Chai's Analysis

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What a Shock

My goodness. This is the such a crazy political moment. With Governor Spitzer stepping down, and David Paterson stepping up, I am blown away on so many ways. What makes me really sad is that this man ran on a moral, ethics platform. Albany, one of the most undemocratic systems in the nation, was ready to be changed.
  1. Stronger penalties against the "johns." Gov. Spitzer pushed one of the strongest bills in the nation against human sex trafficking. It is one of the pieces of legislation I helped with in lobbying and working with the interest groups to help pass. However, much help was not needed because we had our man, Gov. Spitzer in power. Why was the "our man"? When Spitzer worked as the NY Attorney General, he broke up and prosecuted several prostitution rings. It is so sad.
  2. The financial risk software program. Ironically, Spitzer was destroyed by a program he urged, as the AG, that all big banks should have installed. He wanted to make sure that terrorists cannot lauder money in smaller chunks than $10,000 (the threshold for an IRS flag). This is what destroyed him.
  3. A disabled governor. I have met Lt. Gov. Paterson and I can honestly say he is one of the most sincerest politicians I have ever been privy to meet. He is legally blind. But, the man ran the NYC marathon and you know how much I heart runners. I am excited for NY to have a different governor. A governor that will not disappoint and will bring in the changes they ran on. Yet, unlike Spitzer, he will do it in a different way.
Finally, I just want to note that prostitution is not a victimless crime. It is a crime to call it victimless. There are victims, just like there are victims in drug crimes. Although NYT has a great op-ed on this, I want to add that most women who are brought into the United States and do sex work are put through horrible situations that forces them into this life. And domestically, most females and males who work as sex workers are not doing it to pay off college loans. Most are doing it because they were pressured into the work at a young age. Too many people think that being a call girl or escort is like living Julia Roberts life in "Pretty Woman." Unfortunately, it is far from that.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Maureen Dowd

In 2004, I was sitting in a car, waiting for the clock to display "2:00." I wanted to get back home since my anxiety with driving on the freeway was starting to take over my life. I sat in my car patiently, getting bored with the radio hip-hop and pop. I didn't bring any CDs and did not own an iPod (and still don't). And, very unlike me, I didn't have a book or magazine to read.

I finally found the NPR station on the radio dial. Diane Rehm was interviewing a woman I had never heard of- Maureen Dowd. Ms. Dowd had just released a book, Bushworld, and was out doing the publicity stunts for it. While being interviewed by Ms. Rehm, Ms. Dowd had such a soft demeanor, she was even asked if she was shy. Ms. Dowd answered in the positive. And, yet, she had this quick wit and often cynical view of the world that catered to my needs right then and there. I felt a strong connection to her work and her attitude about the people who rule this world, particularly the disgust of W.

After the interview, I wanted to read all of Ms. Dowd's columns. I didn't discover the joy of New York Times until that interview. I had been such a Washington Post lady, I wouldn't dare to venture to a new online site that gave me the same news, with different writers. From time to time, I would find Ms. Dowd's column and read it. And then NYT decided to go "Time Select" and I was cut off from reading her words. In some ways, that may have been a blessing.

In the past several months, I have found Ms. Dowd's attitude about our democratic process, the people running for president demeaning and juvenile. I miss her days of critically thinking through America's problems and writing in a manner that teased with our minds. And I also miss her writing that dealt with the actual Bush administration, along with the world events. It is as if NYT editors have pegged her to only write about the Hillary Clinton factor and how much Ms. Dowd hates her. Ah, a real "girl fight."

I don't think she is doing any justice to Barack Obama either. I don't find her support for him convincing, more than just the fact that she does not like Mrs. Clinton. Again, that type of support, which many people have towards Mr. Obama, is myopic. Shouldn't you like the candidate because they are the candidate and not because they are not THAT other candidate? The negative is so much more hollow than the positive.

And that is where Ms. Dowd is right now. Her words are meaningless and although her column is often in the "Top Emailed Articles", I think it is because her negativity about one candidate helps another.

I often miss the days where Ms. Dowd actually wrote columns that attacked a mutual enemy, the Bush Administration over concrete grounds, not simply because he was a Bush. Her arguments were logical and strengthened by her own proses and articles in the newspaper that lambasted Mr. Bush for lying to the public about the various programs he has initiated.

