Friday, July 18, 2003

Prose envy

Tyler Cowen is correct to praise Michael Lewis' Moneyball as "one of the best books about management I have read." Actually, this is his third excellent business book that Lewis has penned. The first two were Liar's Poker -- which perfectly encapsulates millieu of the Wall Street boom of the late 1980's-- and The New New Thing -- which perfectly encapsulates the dot-com explosion in Silicon Valley in the late 1990's.

It is worth noting, however, that this week marks the one-year anniversary of what will probably be the bravest essay Lewis ever writes. Give it a read and be amazed at the the guts it must have taken to publish it.

posted by Dan at 01:59 PM | Trackbacks (0)

The official attack on Palestinian intellectuals

The mob assault on Palestinian political scientist Khalil Shikaki's center (see also here) has prompted some follow-up coverage on ways in which Palestinian intellectuals are threatened when they deviate from the Palestinian Authority's party line. The San Francisco Chronicle points out that Shikali is not the only Palestinian academic to feel the effects of the state-organized mob:

Years ago, [Al- Quds University president Sari] Nusseibeh was beaten up at Bir Zeit University for promoting dialogue with Israelis. Last year, he was dismissed as the PLO's representative in Jerusalem after he publicly questioned whether demanding the right of return was either logical or feasible.

The leaflet distributed in Ramallah on Sunday recalled how Nusseibeh was denied entry to the campus of Al-Najah University in Nablus two months ago and prevented from discussing a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.

"We warn anyone who considers harming the national rights that their fate will be similar to that of Shikaki and Nusseibeh," said a statement by the group that organized the egg-throwing, the Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugees' Rights.

"They will be ostracized and put on popular trial," the statement continued.

"The committee salutes the masses who care about their rights and who do not allow mercenary academics to spread their poison among our people.

"The committee calls on the Palestinian prime minister not to be lenient on such people and to take a clear position opposing their activities and to put them on trial for high treason."

Read the whole piece to see the links between the Palestinian Authority and mob attacks. The article also points out that beyond the intellectual class, independent journalists are feeling the heat:

"People are often very cautious about expressing their political views, especially with regard to the government and sensitive issues," said Khaled Abu Toameh, an ex-PLO employee who is now an independent reporter and analyst. "Some writers and journalists have been punished by the Palestinian Authority for simply expressing their views. In one case, a group of intellectuals was imprisoned or beaten up by Palestinian Authority thugs for signing a petition calling for reforms."

Abu Toameh added: "There has been a slight improvement in recent years with more people speaking out openly in favor of reforms and against corruption, but you always have the feeling that you're being watched.

"It's not as bad as Syria or Saddam's Iraq, but it can be frightening. Palestinian journalists know that you don't mess around with sacred cows."

It is this kind of thuggery that makes Shikali's work so dangerous -- a fact that he and Arafat understand clearly. Shikali's follow-up interview in today's Chicago Tribune spells this out:

At his center this week, Shikaki shrugged off the incident.

"I'm just going to continue, and it's not going to disturb me at all," he said. "No one succeeded in silencing me in the past and they're not going to silence me now."

The source of the uproar, he said, was that his poll, conducted among 4,500 refugee families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon, for the first time "tapped into private opinion, not public opinion--what people are saying to themselves and not saying to their neighbors. A lot of people want it to remain private, not public."

It should also be pointed out that Nusseibeh is not backing down either. He is currently spearheading an extraordinary petition drive with prominent Israelis to promote an alternative path to peace. In the span of six weeks, this effort has already garnered 30,000 signatures in Israel and the occupied territories.

Israelis have criticized Palestinian intellectuals for not speaking truth to power. However, a small slice of Palestinian civil society has spoken truth to power, espousing nonviolence and negotiation as the proper tools of resistance, despite the overwhelming pressure these individuals must face to toe the party line.

Shikali and Nusseibeh demonstrate that there are Palestinian intellectuals who are willing to challenge official doctrine. One can only hope that in the future, such challenges do not require the ample amounts of bravery these men clearly possess.

