, people with the same color and religion belong to different nationalities and discrimination abounds in almost every country. Even within a country, ethnicity triumphs religion hands down and that makes it a potent force in nationalist parties to exploit it and try to have their own territories. You don’t have to go far away to see that. Just look at Europe, same religion and same color but different countries and ethnicities even while the individual countries try to foster a unique national identity, it fails sometimes because people are so attached to where they belong from rather than what religion they are following. I will give you a few examples below which will prove my point beyond doubt that indeed ethnicity is more powerful than religion (and will remain so). Let’s start with Europe and then we will go region by region to see how I can prove this logic. In Spain the recession has created a divide between northern Catalonians and the rest of the Spanish people. Although the language is slightly different but people still try to differentiate them from the less prosperous proper Spain. Some of them are adamant to go their own way. Now most of the Spanish people are catholic Christians but that does not deter people from expressing their ethnicity based on their characteristics.

The shock treatment

You know that I am firm believer that everybody should be subject to incremental amount of pressure so that the effect can hold completely like gradually increasing the taxes, or increasing spending or cutting taxes and many things in life that you can think of but sometimes you really need a shock treatment in order to bring unruly or completely stubborn people to their senses. Anything incremental would not do since these kinds of people can't absorb incremental punishments or treatment and they need to be subject to one big shock effect so that they come to their senses immediately instead of wasting everybody's time. Like giving a good amount of punishment for a crime instead of giving them probation, suspended sentences, a slap on the wrist or just pardon done does not make them realize their mistakes. Now I believe you must be getting confused about what I am talking. I am talking about immediate and effect doses of punishment, incentives and the like to people so that the effect can come fast on people. Although I know that it will come to be called cruel and unusual but that is the point. It is neither cruel nor unusual since the treatment will come right away. You would not jump around the solution since it will be effective the first time around. Any times the incentive, punishment is big enough the results will come faster instead of waiting for longer time and you would not be sure of the immediate effects.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is evil that powerful?

I have seen hundred of horror and other movies and usually we see in horror movies that evil is hard to finish off. By the look of numerous movies based on evil character, they keep on giving us sequel after sequel and even if those evil characters are shot, hacked to death or try to kill in any number of ways, they keep on living. I know it is the movies but that is what the film makers think that evil will not die. But is evil that powerful that you cannot kill it eventually? I know that as long as this world remains there is always going to be a battle between good and evil and it sometimes seems that evil does win in some cases. The only way that evil can be defeated is self control. There is no other way to defeat evil in my opinion. If you have self control, no amount of temptation can sway you to do evil deeds. Now not everybody does not have that kind of self control (including myself) but we can strive for it. That is the test we need to pass minimally. If you see that evil can be overwhelming than all you can do is to walk away from the situation. And the biggest battle is the temptation not to fall for the wrong stuff and even if you do try to come out of it as fast as possible. Anger is such a part of the evil empire that if you can control your anger you can save yourself from the temptation of doing evil deeds. I know that this talk is getting heavy and become philosophical and that is why it is better to end it now than to be more messed up in your head.

Do we need this many lawyers?

As if we did not have enough lawyers, now the news comes that they are opening more law schools to cater to some invisible body of students who are going to pay them top money for less jobs. Since the recession started, the jobs of lawyers are becoming less and less, add to that the software available on the market to deal with the basic law stuff and outsourcing of some law work to India and other countries makes this time to add law schools particularly precarious and ill advised. Although, colleges and universities strive to have law schools as it increases their perceived prestige but to not see the reality behind the lawyer’s joblessness is willful ignorance or negligence. The more law schools you have and more lawyers you graduate, the fewer jobs there will be and the more prestigious schools will always come on top and their graduates will always get the best jobs leaving the rest of the dwindling number of jobs to less prestigious school graduates. Add to that people take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loan to go for the law school and then not finding a job is heartbreaking and frustrating but as I said in my previous posts about the degrees, the individual have to do extensive research to make sure that if they are going to take out loans then those loans should be put to good use and not chase after jobs which are facing unprecedented upheavals in the market (like the lawyers).

