Murphy’s law

Dale Murphy may have lost the 41st District legislative seat to Republican incumbent Fred Jarrett by a slim margin, but at least he can rest relatively assured that he didn’t fall victim to a system of rampant vote rigging, corruption and shady financing.

This he knows thanks to the work of one of his former students from Georgetown University, Nathaniel Heller. He took Murphy’s class on entrepreneurship and start-ups, then went out and started something up.

That something was Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization that assesses governance and corruption trends around the world. “It’s a great idea, an idea that’s time has come,” Murphy said.

Global Integrity has more than 200 journalists and researchers on the ground in 43 countries, asking questions and collecting data on corruption in countries whose governments don’t necessarily like questions being asked: Russia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to name a few.

The United States scored the best on the 2006 Global Integrity Index, followed closely by Romania, Israel and South Africa. At the bottom of the heap, the most corrupt nations were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vietnam and Yemen. The research is being used by grassroots advocates, supranational bodies, development banks and international investors.

“Shining light on corruption in the world, in the U.S. or elsewhere is a really positive thing,” Murphy said, “and one thing Global Integrity does really well is shine the light.”


On the Net:

D.R. doctor

Doctors educated in the U.S. receive some of the most advanced medical training around. But no degree of technological know-how could have prepared Dr. Greg Engel for what he saw in San Juan de la Maguana, a remote region of the Dominican Republic.

In a rural hospital with rodent infestations and no running water, the orthopedic surgeon at Overlake Hospital and Mercer Island resident operated on congenital deformities and neglected traumas “unlike anything I had ever seen in the U.S.,” he said. On a week-long medical mission to the impoverished island, anesthesia and many medical tools standard to the developed world were nowhere to be found.

“We basically made up every operation,” Engel said.

He and his team of nurses treated one patient whose fractured bone had come out through his ankle in an accident, only to have it put back in upside down. As a result the man had been walking on an infected foot that pointed the wrong way for the past three years. They also straightened out the crooked leg bones that had kept a 14-year-old boy from walking for six years. His father had carried him 25 miles on piggy back to reach the Overlake team.

Not only was this kind of experience doctors can’t get in the U.S., it’s the kind of help rural Dominicans can’t usually get at home.

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