Monday, April 14, 2014

Wall Street killed the goose that laid golden eggs

If this story is correct,  the average American thinks the stock market is rigged and wants no part of it.  So, trading volume at the New York Stock Exchange is at a fifteen-year low.
The slump in trading volume is so pronounced that the big investment banks have had to resort to multiple rounds of deep layoffs, resulting in tens of thousands of investment bankers losing their jobs.
Effective regulation is what makes the market work; but few people in politics and even fewer on Wall Street want to concede that the government has a role in sustaining the market.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hudson Institute: The Wrong Enemy

 The video of a Hudson Institute event is available here.
New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2001 to 2013. She is among those who believe that the problems faced in Afghanistan can be traced back to the policies of Pakistan’s politico-military-intelligence establishment. Her latest book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001-2014, is filled with firsthand accounts of Gall’s meetings and interviews with politicians, generals, jihadis and intelligence personnel from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. In an excerpt printed in the New York Times, Gall asserted that not only did Pakistan fuel the Taliban but that elements within Pakistan’s intelligence services even protected Osama bin Laden.

On the launch of The Wrong Enemy, Hudson Institute hosted a book talk with Carlotta Gall. Writer and analyst Dr. Mohammad Taqi joined Gall to discuss her work and the US-Pakistan relationship. Hudson Senior Fellow Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, moderated the event.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Great American Lawn Scam?

Having (uncharacteristically) done the (supposedly) prescribed lawn care last autumn, I was surprised how bad the lawn in the backyard had done.   I have to replant substantial portions of it, so what am I doing indoors writing this on a nice sunny day, ideal for yard work?

Long story short - I want to plant fine fescue.  Fine fescue is not sold by the usual stores in New Jersey.  Had to order seed from out-of-state.  The delivery got delayed (a mis-routed railway wagon, apparently). So here I am with no seed.

The longer story:

What is culture?

Having encountered the "they all drink coke and wear blue jeans, so belong to the same culture", this page full of definitions of what culture is, is refreshing.

For the purposes of the Intercultural Studies Project, culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.
"Culture is the shared knowledge and schemes created by a set of people for perceiving, interpreting, expressing, and responding to the social realities around them"

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A.K. Ramanujam: Is there an Indian way of thinking?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Rush to War with Syria  
(via turcopolier.typepad.comP

Remember when the Syrian Government allegedly used poison gas on its people? And the big rush to war which ultimately Obama ended by accepting the Putin+Syria offer to destroy all its chemical weapons under international supervision?

Seymour Hersh narrates:

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.


A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

Race in America - just 14 years ago.

Wiki: ( )

During the 2000 Republican presidential primary, Senator John McCain was the target of a whisper campaign implying that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock. (McCain's adopted daughter is a dark-skinned child from Bangladesh). Voters in South Carolina were reportedly asked, "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew that he fathered an illegitimate black child?". McCain would later lose the South Carolina primary, and the nomination, to George W. Bush.

In addition, on the week of the nomination vote, dozens of radio stations were called on the same day asking talk show hosts what they thought of McCain's fathering of a black child out of wedlock. McCain later said of the incidents:
"There were some pretty vile and hurtful things said during the South Carolina primary. It's a really nasty side of politics. We tried to ignore it and I think we shielded [our daughter] from it. It's just unfortunate that that sort of thing still exists. As you know she's Bengali, and very dark skinned. A lot of phone calls were made by people who said we should be very ashamed about her, about the color of her skin. Thousands and thousands of calls from people to voters saying, 'You know, the McCains have a black baby.' I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those."
 Is there a comparable phenomenon in Indian politics?   Perhaps with respect to Muslims?

PS: More on Bush-McCain-South Carolina:

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A debate worth reading

Coates v. Chait.  Really worth reading, both to understand America, and to enjoy good writing. Also provides an example of an almost total disconnect, when one person's ideas simply do not fit into another person's worldview.

Overview on

Coates' first essay.

Chait's reply.

Coates' reply to Chait.

Chait's second.

Coates' third.

Chait's third.

Coates' fourth.

Coates' fifth.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Nannygate Revenge?

