What happened to the money sent to Haiti?

This is long and I’m sorry about that, but this is extremely screwed up… from a CommonDreams.org article posted a few days ago…

…Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two months ago, not two years. Over half a million people remain homeless in hundreds of informal camps, most of the tons of debris from destroyed buildings still lays where it fell, and cholera, a preventable disease, was introduced into the country and is now an epidemic killing thousands and sickening hundreds of thousands more…

1. The largest single recipient of US earthquake money was the US government. The same holds true for donations by other countries.

…Right after the earthquake, the US allocated $379 million in aid and sent in 5000 troops. The Associated Press discovered that of the $379 million in initial US money promised for Haiti, most was not really money going directly, or in some cases even indirectly, to Haiti. They documented in January 2010 that thirty three cents of each of these US dollars for Haiti was actually given directly back to the US to reimburse ourselves for sending in our military…

2. Only 1 percent of the money went to the Haitian government.

3. Extremely little went to Haitian companies or Haitian non-governmental organizations.

…Overall the US had awarded $194 million to contractors, $4.8 million to the 23 Haitian companies, about 2.5 percent of the total. On the other hand, contractors from the Washington DC area received $76 million or 39.4 percent of the total…Others reported that most of these international aid coordination meetings were not even being translated into Creole, the language of the majority of the people of Haiti!…

4. A large percentage of the money went to international aid agencies, and big well connected non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

…The American Red Cross received over $486 million in donations for Haiti. It says two-thirds of the money has been contracted to relief and recovery efforts, though specific details are difficult to come by. The CEO of American Red Cross has a salary of over $500,000 per year…

5. Some money went to for profit companies whose business is disasters.

…Less than a month after the quake hit, the US Ambassador Kenneth Merten sent a cable titled “THE GOLD RUSH IS ON” as part of his situation report to Washington. In this February 1, 2010 document, made public by The Nation, Haiti Liberte and Wikileaks, Ambassador Merten reported the President of Haiti met with former General Wesley Clark for a sales presentation for a Miami-based company that builds foam core houses…

6. A fair amount of the pledged money has never been actually put up.

…In March 2010, UN countries pledged $5.3 billion over two years and a total of $9.9 billion over three years in a conference March 2010. The money was to be deposited with the World Bank and distributed by the IHRC. The IHRC was co-chaired by Bill Clinton and the Haitian Prime Minister. By July 2010, Bill Clinton reported only 10 percent of the pledges had been given to the IHRC…

7. A lot of the money which was put up has not yet been spent.

…Nearly two years after the quake, less than 1 percent of the $412 million in US funds specifically allocated for infrastructure reconstruction activities in Haiti had been spent by USAID and the US State Department and only 12 percent has even been obligated according to a November 2011 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO)…

…The UN Special Envoy to Haiti suggests the generous instincts of people around the world must be channeled by international actors and institutions in a way that assists in the creation of a “robust public sector and a healthy private sector.” Instead of giving the money to intermediaries, funds should be directed as much as possible to Haitian public and private institutions. A “Haiti First” policy could strengthen public systems, promote accountability, and create jobs and build skills among the Haitian people…

I wrote the following on January 25th, 2010, while the Haiti disaster relief TV specials were in full swing…

Thoughts on Haiti aid relief efforts

The issue is that the medical infrastructure in Haiti is not able to keep the survivors living after the initial incident – giving Haiti a fish is providing outsourced medical care from abroad via the USNS Comfort, etc. Teaching Haiti how to fish would be taking the millions of dollars donated to their country and giving it Haitian developers and doctors so that they can build their own infrastructure on foreign stimulus money so that they can be prepared for events like these in the future.

The donations will do nothing whatsoever to help these people if all of it is spent on supplies from American companies and zero dollars are going to Haitian infrastructure – giving millions of dollars to big pharma in America by way of emergency supplies is COMPLETELY IDIOTIC and NOT HELPFUL to the Haitian people – it creates a dependence on American business for survival that enslaves them through economics.

