Monday, April 25, 2022

Enna Kanraavi Idhu!

Enna Kanraavi Idhu! (What an ugly news story!)

Just read a news item in an Indian paper that a judge in Rajasthan gave parole for 15 days to a guy who serves life imprisonment in jail. Reason: He should be with his wife and make her pregnant. This is in response to his wife’s petition in the high court that she has a right to have a baby and therefore her husband should be released. The judge agrees and gave a 15-day parole. 

Since I have nothing else to do, my thoughts went in different directions. 

What if the convict appeals to the judge that he cannot finish the “job” in 15 days and therefore need an extension of parole for another 6 months.? 

What if that child files a case that he/she misses his/her daddy (who is in jail) and should be released? Or, he files a case to be with his daddy in jail and therefore the jailer should start a school for the child. 

What if the wife petitions the court that she has a right to have a second baby and therefor her husband’s parole should be extended indefinitely? 

What if she says she cannot raise the kid/s alone and as per law both parents should have responsibility to raise the kids and therefore her husband’s bail should be extended until the kid/s are 18 years old. 

This is called new interpretation. The judge should be given a gold medal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

To Mask or Not to Mask

For the past few years, we all are used to wearing masks to help prevent us from getting infected by the virus that causes Covid-19. In addition, 

Masks can prevent dust and sand from entering the mouth. It can also prevent flow of pathogens. In cold weather it can also prevent nose from freezing. For some people, it can make them lazy and not shave. 

But the disadvantage is wearing a mask for a longer time has certain impact on our breathing. It is not suitable for long-term wear. 

However, we are used to wearing mask now. This has become a routine. As Covid-19 cases drop, masks are not becoming necessary depending in which country you live. 

The U.S. Government, following CDC's (Center for Disease Control) recommendation, has mandated masks must be worn on planes and other forms of mass transit. However, a U.S. Federal Judge dismissed the U.S. Government’s transportation mask mandate. The Government argued masks are qualified as “sanitation”. But the Judge disagreed.

The Judge ruled CDC's authority to enforce “sanitation” rules was limited to rules regarding cleaning, and therefore could not be used to compel Americans to cover their faces to protect from disease.

But, Biden Administration says "Public Health Decisions Should not be Made by the Courts".

Per some legal and medical scholars, her (The Judge) ruling restricts CDC's ability to respond to public health emergencies. 

The Biden Administration has appealed to a higher court.  The puzzling thing is they are not asking for a stay of that order.  It means until a final decision is made by the higher courts, it is not required to wear a mask while traveling by a plane or other mass transit.

In my opinion, this is a judicial decision and not a scientific decision. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Muddy Details

Many years ago, I was watching the nightly news on TV on April 15, 19??. Don’t remember the year. On TV was one of my favorite news anchors, the very professional Roger Mudd. He’s doing his usual delivery but at one point in the broadcast he starts to veer off and talk about Abraham Lincoln, who was the President of the United States in the 19th century.

April 15 is President Lincoln’s death anniversary. 

But I digress, Roger Mudd is giving high praise to one of the (if not THE single) greatest presidents in US history. At the end of his high praise for the great President Lincoln, Roger Mudd states: 

“And yes, one of the men involved in that famous assassination is indeed Samuel Mudd. And before you ask, YES we are related.” 

What? Did I hear that correctly? Roger Mudd is related to Samuel Mudd! 

Who the hell is Samuel Mudd? Never heard of him. 

Look, I know the names of assassins who have changed the course of history. 

Lee Harvey Oswald (Kennedy) 
Nathuram Godse (Gandhi) 
John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln) 

(One similarity among these 3 leaders. All 3 were assassinated on a Friday.) 

But Roger Mudd name dropped him with Abraham Lincoln so I had to dig a little deeper.

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 (and died on April 15). His assassin was John Wilkes Booth. Months before the assassination, at one point, Booth and a few of his "associates" were discussing a plan to kidnap Lincoln. One of the "associates,” was Dr. Samuel Mudd. Booth shot Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After shooting Lincoln, Booth ran away from the scene and while escaping fractured his leg. Booth went to Dr. Samuel Mudd’s home at 4am the next day and the doctor helped fix his leg. 

News doesn’t travel fast in 1865, so Dr. Samuel Mudd had no idea that Booth shot Lincoln. Booth then left the house to get across state lines. Dr. Samuel Mudd only came to know about the Lincoln assassination later in the day. However, Mudd did not tell the authorities that Booth was in his house until 24 hours after Booth left. Dr. Samuel Mudd was arrested for aiding and abetting an assassin. 

A military court found Dr. Samuel Mudd guilty of helping an assassin. The only question was if Dr. Mudd would get the death penalty or life in prison. Mudd was not given the death penalty by a margin of one vote. 

This case certainly gets “muddy.” 