Doubts over a college degree-2

Now the individual responsibility is to do your research and see that what majors are in demand (I know that by the time they graduate, those in demand majors may change) and check to see that even if you major in one of them would you be able to pay back your student loans or withstand a slowing down of the economy or even work for yourself. Although college degree has become essential but vocational education should not be overlooked (which I have mentioned before in other posts). Although I also know that the society has not still comes to grip with having their sons and daughters do manual labor and earn more money than sitting behind the desk. But one thing is for certain that vocational training like air-conditioning, heating, car repair, electrician, plumbing and the like will never be out of demand. Although I would not advocate any particular degree to pursue but if you have seen surveys, there is a consistent trend of having practical majors, like economics, engineering, business, information technology and as mentioned above you can go the alternative route and go for your vocational training in multiple fields and earn much more and consistent income throughout your life. If the job market was good, there would not have been much doubt about getting the college degree but the scarcity of jobs have disillusioned the young folks and their parents and it is time to think how to either create jobs in every field imaginable and if not possible then stir the potential college students toward employable and marketable majors or altogether vocational training.

Doubts over a college degree

Due to a bad economy and soaring college costs, doubts have started to creep up regarding the value of going after a college degree. I can understand the situation (since I have an MBA but have never been able to utilize it) and I also understand the frustration of the parents and the students who take out huge student loans in anticipation that a college degree, as hyped by everybody, will be ticket to success and riches and eventually a job once they complete it and then able to pay off their students loans, have not actually realized as promised by many. Now the question is what type of college degree does the market demands. As everybody knows (or chose not to know) not every college degree is created equal. Some pays you more than others and some are more in demand than others. Then there is the case that college degrees have become so common that people will college degrees are working on positions that require high school diploma. As you know that everybody has to pay their bills and so these college graduates are working in whatever jobs they can get but it makes up a pretty frustrated lot. I know that some people go after their passion and pursue majors which do not have a demand in the market and then complains start pouring in that college degree is not worth all the debts and hype that was promised. But are the complains really that addressable and should the entire fault be placed on the public and not on individual responsibility (which is always missing somewhere)?

On the lighter side-Movies-Silent Hill: Revelations (2012)

The first one was much better and this unsatisfying and inconclusive sequel to the Silent hill is not even horror enough for horror fans. In it a girl keeps on having recurring dream about her father getting kidnapped and send to an alternative universe called Silent Hill. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The man with the Iron Fists (2012)- The RZA, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu

Good martial arts movie about a blacksmith in ancient China who comes into action to defend himself and the villagers when threatened by some hooligans. Recommended

Monday, February 11, 2013

A new twist on Drone attacks

Just when you thought that drone issue will remain under wraps, word has come that the U.S. congress wants to have a say on how the drones are conducted. This came to light when a memo was leaked (intentionally or unintentionally) that said the drones will target Americans with sufficient information that they are part of some terrorist organization. As you know that every American citizen is accorded a due process of law before being convicted but with this new memo, it seems that a new twist on drone attacks has evolved. Although I believe that the White House must have consulted their constitutional lawyers before outlining this new strategy and as the comments are coming in, there is mixed response to it. Some believe it is right and some believe that it is subject to courts scrutiny. As you well know that in my blog I only give my opinion based on existing facts and claim not be a lawyer or experts on any law. Here I also want to give my opinion on it, notwithstanding what the constitution says, I believe that if a person has committed terrorist acts against his/her own country it is part of treason and as you well know that in many countries treason is punishable by death. Now the question is if the U.S. government has enough evidence to kill them without due process, as I have said before that we are in a new kind of war and by the time we capture that person (instead of killing them) many innocent people would be killed since the terrorists will do anything to evade capture. I have not see the leaked memo but based on the news in the papers and on the internet I am basing my opinion on that nothing more or less than that. (Disclaimer: It is my opinion based on information I have read in the newspaper and it is should be construed as an opinion of a citizen of the United States).

