A pleasant antidote for cynicism and your feel good story of the day.
Christmas 1997 we spent the holiday at my father-in-law's farm in Araçuaí, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The day after Christmas, my brother-in-law invited several of us to visit a friend of his who managed a lithium mine. We took a a tour of the mine, descending to a little more than 200 meters.
The mine had three shifts a day and the woro only stopped on Christmas and New Years Day. It was hot, humid to the point of being difficult to breath (I grew up in Miami, FL without airconditioning and this was much worse), had an unpleasant small and was filled with dust. We wore goggles, earplugs, earmuffs, boots, etc, but it was still deafening. It was steady work in a poor part of one of the richer states in Brazil; a state whose name means General Mines.
I left the mine with the following conclusion: given the risks and the conditions in which they work, you cannot pay miners enough and I don't ever want to enter a mine again.
That makes me all the more happy about this. I also agree with Marc here. I long for the day that as much attention is given by the MSM to Chile's election this year as was given to this story and the earthquake in Chile. The same goes for Haiti, also facing an election shortly. The only time it seems to have come up recently was when Wyclef Jean announced his candidacy.
We all deserve better.
I had a sense of dread the last month regarding Richard because I hadn't seen his posts or comments in a while and knew he had been on a downslide. He'd been a fixture at several blogs as a commenter, in addition to his regular posts here. His trademark was incisive commentary rooted in a deep reading of history and literature. He was opinionated but, more than opinion, he was informed and analytical. Richard's knowledge of history was prolific. Here's typical "richard locicero" in response to a short Dean Baker piece in American Prospect about public investment in rail systems from about a year-and-a-half-ago:
My great friend, Steve, passed away a week ago. He was a brilliant physician and a genuine treasure as a man, a father and a friend. Some wonderful tributes have been posted on the web. Check them out here and here for some rare inspiration. My feelings for him are very deep and personal, but these are the kinds of appreciation for a life lived well and true that are worth sharing as a show of love and an example for the rest of us. The world is poorer for his loss but a much richer and finer place for his having been here with us.
One of my closest friends - a friend of over 40 years - passed away last night. Among other passions we shared, we were both Dylan fans early on. I won't go into deeper personal details here, but this is for you Steve, my dear pal. Thank you for your generous spirit and great heart.
Last night I was privileged to attend a screening of some Frontline World short documentaries that deal with "social entrepeneurs" around the world. Two of the highlights among the stories: a South African former ad exec, Trevor Field, who's devised the "play pump", combining a children's merry-go-round with a well and pump to vastly improve and simplify access to fresh water in remote villages - and Luis Sarazan, conductor of the Paraguay National Symphony, who has set up a "network for social change", organizing orphans, street children and other poor kids into music schools that are at least as much about bringing hope into their lives as teaching music.
You can access these stories and the videos at the Frontline World web site, which has a huge archive of excellent global journalism. The Play Pump is HERE and maestro Sarazan and his kids are HERE. Check them out. They'll brighten your day.
Here's a little cherry to top off Randy's "Blue Monday" music potpourri....
B.B.King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck jamming together on "Sweet Little Angel".