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Home is the place where you don’t have to engage reservation in advance. – Arkansas gazette.
This reservation refers to hotel, motel or inn. It could be reservation for trains or cinema shows. Now reservation has a new dimension like reservation in employment which has been common in India to take care of the disadvantaged like backward classes, minorities or physically handicapped. All this has been in vogue at entry points. Now reservations are sought to be done in promotions. The background and implications of this have been highlighted by TRS Subramanian, a former Cabinet Secretary, in an article titled “Reservations in promotion will be an unmitigated catastrophe” in The New Indian Express (19-8-12) - and excerpted here.
To treat the mind its proper face to scan,
And hold the faithful mirror up to man.
- Robert Lloyd, English poet (1733-1764).
A new trend of “mirror-fasting” which includes abstaining from looking at your reflection for a month to a year can stop you from obsessing over your looks, a team of US bloggers have claimed. The trend started in the US when bloggers such as Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, a 36-year-old freelance writer based in Queens, New York, launched a blog on mirror fasting, the Guardian (London) has reported.
“I’d become aware that I had a ‘mirror face’. Whenever I saw my reflection I’d open my eyes a little wider, suck in my cheeks a little and tip my chin down in an effort to make myself look more like I wanted to. It made me feel really vain,” she was quoted as saying by the paper. She embarked on her first month-long mirror fast in May 2011, in an effort to become less self-conscious about her face. “I didn’t want to do it because I felt bad about myself per se – I was just concerned about how often I was thinking about my appearance. I wanted to see how much my mood was affected by the way I perceived my looks,” she said.
“Civilisation is the distance that man has placed between himself and his own excreta.”
― Brian W. Aldiss, The Dark Light Years
More than civilization, hygiene is central to escaping from many diseases connected with eating, as pointed out in an article by Pushpa Narayan titled “Many waiters carry germs on hands” and published in The Times of India (1-8-12) - and excerpted here.
The meal that the waiter has served you appears to be perfect. It looks good, smells great and has just the right quantities of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. But zoom it at a microscopic level and you’d probably see that also contains the most vile-looking and dangerous germs and bacteria like Escherichia coli (E.coli) and amoebic cysts. Not having hair or grime on your plate does not mean that the food served at the restaurant or road side eatery is safe. A study shows that hands of many chefs and waiters in the city are infested with deadly micro-organisms.
The results of the study by Indian Public Health Association have come as a shocker to people who eat out as well as doctors and health department officials. Researchers found E.coli on the hands of nearly 11.2% of the people who handle food in five star hotels. In smaller restaurants, 47% of chefs and waiter had the bacterium, which can cause serious food poisoning, on their hands. The figure rises to 84.7% in roadside eateries.
The liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political and religious rights of an Englishman. – Junius, said to ne the pen name of Sir Philip Francis, Irish statesman (1740-1818).
What is said of England holds good to any country. But that liberty has to be excercised with caution, as the Supreme Court pointedly reminded us. But, first the facts.
Slamming the electronic media for its live coverage of the 26/11 terrorist attacks, the Supreme Court on August 29, 2012 said that by doing so the Indian TV channels did not serve the national interest or any social cause. A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and C.K. Prasad, while confirming the death sentence on the prime accused, Ajmal Kasab, said the “reckless coverage… gave rise to a situation where, on the one hand, the terrorists were completely hidden from the security forces and they had no means to know their exact positions or even the kind of firearms and explosives they possessed and, on the other, the positions of the security forces, their weapons and all their operational movements were being watched by the collaborators across the border on TV screens and being communicated to the terrorists.”
Maintaining checks and balances on the power of the Judiciary Branch and the other two branches is vital to keep the form of government set up by our (American) Founding Fathers.
The question of judicial independence Vs accountability has surface again and the issues involved have been highlighted by the Chief Justice of India, S.H. Kapadia, who, while making it clear that the judiciary was not afraid of laws to make judges accountable, cautioned the government not to tinker with its independence. “I would request the government that accountability be balanced with judicial independence.” In enacting laws, the concept of judicial independence should not be lost sight of. For, “decisional independence and structural independence are more important when you are required to balance accountability and judicial independence,” he said speaking at the August 15, 2012.
Justice Kapadia was apparently referring to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha. A controversial clause states: “No judge shall make unwarranted comments against the conduct of any constitutional or statutory institution or officials at the time of hearing matters in open court.” The Bill allows citizens to complain against erring judges but has been facing criticism for this provision and the government is contemplating amending it.
A help-the-needy committee met at luncheon today and resolved to have another luncheon. – Anonymous Epigram.