UPDATE: Judith Weiss posts on the emerging opposition to the Arafat's disastrous economic policies. Go check it out.

posted by Dan at 12:08 PM | Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Stephen Johnson is not an academic

In a Slate essay pointing out systemic flaws in Google's search technology, Johnson -- who also blogs-- makes the following argument:

Google is beginning to have a subtle, but noticeable effect on research. More and more scholarly publications are putting up their issues in PDF format, which Google indexes as though they were traditional Web pages. But almost no one is publishing entire books online in PDF form. So, when you're doing research online, Google is implicitly pushing you toward information stored in articles and away from information stored in books. Assuming this practice continues, and assuming that Google continues to grow in influence, we may find ourselves in a world where, if you want to get an idea into circulation, you're better off publishing a PDF file on the Web than landing a book deal.

The problem with this argument is that it fails to recognize that this process predates Google -- or the Internet, for that matter.

Johnson sets this up as an either/or question -- online papers or books. In point of fact, for most academics this is a progression. First you circulate your ideas in draft form, then as a conference paper, then as an article, and then -- maybe -- publish a book. The book stage depends on the discipline -- for example, they matter far less in economics than in political science. However, this was true long before Google. The only thing the Internet and its search engines has changed is widening the access to papers at the preliminary stages of development. [But what about writers not affiliated with universities?--ed. I'd argue that the process is similar. Good writers/researchers often publish the germ of an idea in a magazine before deciding that it has enough legs to merit writing a book. Often, the author will publish excerpts from the book in magazines or journals. For example, Michael Lewis published an excerpt of Moneyball in the New York Times Magazine this March. This applies to fiction-writers as well.]

Furthermore, there are good reasons for the process to work this way. Getting an idea/argument out in draft form has two advantages to just writing a book without posting or publishing bits of it online. First, for the author, making the ideas available in draft form permits greater feedback, which in turn helps to improve the ideas. Second, for the community of people interested in the topic, finding such ideas as early as possible lets them stay on the cutting edge of the latest work on the subject (it certainly helps with bibliography-hunting).

Is Johnson correct that with Google, fewer people prefer to read a researcher's book-length treatment of the topic over the Internet-accessible, condensed version of the argument? I doubt it. Busy people look for shortcuts, and a big shortcut for scholars is to read an author's article instead of his/her book (unless the topic or argument really hits home). This was true long before the Internet or Google ever existed.

UPDATE: For another critique, click here and here. Johnson responds ably on his blog. He's all-too-correct in observing:

It's a sign of the times I suppose that a piece about search engine algorithms comes across as an incendiary, hot-button assault...

ANOTHER UPDATE: Larry Solum over at Legal Theory Blog has an extended discussion of the Internet's effect on legal research.

posted by Dan at 11:08 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Worth reading

David Adesnik's critique of the Washington Post's reporting on its own polls, and Colby Cosh's detailed dissection of Russia's role in making or breaking the Kyoto Protocol. Both links via InstaPundit.

posted by Dan at 10:35 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Let them eat subsidies

That's the title of my latest Tech Central Station piece. It's a report on how the EU's inability to seriously reform its Common Agricultural Policy is derailing world trade talks and impoverishing lots of poor farmers. Go check it out.

posted by Dan at 10:18 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Let them eat yellowcake

I understand why Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, and others are so exercised about the "sixteen little words" meme. The uranium question -- and the blame game that has erupted along with it -- manages to undercut two pillars of strength for the Bush team. The first was the 2000 pledge to be straight-shooters, avoiding the waffling and legalese of the Clinton administration. The second was the notion that the wealth of gravitas in the foreign policy team would produce a well-oiled, professional foreign policy. Many people have hit the first pillar hard, which surprises me, because there are valid defenses to it. I'm waiting for the second one to come under attack.

My take on this, however, is akin to Tom Friedman's in today's NYT:

[I]t is a disturbing thought that the Bush team could get itself so tied up defending its phony reasons for going to war — the notion that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction that were undeterrable and could threaten us, or that he had links with Al Qaeda — that it could get distracted from fulfilling the real and valid reason for the war: to install a decent, tolerant, pluralistic, multireligious government in Iraq that would be the best answer and antidote to both Saddam and Osama....

Eyes on the prize, please. If we find W.M.D. in Iraq, but lose Iraq, Mr. Bush will not only go down as a failed president, but one who made the world even more dangerous for Americans. If we find no W.M.D., but build a better Iraq — one that proves that a multiethnic, multireligious Arab state can rule itself in a decent way — Mr. Bush will survive his hyping of the W.M.D. issue, and the world will be a more hospitable and safer place for all Americans.

