Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

White House Diwali – why so touchy?

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Rediff reports:

Obama’s Diwali celebration upsets Indian-American community.

Here’s the back story – ex-president Bush started the practice of hosting a Diwali event since 2003, courtesy request of the Indian-American community and it’s been a practice ever since. Some of the events have been full fledged and upto two hours long, while some, like last year’s,  have been less flashy.

While the article about the first Obama-era Diwali, quoted above, points out reasons why Indian Americans are upset (mostly elderly immigrant Indians), the rest of the article quotes two second generation desis – both staffers at the White House (including Kal Penn – supposedly the organizer for the upcoming event), deny that this would be a ‘diluted’ event. Couple of changes include, the venue  is now moved INTO the Whitehouse as compared to previous occasions when it was hostedn in an adjacent building, and also George Bush never made it to any of the Diwali events since 2003, always sending a   representative instead. Obama however, will attend the event this year. And this time, the event is open to all Asian-Americans and not exclusive to desis only.

The glitch however, seems to be that none of the community activists have been invited (yet), and since Kal Penn – a first timer is in charge of the event, it may well be  be a miss for those waiting to get an invitation to the Whitehouse for Diwali.

Scouting for news articles – I did not, however, find any statements from any acclaimed Hindu statesmen (yet).

So what do readers think? Is Fasicst Obama trying to dilute ‘our’ Diwali event, so that Kenyan festivals are more popular in Whitehouse (this is where, you add a smiley in your head)?

Or is it a case of some senior (and quite possibly invitation -deserving) activists feeling left out and blaming clueless Obama for trying to ‘dilute’ a celebration?

And just another snippet of info, an article dated from 2004 (by the same author as in Obama’s article, Aziz Haniffa from Washington D.C.)  -

Bush’s snub of White House Diwali celebration irks Indian American supporters and guests alike

Me thinks, we are way too touchy about having Diwali, in WhiteHouse, in the way we want it. (It’s Whitehouse – not our own house).

Shout out your thoughts in the comments section below.

Colin Powell endorses Obama

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In case you missed it, Republican Colin Powell, a retired four-star general and former Secretary of State endorsed “that one“. [Goog]

I believe his exact words were:

“I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain.”

Now, given Powell’s stature and the respect he garners on either side of the aisle and among independents and moderates, this endorsement is apparently a big deal to Obama’s aspirations and a huge setback for McCain.

Powell cited the negative tone of McCain’s campaign and his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate as some of the reasons for his support for Obama. Among other things that troubled Powell were some Republicans (not McCain) repeatedly calling Obama a Muslim.

“He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America,” Powell said. “Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

That is refreshing to hear coming from a mainstream politician in America. This is not something we’ve heard to date from either the Obama or McCain campaigns. The Obama campaign has always “denied that Obama is a Muslim” and McCain has always “criticized anyone who called Obama a Muslim” as if there is something wrong with being one. But the right answer like Powell says is “he is not, but then again so what if he is”.

This sentiment seems to be catching on even in some sections of the mainstream media. Last week Campbell Brown raised the same question in an op-ed column on CNN.com [via Browsekid]

We’ve all been too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur. I feel like I am stating the obvious here, but apparently it needs to be said: There is a difference between radical Muslims who support jihad against America and Muslims who want to practice their religion freely and have normal lives like anyone else.

Of course, before Gen. Powell (retd.) and Ms. Campbell expressed the sentiment that one’s religion should really not be a factor, a humble blogger from a niche desi blog had raised the same question as early as last year. [UD]

Granted religion tolerance is not a strong point in this nation at this juncture in history, with the tyranny of the majority prevailing. But this problem is further damaged by unwillingness of the (so-called) leaders of this nation to promote religious tolerance. Instead people like Romney choose to either tailor their religious beliefs to align with that of the majority and people like Obama and Bobby Jindal completely wash their hands off any past religious links the majority views in an unfavorable light.

A true leader would’ve said: “Ok, so I grew up practicing so-and-so religious belief including attending their schools. But when I govern this country, I will leave my religion out of the equation and deal fairly with people of all religions and cultures and in doing so will set an example in religious harmony and tolerances for the citizens of this wonderful nation”.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room has always been the question that no one asked: “So what if he is/was Muslim? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.” Ladies and gentleman, I’m happy to announce the 800 pound gorilla has left the building.

New Yorker goes overboard on Obama satire?

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In case you missed it, yesterday news broke of the intended cover of the upcoming New Yorker’s July 21st 2008 edition. [CNN]

New Yorker CoverHighlights of the cartoon:
1. Shows Barack Obama dressed in traditional Muslim garbs complete with turban
Background: Barack wore a turban and traditional Kenyan attire in 2006 when he visited that nation. [UD]
2. Show Michelle Obama sporting an afro while in real life she does not [Photo]
3. Michelle Obama is carrying an AK-47 and a belt of bullets in the mold of a Taliban fighter
4. Barack and Michelle bumping fists, which they often do in public appearances
5. Picture of someone resembling Osama bin Laden on the wall of what appears to be the Oval Office in the White House
6. And above all, an American flag burning in the fireplace.

Did I miss anything?

The Obama campaign immediately termed the cover as “tasteless and offensive” as did the McCain campaign. [CBS]

The Obama campaign quickly condemned the rendering. Spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement:
The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds quickly e-mailed: “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

The editor of the New Yorker released a statement terming the cover as a “satire” of Obama critics and slanders urging everyone else to do the same. [NPR]

“The intention is to satirize not Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but, in fact, to hold a pretty harsh light up to the rumors, innuendos, lies about the Obamas that have come up — that they are somehow insufficiently patriotic or soft on terrorism,”
“Satire doesn’t run with subtitles. A satirical cartoon would not be any good if it came with a set of instructions.”

