April 13th, 2007

Chris Keeley

The scandal centers on the pay of people around Paul Wolfowitz, the World Bank president. Kevin Kell

The scandal centers on the pay of people around Paul Wolfowitz, the World Bank president. Kevin Kellems, an unremarkable press-officer-cum-aide who had previously worked for Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, pulls down $240,000 tax-free -- the low end of the salary scale for World Bank vice presidents, who typically have PhDs and 25 years of development experience. Robin Cleveland, who also parachuted in with Wolfowitz, gets $250,000 and a free pass from the IRS, far more than her rank justifies. Kellems and Cleveland have contracts that don't expire when Wolfowitz's term is up. They have been granted quasi-tenure.

Then there is the matter of Shaha Riza, a long-standing bank official who is Wolfowitz's romantic partner. She went on paid leave (seconded to the State Department) after Wolfowitz arrived; her salary has since jumped from $133,000 to $194,000. When questions were first asked about Riza's rewards, a spokesman declared that the matter had been handled by the bank's board and general counsel, implying that the bank president himself had not been responsible. But the truth was that Wolfowitz had been closely involved, as a contrite Wolfowitz admitted yesterday.

Treating an anti-poverty institution this way would look bad under any circumstances. But the scandal is especially damaging to Wolfowitz because his leadership had generated questions already. He has alienated the staff by concentrating too much power in the hands of Kellems and the abrasive Cleveland; he has alienated shareholders by presenting half-baked strategy ideas; he has alienated borrowers by blocking loans, sometimes capriciously. Moreover, Wolfowitz has made the battle against corruption his signature issue. He of all people should have thought twice before sanctioning exorbitant pay for his entourage.

After Sept. 11, Wolfowitz's predecessor, James Wolfensohn, seized on the attacks to drive home the point that the fortunes of the world's rich depend on the fortunes of the world's poorest. In good times an invisible wall seems to divide the two, but the terrorist attacks demonstrated how this divide could be spectacularly breached. "There is no wall," Wolfensohn insisted.

Now, five years later, the United States is walling off its southern border and the aid boom is over. And where is the current World Bank president? Fending off calls for resignation.

Chris Keeley

Xeni in Africa ....

West Africa: three fresh posts from the road.

Benin: Hotel room radio with email indicator

(1) Benin: vintage hotel radios with email indicators

I have encountered these handsome, clunky old analog radios in hotel rooms throughout Benin. Each of those numbered buttons is supposed to give you a different radio station (usually only one or two kinda work, if you're lucky). The slider thing (often missing) is volume. I do not know what that input jack is for, presumably headphones.

But the best part of this is the little envelope icon, with an associated red light.

I like to imagine that this is an email indicator.

My red email status light hasn't lit up yet, but perhaps that's just because nobody in Africa wants to send email to my hotel room radio.

Link to full text and photos.

(2) Sourcing "Africa's a continent. Not a crisis."

Regarding the unattributed title of yesterday's post, "Africa's a continent. Not a crisis" -- Ethan Zuckerman wrote it. He explains,

"That's me, I'm afraid, from Link. The paragraph it comes from, more or less..."

"Africa's not an issue. It's not a cause or a problem. It's a continent - a complicated, confusing, beautiful continent, with wealth and poverty, peace and strife, success and tragedy. When Africa becomes a cause, we tend to see only one side of the continent - a helpless, dependent, starving side that "needs our help"."
"The post was written during debate over the Bob Geldof Live8 nonsense - the event caused a huge debate in the African and Afrophile blogging community and this was my response to the tendency for the event to blur all the problems and hopes of the continent into a single word."
Link to full text of post.

(3) East Africa: Photoblogging aid work in Kenya. Link to post.

(4) Ghana: eat Shitto. Link to post.


Chris Keeley

(no subject)

Drawn To The Edge at Adam Baumgold Gallery. "...This group drawing exhibition of 41 artists will focus on two distinct drawing styles - 'all over' drawings that cover the entire page many times without a central motif, and drawings that deal with the edge of the sheet as a means of cropping or expanding the image.

http://www.adambaumgoldgallery.com/drawn_to_the_edge/drawn_works.htm



TONY FITZPATRICK
"The Night Parade,"2007
Drawing collage

Chris Keeley

Wolfowitz directed personnel officials to give Shaha Riza, his longtime companion, an automatic "out

Wolfowitz directed personnel officials to give Shaha Riza, his longtime companion, an automatic "outstanding" rating and the highest possible pay raises during an indefinite posting at the State Department, as well as a promotion upon her return to the bank. 

Wolfowitz Apologizes For 'Mistake'
At World Bank, Boos Over Pay for Girlfriend

By Karen DeYoung and Al Kamen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 13, 2007; A01

 

World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz publicly apologized yesterday for the "mistake" of personally orchestrating a high-paying job and guaranteed promotions for a bank employee with whom he is romantically involved, as new details of his role in the arrangement emerged and staff members angrily demanded his resignation.

Wolfowitz attempted to address about 200 staffers gathered in the bank's central atrium but left after some began hissing, booing, and chanting "Resign. . . . Resign." He had approached the gathering after holding a news conference in which he said, "I made a mistake for which I am sorry."

