Archive for September 21, 2011

Appalled!

When I opted to become a lawyer, I entered the field having full respect for our legal system. I always thought that America stands for justice and that the guilty were the only ones to be given punishment.  Today, however, after the ruling for Troy Davis to get death, my faith in our legal system has definitely been shaken.

In the US, we’re quick to downplay other countries’ systems and mock the corruption that apparently pervades through the veins of their officials.  However, after today, I think our faith in the American justice system has been challenged.

I did criminal law last semester and the message that was reinforced to us fledgling lawyers was that the death penalty should not be given except in an extreme case.  There is always a possibility that the person we are sentencing to death is not the guilty party.  Furthermore, we say that death and murder in any form is not to be condoned, yet the system condones death in situations like this?  I thought the whole “eye for an eye” rational no longer holds in a modern world.

In the case of Troy Davis, there was apparently no physical evidence and no murder weapon found. There are reports that the actual killer has notified cops that Troy wasn’t the actual killer.  7 out of 9 witnesses have since recanted their testimonies. That’s no paltry figure!  That’s far more than over half!!

The right killer has to be caught!  The right killer needs to be the one who is punished in order for our legal system’s deterrent effect to truly be effective.  The problem with Troy’s case is that there is far too much doubt as to his liability to grant him death!  The Supreme Court shied away from admitting that the courts in Georgia were wrong.  This isn’t a school playground where friends need to stick with friends simply because they’re from the same circle.  If the Supreme Court thought that admitting to a mistake would make our faith in the system falter, this decision has had a worse effect by making our faith shatter in the highest courts of our country.  The Supreme Court should really remanded the case below or should have overturned the verdict and made it for life.  At the least a new trial should have been granted.  The death penalty has a high standard – that there must be clear and convincing evidence that a person is guilty.  Here, this standard could not be met.  There was too much doubt clouding the case.

I had a feeling that our Supreme Court justices would shy away from admitting their mistake.  I had a feeling they thought they might set precedence that protests could cause a change in a conviction for a party.  We have gotten too caught up in upholding a system on paper, and have lost all human compassion in our rulings.  Even if Troy truly is guilty, the fact there is doubt suggests that the death penalty sentence is overturned.

Even if the Supreme Court did not pardon him, I wish the Plaintiff’s family in the case would pardon him.  It’s sickening that Plaintiff’s sister will even watch them kill an innocent man.

This case is shocking to me being an American, and moreso because I am a law student.

Jay Sean on Sesame Street?

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Being an Indian, of course, I’m thrilled to see my fellow South Asian people be successful. These days, Jay Sean is one of the desi artists who has been representing well for the rest of us in the field of music. No longer are desis just seen as being doctors, scientists, engineers, and business people. Now, we have a voice (literally) in the world of entertainment as well. After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, the US and other non-Indian countries have been opened to the world of Bollywood.  NBC even tried a India-based show called “Outsourced.”  Indian actors are being seen more often on TV (there’s an indian cast member in 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreations, Big Bang Theory, etc.)

Back in May, the website I work for – UrbanAsian.com – broke the news that pop singing sensation, Jay Sean, will be featured in an episode of Sesame Street. Sesame Street, which is a popular children’s show here in the states, typically calls artists on the show when they’ve made it in their respective fields .  Guess that Jay Sean has REALLY made it in the world of music!

Now that the episode has been filmed, we’ve got your exclusive look at the video Jay recorded with Grover – http://urbanasian.com/music/2011/09/jay-sean-heads-to-sesame-street/  Head over to UrbanAsian and check out the footage!!

Silly dances

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Came across these two funny dance vids so decided to share with all of you. I think everyone needs to break out their video cams and vid tape themselves doing a silly dance! :-)

Enjoy!

Madass props to the kid in this first video. Hilarious. Wonder what he’ll think when he gets older and sees this…

This baby’s obviously going to be the next big Latin star.

How to Backup and Archive your Facebook

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This post deals with one of the topics that I think all users of Facebook struggle with – How to backup their extensive data!

Since in today’s society, half our lives are on Facebook, we of course would love to backup all the chaos that occurs on the site – our pictures, posts, messages, etc.

Luckily, there are several ways of backing up your data – and it’s surprisingly easy once you know where to look.

Some methods require the use of plug-ins for Firefox (http://www.friedbeef.com/how-to-backup-facebook-3-free-data-liberating-tools/), but there is another way to do right through Facebook.

