Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And Everybody Made Fun of Kanye

"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice." (Here's a link for ya.)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Malaria Drugs & TIME's General Mastery of Excellent Blogs

I feel like I'm becoming a total TIME blogger (insert inappropriate word here), but Christine Gorman's blog on global health is truly after my own heart, despite its disturbing content at times.

On malaria drugs, their effectiveness, and companies that like producing ineffective drugs: Read this. Then this.

Davos, Red, & Disparagers

Everyone should know that the New York Times and International Herald Tribune are working together on a truly enjoyable blog on the World Economic Forum at Davos, and not just because there's at least one post talking about Angelina's pregnancy.

One item I'm particularly interested in is the announcement of the Red campaign. For those of you who haven't heard, it's a bunch of corporate partners, including Converse, GAP, American Express, who are going to be donating part of the proceeds of this "Red" brand to the Global Fund, etc. Brainchild of Bono and Bobby Shriver, it seems. Anyway, so I'm reading a blog post on it titled "Bono's Big Announcement" and find myself falling on this in the comments:

"Bono - still a corporate tool. No surprise there."

Apparently, there's a lot of people who agree with that comment, or at least there's enough for the comment-evaluators to keep posting them. Never failing to be amazed by humanity's ability to trod on something blatantly good, I fired off a comment in response which actually made it up:

"I guess the question I have is what all of the Bono disparagers really get from complaining about his motives. I've been on the ground in Africa, and I can tell you that the issues he's forcing the media to cover exist, are real, affect thousands of lives but maybe more importantly the lives of a few schoolchildren I personally know, and to an extent, it is discouraging to see people whose first instinct is to complain about his corporate partnerships and the "buy red" campaigns and what they view as somehow inferior activities. Say what you want about Bono, Angelina, Brad, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, and all the other celebrity activists: but start doing a tally of how many articles there were about Africa about two years ago. Ask yourself how often the thousands of deaths from preventable diseases came up in conversation and how often they come up now, if only because someone is wearing a 'stupid' white bracelet.

And there will always be people who complain: the corruption, the allegedly raw economics of it that reduce things to inevitability of failure, the people who somehow are activists in a more 'acceptable' fashion. Go to Africa, look into the eyes of a child, listen to or read Bono, and tell me you still want to spend time bashing him instead of helping."

(Now you know why I attached the picture of two of the kids in P1 at Arlington Academy of Hope Bumwalukani; I wish I could have thrown that to the Davos blog comment roll. The little girl on the right is named Faith. The name of the munchkin on the left is just escaping me. If you're interested, you can go here to find out information on sponsoring one of the kids.)

Note: for more on Red, you can visit http://www.joinred.com/, although be warned--it's flashy and has, well, not so much substance at present time. If you can wait through the music at the start, there's a waiting list and some links. For the time being, The Global Fund has a better summary page on the initiative at http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/partners/private/red/.

Remember When...

For kicks, another old post I stumbled across:

"our country is better than this. we're smarter than this. we should know that unless we act differently, our time will be no different than that of all people who ever lived. that our united states will not be an eternal, lasting good unless we rectify mistakes of the past and stop making them---until we actually subscribe to our constitution. we have to actually believe and act in accordance with the idea that all men are created equal. it's really this simple: if you wouldn't want a loved one tortured, then you can't support torture. because it is the nature of violating civil rights itself that is wrong, without regard to whose rights are being violated, and for what reason."

Good Morning, Current Architects of American Foreign Policy

1: Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were victims of a makeshift bomb; as I write, they're in surgery. To do something active: Committee to Protect Journalists.

2: I was watching the McLaughlin Group this morning and I'm not sure if it's my slightly hungover state or the crew was just more passionate than usual, but the debate on the recent political ascendance of Hamas in the Palestinian terrorities was eyebrow-raising. I found myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan, who said something suggesting that the inherent problem in the Bush "democratization" foreign policy is that in a democracy, the people elect who the people want, and those victors may not necessarily be ones that would best fit American interests. You can't praise democratic elections and then announce you just won't deal with the victor of the elections. Well, I guess you can, but only if you want to miss the point.

The whole exchange reminded me of my rantings on this blog about two years ago, and I remembered I had said something about democratic elections not necessarily being what we need. It was in the context of Iraq:

"if we do withdraw and actually allow democratic elections, the iraqis will elect an ayatollah, which is clearly not exactly in line with our national security needs, unless said ayatollah is from some reformist line of political islam (doubtful, obviously,). the violence won't stop, either, and the accusations that will come from generations and generations of the world about neglecting the mess that we created will start.

if we stay, the violence will continue and we will give more credence to the radical islamists simply by staying there. we also won't be able to allow democratic elections in this case either, unless they're rigged. the world will still view us as complete morons for starting the whole thing with no clear way to get out. the word quagmire is more than appropriate."

Curious as to who is resolving this whole democratization is okay no matter what question. Some logic is required somewhere. There must be a memo, probably similiar to John Yoo's insane torture memos. (About halfway through the article you'll get some idea of what we're working with here.)

In general, though, I hate to say it, but it makes me think about an article I read many moons ago, I think from the New York Review of Books, on Bush's religious beliefs and how he believes God has chosen him to lead etc etc. Which is fine. Except that this entire foreign policy appears to be geared towards a legacy as opposed to protecting and advocating for the United States, which I'm pretty sure is what W's primary responsibility should be. I hope he starts talking to some different people on foreign policy soon, because this election of Hamas is a wake-up call if I've ever seen one.