Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mark Warner at Asia Society

A few days back, after reading the Bush speech at the Asia Society (see previous post), I had visited the Asia Society web site and looked at the recent speeches. One of them was Mark Warner. Now, I'm always interested in anything to do with Mark Warner not just because he was Virginia's hugely popular governor, but also a potential candidate in '08, and maybe, just maybe, a Democrat I might be able to support (of course, that may change when he starts talking about the myriad issues he has been silent on to date). But reading this speech, I was pleased to note that here is a Democrat who is not talking Benedict Arnolds Kerry-style, but rather recognizes changing paradigms and as governor, sought to realign Virginia in the new model rather than clinging onto protectionism. Here's one fact I found particularly surprising...
That was a large Indian company, Essel Propack, that actually picked Danville, Virginia-the heart of the tobacco region in our Commonwealth-to put a major manufacturing facility. That manufacturing facility in Danville has done more to change the feelings of people in Southside Virginia about some of the upsides of international trade than anything else.

Wow, Indian companies are actually setting up shop in the US! This is something you don't hear about too often in the press. Anyway, I like Warner's emphasis on technical education rather than regulation. I like that we finally have a Democrat who realizes that we don't need to be going back to the jobs of the 20th century, that we need to be staying ahead of the curve in technological and service jobs.

There was one anecdote of his trip to Delhi, India that sounded suspiciously like something I had heard from Bill Gates several years ago, but I'll give him the benefit of doubt that he went to the same project Gates did. So anyway, here's that anecdote:
I visited an NGO called the Hole in the Wall project. This Hole in the Wall project was simply where the NGO had come in and put a series of computers into a brick wall-and would turn them on in the morning and turn them off at night. There were no teachers, no training. It was definitely to see what would happen. I mean I'm a visiting American dignitary and they had rolled out the red carpet and a young kid named Samir grabbed me and said, "Tell me your name, tell me your name." I said, "My name is Mark. Why do you want me to tell you my name?" He said, "Well, I want to Google you to find out if you're important."

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