Being a humor and satire based blogger, I semi-agree with that last statement on satire. However, I find it hard not believing that this was nothing but a cheap trick to generate publicity for the New Yorker’s July 21st edition, using a tried and tested stunt.

Reading various blogs and message boards, I came across various points of view:
- If George Bush can be the victim of satire, why not Obama? [BushOrChimp.com]
- Barack, welcome to Hillary Clinton’s world. [NOW]
-Extremely offended to the point of calling for a boycott of the New Yorker [LA Times]
-Found it to be “not a big deal” [Huffington Post]

Huffington also raises an interesting point: Magazines and late night comics (largely white media catering to a majority white audience) are finding it hard to run comic material about Obama largely because of his race. [NY Times]

So? :-)

Thoughts? Opinions? “Tasteless and offensive”? “Funny”? “Not cool but not a big deal”? What say ye?

Now it’s a Hanuman murti* for Obama

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* Murti = idol in Hindi

Them Hindoos currently are nowhere close to being a dominant force when it comes to electorate size in the US [UD]. But that doesn’t stop from trying to influence the outcome of the November elections. Back in April, when Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania, she was gifted a Ganesh murti [UD]. Unfortunately, even Lord Ganesh couldn’t save Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We @ Über Desi occasionally dabble in exotic arts, but matters involving the supernatural are beyond even our jurisdiction. So we were unable to explain how the Ganesh statue might or might not have played a part in the failure of the Clinton campaign. But that changed earlier this month, when reports surfaced in the media of a secret weapon of Obama had been employing all along, a devastating strategery that, had Clinton known well enough in advance would’ve perhaps helped save her campaign. [Time] [via SAJA Forum]

Amongst the things that Barack Obama carries for good luck are a bracelet belonging to a soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler’s lucky chit, a tiny monkey god and a tiny Madonna and child. For the other candidates’ good luck items, click the “next” button.

That’s right, ladkis and ladkaas, for all these months Barack Obama was carrying in his pocket none other than that uberest macaca of all time, Chi. Hanuman. Our sources say in the face of such overwhelming treachery, the Clinton campaign was doomed from the beginning. Even the last minute hail mary Ganesh tactic stood no chance against months and months of this meticulous scheming and the demonic … errr…. godly Hindoo plot hatched by Obama.

Obama secretly worships Hindoo gods
img: via BBC

Now with Hillary out of the way, Obama has called in the entire vanar sena against his Republican opponent, John McCain. There is a little caveat though, all the monkeys in this army are Hanuman. [BBC]

A group of Indians are planning to present a statue of the revered Indian monkey God, Hanuman, to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The article claims that the Indians sent the statue about they heard about the Time magazine story about Obama carrying Hanuman. But we @ Über Desi know better ……

We’ve had our suspicions all along but this interview of a major Hindoo leader by Stephen Colbert confirms it all. He did not stay in Indonesia in his childhood as reported, he stayed in the little Indian town of Indore in Asia!!! That’s right, ladkis and ladkaas, Obama’s real name is not Barack Hussein Obama, it’s Bharat Hanuman O’Rama. As a kid he was schooled by the Hindoo group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Even today the Obama campaign blog displays the RSS sign prominently. It is said that Obama does not utter the pledge of allegiance. This is also true because it is against Indian culture to do so, especially when uttering the Hanuman chalisa. Even the Hindoo prayer in the Senate was arranged by who? That’s right Senator Obama or should we say Senator O’Rama.

Numerous Hindoos among Obama’s inner circle, which for some inexplicable reason his opponents insist on calling the Chakra-view, have claimed that when Obama comes to power, he will build a Hanuman temple in the White House and make hardworking American citizens take off their hard earned Nikes before entering the White House. It is also being said in the same Hindoo circles a.k.a Chakra-views that Hindoo festivals like Naag Panchami will be deemed national holidays and Obama will abolish the death penalty, except for special cases, the maker of Love Guru, for instance.

The BBC article has more evidence to support this fact.

Mr Bhama and his friends have also invited Carolyn Sauvage-Mar, chairwoman of the group, Democrats Abroad-India, to a meeting they are holding on Tuesday to pray for Mr Obama’s success.
Mr Bhama is hoping that Ms Sauvage-Mar will pick up the idol and arrange it to be delivered to Mr Obama.

Obama already has a secret group in India which will deliver the murti to him.

Mr Bhama says he is an ardent supporter of Mr Obama – even his email identification is bhamaforobama.

“Obama stands for change. We are hoping that he will bring about change so that oil and food prices come down,” he said.

“India will progress if he comes to power.”

The nationalist Hindoos of India are so sure that Obama coming to power is a good thing to happen… for India. TIME IS RUNNING OUT, FOLKS!!! WAKE UP BEFORE IT’S TO LATE!!!

We’ve checked on Snopes.com and none of these facts have been declared to be false. Please copy-paste this in an email or use the “Email this post” link at the top and expose this Hindoo plot to other Americans to prevent this Hindoo operative, Bharat Hanuman O’Rama, from taking over the land of the free and home of the brave. God bless America.

Obama claims victory in Democrats primary

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After almost one full year of campaigning, Barack Obama claimed victory in the contest for Presidential nominee for the Democrats. [MSNBC]

Historical moment
img: vis MSNBC

A few quick notes:
-First African-Americanindividual of mixed race to run for the November elections
-Every state had to be counted in this primary
-Obama secured enough delegates to declare a victory
-Clinton has refused to concede, could be vying for Vice-Presidential nominee
-Obama will have to face John McCain who’s had plenty of time to prepare for him
-McCain will have be running on the largely unpopular platform of supporting the current administration’s policies on the Iraq war

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