Thursday, 13 November 2003

Are We Being Short-Sighted? Let's Plan for Our Future

At the moment there is an outcry again from farmers regarding milk prices. They say they are not being paid enough by the supermarkets to cover the cost of production.

Now we all want to save money and purchase good reliable products as cheaply as possible but are milk prices unrealistic. Milk is a nutritious food, part of virtually everyone's diet, to expect to get 4 pints for a pound or less is perhaps unreasonable, when so much is spent on junk food and pre-prepared dishes.

Unfortunately supermarkets have been using milk for a while in price wars against other supermarkets, to get shoppers into their stores. As shoppers we have all enjoyed the low prices. However as this is putting thousands of dairy farmers out of business annually is this financially justifiable or sensible. Eventually the remaining suppliers will not be able to provide sufficient milk and we will be relying on imported dairy products; due to demand prices will rise; isn't this short-sighted of supermarkets and shoppers alike?

Meanwhile many farmers will have lost their homes and businesses, often farms that have survived and provided a livelihood for generations will be lost forever. Bankruptcies, paid for by the tax payers, will be rife, for the sake of a few pence extra on a pint of milk, which virtually everyone can afford to pay!

So I would say to shoppers let us be prepared to pay a few extra pence for the sake of common sense and boycott supermarkets that charge unrealistic prices. Let us safeguard future price rises and secure everyone's future. Let there be "Fair-trade" in our homeland too.

We can plan for our future in other ways too. Retirement doesn't just happen we know it will come, let us plan for our future retirement. Will you remain in your current family house or will it be too big. Have you ever considered where you might like to live in later life?

Would you consider winters in a warmer climate, or maybe live somewhere warmer all the time, they say the Mediterranean diet is very healthy and warmer weather is easier on the joints. Or perhaps you enjoy the British Isles with all its variable weathers? The world is becoming a smaller place now with the ease of travel. (Well when there aren't strikes etc)!

How will you fund your retirement do you have stocks and shares a good pension, or a portfolio of properties to fall back on? Or maybe you have considered setting up a small online business, a hobby business to give you an interest as well as an income for the future.

A few yeas ago we considered our future and made plans to spend winters in the sun and summers in the British country-side. We will subsidize our lifestyle with an online business, affiliate marketing is our choice. If this, or some other plan sounds interesting to you start researching it now, don't wait until you are in your 70's before you wonder what you will do to fill your days. Make a plan and enjoy your future retirement.

Some books that you might enjoy and give you some ideas:

"Ask for the Moon and Get It" by Percy Ross.

"Awaken the Giant Within" by Anthony Robbins.

"Thank God its Monday" by Charles Cameron and Suzanne Elusor.

"Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie.

"The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Joseph Murphy.

"Getting What You Want" by J H Brennan.

"Building an Online Cash Cow" by Anthony Barlow.

"SEO step by step" by Caimin Jones.

"500 Social Media Marketing Tips" By Andrew Macarthy

"Facebook for Business" by Bud E Smith.

And if you need a new laptop "Microsoft Windows 8 Made Easy" by James Stables. Or there are some very good reconditioned Windows 7 Available.

The Which Guide "Buying Properties Abroad"

My name is Anne -"We always aim to give more value than you expect"

Best Wishes in your venture, take a look at the information to grow your business FAST.

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Friday, 23 May 2003

Who Needs The Magna Carta?

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the Treaty of Runnymede, although very little of the discussion actually uses that name. The name in use today - and for most of the past 800 years - is the Magna Carta.

To some, the "Great Charter" (as "Magna Carta" directly translates) is a vital stone in the foundation of modern constitutional law and civil liberties. To others, the document is just a laundry list of technical details concerning the concessions King John of England made to a gaggle of rebellious barons. The critics note that almost none of the Magna Carta's provisions remain active today in British law, and some clauses, such as those governing the circumstances in which widowed women could decline or enter into remarriage, or in which indebted minors could avoid making interest payments to Jews, are antithetical to modern democratic norms.

I might not have given too much thought to the Magna Carta's current relevance had I not visited the British Library in London during a family vacation. There, one of the four surviving original copies issued on June 19, 1215, was on display. I reached it at the end of a lengthy exposition of other original texts and historical background that explained how the Magna Carta came to be, what preceded it - because nothing of any consequence in political life springs from a vacuum - and what happened to it in the eight centuries since it was promulgated. (Although June 19 marks the 800th anniversary of its issuance, most observers cite June 15, when the king and the barons reached agreement under the mediation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the date on which the Magna Carta actually came into existence.)