Why life in prison? Mudd was not the shooter or involved in the plot. But he did help with Booth’s injury and didn’t go to the authorities for 24 hours. On the other hand, he is a doctor so it’s his duty to treat injuries. But did Mudd “REALLY not know”, that the injured man before him just shot the president? I mean c’mon. Yeah, news doesn’t travel fast in 1865 but the shooter is in front of you for 12 hours. But does Mudd deserve only two options as an alleged accomplice? Death penalty or life in prison. 

The President who succeeded Lincoln, Andrew Johnson pardoned Mudd and released him from prison in 1869. Mudd died in 1883 at the age of 49.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

It is not cricket, Imran

American politics is boring. Indian politics is boring. But if you want thrilling scenes, watch Pakistani politics. (Sarcasm) 

Former Pakistani cricket player Imran Khan is the Prime Minster. His party is PTI. (Don’t ask me what the narrative.). Pakistan parliament has 342 seats. You need 172 seats to become Prime Minister. Imran had only 158 seats. He became Prime Minister with the help of a few smaller parties. 

On the day of Russia-Ukraine war started, Imran visited Russia and met with Putin. USA was not pleased with this visit. 

In the meantime, the opposition parties were thinking of tabling a no confidence motion in the Pakistani parliament against Imran. They started to “buy” the smaller parties that supported Imran. They also “bought” about 20 MPs from Imran’s own PTI party. 

Imran got mad and angry. 

While “no confidence” tabling in parliament was going on, Imran threw a bombshell. In an address to the nation, he showed a piece of paper and said he received a letter from a foreign government that he should resign immediately or they will take action against him. He would not say from where the letter came, who it was addressed to, how it was delivered, etc. 

Later in another address to the nation, he said it was USA, by slip of tongue. Then the news came it was a diplomatic cable from Pakistan’s Ambassador to USA. In that cable, the Ambassador said a lower-level U.S. State Department (Foreign Ministry) Secretary verbally gave this threatening information to the Ambassador. (Side bar: U.S. has denied this. Also, in the diplomatic world, they never use such a harsh language. Plus, many in Pakistan believe that this diplomatic cable was fabricated by Imran Khan himself.)

The notice of no confidence was given on March 8. As per their country’s law, the speaker should have summoned the parliament within 14 days. Once the session commences, it should be voted upon not before 3 days and not after 7 days. The speaker, who belongs to Imran’s party, postponed calling the meeting under some pretext or other and finally called the meeting on April 3, 2022. The Deputy Speaker who was in the Chair rejected the motion of no confidence and did not put it to vote. Immediately after that, Imran recommended to their President to dissolve the Parliament and call for early elections. 

The opposition parties have taken the matter to the Supreme Court. 

Instead of hearing both sides and give a ruling, the Supreme Court is dragging the case on and on. 

In the meantime, another entertainment from Pakistan. 

The Chief Minister of Punjab (in Pakistan) who belongs to Imran’s Party resigned. Imran and his allies are nominating the current Speaker to be the Chief Minister. But the opposition, as usual bought a few members from Imran’s party, have the upper hand and can win. The Deputy Speaker called for a meeting of the Assembly at 7:30 pm on April 6. Hearing this, the Speaker sealed off the Punjab Assembly with barbed wires and locked the building's main gate.

The opposition met in a nearby hotel and "elected" the new Punjab Chief Minister.

Stay tuned for more fun.

Update: April 7, 2022.  The Pakistan Supreme Court set aside the Deputy Speaker's ruling and ordered no confidence motion should be voted upon on day after tomorrow, Saturday, April 9, 2022.  It also restored the National Assembly which was dissolved by the Pakistan President on the advice of Imran Khan.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Boston Brahmin

These 2 words are usually addressed for members of Boston city’s traditional white upper class. 

All of these Boston Brahmins attend Harvard University for generations. All of them belong only to upper class clubs like the Pacific-Union Club in San Francisco. They are all in high-ranking positions in government, private industries, educational fields, and politics. 

Oliver Wendell Homes coined this phrase in 1860 in an article. He wrote “Brahmin caste of New England”. At that time, Brahmins of India were considered high ranking in the Hindu caste system. 

New England consists of 6 U.S. States. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. 

Though he mentioned Brahmins of New England, with the evolution of time, the elite of Boston’s white upper class came to be known as Boston Brahmin. 

Why I am writing this now? 

During his election campaign, Joe Biden said he would appoint a minority black woman to the Supreme Court. And now, he has nominated Ketanji Jackson Brown, a black African American woman to the Supreme Court. She has to be confirmed by the U.S Senate. The senators will question her before voting yes or no for her nomination. That is called confirmation hearing. 

On the first day of confirmation hearing, Ketanji Jackson Brown proudly introduced her husband to the Senators, with a smiling face. 

Reporters immediately pointed out that in 2017, while giving a speech at the University of Georgia Law School, she mentioned that her husband is a “quintessential Boston Brahmin”.

Is she also a Boston Brahmin by marriage?