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Bono, U2 and the G8

05 Jul

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Europe’s New Religion

July 5, 2005 | By | 2 Comments





The ironies abound.

We’re starting the day this morning at the Roxy Art House, a beautiful late Scots Gothic building built in 1912. . . that used to be the Lady of Glenorchy’s Church. Today, at the front of the large hall, two stained glass windows depicting the life of Christ still hang. But the interior space is now used as the Angels Cafe where you can order an espresso or capuccino. Or from the bar in the back, you can get a pint, or hard liquor, for just under three pounds.

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The Altar

Here is today’s altar, where we worship at the church of ONE. The congregation is assembled — the activists from the ONE campaign that we travelled with on the plane — are here for a presentation by Richard Curtis, Hollywood director of Notting Hill fame, to show us PSA’s developed for the ONE campaign.

Last night we had the Great Opportunity to attend a showing of Curtis’ latest film . . .something “wonderful” involving “love at the G8.” I kid you not. Sorry. Can’t tell you too much about it; I passed on that one. (Of course, there is Another Opportunity to see it tonight!)

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The Congregation

And here is the congregation, worshipping in Lady Willielma Maxwell’s church. She was a woman born in the late 18th century, who became a widow at the age of thirty in 1771. After becoming impressed with the evangelist John Wesley, “she became convinced that social reform was only possible through ‘methodical’ attention to the intellectual, physical and moral welfare of the dispossessed.” She then began using the vast fortune her husband left her to establish a church to minister to the poor. She died when she was only 44. However, by 1912, her church was “the busiest church in Edinburgh, humming like a beehive.”

Now, we have Live8. . .

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DANEgerus also has the prayful Madonna and insights.

Chrenkoff suggests the real inspiration for the rock stars.

Amy Sherman asks Who are the Poor at Common Grounds On Line

Charlotte Hays, from Inkwell, says aid feeds African despots over at Is Poverty History Yet?

Kerfuffles reports the insults at The 3 Stooges Do Europe.

Visit Open Post at Mudville Gazette. They get it right: Bet your life on it.

Lori Byrd at PoliPundit has an excellent review at Conservatives Have the Rigth Idea on Aid.

The Professor has charts at SCSUScholars. Class is in session, go audit.

The Daily DeMarche says “We don’t want your money- we want your government’s money” at Live 8.

Eric Scheske says, “Yeah, these people will solve Africa’s problems,” at Live 8.

04 Jul

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Richard Branson Responds to the Corruption Question

July 4, 2005 | By | 7 Comments

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On the plane with Richard Branson

Two things are abundantly clear in traveling with Richard Branson and the ONE campaign activists: first, they know they have to address the corruption question; and two, their responses to the question are pro forma because they view the issue of corruption (despite protestations to the contrary) as being somewhat peripheral.

Scott Johnson at Powerline writes about the Live8 phenomenon today and quotes his reader, Julian Biggs, who argues:

Time after time, the TV announcers [covering Live8] reminded us that things are “even worse in Africa than they were before Live Aid 20 years ago!” Clearly, none of them considered this might tell us something about the efficacy of Live Aid and its use of cash to solve problems caused by massive political corruption.

Good point. So why do Branson and Co. treat “massive political corruption” as peripheral?

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Photo op on the tarmac at Heathrow: Bob Geldof, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Branson, Female British rocker, Natalie Imbruglia, Charles McCormack, President of Save the Children

In responding to a question about corruption at yesterday’s press conference, Branson said, with a clearly well-worn joke, that corruption was something like marital affairs — people like to blame men, but “it takes two to tango.”

Much overly hearty laughter at Sexual-Joke-Made-By-Rich-and-Famous-Man.

Foreign companies, he argued, should be penalized if they try to bribe lobal officials. BUT, he emphasized, “a lot of African companies are getting it together on corruption.” Nigeria for example. (Coincidentally, this week saw the launch of Virgin Nigeria, the newest Branson venture.) He argued that it is “quite easy” to blame a lack of investment in Africa on corruption, but that “as a business man, my belief is that corruption is on the decline.”

Branson emphasized that investing in Africa “makes good business sense. It’s not a charity.”

Later, as we walked toward boarding the flight to Heathrow, I asked him if Africa was going to be a focus of his business expansion beyond his investment in Virgin Nigeria. “Yes.” (He stood in line with everyone else to board the plane, greeting all comers very congenially.)

