Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

More analysis of the famine situation developing in Africa. And this African economist really understands what's going on:

"When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said James Shikwati, a Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank.

"They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change."

He also points out that intra-African tariffs on food are roughly twice as high as those on food imported from Europe or America! Talk about not "eating local"!

Most of the problems in Africa were indeed "caused" by Western imperialism - but that doesn't mean we can fix them. In fact, if I were an African, I'd be real wary of any Western interference in my country, given the track record that first colonialism, and more recently "do-gooderism" has accumulated. Simply throwing money at the problem is not going to make it go away: the Africans need to address the root causes. We can advise them, we can help them, but ultimately we cannot solve anything for them.

AP - In Niger, a desert country twice the size of Texas, most of the 11 million people live on a dollar a day. Forty percent of children are underfed, and one out of four dies before turning 5. And that's when things are normal. Throw in a plague of locusts, and a familiar spectacle emerges: skeletal babies, distended bellies, people too famished to brush the flies from their faces.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Blogrolling is Gone

which doesn't mean I don't have a blogroll - it's just hardcoded now, and arranged alphabetically. was just too unreliable - there were very few times it arranged the links in updated order (as it should have done), and there were more than a few times that it just failed to allow connection. I appreciate the fact that it's a free service, but when you offer any service, free or paid, you have to have the capacity to complete the service - otherwise you'll lose "customers". They just lost me.

I don't subscribe to any of my blogroll's RSS feeds - I actually prefer to click the link and read it "straight up". It's nice to be able to visually ascertain which blogs have recently changed, but it's not required. Perhaps someday I'll take the time to write a Perl module for Blosxom that will place the links in updated order, but for now, well, at least the arrangement makes some kind of sense.

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

You Can't Fight Terrorism With Racism

He's right: it would be a bad move on several levels to start racial profiling for terrorists. He does however, neglect to mention one huge side effect that will occur if we do start using race and ethnicity as a criteria for closer scrutiny of suspected terrorists: the bad guys will start recruiting and using "non-obvious" persons who don't fit the classic "angry young male Arab" category. Look no further than Richard Reed. Of course, a few successful attacks like this and we'll end up searching everybody randomly again anyway. The policy is not only wrong-headed, it's practically useless.

A New York Times op-ed piece by Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow ["It's the Age of Terror: What Would You Do?"], and a Post column by Charles Krauthammer ["Give Grandma a Pass; Politically Correct Screening Won't Catch Jihadists"] endorsed the practice of using ethnicity, national origin and religion as primary factors in deciding whom police should regard as possible terrorists -- in other words, racial profiling.

(link) [Washington Post]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Idiot Savant

Inspired by the cheesemistress, I took the 3 Variable Funny Test to determine my "humor type". Results are below (and pretty accurate, if I do say so myself, although I am quite fond of puns and wordplay).

the Idiot Savant
(34% dark, 52% spontaneous, 50% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things silly, immediate, and, above all, outrageous. Ixne on the subtle word play, more testicles on fire, please. People like you are the most likely to RECEIVE internet forwards--and also the most likely to save them in a special folder entitled 'HOLY SHIT'.

Because it's so easily appreciated, and often a little physical, your sense of humor never ceases to amuse your friends. But most realize that there's a sly intelligence and a knowing wink to your tastes. Your sense of humor could be called 'anti-pretentious'--but ironically, that definitely indicates you're smarter than most.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Johnny Knoxville - Jimmy Kimmel
My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 20% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

Think Global, Eat Local

A bit of history on the sustainable food movement. Yes, it a "real" revolution, and it's spread much further than the Left Coast.

The article really "gets it", too, pointing out that the average American's meal is trucked over 1500 miles from origin to table, and highlighting the big commercial producers emphasis on "commodity" foods, racing one another to the bottom of the price barrel and quality be damned!

The sustainable food movement that began with Berkeley chef Alice Waters has blossomed in Portland, Ore. Are its proponents just dreaming? Or is a real revolution underway?

(link) [Los Angles Times]

via MyAppleMenu

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Zimbabwe: Land is for blacks only

I wonder who the New York Times will blame for this famine, when it finally happens?

And seeing as how there's now an anti-apartheid movement against Israel (which is only marginally "racist", if at all, and has never declared itself a racist state) I can only wonder where the same mass protest against racism in Zimbabwe (which has come now come out openly as a "apartheid regime") is hiding?

Zimbabwe will not invite back white farmers whose land was seized by President Robert Mugabe's government despite calls by the central bank chief to allow them to help the struggling agriculture sector, state media reported.

(link) [CNN]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

A New Face of Hunger, Without the Old Excuses

I am really over folks who don't know what they're talking about writing stuff like this. They should at least spend ten minutes researching the history of a place before becoming an "expert"...

Somehow, Ms. Polgreen (the author) managed to get through an entire piece on Niger without once mentioning the root causes of the problems there: a climate that's exceptionally harsh, nomadic lifestyles, unstable governments and especially the institution of slavery, which has drawn a lot of criticism from the international community of late. Last March the government flatly denied it still existed, and canceled a special ceremony to free 7000 slaves. And this is the government we're supposed to help?

Here's the best summary from ABC News.

The famine in Niger defies conventional wisdom.

(link) [NYT > Home Page]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Branson Attempts to Rip "Virgin" From the Dictionary

What'll he go after next? Will we soon see signs on the statuary at the local Catholic church reading "The Blessed Virgin® Mary"? Will United sue the government to force a name change?

Virgin Enterprises, Richard Branson's group of companies, has tried to stop others from using the word "Virgin" in names and domain names. When it went after Virgin Threads, a site featuring emerging independent fashion designers, owner Jason Yang thought that was a stitch too far. He's fighting back against Virgin Enterprises' trademark claims.

