Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Audit the Fed is back on the House agenda!

The Hill reported that as of Friday, House GOP Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, placed Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill (HR 459) on the House's July agenda:

One of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) pet issues will hit the spotlight this July, as House Republican leaders plan to hold a vote on authorizing a top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve.

The House version currently has 227 co-sponsors. Cheshire's Congressman -- and Senate hopeful -- Chris Murphy is not among them. I already called his office this morning and pointed out to his staff that failing to support transparency during a primary is not the most politically astute move. Furthermore, he already co-sponsored Audit the Fed during the prior Congress. And considering that some liberal Dems, such as Pete DeFazio and Dennis Kucinich, are already co-sponsors of the measure, it behooves Chris to co-sponsor sooner rather than later. The longer he waits, the more opportunity exists for Susan Bysiewicz to issue a press release stating her support for Auditing the Fed... while simultaneously repeating her mantra that Murphy works for Wall Street, Jamie Dimon, the Fed et al. Murphy should become a cosponsor asap. But since he's not already, I encourage everyone who believes in good government to also contact his office to ask him to support HR 459. You can email him here or call him @ 202.225.4476.

Along with HR 459 is the sister Senate bill, S 202. It was introduced by Ron Paul's son, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). S 202 has only 20 co-sponsors at the moment. I understand that all 20 are Republicans, but expect that some pro-transparency Senators, such as Bernie Sanders, will soon be co-sponsoring. In the meantime, I strongly encourage all Nutmeggers to contact our US Senators. You can email Dick Blumenthal here or call him @ 202.224.2823. And you can email Joe Lieberman here or call him @ 202.224.4041.

I doubt Lieberman will support Audit the Fed, but maybe Blumie's got some good-government populist blood in him??

Last, but not least, please considering spreading the word about this opportunity to finally Audit the Fed. There's already an Audit the Fed page on Facebook that you can visit / like / share.

Tim White

A day in the life: The karst of Haiti

Although Haiti's karst is nowhere near as dramatic as the karst of Guilin, China, it's still pretty IMO. The sheer cliffs of Pestel exemplify Haiti's karst. I snapped a few shots on the road to Pestel:

I had hoped to get some better pictures, but the car was moving and the more dramatic karst cliffs were pretty blurry. Tim White

A day in the life: The journey to Pestel

Since first arriving in Haiti, I wanted to visit a small town about four hours to the east of Jeremie... and if possible, jump in a boat and head to the offshore island of Cayemite. I'd seen the Town of Pestel and Cayemite during the flight from Port-au-Prince to Jeremie, but for more than a year I had been focused exclusively on my online classes and had no time to travel. Pestel was beautiful from the air. It contained some of the more dramatic karst mountains of the now-famous Haitian fault line. I had to up close and personal. By March 2012 I found time to join some friends and rent a truck for the group adventure. Our plan was to leave early with the intention of leaving enough time to find a boat, visit Cayemite and return to Jeremie the same day. We set out around 7am.

Here's some of the early morning jungle view as we careened over mountain tops:
Soon after, I snapped these mist-filled scenes during a quick pitstop to check for a flat tire:

Heading down from the mountains, the first coastal town we passed was Corail with its own beautiful port:
The town even offers a written history for visitors:
After leaving Corail, we headed back into the mountains. At one point we encountered a "traffic jam" as someone was clearing the road of debris:

A common scene on this major Haitian highway... the pile of rocks is most likely locally collected rocks that have been placed in a pile for the various construction materials vendors who drive the highway, looking for raw materials.
And at this point, we were heading downhill and began seeing more and more people carrying goods. So it was obvious that we were fast approaching Pestel on market day!
Tim White

Monday, May 28, 2012

The purpose of Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day

Among the many brave people who have served in the US Armed Forces, each person is honored on one of the three days:

Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the US Armed Forces.

Veterans Day is a day honoring armed service veterans.

