Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I refuse to accept the development model that says, oh, these people are doomed forever, let’s just throw money at the problem

Today Bush held a White House Summit on International Development, or as he called it, “a summit to herald the outstanding work being done to lift up souls in need.”

WHAT POWER TO SAVE LIVES COMES WITH: “We believe that power to save lives comes with the obligation to use it.”

IT DOES SOUND LIKE KIND OF A CRAP DEVELOPMENT MODEL: “I refuse to accept the development model that says, oh, these people are doomed forever, let’s just throw money at the problem.”

WHAT THERE’S NOTHING MORE BASIC THAN: “In the new era of development, America and our partners are helping to meet basic human needs like food and clean water. There’s nothing more basic than food and clean water.”

OR THEY WOULD, IF THEY COULD HEAR IT OVER THE SOUND OF THE POTATO CHIPS THEY’RE EATING: “The American people care when they hear people are going hungry around the world.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “I believe that as the United States moves forward, we ought to purchase up to a quarter of our food from local farmers. In other words, of all the food aid we get we ought to take a quarter of that, Donald, and purchase the food directly from local farmers.”

WHAT LAURA DIDN’T THINK OF: “I want to share with you an interesting program -- for two reasons, one, it’s interesting, and two, my wife thought of it -- (laughter) -- or has actually been involved with it; she didn’t think of it. But she thought of it for this speech.”

That idea? Something called PlayPumps Alliance, in which children are chained to water pumps which they’re told are really merry-go-rounds and that they’re having fun endlessly turning the contraptions and are certainly not slaving away in Dickensian satanic mills. “And as my good wife says, PlayPumps are fueled by a limitless energy source -- (laughter) -- children at play.” Limitless, he says. Those poor, poor children.

TOO MANY PRESIDENTS: “Yet too many people can’t read.”

AN INTERESTING STATISTIC: “For developing nations, the value of trade is 40 times the value of foreign aid. Isn’t that an interesting statistic? What should that tell you?” Er, that the value of foreign aid is one-fortieth the value of trade?

WE JUST NEVER SEEM TO GO ON VACATIONS AS A NATION ANYMORE: “I’m just so sorry that not every American could have been with Laura and me to see what we saw in our trip to Africa last year.” Next summer, let’s all 300 million of us go to Tahiti. I call dibs on that nice spot on the beach by those rocks.

WHAT WE MISSED BECAUSE WE DIDN’T ALL GO WITH GEORGE AND LAURA TO AFRICA LAST YEAR: “Schoolchildren sang songs about America’s generosity.”

CONTEST: What might the titles of those songs about America’s “generosity” be?

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