There was one person who seemed to take the corruption issue more seriously: Djimon Hounsou, the Oscar-nominated actor from Amistad and Gladiator, was the first one to raise the issue of corruption, even before the question from the floor. Perhaps not coincidentally, he was also one of the very few actual Africans present. He is originally from Benin, which is in West Africa. He argued that in order to combat corruption, elections in Africa need to be monitored, and the use of aid monies must also be monitored.

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On the tarmac at Heathrow

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a briefing on “What the G8 Must Do on Debt” hosted by the Jubilee Campaign. (As well as trying to avoid rioting anarchists.) This reflects the One Campaign’s call for debt cancellation. Anyone have questions they’d like to have asked? Shoot them to me!

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Challies asks, “What to change the world? Go to church.” Not Live 8.

Junkyardblog has Madonna and the digitus impudicus at Fooling. Thanks to PyroManiac and Challies

USS Neverdock asks,“Looking for justice”, “start a revolution”, “create good government”, are these people seriously talking about, dare I say it, regime change?in Africa, Are You Listening?

WILLisms says, “I have no doubt that Bono is sincere in his concern for Africa, but, watching Live 8, the effort really just missed the point. Millenium Challenge Accounts are what the world needs to get on board with, not awareness for the sake of awareness.” Read more at Certified Classy #5

Digitus says in Recent Articles about Live8 performers that “They were there to reach down and help us help the poor, but meanwhile, backstage they while snarfing up the lobster, caviar, and $14,000 gift bags given for free to the A-listers like Madonna…”

John Detained by Police Here in Edinburgh

July 4, 2005 | By | One Comment

My new blogging buddy, John Aravosis, who is staying in a different hotel than I am, was caught in the riots earlier this evening here in Edinburgh and detained by the police. . .

My family is very pleased that I wasn’t nearby, but (since he is okay), I am planning to give John grief for landing in the middle of the action without me.

More seriously, this level of rioting when the summit doesn’t even begin until Wednesday doesn’t bode well for this city. Pictures on the local news of children sobbing in the streets are heart-breaking.

Riding into the city on the bus this afternoon, we passed a Starbucks with enormous glass windows in the downtown area, and Greg Beals, a globe-trotting journalist on assignment here with NY Newsday, predicted it would be smashed by week’s end . . .

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Enjoy the Covered Dish over at Basil’s Blog

Wizbang asks Will Live Aid End Poverty?

Read David Adesnik (Oxford and UVA) on Oxblog and the Starbucks irony at Letter From a Victim of Starbucks. Frothy.

Two Different Welcomes: Bobbleheads and Cute Kids

July 4, 2005 | By | No Comments

When we touched down in Edinburgh earlier this afternoon, two very different welcomes greeted us: Bobbleheads and Cutie Pies.

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Okay, so the whole kids with flags waving thing was totally staged. But it was adorable — who can resist those rosy Scottish cheeks and the hand-drawn “Welcome to Edinburgh” sign?

Inside the terminal, however, the welcome was a snarky one. The Bobbleheads awaited.

No one ever explained exactly what the Bobbleheads were about — maybe it was all just for laughs? Kind of Disney-esque? John and I stood surveying the scene and debated as travellers vied to get their picture taken with the Bobs. Could have been. . .

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But when I arrived at Allison House, there they were, featured in the local paper — the very same Bobbleheads marching carrying a “Make Poverty History” sign. Something of local celebrities apparently.

Was it meant to be all in fun? Nah.

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The Bobbleheads’ shoes . . .very European.

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Villainous Company says that Live8 is, “a fundraiser in which not one thin dime is going directly to the intended recipients” in The Song Remains the Shame.

In the Agora points us to organizations needing donations through The ONE Campaign.

The Great Separation reminds us that American Out Gives Europe 15 to 1.

04 Jul

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Advice from the Cab Driver . . .

July 4, 2005 | By | 3 Comments

The protestors are already rioting in downtown Edinburgh.

There is a palpable sense of unease in this city that awaits the arrival of the world’s G8 leaders and another Live8 “Final Push” concert Wednesday morning here in Edinburgh.

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Many buildings display banners like this one, “Make Poverty History”

For some reason never explained, our bus from the airport ended up with a bus driver who didn’t know the directions to any place in Edinburgh. As a result, we were all dropped at one central location downtown and we hailed cabs to get to our hotels.

Josh and I were both assigned to Allison House, a bed and breakfast about three miles from the center city. But when we told our cab driver the address, he sighed. Then he replied, “Don’t worry, I know where it is. I just need to think how to get you there.”

Most of the major streets in Edinburgh were closed off. The driver kept trying different routes, only to have to turn and try another. He kept apologizing for driving us in the wrong direction. Our three mile trip ended up taking over half an hour, maybe more.

Everywhere we looked were policeman. At several intersections, a row of police cars blocked off the street.

We also saw some protestors, but most looked silly — one young man had pink tulle wrapped around his neck; his female companion had on what appeared to be a skirt made of aluminum foil — rather than threatening. Others just looked like punks spoiling for a chance to rumble. One kid looked to be only a little older than the Dude (who is only ten), but he was already smoking and had multiple body piercings. The scowl on his face said, to me at least, “I’m worried about Africa’s debt repayment.”

Finally, the hotel. As I handed the driver some pound notes, he glanced at the “US Media” badge still hanging around my neck and said:

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Allison House

Oooh. And one moor thing. Doan tell them you’re American.

Instead, he suggested that if we went out to dinner or into the city, we should say we are Canadian.

That way, we’d be safe.

“And have a good stay!”

Richard Branson Press Conference

July 3, 2005 | By | No Comments

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Charles McCormack, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Branson and Jamie Drummond

Running for the plane. Highlight from the press conference.

Jamie Drummond, executive director and co-founder of DATA (who looks and sounds just like Ewan McGregor), said that the ONE Campaign is becoming “like the NRA for the poor.”

Everyone laughed, and Richard Branson responded, “or like the AARP. . .”

Much more later. Both Djimon Hounsou and Richard Branson addressed the corruption issue extensively.

On to Edinburgh. . .

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Live8 and G8 coverage continues…

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Feld Thoughts on Live8 and Pink Floyd.

Live8 and more at Joho the Blog

Culture Vulture has impressions of Live8

The OfficeWebLog has analysis.

Mudville Gazette does it all at Open Post.

03 Jul

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My Travelin’ Peeps

July 3, 2005 | By | 2 Comments

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With Josh Trevino on the left

and John Aravosis on the right

So I just couldn’t resist writing “Josh on the left and John on the right.” Because that exactly reverses the general viewpoints of my new travelling buddies, Josh from Redstate.org and John from Americablog.com

Frankly, right now the guys are busy hanging out with Melissa Fitzgerald, otherwise known as C.J.’s secretary on West Wing. . . check their blogs out for the pics of them with her — I took them. For me, I’m holding out for the pic with George Clooney. . .

More later: press conference is starting in 5 minutes, so I’m dashing. The plane takes off at 7, so I’ll try to report back to you, after the press conference if there is time.

Come back soon for more on LIVE8 and the G8 and Bono…

A Word From Our Sponsors

July 1, 2005 | By | No Comments

Your Audacious blogger is attending the G8 Summit with the generous support of a number of sponsors:

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Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic has donated the air transportation.

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The Hewlett Foundation is providing lodging and on-the-ground transportation.



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DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) is providing logistical support and coordination.

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And can’t say it enough: big thanks to John Hinderaker of Powerline, the vector for helping to bring bloggers, and me, aboard.

# # #

01 Jul

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Packing My Bags for Bono-Blogging!

July 1, 2005 | By | 6 Comments

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Reasoned Audacity is headed on the road. . . with U2 to the G8 Summit!

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Bono, lead singer, U2

On Sunday, I’ll be meeting up with Josh Trevino of Redstate.org, Steve Beard of Thunderstruck.org, and John Aravosis of Americablog.com, to join Bono, U2 and the Live8 crew to fly to Gleneagles, Scotland for the G8 summit. . .We’ll be there covering the summit all week long.

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My passport is ready, I’m triple-checking the modem, and the camera is packed, so that I can send you minute-by-minute, live reports of the policymakers, the activists, the demonstrators, and the rockers — all on the spot and behind the scenes.

A huge thank you to John Hinderaker of Powerline who has been working with the Live8 and DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa) people to make this trip possible!

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Shakespeare’s Sister always in touch with BlogWhoring.