Bill Mahar, Ahmadinejad, Columbia, and Bush....
(Sept. 28....But worth to watch it now....)
"A survey released by Pew Research Center last month confirms that public attitudes in the United States about Muslims and Islam have grown more negative in recent years.
"About four in ten Americans (43 percent) say they have a favourable opinion of Muslims, while 35 percent express a negative view. Opinion about Muslims, on balance, was somewhat more positive in 2004 (48 percent favourable vs. 32 percent unfavourable)," Pew reported.
"As in previous surveys, Muslim Americans are seen more positively than Muslims (53 percent vs. 43 percent); however, unfavourable opinions of Muslim Americans have also edged upward, from 25 percent in 2005 to 29 percent currently." (Continue...)
Prizing Doris Lessing
"To review the depth and extent of Lessing's work is to appreciate that some writers really do live for language and are willing to take risks for it. It's also to understand that there is some relationship between the hunger for truth and the search for the right words. This struggle may be ultimately indefinable and even undecidable, but one damn well knows it when one sees it." (Continue...)
Are Feminism and Romance Incompatible?
Science Daily — Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the US. Their study* also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported. (Continue...)
A Bottom Billion: A One Billion Ghetto
Also, it challenges some of the United Nations’ programs including Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and UNDP on Good Governance, which has been a focus of its action plan in the past few years. Mainly because most of these programs are based on the government’s collaborations and engagements’ of civil society; however, in many of the very poor countries, the society suffers from a weak state and an incompetent public sector.
Collier distinguishes countries which have been fallen apart from the development train and explains how there is no hope for their growth, at least anytime soon, and we see how there is a need to review many of these plans and prioritize the urgency of actions toward some countries which are fighting, which is producing horrendous side affects of underdevelopment such as poverty, increased ignorance, and civil war. It becomes clear that MDG’s deadline in 2115 will be an outdated method.
The book cleverly provides the big picture to the reader without interrupting the flow by giving figures and footnotes which do not help the reader in understanding the main message.
One criticism of the book is that although the author introduces new terms based on his research with and academic background in the World Bank and Oxford University, he doesn’t provide a basis of his categorizations or further direction.
The book insists that it is trying to raise questions, but not give solutions. However, Collier talks about some of the unsuccessful methods which have been used to help such countries like giving them money or military intervention and or trade.
A key concept he raises is why people in the industrialized countries should think about “the Billion Bottom”: He briefly mentions that such a falling apart will be a “security nightmare” for people’s children in the future and then asks for “building a unity of purpose” which tries to “change the thinking” toward development.
The book raises the awareness that there are more than 58 countries in Central Asia and Africa where people are living in 14th century conditions and suffer from four “traps”: Conflict, resources, being landlocked with bad neighbors, and bag governance. The Kabila example in Zaire is an example where a small army could be hired with 10,000 dollars or Malawi, the poorest country on the continent and or planet which without any civil war has been experiencing the lowest growth in the history of humankind.
In Chapter four, different aspects of the civil war are discussed and at the end the author argues that growth is a key element for the society to get rid of the “conflict trap”. He says that sometimes peace cannot be achieved domestically and, in my opinion, believes that sometimes intervention could be an option to avoid other conflicts: “That’s why it matters for the G8 policy.”
The relationship between immigration and the billion bottoms also describe the nature of such countries which will face deeper challenges by losing their “human capitals.”
Collier reviews the aid process, military interventions and other means that could be used for breaking the traps. Although the book does not focus deeply on the cause and effects of this phenomenon, it addresses a very important issue which seems to go unnoticed by development experts and agencies. Something which does not catch any attention, because of its ugly nature, but an issue that needed to be talked about more and more for the sake of human being that share a similar destiny.
To some extent, the book appears as a guidebook since it provides some solutions, and criticizes other methods used to eliminate poverty and help underdeveloped countries to go forward.
Run, Gore, Run!
"I am occasionally asked why it is that so many Europeans display reflexive anti-Americanism, and I force myself to choose from a salad of possible answers. One of these is the resentment that I can remember feeling myself when I lived in England in the 1970s: the sheer brute fact that American voters who knew nothing about Europe (and cared less) could pick a president who had more clout than any of our elected prime ministers could exert. America could change our economic climate by means of the Federal Reserve, could use bases in Britain to forward its policies in Asia or the Middle East, and all the rest of it. Americans could also choose a complete crook like Richard Nixon, or a complete moron like Jimmy Carter, and we still had to watch our local politicians genuflect to the so-called Atlantic alliance." (Continue....)
Muslim-Phobia on the Rise in the US?
"In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and
Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.” (Continue...)
Tyranny in Tehran