Free speech vs. Equality

America stands for both but as the article notes very difficult compromises need to be made.
Of course you can seek protection under the (broad) umbrella of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Still courts have now been consistently delivering the message that anti-gay viewpoints will lose out (however anti-women measures such as banning of aborti-facients will probably be still OK).


That said some one must feel the pain of being a true-blue social conservative in Silicon valley. The moment you dare to come out of YOUR closet (aka exercise your free-speech rights) the Hounds of the Bay-ville will be after you. They will tear out your heart out and eat it (with some fava beans and a nice glass of chianti). What a pity. But then again it must have been glorious for Brendan Eich to die for his belief that gays should not get married. All movements need (and feed on) martyrs, so this should be a red-letter day for the anti gay-rights cause.

the company behind the popular Firefox web browser, on Friday announced
that their controversial CEO Brendan Eich is resigning.

has been under fire for his views on gay marriage and gay rights. He
reportedly donated $1,000 to an anti-gay organization that lobbied for
ban on same-sex marriages in California in 2008.

When Eich
became Mozilla CEO on March 24, a controversy started over his views on
same-sex marriage. Many Mozilla employees took to Twitter to register
their displeasure at Eich’s views. A few days ago, Ok Cupid, a dating
website, said that it would be asking its users to change their web
browser if they were using Firefox because of Eich’s position on
same-sex marriage.

The resignation comes a day after Eich said that he would not resign for his personal beliefs.

In a blog post, executive chairwoman at Mozilla Mitchell Baker, wrote,
“Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made
this decision for Mozilla and our community … Mozilla believes both in
equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful
speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how
to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”



Babri demolition was pre-planned

If this Cobra sting report is true then there should be charges of high crimes against the nation brought against the top conspirators.

What we found to be the most sickening was this viewpoint: young participants were deliberately used as
cannon fodder by provoking a police firing on kar sevaks in 1990 because
of the belief of some leaders that the movement would not gather steam
unless ‘some Hindus die’.

elaborate sting operation, conducted on 23 key people of the Ram
Janambhoomi movement, claims that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on
December 6, 1992, was elaborately planned by the various wings of the
Sangh parivar and executed with precision by trained volunteers. It
wasn’t, as it is claimed, a case of mob frenzy going out of control,
leading to the fall of the disputed 16th century structure.

investigation, carried out by Cobrapost, claims that by piecing
together the versions given by the top Ram Janambhhomi players, among
them Sakshi Maharaj, Acharya Dharmendra, Uma Bharti, Mahant Vedanti and
Vinay Katiyar, it is apparent that top BJP leaders like L K Advani and
the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, as well the former Congress PM,
P V Narasimha Rao,
were aware of the planned demolition of Babri

Posing as a
would-be-author researching his book on the Ayodhya movement, Cobrapost
associate editor K Ashish travelled to Ayodhya, Faizabad, Tanda,
Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Mathura, Moradabad in UP, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai
and Gwalior interviewing 23 of those who participated in the operation.
He clandestinely recorded conversations with them.

If what
they claim is true, the Ram Janambhoomi leaders and activists toiled
secretly for months on a plan codenamed ‘Operation Janmabhoomi’ and
executed it with military precision. Volunteers were trained, logistics
painstakingly put in place and the assault on the disputed shrine
launched using large surging crowds with volunteers skilled in
demolishing structures embedded in it.

Not only do those
interviewed spell out details of the planning, they also allegedly
reveal how enthusiastic young participants were deliberately used as
cannon fodder by provoking a police firing on kar sevaks in 1990 because
of the belief of some leaders that the movement would not gather steam
unless ‘some Hindus die’.

Many of those interviewed by the
make-believe author are accused in CBI cases pertaining to the
demolition. Yet, they seemed to have no qualms in “confessing” (or
boasting) about their role in the episode that left a deep communal
schism in India.



Musharraf (just escapes) murdered

He is a good man (even though he launched a counter-productive war against India).

The Taliban have also made it clear that they want his head. Basically anybody who is not with them is by definition against them. It would help is the powers that be that are in charge of Pakistan hurry up and get rid of this growing menace before it consumes everybody in SAsia.
former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who is on trial for treason,
narrowly escaped an assassination attempt as a bomb went off shortly
before his convoy was due to pass on Thursday, police said.

bomb was planted on his route from an army hospital where he has been
staying since January to his home on the outskirts of Islamabad.

“Four kilograms of explosive device planted in a pipeline under a
bridge exploded around 20 minutes before the former president was
supposed to cross the spot,” senior police official Liaqat Niazi said.



A Divine Shadow

I saw this in a tweet ( but what made my jaw drop in astonishment is the most contested entry in Wikipedia Farsi.

