Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

US continues to bag a major share of Nobel prizes

October 31, 2009

October is the month for Nobel prize announcements. Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics Nobel prizes announced one after another had 11 out of 13 winners from USA. Isreal in Chemistry Nobel and Germany in Literature Nobel were the only countries outside USA. Of course one of the Chemistry Nobel prize winner (Venky Ramakrishnan) is of Indian origin (in fact from my part of the country!). The surprise this time surely was the Peace Nobel for President Obama when he has not even completed nine full months in his office!

President Obama on consumer protection

June 20, 2009

In his weekly address to the Nation on June 19, 2009 President Obama talks of the need to create a fair and competitive market system that protects the interest of the common man. What is particularly striking are the following

“An epidemic of irresponsibility took hold from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street.  And the consequences have been disastrous”

“We are going to promote markets that work for those who play by the rules. We’re going to stand up for a system in which fair dealing and honest competition are the only way to win———but not those that allow insiders to exploit its weaknesses for their own gain”

“And one of the most important proposals is a new oversight agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. It’s charged with just one job: looking out for the interests of ordinary Americans in the financial system” 

” Today, folks signing up for a mortgage, student loan, or credit card face a bewildering array of incomprehensible options. Companies compete not by offering better products, but more complicated ones – with more fine print and hidden terms”

“This new agency —–will have the power to set tough new rules so that companies compete by offering innovative products that consumers actually want – and actually understand. Those ridiculous contracts – pages of fine print that no one can figure out – will be a thing of the past. You’ll be able to compare products – with descriptions in plain language – to see what is best for you”

“Some argue that these changes – and the many others we’ve called for – go too far———That’s not surprising. That’s Washington”

“Well, the American people did not send me to Washington to give in to the special interests; the American people sent me to Washington to stand up for their interests.  And while I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m ready for one.”

US President has interesting CXO

April 25, 2009

In his weekly address to the Nation on April 18, 2009 President Obama talks of bringing accountability to the government spending. He talked of the appointment of Jeffrey Zeints a former CEO as his Chief Performance Officer (CPO). The President talks of Jeffrey bring the much needed process efficiency and the need for the government to prune spending – removing projects and programs that do not deliver and investing more on those projects that have maximum benefit for citizens; he expects Jeffrey to bring in the “process performance” dimension to government. He also announced that Aneesh Chopra formerly with Virginia Commonwealth government will take over as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to bring the most relevant technology to measure performance and for the government to bet on the right technologies to benefit America. He also mentioned that both of them will work closely with Vivek Kundra the President’s Chief Information Officer (CIO).

It is interesting to see President Obama choosing the right CXO’s for his government – a step in the right direction. One hope the new government in Delhi (that should be in place by mid May 2009) will take some clue!

The new budget of President Obama is a clear departure

March 11, 2009

In his Feb 28, 2009 address to the Nation, President Obama makes some candid and bold statements. He is clear that his budget is a clear departure from the past; focusing on middle class (and not on wealthy Americans) President Obama is taking on the big lobbies; he acknowledges it in his speeach

  1. Bankers
  2. Insurance (particularly health insurance)
  3. Oil companies

By his uncanny “So am I” he seems to take on the opposition headlong.

It will be interesting to watch how he fights it out over the next several months.

One wishes that at least one Chief Minister or the future Prime Minister takes such a principled stand

US First Lady serving food to the poor in Washington DC – a rare example

March 7, 2009

The Telegraph on March 7, 2008 reported that Mrs Michele Obama, The First Lady surprised diners by serving up lunch at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington DC (a few blocks away from White House) which has been serving warm meals to the homeless for 26 years.

”There is a moment in time when each and every one of us needs a helping hand,” she said after leaving the serving station. ”Miriam’s Kitchen has become a place where so many people have been able to find that helping hand.”

I was personally touched by her gesture which is more Gandhian in nature. In fact the fruits and vegetables for the Lunch came from White-house garden. I was remembering the days when volunteers from Vivekananda Kendra (led by Mr Anil Batra) in Delhi used to serve food in many orphanages near Delhi with vegetables grown in President’s Estate during the tenure of former President Mr. R Venkataraman; the then First Lady Mrs Janaki Venkataraman used to take personal interest in the activity.