When 2:00 rolled around, I jumped out of the car to pick up my visa from the Indian Consulate. I felt an energy that only strong women can give me. I felt Ms. Dowd's words and believed that she was my light, our light in the newspaper industry. Unfortunately, I don't feel like that anymore.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the 21 day cure.

I am brewing over the CBS' 60 minute segment on the war in Congo. So many thoughts are being processed on my word processing machine that will get published shortly on this blog. But, before I jump into rape and how that segment may have changed my life, I have to share another life altering event that happened to me last night.

Over the past week, through some Internet happenstance of clicking, I clicked my way to the raw food diet. It has been such an interesting dive into this world of eating raw, knowing raw, and becoming one with Mother Earth, that I am beginning to think of ways to incorporate into my partner's and my life.

Not really knowing much about the raw food diet, I signed up to attend a lecture by a doctor who just published a book called The 21 Day Cure. The book is designed for those who have Type 2 diabetes. T's father and all of my aunts and uncles/grandparents have diabetes, meaning we have a high risk of getting diabetes as well. I went in honor of T's dad, who is very special to T, to learn more about the doctor's claims that diabetes can be cured.

I learned so much about diabetes it's wild. Did you know that 1 out of 8 New Yorkers are diabetic? And that 1 in 5 people in East Harlem are diabetic? US is in the top three leading nations of diabetic patients. India is number one, followed by China. I learned about different genes and cell production, the doctor's notions as to why diabetes occurs, and how a raw green plant-based diet can bring down the blood sugar by 95%. He talked a bit about the raw food diet in general and how it helps anti-aging cells which also control diabetes and cancer (in lay person's terms). He showed us a movie that is in response to "Fast Food Nation," where the participants, all diabetic, go on the 21 day diet and how all of them succeeded (it brought me to tears). And, I got the book!

I strongly suggest any diabetic or person who is in risk of diabetes (which is most of us), to go to the 21 Day cure site and learn more about this program. I think T and i are going to invest in a dehydrator this weekend. We are going to discuss more, but I think both of us want to put nutrition as the primary facet in our living, which in turn means more raw foods.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

i owe ya, i-o-wa.

ah, the lovely state of iowa. doesn't all this attention to iowa make you want to visit the state? i want to see how this tiny state gets so much love from all these politicians who are running federal campaigns that, in the large scheme of things, don't affect the local citizen. it does from a military, foreign policy, globalization standpoint. but, what matters to your life is more local, like property tax, education, local farming, zoning, parking regulations, and noise statutes.

but, this post is not about local politics and re-energizing our country to think local. no, siree. this post is about what happened in iowa two days back. i'm sure you have read or heard every talking head mention the historical nature of the iowa caucus (sidenote- doesn't caucus sound so dirty?), what it means to the democratic establishment, and how crazy certain folks (*cough* evangelicals *cough*) truly are (dude, you HAVE to know where pakistan is or, as my friend noted, you are automatically disqualified from any elective position...ever.).

what i think obama and two buck huck's votes mean to me is that people are sick of the establishment. i can speak from the "progressive" side. obama symbolizes, to many of my friends, that we are ready for a change. many of my friends don't look at race, so his racial composition has never been a question for our many conversations on gmail chat or at a bar. most of my generation, from the time they became politically aware, started with Bush. then it went to Clinton. then came Bush junior. now another Clinton is trying to get into the house? it's a bit...i dunno..dynastic.

more importantly, our generation is sick of being told that we are too young. we are sick of being told that our voice doesn't matter. we are sick of the older establishment NOT taking time out of their schedules to MENTOR us, to NURTURE this younger crop, to HELP us out. and when we try to show leadership, this older establishment becomes threatened, vengeful, and ugly. it's sad to see this endemic in all the movements, from feminism, to labor, to political parties. the one movement that has seen an influx of younger folks is the environmental movement and that is solely due to watershed moments over the past years.

but, have the environmental big wigs ever thought that MAYBE if they gave in to certain ideas the younger generation was fighting for a few years back, these watershed moments would not have happened.

personally, i keep voicing my frustration with the feminism movement or lack thereof. lady clinton thought she had all the female votes on lock down. yes, it is really inspiring to see a woman, with such intellectual vigor, be a legitimate candidate for the white house. however, don't think like a first wave feminist that all women are the same, that we all care for the same issues, bouncing yourself on identity politics. third wave feminists are more nuanced, more splintered in their identities, more holistic in their approaches to female concerns and issues. post-modern feminism is raging.

ironically, all these movements that started in the early sixties and seventies were about breaking down walls. they were about the power of the people, the community, the family. and yet these leaders are now the people my generation wants to topple because power has corrupted the movements, the cause, the multiple visions. newer social justice activists know this and try to make a movement less hierarchical, which is why you don't see one leader. instead there are a sea of them, ready to create a tide for change.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Teenage Pregnancy Up...

