Good for him. I think it’s tough to hold your employer up to even the most deserved scorn and derision, and in this case scorn and derision are very well deserved.
There are 33.2 million people in the world currently infected with HIV, and 2007 saw 2.5 million new infections. But as Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, notes: “Here in the United States, the attitude of so many within our own community is that there’s not a lot more to be done.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) states, “Recently reported increases in both new HIV infections and new AIDS cases in the United States call out for stronger leadership domestically as well.” Right outside the U.S. Capitol, a “modern epidemic” is raging.
City health officials report that Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of AIDS infection in the country, with HIV continuing to be transmitted at an epidemic pace. Some startling statistics:
– “One in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and 1 in 50 residents to have AIDS.”
– “At the end of 2006, there were 8,368 reported cases of people living with AIDS in the District, a 43% increase from 2001.”
– “The number of women living with AIDS has increased by more than 76% over the past six years.”
– Black residents, which represent 57 percent of the city’s population of 500,000 or so, “account for 81 percent of new reports of H.I.V. cases and about 86 percent of people with AIDS.”
To mark tomorrow’s World AIDS Day, President Bush delivered a speech highlighting the important role of faith- and community-based organizations in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. His reliance on faith-based organizations in the past, however, has meant that “a full two-thirds of the money for the prevention of the sexual spread of HIV” goes to abstinence-only programs, which have failed to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
GlobalHealthFacts provides a map of the people living with HIV or AIDS across the globe:
Jeet Heer suggests apropos of the latest flareups of the “are blacks inferior?” debate is that “One way to address this tiresome topic from an unexplored angle is to look at a now largely forgotten figure who is cited as an authority in The Bell Curve, Nathaniel Weyl (1910-2005)” and here it goes:
The flavor of Weyl’s thought can be captured in an article he wrote in 1967 for the journal Intelligence, arguing for the superiority of white Rhodesians with evidence from his own visit to Salisbury, the capital of Rhodesia [i.e., Zimbabwe when it was under white supremacist rule]. “Thus, white Rhodesians are an elite element within the English-speaking world in terms of psychometric intelligence,” Weyl argued. “This finding is reinforced by visual impressions. Salisbury whites appear larger, healthier, more vigorous, alert and bright than London whites. Beatniks, transvestites and obvious homosexuals are conspicuously absent.” [...]
Weyl’s writings were once very popular: many issues of National Review in the 1960s carry ads for his books, available through the Conservative Book Club. But he’s disappeared from the memory of even conservatives in recent decades (The Bell Curve is surely one of the very few places where he’s cited with respect). Most people reading his comments about beatniks can spot the obvious political bias that shaped his work. I don’t think Weyl’s successors are going to enjoy a happier fate.
And no doubt back then there were people condemning Weyl as a racist, and others hailing him as a brave hero eager to speak the truth no matter how politically incorrect it may have been. Meanwhile, I’m shocked to find racists associated with race science! Or racists associated with the origins of the conservative movement! I don’t know where liberals get these crazy ideas.
What Dave Roberts said. You do hear with a frightening frequency people with green sympathies, up to and including Al Gore, suggest that global warming shouldn’t be a “political issue.” Drained of senseless rhetoric this seems to reduce to the view that “everyone ought to agree with my favored policies.” And, of course, I think everyone really should agree with my favored policies. But, in practice, they don’t. And so: Politics.
This is the world, and anyone who aspires to radically alter America’s energy use patterns needs to learn to live with it. Achieving the goals requires lots of political change.
Meanwhile, both whatever degree of climate change can’t be prevented and whatever prevention measures we adopt will all have different kinds of costs and benefits. Different policies will allocate these costs to different people. The mechanism by which we decide what to do is called “politics” and it exists so that individuals and organizations with somewhat divergent interests and ideas can make collective decisions about how to tackle common problems. The rhetoric of anti-politics isn’t just an analytic mistake, it’s part of the problem. A public that doesn’t believe divergent interests can be reconciled and common solutions devised for common problems — a public that doesn’t believe in politics — is going to be a public that doesn’t believe there’s anything that can or should be done to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“Officials from more than 150 global companies – worth nearly $4 trillion in market capitalization – have signed a petition urging ‘strong, early action on climate change’ when political leaders” meet in Bali, Indonesia for talks under the auspices of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.
UPDATE: AFP reports, “Bush clings to anti-Kyoto stance ahead of climate talks.”
