Archive for the ‘World Hunger’ Category


Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Via Conservative Grapevine, a Jonah Goldberg article, one of his better ones. Actually, it’s very, very good. There’s a little bit of solid gold in each and every sentence:

It’s an old story. Loving parents provide a generous environment for their offspring. Kids are given not only ample food, clothing and shelter, but the emotional necessities as well: encouragement, discipline, self-reliance, the ability to work with others and on their own. And yet, in due course, the kids rebel. Some even say their parents never loved them, that they were unfair, indifferent, cruel. Often, such protests are sparked by parents’ refusal to be even more generous. I want a car, demands the child. Work for it, insist the parents. Why do you hate me? asks the ingrate.
People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease.

The interesting question isn’t “Why is there poverty?” It’s “Why is there wealth?” Or: “Why is there prosperity here but not there?”

I think an apt analogy can be drawn with cars. This car over here demands oil changes and nothing else, up to one hundred thousand…two hundred thousand…three hundred thousand miles, even more. that other car over there is up to seventy thousand and the mechanic is giving the owner the go-car-shopping speech. You can ask “Why do I need a new engine after seventy thousand miles?” Or you can ask…how come this car over here has one service record, and that car over there has a different one.

If you stick to the Goldberg paradigm and ask “why this over here and that over there?” your answer might come in the form of driver incompetence. It could…but that’s only one possible reason. You might just as likely find out that model of car isn’t known for making it to six digits on the odometer, no matter what. You might learn more severe demands were made of it; it was driven where summers are hotter, winters are colder, and heavy loads had to be towed much of the time. Maybe the oil changes weren’t done on time — it was driven well but maintained half-assed.

But to guarantee that we won’t be blaming the driver, we have to stay away from the Goldberg paradigm and ask the silly question. “Why didn’t my car last?” Goldberg is right, it’s a silly question. It’s the question people ask when they don’t really want an answer.

And that is the way we handle poverty in the world. Because we’re so “civilized.”

Ith Americath Faulth Nom Nom Nom Nom

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Hunger LadyOh, I’m sure the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) might be doing something to alleviate the problem of world hunger besides blaming America…and holding press conferences to blame America…and distributing press releases that blame us…and holding conventions to blame us…

…but that’s about all I’ve seen or heard of them doing. Maybe they are doing other things. Maybe they’re coming up with some plans to “end world hunger.” But the making of the plans, consistently, gets a lot more news coverage than the content of those plans once made. You know, I think if everyone was willing to do whatever it took to end world hunger, once the content of such a plan was made clear and thought to be viable, it would travel to the four corners of the world like jungle telegraph.

All I’ve ever heard of, is bitching away about how the United States doesn’t kick in enough money.

And the menu for the latest bitch-fest…as reported by the AP

• Vol-au-vent (pastry puffs) with corn and mozzarella
• Pasta with a sauce of pumpkin and shrimp in cream
• Veal rolls with cherry tomatoes and basil
• Spinach Roman-style
• Fruit salad with vanilla ice cream
• White wine from Orvieto

• Cheese mousse
• Pasta with vegetables and cherry tomatoes
• Chopped beef
• Butter beans
• Pineapple with ice cream
• Cabernet

• Zucchini pie
• Parmesan Risotto
• Ragout of veal with legumes
• Sauteed potatoes
• Lemon mousse with raspberry sauce.
• Pinot Grigio


You know, the catering seems to be the genesis of the public relations problems with these things. I understand it makes sense to cater meals with such a large entourage. What city’s cuisine establishments could handle such a lunch crush?

Hey here’s an idea. Fly them to Redmond, Washington, where I got my start in software development. The Microsoft engineers…twenty years ago, they had inspired a huge explosion in Thai restaurants. I’m pretty sure the restaurants are still there, most of ’em. Thai food is yummy. And, you know, there are some hungry people in Thailand. Just do with the world-hunger diplomats and policy wonks and noisemakers what they do with me when I have to go to training — speaker says “Do I have time for one more question? No? Pushing it? Okay, maybe it’s time for a LUNCH BREAK?” And then you turn them loose.

I’m sure there’s some kind of banking office in the U.N. that can handle the conversion of whatever currency is available, into American dollars in advance of the trip. Whoever can’t afford the ten bucks for chicken in peanut sauce, iced tea and tip, can just spring for McDonald’s.

Yes, I know…if they skipped lunch, it wouldn’t feed a single hungry person. I get that.

But people who are fat, or are making themselves that way, as they go through the motions of solving world hunger — man, that’s one of my pet peeves.

And I’m not alone. How do these public relations boondoggles happen? The U.N. is an organization that exists, in large part, to convince outsiders of things. They come up with ideas, right or wrong, and from there on out the big struggle is to persuade others how incredibly wise and correct they are because they are the U.N. It’s not a done-deal. The U.N.’s ideas tend to cost lots of money. Some folks are receptive to them, others are more skeptical.

So P.R. must mean something.

Why, then, does it seem that so little thought goes into things like this?