Read the Jerry Sandusky Grand Jury Indictment

It’s mind boggling how the media today is all about opinion and so little about fact reporting and journalism. I finally came across the actual text of Jerry Sandusky’s indictment text here (http://www.wltx.com/news/pdf/Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment.pdf) and have downloaded and attached it to this post so that it remains available.

Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment

I think everyone should read the indictment, understand that everything in it may also not be true (until proven), and arrive at their own judgement. My opinion is below:

Sandusky needs to get the full force of the law and public opinion coming down on him. However, I think it’s pretty clear that Joe Paterno should go. As bad as I fee about his career ending this way, he knew what was going on (to a large extent) and was too smug in his situation to call it out. That might even be excusable if it was about some sort of bribe that someone took. But this was about raping young kids, which in many people’s mind is akin to murder. That’s too much to accept. Think about yourself in that situation. Would you continue to work, socialize and associate with a person who you have more that a suspicion of being a serial pedophile?

And the same goes for a lot of other people at Penn State and specially in the football program. I think the big house needs to be cleaned up big time, maybe even put on a hold.

Also, keep in mind that all you (me included) tax payers out there are going to be paying to settle all the law suits coming Penn State’s way. Thank you to all who made that little boost to the legal economy possible!

PS: I am a Penn State alum and I feel sad for all the students, teachers, staff, alumni and fans/supporters of Penn State who will lose because of the criminal and because of those who to various extents and in various ways allowed a criminal to get this far with his crimes. The lion is weeping and it will take a lot of work to restore its pride!

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Einstein Sez

He had a lot of smart things to say but these are 3 really cool quotes from my man Einstein

 – If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor

– Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value

– We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality

Especially like the first one…

Quotations found on The Quotations Page

US Government: Lets be Smarter About Visas

In the past few days I have been reminded twice of how much paperwork and bureaucracy is involved getting visas to work in and travel between countries. So much of what is a part of the process today is meaningless when it comes to establishing the eligibility for a visa and though there is a lot of technology being used, especially in the US immigration system, it is not being used smartly to avoid the time and productivity drain that people who have to go through it, endure.

I’m not here to report a bad employee, but a bad process and an attitude that says, “hey we are already doing immigrants/travelers a favor, what else do you want from us”. My experience on the days I had to actually go into the consulates wasn’t that bad, that is after I had spent days getting all the paperwork together, getting paranoid double checking that I had everything, making arrangements at work for the days I would have to be away or busy taking care of things. It is no exaggeration to say that the process is mentally draining and when you have to do it over and over again (once in a couple of years), it can be really frustrating even for seasoned travelers/workers.

Same information over and over and over again

There are pieces of information that I must have entered at least a 100 times by now. Name, parents names, passport number, employment history, education history and a bunch of other stuff which is not going to change and if it will, there should be a process for managing that change, not a retarded process to force people to enter that information on every damn form that they fill out. Entering the same information again and again increases the chance that a person will make a mistake at some point and inconsistencies will start showing up. It’s almost as if the system is designed to make that happen. It’s as if the department of homeland security (or whatever) is saying, “we’re testing you on your ability to be able to bear the pain of writing out redundant pieces of information in various forms without ever making a human error. That’s the kind of person we want here”. After spending billions of dollars and introducing a huge layer of ineffective bureaucracy to track immigrants and foreigners, why don’t they just get the information from their databases? It seems like all of that infrastructure is there just to incriminate and not to help.

Lets have some respect eh?

Isn’t it irritating how the folks in most consulates (especially US consulates) think they’re personally doing a favor to those coming in to get visas. I feel like saying “dudes, I pay taxes too, so do the job I pay you to do and show a little respect”. They are not accountable for their behavior because of that clause in the visa rules that says [paraphrased], “Even if all your papers in order, everything is perfect, you are not guaranteed to get a visa. The final call is up to the consulate officer handling your application”. What that means is that it’s really up to them to show courtesy and do their job efficiently. If they don’t and you call them on it, they might just decide that something about you isn’t right and you should not get the visa. When I went to get my H1B visa stamped last time, there was a very courteous and cheerful lady officer who checked my papers (and I complimented her on her great attitude) and a really nice officer who interviewed me. However, in the past I have had dry, rude and condescending officers who look like they are just waiting for me to say something they don’t like or forget to bring some unimportant photocopy so they can send me back without a visa. I see the need for having trained personnel who are capable of making subjective evaluations about people, however I would like to see some tangible accountability and oversight that is visible and accessible to the people who have to go through the process. Is that too much to ask for in a country that prides itself for transparency and fairness and when we actually pay for the services?

And what is it with the security people at these consulates… it’s like they are on a power trip of some kind, almost hilarious to watch them operate. Sure, US Consulates all over the world are under threat and you have to be alert and careful but shouting at the little old Chinese lady for not understanding what new security maneuver you are asking her to follow isn’t going to “secure our borders”.

