Weekend Question Ending in a Preposition and Open Thread


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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16 Responses

  1. Max says:


  2. Kolohe says:

    Two leftover thoughts from this week
    1) Jimmy Carter. Yes, he’s slightly underrated even from a libertarian point of view. But on the other hand, from another point of view (not mine) he could be considered a complete disaster, because, a mere 6 years after the Nixon resignation, which should have discredited the Republican brand for a generation (like Hoover’s administration did), a Republican was not only back in the White House, but the most conservative one in nearly a century. And it wound up being *liberal* ideas that was exorcised from the White House for nearly thirty years (and some would say to this day).

    2) Foreign aid. It’s a small part of the budget, and always overestimated by the public, but nonetheless one of the biggest continuous wastes of money. The Asian tigers and other parts of the world that are getting rich are getting rich through trade, not foreign aid. Increasing foreign aid is merely going to enable various third world kleptocrats to fly out 100 million dollars a day to banking havens vice just 10. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-07-22/news/30003354_1_afghanistan-report-afghan-central-bank-afghan-reconstruction (This is the link I fudged up the other day in a response to Creon Critic)Report

    • Creon Critic in reply to Kolohe says:

      Kolohe, the Green Revolution? PEPFAR?

      Browsing the websites of USAID, the UK’s Department for International Development, UNICEF… you can’t find any worthy projects?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Creon Critic says:

        1) The Green Revolution a) was a good thing b) was unique b) first implemented in a different era than today c) worked despite the official government (as in the notes on India in the wiki link) d) doesn’t look like it’s working anymore (as in the notes on Africa in the wiki link)

        2) Speaking of not getting enough credit, the Bush jr administration doesn’t get enough credit for his AIDS work. And at 2500 bucks per life saved is a bargain. But even a that link, there is money wasted due to political considerations. It is also unclear what’s the money distribution between AIDS and other debilitating endemic diseases like malaria and TB. The best way to fight all these diseases of course, would be to make poor countries rich countries as rich countries no longer have a AIDS epidemic. But getting from here to there is the toughest nut to crack.

        I met a few USAID people in Afghanistan. They mean well and work hard. But the system (more jargonly the system of systems) are so FUBARd that they’ve been tilting at windmills in an epic waste of money (and lives) for ten years. (and as an aside, the HQ staff live quite well relatively speaking)Report

        • Creon Critic in reply to Kolohe says:

          The best way to fight all these diseases of course, would be to make poor countries rich countries as rich countries no longer have a AIDS epidemic. But getting from here to there is the toughest nut to crack.

          Which is precisely why foreign aid is indispensible. Aside from being a dreadful thing that needs resolution for human well-being reasons, a public health calamity on the scale of HIV/AIDS is an impediment to economic growth. Absent assistance, the HIV/AIDS crisis could have set back developing countries even further by further increasing the mortality rate among key sectors of the workforce, reducing productivity, imposing strains on countries already having difficulty in providing public services, and so forth. Development as a nation is that much more difficult if swathes of the populace are facing a treatable but untreated illness.

          Also in line with your economic growth point, one of the Millennium Development Goals is universal primary education. For the individual family making a living on subsistence agriculture, the trade off between having a young child contribute to the household income by working or going off to school as an expense (meals, materials, etc.) is very real. Things as simple as free school meals, free basic materials, and eliminating school fees can make a significant difference. For the nation, having a more literate workforce has all sorts of positive spillover impacts. I bring this up because UN reports argue that significant progress is possible on goals like universal primary education given more resources.

          Fraud, waste, and abuse will occur everywhere and anywhere, public sector, private sector, well run, or poorly run organizations face those problems. I’m all for audits and financial controls, forensic accountants tracking down stolen funds, pressuring nations with overbroad bank secrecy laws – all to the good. The solution to abuse is surely not to stop giving aid, the broader social progress purposes served by foreign aid are too important.

          Finally, I’d say look at the other Millennium Development Goals, for a world that’s surpassing 7 billion people this year, tackling these issues urgently is in everyone’s best interest.Report

    • Katherine in reply to Kolohe says:

      Foreign aid’s done a massive amount, just not on the growth side. Eradication of smallpox, near-eradication of polio, near-eradication of guinea worm, decreases in infant mortality, increases in school attendance rates…..it’s done great things in the way of improving human life, and we should continuing focusing on doing those things.

      In 1960 infant mortality (% of children who died in their first year) in sub-Saharan Africa was 1.65%; in 2003 it was 1%. In 1960 almost no children in Africa had secondary education; as of 2002 the enrollment rate was 30%.

      We can’t make countries develop through aid, but we can save and improve the lives of millions or billions through well-chosen and well-managed actions, and in my view, as some of the richest people in the world we have a moral obligation to do so.Report

  3. Steve S. says:

    “Weekend Question Ending in a Preposition”

    A thing up with which we should not put.Report

  4. E.D. Kain says:

    Creepiest song I’ve heard in a long time, that I can’t get out of my head:


  5. Mike Schilling says:

    The creepiest song I know of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAfxWV4eCiM

    I understand that it’s about not being able to spend time with his daughter, but that’s not what it sounds like.Report

  6. Mike Schilling says:

    A question:

    When the Do Not Call list was first created, a number of people I know online [1] thought it was an illegal taking, because it restricted the ability of telemarketing companies to do business without any compensation. I thought (and still think) that this is ridiculous: my right not to be bothered trumps their right to try to sell me stuff. [2] I’m curious what our libertarian brethren think.

    1. Who considered themselves libertarians.
    2. It’s also win-win. I, on principle, will not buy anything from an unsolicited caller, even if they’re selling ten-dollar-bills for five dollars. Calling me, in addition to annoying me, wastes their time.Report

    • Ben Wolf in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      It depends on which camp the individual hails from:

      The real libertarian camp, which seeks to limit and control all forms of coercive power whether in the private or public sphere. He hopes to balance those two sectors against each other to achieve greater freedom and equality.

      Or the oxymoronic authoritarian-libertarian, who seeks to limit public power so that private coercion can act unconstrained. He dreams of a world where the businessman can rule the lives of his employees with impunity.

      You can guess which group is the majority in modern America.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I saw the no-call list as the equivalent of a “no tresspassing” sign in front of the house or a “pas de circulaires” on the mailbox.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I find the do not call list somewhat superfluous in the era of ubiquitous and cheap caller id and voice mail options, but I don’t place in the long train of usurpations and abuses. (I am in favor of the laws on the books that restrict the ‘right’ to call my cell phone, which I pay for in money, not just time)

      I have a bigger problem with the credit agencies that are still calling after a year because the phone number I got from the cable ‘triple pack’ was from someone whose service was probably disconnected because apparently they weren’t paying *any* of their bills.Report