I’d forgotten that I’d sent my two tsunami articles to Rabble.ca, and apparently they’d forgotten to inform me that they’d published them! Both pieces appear here.
The horrors in post-tsunami SE Asia continue to mount. There are new reports of organized abuse of women and children in the refugee shelters, including the gang rape of children. As many have been saying for some time, the wave was only the beginning of the misery; this is a longterm tragedy.
Then there’s this doofus named David Holcberg who’s arguing that the USA and other rich nations should not be sending financial aid to SE Asia, pretty much because government money should be spent on domestic issues only. Unsurprisingly, he writes this for the Ayn Rand Institute. Interesting how conservative think tanks have no problem spending hundreds of billions bombing other countries, but balk at spending a few million to help them.
Let me spell it out for you, Holcberg: if you don’t want to give because it’s morally right, then do it for selfish reasons. SE Asia’s collapse means a greater probability of the collapse of the world banking system, a dramatic decline in the purchasing power of big markets for the USA and increased instability in places like Indonesia where anti-US rebels are already making headway. See? Keeping SE Asia safe and happy is best for everyone.
With all the seriousness about us these days, let’s dwell on some frivolity, shall we? The following is supposedly a photo of Rasputin’s penis, recently bought on auction by a curiosity collector:
It does seem likely, though, that had the mad monk’s schlong been sliced off, it would have been at its base and not the navel, no? Besides, this looks more like a geoduck or a sea cucumber. Will wonders never cease?
Now, one of my favourite shows these days happens to be Stargate: Atlantis, which is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1. But here’s my problem with the new show. Why does the grand city of a 10,000 year old technologically-advanced space-faring civilization so resemble my highschool chemistry class? A failure of imagination, my friends. Same reason all aliens on American sci-fi shows happen to be white people with mid-Western accents.
And speaking of aliens on American sci-fi shows, how come none of them ever speaks with contractions? Something about advanced alien culture that is averse to the apostrophe? Just another mystery for our times, I guess.
PS. Both of my tsunami articles (here and here) have seen interest from India Currents Magazine; the first might see print in February.
You know, one of the cool things about using a real blogging service is the RSS feed it automatically produces. (Read this to learn about RSS.) Of course, I personally know of only one other person who is keen on RSS, and that’s my homeboy Andrew Currie; but if you’d like to enter this brave new world, it helps to get a newsreader like SharpReader.
The changes on this site continue to mount. If you do some careful browsing, you’ll find new link styles, a change in content, and even more writing samples (though be warned that everything here is copyrighted, so I’ll sue your ass off if you misuse my stuff.)
Back in the real world, our tsunami relief efforts are continuing. It’s nice to see that the USA has been shamed into increasing its support to ten times its initial response… which still puts its per capita donation at less than that of Canada’s ($1.20 vs $1.23, not counting the exchange rate). It also means the World Bank is no longer the single biggest donor in this effort, so maybe the bank wil take this as a challenge and increase its contribution?
The organization I’m part of is called The Canadian Committee for Relief to Eastern Province, and is focusing solely on providing medical aid to a specific region of Sri Lanka. The big donors are providing other materials and have a more diffuse effort. But this region of the island is underserviced due to several factors, including the Sri Lankan government’s unwillingness to help areas which are ostensibly under “rebel” control. Also, the ubiquitousness of land mines in the region means that aid trucks are less likely to arrive there.
The committee is made up of scientists and health professionals, all of whom (except me) have relatives or other contacts in that region. So we have our own mini distribution network which, once we get the supplies to send, means that items will get transported faster and more directly to where they are needed.
If you’d like to help, please visit canrelief.org (which will have content any minute now) and consider making a donation. Or attend one of the fundraising events we’ll be hosting in Toronto and Ottawa in coming weeks.
Thanks to those who’ve made comments about the new site design. It’s a work in progress; more comments are welcome. As always, last year’s Bulletin is archived, so if you missed my closing year commentary, feel free to browse back. I’d like to remind you of the new articles over on The Podium: “Poverty Caused the Tsunami” and “Stingy Tsunami Relief.”
2004 was a crappy year for many reasons, both global and personal. But the tradition here at Deonandan.com is to begin each year by listing those things for which I am actually thankful. So let’s go…
- While I loved living in Washington, DC, it’s sort of nice to be out of the USA during these times of renewed gestapo culture;
- I started a great new job and a great new career in consulting right here in boring old Ottawa;
- My new book came out (and no one seemed to notice), but at least now I’m officially not just an author, but a novelist. Cool.
- As a result of a personal crisis I discovered just how cool and supportive my friends and family really are;
- Speaking of which, while some close friends have lost parents recently, I still thankfully have both of mine (serious knocking on wood!)
- Canada’s new federal Conservative party, while full of fire and bravado, failed to win election to power. Whew!
- Most importantly, I met a remarkable young woman who, though we are no longer involved, remains a part of my life, and I am much better for it.
Sorry for the shmaltz, but that’s what you get. It’s a small price to pay one day a year for the hard as nails journalistic commentary you usually get here at Deonandan.com!