Look, Frank Gaffney overreaches when he says this is pure partisanship. It's perfectly valid to question the policy process that led to the SOTU screw-up, and part of me is grateful that it's happening.

I can't get exercised about it, however. My reasons for supporting an attack on Iraq had little to do with the WMD issue. The uranium question was part of one rationale among many the administration gave for pushing forward in Iraq. I'm not saying this should be swept under the rug, but the level of righteous indignation that's building up on the left is reaching blowback proportions.

posted by Dan at 03:44 PM | Trackbacks (0)


ESPN's ESPY awards show -- which airs this evening -- is an exercise to fill airtime during one of the slowest sports days of the year, the day after Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. On the whole, it's a pretty silly event -- the only memory I have of it was Bill Murray doing a hysterical bit in the late 1990's about how Michael Jordan's career was complete now that he'd won an ESPY.

However, the event does has one authentic creation -- the Arthur Ashe Courage Award (click here to see the past winners). Last year's winners were the rugby players who battled the terrorists on United flight 93.

This year's winners will be Pat and Kevin Tillman. Here's why:

Since joining the Army following the 2001 World Trade Center disaster, the Tillmans have refused all media interviews -- a policy they still enforce. They will, however, be recognized in absentia on ESPN's 2003 ESPY Awards on July 19, when they will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Their younger brother, Richard, will accept on their behalf, according to their father.

"To tell you the truth, the boys are not too pleased about the ESPY thing," said the elder Tillman. "But I am. I'm very happy about it. I'm proud."...

Pat Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Kevin gave up a minor league baseball career to join Pat.

Click here for more information on the Tillmans.

Not everyone, by the way, is pleased about this. Kevin Blackistone writes in the Dallas Morning News:

Arthur Ashe stood up for a lot of people and ideas in his lifetime. The oppressed. The afflicted. Human rights. Human dignity. But he never stood up for war. Bet he wouldn't be too thrilled about having the ESPY's Arthur Ashe Courage Award given to Pat Tillman for sacrificing his NFL career to join the U.S.'s offensive war in Iraq. That's not a part of Ashe's legacy.

I would never presume to speak for Ashe, but I suspect he would acknowledge that the oppressed and afflicted in Iraq have a better chance of seeing their human rights conditions improve with the toppling of the Baasthist regime.

posted by Dan at 11:26 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Drezner gets results from the Chicago Tribune!!

Two days ago I blogged about the attack on Palestinian political scientist Khalil Shikaki. Today, the Chicago Tribune has an editorial about it. The key section:

[T]he mob Sunday was not interested in polling techniques but in stifling an opinion--possibly a fact--that they didn't want to hear.

Shikaki's conclusions are not implausible. Israel was founded more than 50 years ago, and as practical a matter most Palestinians could well regard their return--to live in a Jewish state--it is no longer a realistic or appealing alternative. At this point, they may prefer financial compensation or relocation in a newly created Palestinian state or elsewhere.

If Shikaki's findings are confirmed by other researchers, they also may allay well-founded Israeli fears of the demographic cataclysm that would accompany millions of Palestinians returning to Israel.

In other words, there may be room for compromise as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. For Palestinians, the poll suggests, the "right of return" by now may be more of a symbol than a reality.

Certainly one poll doesn't defuse the issue, which has stymied negotiations in the past. If the current negotiations are to succeed, the "right of return" will be on the table at some point. How the Palestinian people feel about that issue could be crucial. Researchers like Shikaki should be encouraged, not intimidated by a gang of thugs.


posted by Dan at 10:18 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Quote of the day

Courtesy of Tyler Cowen, a semi-recent addition to the Volokh Conspiracy. In this post, he writes:

The bottom line is that I am probably as happy as Bill Gates, we are both married, I have my voodoo flags, my Mexican cooking, and now my blog. He has a world empire, so what?

posted by Dan at 10:10 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Jose Bove follies

Back in November, I blogged about idiotarian José Bové being arrested for trying to destroy some genetically modified crop fields in France. Here's an update:

After being tried and convicted, Bové resisted government efforts to negotiate an appropriate sentencing -- such as community service. So, in late June, French police officers forcible entered Bové's home in what the BBC calls "a dawn commando-style operation" to serve a ten-month jail sentence.