It’s getting worse all the time 

It used to take a few hours to get your H1B visa stamped in 2004 in the US Consulate in Vancouver. In 2008, it is expected to take anywhere from 1 day to 4 working days, and most often it does take 3-4 days. You could pay cash (I think) for the visa processing fee in 2004. Now you have to go to Scotia Bank in Canada, deposit $131 there, get a deposit slip and submit that to the US Consulate. Why are things getting more and more difficult? Shouldn’t the model be around streamlining the process, and shouldn’t the cost to the people going to the process also be taken into consideration? Who is managing this process and where is the answerability? If this was someone in a private firm, they would be fired long ago… luck for them incompetence is a highly desirable trait in the Bush administration.

That’s it for this rant…

Little Drops Make an Ocean

Saturday, 04/05/2008 was the “Night of Hope” organized by a charity called The Little Drops Orphanage Fund which was started by my friend and co-worker from Microsoft, Charles Duze. I dont find myself going to many charity events but this is one I have been going to for 3 years now. The reason, the people who run it are smart, dedicated and genuine, there is a cool African theme to the whole event and last but definately not the least there is home cooked African food, which this time Charles and his wife had themselves spend the whole day preparing. Thanks guys, it was delicious. No ordinary feat given that Little Drops has grown tremendously and I would say there were atlease 200 people who were at the event this year.

Overall it was a great event as usual, marred by a few glitches in the sound system. Good thing Glen was the MC so we were distracted by laughing at him 🙂 … just kidding bro… he handled it very well and made it work, besides what’s life without a little feedback eh?

Most of the performance events were Indian, and althought they were pretty good, I was a wee bit disappointed. I was looking forward to hearing some African beats and watching some hot African dance moves like the last time… but no such luck. There was an excellent semi-classical santoor and tabla recital followed by 2 performances by Dreamz, a local Bollywood dance performance group. Not bad but I’ve seen them a few times now. There was a silent auction where I bid on and won a necklace which has a pendant shaped like Nigeria.

There was a really touching speech made by one of the guests (I forgot his name). The parts that stood out most for me were when he said “you cannot solve a problem using the same mentality that has created it”  and second when he described starvation. He said that when the body starts to starve, it starts to feed on itself. First the fat, then the muscles and finally the organs. It does not know the difference. The complete hall became silent as they heard this. They probably pictured that happening to a little child.

All in all the event organization could have been better but we had a blast. I strongly support Charles and his team’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of orphans in Africa. They are organizing a trip to a few African countries in 2009 so if you are interested in visiting, check out http://www.littledropsorphanagefund.org/trip/ and sign up.

Snoqualmie Blues

Summit at Snoqualmie sucks. There are a lot of people who think so for different reasons. Mostly these are people who know their way down the slopes and complain that the runs are too short or that there are too many people on them (those pesky little kids on skis… I actually think they’re cute). That may be true but the convenience of being able to drive to Snoqualmie within an hour definitely compensates for that. And they have a few decent runs which can be challenging. Guess what I’m saying is that I’m not really at a skill level to complain about that.

What I do want to whine about is how badly managed the rental area is. And how they pulled a cheap little trick on me and robbed me of $33.33. Not to mention how obtuse some of the people who work there can be, but I guess that’s not really an issue unique to Snoqualmie.

I went there one Saturday in Dec 2007 and bought a Ez 1-2-3 package that give you 3 days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets… awesome deal but I guess that’s how they compete in the market. As luck would have, they lost power (apparently that happens to them often) and after walking up the little green slope a couple of times, I decided to wind up for the day. No hard feelings, first time that season, a hiccup before the Snoqualmie machine starts up I thought… whatever. I asked and they said that yes, they would give me credit for an extra day as a part of the package.

I go back there 2 more times, wait for more than an hour at the rental line each time, which could be much faster with a little reorganization of their space, even if they don’t add any additional employees there. But anyway, I get rentals and lift tickets and have fun on the slopes.

Then I go there the 4th time (counting the one time there was no power) and the lady at the counter, after spending 15 minutes looking at the computer, tells me that I don’t have any more turns left in my Ez 1-2-3 package. I tell them about the whole power outage credit I was suppose to get and she tells me that the computer says that I already got the credit and hence have exhausted the package. I tell her that I have come there only 2 times besides the time they had no power and point to my friend who was in the exact same situation as me and had just gotten his rentals and lift tickets. She says she recognizes me and my friend and believes me but the computer tells her otherwise. I say OK, maybe there has been a glitch or data entry error, can she not override it and give me my last day of the package.

I mean how big of a deal is it for her to do this when she herself believes that things are okay, even if she didn’t, just the fact that I was there, sincerely arguing my case, should have made her think. Yeah I could’ve been a fool who drove all the way to Snoqualmie to stand in line for an hour and a half to get a free rental but what are the chances? Think woman… think.

Anyways, that’s where the obtuseness kicks in… all she does is tell me 3 or 4 times that the computer tells her that I have exhausted all days on the package. Each time she tells me that I tell her that I have understood what the problem is but that does not stop her from repeating herself just once more… god I pity her boyfriend or husband.

