Who Hates Whom to be published in Japan

Just found out.  I had no idea anyone in Japan even knew the book existed.  Neat.

First time I’ve had something like this happen.  I don’t have to translate or anything — the Tokyo publisher is doing all that stuff.

Still, nihongo wo renshu suru hitsuyou ga arimasu.  (I need to practice my Japanese.)  Arigato!

California Supreme Court on Prop 8

So the state Supreme Court has come to its decision, to wit:

Gay marriage is like a 1920s spitball — illegal unless you did it before the rules changed.

Idiotic we even have to have this discussion.

As the joke goes, gay people should have every right to feel as miserable, trapped, and full of recrimination and grief as straight people.

Btw, one of the most successful spitball pitchers of the 1920s was named Urban Shocker.

Make up your own punchlines.

And now, this important announcement

Thank you for your attention.  I have an announcement to make:

[throat clearing noise]

I can climb another mountain.  I can make it thru the pain.  I can even weather the hurricane.

[another throat clearing noise]

What I cannot do is tolerate hearing those @#$%ing horrible lyrics ever again.

That is my boundary.

That is all. Return to your homes.

And now, this important announcement

Thank you for your attention.  I have an announcement to make:

[throat clearing noise]

I can climb another mountain.  I can make it thru the pain.  I can even weather the hurricane.

[another throat clearing noise]

What I cannot do is tolerate hearing those @#$%ing horrible lyrics ever again.

That is my boundary.

That is all. Return to your homes.

Kiva

You’ve probably noticed the big Kiva thingy on the right side of the page.

Click it and you’ll find yourself at Kiva.org, which is the coolest, fastest, easiest, cheapest way of doing good on for strangers on the other side of the planet I’ve yet seen.

I visit the site almost every day now, and I’m enjoying the process immensely. I’ve made 241 Kiva loans into 41 countries so far this year, and I can’t imagine stopping. Here’s a map generated by Kiva’s site — imagine reaching around the world this easily without even leaving your desk:

Sample Image

Kiva acts as basically an eBay for doing good — a clearinghouse for making microloans worldwide. You browse, you find somebody in the developing world you want to help, you click and send them $25 or $50 or whatever, and they get a loan at a substantially lower interest rate than they could get on the informal market at home. Anybody who has ever tried to pay off a credit card understands what a difference this can make to people working to climb out of poverty. You don’t keep any of the vig — the middlemen all get a teeny piece — but you do get repaid in full more than 98 percent of the time. (Not one borrower on my account has missed a even single payment so far.)

This isn’t giving someone a fish, and it isn’t even teaching them to fish — this is helping people who have been fishing for years to buy themselves a new boat. Plus, you get paid back, after which, you either pocket the money or just keep re-loaning it out.

Since a lot of these loans help whole families or even finance things like clinics that help entire communities, Kiva has made it possible for me to help literally thousands of people on five continents — at near-zero long-term cost.

How frakking cool is that?

It really does work, and in a lot of developing-world situations, it’s arguably better than simple donations, which can cause unexpected economic dislocations. Hand a kid in some countries $25, and you’ve probably bought him a bunch of meals — but you may have also taught him not to be a doctor, if doctors aren’t making a living. But if you and a thousand other people loan the doctor $25 each to open a clinic, the entire village may have a completely different future.

The guy who pioneered the idea, Muhammad Yunus, won a Nobel Peace Prize. Damn straight. The folks at Kiva deserve some kind of medal, too.

Click on over. Give it a try.