Haiti

Just a few minutes ago, I heard NPR’s correspondent in the ruins of Port-au-Prince narrating the scene and talking about how there is simply no food and water there for the millions who survived Monday’s earthquake. I admit I wondered whether I’d be game for such a reporting assignment myself and also what in the world she’ll do for food and water herself (as to the second question, she’s probably being taken care of pretty well by NPR. Hard to imagine doing traditional reporting–staying above the fray to meet deadlines and get stories on the air–amid so many needing help so urgently).

Putting aside the imponderable questions for a second: Give what you can. I just did the Red Cross cellphone donation — texting “haiti” to 90999 results in a $10 donation to the relief effort. It’s a pittance, but apparently millions are being raised this way.

Another imponderable question: What was The New York Times trying to say in its “Haiti” editorial today? I mean beyond the obvious: that the United States has an obligation to help. In discussing various steps our government might take, Bill Clinton’s name comes up:

“Former President Bill Clinton, the United Nations’ special envoy to Haiti, has an opportunity to bring all his skills of leadership and persuasion to bear. If ever there was a time for so gifted and trouble-prone former president to make himself useful, this is it.”  

That second sentence doesn’t scan gramatically or logically. Words got left out that should have been in there, and other words are included that don’t make sense. What does Clinton’s “trouble-proneness” have to do with anything? When I read this in my (West Coast, ink-on-paper version) paper this morning, I thought it was simply something sloppy that was rushed into print. Maybe it is, but it’s also in the online version of the piece. Weird. And off-point, given that the subject is a national disaster just off our shores.

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