The end of Saturday Delivery of Mail

Although the U.S. postal service cannot unilaterally declare that the Saturday mail will end at a certain time or end at all, but after months of waiting for U.S. Congress to act on its request to stabilize its finances and stop its increasing debt and hearing nothing from them in this regard, it finally decided that in order to put pressure on Congress to do something about its increasing losses, they have decided that the Saturday delivery of first class mail (and not the Packages) will end in August of this year. It is a good decision or bad decision, time will tell but in order to reduce its losses, they had to find some way to streamline the Postal system. Although it will also affect me but not by much, I support this position of the Postal System. I for one use the internet most of the time to pay my bills and it is rare that I will send a bill by mail and if I do, I make sure that I have enough time to mail them out so that it reaches before the deadline of the bill due date. It will hurt those people who expect their bills by mail and also pay by mail but it can affect certain businesses which are dependent on sending and receiving their mail even on Saturday. As packages will still be delivered and mail can still be put in the mail box (though will be delivered on Monday), I guess that as the U.S. Postal system does not get the tax payers money, they will have to start running it like a business whether the Congress like it or not (and most probably they will not).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The huge untapped Internet Marketplace

You can see everyday how the entrepreneurs are discovering ways to improve and take advantage of the internet. Be it social media, ecommerce or anything which can be done more efficiently and quickly is being done on the internet. Especially the ecommerce market is so big that you can find endless sites doing pretty much about anything. But if can say that it has already been done or is being done now does not mean that you cannot jump and find variations of the same stuff and add your own perspective into it. That is what I tell my friends and they say that it is already been done but then I say there is always room for one more and at least we can try it but they don’t buy it (maybe strangers will be more convincing or going it alone will be fine since you don’t need somebody who does not share your vision or passion for doing something). There are more than one big box store out there and true some are making more money than others but still they are making money and differentiating themselves in certain ways that makes them click with their customers. Same thing is with the internet, every store on the internet started small and with the passage of time they grew. And with barriers of entry into the internet market place is very low, you can definitely make your own small impact (as many people are already doing). So we have just scratched the surface of the internet and it is in the infancy and the earlier you get into it, the more money you can make. The only thing you need is a little bit of cash and hard work (lots of it).

The illusion of peace between India and Pakistan

Apart from hotspots like Syria, Israel-Palestinian conflict, Egypt, Mali and China-Japan island disputes, few Americans know that one conflict which can ignite Passions between two nuclear powered nations India and Pakistan is the Kashmir Issue. Every time somebody tries to mend the relations between these two hostile nations, some small conflict erupts along the international border and they are back to square one. Kashmir issue is a long standing issue and I believe that as also the Palestinian conflict, the parties involved don’t want this conflict resolved. It is for the very fact that if it is resolved then there would be no need for maintaining huge armies on both sides and the money going to the armed forces will be spent on the welfare of those people. India is at least ahead of Pakistan in terms of economy and they have to money (on surface) to spend on their armed forces and Pakistan in trying to keep up with that rely increasingly on nuclear power. You can really create an illusion of peace between India and Pakistan, but the fact is that there will never be peace between those countries since there are too many people involved in sabotaging any chance of peace since their politics thrive on hostilities. And also the several decades of indoctrination of hatred that has fed the minds of hundreds of millions of people will not be erased for ever. So in spite of small efforts by some people, it is in the interest of people in power in both countries to show the illusion of peace but be ready for war at all times.

Debt rich and cash poor

This is what I call myself and I believe tens of millions of people in the U.S. and European countries and others where debt is king. People really have a huge amount of debt and that is what they carry for most of their lives (or even beyond that) and cash is king when you have it but if you are constantly short in your checking account, even there you can be cash poor. Debt has its positive sides and negative sides. Strangely people will ask how debt can have positive sides. For example, as you all know debt has to be paid eventually, but if you cannot take on debt you would not be able to afford a house, car and other finer things in life. We go into debt so that we can have things now and hope to pay it off during the course of the loan. Although I hate debt with a passion (as it limits your ability to enjoy life and stress is a major factor of it) but if I don’t take on debt, I don’t have the ability or the capacity to pay for a house and car and other things. I hope to achieve one day be on the opposite side that is being debt poor and cash rich but until that time I am debt rich (and drowning in other people’s money) and cash poor (since all my cash go to pay off my debt).

