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Two Weeks After Election, Republican Focus Remains On Everything But Jobs & Economy

It has been two weeks since Republicans made significant  gains across the country on Election Day.

The focus of the election was jobs and the economy. 56% of folks in a recent CBS News poll say the most important issue for the new Congress is jobs and the economy.

Yet as millions of Americans still deal with unemployment and underemployment, the Republican focus is on everything but jobs and the economy. Where incoming Republican governors have addressed jobs, it is to kill jobs by refusing already approved federal dollars for high-speed rail infrastructure projects.


* Republicans in control of the House of Representatives are planning nearly 300 investigations of President Obama. The last time a Republican House went after a Democratic President, it led to a destructive impeachment process. What excesses will we see this time?

* Newly-elected Republican Governors are killing high-speed rail projects that will create jobs. In Wisconsin, soon-to-be Governor  Scott Walker received large amounts of campaign cash from road builders who have a direct interest in stopping rail projects. Wisconsin had an unemployment rate of 7.8% in September.

* The Republican President of the Kentucky State Senate, David Williams, declared his allegiance to the Tea party and said  he supported repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment allows for the direct election of  U.S. Senators. Mr. Williams believes that returning election of Senators back to state legislatures would move our nation back to the limited measure of popular sovereignty first written into the constitution.  Many Tea Party supporters back this position.

Do you want to give your vote for United States Senator away? This is Tea party extremism in action.  In September of 2010, Kentucky had an unemployment rate of 10. 1%. Yet what the Republican President of the State Senate is discussing is no longer allowing the public to vote for U.S. Senate.

* In Texas, Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in the state legislature are considering pulling out of Medicaid and out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is being considered even though 3.6 million Texans use these programs. You can be certain that many in Republican rural Texas use these programs. Is this what these folks were voting for earlier this month? We’ll see about that when people find out that benefits are being cut.

What about all the people in Texas who work in jobs connected to health care? With such drastic cuts in funding, where will these people find work? Isn’t it good and honest work to be employed in health care so people can get better and go on with life? Where will we have any jobs in this society if we go after everything?

The leader of the U.S. House Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann, spent her time spreading a lie that President Obama’s trip to India was costing 200 million dollars a day. This assertion was simply not true.

What exactly  is the point of undermining the President of the United States as he goes to visit a globally important nation like India?

For Republicans in Washington and in states across the nation, this election was not about jobs and the economy. Instead, the election was about extreme ideology that puts the jobs and the health of the American people at risk.

Anger at Washington is not going to get you a job. It is not going to pay the bills if you get sick. The Republican bait-and-switch is in already in evidence. These folks have no constructive thoughts.  It is the same anger-driven politics that led to President Clinton’s impeachment and to the placement of Sarah Palin on the national ticket two years ago.

It’s up to all of us to be aware of what is taking place, and to make sure that Congress is focused on jobs and the economy and not on sideshow hearings and ideological tangents.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excellent Storm Drain Cover

Here is an excellent storm drain cover I saw in Downtown Houston.

You see this storm drain was made in India.

Those folks have to eat as well.

You see it has an illustration of a pelican and of a fish.

Anything you drop down that drain ends up in Galveston Bay and might kill fish and pelicans.

This is a useful lesson. You do something bad and you don’t know who or what it will impact somewhere along the line.

Seek to do good. As hard as that be at times.

Here is a history of storm drainage in Calhoun County, Michigan.

From that history—

“The history of drainage in Michigan is deeply rooted in our State’s abundant rainfall, in its diverse terrain, and in the rich variety of soils left by retreating glaciers. Containing vast tracts of poorly-drained land, the territory was considered uninhabitable by early explorers. Much of today’s prime farmland, in fact, was earlier written off as hopelessly unfit for cultivation. Despite setbacks from malaria and other insect-borne diseases, man’s conquering instincts prevailed. Among priorities of early leaders was creation of a system of roads promoting access to interior regions. Our first territorial drain law, enacted prior to 1820, provided drainage for these early highways. “

I wager this history is a bit more excitement than you imagined about storm drainage.

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

I Had A Dream Last Night That I Was Prime Minister Of India

I had a dream last night that I had been selected to be the Prime Minister of India.

In the dream, there was some type of dispute between various factions within Indian politics about who should be Prime Minister.

I was a compromise candidate.

It was one of those dreams that seemed true to life.

It took me a few seconds after the alarm went off to realize I was not Prime Minister of India.

I was disappointed for about five minutes after waking up.

I think I’d make a good Prime Minister of India. I might need a few hours of briefing, but after that I’d be up and running.