How to backup data directly from Facebook (without plug-ins):

(1) Go to http://www.facebook.com/ – log in with your Username and Password

(2) On the top right of the screen, click on “Account”

At the drop down menu –

(3) Click on “Account Settings”

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see a link that says [“Download a copy” of your Facebook Data]

(4) Click on “Download a copy”

This will bring you to a new screen where you will need to enter your Facebook password.

(5) Confirm your password and click on “Continue”

Now you just have to wait for the archive to arrive in your inbox! :) Simple, huh?!

 

Hope you found this article useful! If you have another way to backup Facebook data, let me know!

Pizza pizza!

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I think I’ve found my new online game addiction.  It’s a game called “Superhero pizza” on miniclip.  It’s pretty childish but it sure beats playing Solitaire!  Basically, you run a pizza parlor.  Your customers are superheros who obviously want their pizza done right and done fast.  The pizza dough is given to you and then you pile the toppings on according to what they order. Sometimes you get phone orders too.  As you acquire more points you can purchase upgrades to the pizza ovens.  Pretty amusing game.

Check it out at: http://www.miniclip.com/games/superhero-pizza/en/

 

 

 

10 years since 9/11

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years since the horrific attacks in NY on the Twin Towers.

9/11 – a date which was like any other in the year prior to the attacks – immediately became one of the most important dates in American history and has become etched in our heads forever since 2001.  Even thinking about that date evokes so many memories of that fateful day.

I’m sure everyone who was alive in 2001 can very clearly remember where they were when they heard about the attacks.  I was in class that day, when all of a sudden there was an announcement on the intercom about an attack in NY.  The principal mentioned a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, but said it wasn’t clear what had happened.  The principal didn’t divulge too many details, but he said we were to remain in our respective current classrooms for the rest of the day.  He said not to panic, and announced that he would allow us to use cell phones to call our friends and family to check on them.

As expected, none of us really knew the extent of the tragedy.  Obviously, something was going on, but we were not privy to the seriousness of it.  Luckily, I was in a classroom with a very nice teacher who kept us all calm and somehow brought a sense of normalcy to what was otherwise a very tragic day.

We were let out slightly early that day.  Still not aware of what had really happened all the students buzzed excitedly about our early dismissal.

Walking into my house that day, however, I could sense something big had happened.  My Mom had the TV on and the image I most clearly remember is the extensive fire coming out of the towers.  She filled me in on what had happened.  At that point only the North Tower had collapsed – which Mom saw happen live on TV.  The footage they replayed seemed unbelievable to me especially since all this was happening in the US!  Watching the crowd run from a smokey backdrop of the towers did not seem like a scene that would happen in America.  I kept thinking this has got to be a trailer for some movie because who would attack the US?

Unfortunately, I was wrong.  The attack definitely popped the bubble and sense of safety I had in the US.  Having been born and raised in the US, I suppose I had bought into the invincibility of the US.  I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to attack America.

Dumbfounded, I sat watching and processing the telecast.  My Uncle was working close by to the towers, but he luckily survived.  He shared that he saw a ball of fire coming towards his workplace, and he immediately managed to vacate along with his co-workers.

At around 5 pm, the second tower crumbled.  I couldn’t help but think of the quote from Star Wars where Obi-Wan says (upon the destruction of Alderaan) “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddently cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”  Watching the towers crumbled was horrifying – even if it was on TV – as it was unclear who this nameless enemy was.

Soon of course, we would put a face to the terror- Osama Bin Landen – the head of Al Qaeda, a fundamentalist Islamic Terrorist group trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the after-math of 9/11, many people took out their anger upon turbaned Sikhs and other Indians and Muslims.  However, we didn’t face any discrimination in my town, school, or MA where we lived at the time.  It’s hard to rationalize that a single day could change so much.  1 day launched our endless war against terror.

Probably the other image that is in my mind is the footage they showed about President Bush receiving the news.  It was impressive how calm and collected he remained.  Though I don’t agree he attacked the right country, I think he deserves credit for his vigilance in amping security.

As for the terrorists – I hope they all get caught.  I don’t understand how they interpreted their religious text, as encouraging them to kill and take so many innocent lives.  No religious text advocates such behavior.

I am not sure how we will eradicate terrorist organizations, but I am hopeful it will happen one day.  I am thankful to live in the US, to be an American… to be an Indian American, and am especially proud of the nation that we are.

Victims of 9/11 you will never be forgotten… RIP.

