Thinking about Brown victory in Mass led me to read Fedarlist #10 again. (Thanks Norma Thompson for your great class)

…By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. is 59:41 regular vote? Where did things go wrong ?


Garry Wills @ Explaining America, “Minorities can make use of dispersed and staggered governmental machinery to clog, delay, slow down, hamper, and obstruct the majority. But these weapons for delay are given to the minority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character; and they can be used against the majority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character. What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such.”[15]



January 20, 2010 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

Hold me back before I kill the M***R F**R! [re: Behavioral economics and Gaza]

I have seen a few of those typical middle east street scenes, with two men fighting in a market or a bar, and a crowed of people is around them. One of those dodos will typicaly scream “Hold me back.. hold me back before I kill the mother fucker” Well – why don’t you hold yourself back you always ask ? Because he cant. He is in the midst of it.

Obama’s appointment of Sunstein made me go back to my readings re behavioral economics, and how introduction of better understanding of human psychology transforms our understanding and analysis of economic theory.

 Wikipedia summarizes the foundations of B.E as follows:

Two of the main themes in behavioral finance and economics:[9]

§  Heuristics: People often make decisions based on approximate rules of thumb, not strictly rational analysis. See also cognitive biases and bounded rationality.

§  Framing: The way a problem or decision is presented to the decision maker will affect his action.

So what happens when we apply the same three themes to political science and especially to democracy ? How do we expect democracies to function if people make decisions not based on strictly rational analysis? The Framing (i.e. media) of a problem effects people actions and people are making? How will the democracy function during a survival crisis when emotions are high and rationality goes out of the window ?

The best example is sadly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For almost every outsider, the solution – dividing the land to two – is easy to recognize. But for a solution to be implemented, we need the insiders – the individuals in both countries to be able to recognize the solution, and we further need the political system on both side to be able to recognize, act and negotiate such a solution simultaneously.


Not surprisingly, for a deeply emotional topic – where almost every individual on either sides have strong personal pain points connecting them to the conflict, getting the individuals to recognize a solution is close to impossible. And we have not even discussed the political system on either sides, neither of them capable of electing or supporting a leader in making such decisions.

 In some other places on the globe, what was required was long period of ceasefire – allowing the pains to heal, rationality to come back and the right leaders to emerge on both sides to solve the conflict. But in such close quarters as the Israel, it seems like as time goes by, both sides are nose diving into each other, increasing the flames and the conflict over the years rather than calming it down.

 Which leads me toward thining that the only way forward will be if the international community – led by the US and the moderate Arab countries, both “gently impose” a solution on both parties.   And we might be surprised in how the leaders and the people on both sides will be releived to have such a solution imposed on them. It will have to be a delicate balance: Not imposing as in somebody holding a gun to your head an telling you what to do, but more like a parent holding his shy / histeric kid and walking him into a classroom… 

January 26, 2009 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

“I am not Bush” What McCain wanted to say but didnt…

“I am not Bush. If you wanted to run against him you should have done it four years ago…

I did run against him in 2000 (Were you in college then?). I should have been the president in 9/11 and if I was then the country would have looked much better now. But Bush swift boated me. And now he has left the country in such a mess that it’s impossible for anybody associated with Republicans to run to any public office.

And the mess we are in is not due to Republican ideology but rather due to Bush dishonesty, cronyism, and negative management skills. So no, I am not Bush and stop comparing me to him.”


That would have gotten the debate going… and McCain up in the polls.


To which Obama would have said “I fully agree with you regarding president Bush. And I even agree that if you were president in 2000 we would have been in a much better place right now. But a president cannot be separated from the party and mechanisms which elect him. You are part of the Republican party, always were and will continue to be if you were elected. And the mess we are in is also significantly due to republican ideology – the notion that free market and no regulation are the ultimate solution. Big, beaurocratic government is a problem. But “no government” is worse. Small, smart and selective regulation is the right way forward. And that’s the middle way which I am advocating and have been advocating for years.”


Unless we have another visit coming to us from Osama in the next three weeks, it Obama… and my bet is around 365-175.

October 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

McCain v2008. Lipstick on a pig

Also working on this one. But I feel it needs more work…

September 15, 2008 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

Palin Lipstick

I just had to put this one up…

September 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Re: Goople



A few years ago, i was talking to somebody in Google and floated the idea of Google acquiring Apple. The reaction was something along the lines of “why should we?”. Well – it has been a few years since this conversation – and that is exactly the answer. While the merger between the giants might look good on paper – and can defintly excite a lot of reporters – in reality, the duo has been co-operating and reaping many of the mutual benefits that such a merger would bring them. Without having to go with all the monopolistic scrutiny, financial oversight and organization shock that a transaction would force them to go through. Or in other words – what else would you expect to see if the companies merged ?

As shown during the iPhone launch: “Apple introduced the iPhone today, and joining Steve Jobs onstage for about a minute was none other than Google CEO and Apple board member, Eric Schmidt.Schmidt was there to announce that Google Maps and Google search would be built into the iPhone”

Together, Google and Apple bring us the content we care about, on devices we care to have. This has huge impact for anybody thinking through the mobile or digital home space.

Google - Apple digital home properties combined

February 5, 2008 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

A conversation aboard a private jet

Last week, a Xoogler I know made some public comments about his fortunes… And how lucky he was to offload some of his stock when GOOG was at $600…

At the same week we made an announcement about Nokia intentions to acquire Trolltech – which as a result I received a few (funny?) emails assessing my interest in Ferraris. So for the record, no – I am not interested in one. Neither can I afford it.

Which reminded me of one of the most honest and insightful conversations I had on the topic

In 2001, while I was at OPWV, Chimene was still at Yale finishing her law degree. One of the executives I was close to @ OPWV was valued at the time in the few hundred $M range, and like many other execs had his own private jet. His family was in Boston, so to help the long distance relationship, I was sometimes invited to join him as he commuted back and forth to the East coast.

In one of those flights, as the two of seat happily seat in the jet @ 36K feet and sip wine he said … “you know Ram… I have made more money then I ever thought I will. And more then I probably deserved. Why? Luck. I was at the right place at the right time.”

If you dont realize that luck had a major part to the amount of money you made, you might mistakenly start attributing it to how smart you are. Which explains why there are so many over inflated egos around here. Or maybe how hard you have been working. Which might explain why there are so many workaholics here as well. But when you look deep down in it – yes, smartness and hard work play a role and are *required* elements – but most of the new Googlers, Facebookers, Youtuber, meSqlrs and the like should say thank you to Tyche

Tyche Wikipedia image

And if you wonder where the executive is today – he gave significant amounts of his fortune to orphanages in Easter Europe. Anonymously. And stepped out of high tech to spend in time helping others.

February 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

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