Links, 7/20/10

Josh has been sending me some excellent news items – mainly from the nytimes – that cover issues in a nice amount of depth. Three of those items are below:

  • “Afghans to form local forces to fight Taliban” (nytimes, from 7/15; h/t Josh) – this sounds like really good news to me, no matter how big or little the US troop presence in the country is. Afghans need jobs desperately, and need to defend themselves against the Taliban more and more. Also: I don’t particularly put any trust in anything Mr. Karzai has to say, so his initial opposition to any sort of program makes me look at this as a plus.
  • “African Studies Gives Women Hope in H.I.V. Fight” (nytimes, h/t Josh) – from the article – lots of encouraging developments, the behavioral ones pretty striking: In another piece of progress against AIDS, a separate, large study in Malawi sponsored by the World Bank, and made public on Sunday, found that if poor schoolgirls and their families received small monthly cash payments, the girls had sex later, less often and with fewer partners. A year and a half after the program started, the girls were less than half as likely to be infected with the AIDS or herpes viruses than were girls whose families got no payments. The likelihood that the girls would agree to sex in return for gifts and cash declined as the size of the payments from the program rose, suggesting the central role of extreme poverty in sexual choices.
  • Mark Bauerlein, “The Rage Factor” – from the article: For an example, consider this story in The Los Angeles Times.  It profiles the salaries of high officials in the city of Bell, a few miles southeast of Los Angeles.  It has a population of 36,000—median income $40,000, 65 percent of residents over 25 lacking a high school diploma. Here are some annual compensations: Chief of Police $457,000 City Manager  $787,637 (his contract calls for 12-percent annual increases) Assistant City Manager $376,288 City Council members $100,000 (a part-time job)
  • On that note, perhaps the city of Bell should go the way of Maywood (again, h/t Josh) – “A City Outsources Everything. Sky Doesn’t Fall.”

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