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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dictators v. Democracy: our Autocrat Unintentional Self-Parody Index (AUSPI)

Update 2pm Saturday Feb 19: more reports of protests today in Benghazi, and more killings by Qaddafi forces. Qaddafi strategy of cutting Libya off from intl media and Net seems to be working, as these heroic protesters are not getting much world attention.

UPDATE 4pm: Shaky reports of more protests and massacres out of Libya. This eloquent statement in the Guardian by a noted Libyan author:

I appeal to Colonel Gaddafi and his security forces:

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

World Vision responds to blogger questions

Editor’s Note 10:45 am 2/18/2011: Thanks to all the commentators, you really wrote a new post for us today. We have emailed World Vision follow up questions, especially taking them up on their offer to provide examples below. They said they will respond by middle of next week as they get their national offices to respond.

In an email to the communications  department at World Vision, we collected and forwarded a few of the questions…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments

State Department accountable through glossy photos

by Chris Coyne, F.A. Harper Professor of Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Investors in the Kwality Kites Corporation gather to listen to the CEO’s ‘year in review’ presentation.

“In 2010,” begins the CEO, “we coordinated plans to deliver kites while supporting sustainable operations”

An investor raises her hand: “Can you tell us what you mean by ‘coordinated plans’ and ‘sustainable operations’ and what they have to do with…

Posted in Accountability and transparency | 6 Comments

The “guy named Bob” theory of Development

Development discussions often seek “answers” to “how to develop?” But to whom do we tell the answers? We assume the existence of someone who can take our answers and turn them into actual Development. Let’s call this person “Bob,” as in the following diagram:

But who is Bob? Of course, many autocrats would happily volunteer to be “Bob,” and many development experts show some sympathy for such a “benevolent” autocrat. Indeed the whole Bob theory of development seems…

Posted in Big ideas | 36 Comments

In Zambia, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl: Why is World Vision perpetuating discredited T-shirt aid?

Editor’s Note 4: 10:45am 2/15: @saundra_s reports there are now 36 bloggers that have posted on this (excluding WV itself or its staffers), of which 35 are against. One more against here from faith perspective. Now have a Twitter hashtag #100kshirts.

Editor’s Note 3: 8:45am 2/15: heard from @WorldVisionUSA finally! got this direct message on Twitter: “Thanks for following WV! For even more opportunities to get involved, check us out on Facebook.”

Editor’s Note

Posted in Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Abraham Lincoln in Egypt

Today the doubts begin on whether there will be a happy democratic outcome in Egypt. There are no guarantees.

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. His most famous words also addressed doubts about democracy. Could American democracy survive a civil war? Could it make a transition from half slave and half free to emancipation?

our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are

Posted in Democracy and freedom, History, Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Liberated Egyptians: you’re welcome!

Clive Crook’s blog notes the following story from Politico:

the Obama administration finally notched a foreign policy victory with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to resign and turn over power to top military officials…

“Great news for the administration/president,” said one senior Democratic official who asked not to be named. “People will remember, despite some fumbles yesterday, that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night

Posted in Democracy and freedom, Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Egypt is Free!

That is what the people in the streets are chanting as the seismic news of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation spreads.

I have goosebumps. Regardless of what the future holds, this is a historic moment. This is a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievement of ordinary multitudes of Egyptians who wanted their inalienable rights, that all individuals are born free and equal.

To close with the words of the Arab poet Abul-Qasim al-Shabi (1909-1934) (previously quoted…

Posted in Democracy and freedom, Human rights, In the news | Tagged | 30 Comments

The art of saying nothing: Mubarak speech mashup

UPDATE 12 noon, February 11: so wordy emptiness wasn’t such a good move. Now if we could just overthrow the aid bureaucrats who produce documents as bad as the Mubarak speech.

In the Isaac Asimov sci-fi classic Foundation, an envoy from the Empire arrives for 5 days of talks to promise a small planet Imperial protection against attack. Scientists at the Foundation then use symbolic logic to analyze the Imperial envoy’s transcript, and reach this conclusion —…

Posted in Democracy and freedom, Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Mubarak attempts to placate Democratic Revolution with a Committee

What a heartbreaking disappointment with the Mubarak speech…

The language is remarkably paternalistic. And he repeatedly uses jargon like “framework” and “transition”. He promised to implement some recommendations of some Committee.

This guy has obviously spent way too much time in Aid Donor Consultative Group Meetings. This speech disqualifies him as someone able to lead Egypt, but he would be a perfect fit for UN Undersecretary for Sustainable Social Empowerment Agenda Mainstreaming Transition Framework.

The jokes are out…

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news | Tagged | 5 Comments