helping site

Too many miles

Have more frequent-flyer miles than you know what to do with? Well, transfer some to me! I’ve got to get back to the islands!
Seriously, if you have more miles than you think you’re going to use any time soon, here are some web sites that might be able to help: up to 80 charities accepting point donations from 17 different airline programs trade in your miles, buy yourself an Iced Mocha Frappicino Grande. Or a new jacket.
Mileage Plus: 10,000 United miles = 100 downloads from Sony’s music service. Someone ping me when it works with iTMS.
[Via the 29 July 2005 edition of The Week, which got it from Real Simple.]

helping politics rant

Geldof and friends miss the mark

I am quite proud to say I did not watch a single second of the incredibly vapid, colossal waste of time and public airwaves that was Live 8. Rick Moran, on the other hand, did watch it, and gets what Geldof and crew do not:

The idea that “raising awareness” of Africa’s plight will save starving children is absurd. In order to save those children, you don’t have to snap your fingers, what you need is wholesale regime changes in 2 dozen or more countries where governments use starvation as the weapon of choice against rebelious populations. Africa’s problem is not lack of food. It is not a lack of arable land, or water resources, or agricultural know-how (they’ve been farming in Africa since before the Egyptians got themselves organized). At bottom, Africa’s problem is, well, Africans. Embracing the socialist doctrines of the old Soviet Union and Cuba during the 1970’s and 80’s, the grandiose schemes and huge development projects undertaken with some of the $220 billion in western aid that has gone to the continent since the 1960’s proved to be boondoggles of the first magnitude.

Dam building for electricity that nobody needs or can use is just one small example. What isn’t known and probably can never be calculated is the out and out theivery of aid funds by African leaders, their families, their extended families, their cronies, and the western companies who are forced into kickback schemes in order to win contracts with this human daisy chain of graft and corruption.


Which makes Live 8 about as relevant to helping solve Africa’s problems as the activities of the masked anarchists who are gleefully running around Edinburgh smashing windows and torching automobiles as if to prove the efficacy of corporal punishment denied them when they were children.
All something like Live 8 does is alleviate whatever guilt those who organize and participate may be feeling about the problem. Personally, I’m making a difference in Africa, one child at a time. His name is Emmanuel, he lives in Tanzania, and though he is five years older, he shares a birthday with my son.
I don’t share this to get a pat on the back; I share it to say you don’t need a bunch of celebs cavorting on stage, “raising awareness,” to personally make a difference. Not to mention that Geldof and crew would never tell you about Compassion, World Vision, the Barnabas Fund, Mercy Ships, or myriad other organizations which have been making a difference for years.
How many meals could be provided, through organizations already on the ground, by the multi-carat diamond necklace Madonna was wearing, if she weren’t so busy flipping off the world? Angelina Jolie aside, when was the last time any of these spoiled celebrity brats spent time helping in a refugee camp? They are the ones with the supposed influence, and certainly the funds, and the best they can come up with is a concert to “raise awareness”? Let’s see Geldof, Madonna, McCartney, and the rest put their money where their mouths are.
[A wave of the fin to Jeff for pointing to Rick’s post.]


WalkAmerica 2005

It’s that time of the year again, when I pimp my readers for donations to a worthy cause. At the end of this month, my wife and I will be participating in the annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica in Dallas. We’ve both registered to raise money for the event, so I’m asking for donations, which you can contribute by going to my WalkAmerica web site.
Our son, now a healthy 20-month-old toddler, was born 9 weeks premature and spent 6 weeks in the Neonatal ICU. During that time, we witnessed the good things done by the March of Dimes first hand. We’d appreciate any support you can give to this great event. Thanks!