July 21, 2005

Andy Borowitz: white male shocker


Bush Praises Nondescript Nominee

John G. Roberts, President Bush's nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the United States Supreme Court, made a case for his own nomination today, telling reporters that, if confirmed, he was determined to be "the most generic white male in the history of the Supreme Court."

With a beaming President Bush at his side, Judge Roberts said that if he serves on the nation's highest court, "The nondescript American white male, who is woefully underrepresented in this country at present, will finally have a voice."

Judge Roberts summarized the life experiences that had put him in touch with the needs of the generic white male, including a brief period in the early 1980's when he modeled generic men's sportswear for K-Mart, as well as a later stint as a downloadable generic white male icon for ClipArt.

While President Bush praised his nominee for being both "interchangeable" and "unremarkable," a poll taken just hours after the nomination was announced suggests trouble ahead, with a clear majority of Americans being unable to remember Judge Roberts' name.

According to the poll, over fifty percent of those surveyed identified Mr. Bush's nominee as either "Jim Rogers" or "Bob Roberts," with over seventy percent confusing him with CBS news anchor John Roberts, yet another prominent generic white male.

For his part, President Bush appeared unfazed by such numbers, telling reporters at the White House, "I have total confidence in Don Rogers."

Elsewhere, over 150,000 women in Great Britain submitted applications to become actor Jude Law's new nanny.

July 21, 2005 in Columnists, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 30, 2005

tasneem khalil: standing for my father - reza kibria

Tasneem Khalil, a friend and journalist from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Endorses and advocates Libertarian Socialism and Free/Open Software & Publication. Subjects of interest primarily include Culture, Humanity, Alternative Media, Propaganda and Politics.

Shah AMS Kibria, a Member of the Parliament of Bangladesh and former Finance Minister of the country, was brutally assassinated in a grenade attack on January 27th 2005 in his constituency, the town of Habiganj in Sylhet. Reza Kibria, an internationally acclaimed economist, is a core member of the 'Blue for Peace' movement that is now demanding an end to such political killings in Bangladesh. For more info http://www.sams-kibria.org

[this interview with reza kibria — son of former bangladesh finance minister sams kibria, assassinated in january — was to appear in the debut issue of a weekly newsmagazine. unfortunately, for unstated reasons, all the copies of the magazine (except a few preview copies) were sieged hours before the debut newsstand hit (at this stage, it is not convenient for me to spell out more detail account of the episode).

as i believe this interview contains valuable information and opinion that needs public attention and analysis, i am resorting to an internet distribution. i am inviting concerned readers to freely redistribute this piece (and releasing this under a creative commons license).
— tasneem khalil]

continue reding ...

May 30, 2005 in Columnists, Reality, World News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005

Seymour Topping

I am very pleased, as predicted in January, Seymour Topping and his book Book.JPG FATAL CROSSROADS: A Novel of Vietnam 1945 are making waves.

May 20, 2005 in Books, Columnists, History | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 02, 2005

Zakaria shouts out to his homeboys

(via sepia mutiny)

I haven’t seen Fareed Zakaria do explicit shout-outs that often, unlike Gurinder Chadha:

India is still a poor third-world country, but if you read [Thomas Friedman’s] book you would assume it is on the verge of becoming a global superstar. (Though as an Indian-American, I read Friedman and whisper the old Jewish saying, ”From your lips to God’s ears.”)
- Manish

May 2, 2005 in Columnists, Reality, World News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2005

Magic Feathers by James W. Reid

This lavishly illustrated large-format art book by James Reid - is the first major publication in the world devoted entirely to this magnificent ancient art form. It focuses on the aesthetic beauty of the feather textiles and three-dimensional objects, unparalleled in their artistry and sophistication, that were created for the elite of the ancient Andean world between approximately 500 BC and 1550 AD.

