economics

links I like - 07-10-12

links I like - 07-10-12


Here are a few articles I read this week that I thought were worth sharing. Please enjoy..

Leadership Lessons from Dwight D. Eisenhower #3: How to Make an Important Decision, via the Art of Manliness blog. A great behind-the-scenes story of the events leading up to the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. The circumstances and decisions President Eisenhower had to make are not for the faint of heart.

Evernote - Hidden Secrets of a Real Estate Power User, by Chris Butterworth on the PhoenixRealEstateGuy site. I had a chance to write a guest post about using Evernote more effectively..

Work the Plan, by Chris Brogan. I wrote "results achieved thanks to the process" awhile ago, and it's probably not a coincidence how often I'm finding other successful people sharing the same view. If you want to get something done, just do it. But if you want to have long-term success, you need to make a good plan and then execute that plan day in and day out. And if you miss a day, get back on the plan tomorrow.

How Much Do Football Wins Pay Off for a College?, via the Freakonomics blog. Another study, another positive result that a winning football program brings in additional money and raises the academic standard for a university. So, here's to Rich Rodriguez having lots of success at Arizona!

Primal Road Trip: Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy While Traveling, a guest post from Steve Kamb on Mark's Daily Apple. I'm not fully "primal", and I'm not a strict Paleo Diet eater, but this post has some great ideas for staying ahead of the game on your summer vacations and road trips - definitely worth a read.

Happy Reading.

-Chris Butterworth

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Mexican Drug War victimizes Tarahumara Indians

Mexican Drug War victimizes Tarahumara Indians


This is sad, really sad. And it pisses me off in a big way. If you've read Christopher McDougall's best selling Born to Run, you'll know why.

The Tarahumara Indians, an indigenous tribe living in the mountains and canyons of the Sierra Madre in northern Mexico, might be the most peaceful people on the planet. They're incredibly poor by western economic standards, yet they live rich lives filled with caring, helping, "karma", and pure enjoyment from running. They are said to be the best ultrarunners in the world. 

Now the Mexican drug cartels are coercing the Tarahumara to use that ultrarunning prowess to run (literally) drugs across the border into the United States.


From the article "Mexican Drug War's Next Victims: Tarahumara Indian Runners" (partially included - click link to read the full article):

Until recently, the Tarahumara have been partially protected by the fearsome geography of the region they inhabit— the Sierra Madre mountains. The terrain here is psychedelic: plinths and boulders and impossible overhangs. The canyons stretch down more than a mile, though the Tarahumara navigate the cliffs as easily as staircases. But in the past decades, ranchers, miners, loggers, and narcos have moved ever closer into traditional Tarahumara enclaves. One of the last travel books to chronicle the region was the acclaimed God's Middle Finger, published in 2008 by British writer Richard Grant. It describes a run-in with armed thugs, then closes with this thought: "I never wanted to set foot in the Sierra Madre again."

  



Exacerbating the situation is what -locals say is the worst drought in 70 years. Even in the best of times, many Tarahumara live on the edge, tilling just enough to survive. Now farmers can't get most food crops to grow, and last winter an unusual cold spell killed off much of what they did plant. That's left the Indians desperate—and easy prey for wealthy drug barons looking for mules to take their product north.

"You get a guy who can go 50 miles with almost no water ... they've been indirectly training for [cross-border smuggling] for 10,000 years," says McDougall, author of Born to Run. "It's just tragic and disgraceful. This is a culture that has tried its best to stay out of this mess, all of these -messes—the messes of the world—and now the messes have come and found them."

"I can't even weigh the cultural impact of what the drug industry is doing to the Tarahumara," says Randy Gingrich, an American based in the city of Chihuahua for 20 years. He spends much of his time in the Sierra Madre and his NGO, Tierra Nativa, battles threats to the Tarahumara and other Indian tribes from miners, loggers, drug dealers, and the occasional tourist scheme. He says one former drug baron once forcibly evicted Tarahumara from their ancestral homes so he could build a giant Astroturf ski slope overlooking the 6,000-foot Sinforosa Canyon. The project fell through when the trafficker died in a plane crash.

In the town of Guachochi, a Tarahumara woman named Ana Cela Palma says she knows four Indians who have become "burros" and made the trek up to the U.S. for the cartels. None was paid what they were promised, she says. "They make it back, but in really bad condition," she says. They were broken down physically, impoverished, and angry, she says.

*Note - thanks to Christopher McDougall for sharing this story on his blog.

-Chris Butterworth

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