Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Telugu lullaby

On Syria

Robert Fish Searching for truth in the rubble of Douma... “War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”
General background from two years ago from Robert Kennedy Jr. Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria

After a flu injection

Just had a flu injection at government medical centre. First a doctor inquired about the general background and then sent me to a nurse. The injection was gentle and I was asked to wait for fifteen minutes after the injection to see whether there were any adverse reactions and was then advised on watch to in the next few days. I find that it is generally like this in government medical centres here though some like Monash Medical Centre are quite crowded. Once you get in to the system, there is little waiting time, doctors are good and equipment excellent. Around 1988, I lived in a very poor area and most of dental care, except for dentures, was free. It seems that even dentures were free earlier. But some benefits started disappearing due to pressure from private practitioners and pharmacies companies. Even now the services are excellent for pensioners like me though there is waiting time for some non life threatening ailments like cataracts. That allows me to send about 10-20 percent of my pension ( I have no savings) to projects in India. May be good government services allow people to a bit more benevolent though it is not clear where the government is coming from. At one time it was from mining at home and abroad in which some poor countries were exploited heavily.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Dependence on trade?

Review of book on democracy

Democracy in peril by Sanford Levinson. Mostly about America.  A quote:
Mostly about American democracy “As he wrote in Federalist 63, “The true distinction” of the new system of government created in Philadelphia “lies IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share” in actually making specific decisions of policy. (The capitalization, incidentally, is Madison’s.) The Constitution, though “ordained” in the name of “We the People,” unlike almost all subsequent state constitutions written in America (and many new constitutions written abroad), deprives the people of the ability to engage in even a scintilla of what is often called “direct democracy.” Consider only the initiative and referendum found in many countries and in at least 26 of the states within the United States (the most famous, or infamous, being California). ”

Dani Rodrik on globalization

Globalization has contributed to tearing societies apart An excerpt
I think globalization has contributed to tearing societies apart. You can see some of that in terms of greater inequality, but you can also see it in the increase of what one might call “social distance” between different groups in society: those who are globally networked and feel themselves to be part of a cosmopolitan group that don’t recognize or need national borders, who have the assets and the mobility to take advantage of the world economy, and those who think that their fates are tied up with local communities, that don’t have the assets or the resources and networks. It’s a social and cultural cleavage that globalization has deepened by having very asymmetric effects on different groups.”

on Ilaiyaraaja, composer from Tamilnadu

Why many Ilaiyaraaja songs sound as if they emerged from a jam session with Salil Chowdhury
Related Ten Electronic Extroverts from the Middle East and South Asia, Part 2. Andy Votel has this to say “The opinion that I’ve saved the best for last is technically undeniable, because whatever “genre” of music you choose to like/love/promote/protect/politicise/over-intellectualize/despise/defend or pretend to enjoy Ilaiyaraaja has done it! Even if it only lasted for four bars. And even if there were no less than two other styles of music playing at the same time.”

Thursday, March 29, 2018