I get the feeling that most people are missing the point, feeling guilty and dumping their money without thinking about the damage they could be doing in sending their money into the wrong hands. There is entirely too much trust in the media doing the right thing in this situation.

What a horrible thing to be right about. I blamed big pharma, but the money actually went to the U.S. Department of Defense and private American developers…

KNOW WHO YOU ARE DONATING TO BEFORE YOU HAND THEM A STACK OF CASH AND PROCEED TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF FOR HELPING PEOPLE. DO NOT TEXT $10 TO ANYONE UNLESS THEY ARE A DIRECT VICTIM OF THE DISASTER.

via CommonDreams.org

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Applied Physics Paragraph (Faculty Lecture Lab)

Sean Tauber
3/18/11
Physics 121

Applied Physics Paragraph (Faculty Lecture Lab)

Unfortunately, I had a chemistry lab so I wasn’t able to come to the
faculty lecture!   What follows is a statement about applied physics…

I think that the events that have unfolded at the Fukushima nuclear
power plant in the last week are an excellent example of applied
physics.  The mechanical process used at the plant is dependent on our
fundamental understanding of physics, which parlays into the chemistry
involved in nuclear fission… water is boiled when it cools a nuclear
fission reaction, which generates steam which spins a turbine that
likely moves a magnet within a coil of wires, generating electricity.
In the crisis itself, the cooling systems failed to continue to pump
water, causing uncontrolled steam and hydrogen gas to put extreme
force on the inner walls of the building, eventually causing the roof
to break apart from the surrounding structure in several of the
reactors.  The response teams are guiding their next moves based on
their understanding of nuclear isotopes and are looking to prevent
risk by tackling the most dangerous problems first.  In planning the
build of the nuclear plant, the earthquake data available at the time
was used in developing the building structure – several physics models
based on the calculations that we have learned in class about basic
mechanics can be used to predict the affect of a shaking earth with
respect to the mass of the walls and density of materials used.  The
fact that these nuclear plant buildings are still standing is a
testament to our understanding of physics.

The fact that Japan lives on a subduction fault has lead to the
engineering of buildings that are safer out of necessity – and without
applied physics and an understanding of the observed behavior of our
natural world, we would have no way to engineer that safety as a human
race.  In a way, living in a dangerous place can lead to innovations
in applied physics due to our desire to save our community from harm,
and it shows itself well in Japan (in the planned swaying of towers
and the tsunami seawalls).  As I continue my engineering education, I
hope to further this pursuit and continue to find solutions to
problems using the tools that physics and other sciences provide to
continue to protect and enhance our quality of life as a global
population.

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Help your students become human

"Dear Teacher,
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.

So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading writing and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more humane." – Haim Ginott, Teacher and Child

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“Desiderata” ~ Max Erhman

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

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Halloween in I.V.

The following is posted on the SBCC internal website for students:
 

Dear SBCC Students:

On behalf of concerned members of the Santa Barbara City College community, I would like to alert you to the potentially serious consequences of choosing to go to Isla Vista this Halloween.

Over the Halloween weekend, nearly three hundred deputies, including some on horseback, will be deployed in Isla Vista to enforce fine and arrest policies that will heighten the risk of some of you leaving Santa Barbara with an arrest record.  Most misdemeanors, such as public intoxication, along with felonies, will mean spending at least one night in the Santa Barbara County Jail. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney is asking for the highest possible fines and anyone under 21 years of age who is arrested for public intoxication will lose his or her drivers license for one year and be placed on probation for three years. Additionally, the California Highway Patrol will establish sobriety checkpoints in the area throughout the weekend.  Law enforcement will not issue warnings for violations observed. Potential visitors should also note that there will be no live or pre-recorded amplified music allowed in public in Isla Vista during the Halloween period, Tuesday, October 26, 2010, through Thursday, November 4, 2010, each evening from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning.  Visitors will not be allowed to park on the UCSB campus or in the surrounding commercial lots or on neighborhood streets, and tow companies are prepared to tow illegally parked cars.

