Monthly Archives: February 2016
Just when we thought 2016 could not possibly become a more interesting and bizarre year in US politics, the irreversible laws of mortality threw another unexpected twist into the hustings. This weekend we witnessed the passing of a sitting Supreme Court justice, my fellow Georgetown alum Antonin Scalia.
The massive consequences of a sudden opening in the highest court in the land with one year to go before the next US president takes office cannot possibly be overstated. The court now stands at a precarious 4-4 balance between conservative and liberal justices, with the all-important vacancy possessing the real power to tip the scales of justice left or right for decades to come. Scalia was the most reliably conservative and vocal voice on that bench. The 2016 presidential election outcome is still highly uncertain; we don’t know who the next prez will be yet. It is also unclear when the next vacancy might pop up.
These variables and moving parts have brought us all to a bit of an impasse just when some large judicial questions are hanging in the balance. Scalia’s body was hardly getting cold before the GOP presidential candidates and Senate leadership, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the vanguard, promised not to budge an inch from their demands to block an Obama nominee that he has not even named. As long as this critical vacancy exists, any 4-4 tie is the equivalent of simply affirming the lower court’s decision- or, just about the same as having no effect on jurisprudence at all despite being the highest court in the land.
This situation is outrageous, and should not have to fester until 2017. Fortunately, there is a simple and elegant solution, one that would be palatable to all sides: the nomination by Obama and confirmation by the Senate of Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan, a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Srinivasan is a highly respected, pragmatic, centrist, and eminently qualified Indian-American judge, already considered before by some to be on the shortlist for a SCOTUS nomination by the White House. Below, we will analyze some of the angles to watch for in the coming months. Read the rest of this entry
McDonald’s is a special phenomenon, and I know this from my own life experience as a lifelong customer and former employee. Every six months or so, I get a fierce craving for a Big Mac and french fries, or an Egg McMuffin with a hash brown, and it must be fulfilled. I’ve been hooked since childhood thanks largely to the Happy Meals, a bit of tasty marketing genius that evokes warm, fuzzy, fond memories both conscious and subconscious for millions of adults long after they have stopped craving cheap plastic toys in a colorfully illustrated box with their lunches. As children, no less. In my opinion, McDonald’s french fries are also far and away the best around; their formula for fries just works, and always has in my mealy memory. The consistency of flavor no matter where you eat McDonald’s is amazing to behold, especially when you consider that there are 34,000-odd restaurants in 120 countries and territories.
In 1996, just as I was toiling at my first paid, post-paper route job (minimum wage, $4.25 an hour) in a McDonald’s near Cleveland, Ohio, the first franchise in India was opened up by the restaurant chain in New Delhi. India is certainly a potentially huge market for fast food. However, the country poses a formidable challenge for McDonald’s, for several reasons. The company’s very vaunted brand is based on cow meat, the specific protein that a majority of Indians will never, ever put in their mouths. McDonald’s would also need to compete against a large variety of high-quality local delicious Indian
food that is generally more healthy, and packed with spices and flavor. Finally, some Indians are so proud of their heritage that they will always see foreign fast food chains as an affront. So, how is McDonald’s doing at beef-free year 19 in India amid the successes and challenges encountered thus far, and where is it headed?
As you can see, some Hindu activists are NOT amused.
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