Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Please God, Let This Work

Parliamentary elections this week in Iraq...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cell Phones in Africa

MTN buys Libertis

MTN, the company that put a cell phone tower on one of the hills near Bumwalukani in Uganda, is growing...

Not to get on my soapbox, but try to picture the scene. You're looking at the stars from a home at the top of a slippery slope in a rural village in the middle of Africa, and you can call the United States and tell your friend good afternoon. Keep in mind the village has no running water or electricity...the kind of impact this is going to have is mind-boggling, literally. Waiting for the all the social sciences to start looking at this phenomenon. It's a great opportunity to really break down globalization and see how it affects people on the ground. Or in the hills, as it were.

Progress

The West Sending Beaten Up Computers to Africa: Not Helping So Much

"Either way, at least half of the used equipment that arrives in Lagos by the ton is unusable and ends up in landfills, a Seattle-based nonprofit discovered recently after sending a team to survey the situation. The Basel Action Network (BAN) found that much of the junked equipment is adding to the considerable hazardous waste problems of a country that lacks facilities to properly handle it."

Follow-up link to the actual BAN report.
Credit where credit is due: The New York Times had a story on this back on October 25th when the report came out.
General comment: The road to hell...

South African Court Rules that Same-Sex Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional

"The definition of marriage will be changed from its current formulation of a “union between one man and one woman” to a “union between two persons.”"

Follow-up link to Human Rights Campaign's listing of country-by-country information on the topic.
Credit where credit is due: The New York Times covered this on December 1st.
General comment: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." (Specifically, refer to "Liberty" and "Pursuit of Happiness" portions...)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Real Fine Place to Start


Started Dr. Jeffrey Sach's work The End of Poverty. I've only read his acknowledgements and Bono's foreward. Some tidbits:

"The world is held together, however precariously, by the vision, leadership, and struggle of its leaders who are committed to a world of justice, equality, and rule of law." (Sachs)

"[Statistic about 15,000 Africans who die each day of treatable diseases] makes a fool of the idea many of us hold on to very tightly: the idea of equality. What is happening in Africa mocks our pieties, doubts our concern, and questions our commitment to that whole concept. Because if we're honest, there's no way we could conclude that such mass death day after day would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else...An entire continent bursting into flames? Deep down, if we really accept that their lives--African lives--are equal to ours, we would all be doing more to put the fire out. It's an uncomfortable truth." (Bono, bolded portions mine)

"The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty." (Bono, quoting Colin Powell)

Where do we go from here, as a nation, as a people? If the Bush administration has succeeded in alienating the United States from the entirety of the world (I'm sorry, there isn't a nice way to say that, I think the majority of people, Republican, Democrat, etc. would agree that has been the actual effect whether intended or not), one way we can start to reclaim the highground we occupied for over a century is by becoming the steadfast leader in making equality more than a dream for Africa. It's one of the best investments for our own future...you'll be hard-pressed to find a place where your dollar goes farther...and here's a link for you.