Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big Bag

Problems in Ethiopian governance:
The problem with foreign aid in Ethiopia is that both the Ethiopian government and its donors see the people of this country not as individuals with distinct needs, talents, and rights but as an undifferentiated mass, to be mobilized, decentralized, vaccinated, given primary education and pit latrines, and freed from the legacy of feudalism, imperialism, and backwardness. It is this rigid focus on the “backward masses,” rather than the unique human person, that typically justifies appalling cruelty in the name of social progress.
 A moving account titled "Springtime in Kigali", hat tip: Texas in Africa.
When I think of the spectacular growth around Kigali, or those miles of trenches laid with fiber-optic cable across the country, or the latest signs of a growing crackdown against the opposition, they all seem to be different ways to answer the question – for better or for worse – of how to deal with the legacy of 1994.
Yglesias' vision for the world - celebrating idleness, fan fiction, school, retirement, and open source software as transcendent escape from capitalist masters:
So that’s the agenda I have to offer. For rich countries—productivity growth, social insurance, and efforts to improve public health all aiming at allowing people to live more and more of their time outside the bonds of commercial work. For poor countries—capitalism, to get the process of prosperity and social betterment rolling. At the interface between the two—a generous and humane approach to migration issues so that people can have the freedom to escape bad situations, and a trade regime that aims at facilitating the exchange of goods rather than coercing poor countries into adopting the preferred policies of rich world companies. And for all of us, an overhaul of energy systems so the world doesn’t boil and we all get to keep enjoying our prosperity.
Cornell researchers find that SOME jurors are statistically more likely to find unattractive people guilty and give them harsher penalties.

LDS in Haiti
“Immediate help was sent by the Church to members and nonmembers and was distributed under the direction of the local priesthood and Relief Society leaders,” said Elder Francisco ViƱas, the Church area president based in Santo Domingo. “They not only received medical aid, food, water and other basic supplies, but they also received counsel, guidance and comfort from their local leaders.” ...
 “The nine chapels in and around Port-au-Prince were mostly undamaged—another remarkable miracle,” said Elder Wilford W. Andersen at the recently-concluded 180th Annual General Conference of the Church. “During the weeks that followed the earthquake, they became shelters for over 5,000 Haitians and bases from which food, water, and medical attention were distributed. Basic needs were met, and order began to emerge out of chaos.”...
In the case of Haiti, local Church leaders worked to complete a head count of members of their own congregations and formulated an assessment of their needs.
Despite the devastation in their homeland, order quickly returned to Mormon congregations in Haiti. Patrick Reese, manager of planning and administration in the Humanitarian Services Department of the Church, said “The (Church) leaders knew the principles of welfare, of communication and self-reliance long before the catastrophic event occurred and they knew how to implement these principles for the benefit of their members.”...
Since the earthquake, the Church has sent 1.4 million pounds of aid to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in addition to teams of doctors who treated patients in Mormon meetinghouses after the quake. 

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