Monday, December 19, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Bono gets Time to forgive subscriber debt:
Bono, the rock singer named as one of Time magazine’s Persons of the Year for his success at getting the developed world to give up on collecting billions in third-world debt, today said he had pressured Time’s parent company into forgiving the debts of its magazine and cable subscribers, as well as those who have purchased anything with “just three easy payments.”
Bono said he’s still negotiating with Time Warner’s major shareholders in an effort to get them to forgive company executives for the disastrous merger with AOL.
It's ScrappleFace, but is "Bono" a tool or what? And while we're on the subject, author Paul Theroux had some fun with the poseur last Thursday in the NY Times - The Rock Star's Burden:
There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment. If Christmas, season of sob stories, has turned me into Scrooge, I recognize the Dickensian counterpart of Paul Hewson - who calls himself "Bono" - as Mrs. Jellyby in "Bleak House." Harping incessantly on her adopted village of Borrioboola-Gha "on the left bank of the River Niger," Mrs. Jellyby tries to save the Africans by financing them in coffee growing and encouraging schemes "to turn pianoforte legs and establish an export trade," all the while badgering people for money.

It seems to have been Africa's fate to become a theater of empty talk and public gestures. But the impression that Africa is fatally troubled and can be saved only by outside help - not to mention celebrities and charity concerts - is a destructive and misleading conceit. Those of us who committed ourselves to being Peace Corps teachers in rural Malawi more than 40 years ago are dismayed by what we see on our return visits and by all the news that has been reported recently from that unlucky, drought-stricken country. But we are more appalled by most of the proposed solutions.
When Malawi's minister of education was accused of stealing millions of dollars from the education budget in 2000, and the Zambian president was charged with stealing from the treasury, and Nigeria squandered its oil wealth, what happened? The simplifiers of Africa's problems kept calling for debt relief and more aid. I got a dusty reception lecturing at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation when I pointed out the successes of responsible policies in Botswana, compared with the kleptomania of its neighbors. Donors enable embezzlement by turning a blind eye to bad governance, rigged elections and the deeper reasons these countries are failing.
Much more by following the link. You can see why the three amigos would appeal to the crapweasels at Time for "Man of the Year."