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14th January 2010

12:26pm: A series of plugs for Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante:
This is a signal boost for a charity doing important work in Haiti.

From Tracy Kidder's op-ed in today's NYTimes:
At least one has not been crippled by the earthquake. Partners in Health, or in Haitian Creole Zanmi Lasante, has been the largest health care provider in rural Haiti. (I serve on this organization’s development committee.) It operates, in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health, some 10 hospitals and clinics, all far from the capital and all still intact. As a result of this calamity, Partners in Health probably just became the largest health care provider still standing in all Haiti.

Fortunately, it also offers a solid model for independence — a model where only a handful of Americans are involved in day-to-day operations, and Haitians run the show.
From Peter Rothberg's blog in The Nation:
One of the best, Partners In Health, has been operating in the country since 1987, originally to deliver health care to the residents of Haiti's mountainous Central Plateau region. PiH now also operates clinics in Port au Prince and other major Haitian cities. With hospitals and a highly trained medical staff in place, the group is already mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance and supplies to areas that have been hardest hit. Donations to help earthquake relief efforts will be quickly routed to the disaster.
(I don't know where the contradiction in the above quotes comes from. See PIH's own news updates for more details.)

Mark Blumenthal at pollster.com says:
You can make an online donation to Partners in Health on their website. According to this detailed update on what they are doing to help, their "greatest need is financial support."
Disclaimer: I have no connection with PIH.
1:24pm: "Upstate starts at ______ Street"

125th
105th
96th
14th
Houston

All of these have hits on google when you search for `"Upstate starts at" street'.

(I have no idea what the person who said 105th is talking about. I could imagine someone saying 110th, since it's "Central Park North". I figure 105th is a typo.)

I was thinking of the quote "The Midlands start at Tottenham Court Road", from the movie Kinky Boots, and realized I'd heard something parallel said about Manhattan. For people who know London or New York, these are basically equivalent hyperbolic statements. One may even have inspired the other.
9:15pm: S&P lowered its rating on California's debt yesterday; Moody's lowered its rating on Greece's on December 22nd. Here's how their credit ratings stand today:
Fitch Moody's Standard and Poor's
California BBB Baa1 A-
Greece BBB+ A2 BBB+

Californian bond ratings from Bloomberg. Greek bond ratings from Reuters.
Wikipedia has a color coded chart of bond ratings at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investment_grade


Both California and Greece suffer from serious fiscal dysfunction in their own different ways. Both of them are now playing games of chicken with their respective federal authorities, the United States and the European Union.

Greece, I think, has a stronger position with regard to the authorities in Brussels and Frankfurt than California does to Washington. Also, the Greeks are much better at this kind of thing than the Californians, having managed to get themselves into the eurozone in the first place by cooking the books. And they have centuries of practice in driving a sharp bargain.

On the other hand, economically California is a much more important part of the United States than Greece is part of the European Union.

It's going to be interesting to see who blinks first.
11:27pm: bedfull_o_books, earthling177, and tfarrell were watching the Carol Burnett Show's parody of Gone With the Wind, Went With the Wind. As I listened to the characteristically over the top comedy skit from the other room, I was struck by the similiarities between Harvey Korman and Rowan Atkinson, particularly in the latter's Blackadder work.

Never thought of them together at the same time before.
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