March 28, 2007

MRI - Another torturous procedure for Breast Cancer?.

The American Cancer Society came out with some new directives regarding the early detection of breast cancer. These directives that apply to about a million women in the United States alone, though beneficial, are not clearly targeted, may not be accessible to all, may create unnecessary panic, and may not be viable at this time.

An MRI costs anywhere from $2000/- to $ 4000/- . In order for you to get one your primary physician has to prescribe it (only if you've tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation), your insurance has to cover it (only if you fall in the 'high risk' category), and a medical facility has to schedule it (could be a long wait). Given all these obstacles, and the fact that there is bound to be panic after the American Cancer Society directives, it is worrisome to know that we don't have enough medical facilities or the required personnel to handle the sudden influx of patients needing an MRI.

The mammogram though a great detector test for Breast Cancer, is also a source of anxiety and pain to millions of women. With the new directives, women will now be undergoing yet another test under the MRI and that'll mean another excruciating wait for its results!

Longevity of life I guess, but at what cost! What about the 'quality of life'?!

March 21, 2007

Khalilzad, the New US representative at the UN - A facelift?

John Bolton who did not get confirmed as the US representative to the UN last year will now make way for a new US representative, Khalmai Khalilzad who is currently serving as the US Ambassador to Iraq. Khalilzad has also been the special envoy for the US President to Afghanistan and was responsible for organizing the Afghan opposition against the Taliban.

Richard Haass, President on the Council of Foreign Affairs, when asked about Khalilzad this morning on NPR, pointed out that Khalilzad would be different from the brusque Bolton, who often clashed with his counterparts at the UN. Khalilzad, on the other hand, would work from within, and would not rile up things as his unconfirmed predecessor did.

The interview with Haass was enlightening in many ways. It did not just throw light on Khalil zad, the new US Representative to the UN, but it also informed me on the role of a US Representative to the UN. That the representative would debate, design, and uphold the UN policy, and would try to get his own government aboard on it as well. The foreign policy of the US would not affect the UN Representative's decisions or his actions. In the light of this enlightenment, what Haass said next, made me sit up and wonder. He said that Zad, as the new US representative would now first have to focus on 'fashioning an international consensus against Iran' that poses a nuclear threat, then focus on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and next keep up the pressure in Lebanon so that the Syrians don't get off the hook. My concern is that if a diplomat as eminent as Haass starts second guessing what a UN representative would do, and then devalues human life while prioritizing UN actions, then there is little hope left! The genocide in Darfur is "ongoing"; there are hundreds dying there as we speak! The threat of Iran may be imminent, but it is still only a threat, and keeping the pressure in Lebanon to keep Syria in check but reeks of US foreign policy.

Khalilzad as a 'fresh base' at the UN will have to do some 'damage control' after Bolton, but hopefully he is not a stooge of the US foreign policy makers trying to wring some arm at the UN. To quote Woody Allen, just as Haass did, "90% of life is about showing up;" However, one hopes Khalilzad is not ''showing up' in 'wolf garb!'

March 15, 2007

Cricket Selling NIKE in India

NIKE 's first Cricket advertisement! I guess the game has finally arrived. This is an an advertisement campaign designed for a cricket crazy India. NIKE, sure has its feel on the pulse of this nation, which I'm told eats drinks and breathes cricket. This is especially true now that the World Cup is on in the West Indies, and where the Indian team has a fighting chance of emerging the winner.

March 10, 2007

Reflections on Humility

The majestic old tree does bend
its branches laden with fruits.
Acres and acres of lush prairie grass
a humble blanket becomes;
laying prone to the gusty winds.
Swallowing her pride a mother pleads,
begging leniency for her errant child.

Is humility, indeed, a quality
that's often termed as modesty?
One that'll not let the ego be
but a humble 'n selfless entity.
Can I a Gandhi be?
To put another before me,
that'd be ultimate humility.

What'd that do to my self esteem?
And to my confidence
that took so long to build.
Now that I have the edge,
why would I to another yield?
Humility at the cost of success?
Unlikely, I need my space;
besides, I'd be out of the race!
Inconceivable, I confess.

Braggarts, loudmouths, and showoffs,
the coterie that currently rule the world.
Christ and Buddha but exceptions
amid a world full of contentions.
And what of Thomas 'n Aquinas
who 'submission' did profess'
but 'twas only to the almighty.

Humility's but an antiquated trait.
and could not a modern leader create.

March 08, 2007

Iranian Mayor for Beverly Hills?

'Tehr-Angeles' not merely in name anymore! Beverly Hills, California may actually have elected Jimmy Delshad, an Iranian Jew, to be their next mayor. Delshad, who is now an Iranian American, fled Khomeini's regime in 1979 and made USA his home.

This news item, of an Iranian American Mayor for Beverly Hills, is featuring prominently in the US media in spite/ because of the strained relations that currently exist between the two countries. Whatever the case may be, personally, this event once again reinforces my faith in Americanism, a term that I define as the ability to be different, to recognize diversity, and to weave in the diversity into the American fabric.