With people in power directly “connecting” to the men & women on the street, particularly the needy ones, the positive energy generated could have a sobering effect particularly in bad times (like the current economic turmoil in USA)

One more feather in the cap of President Obama

One hopes that other world leaders get inspired by Mrs Obama

President Obama lays emphasis on creating jobs, making education & healthcare affordable, providing tax cuts to consumers and bringing down the deficit to citizens,

February 22, 2009

In his weekly address to the Nation, President Obama on February 21, 2009 had his priorities absolutely clear

His Reconstruction Bill (nearly $ 900 billion bailout plan) will create nearly 3.5 million jobs.

He also talked of making college degree affordable and improved healthcare

He talked of nearly $ 65 / month tax rebate (at the minimum) for all citizens (that will be felt as early as April 2009)

President Obama laid emphasis on transparency, thereby ensuring that the money is wisely spent

Last, but not the least, Obama talked of reducing the $ trillion deficit he inherited from the previous government.

All of them are simple, yet not always seen correctly by politicians. With the UPA government throwing all winds of caution and taking the country to the dangerous position of 1991 (thanks to unusually high deficit) our politicians will be well advised in taking a lesson from Obama’s weekly video talks!

President Obama’s 4th weekly address

February 14, 2009

I have been watching President Obama’s weekly address evert Saturday.

The new web-site is very attractive – simple, uncluttered and fast. The video delivery is exceptionally good.

I am particularly touched by the very apt choice of words in this weekly  (February 14, 2009) address. So I am quoting extensively

The opening has a nice punch on the Republican differences without being nasty in any way

“I’m pleased to say that after a lively debate full of healthy difference of opinion, we have delivered real and tangible progress for the American people”

The President has a dig at the previous administration once again very subtly when he says

“Now, some fear we won’t be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism. Washington hasn’t set a very good example in recent years”

President Obama has been talking of transparency; he drives home the point well.

“That’s why our goal must be to spend these precious dollars with unprecedented accountability, responsibility, and transparency”

President Obama does a good job of “expectation management” as well.

“This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning”

He had a nice quote from President Kennedy that is very apt for the occassion

“This morning, I’m reminded of words President Kennedy spoke in another time of uncertainty. “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

Finally, he gently gets across the point  that he is new to the job; he is nice to his people as well!

” After a week spent with the fundamentally decent men and women of this nation, I have never been more certain of that. Thank you”

All in all, it is yet another remarkable weekly address.  Go and view the full video at “whitehouse.gov”

President Obama’s third weekly address

February 10, 2009

In this Third Weekly Address dated February 7, 2009, President Obama talks of jobs, jobs and jobs.

Starting with the bad news that 65,000 more jobs were lost in January alone, President Obama talks of his Government’s plans to create jobs everywhere, particularly in the infrastructure arena – both physical (roads & bridges) and social (healthcare & education).

It is clear and compelling.

One hope that Indian political leaders will emulate Obama!

Second weekly address by President Obama continues to inspire confidence

February 3, 2009

President Obama took office on Jan 20, 2009 (Tuesday). On the two Saturdays following his swearing-in, the President gave a short video address to the American people; thanks to technology (broadband, Internet) and my Apple 24″ monitor I can watch the video effortlessly in my study room. It continues to inspire; very short 4+ minutes but crisp and to the point. There is a frankness to admit the real problems as well as firmness and resolve to address the issues. The President made a pointed reference to the “shameful” bonuses of Wall Street executives (without any anger though)

It is interesting to watch; hopefully at least one Nation seems to have got a Statesman President.

President Obama’s weekly address stresses on the correct priorities

January 24, 2009

The new web-site of Whitehouse has a  very  simple and elegant design. It has a place for President’s weekly message too.

The weekly address of Jan 24, 2009 has a simple, yet powerful message; the new Government’s resolve to “invest” not “just throw money around” (which India is very good at, going by what happened in the past 4 years of UPA Government; it was no different with earlier Governments too)

It talks of 

  • Investing in roads and ports (for a country with excellent infrastructure)
  • Investing in 10,000 Schools (for a country that has universal access to education)
  • Tripling University fellowship (for a country that offers the largest number of University Fellowships in the world)

On the top of it, the President talked of a Web-site that will give account of the way money is being spent!

The best way to keep democracy alive is to improve transparency; if technology can help, it is a bonus. That is REAL IT

I cannot but wish that Indian Government takes some lessons; particularly when we as a country are way behind in physical infrastructure, social infrastructure (education & healthcare)!