Son of a British Army Officer and UN diplomat, and of an American mother, James Reid was educated at England’s 600 year old Winchester College, at Princeton (BA), the Ecole de Sciences Politiques ( Paris), Stanford (MA), and with doctoral studies at the University of Buenos Aires.

The author, internationally recognised as one of the leading authors and scholars on the textile art of ancient America, focuses on:
- The characteristics and chronology of the major featherwork-producing cultures of ancient Peru, and the geographical features of the area.
- Technical facets of feather textile production, including: sources of the feathers; different types of feather objects; creation and construction; dating and cultural attribution.
- The religious, political, social, psychological, economic and communication roles of the feather textiles in ancient Peruvian life.
- Design concepts and the meaning and importance of the motifs and shapes employed.
- The parallels to be drawn between ancient Peruvian feather textiles and Modern Art.

He is the author of eleven major books, which contain introductions by HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Mario Vargas Llosa and such internationally renowned archaeologists as Federico Kauffmann-Doig. He has presented his books personally, in official ceremonies, to the Presidents of Brazil and Peru.

In addition to numerous other publications( scholarly articles and museum catalogues, et al.,), he has been guest lecturer at US universities ( Princeton, Yale, Syracuse), and such institutions as the Americas’ Society, New York; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem , and numerous South American institutions. He was recently invited by Germain Viatte, Directeur du Musee du quai Branly – French President Chirac’s huge new museum, ten years in construction( due to open in 2006) – to lecture in Paris, and to author a 100 page catalogue.

A linguist in seven languages, Colonel Reid is an elected member of New York’s prestigious Explorers Club as the result of his expeditions to, and accounts of remote areas of the world. An artist who studied in Paris, he has exhibited his paintings internationally – primarily in France, the US and South America.

An excellent Feather book though not so feather-weight (11 pounds)

April 29, 2005 in Art, Books, Columnists, History, Travel | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Andy Borowitz: identity theft shocker


'Losers,' Fumes Angry Hacker

An identity thief who has stolen over half a million identities over the past two years returned all but four of them today, declaring the identities "totally worthless" and "an enormous waste of my time and hard work."

The computer hacker, who spoke to reporters via conference call today, said that "in all my years of stealing identities, I have never come across a bigger collection of losers."

He said that he had spent months hacking through the security firewall of one of the nation's largest financial institutions, hoping to reap billions of dollars for his efforts, but after sifting through the stolen identities he found that they were "little more than a garbage dump of unpaid college loans and overdue Blockbuster bills."

"Everybody's running around worried about identity theft these days," he added. "All I can say is, don't flatter yourself by thinking you have an identity that's worth my time."

In San Diego, at the annual convention of the National Association of Hackers and Identity Thieves, some of the nation's most prominent cyberthieves complained about what they called a serious decline in the number of identities worth stealing.

They called out for financial institutions to institute measures that would warn or "tag" particularly worthless identities, enabling hackers to focus their energies elsewhere.

"You go through these so-called identities, and you realize there are millions of Americans out there who literally have no life," said one identity thief in attendance. "No wonder the Star Wars movies do so well."

Elsewhere, the Labor Department reported that unemployment surged by 300,000 this month but attributed the increase to lawyers fired by Michael Jackson.

April 28, 2005 in Columnists, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 30, 2005

Anita Jain: Is Arranged Marriage Really Any Worse Than Craigslist?

Read the MOST POPULAR article from NewYorkmetro.com

(posted here with Author's permission)

Recently, i was cc’d on an e-mail addressed to my father. It read, “We liked the girl’s profile. The boy is in good state job in Mississippi and cannot come to New York. The girl must relocate to Mississippi.” The message was signed by Mr. Ramesh Gupta, “the boy’s father.”

That wasn’t as bad as the time I logged on to my computer at home in Fort Greene and got a message that asked, forgoing any preamble, what the date, time, and location of my birth were. Presumably sent to determine how astrologically harmonious a match with a Hindu suitor I’d be, the e-mail was dismayingly abrupt. But I did take heart in the fact that it was addressed only to me.