I did not expect the exhibit to engender any strong feelings. I am not British. While I appreciate the role that British law has played in the development of our own legal culture in the U.S., I do not have a detailed knowledge of the United Kingdom's constitutional history, and have never particularly wished that I did.

But as I stood in the long, slowly moving queue (this was England, after all, where queuing is an art form), filing past the beautifully curated exhibits, I realized that this really mattered - and not so much to me as an American, or to my mainly British fellow attendees, but to everyone who lives in a culture that falls outside the reach of the law and tradition springing from the Magna Carta.

Want to know if the Magna Carta still matters? Don't ask someone from the United States or the United Kingdom. Ask a dissident in China, or a political activist in Russia, or a woman who wants to get a driver's license in Saudi Arabia.

My thought, as I moved through the exhibit and considered its explanation of the Charter and the debate around it, is that the Magna Carta's admirers are correct. So are its critics. But both are missing the real point.

Yes, the Magna Carta was, at its core, a failed treaty; its signers violated it and the Pope annulled it in short order after it was enacted, though the Charter was revived under the regency of King John's son, after John's death in suspicious circumstances the following year, and has been reaffirmed by British monarchs many times since. Yes, it was not a constitution in any modern sense of the word. Yes, we would abhor some of its provisions were they to be put forth in our time.

But it makes no sense to impose 21st century expectations on a 13th century document. When the Magna Carta was conceived, the world was still centuries away from its first true written constitution. (America's, the oldest still in use, was adopted in 1789.) Neither monarch nor nobles sought to create a written constitution as we understand it at Runnymede. They certainly were not trying to create a democracy.

The Magna Carta may have done only one thing of lasting import, but if so, it was crucial: The document established that the sovereign's power is not unlimited and may not be unilaterally exercised in an arbitrary fashion. The Charter stands for the proposition that the monarch, and by modern extension the state, is not above the law.

By its presence or by its absence, this principle is critical to our lives today.

As I write this, we await a Supreme Court decision on the power of our executive branch to extend health care subsidies to millions of people in states that did not set up exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The question at the heart of the case is whether the "Obamacare" statute authorized this action. No authorization, no subsidy - and probably no Obamacare, at least in its current form. The court's ruling will be binding on the government.

Similarly, a federal judge ruled not long ago that the terms imposed by the Federal Reserve on American International Group Inc. as part of its financial crisis bailout were illegally harsh and deprived shareholders of their rights. The judge awarded no damages, reasoning that the shareholders would have been wiped out in AIG's collapse in the absence of that bailout. But the ruling underscored that the government's executive powers are limited by law - a ruling that could have broad implications in other cases. I can't wait to see what happens when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's shareholders cite this decision to challenge the government's effective confiscation of their company.

Contrast our system with that of China, where the courts are subject to the whim of the government, and the government is subject to the whim of the Communist Party, and the Communist Party is subject to nothing but its own factional infighting. Nothing resembling true freedom can exist under such a system, because nobody can know his or her rights, or trust that those rights can be asserted and enforced.

Or consider Russia, where democracy under the current government is little more than a charade, and courts cower under pressure from the Kremlin.

Where government power is not effectively checked, corruption in the use of that power flourishes, as it does in China and Russia today.

The Magna Carta established that the state is subject to the rule of law, and does not merely rule by law. Later, our own Constitution established that even the law is ruled by law - a statute passed by Congress, or in other legislatures (including the modern U.K. Parliament), is invalid if it violates constitutional provisions or principles.

Our societies could not exist in recognizable form without this constraint. And while the Treaty of Runnymede built on earlier texts and was followed by eight centuries of additional history, the Magna Carta is what actually set out the concept that sovereign power is limited.

I didn't really think about that before my visit to the British Library, and before the discussion of the Magna Carta's anniversary this week. Now that I have, I think the critics should give the Great Charter its due, and I hope its example will spread to the parts of the world that really need it today.

Friday, 7 March 2003

Free Ride? What Every First Time Uber User Needs To Know

If you feel that you will never get a taxi cab during rush hour, then Uber might be the next best thing. Now before you "jump on the bandwagon" and call the first available driver, it still pays to know what the app basically is and what are the cons that you have to deal with as well as the pros. This way, you will know when it is right time to call a regular taxi or your favorite Uber driver.