Lots of experts are weighing in as the Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end (today). One of my favs, Jeff Masters, summarizes it this way:
Before going further, I should point out that hurricane forecasting experts tend to be on the wild side. The dean of forecasters, Bill Gray, has become a cranky global warming denier — you can read his detailed explanation of the 2007 season here. Masters, on the other hand, flew into hurricanes, of his own free will, for four years (!), sans parachutes (!!), until he was nearly killed flying into Hurricane Hugo, in “the most harrowing flight ever conducted by the NOAA hurricane hunters”.
Now the 2007 season did set a lot of records, as Masters notes:
“Several news organizations are reporting that two volunteers who were held hostage are now free.” Though it is “unclear if there were any more inside,” police on the scene told Fox News that “you could deduce that all the hostages are gone.” People are now reportedly negotiating the hostage taker’s surrender.
UPDATE: “Local police are believed to be negotiating with a man described as a well-known local resident with a history of emotional problems who told his son to ‘watch the news today.’”
Via Mark Goldberg, it looks like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is making the sensible suggestion that our funding priorities shouldn’t tilt so dramatically in favor of the Defense Department, “Funding for non-military foreign-affairs programs has increased since 2001, but it remains disproportionately small relative to what we spend on the military and to the importance of such capabilities.”
He makes a whole bunch of good points, and it’s genuinely rare in Washington to see anyone suggest that any other agency’s mission is important and deserves more money. That said, this is still in the “talk as cheap” neighborhood. Rare as it is to see someone suggest that someone else’s budget ought to be higher, it’s by the same token very easy to suggest that someone’s else’s budget ought to be cut to increase spending elsewhere. What would be really revolutionary would be a Secretary of Defense who not only recognized the point Gates is making here, but who was willing to see the needed money come out of the Pentagon’s pocket. Until that time comes, we’ll need to rely on Lawrence Korb and his Unified Security Budget for the United States reports:
The shift recommended in this report—$56 billion in cuts to spending on offense and $50 billion in additional spending on defense and prevention—would convert a highly militarized 9-to–1 security ratio into a better balance of 5-to-1.
In the real world, no proposals of this sort are going to go anywhere unless Democrats are provided with substantial political “cover” by Republicans, so it probably does all hinge on whether or not people like Gates are willing to follow their insights where they lead instead of just vaguely suggesting that the State Department needs more capabilities. Still, this is a definite sign of progress.
In 2003, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice helped push America into war with Iraq. She disregarded at least two CIA memos and a personal phone call from CIA Director George Tenet stating that the evidence behind Iraq’s uranium acquisition was weak. She infamously said, “[W]e don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
In an interview with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal today, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler, author of Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy, revealed that after President Bush promoted her to Secretary of State, Rice mounted a “public relations” campaign to distance herself from the pre-war fiasco.
As part of this PR campaign, she directed an aide to “plant a question” asking if she would run for President, in order to help “negate American memories of her very direct role” in invading Iraq:
She had a very deliberative public relations strategy when she became Secretary of State to help erase the images of how ineffective she had been as National Security Adviser. And I describe how one of her aides even planted a question with a friendly journalist to ask whether she would be interested in running for president — to give her the aura of someone who might have presidential aspirations, make her seem more powerful than she was.
And that all helped negate American memories over her very direct role in the invasion of Iraq.
In October, it was revealed that FEMA clumsily staged a “fake” press conference where agency employees posed as journalists. Condi, however, has fake press conferences down to a fine art.
One issue that comes up now and again is whether a player is likely to shoot more efficiently if he plays alongside other good players. Intuitively, the answer is “yes.” If you need to carry the offense single-handedly, the defense can collapse around you and it’s hard to score. If you play alongside other stars, by contrast, the defense is spread out and you can get easy shots. But just because it sounds reasonable doesn’t make it true. Some evidence is suggested by the above chart of the Celtics new “Big Three,” Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, all of whom shifted from being the clear focal point of an offense to forming one leg of a more evenly-balanced offensive stool.
As we can see, all three saw their shooting efficiency take a tumble last season and now they’re doing better. Even more strikingly, all three are putting up career-high numbers in True Shooting Percentage thus far this season. That’s not definitive proof that they’re scoring more efficiently because they’re scoring together but it’s suggestive. Certainly it’ll be interesting to see if that trend holds up over the course of the season. Another good case to look at would be Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.