Naturally this prompted protests in France -- calling for French President Jacques Chirac to commute his sentence on Bastille Day. Chirac did shorten Bové's sentence by four months -- but this failed to mollify Bové's supporters in the Confederation Paysanne, the militant union Bové heads.

So, they decided to sabotage the Tour de France, according to Reuters :

Demonstrators supporting jailed farmers' union leader Jose Bove stopped Tour de France leader Lance Armstrong in his tracks during the 136.4-mile 10th stage to Marseille on Tuesday.

The small group of protestors sat down in the middle of the road as the peloton approached, some 43 miles from the finish in Marseille.

Police moved in quickly to drag them out of the way and the bunch continued after a delay of two minutes.

An escape group of nine lowly placed riders had already built up a lead of around 20 minutes.

The BBC observes that this could trigger a backlash:

[C]orrespondents say the Tour de France protest may lose him public support because of the cost of precious time and points to riders in France's premier sporting event.

There's nothing left to say, except that:

a) This confirms my hunch that French farmers may be the world's exemplar iditotarians; and
b) Peloton is just a really cool word.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links to a delicious irony unearthed by Merde in France -- MacDonald's nonprofit arm contributed to the renovations of the prison where Bové is currently incarcerated.

posted by Dan at 03:28 PM | Trackbacks (0)

Debating the regulation of annoyance

I'm quite certain that the sentence "Spammers and telemarketers comprise the lowest form of existence on the planet." would generate huzzahs across the developed world. Christopher Caldwell certainly feels that way about spam e-mail, and he's not alone. It's not too hard to find similar comments about telemarketing. These complaints are usually accompanied by the tagline "something must be done!"

In the case of telemarketing, something is being done. Congress passed and President Bush signed the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act -- which empowers the FCC to create a national "do not call registry" that would make it illegal for telemarketers to call your phone number -- with some exceptions. It would not be surprising to see a similar legislative effort to deal with spam.

In the interest of being completely contrarian, let me kindly suggest that legislative/regulatory efforts might not be the best way to deal with the problem. It's not that I like these activities -- it's that there are compelling arguments for relying on private measures to deal with these kinds of private interference. Mass annoyances generates demand for products to deal with them for minimal cost. This is one reason I'm enjoying my newly-installed Google toolbar so much -- 187 pop-up ads blocked and counting!! Arnold Kling points to multiple methods to filter out spam.

[But surely telemarketing merits regulation?--ed. Farhad Manjoo argues that the looming regulation carries significant costs, although her reliance on industry data suggests those cost estimates are exaggerated. Plus, even with telemarketers, services such as caller ID can bemore precise than the do-not-call registry. So this means you won't be using the do-not-call registry?--ed. Ummm... I didn't say that. Hypocrite--ed. No, just a mortal human demonstrating why the urge to regulate is strong, even if it's not the first-best solution to the problem]

posted by Dan at 02:11 PM | Trackbacks (0)

Meet the IMF's new economist-in-chief

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund announced that Raghuram Rajan -- the Joseph L. Gidwitz Professor of Finance at the U of C's business school -- will be replacing Kenneth Rogoff as the IMF's chief economist.

The BBC -- in typical fashion -- is painting this as a blow to the United States:

Raghuram Rajan is best known for a book he helped to write entitled: "Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists".

In this he argued that the world's business elite want to rig so-called free markets in their favour to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Such views will be warmly supported by developing countries who are the main recipients of IMF money and advice.

But they are unlikely to go down well with the United States government which is the most powerful voice on the executive board at the IMF.

Leave it to the BBC to eliminate any trace of nuance or background in their coverage. A closer look shows that Rajan probably agrees a lot more with American policymakers than BBC paleolibs when it comes to IMF policy. [What about other policies?--ed. Rajan opposes both the hike in steel tariffs and the removal of the estate tax. This makes him a friend to the BBC because that means opposing the Bush administration on high-profile issues.]

Click here, here, and here for some excellent recent interviews with Rajan. Some highlights that suggest the BBC is off its rocker:

Q: The recent protests the world over against the IMF, World Bank and the WTO have often accused these organisations, amongst many things, of a lack of transparency, and therefore being undemocratic. Do you think that is true?

