Archive for April, 2009

I finally pulled the trigger and formally accepted the GSB admissions offer.

I had been waiting until I knew what my financial aid looked like (I got a preliminary look at that today) and I decided it would be good to be done.

The financial aid award was calculated based on a single student budget (it assumed that my spouse would also receive aid from her school) and included some fellowships.

I still have to validate selective service, final tax returns etc, but I feel relieved knowing at least that the damage is quantified.

Look forward to bringing some detailed reports from the admit weekend starting tomorrow evening.

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abduwali-museThis is a little dated but I wanted to put this up here and see what people think.

From ABC News:

Muse appeared in a federal magistrate court in a navy blue prison uniform, standing barely 5’4″ with his left hand wrapped in a white bandage where he was injured in the attack on the Maersk. At one point, Muse sobbed audibly, covered his face with his hand and was soothed by his court-appointed attorney. When the judge informed Muse of his right to a court appointed lawyer he said “I understand, I have no money.”

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We asked a sales manager whether he thought the pricing pressure from inventory being liquidated in the market was stabilizing or accelerating.

His response:

I don’t know nothin about nothin anymore

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As I was writing about hunger among the Sri Lankans who are in the warzone, I wanted to also add a quote from a book that I’ve just started reading: Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which promises to be one of the most insightful books I’ve read of late.

A couple of quotes that really struck me:

The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services and basic education for every person on the planet.

and also..

Ecuador is typical of countries around the world that EHMs (economic hit men) have brought into the economic-political fold. For every $100 of crude taken out of the Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers military and other government expenses – which leaves about $2.50 for health, education, and programs aimed at helping the poor.

Thus out of every $100 torn out of the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people who need the money the most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water.

All of those people-millions in Ecuador, billions around the planet- are potential terrorists. Not because they believe in communism or anarchism or are intrinsically evil, but simply because they are desperate.

The book is a compelling read.

Talking of desperation, the face of the Somali pirate who adorned the cover of the Wall Street Journal today and who will likely receive a life in prison from the US justice system comes to mind.

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The BBC has been criticized for at times carrying what many believed to be one-sided views of the Sri Lankan conflict. Allegedly, influenced by writers within the organization with links to the Tigers or to the Tamil community, some of whom are sympathetic to the LTTE cause.

Today however Swaminathan Natarajan of the BBC’s Tamil service has published an account based on an actual conversation with a civilian who escaped the LTTE in the conflict zone in Sri Lanka’s North. For this I am grateful to the author and to the BBC. The article clearly describes the repeated attempts by the civilians to escape LTTE custody over the last month.

Full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8013016.stm

Selected quotes:

“The LTTE had built a bund and because of that structure it was difficult to move. People had to walk through neck-deep water.

Some children fell down in the water. It was difficult to cross that area. I don’t know how to describe that.

We were trying to escape for the past month. We packed a few of our belongings and tried to escape at an opportune moment.

But we were prevented by the LTTE from escaping from the area.”

“In the LTTE-controlled areas life is very difficult. There is a huge shortage of food. There is heavy fighting and many are dying every day. Some days it is difficult to get a single meal. So we planned to escape to the government-controlled areas.

We were not bothered to take any of our belongings. We made three attempts in one month to escape but all of them were thwarted by the LTTE.

Now we have come to safety.”

“There has been no proper food for the past three days. Yesterday afternoon we got something to eat. Today, only in the late afternoon, we got food. But the amount is very little. We three shared a single meal.

I have not been given any clothes. So I am still wearing a dress which got wet and is covered by mud and dirt. I have not taken a bath for the past three days. It is very difficult here. My husband’s bandage needs to be changed immediately.”

Let’s hope the international community and the government get together to quickly clothe and feed these people who have gone through unimaginable torture over the last few months and still endure severe hardship.

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At each game of the IPL (Indian Premier League) there is a contest where one lady is selected. The final contest winner will be starring in a Bollywood movie with Shahrukh Khan.

During today’s game between the Chennai Super Kings and the Bangalore Royal Challengers (The Royal Challengers are being massacred as usual, despite the inclusion of Kevin Pieterson), a lady was picked from the crowd (Tammy).

I thought the exchange below was pretty funny (sorry if its not exactly word for word):

Commentator: Who’s your favorite Bollywood actor?

Tammy: Shakur Khan (yes she said SHAKUR, and the commentator didn’t know any better either).

Commentator: Shakur Khan, very good answer you’ve probably seen him around at the tournament, what would you ask Shakur when you meet him?

Tammy: I would ask Shakur to show me some Bollywood moves of course!

Ouch, this game is getting painful to watch (14 runs required per over).  Dravid is watching from the non-strikers end as the 7th wicket falls. Murali is spinning some of his magic here.
As I’m editing this post the 8th wicket falls as well: 74 for 8.

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Some positive news from the Sri Lankan conflict, looks like we are getting closer to an end. Hopefully once terrorism is dealt with, the government will do the right thing and make sure that rights of all people are protected. They do seem to be at least trying in the Eastern province where a former child soldier of the LTTE is now the Chief Minister and the democratic process has been reinstated with elections held.

35,000 civilians that were being held within the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) controlled strip of land in Northern Sri Lanka have escaped and made there way into government held territory. There are reports of suicide bombings during the civilian exodus, killing at least 17 people.

The government announced it would allow 24 hours for the remaining terrorists to surrender before launching its final offensive.

An estimated 40,000 civilians are still being held hostage within the LTTE territory as a human shield by a largely outnumbered and depleted Tiger force.

Meanwhile, LTTE supporters in London blocked roads around the Parliament demanding the UK extend support that could protect the last of the banned group, fighting in Sri Lanka. In a show of defiance, the supporters were seen carrying the LTTE flag which features a tiger jumping through a ring of fire and two crossed rifles.

The LTTE is a banned terrorist organization in 32 countries including the UK, US, India, Canada, Australia and many areas of Europe and is known for its indiscriminate use of suicide bombers and for targeting civilians. They have the distinction of being the organization that started the modern practice of suicide bombing (inventor of the suicide jacket), and have carried out more suicide attacks than any other group. They also frequently use child soldiers and have committed horrific crimes against civilians.


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