Cornering the market for spelling bee championship

Well, what do you know? Once again Indian American kids have won the spelling bee. We’ll come to that in a bit. But first, here’s Akash Vukoti of San Angelo TX, just six years old and was the youngest of 280 contestants of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. He’s been at it since he was 2 years old. He’s pretty amazing. Watch this short video of him on a sneak peak of the NBC primetime show, “Little Big Shots,” which premiered in March. The little guy is full of beans and is an absolute delight.
Continue reading “Cornering the market for spelling bee championship”

Two First Amendments to two Constitutions

The First Amendment to the US Constitution is 45 words long. The full text reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Just by the way, the first 10 amendments to the US constitution is collectively known as the “Bill of Rights.” They were all ratified on Dec 15, 1791.

The First Amendment to the Indian constitution was introduced by Jawaharlal “Cha-cha” Nehru and was enacted in June 1951. The full text of the amendment is below.

It is not for the fainthearted. You ask why? Because here’s a very brief extract from the more than 1700 words.

No law in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of the Constitution which is consistent with the provisions of article 19 of the Constitution as amended by sub-section (1) of this section shall be deemed to be void, or over to have become void, on the ground only that, being a law which takes away or abridges the right conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of the said article, its operation was not saved by clause (2) of that article as originally enacted.

Please do check out full text below.
Continue reading “Two First Amendments to two Constitutions”

Mr Katju, here be dragons

Mr Katju, who is a retired supreme court judge, provided his insights into “abolishing unemployment in India” on social media yesterday. According to him, Soviet Russia solved that problem by “raising the purchasing power of the masses, and thereby rapidly expanding the economy and consequently abolishing unemployment.”

Mr Katju explains in subsequent comments how the scheme is supposed to work. It’s about reducing prices to increase “purchasing power”, he says. I don’t think he understands what prices or purchasing power means.

I have appended at the end of the post a few screen captures of Mr Katju’s submission to facebook and a couple of comments from his readers.

Mr Katju notes the steps the Soviet government took included the steady lowering of commodity prices, stepping up production, and the creation of jobs that abolished unemployment. He further notes that while the US was suffering the Great Depression of 1929, the Soviet economy was “rapidly expanding.” While not endorsing the Soviet method for India, he says that India should do something so “we can raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses and thereby rapidly expand the Indian economy, which is the only way of abolishing unemployment in India.”

He ends by writing, “The central point, and therefore the main problem before India, is how to raise the purchasing power of the masses? Do we follow the method of socialist countries, or some other method?” Continue reading “Mr Katju, here be dragons”

Domestic Predation began in 1947

If you were an employer, and your employee was inefficient, incompetent, irresponsible and arrogant, you would fire him. There are other people who can do the job. If you were an employee, and the work was demeaning, the boss irascible, the pay miserly, you would quit. There are other jobs in other companies. If you were a customer, and the product was faulty, expensive, unreliable and badly designed, you would take your business elsewhere. There are other suppliers of goods and services. If you were in a partnership, and your partner was insulting, domineering, lazy and greedy, you would dissolve the partnership. We can associate with others. We all have the freedom to do the best we can and deserve our just deserts. But all bets are off when it comes to the government.
Continue reading “Domestic Predation began in 1947”

Quote: Liberty and Government

“Liberty and good government do not exclude each other; and there are excellent reasons why they should go together. Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. It is not for the sake of a good public administration that it is required, but for security in the pursuit of the highest objects of civil society, and of private life. Increase of freedom in the State may sometimes promote mediocrity, and give vitality to prejudice; it may even retard useful legislation, diminish the capacity for war, and restrict the boundaries of Empire.”

— Lord Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity [1877]

Trump is the Monstrous Crow

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

Trump is the monstrous crow, as black as a tar-barrel. He will be good for the US. The system needs a bit of shaking up. The Republicans and the Democrats — Tweeledum and Tweeledee — have messed it up with their kabuki. Their staged battles, costumes, flying through the air tricks, etc., is highly entertaining. The details of the stage design are a perfect metaphor for the existing political setup.

A disruption will dislodge the status quo and perhaps push the moribund system to a different (and likely better) equilibrium. Granted that Trump is no visionary leader with wisdom oozing out of him. But he is the mild heart attack that jolts a person to take a serious look at his life and turn things around, if I may introduce another metaphor.

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