About jimbbbenge

Mid-life career change in progress.

U.S. Government Loaning $500M for Solar Power Projects—In India


This is in addition to an already-provided $75M according to this report

What does this say about “India Shining?” If they’ve “arrived” why do they need to borrow money from the United States – never mind it’s money we don’t have – to turn around and spend it on technology that won’t outlast the life of the 18-year loan, and, to boot, spend it back in the United States?

Pardon the expression, but if it smells like shit I don’t buy it. I don’t think India should either.



Tools for Change

Women have the choice of many means of bringing their principles into exercise, and of obtaining influence, both in their own domestic sphere, and in society at large.
—Sarah Stickney Ellis

After Monday’s discussion points regarding ‘change from within,’ I made a connection while reading Ellis for Engl202. Specifically, her views on (Victorian) women and their means of conversation as a tool for change.

Yes, Ellis and many women of their time would be chastised today, but kudos to those women who chose to focus this upon their situation from the inside and employ it to everyone’s benefit (at least in many parts of the world). Equality means having the choice on whether to lift the veil, or swallow the morsel.



As I was walking by the circulating periodicals in the UA Library, Adolph Hitler happened to catch my eye–really his image on the cover of a back issue of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History. As I flipped it open, an image of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth caught my eye, thanks in part to the Gemstones class I took last quarter. The photo accompanied a block of text teasing an extensive article titled “The War Over Plunder.” The big connection: the late Queen Mother’s crown contains the Koh-i-Noor Diamond which the British acquired after annexing Punjab in 1849. Someday I hope to read more about the history behind this gem, but for now I will share it here.


“Where is the Orient?”

That is the heading of a page from, of all places, a well-known photo gear review site. If you’re a camera head, or have looked up info on what camera you should buy, maybe you’ve come across KenRockwell.com.

In my opinion, Ken’s take is purely geographical as he simply uses the term “Orient” to encompass the various non-German countries that produce photographic equipment. The big two–Nikon and Canon–are both Japanese companies that still produce pro equipment domestically, but, like most every other company, outsource certain consumer models to hold down cost.

His site is visited from people around the world. Does he need an all-encompassing, non-racial disclaimer more in line with the topic of Orientalism as we have discussed in class? Perhaps some may think so, but I, for one, do not.


Indian Flash Flood Rescue

Dramatic video of a young boy being rescued from flash flooding in India over the weekend. Does it make a difference if this footage is of a 4-year-old Indian boy or a teenage girl in Oklahoma City?

What makes this particularly topical are the comments following the story. They run the gamut from sensible to downright idiotic, and only because this event takes place in India and the report from an alternative media source.

My take echoes the comment by UtahDrifter. People are people the world over, be they “good” people or “bad” people.


Identity Cards

“I’ve been to Afghan villages in which the men literally line up to get entered into the systems because they want an ID card.  They’ve never had ID cards and they want them.  The villagers are not forced to enter the system but they just line up. ”  –Michael Yon

“Left of Bang” from which this quote is taken, as well as “Penguins of Afghanistan” deal with biometric science and its adaptation by the military against makers of IEDs. This is a high-tech example of “Who are you?” that shows how the “others” are no longer able to hide in plain sight. Strangely this could also be seen as one more way of distinguishing “other-ness” since many who line up may not understand that their ID comes from the latent fingerprints and retinal images they provide rather than the physical cards they are issued.



Merits as a novel

Admittedly I was caught up in reading Untouchable as a political example rather than paying attention to its merits as a novel. That being said, I did manage to notice a few literary passages along the way. We discussed narrative style briefly on Wednesday, but the extended paragraph on page 78 is a good blend of literary and political.

The awe and romance, hatred and love, the familiar and the unknown all point to sympathy on the part of Mulk Raj Anand toward Bakha by allowing him to feel a sense of hope that he may one day escape the stigma of untouchability.

What are your thoughts on this and other similar passages?