I’ve been fielding such messages—or, rather, my father has—more and more these days, having crossed the unmarriageable threshold for an Indian woman, 30, two years ago. My parents, in a very earnest bid to secure my eternal happiness, have been trying to marry me off to, well, just about anyone lately. In my childhood home near Sacramento, my father is up at night on arranged-marriage Websites. And the result—strange e-mails from boys’ fathers and stranger dates with those boys themselves—has become so much a part of my dating life that I’ve lost sight of how bizarre it once seemed.

Continue reading ...
Anita Jain is currently Technology and telecommunications reporter for Crain's New York Business

March 30, 2005 in Columnists, Humor, Reality | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

Andy Borowitz: martha shocker


Beats Out Harvard Business School as Top CEO Destinations

Domestic diva Martha Stewart, who saw the value of her stock soar since she began serving a five-month sentence at Alderson Federal Prison, has apparently now worked her magic on Alderson itself, which today reported a twelve-month waiting list of CEOs eager to do time there.

"Our phone has been ringing off the hook, and a lot of these CEO's haven't even committed a crime yet," said Alderson spokesperson Lucinda Colwin. "I'm like, rob a liquor store and then we'll talk."

Randall Trestman of the University of Minnesota's Graduate School of Business said that Ms. Stewart's stunning comeback has turned Alderson into "the place to be" for America's top corporate leaders.

"What Harvard Business School was in the eighties and the Internet sector was in the nineties, Alderson is today," he said.

CEOs whose companies' stock have sagged in recent months may face increasing pressure from shareholders to commit crimes in order to snag a precious one-way ticket to Alderson, Mr. Trestman said.

"Becoming a convicted felon is no longer a stigma for CEOs," he said. "It's their fiduciary responsibility."

Across the country, crimes involving CEOs, from accounting fraud to car theft, have surged over nine thousand percent in the past two months - a trend that does not surprise Mr. Trestman.

"If, instead of buying Compaq Computer, [former HP CEO] Carly Fiorina had stolen a Compaq computer from a Circuit City store, she might still have her job today," he added.

Elsewhere, after circling the globe without being able to eat, sleep or move, millionaire Steve Fossett said now he knows how it feels to fly coach.

March 4, 2005 in Columnists, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

John Maxwell Hamilton: Vietnam fights for liberty after WWII

I take great pride in being the first one to bring this best seller novel to the world through my blog (January 14 2005) and now the world is talking about it!

Published on Sunday, January 30, 2005 by John Maxwell Hamilton Special to The Plain Dealer. Hamilton is dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.

Write about what you know." No one better exemplifies the wisdom of this admonition to writers than veteran newsman Seymour Topping.

The setting of Topping's historical novel is Vietnam at the end of World War II, not long before he became the first American correspondent stationed in the country. The central issue is the fate of the Vietnamese people, who yearn for independence rather than a return to French control.

Fatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945 by Seymour Topping Book.JPG

The French and Vietnamese, both of whom have vying factions, are not the only ones to figure in this fateful story. The defeated Japanese, who have yet to completely surrender in Vietnam, do not want to see Westerners rule an Asian country. The British, whose job it is to disarm the Japanese, favor preserving colonization. The Chinese commu- nists and the Soviets have their interests -- and intrigues. And there is the United States, which in the end fails by not playing a strong enough role at this "Fatal Crossroads" in history. Topping's tragic hero is Travis Duncan, a U.S. foreign-service officer who is detailed to the Office of Strategic Services or OSS, the wartime forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency. Duncan's mission is to link up with nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh, who is hiding in the countryside, and report back on his aspirations. Duncan's mission is complicated -- and abetted -- by love interests with a Vietnamese woman he had known when stationed in Saigon in the 1930s and with a Frenchwoman who works for France's M.5 intelligence service while posing as a journalist.