The Shadow of the Divine, the Bab, haunts Persian still more than a century after his proclamation that he was the harbinger to the Promised One of the Ages (Baha’u’llah). Following him is the idiosyncratic Iranian worship of Hazrat Fatimah.
An interesting side note is that Macaulay succeeded it seems Wikipedia English is the default one for Desis.

Sacrificing humans easier than goats

Why did the US ambassador to India suddenly resign? Is it because of the need felt by the Imperial Court to have a reset with this particular mansabdari? Since no public explanations are given, private speculations are helping to fill the vacuum.

Moving beyond business, if one was to look at other areas in the
bilateral relations between India and the US, then the Devyani
Khobragade issue was definitely one that became a major stumbling block
for meaningful progress in their ties. And for this, the US government
and the ministry of external affairs of India should both be blamed. If
the US “mishandled” the Indian diplomat and treated her like a “common
criminal,” then the jingoistic reaction in India contributed to its
snowballing into a major controversy.
While the American government was
being blamed for the humiliation of the Indian diplomat, the fact that
she had also violated a domestic law in the US was totally ignored and
brushed off the Indian table.

If, in this drama, Powell is to be blamed then it is perhaps for the
decision of one of the US diplomats in the consular section to give a
visa to the Indian maid Sangeeta Richard’s husband and children to
travel to the US even as a case against her was pending before the
Indian court.

The US diplomat involved in the consular section was since
withdrawn and taken back to Washington. But some of the Indian
decisions that include stripping US diplomats of special privileges and
removing the barricades from in front of the embassy in Chanakyapuri,
remain in force.

The third reason being cited for Powell’s removal from the post is
because of her handling of Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s prime
ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
The US continued to be the last
“holdout” among western diplomats to engage with Modi. Even though the
European Union ambassadors broke their post-Godhra moratorium of
engaging with Modi, the US embassy in Delhi only decided to do so early
this year after all the others.

By all indication, Nancy Powell’s departure from the scene may allow
the US to re-set its relations with India.
But it may soon find out that
making a scapegoat of Powell only solves half its problem relating to
India. The other half may well prove to be much tougher to resolve in
the coming days.



Please vote for the illiterate millionaire

Rakhi Sawant is an ordinary lady with extra-ordinary assets (she is also worth US $ 2.5 million) and a dedicated voice for the downtrodden. She has marked herself “illiterate” under educational qualifications while filing papers for standing as a candidate. Taking a close look at the whole picture we would have to say literacy is over-rated. We also wish her the best for the elections (and in her avowed goal to wake up leaders from deep sleep) and fancy her chances of winning the (young male) vote.

starlet Rakhi Sawant who is contesting from Mumbai Northwest seat has
declared herself an “illiterate” with total assets of Rs 14.69 crore.

The actress has invested Rs 61.26 lakh in bonds and shares and Rs 2.12
crore in insurance and postal savings. She owns a Ford Endeavour worth
Rs 21 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 7.55 lakh.

Her immovable
property includes a residential flat and offices in suburban Mumbai. The
flat was purchased at Rs 5,03,12,500 and its current market value is
stated to be Rs 11,12,59,000.

Rakhi has marked herself “illiterate” in the educational qualifications column in her nomination papers.

The actress, who launched Rashtriya Aam Party, had said she was
entering politics “to wake up MPs from their deep sleep and to solve
problems of people as they have deep trust in me”.



Heavenly abode prefers a secular icon

The rumors are louder than ever that Hindus in Kerala have become a minority (majority: Muslims + Christians). It is also true that Rahul Gandhi’s grand-father was Feroze Jahangir Khan (Parsi from Mumbai) and his mother is a Roman Catholic (from Italy). What has one thing to do with the other?

Kerala is the only one out of 4 southern states where peeps prefer Gandhi over Modi as PM.  Indeed on present mood, Congress may sweep 17 out of the 20 seats. That is simply amazing and probably also underlines the sidelining of the Communists in this election. In addition, Congress is likely to win as many as 18 seats in Karnataka (out of 28)- which can be attributed to the lingering memories of the horrendously corrupt BJP state govt under Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyruppa (he is back in the BJP after having been expelled…as short term greed overcomes long-term need). In Tamil Nadu, however the Grand Old Party will get no satisfaction as the Dravidas are completely, head-over-heels in love with their foreigner (and) Brahmin lady leader (her party is likely to win the majority of seats- 21 out of 39). Finally Congress should expect no more than 8 seats in Andhra Pradesh (including Telengana). Thus, a max total of 43 seats, approximately 40% of the Mission 115 seats are due to come from the south. In more than one way it is significant that it is the (southern) end of the nation is where the GOP has vowed to take its last (secular) stand and the people are still loyal followers (and voters). Good for them.



