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On Thursday at around 2pm I called my sister and she asked me “did you hear about Michael Jackson? He just died.” In that moment, I didn’t really digest the information, because it didn’t feel real to me. I almost forgot about it over the next few hours. When I got home, I flipped on the evening news and saw images of Michael’s childhood, musical montages with his greatest hits as the soundtrack and excerpts from interviews he had done in the last forty years. It then hit me, he was really gone.

Over, the last three days the coverage of this tragedy has saddened and at times disturbed me. The majority television specials about Michael Jackson have been focused on the sexual misconduct allegations against him and his increasingly eccentric behavior over the last few years. While the media, from Barbara Walters to that blonde woman on Access Hollywood, claim to be hurt and affected by the loss, they remain comfortable picking away at Michael Jackson’s life without any concern for his children or family. In some ways, the media has acted exactly as we expected them to – petty and opportunistically, using his death to increase their ratings.

However, while much of the media coverage of Michael Jackson’s life and death has focused on the negative, I feel that the masses, both here in the United States and abroad are genuinely saddened by his sudden and tragic death and are paying homage to him in their own way.  It feels like every store and restaurant I have walked by or entered in the last few days has been playing his greatest hits, and there are many who have been blasting their car radios in tribute as well. This reaction has been surprising and refreshing – with people showing genuine appreciation for Michael Jackson – the talented artist, writer, producer and choreographer.

I think that all of us are surprised at how we feel at the loss of someone who we might not have consciously considered important in our lives. Yet, Michael Jackson cast a wide net inspiring artists everywhere with the rare talent he brought to the stage.


Written by Veena

June 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Bailouts galore

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I read Harry Paulson’s op-ed in the Times this morning, “Fighting the Financial Crisis, One Challenge at a Time” and upon finishing it, I felt compelled to comment on the issue. I of course, don’t have all the details, and am trying to make a concerted effort to understand the details of the bailout. More posts will probably follow this, in trying to deconstruct this disaster and also try to rally some support for trying to reach out to our elected officials.

Here are my comments on Harry Paulson’s article:

I have several concerns about this slough of bailouts. Namely, taxpayers’ money is being siphoned off into unknown territory, without any formal monitoring and evaluation in place.

Naomi Klein wrote a very interesting article about the details of the bailout, including that $10.7 billion dollars of Morgan Stanley’s bailout money is going towards paying bonuses. Is this really how taxpayer money should be used?

In Britian a similar bailout plan was engineered by Gordon Brown. However, Mr.Brown made sure that the government had ownership and oversight about how the funds were being used, none of which are allowed to go to paying bonuses off for a bunch of financiers, while taxpayers struggle to put food on the table and pay their mortgages.

With a bailout of the auto industry looming and more and more American families struggling, I am in awe that the federal government hasn’t come to the aid of taxpapyers by providing them relief from foreclosures etc. The NY Times just two days ago wrote a story about how more Americans are filing for bankruptcy. However, the difference between them and giant corporations and banks is that, they can’t ask the government for assistance.

No financial companies, corporations or others should be paying out bonuses. If the Treasury is going to manage this effort responsibly there needs to be detailed regulations around how the money is spent. While I don’t like advocating for government ownership of private companies, this is an unprecedented situation that should move existing board members aside to make way for government oversight.

Finally, if we are to lend the auto industry a hand, then, we should use it as an opportunity to move them towards alternative fuel technologies. Everything from the factory production to the cars themselves should shine of American green-ingenuity. If we don’t put this stipulation in, then we will be bailing out the very companies that lobbied hard to maintain the status quo by staying in bed with the oil and gas companies. This isn’t sustainable and it certainly isn’t responsible.

As an American I don’t want to pay for someone else’s mistakes.

Written by Veena

November 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm