Friday, February 02, 2007

Travelog # 26 - What's News in North America?

I am in Toronto now where it is equally cold like it was in Boston and Columbus. Moving beyond the weather, here is what I have been hearing and seeing a lot in US & Canadian media in the last few days.

Debt Consolidation:
On my way from the Airport, I was flipping through the stations and parked myself for over an hour (got stuck in the 401 / 404 rush hour traffic) in an ethnic radio station (101.3 ?). It was playing lot of Hindi songs but was catering mainly to people of Pakistani origin. Every other commercial was about bankruptcy and debt consolidation service. This was followed by equally frequent commercials for Indian / Pakistani Restaurants and driving institutes.

How much does Tyra Banks weigh? Really?:
This is a big news and has totally consumed mainstream media. How much Tyra Banks really weighs is now a national obsession (if you believe the media).? Is she 160 or 140 pounds. Fro Larry King to Diane Sawyer everybody is talking about it. Paparazzi took some pictures of Tyra Banks in some beach and made bouquet money by selling it to Tabloids, which started this media blitz about how Tyra Banks is taking on the Tabloids and stuff..

Green House:
This has been making news for a while, but this subject is all over the media with President Bush wanting to cut down dependency on foreign oil by 20%
Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.
Now, everybody is talking about 'alternate fuel', but American love for cars, personal space is as strong as ever. All one has to do is to, just take one look at the cars on the road and the occupancy. Newer and bigger gas gazzlers are dominating the roads and 90+% of them have single occupancy (driver only). Without a hard look at the driving habits, it is difficult to reduce energy consumption (though automobiles are not the only ones consuming oil, they are definitely a major consumer..)

Will US invade Iran?
Talk shows are having a field day on this subject. From a definitive yes to no to everything in between is discussed, analyzed and debated. Given America's bitter experience with Iraq, I earnestly hope, President Bush doesn't open another front. This will be a serious mistake and only make the alienation of Middle East complete. But then, President Bush might as well..
The drumbeat began during Mr. Bush’s recent speech on Iraq, when he vowed to “seek out and destroy” Iranian and Syrian networks he said were arming and training anti-American forces. Mr. Bush also announced that he was sending a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. Hours earlier, American troops raided an Iranian diplomatic office in Iraq. If anyone missed the point, aides let it be known that the president had authorized the military to kill or capture Iranian operatives in Iraq