Geaux Tiger! Back to the slide rules you Tech nerds.
This should surprise none of us. Absolutely none of us.
Obama appoints Sonal Shah, a Google employee, to work on his transition team. Reporters uncover evidence that Sonal Shah is tied to VHP of America, the American arm of Vishva Hindu Parishad, a questionable militant group in India.
Naturally and predictably, Shah denied the allegations.
A series of e-mails obtained by Nextgov suggest that Shah was an active member of the Vishva Hindu Parishad of America during the late 1990s and contributed to strategic discussions regarding the group’s public image. Two VHP of America officials also confirmed that Shah served on the organization’s governing council in the 1990s. VHP is an international Hindu organization that is part of Sangh Parivar, the Indian nationalist movement organized around Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. VHP has been condemned by the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch and the State Department for its role in the 2002 violence in the northwestern state of Gujarat that killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.
Okay, so Sonal Shah is working on tech policy. The problem is, and Obama should realize this, India and Pakistan don’t care what she is working on. The fact that he has put someone with close ties to VHP on his staff has serious and real potential to disrupt relations with India, who we should be getting closer to, and Pakistan.
Despite Shah’s statement renouncing the VHP, the issue has remained a hot topic in the Indian press. On Dec. 5, a group of more than 60 U.S. academics, many working in South Asian-related fields, sent a letter to Obama expressing their concern over Shah’s appointment and the increasing influence of Hindu nationalism in America. Prashad also pointed to a 2004 speech by Shah at a Sangh-related event, where according to the organization’s Web site, Shah “exposed the hypocrisy of the Western way of life, highlighting its wasteful ways and compared them to the simpler but more genuine life in India. She mentioned how Indians would sacrifice whatever they had for their guests, but we in the West cannot even sacrifice a little time for them.”
She may be a perfect fit for Obama given all the distasteful people he has surrounded himself with over the years, but she could seriously undermine foreign relations by being so close to Obama.
I haven’t mentioned this too much, but I’ve been invited to have lunch with Vice President Cheney next week. He’s getting together a few reporters and his Press Secretary asked if I’d like in on the lunch — there will be less than a dozen of us.
Very cool opportunity.
Of the few people I’ve told, they have all responded uniformly, “Vice President of what?”
Yeah, that one.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a profile of RedState and me. I went out and got a dead tree version of the paper and was surprised to find it on the front page.
In the coming debate over what a reformed and revived Republican Party should look like, one of the most influential voices from Georgia won’t belong to a governor, a congressman or a U.S. senator. It will come from a 33-year-old former attorney, hunched over a keyboard in his Macon home, or tapping out his essays from the confines of a local coffeehouse on the edge of Mercer University. Erick Erickson is editor-in-chief and the only paid employee of the 4-year-old conservative Web site RedState.com. He remains a near-stranger to Republicans who make up the grassroots, grits-and-eggs gatherings in Georgia. But via the Internet, Erickson and his band of 20 volunteer contributors from across the country have become an essential, beyond-the-Beltway sounding board for a GOP that, nationally, has suffered a generational defeat at the hands of President-elect Barack Obama and his tech-savvy, Democratic army.
The other day on Twitter, I commented thusly:
Resolved: fixing the GOP cannot be done from in DC and fixing the tech problems cannot be done without professional technologists.
Within days of the election I was approached by three people representing three different groups, all of whom wanted my advice on how to proceed on the technology front. My advice was pretty simple:
- That you have come to me thinking I am a technologist is an indication of the problem;
- Luckily for you, I have come to recognize my limits, but sadly there are too many others out there who do not recognize their limits and, unfortunately, offer themselves as solutions to our tech problem instead of offering real solutions;
- If anyone you talk to says you need to duplicate what Obama did, run the other way as fast as possible;
- When looking for people, choose technologists who are interested in politics, not political guys who learned tech; and,
- Look outside Washington, D.C.
Then, seeking recommendations, I suggested six people — only two of whom are inside Washington, D.C.
Let me repeat it because it has become my constant theme: to succeed online, the right needs to invest in technologists who know politics and not political consultants who know technology. It is a hell of a lot easier to learn politics than it is technology. Further, technologists understand, develop, and use technology is a way more akin to what normal people do. Political consultants don’t do that. And it is doubly important to go outside of Washington, D.C. because of both points of view and circles of friends.
One caveat before wading into this: there is a place for political guys who know technology. There are tools to be developed and use of those tools. The political guys can, by and large, handle use of the tools. What I am concerned with is development of the technology tools for the right and their initial implementation.
The Gospel of Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Last night at Kroger, in the parking lot as we wait for Christy, Evelyn pulls out Christy’s iPod, presses it like she’s dialing a phone, and then has the following conversation, with requisite pauses for Batman’s replies.
“Hi Batman, this is Evelyn.
“Yes, I know.
“Would you please beat up Penguin and the Joker?
“Oh, thank you.
“Uh-huh . . . . Yes.
“Okay, well see you later.
“Merry Christmas. . . . . I love you too, Bruce.”
Today, she overhears a conversation about me having lunch with the Vice President. My mother-in-law comments that she heard his middle name is Bruce.
Evelyn, with the most serious look that has ever graced her three year old face, comes over to me and asks excitedly, “Daddy, are you really going to have lunch with Batman?”
Over the last 20 minutes I have fed, burped, diaper changed, and put Gunnar to bed. At the same time I was doing a radio interview with KSFO out in San Francisco.
Yes. I. Can.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I’ll be on Hannity & Colmes tonight right at 9pm.