And we should be shocked? I'm not.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 — The birth rate among teenagers 15 to 19 in the United
States rose 3 percent in 2006, according to a report issued Wednesday, the
first such increase since 1991. The finding surprised scholars and fueled a
debate about whether the Bush administration’s abstinence-only sexual
education efforts are working. [link]

Come on! Educators, parents, social workers have been saying for years that the abstience programs that this Bush Administration pushes does and cannot work. You cannot tell teens, in age of information, not to have sex, regardless how much you push it down their throat that they are partaking in sin. Word to the wise, most teens enjoy partaking in sin.

President Bush noted the long decline in teenage pregnancy rates in his 2006 State of the Union address, saying, “Wise policies such as welfare reform, drug education and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country.” The White House did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

I watched a really great documentary on abstience only programs taking place in Lubbock, Texas which has the highest level of teenage pregnancy in the nation. The Education of Shelby Knox shows the struggles of one teen trying to bring sex education to her school district after she witnesses the number of pregnant teens in her high school.

Why can't we go back to the days of sex education? I just don't see the harm in it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

cyclone victims

natural disasters = natural human instincts to help.

to donate to the Bangla victims' please consider this organization:

i get scared about donating to charities and such when i don't know how much actually goes to overhead or the relief effort. so, i like smaller charities who have less overhead and are based on real humanitarianism, instead of bureaucracy.

so, think about this organization, wish for a quick recovery in Bangladesh and part of India affected by this flooding during this thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A letter from Pakistan

Forwarded from a friend's friend:
Dear Friend,

I believe my letter will find you in best of health. And I also once again hope that you remember your Oxford colleagues of International human Rights Law, Program 2004.

Due to the security reasons, I am writing you from my new email address.

You must be having an idea of Pakistan’s present situation. In Pakistan, Mr. President General Pervez Musharaf, due to his lust for Power, has brought a different sort of coup i.e. coup against Judiciary, Lawyers and Electronic Media. However at the pretext that its important for the progress of so called “War on terror”, whereas in fact this coup has nothing to do with the War on Terror but is helping the actual Terrorists to strengthen themselves.

As Mr. President General Pervez Musharaf expected a Judgment against him from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, barring him to be president of the country for another 5 years, hence he ironically insulted and removed all the Judges of Supreme Court , who were about to deliver Judgment against him. So much so that like minded Judges in the High Courts have also been removed by the same General. All the lawyers who were pleading cases against him in the courts have been arrested. And the Electronic Media, which used to show true picture to the nation has been banned. Besides others, thousands of Lawyers including office bearers of all the Pakistan court Bars Councils, have been sent behind the bars under different unfounded charges. Lawyers are being tortured and disgraced in public. Police while using force against the lawyers drag them from hairs and slap them. Just to humiliate them. Constitution of the Country has been suspended. This is in fact more than a Martial Law. But very cleverly has been given the name of Emergency.

However, it is very strange that US and other governments are not showing considerable interest in the restoration of Judiciary and are showing no resentment against confinement of Judges, Senior Lawyers and Human Right activists. The fact is being totally ignored that no country and no democracy can work, without free and fair judiciary. If the judiciary is allowed to be demoralized in this way, it would not be a good precedent even for the other developing countries. At present the president is collecting judges, who can only favour him. He is turning the courts to Mock Courts, JUST FOR HIS OWN VESTED INTERST.

I will request you to please come forwards and help the Judiciary & judicial System of this country. The only crime of this country Deposed Judiciary is this that, it tried to be fair and stand by the truth. Please play your pivotal role for restoration of free judiciary and release of Lawyers and true democracy in Pakistan. Please show your resentment in some way and motivate the other also, in the interest of justice. Amongst others, the lawyers of Pakistan direly need you. At least pass resolutions in this respect in your organizations/institute/bar council and refer the same to UN etc


Ghulam Shoaib, Advocate

In order to examine certain rays of Emergency news and activities in Pakisitan Please log on to or

please write to your local congress people, including senators, informing them about the situation in pakistan and how they have the power to do something.