On the lighter side-Movies-Hamilton: Unless it’s about your daughter (2012-Swedish)

This is the second part of the Movie Hamilton in which special agent's Hamilton's goddaughter is kidnapped and when the Swedish authorities don’t do anything, Hamilton goes into action to rescue her. Spy thriller from Sweden, it is a good movie, a different one then the usual American fare. Recommended for curiosity sake.

On the lighter side-Movies-Lawless (2012) – Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy

Violent story about brothers in the prohibition era Virginia cashing in on the bootlegging business and making a killing off it by selling booze to everybody. Recommended with caution, enjoyable but bloody.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Can Science explain everything?-2

Science has until now not figured out how different diseases are to be cured and how human body reacts to each of them. I can tell from my personal experience that when my father was sick, the doctor was saying that lets try this medicine and see how his body reacts. This is the level of Science we have achieved that the Scientists keep on proudly proclaiming that everything can be explained with science. Even when one of your loved ones or somebody else is really sick, the doctor (a highly learned and practical science person) says that he has done whatever he can with the drugs and now it is time to pray. So instead of being arrogant, the scientists need to be humble and say that not everything (yet) can be explained with simple scientific formula. We as human beings keep on hoping that there is some scientific explanation to everything in the Universe but there are some things which cannot be explained by science no matter what kind of logic we use, science is not the be all and end of everything. We can use science in explaining some things but to totally rely on science for everything does not cut it and you need to go beyond science to explain certain things which defies logic, reasoning and scientific explanation. In explaining something we should use science in addition to non scientific deduction in order to come to some conclusion. Or in some cases non scientific methods may be the preferred and the only way to explain certain phenomenon.

Can Science explain everything?

Now here is the question that people always ask (but not so the scientists) is it ever possible that Science can explain everything what is happening in our lives and outside it. Can it really explain what is beneath the sea and out in space. The scientists go out of their way to say that science can explain everything but can it really do it. The theories that we have heard in yesteryears are being challenged on routine basis. The Scientists keep on coming up with absurd ideas like recently they came out with a theory that a supreme being does not exist. How can they be so sure when they have not come up with a cure of cancers and other diseases. Every time, when the scientists declare that a disease has been eliminated, another more resistant strain of virus comes that the regular drugs can treat and you are scrambling to take control of it. We as human beings have not yet conquered the sea which we have co existed for thousands of years and have not figured out what is really out there and if we are alone or are there other creatures less or more intelligent than us. In fact, Science if can see it is still in its infancy constrained by the limits of the human mind and the human mind does not have the capacity of imagination of what is really out there. Although Science has indeed progressed far more in the last hundred years than many other centuries, but still we cannot explain by way of science.

Can controversies make you famous?

There was a time when being nice and saying the right words were the norm but you say something that is now the conventional norm in the society and you create a controversy and gets noticed faster than just being a normal person. The same goes with the crime scene, if there is no crime in the city and everything is peaceful but even one crime gets more attention than all the peace in the city. Controversies do get a lot of attention since majority of the people don’t agree with it or are just plain offended by the comments and acts of the individual person or a company. You do some outrageous stuff and put it on the internet and even if you are nothing, you become something either because it is outrageous or people are not used to seeing or reading about it. Although controversies can also make you a target of some disturbed person but that is where the story lies, you get more attention than being a plain simple ordinary looking fellow. In my blog I have also tried to steer clear of controversial topics but I believe that people crave for some controversy or something out of the ordinary in order to get some attention. I have many topics in my mind that can create or generate controversy not only in the U.S. but also throughout the world but I try to avoid it and give a balance opinions on things but you may have noticed that now I have started to put my opinion on some of the controversial topics and hopefully it will continue in the future because being a normal person does not get you noticed or as I my case some hits on your blog.