Tribute Pages:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/kennedy-center-911-tribute/2011/09/09/gIQA4WzZEK_gallery.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sue-frause/ten-years-later-911-memor_b_949561.html

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/ten-years-later.html

http://urbanasian.com/events-gigs/2011/09/urbanasian-commemorates-the-10th-anniversary-of-911-we-shall-never-forget/

Lady Gaga’s a man!

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That’s right Lady Gaga’s a man!

 

Ok, not really, but if you saw the VMAs on MTV you know exactly what I’m talking about. Gaga showed up to the VMA’s dressed a dude!  Gaga’s known to push the limits of dress, style, and show appearances, but I doubt anyone expected her to show up as a man.  She called her male persona “Jo Calderone” who made her look like she had walked off the sets of “Grease” from the 1970s!

 

A few days before the VMAs went live, Lady Gaga’s creative director, Laurieann Gibson, spoke to MTV News to explain Gaga’s decision to stay in character the whole show –

 

“The idea of Lady Gaga being a performance artist — and it’s starting the performance on the red carpet and the idea that the performance never ends for her — is the first time I’ve experienced this with an artist… I love it. That’s something that is specific to her, and the whole night was the performance, and it was important that Jo was a part of the whole night..”

 

Gotta give Gaga some mad props though because she did a great job acting as a male.  I’m sure some people probably didn’t even realize it was Gaga!  It was funny how dedicated she was to staying in character because she (or should I say “he”) even hit on Britney Spears when she went to collect her award.   Plus, the gender-bender seemed an appropriate way for Gaga to receive her award for her hit single, “Born this way.”  The amazing thing was that Gaga never broke character… not even once!  I guess it beat wearing a meat dress?

 

Gaga definitely proved her point that all you need to succeed is devotion to your art form!  However, I think that at least when presenting Britney’s award to her, she should’ve reverted back to her normal (I use that term lightly) Gaga avatar.  After all, it was supposed to be Britney’s moment, but Britney barely got any words out since “Jo” was hitting on her and trying to kiss her.  I’m sure Britney wished Madonna had been there instead!  Seriously though, it was all a bit awkward the way “Jo” was stumbling around while Britney tried to thank MTV and her fans.  I think this was one moment that needed Kanye’s help and interruption!

 

Wonder what Gaga will do next year… Just had a random thought – what if Gaga married Kanye?!?

 

Action Movies

Turned on the TV earlier today and found Spike TV doing a Star Wars Marathon.  I was really into Star Wars back in the day – when I was around 10.  In fact, I had joined a SIM (online simulation) where we used to write and post stories taking place in the Star Wars universe using characters we had developed.  I met a ton of great people through the SIM… people I’m still friends with today and who are truly more like family.  Plus, I owe a lot to the SIM for how my writing developed.  It was a good experience in creative writing!

 

As for Star Wars itself, I think the magic has passed.  I’ve seen the movies too many times now to really get immersed in it’s sci-fi universe.  Plus, I think once the prequels released, George Lucas sorta butchered the whole saga.  I’m always going to love the original trilogy best – especially Empire Strikes Back!

 

The thing about Star Wars that’s annoying is how whether you watch the originals or prequels, you’re faced with some very irritating characters – ie Chewbacca and Jar Jar Binks.  I wonder why action movie directors feel the need to add in such characters.  Not sure either one added to the storyline or appeal of the series.  At least George Lucas didn’t add in any strange characters in the Indiana Jones series… well, until he added Shiah LeBoeuf. 😛  Just kidding of course.

 

While the Star Wars saga seems to have lost it’s charm over time, I think the 007 movies actually get better.  When I saw them when I was younger, I think it was interesting to see how Bond would catch the “bad guy.”  Now, I can understand his sarcasm and dry humor.  Though, I really think they need to make a female 007 and get some Bond guys! :)

 

I wouldn’t say that I’m only an action movie fan, but since I’ve always been interested in computer graphics, I think I enjoy the special effects best in action flicks and sci-fi picks.  For example, loved the whole Matrix movie!  Had a chance to meet the director too while I was at Brandeis!

 

Apparently, this summer when I was in London, they filmed the new Batman movie close to where I was staying in Central London.  I didn’t get a chance to see the shoot, but at least I can say I was close to the action!  The Batman series is probably the only one that has remained consistently good.  I caught the very original Batman movie a few months ago On Demand.  It was so over the top with costumes and acting that it felt more like a comedy.  Of course, the saga has gotten darker over time to the point where it now seems to parallel our modern struggle with terrorism.

 

Surprisingly, between action and sci-fi, neither of these two is my fav genre of movie – which will always be comedy movies!

Dance!

This guy is incredibly good at dance!! :)

Enjoy!