"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

8.25.2009

this & that

Whew. A lot has been going on while I've been sitting through all-day faculty meetings, learning just how little sleep I'll really get while trying to publish enough to have a shot at tenure, and begging the IT department to please, please give me an email address. Here are some highlights:
  • DDR is officially over in Burundi. Which, as Grant points out, hasn't exactly solved the country's problem with targeted violence. Could it be that DDR doesn't work unless you take the time to build governing institutions and establish the rule of law?
  • Nairobi's drought-driven water/power crisis worsens.
  • So, we sent several million dollars' worth of light weapons into Somalia and...things are getting worse. During Ramadan. Awesome.
  • I'd Blame Canada, too, if this happened to me.
  • Elisabeth Wood asks a great question. Instead of looking at why rape happens in war, she asks why it doesn't happen in an outlying case. (HT: Chris Blattman)
  • Via Africa is a Country, here's an interesting piece on Nigerians who served in World War II.
  • This is a fascinating article on the difficulty of figuring out whether an athlete is of one gender or the other.
  • Easterly looks at Charles Kenny's point that, in the developing world, things have actually improved substantially in the last 50 years and concludes that it's not all bad. Point well taken. But the problem is that that progress is incredibly uneven. If you're comparing places that were more-or-less equally underdeveloped in 1960, you're comparing South Korea to Ghana. If most of the improvement in well-being comes from one set of countries and not the other, well, that's great for the Koreans, but not so much for the Ghanaians.
  • National hero Jon Stewart dismantles a very bad argument in the ongoing health care debate debacle. I remain at a loss to explain how so many Americans are apparently under the impression that our system works as it is.
  • Star of the New York Times Magazine @scarlettlion linked to these amazing shots made to look like vintage photos of Senaglese people.
  • There are a few facutal errors in this piece, but, um, it's entitleod "Oh, Shut Up, Mrs. Clinton," and it explores the neo-colonial overtones of her visit to the continent in great detail. This would be a very helpful piece for American policy makers to read if they really wanted to get a sense of how African elites in many countries view the U.S. If, that is, they could manage to read it without being defensive. I hope some will.
  • Riding bears: always a bad idea.
  • Textbook battles once resulted in bombings??? Seriously?!?
  • I don't really think that American taxpayers should have to pay an extra $100 in order to get through immigration in a timely fashion. The government should pony up and hire sufficient staff at our borders so that none of us have to stand in line for an hour just to get back into our own country. But will I pony up to avoid those mile-long lines? Probably. Inefficiency on top of jetlag makes me grumpy.

3 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Mac said...

Speaking of inefficiency and maybe jet lag. Would you sit on a plane parked on the tarmac overnight for 4 to 16 hours?

Aren't all commercial airplanes equiped with emergency exits which even mechanically challenged passengers can open? I think I would pop one open and find a better place to sleep. So they arrest you? On what charge, disobeying the plane captain? Leading a riot? Or heaven forbid dissing the TSA?

At least the jail would have a bunk to stretch out on even if it was metal. Better than a cramped plane seat.
Charlie Mac

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:02:00 AM

 
Anonymous Matt said...

I think the reason the delays are so long has less to do with lack of staff and more to do with procedure. I've been stuck in equally-long lines in Heathrow which take less than half as long. If you're a UK citizen, all the immigration official does is swipe your passport, look at its record and wave you through. It takes about 10 seconds on average.

If you're a US citizen, you often have to undergo a mini-interrogation of your whereabouts - they treat international travelers with such suspicion and disdain. I've got both passports and always wince of the thought of going through US immigration.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 12:12:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Huh. I've never really had problems on the way in at Heathrow, but that may be because I'm usually only there for 10-12 hour layovers. And I'm hoping not to have problems with them in the future, because after the two hours I spent on a flight to Barcelona with ten very drunk, bachelorette partying Heathrow immigration agents who all had whistles, I feel like saying, "You look really familiar" should get me a break. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:00:00 PM

 

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