A lot of noise is being made about a New York Police Officer being held in New Delhi for carrying bullets to the airport. It is supposedly in retaliation for NannyGate - the arrest and strip-search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

So the following may be taken to be NannyGate first strikes?  Before we get to India, may we remember that in 2004, a person caught carrying bullets at Heathrow Airport in the UK triggered transatlantic probes?
Investigations have been launched on both sides of the Atlantic after a man was stopped at Heathrow Airport allegedly carrying bullets in his coat.  
  The 45-year-old Sudanese man, who flew to Heathrow from Washington DC's Dulles Airport on Wednesday morning, is being held in London under the Terrorism Act. 
You will find below that people of varied nationalities, Indian politicians and legislators, even a pilot and even a policeman have been arrested for having ammunition at the airports all over India.

July 2003, Mumbai: Interesting, as it shows some preferential treatment, but that perhaps because  diplomatic immunity applies.
The Tanzanian minister in charge of poverty reduction, Edgar Maokola-Majogo, has admitted that Indian police found a single bullet in his possession at Mumbai airport, but denies any ulterior motive.

The bullet was found in the minister's brief case

Mr Maokola-Majogo says the bullet was found by Indian security agents minutes before he boarded his flight back to Tanzania after attending a conference on poverty reduction in India.

He told the BBC that the bullet was inadvertently left in his brief case when he left the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, for India.

"The special hunting gun bullet accidentally dropped from a packet inside my brief case which also had all my conference papers," said Mr Maokola-Majogo.

He says that he is an ardent hunter and is licensed to carry a hunting gun in Tanzania.

"What could I do with a single bullet without my hunting gun which I left back in Tanzania," asked the minister.

Tanzania's Majira newspaper on Thursday quoted Indian press reports as saying that the minister had been held by Indian security agents for about eight hours after bullets were found in his possession.

But Mr Maokola-Majogo says that Indian police neither harassed, arrested or charged him with any offence.

He says that he voluntarily wrote a one-page statement regarding the bullet found in his possession and was immediately allowed to proceed with his journey home.

November 2003, Delhi
The IGI Airport police arrested a Japanese national, identified as Makita Masaru, with a .38 bore bullet from his baggage. The Japanese national was planning to board an Uzbekistan Airlines plane intended for Tashkent. The bullet was detected during X-Ray screening of his baggage.
December 2003, Calcutta ... 394560.cms
KOLKATA: A 50-year-old man was detained at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport on Monday after security personnel found a bullet in his luggage.

David Ramnunsanga, the passenger booked on Alliance Air flight CD 7211 to Aizwal, was apprehended around 10.30 am when a .22 bullet was found in his handbag at the baggage X-ray conveyor.
December 2005, Calcutta
Calcutta: M.G. Bopanna, 22, a second-year student of Loyla College, Chennai, was arrested at Dum Dum airport on Friday after a bullet was found on him. He came here from Guwahati, where his father works in a tea estate, and said his grandfather’s bullet was his lucky charm.
December 2005, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
{Dr. Gilad Haskin from Israel} In December 2005, on my way from India to Sri Lanka, whilst leading a group of travelers including both my parents, I was arrested at the airport of Tribandrum after a bullet shell was found in my hand luggage.  It seemed as this could have been explained to e merely an error, yet to my dismay and sorrow this minor error evolved into a "Kafka-style daemon dance".

September 2006, Mumbai,7340 ... 76,00.html
An Israeli woman in her 20's was arrested Thursday morning in Mumbai, after arriving at the city on an El Al flight from Israel, Ynet has learned. The young woman was arrested after a cartridge loaded with 16 9-mm bullets was found in a bag she was carrying, which belonged to her brother.
February 2007, Chennai 
Kerala CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan sent the cops at Chennai airport into a tizzy on Friday evening, with the X-ray machine at the security check spotting five live cartridges of a .38-revolver in his laptop case.

The CPI(M) leader was immediately led away for questioning, and he gave a written explanation that it belonged to his own licensed revolver. The cops, however, took their time verifying his claim with the police in his native Kannur, before he was allowed to go with no charges. 

April 2007, Calcutta
A businessman from Jamshedpur was arrested at Calcutta airport on Wednesday morning, after six bullets were found in his handbag. Police said Sanjay Palsania, 37, was scheduled to travel on an Indian flight from Calcutta to Mumbai. During the security check, the Central Industrial Security Force officer at the X-ray machine detected the 7.65-mm bullets. Palsania told police that he was carrying the bullets in the handbag by mistake. 
April 2008, Siliguri
U.S. nationals Monica Bond and her daughter Heather, detained after 9 mm cartridges were found in their baggage during a security check at West Bengal’s Bagdogra airport on Monday, are now in the Siliguri Special Correctional Home.

A senior official of the U.S. Consul General, Kolkata, visited the women at the correctional home on Wednesday, their lawyer Abhaypada Chatterjee told The Hindu over telephone from Siliguri.
Tourists from California, they were arrested under the Arms Act, 1959, and remanded to judicial custody for three days by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Siliguri on Tuesday.
May 2009, Mumbai,7340,L-3722643,00.html
An Israeli citizen was arrested at the Mumbai airport in India on Wednesday after being found in possession of a rifle magazine.

Jerusalem resident Natan Magar is believed to be a high-tech company's employee who finished a visit to the country and was returning to Israel.
Officials believe he left Israel with the cartridge in his possession.
May 2009, Pune 
Pune, India - A live bullet was found on Daniel Abraham Ifriti by Lohegaon airport police earlier this month when he landed from Delhi.

The Lohegaon airport police has confirmed that 54-year-old Israeli national Daniel Abraham Ifriti, who was held on May 5 on charges of carrying a live bullet into the country, will be chargesheeted tomorrow.

Landing in trouble: Ifriti was held by airport police on charges of carrying a live bullet into the country.
August  2009, Bhopal  {Note: MLA = Member of the Legislative Assembly},prtpage-1.cms
BHOPAL: A Chhattisgarh MLA was caught by security personnel at Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal on Wednesday with live cartridges.

T S Singhdeo, Congress MLA from Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh), known as 'Babaji' in his constituency, was arrested at the airport for allegedly trying to smuggle ten live cartridges into a Jet Airlines flight on Wednesday morning, police said. The ammunition was found during the initial screening of his luggage. The MLA was to board a flight from Bhopal to Raipur, scheduled for departure at 10.30am.

"Those were .27 cartridges meant for a rifle. The MLA — who is from the erstwhile royal family of Sarguja in northern Chhattisgarh — has been booked under Arms Act and produced before court which granted him bail," said Jaideep Prasad, Bhopal SP.
March 2011, Delhi ... rt-search/
St. Jude Medical’s (NYSE:STJ) chief executive officer was arrested in India on Wednesday after authorities at the Delhi airport found a single live round tucked into a knee pocket of his cargo pants, according to media reports.

Daniel Starks was in India on business and was about to take a chartered flight from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to Dharamsala. But he was stopped by India’s Central Industrial Security Force in the airport’s VIP lounge. Authorities found a 45-caliber shell in his pants. Such a caliber is most often associated with a handgun.
April 2011, Mangalore 
Mangalore: A Doha bound traveler from the Mangalore international airport  was arrested on Sunday April 3, after a round of ammunition initially identified as a small bullet was found in his possession. The traveler has been identified as a  student named Mohammed Sabik (26) from Talangare near Kasargod.

Mohammed had arrived at the Mangalore airport on Sunday morning to travel to Doha on the Sunday morning Air India Express and was detained during the routine security check. A bullet was found in his Wallet.

Mohammed is said to be resident of Qatar and is pursuing his MBA in the Gulf.  According to him he had enrolled on a arms training course offered by the Police Shooting Training Centre in Qatar where he paid  75 rials for 25 rounds of ammunition to be used during his training. Out of the lot he is said to have slipped in a bullet.  He is said to have kept the bullet in his check in luggage during his travel to India to visit his relatives in Kerala.

He was handed over to Bajpe police station. The Police registered a case and produced him to court.
May 2011, Delhi 
A pilot of an air charter company, who was to fly BJP president Nitin Gadkari to Nagpur and Gorakhpur on Tuesday, was stopped at Delhi airport by CISF personnel after he was found carrying live ammunition in his baggage.

Aero Air pilot, 33-year-old Canadian Rafael Jose Hubbard, was arrested by Delhi Police for illegal possession of ammunition. He was later released on a bail bond of Rs 20,000.
June 2011, Mumbai 
WACO(July 23, 2011) -- A Baylor University student has spent more than a month stranded in India after she was arrested at an airport in Mumbai.

The student from Austin, who's name isn't being released, has been in India on a mission trip with Waco's Antioch Community Church since June 4.

The student was headed back to the United States on June 21, when security guards stopped her at the airport, saying she had a bullet in a pocket of her backpack.

The Director of International Operations at Antioch, Shawn Griesemer, said the student had no idea where the bullet came from.

August 2011, Kolkata  {Note: NRI = Non-Resident India}
KOLKATA: An NRI was today arrested from the Kolkata airport after a bullet was found in his handbag, police said.

Mono Murugan (45) who had come from the US was about to board another flight to Mumbai from the airport here when the .3 bore bullet was found from his handbag during security checking, they said.

He was subsequently arrested by the airport police and will be produced in the court tomorrow, officials said. 
October 2011, Mumbai 
The 23-year-old Israeli national, Nurit Toker, who was recently arrested by the Sahar airport police for allegedly carrying two live firearm cartridges, has moved the Bombay high court seeking quashing of the proceedings initiated against her. Her contention is that the cartridges were kept in her bag by sheer mistake.

Toker’s plea states that she completed her compulsory three-year military training in Israel on October 18, 2011, and had planned a vacation to India, Nepal and Thailand. She was about to leave for Nepal from Mumbai International Airport, when the cartridges were detected in her bag by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
November 2011, Agartala
Agartala, Nov 10 (IANS) Youth Congress leader Anil Dhantori, who came here to oversee Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s programme in Tripura, was Thursday detained by security personnel at the Agartala airport following the recovery of a bullet from his baggage.
Later Dhantori, also a member of the Haryana assembly, was released by the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) without being handed over to the Tripura police.
January 2012, Goa
Police in India have apprehended a Swedish member of the armed forces when she allegedly attempted to board a plane carrying a live bullet in her baggage.....According to the paper, the Swedish woman works with logistics for the Swedish army, but was arrested by security at the Dabolim airport in Goa while on holiday, after a live bullet showed up in the security check of her luggage.

February 2012, Udaipur
A 21-year-old New Zealander, Harper Alexander Ralph, is arrested at an airport in India's Rajasthan state with three live cartridges in his possession. No explanation for the illegal carry-on items seems to have been given.

A New Zealand national, Harper Alexander Ralph, was arrested in possession of three live cartridges for a .22mm gun.

The bullets were found during a security check at an airport in Udaipur district of India's northwestern Rajasthan state on Tuesday.
March 2012, Madurai  {Note: MLA = Member of the Legislative Assembly }
Madurai:  The airport security at Madurai on Friday seized a box containing 21 bullets from the Aravakurichi DMK MLA K C Palanichamy and handed him over to the police.

However, the MLA was let off after he told the police that his Personal Assistant had inadvertently put the bullet box in his personal baggage instead of the medicine box.

The Superintend of Police asked him to give a written statement before ordering his release.

May 2012, Delhi ... -live.html
(also see )
US citizen Jeffrey Jinnin Worn was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday (May 26) on charges of possessing of live handgun ammunition as he prepared to board an outbound Turkish Airlines flight. The ammunition in his bag was identified during a scan of his carry-on luggage.
June 2012, Delhi ... ia/962984/
New Delhi: Dharmanand Gunanand Ratudi of Kandivali (West) in Mumbai was arrested at the IGI Airport on Saturday for allegedly carrying a .38 bore bullet in his hand bag, police said. CISF men claimed to have found the bullet during X-ray screening of his bag. 
June 2012, Delhi 
A Punjab police official was on Tuesday arrested with 52 live bullets at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here just before he was about to board a flight to Manila, a CISF official said. Inspector Atul Soni, was going to Manila on a Philippines Airlines flight when his baggage containing variants of live and spent bullets was detected by CISF security personnel at at T3 terminal. Soni, who said he was posted in Mohali, had 46 live rounds of 9 mm pistol, 3 live rounds of 7.62 mm rifle and 3 live rounds of .32 bore rifle in his baggage, the official said.....Soni, who was travelling with his wife, was arrested under the Arms Act.
December 2012, Mumbai,7340,L-4321440,00.html
An Israeli man was detained in Mumbai, India last week after he was found carrying two rifle bullets in his backpack, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday. Israel is working to secure his release.

The man, in his 20s, was on a post-army trip to the Far East and had apparently forgotten the bullets in his backpack during his service in a combat military unit.
At the airport, security guards found the bullets in his backpack and took him for questioning. He explained that the bullets were left there from his military service but failed to convince the Indian authorities which held him for two days before releasing him to house arrest. 

March 2013, Mumbai ... 0AYtl5lw_o
An Israeli man, 23, was arrested in Mumbai Airport at week's end after a bullet was found in his personal bag when he was about to board a flight to Nepal.

He is in jail and efforts are being made to free him.
July 2013, Aurangabad ... 062706.cms
AURANGABAD: The MIDCCidco police on Friday arrested Sundar Baidansingh Yadav, a 42-year-old property dealer from Noida, Uttar Pradesh, for carrying eight bullets in his baggage without declaring them to the airport authorities. The bullets were recovered from him in the baggage scan at the Aurangabad airport, when he was about to board a Delhi-bound flight. He has been booked under the Arms Act.

July 2013, Mumbai ... rt-1862478
A 68-year-old Canadian woman with a passion for shooting sports, found herself in trouble after she was caught with 38 live cartridges at the city airport. She was arrested and remanded in police custody. A case was registered against her under the Arms Act, the police said.

According to sources, the incident took place on Tuesday when the accused, Irene Mathias, was on her way to London in a British Airways flight.

During the security check, MIAL security officials found bullet like objects in one of her baggage.

“On further check, 38 live cartridges were found from the bag,” said the source. Mathias came to India five days ago.

Initially, Mathias pleaded ignorance. “She told that since she plays lots of gun sports, the bullet might have possibly packed into her bag by mistake,” says senior police inspector Ravindra Patil of Sahar police station. Sources said considering her age, the cops did not keep her in the lockup.
 September 2013, Bhubhaneswar ... thorities/
Hurtubise was arrested on September 18, when he was caught with eight .22-caliber bullets in his travel bag and subsequently arrested. Hurtubise has maintained throughout that he had no criminal intent for having the bullets, and simply forgot to check his bag before leaving home in Houston.

Incredibly, Hurtubise not only made it onto a plane in Houston with the bullets, but also a connecting flight in Amsterdam, and finally went through New Delhi airport with the live ammunition in his luggage. It was only when he attempted to board a private helicopter at Biju Patnaik Airport, headed for Paradip, that he was caught and taken into police custody.

Hurtubise agreed to a conditional bail plea on October 9, and was allowed to leave the Jharpara jail on October 21, but only under the provision that he does not leave Bhubaneswar, the capital of the east Indian state of Odisha. Hurtubise, a 27 year-old engineer, was originally there on business.

Sep 2013, Chennai
The Indian airport police have reportedly picked up a 73-year-old man from Oman for travelling with a 7.62mm rifle bullet inside his razor box.

He was picked up while trying to board a flight after receiving treatment at a private hospital in Chennai, the Indian media reported. The reports quoted the man as claiming his son worked in the police department in Oman.
October 2013, Chennai ... ammunition
Indian police arrested Saturday a Filipino woman at an airport in the southern state of Tamil Nadu for illegally carrying ammunition.

"Yumena Arlene Valera was held at state capital Chennai's airport after two rounds of bullets were found in her possession during routine screening of luggage. The 49-year-old woman was to board a flight to the eastern state of Odisha's capital Bhubaneshwar," an official said on condition of anonymity.
And, of course, the case in question
March 2014, Delhi
A New York Police Department officer has been arrested and charged here under Arms Act after three bullets were found in his luggage, police said on Friday. It was reported that the officer Manny Encarnacion, 49, was arrested in New Delhi on March 11 after he arrived on a Lufthansa Airlines flight from New York, Deputy Commissioner of Police Airport Security M I Haider said. "Three 9mm bullets were found in his baggage. He was booked under Arms Act," Haider said.

PS: The US Department of State in its "Guide for American Citizens in India" (undated) has this:
Before traveling to or from India, you are urged to thoroughly inspect all bags and clothing that might inadvertently contain prohibited items. In the past, U.S. citizens have been arrested or detained when airport security officials discovered loose ammunition in their luggage. If you are found to have loose ammunition or bullets on your person, you could be charged with violation of the Indian Arms Act, incarcerated, and/or deported from India.