Because approximately 90 percent of those cited and arrested are from out of the area each year, it is important that you be warned about the possible outcome of a visit to Isla Vista during the Halloween weekend.  Safety information can be found on Pipelines "Featured at SBCC" site. This information provides details regarding Halloween weekend law enforcement policies.

I hope that you will consider the risks and possible penalties of going to Isla Vista this year–and then decide to stay away for their own safety and protection.

Sincerely,

 

 

Dr. Ben Partee

Dean, Educational Programs – Student Services

NO MUSIC, NO FUN, YOU WILL GO TO JAIL, YOU WILL BE ARRESTED, OBEY, OBEY, OBEY.

But actually, about 90% of those cited and arrested each Halloween are not from the area – which means as an SB local, there's only about a 10% chance that you'll be cited or arrested – so go ahead and follow through with whatever debauchery you previously had planned – you likely won't get caught!

Much love, Dr. Ben PARTEE!!!WOOOOO!!!

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Perception, Reality, and the Self

There's a subtle hum of electricity in an empty room with a receptionist.  Current empowers fluorescent gases to jump states, emitting the light of excited atoms on to the travertine tiles and dark cherry wood furniture below.  The delicate tapping of acrylic fingernails on keys echoes throughout the large space, reverberating against the aluminum logo behind the head of Michelle — Going the Extra Mile captions the silhouette of a simple figure of a man with his arms extended skyward in victory. Michelle answers a soft digital ring from her phone with the touch of a finger, repeating back an affirmation in a quiet voice before hanging up.  She let's me know with a warm smile that it will be just 5 more minutes before Sandra in HR will be down to see me. I'm sitting in a modern chair against a large picture window.  There are magazines on the coffee table regaling the great outdoors.  The foliage spills in from beyond the glass entryway in the form of indoor ferns, blurring the line between what is real and what is artificial.  Looking up, I see a mission statement on the wall beside smiling faces — Quality, Respect, and Integrity.  I reflect on past work and how it relates to these terms, readying an artillery of anecdotes.  I am prepared.  I am qualified.  I am top-notch, considerate, and honest.  Sandra swings open the large lobby door, breaking the seal between the calm of the lobby and the chaos of the office.  Looking rather frenetic, she transforms her practiced stoic visage into a smile and says, "Hi there, you must be Sean."

I'm not sure how this became my norm.  I find myself dressing as I never dress, thinking as I never think, speaking as I never speak, in foreign rooms with strangers discussing my strong desire to achieve their goals in exchange for large amounts of money that my parents never came close to earning.  I put all of who I am and who I want to be aside in order to achieve some separate goal of being able to buy my free time for activities that I actually want to do.  By not providing for who I am, do I cease to exist?  With all the money in the world, I'd be able to pay someone to meet my every human need — but then by not providing for my own human existence, do I cease to exist?

For me, work is simply exercise in a general direction away from the comfort of where you currently are, the status quo.  I view work as something that I'll always need to do even if every material desire in my life has been met.  I view work as a tool to keep the mind sharp, a necessary chore to keep the brain and body from atrophying in the absence of use.  Work then, is separate from money.  Work sometimes pays off and sometimes it does not.  Sometimes work pays too well and distorts its owner.  As a colleague once said, "It's not what you do, it's what they THINK you do" — this phrase became an obsession and likely forever changed the way I observe the work of others in a corporation, those in the middle class.

To this end, I feel like I have lost touch with the working class.  Reading William Deresiewicz's, The Dispossessed, I remind myself that the world that I interact with in a corporate setting is a very different one from that of the majority of the U.S.  There is indeed honest work in this country beyond the deceit of cubicle walls.  As Deresiewicz discusses his tunnel vision on this topic, he states, "The reason I was so abysmally ignorant about this world that lay all around me — the American working class — was that such knowledge had been withheld from me by my culture" (Deresiewicz 154).  He goes on to blame the media for this narrow view, stating that, "Today's army of cultural commentators, who speak so confidently about the way 'we' live now — the crazy hours, the overscheduled kids, the elite colleges and nursery schools — mistake their tiny world of urban and university-town professionals for the whole of society" (Deresiewicz 155).  Deresiewicz views the world that is around him and the media he consumes as feeding an inaccurate perception of the way that the world works, thus tainting his ability to come to accurate conclusions about the country as a whole.