If I were Prime Minister of India, I would stress that the Indian nation is founded on the idea of full equality between the Hindu, the Muslim and all people. The Indian nation is not Hindu by defintion as the political right in India has maintained in recent years. (It is good to know that the people of India rejected this narrow view of what India is at the polls earlier this year. My only regret is that I will not get the chance to govern India, and to offer my ideas on Indian nationhood to the one billion people of this great country that I have ruled in my dreams.)

All people count the same in India and in all places on the Earth.

This entire day has been something of a drag after waking up to a reality so far away from my dream.

I hope tonight I dream I am in Hell so tomorrow will seem extra good.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Strong Victory For Center-Left Congress Party In India—World’s Two Largest Democracies Now Firmly Reject Conservatives

The center-left Congress Party of India appears headed to a second term as the main ruling party of India.

Congress has gained seats in the Indian parliament. While they have not won a majority of seats, no party has won a majority in recent elections, Congress has done better than expected and should easily be able to form a government.  

Here is a link to a series of article in the BBC that explains what is taking place.

Losing out the main party of the right–the BJP–and a coalition of leftist parties called the Third Front. Some regional caste- based parties also fared poorly.

While I’m often sympathetic to parties firmly on the left in contrast to a more center-left outlook, India seems well-served by a strong center-left ruling party instead of a more fragmented  and regionally based coalition in national power.   

The BJP is a nasty bunch. The BJP sees Indian nationhood as defined by being Hindu and by conflict with India’s Muslim minority. Congress has it’s own problems of corruption–as do all Indian parties— and of inaction when in power. But Congress has a broader outlook of Indian nationhood based on a person simply living in India as an Indian citizen. 

The hope is that a Congress Party with a stronger presence in parliament will be able to act in a more decisive manner. Voters in India clearly wanted a more national approach to India-wide public policy. 

It is excellent that conservatives have been so firmly rejected in the world’s two largest democracies. In both India and the United States, a clear direction has been set away from narrow prejudices and towards an open and inclusive view of who counts as a person. This open view includes a belief that the state has a clear role in guiding the economy and in helping to make sure that as many people as possible have a shot at a decent life.      

Here is the Times of India on the election

Here is the election as reported by the World Sikh News. The Prime Minister of India is a Sikh.

When voting in India began—it takes a few weeks to vote in such a large country–I wrote a post offering an overview of the Indian election. Below is that post—

File:Tierecke tripura1.jpg

Voting in India has begun for national elections. Voting will take place until May 13. Different parts of the country vote at different times. With over 700 million eligible voters, you’ve got to figure out a way to make it work. 380 million people voted in the last election in 2004. 

( Above–A scene from the Indian State of Tripura.)

More than 1.1 billion people live in India. The capital is New Delhi. India is divided into 28 states and 7 territories. India has been an independent nation since 1947. There are over 800 million Hindus in India and almost 140 million Muslims. Here are more facts about India.   

Continue reading

May 16, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Indian Election Notes & Links—Women Voters More On Target

Look how this woman voting in India is keeping her ballot private with that cardboard. They don’t have more involved screens, but they do at least have that cardboard. People all over the world value a secret ballot. 

Here is my overview of the Indian elections. Balloting began a few days ago and will extend into the middle of May. 

Al Jazeera has a series of blogger links about the Indian elections. There are nearly 130 million Muslims in India. If Indian Muslim were a nation unto themselves, they would be the tenth most populous nation in the world. (Here is a list of the 50 most populous nations in the world.)

From the Al Jazeera links, here is a blog dealing with being Islamic in India.

The BBC ran a series of articles asking Indian people what they would do if they were the Prime Minister of India. I’ll bet most of you have never pondered that question.

Here is a great story called Six Myths About Indian Elections. For example, do women vote as they are directed to do so by their husbands?

No! Women are more inclined that men to vote for parties of the left. That’s some good thinking by these women. It seems that both America and India would be better off if only women could vote.

The leader of the main opposition party, the  BJP, says there are too many folks from Bangladesh in India. What he really means is that voters who once lived in Bangladesh are likely to reject his call from extreme Indian nationalism. Immigrant bashers live all over the globe.

Global Voices has an Indian election page.  Global voices does a great job with everything they do. 

Below is a photo of a communist rally in the State of  West Bengal.  Communists hold power in this state, but may not do so well in the 2009 election.  The Communists are having trouble with rural voters in West Bengal because they are taking farm land and giving it over to a car factory and other industrial concerns. That may be the best policy, but it is not sitting well with the people losing the land. (The picture is from the Flicker page of slglanka.)