The joke today is cruel as much of government spend meant for poor is eaten away by greedy babus and other intermediaries, with the final intended beneficiaries getting a pittance of what is earmarked for them. This has now raised the question of whether they should be given the benefits in kind, as is being done now, or cash or vouchers. For the case for the latter is well articulated in an article in The Times of India (25-8-12) by Arvind Panagariya, Professor of Economics at Columbia University – and excerpted below.
Large increases in revenues, made possible by accelerated growth, have allowed the UPA government to rapidly expand redistribution programmes — distribution of subsidised foodgrain, free elementary education, rural health and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). But only a small fraction of the benefits of these programmes actually reaches the intended beneficiaries. Leakages along various elaborate government distribution chains are endemic. In sharp contrast to China, the government in India is hopelessly ineffective and inefficient at the delivery of social benefits.
A great many persons are able to become members of this House without losing their insignificance (on the British Parliament). – Anne Baxter, US actress (1923-1985).
This was said in the context of people getting elected from their pocket boroughs on the strength of their money and influence. For such members of parliament, it was more an honour than making meaningful contribution to debates. Today, Parliament is not for dumb dolls. Members have to make intelligent speeches supported by facts and figures. In America legislators get assistants for research and even speech-writing.
This takes us to the story of the Trojan Horse. It is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. After a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war.
In the councils of government we must guard against the equisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and still persist. – Dwight D. Eiseenhower, former U S President.
What applies to the executive branch of government, holds equally good to the judicial branch. People of influence and influence peddlers vitiate judicial administration. Take the case of Narayan Dutt Tiwari.On July 27, 2012 the Delhi High Court declared him to be the biological father of Rohit Shekar on the basis of a DNA report ordered by the court.The case for this declaration had been filed by Shekar in 2007. Tiwari managed to drag it on for five years. There areothers, including Jayalalithaa, Mayawati, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav, against whom corruption/ disproportionate asset cases have been dragging on fer even more years. They use their influence, blackmail and favour powers to postpone the judgment day. The legislators and judges have now identified a class of litigants as influencial and want tackle them by expediting cases against them.
The Law Commission of India has told the courts to focus on cases against the ‘influencial’. But, how to declare a person’influencial’? This is highlighted in a report by Krisnaprasad in The Hindu (6-8-12) - and excerpted here.
The violent attack on a young woman in Guwahati is far enough in the past now to allow us to analyse it beyond the immediate feelings of outrage and disgust. I think it’s time to think about the bystanders, those people on the street who stood by and watched an innocent person being brutally beaten. Although most of us cannot picture ourselves as one of the attackers, it’s all too easy to imagine being one of those who looked the other way.
Our training — particularly in India, particularly for women — tells us to do just that: Look the other way. Don’t get involved. It’s not your problem. It’s none of your business. You don’t know the whole story.
What would I have done, had I been on that busy street where no one responded? What would I have done if I had seen my daughter, one of my staff, one of the children I work with being molested, attacked, abused?
I would have pounced. I am, in fact, a serial pouncer. I am burdened with a heightened sense of my own importance and an unfortunate conviction that I was sent here to solve everyone else’s problems. I don’t know about you. I can’t help myself. I have a history of scooping people up off the road — accident victims, people having epileptic seizures, women in labour — and transporting them to the hospital. No emergency room has ever turned me away and, in spite of all hype to the contrary, I have never yet been charged with any crime or held responsible for the victim’s injuries.
Even more interesting, I invariably find that when one person stops to do the right thing, all those indifferent bystanders suddenly remember their shared humanity. Suddenly, there is no shortage of willing helpers. People will lift bloodied bodies, flag down passing cars, give up their shawls and chunnis, find water, call for assistance. It’s amazing. All it takes is one brave soul.
So, for what it’s worth, here’s my advice:
A good many of us today are content to be fat, dumb and happy with a polyunsaturated diet, the coming of the thirty-five-hour-week, the fly-now-pay-later vacation, the fringe benefits, many of us live in a chromium-plated world where the major enemy we face is crabgrass. –John H Glenn, Jr.
“You are what you think you are” – Anonymous epigram. Based on this, the Bondel Laughter Club founded and anchored by me (Click on YouTube for “Laughter Club Bondel” to see video) has a set of self-esteem declarations in the concluding part:
I am the happiest person in the world.
I am the healthiest person in the world.
I am the luckiest person in the world.
Every day and every hour I feel better and better.
Now research seems to support this proposition that one is what he thinks he is. According to a report based on a new study, normal teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be overweight. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that perceiving themselves as fat even though they are not actually cause normal weight children to become overweight adults.