Friday, November 9, 2007

House Passes Diwali Resolution

Happy Diwali!

The US House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 747 unanimously, which officially recognizes the historical and religious significance of Diwali. The Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C., led the effort to get H.R. 747 passed by Congress.

Dino Teppara, the first Indian-American chief of staff for a US Congressman, help draft the proposal, and his boss Rep. Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) was a co-sponsor along with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington).

The U.S. Senate must next vote on the resolution for it to be passed.

Read the full article here.


Happy Diwali Folks! FYI Barack Obama just sent a note to the community and wishing Hindus, Sikhs and Jains a Happy Diwali!

We should have it on the Message From the Candidates Page soon but I have posted it on your left. Being in touch with most campaigns no other campaign has submitted such a letter so Obama will be the first but hopefully not the only.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cliintons Lead Falls as Obama and Edwards Pick up Steam

As primary season continues to heat up the polls are too in early Primary states.  Boston Globe is reporting that the Zogby survey in Iowa puts Clinton  28% just slightly ahead o Obama at 25% and Edwards at 21%.  Iowa was always going to be a close election and good be a HUGE opportunity for Obama or Edwards to pick up some serious steam.  

New Hampshire which seemed all for Hillary seems to be back into play as Rasmussen Reports last night that Clintons lead has narrowed to 34% over Obamas 24% and Edwards at 15%.  As The Globe Reports this is the first survey in NH since the Democratic debate last week and it seems to have given Obama a boost.  Considering margin of error Obama and Clinton COULD BE TIED.  

With primary season less than 60 days away things are all but certain and how this plays could be very different from what early poll indicators seem to show. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bollywood & Hollywood Fusing the Future of Entertainment

USIBA just recently sponsored a panel and helped organize and actively participated in several events in Hollywood through the American Film Market. Here is a link to a release from USIBA. Leaders from Bollywood made out to events throughout LA from the 31st-7th of November. Even Variety, the leading Hollywood newspaper reported on the exciting event.

As Indian Americans continue to move forward the fusion of Hollywood and Bollywood continue to show the increasing influence of Indian Americans in Space, heads of State and on the silver screen just to name a few.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Common Ground - Raj Verma

What is Popular Today?

You saw it yesterday, and you will probably read another one today. Media is littered with public opinion polls purportedly representing a national perspective. With the Presidential elections one year away and mounting scrutiny facing each candidate, the media is aggressively employing their resources to gauge public opinion and force candidates to respond to abstract hypothetical questions and esoteric polls. As in a once-popular television game show, ‘Family Feud’, where contestants are pitted against each other with the intent of determining the most popular answer to questions posed on a survey, American media tends to compel candidates to answer questions based on numerous and differing ‘public opinion polls’. However, this poses a serious leadership dilemma for the next President of the United States and our nation’s leaders. In fact, this dilemma has haunted modern American presidents-that is- how to balance the demands of popular opinion and accurately extract the will of the people (originally assigned as the role of Congress) while attempting to achieve what is in the best interest of the entire country given the social, economic, political and moral context, no matter what public opinion offers at any given point in time. The overuse and overemphasis of public opinion polls, especially in a media-saturated culture, has been and continues to undermine effective democracy because the nation’s leaders have emerged as mere panderers.

Winston Churchill once stated, “Nothing is more dangerous than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup poll-always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.” Ironically, those candidates and current President who completely ignore or are impervious to polls are not likely to succeed, as they will be labeled ‘out of touch’ with the general public. Granted, the importance of keeping one’s eyes and ears close to the ground should not be underestimated. But there are serious and important policy issues that require effective leadership to transcend popular sentiment. For example, a recent Gallup poll, among several deployed every month, indicated that most Americans believe that Iraq and national security are the two most pressing issues facing the nation. Interestingly, immigration and the environment fell at the bottom of the list. It naturally follows then, that if a leader is to pander to public opinion, then the administration should place extra emphasis on addressing each issue in hierarchical order. Yet, we know that immigration, the environment and national security are inexplicably intertwined. Failed immigration policy and dependence on foreign oil were two of many compelling causes for this nation’s worst national security disaster in 2001. Relying on public opinion polls to measure popular political sentiment has inherent defects, such as small sample sizes, confusing questions, and other methodological errors. Even if the polls were completely accurate, heavy reliance on them derogates from the purpose of Congress to divine the will of the people. In turn, it is the role of the public to employ grassroots lobbying and participate in public debate to signal to Congress their desires. Overuse of polls extinguishes any value of discussion and Congressional receptiveness to public will.

The point is that the next American president and future leaders to come, must possess the courage, fortitude, and initiative to look beyond public opinion polls and read what lies ahead—even if the leader’s reading of politics contradicts public opinion, at times. It requires the President to evaluate his/her success not based on a man being the measure of all things (otherwise known a as humanism), but rather on values, mores, and moral code. He or she must elevate particular issues and build consensus on them, no matter what public opinion serves at any given time. Harry Truman once stated “I wonder how Moses would have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt.” Similarly, strong, effective, and meaningful leadership will be able to withstand unfavorable popular opinion and execute what is in the best interest of the nation—even when the barometer indicates a paltry zero degrees.

Raj Verma, JD/MPA
Blog Contributor

Raj Verma is the President of the Future Leaders Council for USINPAC. He currently resides in Washington DC.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Co-Chair of the Congressional Taskforce on US-India Trade Supports Romney

Earlier today Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) who serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on US-India Trade announced his support for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign. Both Cannon and Romney's experience working with Indian businesses showcase the growing influence India's economy has in US policy. Romney explains in his message to Indian-Americans on India's 60th Independence Day how his own personal work experience with people of Indian descant has impacted him on the capability of a surging India.