January 26th, 2004

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sacred cows and a diamond in the roughage...

A moral quandary is when you're Hindu, cows are sacred, and your cow swallows your bag of diamonds.

So, Mohabbatsinh Gohil has been following his cow around for the past 2 1/2 weeks now, sifting through its droppings in the hope of finding hidden treasure. And he's been lucky, too -- 555 diamonds down, 1167 to go. He speculates it will take another 30 days to get them back, but that's really optimistic, in that many of the diamonds might get lodged somewhere and never extract themselves, or just might be missed in the search. Meanwhile, his treasure hunt has become a regular form of entertainment for the locals.

A greater man than I would attach spiritual relevance to this story. So I will. There. It's attached. Can't you see it?! Good.

What is more special? A cow who craps diamonds? An owner who doesn't take his cow to a Pakistani butcher or slip him laxatives? ...or an avid crowd of wellwishers who look forward expectantly to every bowel movement and who cheer whenever they see a glint of light amidst the dung?

Yes. Exactly.
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Go Ro!

There's an interesting post by famous local lawyer and rights advocate Larry Lessig, mentioning that although the 12th District -- which includes San Francisco and San Mateo counties -- is strongly opposed to the Patriot Act, its local representitive, Tom Lantos, has been in favor of both Patriot Act 1 and 2, as well as a prolonged US military involvement in Iraq.

As a result, local Democrats and progressives are supporting another Democratic candidate to displace Lantos -- Ro Khanna. This is nearly unheard of locally, where well-known congressmen usually face little opposition from within their party, winning elections based on name recognition alone. Until recently, Lantos has refused to debate Khanna at all, and has only recently agreed to a single debate, just days prior to the election. This behavior effectively robs the public of any real democratic process, and disenfranchises absentee voters.

Given that vote turnout is traditionally very low for such elections, Ro Khanna has a great shot of winning if people come forward to vote. He recently picked up an endorsement from Matt Gonzalez and met with Howard Dean, showing strong support for Dean's candidacy and platform. Most telling, Khanna was endorsed by the Calfornia Democratic Council -- the first time in 24 years that the council had backed anyone other than Lantos, who has become an entrenched career politician.

If you would like to vote in the March 2nd primary, please make sure you are registered to vote before February 16th. If you decline to state a party affiliation, you will need to request a Democratic party ballot in order to vote for Ro. Also, please spread the news about Ro Khanna's candidacy and send letters to the editor of your local newspapers in support of public debates.

For entirely too long, voter apathy has hurt our political process, but change is coming. It's worth remembering, however, that change begins at home.