Saturday, January 1, 2005
Merry new year!!
Ah, it's good to be back from sabbatical!!
[Er, you posted three times during your so-called "sabbatical"--ed.] Yes, but it took a massive catastrophe for me to write two of those posts -- before that, there were whole days when I didn't think about blogs, didn't click on blogs, didn't care about blogs.
[So what were you doing instead?--ed.] Interacting with my children, traveling, writing, exulting in the fact that that Jason Varitek was re-signed & designated captain of the Red Sox, and perusing the latest issue of the American Political Science Review -- which for the first time in quite a while had multiple articles that were interesting to those who don't write about Congress. I suspect this speaks both to the APSR's renaissance under Lee Sigelman as editor and to my renewed commitment to read more outside my own little bailiwick of poli sci.
With regard to blogging, I have four New Year's resolutions:
Readers are hereby encouraged to write in their resolutions.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Regarding the "stinginess" of American aid
Every time I think I'm out on sabbatical, the blogosphere pulls me back in.
Virginia Postrel has kindly requested a comment from me on the kerfuffle* -- fueled today by the New York Times editorial page, no less -- over "whether the U.S. is 'stingy' with disaster aid." Similarly, Eugene Volokh posts the following:
I've blogged on the topic, and written elsewhere about it. More importantly, I'm on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Global Development's Ranking the Rich exercise, which means I've seen a lot of these debates in the past. So I guess I have a duty to fill the information gap here. So here goes:
*A final note: Matthew Yglesias correctly points out that the comment triggering the whole debate was not aimed specifically at the United States:
Here's the actual quote from Bill Sammon's Washington Times piece with the disingenuous headline, "U.N. official slams U.S. as 'stingy' over aid.":
It's clear that Egeland was indicting most of the OECD countries -- i.e., those not from Scandinavia. Egeland reiterated this point a day later:
Again the Washington Times goes with a U.S.-centric headline: "U.N. official backtracks after calling U.S. 'stingy'" -- but in this case there's a better justification, since Colin Powell was quoted as interpreting the remark in a manner similar to the right half of the blogosphere.
As to whether the rich countries are collectively stingy -- or wish he could pay more in taxes for development aid -- I'll leave that debate to the commenters.
UPDATE: This Heritage Foundation WebMemo by Brett Schaefer says that "the transcript of his [Egelend's] comments clearly identifies the U.S. as the primary target." If that was indeed true, it would explain the Washington Times headlines. However, none of these clear identifications show up in the attributed quotes in the Times piece, which made me want to check out the actual transcript.
Click here for the video of Egelend's press conference on Monday and draw your own conclusions. I've listened to the relevant portions of the transcript (go to 30:57 and 40:39) and my anti-American radar most certainly did not go off. Schaefer's radar might be overly... sensitive.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Unfortunately, this qualifies as a "mind-blowing" event
When I decided earlier this month to go on a brief blogging sabbatical, I said it was "barring some mind-blowing event." Regretfully, I think the earthquake and subsequent tidal waves in Southeat Asia qualify.
Just let that figure sink in for a minute.
A 9/11 attack --
For those who would like to help those affected by the earthquake and tidal waves, the Associated Press has a list of aid agencies that are directing funds towards that end. Here are the aid agencies listed in that report who have already posted about their activities on their web sites:
UPDATE: Here's InstaPundit's blog summary -- and Tim Blair is performing the thankless task of updating the death toll. It's still too early to estimate the aggregate economic damage, but it has to run into the tens of billions.