Thursday, January 14, 2010

Donate to Haiti's Partners in Health 

Visit here for more information about Partners in Health and to make a donation.

Tracy Kidder's article in today's Times gives some info on Haiti and Partners in Health (this is the organization of Paul Farmer, about whom you've probably heard):

...Haiti is a country created by former slaves, kidnapped West Africans, who, in 1804, when slavery still flourished in the United States and the Caribbean, threw off their cruel French masters and created their own republic. Haitians have been punished ever since for claiming their freedom: by the French who, in the 1820s, demanded and received payment from the Haitians for the slave colony, impoverishing the country for years to come; by an often brutal American occupation from 1915 to 1934; by indigenous misrule that the American government aided and abetted. (In more recent years American administrations fell into a pattern of promoting and then undermining Haitian constitutional democracy.)

Hence the current state of affairs: at least 10,000 private organizations perform supposedly humanitarian missions in Haiti, yet it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Some of the money that private aid organizations rely on comes from the United States government, which has insisted that a great deal of the aid return to American pockets — a larger percentage than that of any other industrialized country.

But that is only part of the problem. In the arena of international aid, a great many efforts, past and present, appear to have been doomed from the start. There are the many projects that seem designed to serve not impoverished Haitians but the interests of the people administering the projects. Most important, a lot of organizations seem to be unable — and some appear to be unwilling — to create partnerships with each other or, and this is crucial, with the public sector of the society they’re supposed to serve...

This week, the list of things that Haiti needs, things like jobs and food and reforestation, has suddenly grown a great deal longer. The earthquake struck mainly the capital and its environs, the most densely populated part of the country, where organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations have their headquarters. A lot of the places that could have been used for disaster relief — including the central hospital, such as it was — are now themselves disaster areas.

But there are effective aid organizations working in Haiti. At least one has not been crippled by the earthquake. Partners in Health, or in Haitian Creole Zanmi Lasante, has been the largest health care provider in rural Haiti. (I serve on this organization’s development committee.) It operates, in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health, some 10 hospitals and clinics, all far from the capital and all still intact. As a result of this calamity, Partners in Health probably just became the largest health care provider still standing in all Haiti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Sweet. It appears as though the fucking Dem is going to lose Ted Kennedy's seat to the asshole Scott Brown.

1994 and 2002 all over again. The same pathetic shit.

dharma bums 

I'm still not convinced Americans care about what blow-dried clowns on TV say about failed underwear bombs. However, clearly some 'mercans do care about some other very different meaningless bullshit:

The president of the United States apparently feels he needs the "Lost" voting bloc and therefore will not schedule his State of the Union address the same night that ABC had planned to air the two-hour season debut of the second-most-convoluted drama series in the history of TV.


"Lost" fanatics had their undies in a bunch Wednesday over news that the White House might push back the president's SOTU address to Feb. 2 to enable Obama to use a freshly signed health-care reform law as an audiovisual aid.

The State of the Union got pre-empted by Lost.

Granted, I'd planned to watch the Lost season premiere and not the SOTU regardless of time slottings for the simple reason that watching Lost will involve suspense, novelty and believable performances. Well, that and I've invested somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 hours of my life in that show, and don't have anything invested in Obama or the "Union".

Nevertheless, it's flat-out bonkers that:

1) People got upset about this.
2) The White House cared.
3) ABC couldn't just bump the show up an hour or a day or whatever.


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