Bank insiders confirmed reports from the bank's staff association that Wolfowitz directed personnel officials to give Shaha Riza, his longtime companion, an automatic "outstanding" rating and the highest possible pay raises during an indefinite posting at the State Department, as well as a promotion upon her return to the bank. The Financial Times reported portions of the agreement yesterday.

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Chris Keeley

The transfer and a subsequent raise eventually took her to a pay of $193,590 from $132,660, tax-free

The transfer and a subsequent raise eventually took her to a pay of $193,590 from $132,660, tax-free because of her status as a diplomat, and exceeding the salaries of cabinet members. “In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations,” Mr. Wolfowitz said.

“I made a mistake, for which I am sorry,” he added, pleading for “some understanding” of the “painful personal dilemma” he faced when he left the Pentagon to become bank president. Mr. Wolfowitz said he had been seeking to avoid a conflict of interest by having Ms. Riza, with whom he had a personal relationship, transferred from his supervision.

World Bank

Shaha Riza, shown in 2003, is still on the World Bank payroll

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21297726~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

Turmoil Grows for World Bank Chief 

Statement and Documents Released by the World Bank’s Executive Board (worldbank.org)


WASHINGTON, April 13 — The World Bank’s executive board said today it plans to move quickly to decide what action to take regarding its president, Paul D. Wolfowitz, who apologized Thursday for his role in giving his girlfriend, a World Bank employee, a raise and transfer.

On Thursday, the World Bank’s 24-member executive board, the body that elected Mr. Wolfowitz to the job after he was nominated by President Bush in 2005, held hurried meetings amid mounting speculation that it might reprimand Mr. Wolfowitz or ask him to resign.

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Chris Keeley

Oxfam: Boycott on Palestinians Leading to “Devastating” Crisis

Australian PM Calls for Ban on HIV-Positive Immigrants, Refugees
In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard is stirring controversy today after calling for a ban on HIV-positive immigrants or refugees from entering the country. Howard said HIV should be compared with tuberculosis even though tuberculosis is airborne and contagious while HIV is only transmissible.

Lawyer: RNC Lost 4 Years of Rove E-mails
Back in the United States, new details are emerging in the growing controversy over the White House’s claim to have lost dozens of e-mails sought in the Congressional investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The Washington Post is reporting a Republican National Committee lawyer now says the RNC is missing at least four years’ worth of e-mails from senior presidential adviser Karl Rove. Democrats have accused Rove and other aides of improperly using their private RNC e-mail accounts to avoid leaving a paper trail in the attorney firings. On Thursday, Senate Judiciary chair Patrick Leahy blasted the White House claim to have lost the e-mails.

    Patrick Leahy: “They say they have not been preserved. I don’t believe that! Those e-mails are there; they just don’t want to produce them. We’ll subpoena them if necessary. You can’t erase e-mails, not today. They’ve gone through too many servers. That’s like saying the dog ate my homework.”

World Bank Staffers Call on Wolfowitz to Resign
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is embroiled in a scandal

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Chris Keeley

Mr. Penn has donated 35 of the portraits + The current record for a Basquiat is $5.5 million

67 portraits of artists, writers and musicians, by Irving Penn, taken from 1944 to 2006. +

The current record for a Basquiat is $5.5 million

Postcards by Irving Penn Find a Home at the Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum has acquired 67 portraits of artists, writers and musicians, by Irving Penn, taken from 1944 to 2006.

“These are all figures who are represented in our collection,” said Charles E. Pierce Jr., director of the Morgan. He added that the Morgan had been thinking of ways to incorporate photography in its growing 20th-century collections without forming a comprehensive photography collection, which he said would be not only expensive but also unnecessary, given the rich holdings at local institutions like the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

Mr. Penn has donated 35 of the portraits; the rest were purchased directly from him. The photographs also dovetail with other acquisitions the Morgan has made over the last decade, including the Carter Burden Collection of American Literature and the archives of The Paris Review and the Pierre Matisse Gallery.

Among the subjects in the collection are Picasso, O’Keeffe, Dalí, de Chirico and Giacometti, as well as writers including Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, and musical figures including Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein and Aaron Copland.

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Chris Keeley

Riza's salary grew to $180,000, up from the $132,600 she had been paid at the World Bank. She recent

Riza's salary grew to $180,000, up from the $132,600 she had been paid at the World Bank. She recently got another raise, to $193,590, putting her ahead of the secretary of State, who earns $186,600.

In it, Wolfowitz said that when he came to the bank, he "raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest" because of his relationship. He said that he asked to be recused from personnel considerations regarding Riza but that the bank's ethics committee advised him "to promote and relocate" her.

The pay-raise controversy stems from what he acknowledges is his romantic relationship with Shaha Ali Riza.
Chris Keeley

Stephen Shore is a prominent photographer and photographic educator. A pioneer in the field of color

Stephen Shore is a prominent photographer and photographic educator. A pioneer in the field of color photography, Shore has published numerous books of photography, included his seminal book, Uncommon Places, published in 1982 (reissued in 2004). He has also been director of the photography program at Bard College since that same year. 
http://www.bigredandshiny.com/cgi-bin/retrieve.pl?issue=issue61&section=article&article=STEPHEN_SHORE_88934

interviews, the first one with Stephen Shore, the other one with Wolfgang Tillmans.


Cover to the reissue of
Cover to the reissue of "Uncommon Places" by Stephen Shore, published by Aperture in 2004.