Who is Mudassar Bukhari?

In the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup, the Netherlands just defeated England by a margin of 45 runs. England, chasing a modest total of 133 crashed out for 88 instead.  

After recovering from the initial shock, we note that a Dutchman named Mudassar Bukhari has been responsible for the devastation (3 wickets for 12 runs).


It turns out that Mudassar is actually from Pakistan (born in Gujarat in 1983).  It is surely a memorable milestone for him, but the thought arises that his home country could have also benefited from his services.

Another Pakistani player who has taken the cricketing world by storm is Imran Tahir (South Africa), who incidentally helped South Africa escape from an embarrassing defeat against…Netherlands.

This sort of “brain drain” in cricket is nothing new (Kevin Pietersen is a South African who was one of the best players ever to play for England in modern times). However in Pakistan’s case the lack of home tours (by international teams) may create a sense of despondency and encourage players to try their luck elsewhere. It would not be a good thing to lose a bunch of promising youngsters to the opposition.



Fish rots from the head

Especially if it is as regimented as the Chicoms. Unfortunately the good times will now come to an end and the last man Zhou will see is the hang-man.

And if people ever want to understand what crony capitalism is this would be a text book example.

Head spy is a good job to have (if you can get it). Total assets of $14.5 Bil is not bad at all.

It would be nice to know here did he stored all the money?
Due to stringent regulations, Chinese prefer storing (ill-gotten) money in mattresses- this (poor) lady lost $65k in all, when termites developed a taste for Yuans.

In all the gallons of ink that will be now spent on this man the most important question will remain un-answered: how many rhinos (and tigers and..) have been laid waste because of the boss’s long term plans to keep his young ladies happy?

Chinese authorities have seized assets worth at least 90bn yuan
($US14.5bn) from family members and associates of retired domestic
security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is at the centre of China’s biggest
corruption scandal in more than six decades, two sources said.

than 300 of Zhou’s relatives, political allies, proteges and staff have
also been taken into custody or questioned in the past four months, the
sources told Reuters.

Prosecutors and the party’s
anti-corruption watchdog had frozen bank accounts with deposits
totaling 37bn yuan and seized domestic and overseas bonds with a
combined value of 51bn yuan after raiding homes in Beijing, Shanghai and
five provinces.

Investigators had also confiscated about 300
apartments and villas, antiques and contemporary paintings and more than
60 vehicles, the sources added. Other items seized included expensive
liquor, gold, silver and cash in local and foreign currencies. According to the sources, the seized assets had a combined value of at least 90bn yuan

Zhou, 71, has been under virtual house
arrest since authorities began formally investigating him late last
year. He is the most senior Chinese politician to be ensnared in a
corruption investigation since the Communist Party swept to power in

“It’s the ugliest in the history of the New China,” said
one of the sources, who has ties to the leadership and has been briefed
on the investigation.

rose through the ranks of China’s oil and gas sector before joining the
elite politburo standing committee in 2007, where as domestic security
chief his budget exceeded defence spending. He retired in 2012 and was
last seen at an alumni event at the China University of Petroleum on 1

The first two sources added that more than 10 of Zhou’s
relatives had been detained. They included Zhou’s one-time television
reporter wife Jia Xiaoye, his eldest son from a previous marriage Zhou
Bin, Zhou Bin’s in-laws and Zhou Yongkang’s brother. About 10 officials who held a rank equivalent to at least vice minister were also under investigation, the sources said.

More than 20 of Zhou’s bodyguards, secretaries and drivers
had also been detained, the sources said. Many other family members and
associates had been questioned. 



Erdogan cant bowl (can he throw?)

The man behind the screen usually comes off as pitiful when the spotlight lights up the (dark) spots.

In the ICC T20 World Cup ongoing in Bangladesh here is an excerpt from the Guardian live commentary during the India-Australia match which just got over:

Geoff Lemon (commentator for the Guardian) writes: So may I enquire who’s out there, following along in the graveyard hours
of Australia, the sunset hours of India, or the high-street hours of
the United Kingdom? Or in other nooks and corners around the world where
cricketing enthusiasts go to hide?
Drop me a line via, on any subject that stirs your gravy.

An interesting response below:  Zachary Taylor is as confused as Shaun Pollock with a Duckworth-Lewis

“Following from Istanbul, where no one is quite sure what time of
day it

You see, daylight savings was supposed to begin last night, but
there’s an election on for today, and the government
announced out of nowhere that the spring forward would be put off until
tomorrow (presumably to increase confusion). 

The problem is, everyone’s
cellphones and computers went ahead with the time change regardless. It
appears no one in the government thought to inform the telecom
companies. So there it is. Maybe it’s 4:30 pm right now, or maybe it’s
in fact 3:30.”