Sunday, December 4, 2016

First Impression? Part 1 of 2

He was a big city (Chennai) college student. He spent his summer vacation with his uncle and his family in a remote village in Tamil Nadu. He used to spend every summer vacation in that village. That village had no electricity. Only hurricane lights. No phones. You have to cross a river to enter the village. There was no bridge and therefore cars could not come to that village. His uncle in that village was a big land owner.
 
On that day he took his bicycle and went to the nearby small town to the post office. There, by chance, he saw his college friend from Chennai. They both were surprised. The friend said his mother is a government doctor and she had been transferred to this small town a few days ago. The friend asked him to come to his home sometime. He said he would.
 
A few days later, his aunty asked him to go to the nearby small town and get vegetables. So he took the family bullock cart and went to that small town. Even though he was a big city boy and studying in a college, he knew how to drive a bullock cart. He came in front of his friend’s home and parked the bullocks there.
 
His friend greeted him. They both went inside. Then came the most beautiful girl with coffee in her hands for her brother and this guy. Tall, lean, very long hair, skin color almost European. Her face could launch a thousand ships.
 
The friend introduced both of them. Since it was a village and he was driving a bullock cart, this big city boy was wearing a lungi and a banian and no chappals. And, at that time, she thought he was an uneducated villager. Her brother introduced him just as a friend and no other details. At that time he did not know his college friend had a sister. If he had known, he would have dressed kind of reasonably.
 
Here is how their conversation went – all in Tamil.
 
He: Hello
 
She: Hello
 
He: What are you doing?
 
She: Studying in college
 
He: Which college?
 
She: (she tells the name of the college)
 
He: What major?
 
(Now she is surprised this villager even knows something about college major)
 
She: English lit
 
He: You are wasting your time studying English lit
 
She had the shock of her life time. This uneducated country brute tells me I am wasting my time. Since she was so beautiful she was used to boys going after her and agreeing with whatever she says, this was the first time she experienced that someone did not care or even notice her beauty and said she is wasting her time. She stared at him angrily for 10 seconds and left without saying a word.
 
And then?
 
Stay tuned until next week

Saturday, November 26, 2016

More Election Drama

Trump won the electoral college votes. So he was declared the winner. Hillary won the popular votes. Still she accepted and conceded defeat.
 
During the election debates, Trump said if elected he would investigate Hillary’s email server problem and the Clinton Foundation and put her in jail. After winning the election Trump said he will not investigate Clinton and he has other important things to do.
 
And now comes the drama. An independent candidate who also ran for President of the United States, Jill Stein, has started a process for recounting the votes in 3 States – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. All 3 states were won by Trump by a narrow margin. It will cost her money to do that. She has appealed to the “Trump haters” and raised about $7 million.
 
What is her reason to ask for a recount? She said she suspects the voting machines were hacked. I have never heard a more ridiculous thing in a long time. I am not a computer expert. Some of my readers are computer experts. So please tell me if I am wrong. Voting machines are not connected to the internet. If so, how is it possible to “hack”?
 
At first, Hillary Clinton said she will have nothing to do with the recount. Now her campaign says it will take part in the recount effort.
 
So what I suspect will happen? Trump is not a good guy. He is a vicious guy. I have a feeling he is going to re-open the Clinton investigation – email server and Clinton Foundation. (For those who are not familiar with the US Presidential powers, let me say one thing. In the US, when a President is elected, they are electing a “dictator” for a 4 year term. He/she is that powerful.)
 
There is already a rumor going around that about 3 million non-citizen illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton, majority of them in California. May be Trump supporters want to have a recount in every state in this country.
 
Pure entertainment if you are not personally involved. At least, this will be resolved in a few days/weeks. Unlike India.
 
Mr. P. Chidambaram contested the Lok Sabha election in 2009. His opponent was declared the winner. After 30 minutes, the election authorities changed the results declaring Mr. Chidambaram as the winner. The votes that were tabulated to Mr. Chidambaram was given to his opponent and vice versa. The authorities said that the computer operator made an error in posting. The opponent claimed his votes were illegally transferred to the credit of Mr. Chidambaram, thereby tilting the result in Chidambaram's favor.
 
The opponent filed a case in the court. Mr. Chidambaram became Finance Minister. New Lok Sabha elections came in 2014. Now it is 2016, almost 2017. That 2009 election case is still going on in the courts.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

POTUS Election - Electoral College

There are 231,566,622 eligible voters in the United States. 135,135,298 voters cast their ballots in this year’s presidential election.
 
Hillary Clinton received 63,390,669 votes. Donald Trump received 61,820,845 votes. That means Hillary Clinton received 1.5 million more popular votes than Trump. So logic says since Clinton received more popular votes, she should be declared as the winner. Right?
 
Wrong.  United States always does things differently. Just like Rajnikanth’s “en vazhi thani vazhi” (my path is a unique/separate path).
 
U.S. President is not elected by popular votes. There is something called “Electoral College Vote”. Total number of electoral college votes are 538. Whoever gets 270 electoral college votes will be declared the winner. Electoral College Votes are distributed to each state based on their population. In fact it is the number of Senators plus the number of House of Representatives for each state. Since California is the most populous state, it gets 55 votes. New York 29. Texas 38. Florida 29. Montana 3. North Dakota 3. And so on and so forth.
 
In a given state, if a candidate wins the popular vote, he/she gets all the electoral college votes. It is winner take all. Even if the candidate wins by one popular vote, he/she gets all the electoral college votes.
 
For example, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in California. Therefore, she got all the 55 electoral college votes. Same way, Trump won the popular vote in Florida. So he got all the 29 electoral college votes. Under this counting rule, Trump has 290 electoral college votes against a needed 270 votes. Therefore, he is declared as the winner. Hillary has got only 228 electoral college votes. (Two states have not declared results. Too close to call.)
 
How come Clinton won the popular vote and did not win the electoral college vote? It is because which ever states Clinton won, she won by a huge margin of popular votes. Which ever states Trump won, he  won by a narrow margin of popular votes.  But Trump won more states than Clinton.
 
Therefore popular vote does not matter in electing the President of the United States. It is the electoral college votes that count. And, there are 540 electoral college voters.
 
OK. How these electoral college voters are selected? Before the start of the election, each candidate will give a list of names of electoral college voters of their choice (from their own party) for each state. (In some states, it is thru intra-party election.). It is a package deal. When you vote for a candidate for President, you automatically vote for his /her choice of Vice President and his/her choice of electoral college voters.
 
They will assemble on December 19 and vote for the candidate to be President of the United States.  Usually, they don’t change their votes.  All of Trump’s electoral college votes will vote for Trump.  Same for Clinton.
A funny thing is happening this year.  Die hard Clinton fanatics are asking Trump’s electoral college voters not to vote for him on December 19.   I think this is their desperate attempt.  You fought hard.  You lost. Just let it go and get ready for 2020.  When Obama was elected in 2008, many white people did not like that.  But they never asked Obama’s electoral college voters not to vote for him.
Many people,  including Mr. Trump, do not like this electoral college system.  Unless they make a constitutional amendment, it is here to stay.  It is not that easy to make a constitutional amendment in the United States.
Why the founding fathers established an electoral college system to pick the President of the United States as opposed to a direct popular vote?  That is another long confusing story.  My head swirls.