Duncan finds Ho a contradictory figure, at once unwilling to rein in his brutal general, Vo Nguyen Giap, and yet interested in democratic ideals. Ho asks Duncan for a copy of the Declaration of Independence and incorporates language from it in the speech he gives upon entering Hanoi.

"I'm first a nationalist and then a member of the Communist Party," Ho tells Duncan. "Independence is my paramount goal." Accordingly Duncan argues the United States should press France's new leader, Charles De Gaulle, to establish phased-in independence for the Vietnamese.

Our hero maintains this point of view despite the danger of being labeled soft on communism, an issue that is becoming political at home. He is equally courageous when sent to Saigon ostensibly to repatriate American prisoners held by the Japanese. In reality, he is there to work behind the scenes to avert a French takeover, which he correctly foresees leading to protracted bloody fighting.

Duncan's French lover is also disillusioned with her country's Vietnam policy. When the British declare him persona non grata and he must leave Saigon, Duncan and his lover agree to reunite soon. That is not to be.

Topping, whose career includes stints abroad for The New York Times, for which he served as managing editor, is one of our country's most distinguished journalists. OSS involvement with Ho, which Topping learned about while a correspondent in Saigon, has been substantiated in memoirs that he has drawn upon. This is Topping's second historical novel and an engaging story that is well told. After years of reporting, Topping's strength quite naturally comes more in providing facts than, say, in writing clever dialog. In fact, he uses every inch of the story, including much of his characters' conversations, to fill in facts related to this complicated history. The virtue of this historically careful approach is that it delivers more than a good story. Duncan vividly and poignantly personifies what could have been right with U.S. policy but was not.

Vietnam did not command much attention from American policymakers in those fateful years. Consumed with countering the threat of the Soviet Union in Europe and not wanting to alienate De Gaulle, U.S. policymakers ignored Ho's overtures. As Topping suggests, more attention could have prevented the tragic war that consumed so many American lives.

Hamilton is dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.

February 17, 2005 in Books, Columnists | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 14, 2005

FATAL CROSSROADS: A Novel of Vietnam 1945

As a child in Bombay, India I enjoyed reading international newspapers at the library. Initially it was just a desire to know what is happening in the far away land. One name that kept coming over and over again was Seymour Topping. I must have read every article of his which I could find. To me New York Times became a great newspaper when Seymour Topping joined them.

Seymour Topping has devoted much of his fifty years in journalism to covering Vietnam and China as a correspondent and editor. He became the first American correspondent to be stationed in Vietnam after World War II when in 1950 after reporting the Chinese civil war for three years he opened the Associated Press bureau in Saigon. Following two years of roaming Indochina and traveling with the French Foreign Legion along the China border, he went to posts in London and Berlin. He joined the New York Times in 1959 and after three years in Moscow as chief correspondent became Chief Correspondent Southeast Asia. He was appointed Foreign Editor in 1969 serving later as Managing Editor for ten years. He was the Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and is now SanPaolo Professor Emeritus of International Journalism at Columbia University and lives with his wife, Audrey, a photojournalist, in Scarsdale, New York. He has written three fiction books so far.

Today I am lucky to know the Toppings personally and to be invited for his book party of “FATAL CROSSROADS: A Novel of Vietnam 1945”. It is an historical novel and except for the story characters is historically accurate. To me this book is especially interesting to read since I can draw similarities with the current situation in Iraq.

I can proudly say that like Walter Cronkite, U.S. Broadcast Journalist, Neil Sheehan, Pulitzer Prize author, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, Henry F. Graff, Historian and editor, History of the Presidents, A.J. Langguth, author, Our Vietnam, David Phillips, Council on foreign relations, Dr. Andrew Economos, Chairman of RCS and many more; I know Seymour Topping and am a fan of his.

I wish the world would learn a lesson from history and from Mr. Seymour Topping!

Fatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945 by Seymour Topping Book.JPG

January 14, 2005 in Books, Columnists, History | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack