Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yoga has Hindu roots - Duh, stupid..

While driving to work, I heard an interesting story on NPR about yoga. I think most people know that Yoga has Indian roots - as in it has been part of our culture/history/mythology/religion for at least the last 5000 years (if nothing else, the fact that yoga is initiated by the Hindu greeting 'Namaste' should send a clue). While embracing the intense yet physically peaceful aspects of this 'exercise', the West has chosen to stay away from the religious roots of this stressed-culture fad. When the Hindu American Foundation posed a question regarding the absence of the reference of Hinduism in the 'yoga-context' to a popular exercise magazine, they were given the shrugged response that the term Hinduism has a lot of 'baggage'. Interesting.

How belittling is it to reduce a philosophy that represents spirituality, truthfulness, peace, unity and harmony  to merely a physical act of losing some calories. Sure, a good percentage of yoga 'regulars' know that it is much more than that. But deferring from crediting the deep roots of something so powerful to one of the world's oldest religions for the fear of some 'cultural' baggage is unfair and limiting. Sure, you don't need to be Hindu to benefit from yoga - but the acknowledgement that the Hindu religion is basis or shares basis with this effective technique speaks volumes about the beauty of this religion overall - currently not very apparent to a lot of Westerners.

On the world stage of controversial religions, Hinduism does not occupy any relevance. It is and has been a non-binding, self engaging, and karmic way of life that is often overlooked as a polytheistic mythological fantasy draped in the name of a 'religion'. But this simplistic view has been stereotyped and perpetuated by many sources by simply leaving things unsaid or unacknowledged. It is perhaps impossible for most people to realize that the direct relevance of the Bhagvad Gita, Vedas, and other old Hindu legacies to our daily lives even today exists in direct correlation, but a little 'hats-off' would be nice. Anyone who would simply dismiss yoga because it has Hindu roots shouldn't be doing any yoga anyways - hate is poison for the soul!

Ah, another one of those 'common sense' Hindu teachings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liberty Alert: Firearms Kill People!

Recent news regarding a FL teenager killed by a neighborhood watch 'supervisor' has diverted my attention to violence friendly laws in multiple states across the United States. In this particular instance, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old black teenager was standing around in his friend's neighborhood while on the cell phone while another male - George Zimmerman- came from behind and shot him with his handgun. It is worth mentioning that the 'other male' was Hispanic in ethnicity (so it isn't considered a typical racist crime) and was fulfilling his responsibility by keeping his eyes open around the neighborhood looking for 'suspicious' activities. He first called 911 expressing his concerns regarding this suspicious teenager in a neighbor's yard and even when told not to follow the victim outside, did so and after a short scuffle, ended up shooting Trayvon killing him on the spot.

Keeping the race drama out of it (as suggested by some media), Zimmerman was never taken into custody because under FL self-defense law, aka Stand Your Ground law, it makes it rather simple to attack a potential 'attacker' if you 'reasonably' believe that you have to act in force to protect yourself. Specifically it states: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Rather open to interpretation. Aside from the fact that self defense homicides have gone up 300% since this Stand Your Ground law was passed, it is baffling that such incidents are not worthy enough to debate or change the necessity of having lenient gun laws, such as those present in over a quarter of the states in this country that don't require a license to carry a firearm and about a dozen that don't require a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

No matter what this attacker's intentions were, there is no denying the fact that the gun made it easy for him to commit this murder and use 'force' in a deadly and effective way. There are people who will perhaps find other ways to kill, no matter how strict the gun laws are, but simplifying the process to gain access to a firearm is detrimental to society and communities as a whole.

The so-called red aka Republican aka conservative states take pride in the second amendment and chirp songs on liberty, but what is often overlooked is that 'this' liberty and freedom acts out as self-serving and self-centered and does not usually serve interests of society and people as a whole. Isn't it time we frown upon using firearms and violence as a means to resolve a conflict? The children in our society surely think that guns make pains go away. Let's get real with guns, they kill people, or at least, make it terribly easy to do so. Almost 70% of homicides (2006-2010) across the country were committed due to firearms - smoking gun - is it not?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let the Facts Clear the Fallacies....

Listening to Romney and the likes criticizing Obama's foreign policy approach is baffling. For anyone who has followed world events and America's response in the last couple years can say that there has been plenty accomplished since George Jr. left the Oval Office in 2009. Here are just a few that come to mind:

-Improvement and in some cases creation of Arab League relations during the Middle East civil unrest movements including the Libyan civil crisis. Through constructive and pragmatic dialogue, President Obama and his foreign diplomacy team were able to protect 'humanitarian rights' (or oil-rich political interest) in Libya until the fall of Ghaddafi - leading to a relatively short climactic shift of power in the region and one without notable US military involvement.

- An upfront, brutally honest relationship with Pakistan which has led to a step-child but child nonetheless, kind of relationship in which truth is expected, conveyed and evaluated openly. For the first time in eight years, US has formally acknowledged instability in Pakistan and its vulnerability to fall prey to terrorist organizations.

-Transformed Egyptian leadership without long term goals to be present in the region

-A stern and solid yet relatively calm approach with Iran which has led to diplomatic restlessness within the Iranian regime now cracking under sanctions. Hostility between Israel and Iran continues to rise though, which means a detoured approach will now be demanded.

-Renewed relations in Asia with China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan including hosting the VP of China, Xi Jinping in the US. This trip was strategically planned to collaborate expectations from American/Chinese leadership as well as the importance of fairness in the global marketplace when he takes over as the leader in the PRC in the next couple years.

-Ended the war in Iraq as and when promised during his election campaign.

Just the regions I mentioned above account for more than half of the world's population..I think that's a modestly aggressive approach to foreign policy for a 3 year old president. Just saying.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Get 'em CPS..

Debate has been raging in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) between parents, teachers and the school organization on length of school days. CPS argues that their school district lags behind nationally in their instructional time and given consistent poor performances by students is adding to the list of reasons why this is a good idea. So what is the debate about?

Parents, teachers and students each have their own set of concerns about this. Parents complain that their kids are too tired, along with students who say that they are 'swamped' and 'tired' already with the amount of work they currently have. Teachers are puzzled on how to accommodate another 40 minutes of lesson planning.

But the issue is a lot bigger than what appears. It is ridiculous for parents or students to complain about the amount of work in any American high school, let alone ones in an under-performing school district. Granted that quality and not quantity of education is what we should be concerned about, but this is an effort to fix something that is broken by the school district and the gesture should be welcomed and supported.

An average high school student has plenty of options to engage in co and extra-curricular activities. Some of these activities are time consuming and tiring, leaving them little to no time for academics. Between athletics, music, drama, speech and other dozens of extra-curricular options available, a student can't be blamed for not wanting to do geometry practice. With both parents working, going home isn't necessarily a much better option - given socially polluting television shows that are often used as soothers. Aren't we better off having these kids be in school another hour every day either engaging in their activities of choice or spending more time on academics?

Whether or not to add the extra time to each day is a senseless debate. How to spend the extra 40 minutes is a legitimate one. Perhaps these schools need to take a look at their after-school offerings and incorporate them in the school day or use this time as extra prep time for college exams, advanced classes, or adding a basic course in Finance 101. I'm not talking about stock market analysis or financial portfolio management. How many 17 year olds know what it means to have a credit card, not pay your bill on time or at all, the consequences of accumulating a debt and paying higher interest rates in turn ruining your credit score? I think the safe assumption would be less than 20%. Why don't we invest in common sense courses so we can strive for smarter civilians?

I hope the city school district wins this one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shamefully Shirking Santorum...

All this talk about American values and dreams in the GOP race is very resonating. Almost every candidate works out his vocal cords every speech, or town hall meeting on the importance of restoring or believing in America or fighting for America.

But yet, what is America?

Isn't it the land of the free where liberty takes precedence over race or religion. Shouldn't this country stand for diversity, equality and honesty? Of course. That will be the politically correct answer. Sadly, it is not the honest answer.

An old misinformed woman in a Florida town hall said this about not referring President Obama as the President:

“I don't refer President Obama as president because, legally, he is not.He is an avowed Muslim. And my question is: why isn’t something being done to get him out of our government? He has no legal right to be calling himself President."

Of course, there was ignorant applauding in the crowd. But there was a smirk of agreement from Mr. Santorum. Knowing fully well that the President is not an 'avowed' Muslim, or that he did actually win the election which would 'legally' make him the President, and that even if he was a Muslim, 'avowed' I might add, does not deem him ineligible to be President!

Yet, Mr. Santorum chose to cowardly oblige this ignorant remark. Representing American values and the idea of 'justice for all', he responded to his indifference in this incident as not feeling the need to correct an old angry woman. He considered it not his responsibility. What a cheap shot.

Why do people allow others to breed and promote ignorance? Shame on you Santorum, for that un-American indifference and shirk of responsibility.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Motto: Is it A Truthful America, Are You??

It's been a quiet few months..due to personal changes..

It doesn't change the fact that I am too embarrassed to speak on behalf of the American people. I am embarrassed that the President of this country is an honest man yet happens to be Black and does not get credited for the perfect leader that he is. I am embarrassed that he is a nontraditional man that is not successful in breaking the traditional stereotype and being the perfect leader. I am embarrassed that our country expects the first non-white yet only 40 year old experienced and expected leader to perfect leadership qualities. Are the American people so stupid that they can't speak on behalf of intelligence? We fall prey to manipulative media and faltered facts...We fall prey to mainstream acceptability of manipulated facts...We are slaves to what is told is real, unrealistic of truthful dogma. We are falling for the Gingrich's for the nation and the Romney's of financial realities. Let's get real.

Gingrich paid 1 million DOLLARS in taxes last year.
Romney paid only 15% of taxes on his 8 million dollar income last year. Yet, they scream about equality of success. Is success every equal? Are we ever asked how successful we are based on our income? We pay taxes on what we earn, not on what we make or how we earn it.

These are the people that almost 50% of America trust as Republican leaders. There is a serious disconnect in our idea of a leader and someone who can relate to US. There is no US when it comes to leadership in America. Leadership means DOLLARS, that is what pays these people to SERVE us.

Once again, we have the opportunity to make a change.. A change between pathetic and being most pathetic is a difficult yet easy choice.. I would rather pick someone who is honest with modest beginnings than someone who is shady and hard to track. I hope the best man wins. In this case, it will be months of tracking and investigating. I am willing to serve my time.
Are you??