Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama's speech to Congress

I watched President Obama's speech today to Congress. I felt it was effective and impressive. Gov Jindals response was ok, but could have been better.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama visits Canada

#44 took his first International trip today since taking office and visited Canada. It is a tradition for the US President to make his first International trip to Canada although #43 GWB broke that record by visiting Mexico first instead.
It is time for stronger US-Canadian relations and between PM Harper and President Obama I think it can be done. Canadians tend to have a slight negativity towards the USA somewhat like NZ and Australia, but when push comes to shove it is time to get over that as both countries are interdependent in many areas.
It looks like an agreement has been made between Canada and USA about clean energy. Afghanistan was talked about, as that is a touchy point for the Canadian people, and further energy sharing was discussed.
Last time that there was true leader friendship between Ottawa and D.C was with the 4oth President of USA Ronald Reagan and 18th PM of Canada Mulroney, they were great friends. I wonder if a bi-partisan friendship will be created with the current leadership?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fancy a cup of cow urine?

Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? According to the Times online, India's Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine. MMM yummy, just what the doctor ordered.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called "gau jal", or "cow water" – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched "very soon, maybe by the end of this year".

"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. "Its USP will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins."

The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.

Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most of India. Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to "purify" those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system.

In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The movement has often been accused of using more violent methods, such as killing 67 Christians in the eastern state of Orissa last year, and assaulting women in a pub in Mangalore last month. It also has a history of targeting foreign business in India, as in 1994, when it organised a nationwide boycott of multinational consumer goods, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.

The cola brands are popular in India, now one of their biggest markets, but have struggled in recent years to shake off allegations, which they deny, that they contain dangerous levels of pesticide.

Mr Prakash said his drink, by contrast, was made mainly of cow urine, mixed with a few medicinal and ayurvedic herbs. He said it would be "cheap", but declined to give further details about its price or ingredients until it was officially launched.

He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets. "We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind," he said. "We may also think of exporting it."

Good luck with that. Wonder if it will take off???

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bill in Congress to allow US Citizens the right to travel to Cuba.

While most of the nation focused on the stimulus bill winding through Congress, nine representatives introduced a bill calling for an end to the 46-year-old ban on travel to Cuba according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act introduced in the US House of Representatives on Feb. 4 would allow American citizens unrestricted travel to Cuba for the first time since 1963. The bill by Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., and eight co-sponsors would also lift limits on travel by Cuban exiles living in the United States. The president would not be able to regulate travel to the island unless an armed conflict or armed danger arises. I believe that this is something that President Clinton wanted to do towards the end of his term, but it didn't happen.

The bill has gone too far, said Francisco "Pepe" Hernandez, president of the Cuban American National Foundation. Cuban exiles should visit their families whenever they want, but tourists shouldn't spend money in resorts that Cubans are barred from. "It's improper and should not be allowed until the Cuban government makes some reforms," he said.

That's not the case for Jose Lopez, president of the Broward County Latin Chamber of Commerce and a staunch supporter of the trade embargo.

"It's a betrayal and it's not going to resolve anything," said Lopez, who left Cuba in 1961.

Tourism dollars spent in Cuba will inject more oxygen into the dying Castro regime, he said. Lopez also thinks Cuban exiles who want to return to the island whenever they please are abusing their refugee privilege.

Many expect US President Obama to back a change in the policy. As a candidate for the presidency, Obama spoke in favor of reducing restrictions on remittances and travel to the island.

It is time for fair and Democratic elections in Cuba. Their citizens are repressed and certainly need change. It appears that Raul is making come changes but clearly not enough. Will an influx of US travelers fuel their regime with an influx of US dollars, or will the government fall and open the door for a free Cuba?

Co-sponsors to the bill include representatives Rosa Delauro, D-Conn. Sam Farr D-Calif., and US Presidential candidate Ron Paul, R- Texas.

Monday, February 09, 2009

President Obama and Marine One

Looks like President George W Bush is not the only one to have trouble making his way onto Marine One.