(link) [Chilling Effects]

via OverLawyered

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Reading Between The Lines Of Used Book Sales

Interesting take on the economic impact of used book sales over the Internet. Bottom line: it may actually help authors and publishers sell more new books!

While Amazon is best known for selling new products, an estimated 23 percent of its sales are from used goods, many of them secondhand books. Used bookstores have been around for centuries, but the Internet has allowed such markets to become larger and more efficient. And that has upset a number of publishers and authors.

(link) [New York Times]

via MyAppleMenu

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Which Newspaper Do You Read?

  • The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

  • The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

  • The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

  • USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

  • The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time, and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

  • The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

  • The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

  • The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

  • The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

  • The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

  • The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

  • None of these are read by the guy who is running the country into the ground.

unattributed, via an email list

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

As Debt Collectors Multiply, So Do Consumer Complaints

Some of the tactics used are literally unbelievable: like collecting debts that aren't even owed! Last time I checked, that was also called "theft by deception"... but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the FTC to get tough on these lying scumbags. After all, we have exactly the Congress we deserve: the best that money can buy. - Embarrassing calls at work. Threats of jail and even violence. Improper withdrawals from bank accounts. An increasing number of consumers are complaining of abusive techniques from some companies that are part of a new breed of debt collectors.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

SPAM From The Insane Asylum

I have some pretty good SPAM filtering in place, but every once in a while something gets through that I instinctively feel should have been caught. I say "instinctively feel" because most of it has none of the characteristics of "normal" SPAM - no links to websites, phone numbers or street addresses. No hidden GIF images to track your address. Sometimes an address that looks legit: not HotMail, Yahoo! or AOL. Quite often the sales pitch is so thoroughly hidden as to be indiscernible: other times, as seen below, it's kinda obvious what they're trying sell, but it's never stated in anything resembling coherence.

I sometimes fancy that this is really inmate therapy at some hidden hideaway for the terminally weird. I know that my brain felt throughly scrambled after I read this one:

Radio 8WL News: Amusing Reading

Since around age 18 to present day, I have had dreams about being pregnant, giving birth and caring for small infants. Some are bland, yet lucid, others are surreal, half-remembered. Rooted in the knowledge that both biological clocks (for puberty, waking up, etc.) and dreams consist of electrochemical activity in the brain, I suggested that dreams about babies could be a by-product, not of a repressed subconscious desire to procreate, but of interacting impulses in a woman's grey matter. My theory requires the concession that another theory about a female reproductive biological clock actually exists - not proven as far as I know. I'm not a neuropsychologist or scientist or any other professional interested in gathering empirical data so the theory died with that paper. But I remember it every time I have a baby dream - like I did last night. Can I let you in on a secret? Remember: you never know what's around the corner until you look...

It's official.
Adobe has purchased Macromedia.
They will now be
a massive player
in the publishing software industry,
capable of competing with Microsoft.
Is this what it takes?
Fighting a humongous corporation
with a mega company?
It does make sense.
Years of protest and boycotts
by lefties, techies
and generally disgruntled users
have failed miserably
in their quest
to make Microsoft
an insignificant
(or even markedly less noticeable)
market force.

But it makes me sad -
not one week after I'd just
been so impressed by Adobe.

Enjoy a better love life
for both you and your partner.
Bring a smile to time!
Let me introduce you
Barbarian -

It's the latest craze to sweep the world
and people just can't get enough!
It's safe, easy-to-use and so cheap,
you'll want isochronous or cumulate 10!!!
It's comfortable design means
that it's not too invasive
or awkward to use
and it will expand to
fit ANY size!
tallyho for data.

So what is this VIBRATING RING.
Well I'm back for another installment.
If you are in the media business
then you may already know
what the title means.
Vibrating tickler stimulates her!
Here is the state AP report for your reading!
hitting the RIGHT spot!
Not only will the firm grip
make him stay
for tenured teamwork thereupon.
It will give her
those multiple pleasures
she's only read about!

Geochemical but hacksaw ...
Bridesmaid but Don ...
Don't wait for it!
Get your VIBRATING RING today!

I did however learn the system and getting better, my legs got to working correct and my ears adjusted to the scanners once again.

All I added to the above was line breaks to fit the native cadence - every other word and punctuation mark is as received...

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

ICE Your Cell Phone

This popped up on a email list this morning, and it sounds like a great idea:

Paramedics, police & firefighters will turn to a victim's cell phone for clues to that person's identity or emergency contact information. You can make their job much easier with a simple idea called ICE. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. If you add an entry in the contacts list in your cell phone under ICE, with the name and phone number of the person that the emergency services should call on your behalf, you can save them a lot of time and have your loved ones contacted quickly. It only takes a few moments of your time. Emergency personnel know what ICE means and they look for it immediately. So ICE your cell phone.

There's some more info on CNet.

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Driving bill upsets smokers

Lest anyone doubt that we'll be buying our cigarettes from the same folks who so kindly supply us with marijuana and cocaine in a few years, I submit this piece from New Jersey. The goal is Tobacco Prohibition, and it's well within sight. But on the bright side, think of all the jobs we'll add to the economy - DEA agents, prison guards, Neighborhood Smoking Watch coordinators, etc. - when nicotiana tabacum is finally a controlled substance.

Assemblyman John F. McKeon, D-West Orange, sponsored a measure that would fine drivers up to $250 if they are found smoking while driving.

(link) [Courier Post Online]

00:00 /Politics | 2 comments | permanent link

Whose Work Is It, Anyway?

If we're going to extend copyright the way we've been doing, we need to reinstate the copyright registration system that was in place in this country until 1976. This article outlines why.

The use of 'orphan works' of art and literature, whose creators cannot be identified, puts scholars and artists at odds over changes in copyright law

(link) [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link