Strong opinions, weakly held

The earthquake

Not sure what to post about the earthquake in south Asia over the weekend. Natural disasters are certainly fresh on my mind, as I just received pictures of fallen trees laying on top of the house where I grew up. As horrible as Katrina and Rita were, these earthquakes were worse. The papers are reporting that in many place, no aid has arrived. Hopefully Americans (and the American government) will be generous in helping Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan cope with the aftermath. Everyone should have their own favorite aid organization by now, and I urge you to give.

This tragedy also highlights the need to give money to these organizations to use where it’s most needed rather than to respond to a particular disaster. Since Katrina, we’ve seen Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Stan, and now the earthquake in Kashmir. Choose a reputable relief organization and let them decide what to do with your money.


  1. Unfortunately, despite their ubiquity, the Red Cross sucks.

  2. I like Oxfam.

    I see where the US is sending $50 mil. Same as the value of Netflix back when…

  3. I gave them a lot of money after Katrina. Do they really “suck”? Which is to say, is there any other national-level aid organization that can react the way they do? My feeling is that any organization at that level is going to have some problems, and that the RC does eventually recognize & correct them.

    I usually give to MSF, because in general I feel there is more human-suffering-relieved per dollar from medical assistance in other countries than here. And I also pay a lot of federal & state taxes that, in theory at least, are supposed to be helping out the neediest here. Unfortunately tax breaks for the rich, killing people in faraway countries, and subsidizing massively-profitable oil companies all seem higher on the priorities list of TPTB. Those of you who can vote might wanna fix that for me, k thx. “No taxation without representation” is just a nice slogan.

    Katrina was more the neighbour-in-need, do-unto-others situation: when the Hayward Fault cracks open and swallows my house, I’d sure like it if my fellow (adopted) countrymen helped us out too. The Red Cross seemed like the best organization to help in that situation. If they just gave the money to people in cash to help them get past the “no money, no possessions, no house” stage, that is okay with me.

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