Good morning, folks. I received the second of David O'Meara's two books (I'm still waiting on the first one to arrive) when I got to the house yesterday afternoon, and it's living up to my expectations. Hoo, man, is this guy a poet! You all owe it to yourselves to take a look.
On to more non-personal details:
Absolute statements invite scrutiny, especially when they're backed by - well - nothing at all. So I did some scrutinising, with the following results:One is given to wonder - did Toynbee do any research at all? Or did she just assume what she believed was actually the truth? Given the state of "journalism" today, I'm cynically leaning toward the latter.
"America has by far the most unequal society..."
No it doesn't. Latin American and African countries have the most unequal societies - by far. A quick look at the Gini Index figure (a measure of income inequality) for countries worldwide shows that of the 30 most "unequal societies," only three (Phillipines, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia) aren't in Africa or South/Central America. The United States comes in at number 41, with a Gini index of 40.8, very close to the worldwide average of 39.48.
"... and by far the fattest."
No it doesn't - Pacific Islanders have by far the fattest. Among non-Pacific Islanders, residents of Greece, Jordan, Palestine, Panama, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also fatter than Americans.
"Britain and Australia come next."
No they don't. The following countries rank ahead of England (which has the highest rate in Britain):
Albania (urban), Argentina, Bahrain, Barbados, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico and Paraguay.
"... the Scandinavian countries best of all."
No they're not. Finland is in a statistical dead heat with England (22.5% each). If we define "Scandinavian countries" as Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, and average the obesity rates in those countries, we see that the following countries are slimmer (I have excluded countries where famine and starvation are endemic):
Austria, Brazil, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Looks like oriental countries are actually "best of all" - and, interestingly enough, Denmark ranks third worldwide in "Mortality: Obesity (per capita)," with a rate nearly double that of the US, according to the WHO.
"But the narrower the status and income gap between high and low, the narrower the waistbands."
Again, false. Comparing Gini figures and obesity rates, we find that:
- Brazil is third in the world in income inequality, but has an obesity rate below that of any Scandinavian country.
- Hungary, ranked second in income equality, has an obesity rate just 1.7 percentage points less than that of England.
- Finland - 7th best in equality - has the same rate as England, as noted above.
- The Czech Republic, despite being 6th best in terms of income equality, has a higher obesity rate than England.
- Malaysia, which ranks second in inequality outside of Africa and Latin America, has a minuscule rate of about 6%.
Unfortunately, no statistics are available as to the obesity rate in Belarus, which leads the world in income equality, and therefore represents Polly Toynbee's vision of heaven on earth.
I doff my hat, briefly, to President Bush.And news from my father - who has recently returned from Central Asia - that, thanks to the Bush administration and their pressuring, Christians no longer have to register with the government of Turkmenistan in order to worship.
Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe ? although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.
If the peace holds, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved, millions of refugees will return home, and a region of Africa may be revived.
Latest Music On iTunes