March 18, 2005

Friday am, dog sick

Hello blawg fans,

For those of you not following the news, Paul Wolfowitz was nominated to run the WorldBank, a decidedly negative outcome, and the Huskies won their opening round matchup with Montana in the NCAA basketball tournament, a decidedly positive outcome. The world is apparently a mixed basket.

I haven't checked much on the sentiment surrounding the nomination of Wolfowitz here in Ethiopia. Probably, the weekend papers will have a good deal to say. Ethiopia, like much of Africa, is strongly influenced by the decisions of the World Bank. For those of you not in the know, the World Bank lends money to developing countries for infrastructure (dams and roads) and other development activities. Though ultimately financed by private institutions like CitiBank, the World Bank acts as a governmental intermediary assuring private financial institutions that their funds will be reimbursed. (This latter approach came about following the 1960's and 70's when private financial institutions like CitiBank had over-invested in Africa and were on the verge of insolvency when their investments could not be repaid).

Following the crisis of the 70's, the World Bank began insisting that countries make large-scale reforms to their social and political structures as preconditions for loans. Chief among the reforms was the privatization of government services. While this presented favorable circumstances for foreign companies to involve themselves in economic activities previously the domain of the government, it led to some negative consequences for governments and peoples in developing countries. The health sector was badly hurt, as it was privatized, but often had no one to pick up the lost investment (unlike roads which were profitable).

Anyway, back to the nomination of Wolfowitz, I must conclude that this is a very poor nomination. Wolfowitz is a true free-marketer and I have a feeling he's going to renew insistence upon conditional loaning. I feel he will probably also move things away from the growing push for debt forgiveness as well. Both of these are unfortunate circumstances and reflect a narrow world view. At this point, to compete with China, the U.S. (and Europe) are going to have to extend benevolence and real investment to Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. We can't simply hope to suck these places dry while China provides a true alternative of mutual benefit.

Well, food for thought. Bad news here is that my puppy is on the verge of dying. He's really sick. I did a little on-line research to follow-up with something the vet said last time. Looks like Simba has parvo virus. Prior to the 1970's, parvo was strictly a feline disease, but it seems to have jumped species. Anyway, parvo is transmitted through feces and I don't know how many times I've seen our dog digging for and eating the cat's droppings.

It's unfortunate because he's such a sweet dog (I've got a real soft spot for him). What's worse, there is a vaccine, but it requires routine follow-up, at least through the dog's adolesence, and at this point, he's just too sick for a vaccine to do any good. It happened really fast. Yesterday, I really thought he was getting better. This morning, he is practically comatose and is having trouble breathing. My brother-in-law, soft guy that he is, has repeated to me a couple of times that I should take him to the vet. I think it's too late, though. What's more, if he's just going to keep eating the cat's feces, he's just going to get sick again. Sad.

In other news, I had an excellent meeting with the Country Director of an organization where I've been volunteering. Although I really didn't expect much to come of our discussions, other than a simple clarification, it seems there might be some possibilities developing. Whatever the case, I'm on the trail and should be moving towards full-employment in the near future.

Don't fool yourselves - it's damn hard here to break in to work, especially in certain sectors. The jobs are plumb, but the competition is tough. If you don't have a good deal of experience, it really seems you have to prove yourself on the ground - internship, volunteer, etc. After that, you are likely to be hired. I'm glad because I have possibilities coming from a few places at this point (feels like things are proceeding more rapidly). The paper I worked on was such a boon and should help me in pursuing work or at least the first stage of getting work i.e. internship, volunteer.

Well, ciao for now. Not much on the horizon today. Watched "Ocean's 12" last night on VCD. Good movie, but hard to follow the first one. I guess I wasn't that impressed when they "pulled the rug out from under us at the end," because I expected it, even if I didn't see it coming in the movie. Great cast, though, and cool settings.

ken

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