I know this lack of insight due to lack of constant exposure to be very real.  There is an old proverb that states that, "To a man with a hammer, all the world is a nail."  In other words, there is not one tool to make sense of all of the world, and to prescribe a narrow view to a broad subject is a logical fallacy.  My work in IT as a Help Desk technician, answering phone calls, to that of an upwardly mobile IT Manager working with a small team, made this point clear to me.

As a Help Desk technician, I took calls from folks with IT issues across the country, from Memphis drawl and broken English to quick-talking city slickers of NYC.  Sales people were quick, recruiters were warm, managers were detailed and demanding, regionals were more demanding.  Each of these groups had charm all their own relative to their home towns.  This role built my sense of what American work is, and how Americans compose themselves in the pursuit of money.

As an IT Manager, I dealt with people in other geographies much less, and interacted much more with corporate workers, people who made decisions on behalf of those that lived in these far off locations.  This layer of abstraction weakened my understanding of what was real.  No longer would I hear stories of Memphis branch employees being held up at gunpoint by angry warehouse workers demanding their paycheck; no longer would I support branch staff in Fresno as immigration services break down the front door and demand compliance in order to make an arrest.  Instead, my world consisted of decisions about row colors on spreadsheets and coffee flavors in the break room.  My view of the working world became myopic.  I observed others as they found ways to work less while being paid more, speaking flowery language to disguise personal faults.  Through my interaction with the corporation, I began to attribute all work in all communities across the country as a fractal of the interactions I had with this group of people.  In being paid more to work on a specialty, I effectively limited my worldview to that of a small subset of American life and started to pay more attention to the employed that do minimal or no work, accusing the vast expanse of American workers as being lazy manipulators that do nothing while workers in China do the hard labor of building their sneakers and sweatshirts.

I worked as an ice cream server before working for a corporation – good work meant working quickly to produce a physical product with a smile.  In the "information economy" there is little work with a concrete product.  The customer is frequently someone else within the same company, and the product is, more often than not, trust.  In a corporation, there is an element of corruption of trust in every interaction as earning more money can be frequently achieved by gaining favor with the right person.  It's the focus on gaining favor through communication rather than demonstrable good work that appears to seep into the interview process for these jobs as well.  Regardless of my ability, regardless of what skills I may have, the shot to prove myself is only granted through a surface level conversation, a piece of paper, and a handshake.

The great pay gap between technical work in a corporation and work in food service has caused me great confusion in finding good work today.  I know that work in food service was much more difficult than the corporate life.  Maybe I should be working to escape from the lazy comforts large sums of money provide, even though there is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment in making it.  The feeling of "making it", of being on top makes customer service, managing expectations, manipulating staff pay feel like very important work, even when it doesn't fit my own definition.  My definition may be wrong – I must always be gauging my judgements in the context of my limited sight.  One thing is clear, and that is that the damage done from being a working fake has created a lackadaisical shell of who I once was.  It's clear that work is required to pay myself back for that destruction and provide for my own existence.

Works Cited
Deresiewicz, William. "The Dispossessed." Major Themes for Modern Writers. By Harvey S. Wiener. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. 153-60. Print.

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Found on Reddit: Notice of ridiculous activity sent to Pirate Bay – http://bit.ly/9ydiep

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Breaking News – You Are Fat

1007210: Npr News: 07 – 29 – 2010 3Pm Et by Npr  
Download now or listen on posterous

NPR – Fat.mp3 (431 KB)

NPR has the story.

