Skip to content

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Here’s one kind of racism you can still enjoy

UPDATE 2, 4/30 4:58pm see end of post for Response to “Glen Beck” comment et al.

UPDATE 4/30 4:09PM: see end of post for a GREAT comment on this post from a very knowledgeable person

Most kinds of racism are now thankfully no longer tolerated. However, this doesn’t change the part of human nature that enjoys racism – it allows you to blame all your problems on some despised ethnic minority. So racism may have…

Posted in Cognitive biases, In the news | 29 Comments

To lawmakers on financial reform: Don’t hit the send button while you’re angry

Congress showed a lot of rage at Wall Street this week, for good reason. Some of the most eloquent senators spoke from their hearts. Senator A denounced those who devoted their financial “expertise” to “taking from others.” Senator B seconded the motion that Wall Street’s “illicit gains” were only possible through “the loss and ruin of others.” Senator C said his constituents had implored him to expose “financial misdoings” to save them from

Posted in In the news | 11 Comments

A suggestion for the 1MillionShirts guy

Here’s the back story: A young American entrepreneur wanted to use his powerful social media profiles to do good. He hit on the idea of convincing people to pack up all their unneeded T-shirts, throw in a dollar for shipping, and send them – 1 million of them – somewhere in Africa. He partnered with two charities, applied for 501(c)3 status, and voila, a new cause was born: 1MillionShirts.

Yesterday, professional aid workers, academics,…

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs | 34 Comments

Are aid donors now running Haiti?

This post is written by Daniel Altman

Who will determine Haiti’s future?  Probably not the Haitians.  With aid groups enlarging their presence on the ground and foreign governments exercising control through their wallets, Haiti’s future may be out of the hands of the Haitians for years to come.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the recently convened Interim Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH), which will set the nation’s priorities during an 18-month state…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Disaster relief | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Nobody wants your old T-shirts

UPDATE 4/28 10:45 am answering the ”be a man” video: see end of this post

I guess our great Alanna Shaikh post “Nobody wants your old shoes” (2nd most popular post of all time) did not quite reach everybody. Or maybe the parallels between old T-shirts and old shoes were not widely appreciated (HT @texasinafrica)

A new clothing-themed charitable campaign from the guys behind lucrative social media marketing exercise I Wear Your Shirt is looking

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Badvocacy and celebs | Tagged , | 25 Comments

We have met the enemy and he is powerpoint: NYT on the military

The New York Times had a front pager today on a story that this blog (twice: Dec 22, 2009 and Dec 12, 2009 ) and other blogs has been all over for months – the use of nonsensical Powerpoint slides to guide the US military in Afghanistan. The NYT reproduced the infamous Afghan nation-building spaghetti chart over most of the front page:

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news, Military aid | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Wax and Gold: Meles Zenawi’s Double Dealings with Aid Donors

Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing The Fight Against AIDS in Africa, has a stunning piece on aid to Ethiopia published in this month’s New York Review of Books.

Epstein argues that the main cause of fertile southern Ethiopia’s chronic food shortages—the so-called “green famine” —is Ethiopia’s toxic and repressive political system, presided over since 1991 by Meles Zenawi. While Meles placates donors and Western governments with speeches about fighting…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom, Human rights, Language | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Reasons to doubt new health aid study on fungibility

This post is by David Roodman, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington, DC.

A couple of weeks ago, researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation triggered a Richter-7 media quake with the release of a new study in the Lancet.

Here’s how the Washington Post cast the findings:

After getting millions of dollars to fight AIDS, some African countries responded by slashing their health budgets.

Laura Freschi…

Posted in Data and statistics, Global health | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Goldman was hedging–how evil!!!!

According to the Washington Post:

Goldman admits it had reduced its exposure to the overheated U.S. property market and had sought to limit possible losses through a strategy that would make money if home prices fell. It says such “hedging” is a routine part of its business and is intended to moderate risk to the firm, an especially vital function when markets shift violently, as they did in 2008.

The Post puts “hedging” in…

Posted in Economics principles, In the news | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Video of talks by Chris Blattman, others, and yours truly

Videos from Yale Law School Bernstein Symposium on Human Rights a couple weeks ago: Chris Blattman, Gregg Gonsalves (big attack on W. Easterly), Michael Kleinman

Keynote talk (something about  double standards on human rights) by another somebody calling themself  William Easterly.

Posted in Human rights, Meta | Tagged | 6 Comments