A spinoff in proper "Rhoda" style of my patented e-mail blastograms, this blog was created with the intention of keeping friends and family updated on and amused by my life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And since I've started

I saw this article and it made me feel a little better about the US. This is what America should be: In a changed New York neighborhood, a hardy few take up Mandarin.

The article is about older residents in Flushing, a NY neighborhood that has become increasingly Chinese in character, taking Chinese classes to help them interact better with their new neighbors. Brilliantly written.

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Developing America

Every once in a while, I see something so outrageous happening in the US that it makes me cringe. Mind you, I've been busy studying for my upcoming exams, so I might be riled and stressed in general, but I stumbled across this article and just couldn't believe my eyes: Challenging Washington's ban on needle-exchange funds.

To summarize: this article explains the history behind a bill that bans federally funded needle exchange program within Washington DC. Because DC is not located in any state, the federal government has control over its budget (even though the elected representative from the district is still not allowed a vote in Congress--unless her most recent attempt to gain one passed, I can't remember. It would be a recent change though). Back in 1988, Congress added a clause that refused funding for needle exchange programs in the city with the caveat that the President could effectively overturn this decision if the Surgeon General proved that needle exchange programs didn't lead to increased drug use. Although there have been many of these studies, Bill Clinton, for whom I have much admiration, never removed this clause. In 1998, the clause was then removed from the appropriations bill. And here I was, ready to launch into a scathing attack on Bush and his support for abstinence-only sex education for USAid-funded projects, and his approach to HIV/AIDS prevention in general. Then I find out it's not his fault (in this very limited instance).

Well, Bill Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself for not trying harder to reverse this decision while you had the chance. And Bush, don't get complacent, absitenence-only sex education equals worst idea ever!

Consider the situation of DC now: "In Washington, with just over half a million residents, 1 in 20 are HIV positive. Its rate of new AIDS cases is 128.4 per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 13.7 per 100,000, according to 2005 data, the most recent available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

But now, some members of congress have finally recognized the completely inappropriate nature of this outmoded/uneducated provision and are trying to change it. I encourage you to contact your Representative and urge them to support Rep. José Serrano's effort to remove this ban!

You can find out how to contact your representative at http://www.house.gov/writerep/.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

More Quotes from the Street

"Don't kiss, don't cuddle, or I'll sting you."
-A 30-something Carrie Bradshaw talking with her mates as she walked down the Strand

"Huh, where'd that blood come from? *slight chuckle*"
-A 20ish guy talking to what appeared to be his girlfriend on the Strand

"Mange le chocolat!"
-A younger French dad talking to his young son in front of the Dali museum. The child had just gotten an icecream cone (replete with a little chocolate 'flakey' treat) and was only licking the top. The father grabbed the cone away from him and started licking round the bottom. The kid started to whine, so he removed the chocolate bit and said the above.

"Only dickheads run into lamposts. You must be one then, innit?"
I kid you not, said by a chavvie mommy in front of Tescos to her 7-y-o son while pushing her youngest in a stroller/pram.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Quotes from the Street

It's funny what you hear when you listen. Which is why I want to start a new section of my blog called 'Quotes from the Street', a compilation of snippets of conversation overheard while strolling around London.

To start us off:

"Any anger I hold towards you is only second to any worry I have for you."
-Middle-aged man on cellphone


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Clinton Forces Pharma's Hands

Well, it has been far too long since I posted to my blog, and I just saw this article in the IHT (Clinton arranges cheaper AIDS drugs) about work that BILL Clinton and his Foundation has been doing to get low-cost AIDS drugs to developing countries. He has negotiated new prices ($695 per annum down from $2000 two years ago, and $1000 this year) by encouraging countries to go generic. Those pharmaceutical companies can complain about breaking international patents all they want--as Clinton said: "No company will live or die because of high price premiums for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may."

For more information on the work that the Clinton Foundation is doing, check out their website. Also, you can see a great speech by Clinton accepting an award at the 2007 TEDTalks and talking about the world's current AIDS situation over at their website.