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Please snark responsibly

May 26, 2009

I am lately struggling with the line between sharp critique and sour cynicism. As I sort that out, here are some reading suggestions that will bring out the optimist in anyone…even me:

1. The Teeth May Smile But The Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda, the first book of journalist Andrew Rice. The book comes out today; check back for my official review. Meanwhile, let’s just say it’s good.

(And if you’re one of those people inclined to hop onto the website of some megabookstore to check this thing out, have at it. But if you want to buy it–straight off, or after “looking inside”–please click here and visit the independent bookstore of my hometown, Wheeling WV, where bookstores are like spotted owls. Cons: You can’t fill out an online order form, and you won’t get that Amazon-style discount. Pros: You can call with your credit card and talk to some really nice people, and you can support the writer by ensuring he gets paid full value for his words. Also, no sales tax! Tell them Jina sent you. I don’t get anything out of it, but at least they’ll know why someone from Texas or something is calling.)

2. Josh Ruxin’s Twitter feed. The man is, to say the least, a powerhouse of productivity that puts most of the rest of us to shame.

3. Chrissie Lam’s venture (and blog) Create for a Cause. Lam is leveraging one of New York’s most high-powered industries–fashion–to do some good in the world, bringing together designers’ talents, entrepreneurs’ resources and NGOs’ needs. (And she’s got a great fundraiser going on this Friday, to benefit Gisimba Orphange in Rwanda.)

4. Amanda Taub’s dialogue with Bill Easterly at Wronging Rights, about the perennial problems of do-good-ing–and of indicting it.

5. And this post, from Aid Watch, which suggests that just because the poor don’t have money doesn’t mean they don’t know what to do with it.

And those are only on Africa. Culled from a recent informal poll I took of friends, public servants and others, here are some other demonstrations of dedication, concern and a stubborn determination to find answers to tough (US) problems:

Tom Kamber’s Older Adults Technology Service, which wants to bridge the generational digital divide.

Democracy Prep Charter School, a Harlem school whose pupils are gonna give those Andover kids a run for their money.

Asylum Access, a San Francisco group that helps refugees navigate the bureaucratic behemoth that is asylum in America.

Know others? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about them…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2009 11:12 am

    Hey Jina!
    Thanks for the plug! 😉
    Great seeing you last week! We still need to exchange contacts…
    Hopefully will see you at the event on Friday!
    xo
    Chrissie

  2. May 28, 2009 8:14 am

    I am waiting to get a copy of that book on UG. sounds interesting-the subject. Hope u are great.

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