Armed Forces Day is a day honoring those serving in the five U.S. military branches – the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

A day in the life: colleagues

Some of my colleagues... Philippe, an accountant, wearing a hat I gave him for the annual party... Kah-ni-val or Mardi Gras!
This is Mirleine. Her crutch is a result of typhoid. Running water and sanitation systems have stamped out typhoid in the USA. But due to poverty, Haiti doesn't have such amenities and typhoid still occurs. And while it may be difficult for a disabled American to find work in the USA, you can imagine how difficult it would be to find work in Haiti... where official unemployment runs in the range of 70% to 80%. Thankfully, my boss, Sister Maryann, is a living saint. And as you might expect, Mirleine helps out at the klinik and earns a modest living for her efforts.
And here's Pierre Emile. He's our construction manager. He's fantastic with people and has to be. Although organizing construction projects in the USA will involve many people, such as materials vendors and architects, Pierre Emile's job is a bit different. Our houses are in far flung places that can require a four hour drive, then a four hour walk. And then he needs to meet with the beneficiary and laborers on site. So oftentimes, those conversations can occur when someone is already pretty tired. But Pierre Emile is wonderful at it.I thank all of my 200 or so colleagues for their efforts. Tim White

A day in the life: downtown Jeremie

After I finished my classes last November, I started taking walks around Jeremie. Here are a few pix I snapped. Here's the picture that the Herald ran with their story. I took it outside St. Pierre School, the school we sponsor.
Another shot of the same group of kids:
And here are some pix from atop a hill that's on the edge of Jeremie at the southern side of its bay. If you look at the right edge of the photo, you'll see the pastel orange building near the middle of the right edge. That's St. Pierre School. About another 30 feet to the right and you'd see the beach view that it has. No, it's nothing glamorous. Considering that Haiti is largely deforested, the nearby major river ensures that Jeremie's bay is never Caribbean blue. And considering that Jeremie, as well as Haiti, has not trash collection system, the beach is covered in garbage that gets washed there from the nearby hills. Regardless, I always try to find the bright side to any situation. And if you can get past the garbage and poverty for just a moment, the ocean view from the school is nice.

Tim White

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A day in the life: Easter time Ra-ra bands!

Although most Haitians live in poverty, they do find ways to have fun. A popular happening around holidays is the ra-ra band. They're loosely organized bands that march around their respective towns, usually collecting other participants along the way. Oftentimes, the extras don't play an instrument (often simple PVC pipe), but they bring a flag and wave it around.

Here's one of the neighborhood kids, Richard, with his white flag:
Some members of this ra-ra band put on dresses as part of their act:
Some more of the boys and their costumes, as well as their PVC horns:
Some examples of the colorful costumes for the more "professional" ra-ra bands:

These two ra-ra bands donned their garb for the big ra-ra competition hosted by the City of Jeremie every Easter.

Tim White

A day in the life: road trip to Anse d'Hainault

With some of my colleagues, we hired a driver. Pascal drove us across the mountains of southwest Haiti to his hometown, Anse d'Hainault. In this pic, you can see my successor (Amy, left), Pascal (center) and a nurse (Conni, right):
After a three hour drive, we arrived in downtown Anse d'Hainault:

Though most are poor, Haitians are creative. Here are some kids playing a homemade board game:
When visiting Pascal's childhood home, we met one of his uncles:
Some girls playing jumprope in front of Pascal's family home:
Dried fish is a Haitian favorite:
My colleagues, Amy and Patti, snapping pix of Pascal's family: Tim White

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The beaches of Anse d'Hainault

With some of my colleagues, I jumped in a truck and headed for the end of Haiti's southern peninsula. Our destination was Anse d'Hainault. After a three hour drive, we reached the small town, parked and hiked to the beach:

After swimming for a few minutes, we headed back to the truck and into town:
Along the way, we stopped to check out some very nice beachfront property:

Then reviewed some of the items on the menu for dinner that night:

And eventually headed back to Jeremie, snapping a few shots along the way:
Including one of this air plant: Tim White

A day in the life: Conni Landis to the rescue!

One of the nice things about working with a public health facility is working with nurses. In April, I jumped in a pickup with some colleagues and headed to the seaside town of Anse d'Hainault. On our return trip, we encountered someone who had gotten injured on their bike. So Nurse Conni jumped into action. She cleared out the flat bed, put on her gloves that she often carries with her and cleaned him up:

Despite her valiant effort, as we were leaving she said that she expected he'd still lose his toe. And on a lighter note, while we were stopped I snapped this shot of some locals transporting a bedframe:
And this was the view from where we stopped on the road: Tim White