The New ‘New’ Plan to End Poverty

The UN has released a ‘new bold and sweeping’ plan to reduce poverty. Predictably, political and social reform are completely avoided in the document. What, then, is the plan?

The report says drastically reducing poverty in its many guises – hunger, illiteracy, disease – is “utterly affordable.” To fulfill this goal, industrial nations would need to double aid to poor countries, to one-half of 1 percent of national incomes, from one-quarter of 1 percent.

In short, more handouts and bully tactics for the countries who are doing everything right. Clearly, the way to help the poor is to give them money, which lifts them out of poverty, until they spend the money. At which time they are poor again and another UN report is released.

This is, of course, assuming that the money we give does not end up in the pockets of Kofi Annan’s son.

Also note the cashing in on the recent disaster in Indonesia, India, Thailand, etc.:

The worldwide outpouring of grief and aid since the tsunami in South Asia killed more than 150,000 people has stirred hope here that the same wellspring can be tapped for what Professor Sachs called a “silent tsunami” of global poverty that kills more than 150,000 children every month from malaria alone.


The Professionally Sensitive

Larry Summers has offended the professionally sensitive, and we await his assassination in the mainstream media. Here is the background:

About 50 academics from across the nation, many of them economists, participated in the conference, “Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce: Women, Underrepresented Minorities, and their S. & E. Careers.” Dr. Summers arrived after a morning session and addressed a working lunch, speaking without notes. No transcript was made because the conference was designed to be off-the-record so that participants could speak candidly without fear of public misunderstanding or disclosure later.

In his presentation, Dr. Summers addressed the question of why so few women were on math and engineering faculties at top research universities.

“I began by saying that the whole issue of gender equality was profoundly important and that we are taking major steps at Harvard to combat passive discrimination,” he recalled in yesterday’s interview. “Then I wanted to add some provocation to what I understand to be basically a social science discussion.”

Here are the ‘offensive’ remarks:

He discussed several factors that could help explain the underrepresentation of women. The first factor, he said, according to several participants, was that top positions on university math and engineering faculties require extraordinary commitments of time and energy, with many professors working 80-hour weeks in the same punishing schedules pursued by top lawyers, bankers and business executives. Few married women with children are willing to accept such sacrifices, he said.

The response from the offended:

Dr. Hopkins said, “I didn’t disagree, but didn’t like the way he presented that point because I like to work 80 hours a week, and I know a lot of women who work that hard.”

At this point, underclassmen in a basic stats class would be giggling, whispering to each other “N of 1.” Other offensive statements

In citing a second factor, Dr. Summers cited research showing that more high school boys than girls tend to score at very high and very low levels on standardized math tests, and that it was important to consider the possibility that such differences may stem from biological differences between the sexes.

Dr. Freeman said, “Men are taller than women, that comes from the biology, and Larry’s view was that perhaps the dispersion in test scores could also come from the biology.”

Dr. Summers said, “I was trying to provoke discussion, and I certainly believe that there’s been some move in the research away from believing that all these things are shaped only by socialization.”

Considering that we already know that there are numerous differences between the male and female brain, this is hardly a shocking statement. Regardless, it is hardly an endorsement of the viewpoint.

Welcome to the modern university, where feelings trump reason.

More here and here.

Scam Artists

You may have noticed that this site was down briefly yesterday. That is because I got scammed by the Domain Registry of America, an unscrupulous group out of Buffalo, NY, who has been the target of numerous investigations and lawsuits.

Here is what happened. The balloon-juice domain name was set to expire on 17 January, and a couple of weeks ago I got a letter from the DROA crew, which looked much like this letter (obviously, names and dates were different). It read:

“As a courtesy to domain name holder, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. When you switch today to the Domain Registry of America, you can take advantage of our best savings.”

I then promptly paid for a 2 year renewal. I then started receiving email notifications from my real Domain Name company, ItsYourDomain.COm (who is great), so I emailed them to see why they were still contacting me. They alerted me to the fraud.

If you get a letter/email like this, it is a scam. I called them and am supposed to be refunded in the next 72 hours, and I will let you know if it happens.

The Reality-Based Party

Here is the loony left’snew plan to broaden the appeal of the Democratic party:

Three buses are scheduled to leave Wisconsin for Washington D.C. Wednesday to take people to the “Turn Your Back on Bush” protest at President Bush’s inauguration.

The protest is designed to outsmart security guards. Protesters won’t carry any signs or wear any clothing that might tip off authorities. When a spoken cue is given, the protesters plan to turn their backs on the president’s motorcade.

Anita Singh, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the organizers, said the spoken signal is a secret for now because organizers don’t want to tip off security infiltrators in their ranks.

“It is kind of weird,” Singh said. “People will be going there to dissuade protesters, turn them in the wrong direction, get them away from the inauguration.”

Tracey Sperko, of Milwaukee, is a Gulf War veteran and was state director of Veterans for Kerry, a support group for Bush’s opponent John Kerry in the November election.

She plans to protest.

“I know it won’t change anything, but what I’ve found is that it gives hope to a lot of people,” she said.

What a pathetic group of losers. Even the Washington Post is mocking them:

There’s also the very key issue of how, exactly, a person should turn his or her back. The style. The nature of the pivot.

“Very sharp, quick,” says Sarah Kauffman, a student at Ursinus College who is a field organizer for the protest (or “action,” as it is called). Kauffman, a theater arts major, stands on the sidewalk on Connecticut Avenue and demonstrates her own back-turning technique. Her turn is swift and sure and graceful, a full 180 that never comes too close to being a 170 or a 190. She does it so elegantly that it’s as though her feet haven’t moved. She describes her body language: “This is my statement, I don’t have any hesitation about making it, it’s not something I’m sort of thinking about.”

She’s considering a military style about-face, with a step forward and a pronounced pivot. She demonstrates the move. It’s impressive. That’ll show ’em.

Good Grief

I found this amusing:

Watching President Bush’s second inauguration in person: Priceless? Think again.

Tickets to the president’s swearing-in, thousands of which were handed out free by congressional offices, are now commanding hundreds of dollars from scalpers who are hawking them on Web sites like eBay and in the classified section of local papers.

Entrepreneurs are also selling tickets to the inaugural balls, parade and other events at steeply marked-up prices. Ball tickets that were available for $150 through the Presidential Inauguration Committee (search) are now selling for about $1,000, for example.

It is not illegal to sell tickets to inaugural events, said Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the Presidential Inauguration Committee. And this is not the first inauguration to see a brisk business in resale of tickets.

$1,000.00 to stand in the freezing rain with 50,000 other people. No, thanks.