INDIA-ELECTION by slglanka.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elections In India—An Overview

 File:Tierecke tripura1.jpg

Voting in India has begun for national elections. Voting will take place until May 13. Different parts of the country vote at different times. With over 700 million eligible voters, you’ve got to figure out a way to make it work. 380 million people voted in the last election in 2004. 

( Above–A scene from the Indian State of Tripura.)

More than 1.1 billion people live in India. The capital is New Delhi. India is divided into 28 states and 7 territories. India has been an independent nation since 1947. There are over 800 million Hindus in India and almost 140 million Muslims. Here are more facts about India.   

Here is a map of the scheduled phases of voting. Below the map is information about different Indian states and issues in those states.

At stake in the elections is membership in the 552 member parliament and the question of what coalition of parties will govern India and who will be the Prime Minister. Here is the link to the Parliament of India. It is also called the Lok Sabha. An election must called in India at least every five years. 

The current Prime Minister is Dr. Manmohan Singh.  He has been Prime Minister since the 2004 election. Dr. Singh, who is 76, may or not be seeking another term. Above you see a picture of  the Prime Minister. He is an economist. Here’s an official profile of the Prime Minister.  Here’s a review of his record as Prime Minister.

After the election is completed, the various potential governing coalitions will assess where they stand. Dr. Singh’s coalition is anchored by the Congress Party. If Congress is able to form a coalition, it may or may not offer the top spot to Dr. Singh.  

(Here is a post on Indian politics by my freind Nita at the blog A Wide Angle View of India.) 

India has many political parties. This article in the Korea Times says 230 parties put up candidates in the last national election. Though not all those parties are represented in parliament.

(The mango is the officially declared national fruit of India. Here are mangos for sale in Guntar, India.)

Here is a listing and description of nine leading Indian political parties at Indian Elections.com. No single party has held a majority in parliament in 20 years.

Two political parties stand out as largest. One is the Indian National Congress which is most often known as the Congress Party. The other is the Bharatiya Janta Party or BJP. The BJP led the governing coalition until the 2004 election.

Here is the web home of the Congress Party. It says it is the largest democratic political party in the world. Here is the web home of the BJP.  Congress is a party of the center-left. The BJP is a party of the right.

Congress is the political legacy of the Indian independence movement and is the more secular and economically interventionist of the two main parties. The BJP sees being Indian as rooted in being Hindu and is less inclined to government intervention in the economy.  

Congress currently holds 145 seats. The BJP has 138. The third party in parliament is the Communist Party of India with 43 seats.  Next is the Samajwadi Party with 36. Samajwadi is a party of socialism. These are the only parties with more than 25 seats.

As you can imagine, it’s a mess to figure it all out and achieve a majority coalition after an election.


The leader of the Congress Party is not the Prime Minister as would most often be the case in a parliamentary democracy, but rather Sonia Gandhi. (Photo above.)

Born in Italy, Ms. Gandhi met Rajiv Gandhi when she was waiting tables in England. Rajiv Gandhi, who would later become Prime Minister, was the son of former PM Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharal Nehru who was the first PM of an independent India. Rajiv Ghandi and Indira Gandhi were both assassinated while serving as Prime Minister.  The Gandhi’s are not related to Mahatma Gandhi.  

It’s a dynasty.

Sonia Gandhi could have become PM after the 2004 election, but she chose not to do so. If Congress can form a coalition in 2009 will she take the top spot? If she does not, maybe her son Rahul Gandhi will become Prime Minister. Or maybe Dr. Singh will hang on.

The leader of the opposition BJP is 81 year old LK Advani.  (Seen above with Condoleezza Rice) From his BBC profile—

Many see him as a divisive figure who has exploited Hindu-Muslim tensions, remembering him for the campaign he led to have a Hindu temple built on the site of a mosque in the northern city of Ayodhya…Yet at the age of 81, Mr Advani is attempting a makeover, reaching out to young voters who have always criticised India’s geriatric political class and now comprise a substantial bulk of the electorate.

Mr. Advani may become PM if the BJP can form a coalition.  

Another prominent BJP leader is Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi is chief minister of the Indian state of Gujuart and has a reputation of harsh, or even murderous, treatment of Muslims and of being friendly towards business.

File:Margao city hall.jpg

(Above–City Hall in the City of Margao.)

Here are profiles of a number of leading figures in Indian politics.

Beyond a Congress or BJP led coalition, there is a small chance that neither party could form a majority and that some other coalition of parties could win control of India’s government. This so-called Third Front is being offered by parties of the left and consists of some parties that have been in coalition with Congress.    

Congress says this Third Front is helping the BJP and that these parties will join Congress after the election. The Third Front says it will win the election.