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Where the Dirty Hipsters Are [vid]

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Postmodern Serfdom and the EULA

Google maps navigation will never come to Palm Pre because Palm and Sprint have an antitrust agreement in violation of law to pressure users to buy subscription services from Sprint.  Sprint’s navigation “service” is “only” $10 a month, which equates to $600 over five years.  Google maps navigation is free and a lot of third party vendors haven’t bothered to make navigation software for WebOS because of this antitrust baloney.

All of the cell phone makers with their locked phones and myriad of plans that tie certain phones to certain plans is criminal.  Even the fact that Sprint advertises “unlimited GPS” on some of its plans is so awful.  GPS is free.  Our tax money paid to put those satellites in orbit and to maintain them.  Yet Sprint offers “unlimited GPS” for a fee.

Then there is “unlimited text messaging.”  Text messaging takes up a 155 character empty space in data packets that none of the carriers have to pay for at all.  A two minute YouTube video is equivalent to about FIVE MILLION text messages.  But the YouTube video is free on your data plan and the text messages will cost you about $250,000 at $0.05 each.

The primary reason this is possible is because Americans are on average as stupid as dead wood.  The second reason it is possible is because there is ZERO meaningful government regulation of industries like this that are using public airwaves — they bought the space and so we can’t use it and with that purchase and right they should be subject to meaningful regulation and that means not tricking stupid impoverished Americans into paying onerous fees for things that are otherwise free like GPS, or text messaging — it’s something that is free to the company and they charge you for — it’s like if Sprint started sending you a bill for breathing.  “We’ve determined that you took approximately 165,000 breaths during this months billing cycle and so we have a breating surcharge.  If you would like one of our Free and Clear Unlimited Breathing Plans, we can let you breathe all you want at no extra charge!”

Sprint doesn’t pay for GPS and they don’t pay for text messaging, but both are major revenue centers for them.  Palm doesn’t have third party VoIP or navigation because Sprint bought off or threatened any third party providers.  The cellular companies are so big that they can dangle a carrot in front of any small software/service company like Skype.  Verizon did a deal with Skype to put it on Verizon phones, but it charges you for Verizon minutes while you are using the application!  The whole thing is a criminal cabal.

The reason there is no enforcement is because the United States government is completely corrupt — both parties.  They’ve been bought off and the average American is nothing but a stupid child and so they can’t even figure out how they are being screwed.  90% of Americans stumble from one catastrophe to another tricked and drained of funds, paying penalties, fees, usurous interest rates, locked into contracts they they don’t know how to read, or in the case of the cellular companies that aren’t even written down.  Cellular companies, credit card issuers and others have contracts that state, “We have the right to change the terms of this contract at any time without notice” and this is supposedly enforceable.  And Americans sign these contracts because they are stupid livestock.

The postmodern landscape is one where people have been reduced to the same status they held in the dark ages — most people are simply livestock, an asset that is fed, occasionally given medicine and exploited to the maximum extent profitable.  Actually, peasants during the dark ages worked shorter hours and probably enjoyed significantly more autonomy than the postmodern middle class because the peasantry wasn’t so closely monitored and managed.  Postmodern exploitation isn’t merely work, it’s everything else that makes people work, which requires that they are contstantly tricked and conned and pushed into situations that take them months, or years to get out of.  When the whole thing is over, there’s death.  Death is when the cons and exploitation stops and not a moment before.  The months leading up to death are when the biggest cons get pulled from nursing homes that distribute brochures with of picture of happy old people dressed in tuxedos at parties.  But inside of those death houses underpaid foreign born nurses lord over the feeble elderly waiting to die.  They push and shout and drug and restrain them to tears and then the poor old man’s own relatives ask him to be sedated for visits so that he can’t scream anymore “please take me home, I want to leave here.”

And this end game is hugely profitable just like text messaging and GPS because even dying isn’t free in America.  It will cost you and your family several hundred thousand dollars to die and in return for the money, they will talk down to you and be quite mean and rude.

whoa.

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