A: See, here is the issue. The protestors against globalization are sometimes misguided because they are not quite clear on what they are protesting against. Some people, for example, are protesting against the fact that workers in India or China work for 10 to 13 hours a day. They are saying 'What terrible working conditions!' But you know what? Workers in India and China can compete with workers in the West who have far more capital and far more education only by working longer hours at lower pay.

If these workers were to ask for the same working conditions as workers here they would be out of a job very quickly. So until they can produce more or become more productive through a better education and better health care system, which will happen over time, they will have to compete by accepting lower wages.

So the issue of 'Oh, this globalization is forcing those workers to work in terrible conditions.' No, this is not globalization. If you force them to have the same pay, it's a form of protectionism. You are essentially shutting them out of the world market. These workers in India and China, who are able to compete in the world market, are able to thereby achieve a much better standard of living.

This argument is not just made of workers. It is made of software workers, right? 'Oh, these Indian software workers coming and working 60, 70 hours at half the wage that we earn. It is unfair, they should be kept out', etc. This is plain and pure protectionism.

Similarly, there are arguments made about multinationals destroying countries and so on. There's always a grain of truth in these arguments. But if you play them all out -- what they are suggesting is often complete nonsense.

Q: There has also been criticism of the structural adjustment policy that the IMF has traditionally pursued. Where do you stand on that?

A: I don't want to get into that argument because I don't know what exactly was behind it. I do know that the IMF in some documents has admitted that it was probably overly aggressive in asking for expenditure cuts. Soon when they saw this was having a very adverse effect they retreated and had more reasonable targets.

I am not saying -- and I don't want to say -- that these organizations are beyond criticism. There are valid criticisms of their actions in the past. What is important going around is: Are the organizations prepared to adapt and change? Are they trying to do things in the best interests of the people of the member countries or they basically trying to infuse a quasi-imperial diktat from the past? The evidence and my impression is certainly of the former than the latter. (emphasis added).

Go to the links above to read more on Rajan's views, as well as this precis of his latest book (co-authored Luigi Zingales).

Brink Lindsey, by the way, provides this review of : "Wide-ranging, idea-crammed case for free financial markets and analysis of why they seldom exist."

Fierce opposition to protectionism of any kind, combined with the conviction that globally integrated financial markets are the best way to help both poor countries and poor individuals, make Rajan an excellent selection to replace Ken Rogoff. The BBC's coverage of this replacement suggests just how one-dimensional their reporting has become.

posted by Dan at 11:37 AM | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, July 14, 2003

Two takes on blogs

Kathleen Parker takes to the Blogosphere:

I'm not an expert on blogging, but I am a fan. As a regular visitor to a dozen or so news and opinion blogs, I'm riveted by the implications for my profession. Bloggers are making life interesting for reluctant mainstreamers like myself and for the public, whose access to information until now has been relatively controlled by traditional media.

I say "reluctant mainstreamer" because what I once loved about journalism went missing some time ago and seems to have resurfaced as the driving force of the blogosphere: a high-spirited, irreverent, swashbuckling, lances-to-the-ready assault on the status quo. While mainstream journalists are tucked inside their newsroom cubicles deciphering management's latest "tidy desk" memo, bloggers are building bonfires and handing out virtual leaflets along America's Information Highway....

The best bloggers, who are generous in linking to one another -- alien behavior to journalists accustomed to careerist, shark-tank newsrooms -- are like smart, hip gunslingers come to make trouble for the local good ol' boys. The heat they pack includes an arsenal of intellectual artillery, crisp prose, sharp insights and a gimlet eye for mainstream media's flaws.

Fareed Zakaria's perspective is similar, if the language is less laudatory. From p. 254 of The Future of Freedom:

In the world of journalism, the personal Web site ("blog") was hailed as the killer of the traditional media. In fact it has become something quite different. Far from replacing newspapers and magazines, the best blogs -- and the best are very clever -- have become guides to them, pointing to unusual sources and commenting on familiar ones. They have become the new mediators for the informed public. Although the creators of blogs think of themselves as radical democrats, they are in fact a new Tocquevillean elite.

