Monday, June 29, 2009

Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa

Dambisa Moyo grew up in Zambia. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard, an MBA from American University, and a doctorate from Oxford, and has worked for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. She is the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.

And she makes a great deal of sense. Please take the time to watch these short videos.

Africa with Dambisa Moyo: Chapter 1 of 5
Dambisa Moyo says $1 trillion in foreign aid to Africa has not helped the continent.

Africa with Dambisa Moyo: Chapter 2 of 5
Dambisa Moyo explains how she escaped the dire poverty that marks Africa today.

Africa with Dambisa Moyo: Chapter 3 of 5
Dambisa Moyo describes the unique Africa–China relationship, and why she supports it.

Africa with Dambisa Moyo: Chapter 4 of 5
Dambisa Moyo responds to her critics.

Africa with Dambisa Moyo: Chapter 5 of 5
What would happen if the aid taps to Africa were shut off in five years? Dambisa Moyo responds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Class Dismissed

Once upon a time ...

An economics professor failed an entire class. The bright eyed students had insisted that Socialism worked - no one would be poor and no one would be rich - a great equalizer for all, and for the Society of Man. The professor countered with an experiment; all grades would be averaged and everyone in the class would receive the same grade. No one would fail, but no one would receive an A either.

After the first test,
the grades were averaged and everyone was given a B. Serious students were upset, and the slackers who studied little were extremely happy with the results. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who hadn't studied much for the first test studied even less, and the ones who studied hard weren't motivated to study hard again! They decided they wanted a free ride too. The second test average was a D. No one was happy. And predictably, when the third test rolled around the average was an F.

Bickering, blame, and name calling resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. The entire class failed. The professor told them Socialism would ultimately fail, as the class had, because the reward of success normally goes to those that work harder, and when government takes the reward away; few will try so no one will succeed.

Just something to think about. Or not.

A Father's Day Revisited

I first posted this over two years ago, on June 14, 2007. For some reason, I feel compelled to return to it today.

This is my seventh year being a father, my fifth as a single parent. As I see it; I'm supposed to "gently guide" my son, Zoltar Chi (couldn't resist giving him a cool Eve-type name), into accepting Responsibility for his actions, determining Right from Wrong, acting Selfless in all deeds, and yet remain a Child in all else - that is; until the curly hairs kick in and puberty brings Santa's ultimate betrayal, cigarettes, and internet porn. Thank God I have my Mother to help me. She raised three boys by herself, with no help from my father. The senior Kamir Chi slept on the couch in our living room for almost two years, unwilling to have anything to do with us. I was ten years old at the time. I remember him as a ghost around the house, never coming to the kitchen table, retiring to his tiny "office" upstairs where he kept stacks of Playboy in a file cabinet (not a bad find when you're ten years old, believe me). Then in the morning, as we got ready for school, we had to stay quiet because he was still asleep on the couch.

He left the house completely when I was twelve. My younger brother barely remembers him. My mother tells the story of when Dano Chi (snicker; can't help it) broke his arm; he was so excited because "Dad HAD TO COME and see him now!" He didn't.

I only remember three times my father took me anywhere. To RFK Stadium to watch the Washington Senators battle it out with the Cleveland Indians. This game was a turning point in my life; the score was 0-0 after NINE boring ass innings, until the Indians managed one run. This effectively killed baseball for me. Forever.

Another time was at the old Washington Colliseum, in the deepest, darkest part of our Nation's Capitol. There I saw the World Wide Wrestling Federation (now called the WWE). I remember watching in awe how these HUGE fucking guys could throw each other around. Of course at that age, I had no concept of "scripted" matches. I cheered the good guys, booed the bad guys - but I'll always remember what happened after the show. The house lights came on, the crowd began to leave, and my father let me go up to the ring! I remember peeking under it and seeing a large microphone set underneath the canvas. Ahhhh! So this is why they stomp their feet as they punch their opponents! Why body slams happen in the center of the ring! That microphone captured every THUD and echoed it through the small cramped building like a thunderclap! It suddenly dawned on me - you can always make things better than they really are.

Still another time was an all-day rock concert, back at RFK Stadium. The only groups I remember were Claude Jones (a local D.C. band), Grand Funk Railroad, and guitar god Duane Allman with the Allman Brothers Band. I was already playing guitar, and seeing a rock concert was a revelation - and Duane Allman was an inspiration! I guess I have to credit Dad for this one!

The point is though; I only remember three outings. Now, I over-compensate with my son. We go somewhere at least once a week. I never miss a soccer game, or a soccer practice. Even if its just a movie, or kicking around the ball in front yard - he is doing something with Dad. I don't have the money to give him everything he wants, but I can give him memories.

And my father? Well, we know he's not dead because the Social Security Administration would have notified my Mother. Never heard from him. Doesn't even know he has a grandson. Fuck you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Q: Where can men over the age of 50 find younger women who are interested in them? A: Try a bookstore under fiction.