On the lighter side-Movies-Flight (2012)-Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who lands a troubled airplane and initially is hailed as a hero but then disturbing evidence points to his being alcoholic and a drug user. Great acting By Washington and good story line. Recommended

Monday, February 4, 2013

Afraid of their own government

The people in the west and advanced industrial nations are lucky enough that they elect their own government, elections are held on time and they chose their representatives and those representatives are beholden to their constituents and work for them tirelessly. But there are several places on earth that people are afraid of their own government so much that the fear of being thrown in jail or tortured or killed for what they are doing or the beliefs that they have about certain things can stunt the growth of those citizens. Should those governments be considered legitimate who rule with fear rather than accountable to their citizens? These governments have incorporated the tool of fear and repressive tactics to legitimatize their rule and believe that ordinary people are not capable of rational decisions and thus have to be treated in a certain way. But this fear goes both ways, the citizens afraid of their own government and the government in turn afraid of their people but in that case, governments can intimidate and harasses their citizens but only to a certain point. Unless people are made aware of their rights, they will continue to afraid of their own government but how can they be aware of that when most of these citizens are worried more about surviving day to day (which is again the fault of the government) then to be worried about what rights they should have and what they can expect and demand of their government. These governments only know how to rule with fear and this fear of intimidation stunts the growth of nation’s economies. I don’t have to tell you which governments are doing it, just research and you will find a number of countries fall in this category. It is a shame but it is happening and slowly and surely changes are and have been coming when the atmosphere of this fear will be eliminated.

Time heals everything or does it?

There is a saying that Time heals everything and indeed it does but does it really. With the passage of time, the pain can be lessened but not entirely forgotten and any type of event can trigger repressed memories or pain and you are back to square one. I am saying that when somebody recovers from a traumatic experience, he/she can go on living but any event even remotely related to that experience can bring back harsh or painful memories. But there are some events where time will never heal how you feel. I am talking about loss of my father which I remember every day and the pain of which increases every time I hear about people living longer than what my father lived. Also seeing older people enjoying their dads bring back memories. The other big event that time does not heal is the loss of a child. You can say whatever about moving on but ask somebody who has loss their child in any kind of event before their natural life and you will see that time has not healed anything in their lives. This I believe is the most devastating event that a person has to go through and the time factor does not heal the loss of memories left behind by that child. You cannot just move on when one loses their child, because the pain it causes can only be felt by that child's parents and to a lesser extent the extended family and any event involving a child brings back your own aspirations about what the child was supposed to be at that age. There can be other events in ones lives which can be uniquely to that person and in their cases time will never heal what they have lost.

On the lighter side-Movies-Saw 3D (2010)

More of the same with Jigsaw movie series ending with more brutal and bloody killings. A writing falsely claiming to be the survivor of Jigsaw gets trapped with his wife in this game while the Police look for the accomplice of Jigsaw. Very brutal. Not for the squeamish. Recommended for gore and horror fans. All others stay away.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Who will bailout the supposedly rich nations?

We keep on hearing that the richer nations and financial institutions keep on bailing poor and not so poor nations in order to avoid the collapse of the world economy but has anybody realized that what would have if in the worst case scenario, these same nations go into economic crisis, who would then bail them out. This is the nightmare or doomsday scenario, the world is already under huge debt and in this case it will be the total collapse of the whole economic system of the world. The so called world richest economies are also the world's most highly indebted ones and I believe they are in no position to pay their debts as witnessed by the rollover of the debt by issuing new debt to cover only the interest of the principal owed. I don’t seem to be the alarmist but the U.S. and Japan which are considered the richest have the most debt and are in no shape to pay their debt unless they inflate themselves out of it which will create its own problems. And the world top financial institutions like the IMF and the World bank are already dependent on the U.S. and Japan to pay for their operating budget and funding, so who else is going to bail them out. I am afraid no one and this is what my point is that there is no one who will ultimately bail these nations out once the confidence of the investors in their ability of the governments to pay back what they owe is eroded or destroyed.

On the lighter side-Movies-Naked Soldier (2012-Hong Kong)- Sammo hung

Martial arts mayhem from Hong Kong about a girl who is kidnapped and trained as an assassin whose latest assignment is to kill her father she never knew. Good story line and action. Recommended for action fans.