There is more to say, but I think this post has reached its full length. I’ll be posting more about the Indian election over the next few weeks. I welcome your input on this post.

(Below—Tso Kiagar Lake in the Himalayas.

File:Tso Kiagar Lake Ladakh.jpg

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hello People Of The World!

I want to say this evening that I’m an American citizen and a citizen of the world as well. I’m a citizen of the United States because the wheel came up on my number and I was born here. I’m citizen of the world because we all are and because we all matter. Existence itself is good enough for me when it comes to seeing who counts in life.

I’m glad that folks around the world are taking heart and gaining hope from the fact that Americans elected Barack H. Obama as President of the United States.

Above are students at a school in New Delhi.

And here is my blogger friend at A Wide Angle View Of India.

Below are some folks in Kenya.

Hello Kenya!

Here is the excellent Global Voices with links to world bloggers writing on the American election. 

Both photos are from the New York Times.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hazy Picture of Mumbai


A few days ago I ran a post with a hazy picture I had taken of the Mississippi River from an airplane.

Not long after, I saw that my friend Nita at A Wide Angle View Of India had run a photo essay of hazy photos of Mumbai she had taken from an airplane.

Nita was nice enough to allow me use one of her pictures.

My picture was hazy because it was a hazy day.

Nita said that her pictures were hazy because the windows of the airplane were dirty.

The picture is of slums in Mumbai. This is what Nita reports in her excellent post. 

Mumbai is the former Bombay.  

Here is a history of that city along with much other information about Mumbai. 

Isn’t it something that we can fly up in the air and that we can communicate over distances such as India to Texas?

Isn’t is it excellent that we have the ability to communicate at all? It’s a gift we all have in this life. 

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

I Told Car Rental Agent That I Love Both Hindus & Muslims

I recently booked a car rental over the phone.

I use the phone instead of the computer so I can help keep people employed.

The rental car reservation guy, based on his accent and the fact the connection was lousy, was, I guessed, in India.

I want to keep people employed in India as well.

He seemed like a nice guy. He was telling me what a great deal I’d get if I rented this car or that car. It was quite a pitch. It was funny. 

I said to him–“Hey, where are you? India?”

He said–”That’s right sir.”

I told him that while I have never been to India, that I would vote for the Congress Party and never for the BJP.

Congress and the BJP are the two leading parties of India. Congress is currently in government while the BJP is in opposition. 

Broadly speaking, the Congress Party, for all its many flaws, sees pluralistic democracy as the underlying principle of the Indian state, while the BJP sees Hindu nationalism as the underlying principle of the Indian state.

Well–You know what side of the aisle you and I are on when faced with a choice such as that.

The political state and the operations of democracy must rest on the widest possible foundations.

The man in India told me he had voted BJP in the last election, but had been considering a switch.

I said that I love both Hindus and Muslims and that this pluralism was the proper basis of democracy.

Who knows if he agreed with me, but  he did seem to grasp what I was saying. I gave him credit just for that.  

It is always the right time for politics. It is always the right time to express concern for our Hindu and Muslim brothers and sisters and for all people.

Here is an overview of the current situation in India from the BBC.

And here is a link to Indian politics as seen by The Economist. If you click the country briefing link at the bottom of the politics info, you’ll find much more information.   

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Good People, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

2000 Year Old Love Poem From India For Valentine’s Day


Here is a 2000 year old poem from India called “You Love Her.” ( Please click here for other Texas Liberal poetry posts.)  

You love her, while I love you,

and she hates you, and says so.

Love ties us in knots,

keeps us in hell.

February 14, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | , , | 1 Comment

Anti-Muslim Leader Seeks Re-Election In Indian State Of Gujarat


An election in India is commanding some international attention.

In the Indian state of Gujarat, BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking another mandate.

The voting is taking place at the current time.

The BJP, a former ruling party of India, is, in essence, a Hindu nationalist party. They are of the political right.

Here is the link to the BJP of Gujarat. 

Here is a link to the Congress Party of India. Congress is the governing party of India and the opposition party in Gujarat. 

Mr. Modi was in office when Hindus killed many Muslims in riots in 2002 in Gujarat. It is claimed Mr. Modi looked the other way as the violence took place.

Over 50 million people live in Gujarat.

Mr. Modi is expected to retain his office in Gujarat, though possibly with a reduced majority.  

Fighting between religions is against the vision of a united India held by Gandhi.  

People will vote for leaders who have done very bad things. This is true all around the world.

( Update–12/23/07—The BJP won a strong showing of 117 of the 182 seats in the Gujarat assembly.  Here is a report on the election from India.) 

December 17, 2007 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 5 Comments