Note that this was after a particularly long wait in the lines there. I was dying to get on the slopes and the rental area was clogged with people, and disorganized as usual. I wanted to speak to the manager and she said I would have to go downstairs (to another messy disorganized area in a line with 20 people ahead of me) to speak to her. I went anyway. Tried to get up to the front to explain that I had already been in a line for an hour and half, but all the manager said was that I would have to get in line. I understand their need to have everyone follow the rules but that’s what separates the smart people who get work done from the drones who get everyone in line indiscriminately.

My friends were on the slopes and I wasn’t going to waste any more time so I went ahead and bought a $180 season’s pass that has rental and lift tickets included, kinda gave in to the mis-management at Snoqualmie. I feel bad about that but they are close to Seattle and easy to get to… really that is the only reason I would go there.

If I had a choice I wouldn’t, so if you have one, don’t…

Loose Ends

A few lessons I’ve learnt in life that might make sense to others…

Tie the loose ends

There are a bunch of things on your mind; little things that constantly nag you, small hiccups that come up just when you’re starting to have a good time… FIX EM’. I’m not talking about big life changing steps, if you’re gay and your name is Mike Huckabee, you may want to think a little before opening the closet door, but I am taking about waking up an hour early on Sunday morning and making calls to those 5 friends you haven’t touched base with for the last 2 years. And in the meantime, they’ve popped out a couple of kids… or about going to the doc to fix that muscle pull from the snowboarding trip you took…. 4 months ago.

Figure out what it is, schedule time for it, and go do it. Most of us cannot multitask and the more little loose ends you tie up, you’ll free yourself to make better decisions on the big stuff and have a higher quality of life.

Be Optimistic

So you’ve been in the dumps for a while, and you’ve accepted that as a fact of life. You speak in a lower voice, you are risk averse, you’re easily brushed aside… what gives?? Let me give you a hint, it’s not bad fortune. It’s up-to you to stand up and make a difference in your life. So step out of your shell, smile, don’t care too much about other people’s opinion and be optimistic. Really there is no way to tell the cause and effect here, you’re probably in second gear because you don’t wanna make the effort to switch (or get an automatic), not because you wound up with a wilty 2 stroke auto-rickshaw made in India.

If there is one thing that keeps the world going, it is optimism. Inherently we know that at any point there are 2 options: make things better or worse… i’ll choose better any day.

Be Kind to Others… and Yourself 

You cant get 2 people together for a party or a movie, well neither can those 2 people, but that’s not the point. People have personalities that are just as complex (read warped) as yours. Be sensitive to them just as you might expect them to be to yours and give them a break.

Unwittingly or not, people end up giving off prepackaged vibes about themselves (cool guy, smart guy, corporate girl climbing the ladder… whatever). Call it peer pressure or just conditioning based on their experiences. However, I’ve often found people to be very different from the first impression they give off. And usually better in most cases. The way I look at it is that people have different priorities, different goals, different taboos and different upbringing, and that shapes their day to day behavior and the impressions they leave. Just leave it at that… cause you are no different in that sense.

Be Enthusiastic

You always wonder how these huge organizations, sports clubs, dance clubs, hobby clubs etc come about. Comes down to one word… enthusiasm. Some little (or large) prick got enough people excited enough to participate in something and it just took off. There were  a lot of cool people hanging around who are still doing just that… hanging around while that prick went on to enrich their life and the lives of others. And probably made a lot of money doing so. And maaaaaybe got laid too (it’s a stretch though).

The fact of life is that people are busy and they’re all caught up in their own versions of the same problems that you’re facing. So shed you inhibitions, expose your enthusiasm and go out there participate. You never know what you’re going to find and create. Have fun.

CNN – No Ron Paul

Dec 16 was the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Ron Paul supporters organized a massive fund raiser and raised over $6 million dollars which happens to be a record for a single day for any candidate in the history of the US.

cnn-nopaul-touched.jpg

Huge news you would think.

Ron Paul is anti-Bush, anti-war, has no special interests to please, a clean and consistent record and is corruption free… not the typical politician such as Giuliani, Romney or Clinton. Without the help of mainstream media and infact without even his own participation, over $6 million dollars have been raised for him. You would think this news is all over the media and he would be given coverage for many hours atleast today, the day he made the record.

But hell no, CNN is busy covering Pam Anderson’s boobies (or was it her 2 month marriage… they’re fabulous babe but you know what I mean? :-).  At one point during the afternoon, there was a little link up there but disappeared within the hour.

MSNBC was slightly better. They had an inconspicuous little link for a long time on the website… but Sanjay was the main attraction of the day… WTF???

How can I believe that a single honest journalist works in these organizations when there has been no effort to bring forward the most important news of the day or even this entire election so far. The fools in Fox get a memo that tells them what to do but you guys in CNN are self motivated… fucking over-achievers.

 Anyway, maybe it’s all for the better… piss more people off and you might just create the tipping point that lazy Americans need to kick Bush and his cronies along with his followup acts Guiliani and Romney out…

 Here’s Ron Paul’s website: http://www.ronpaul2008.com 

And here’s a word of wisdom from Kent Snyder, Ron Paul’s campaign chairman

“Mainstream media is behind the times… maybe 2 or 3 years behind”

Think about that… it’s before You Tube or Digg were around… damn they’re fuckin’ dinosaurs

Check him out, donate and spread the word… Peace