This strikes me as essentially correct. Most blogs, most of the time, do not generate news -- and it's not always a good thing when they claim to have new info. What most blogs excel at is the sifting, sorting, and framing of information that's already in the public domain.

The best blogs do this with rigor, wit, and alacrity. The rest of us just use long quotes as a substitute.

posted by Dan at 04:55 PM | Trackbacks (0)

New York Times update

Bill Keller has been named the new executive editor of the New York Times. I saw Keller for the first time last month at a Council on Foreign Relations event, and I'll say this -- if the executive editor gig doesn't work out, Keller has a bright future replacing Bill Maher on HBOs schedule. Keller is both funnier and smarter than Maher [Not that impressive a compliment--ed. I meant well].

Meanwhile, Howell Raines has apparently decided on a Shermanesque approach in departing from the Times -- burning every bridge possible. For more on this, go to the Times story linked above, as well as Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, and Mnoosweek.

posted by Dan at 04:30 PM | Trackbacks (0)

The good news and bad news about Palestinian political science

The good news is that -- in contrast to many of its neighbors -- there exist Palestinian political scientists independent of the state and contributing to the stock of useful knowledge about the region. For an example, click here.

The bad news is, good political science is vulnerable to the rule of the mob, as this New York Times story makes clear:

A mob attacked an eminent Palestinian political scientist today as he prepared to announce a striking finding from a regionwide survey of Palestinian refugees: Only a small minority of them exercise a "right of return" to Israel as part of a peace agreement.

The political scientist, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research here, had intended today to discuss for the Arabic-language press the tensions and complexities of Palestinian society. Instead, struck, shoved and pelted with eggs but not seriously injured, he wound up starkly illustrating them....

The rioters marched from Dr. Shikaki's office to Mr. Arafat's compound a few blocks away, where he received them, Palestinians here said. It was not clear if Mr. Arafat knew what they had done. (emphasis added)

Click here for the Voice of America report, which makes it clear that the idiotarians who ransacked the center don't seem to realize that the poll results suggest that the right of return issue is tractable rather than intractable.

Well, so long as this kind of behavior is not condoned by the public authorities, then -- oh, wait.

posted by Dan at 02:28 PM | Trackbacks (0)

Uganda, Botswana, and AIDS, redux

This Financial Times article reinforces what I said last week about Uganda and Botswana being exemplars for the rest of Africa. The key grafs:

Only two African countries have over the past three years taken up an offer by a German pharmaceuticals company to make free donations of an important Aids prevention drug to poor countries.

Boehringer Ingelheim said that only Uganda and Botswana had taken delivery of supplies of nevirapine, the drug it offers free for use in preventing mothers from infecting their babies with HIV/Aids....

The company said that 44 countries were now taking part in the initiative and that it was working with a number of non-governmental organisations in Africa, but only two national governments in the region were involved. Four South African provinces had also applied for donations.

"We are not at all satisfied with how it is running," said Rolf Krebs, chairman of the private German company. "It is very frustrating."

Heavy customs charges, poor logistics and lack of the necessary healthcare infrastructure were some of the reasons why many African countries had not taken part in the programme, he said....

Nevirapine was the subject of a bitter political battle in South Africa where the constitutional court last year ordered the government to make it available to HIV-positive pregnant women following legal action taken by Aids activists.

That last graf is just devastating.

The FT article jibes with what Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist emphasized as necessary for fighting AIDS in Africa in a speech he gave last month at the Council on Foreign Relations:

The U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003 will provide $15 billion over five years to combat these global diseases. Equally important, it links for the first time the concepts of prevention, care, and treatment into a single comprehensive policy.

Remember ... this little virus was unknown in this country just 22 years ago when I was a surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since then it has killed 23 million people.

Through this simple effort, 7 million new infections will be prevented. 2 million people will be treated. And 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans will be cared for.

But just as essential as the money, this law will build a new, robust infrastructure -- to better communicate with health workers, to educate, and to establish delivery systems.

And this infrastructure will serve as the foundation upon which a whole host of other medical and public health issues will be addressed for decades to come.

It's all about the infrastructure.

posted by Dan at 02:03 PM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

And the crowd goes wild!!!

The blog just topped the 300,000-hit mark. Thanks to one and all for reading!

posted by Dan at 11:30 AM | Trackbacks (0)