Economic Populism

Ever since the mid-term elections, there’s been an air of “is it real?” surrounding the Democratic Party’s victory. Fallout from the 2000 election and the continuing fiasco over ballot machines — paper or electronic, m’aam? — are reasons for doubt, but reality is here. Winning was the easy part. It’s what to do next that will define the race for 2008 and whether the U.S. and the Democratic Party can go in a new direction. A new path, in terms of economic policy, might be towards what’s being labeled “economic populism.” Continue reading

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Megacity Lagos

There’s seeing a city and then there’s seeing a city.  One of the best travel memories I have is from Lagos, Nigeria.  A colleague and I were stranded in the former capital for nearly a day in between a canceled flight to Monrovia and a hastily arranged change of schedule to London.  When embassies and consulates have too many visitors and too little interest in your activities on a Sunday, they deposit you in a local hotel, or in this case the American guesthouse.  This mini-lodge serves as the American Club — refuge for those who wonder why they’ve left the U.S. or who simply need a dose of their favorite American beer, food, and television shows.  The kind of place that bores me to tears. Continue reading

The Inequality of Everything

I once had an argument with Pinky about whether looks matter. To me the answer was obvious. Of course looks matter. Here in mother India, looks matter a whole lot. They matter in the sense that looks are relevant to the established hierarchy, the pecking order, the class and caste system. I’m beginning to think it’s impossible in this country for people to treat each other as equals. What would you do with a billion equal people anyway? Would the country implode? Continue reading

Ranchi

So, in three months here in E. India, I’ve visited two state capitals: Bhubaneshwar and now Ranchi. One could have a field day with the names, but now that I’ve said and done those jokes at least 100 times, I feel obligated to write a little more seriously.  So first, some history. Continue reading

A New Congress

Last Tuesday morning, I spoke in front of 50+ students about the U.S. elections.   They asked about minority participation in the U.S. political process and whether there would be a change in Iraq policy.  Lots to be pleased about.  Good-bye Rummy (collateral damage!).  Goodbye MacacAllen.