The app became quite popular because it allows smartphone users to contact a registered driver and take them literally anywhere in the city. The app not only works in the US, but also in other parts of the world. All one has to do is to download the app and share your location via GPS or Wi-Fi for you to be picked up by your driver. Users must be 18 years old in order for them to be able to use this app.

Users can receive free rides or account credits by inviting their friends to sign up using their personal invite code. Do note though that the personal code should only be shared via one's personal site or social media as spamming other sites with one's personal code would suspend your account and revoke the already existing credits earned.

How it Works?

When you download the app, it allows you to share your location to the driver so all you have to do is to wait for them to come. You can choose the vehicle type and see the other options including the rates for each vehicle. Payment is done through the credit card that you indicated in your account. Note that some charges may apply such as toll fees, surcharges and if you make a mess, you might also be charged with cleaning fees. The app has a fare estimate so you can get an estimated cost of how much the service is before booking for the ride.

Things to Consider

Now that you know something about how the app works, there are some things that you have to take note of when requesting for a ride. One is that the vehicles are owned by private individuals and as such, there are no tell-tale signs that it is for hire. Before jumping into a car, it is important to talk with your driver so you can identify the right vehicle to hop on. Rates also differ depending on time of the day and the fare during rush hours tends to increase as well as late night hours. If you have to go and use the service during these hours, you might want to check on the fare so you will not be surprised when you receive your credit card billing statement.

Monday, 3 February 2003

Dinner With Strangers

Change is necessary, isn't it? I have moved to Mumbai. I got a job here as a 'Social Media Evangelist' for an MNC called 'Datum Digital'. I am so glad I took this job as I am really enjoying Mumbai. I have always liked the spirit of this city and the hard working and smart 'Mumbaikars'. Though I have visited it often, living here is an entire different experience.

I live as a Paying Guest and have a roommate, Payal. She is from Delhi and is studying her Masters here. She amazes me, as in spite of being from a Science background, she is very intellectual. Earlier this week, when we were about to sleep, she said, "PG (Paying Guest) life is strange, isn't it? You make a ruckus about sharing things with strangers, but you meet so many strangers if you are living away from home and share a room with a person you have just met." I just want to share her feeling instead of mine on this one as we are quite alike.

Ria lives in the next room and she is from Vapi. I went out for dinner with her to this place half a kilometre away from where I live called 'Dakshinayan', which is a South Indian restaurant. It was crowded and the receptionist told us we would have to share a table for four with two other people! We agreed as we were really hungry. Ria told me this happens in Mumbai all the time. I have never experienced this back home in Ahmedabad. We took our table and in a short while two middle aged women joined us. They were speaking Gujarati and asked for Jain South Indian food- which means they wanted jain dosa, jain sambhar and jain chutney as well. The waiter got very confused and took a long time to get their order whereas ours arrived really fast.

When they got their dosa's, one of them asked the waiter to take hers back as she felt it wasn't enough hot for her and asked him to heat it again. She asked me, "Taro garam che?" (Meaning: "Is yours hot enough?" in Gujarati) seeing that I had already finished half of my masala dosa by then. I asked her in surprise, "How do you know I am a Gujarati?" She replied, "That is because I can see that you understand what we are talking about; and you are smiling knowingly ever since we asked for Jain food." Haha! I need to control my knowing smiles. We spoke about all good places to eat in Mumbai, and also about Gujarati food, of course. I had warned Ria earlier (softly in her ear) that if I start a conversation with them, it would be like eating together rather than simply sharing a table. But she is a very talkative person herself.

My office is really swanky and smart. Benaifer is a very sweet Parsi girl who I just love talking to as we talk in Gujarati (she is the only one who talks to me in my mother tongue apart from Gujarati women I meet in restaurants and here and there) She asks me in her saccharine Parsi Gujarati to breakfast with her. Then there is Lumbini who works very hard and Kirti who loves to talk. There are some other team members as well, who have been very helpful and supportive.

I am totally on my own, and I am enjoying every bit of it. There have been heavy rains here last week. It got difficult at times but I just love this city and everything about it- the beach, the rains, the trains, the taxis, the people, the cosmopolitan environment and... fashion, food, culture, roads, glamour... Looking forward to more experiences that I can add to the list.