The good news for the day is that the vile Radovan Karadzic has finally been captured (and, to their enormous credit, by the Serbian authorities themselves rather than by any external/international organization).
While reading the Beeb's report on this and letting out the occasional cheer, I was struck afresh by how normal Karadzic seems -- at least in photographs. I could see him slotting happily into my circle of friends, if only at the nice-chap-I-met-down-the-pub level:
In short, he looks like the kind of guy you might imagine bumping into and having an interesting conversation with -- perhaps even a professionally unsound but highly enjoyable game of pool. Hell, on the face of it, I'd buy him a pint any time. He most certainly doesn't look like the kind of person who'd order, or at the very least condone, some of the worst acts of mass murder Europe has seen in the decades since the end of WWII.
Hm. He appears like the kind of fellow you'd be happy to share a beer with.
American voters might want to think about this one.
Oh, but here's a bit of dimwittedness that's significantly less amusing:
President Bush Eliminates Funding for Reading Is Fundamental's Historic Book Distribution Program Serving 4.6 Million Children
Statement from Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a
statement from Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental:
"President Bush's proposed budget calling for the elimination of Reading Is Fundamental's (RIF) Inexpensive Book Distribution program would be devastating to the 4.6 million children and their families who receive free books and reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 20,000 locations throughout the U.S.
"Unless Congress reinstates $25.5 million in funding for this program, RIF would not be able to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation's youngest and most at-risk children. RIF programs in schools, childcare centers, migrant program, military bases, and other locations serve children from low-income families, children with disabilities, foster and homeless children, and children without access to libraries. . . .
You can read the whole article at http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/
The responsibility is of course not entirely that of people who, for reasons of personal gain, have denied the science connected to global warming: higher global temperatures were not the direct cause of Cyclone Sidr. However, increased frequency and severity of hurricanes/cyclones is certainly a global-warming effect; even though this particular hurricane cannot be attributed to global warming, it is part of a pattern that is.
(This may seem hairsplitting. By way of analogy: if you drop dead of a heart attack, this may not be directly because of your smoking habit. But your smoking habit will have contributed to the other possible causes of your heart attack.)
But enough of the responsibility is attributable to the global-warming deniers and greenhouse-gas-contributors that perhaps they ought to be reminded of this fact.
Oh, yes, but no one's going to do that -- remind them of the fact, I mean -- because it'd be so very awfully rude, don't ya know?
At a personal level, I do not know whether my e-pal Sylvia Mortoza, originally Maltese but now Bangladeshi through marriage, has survived or not. My e-mails have not yet had replies -- there might of course be a million reasons for this, not least that she's got more important things on her hands than checking e-mail, or that checking e-mail is tricksy if there's no electricity. I am hoping. hoping, hoping that she and her family -- including her wonderfully beautiful granddaughters -- are fine. I am not really frightfully in the mood to hear the apologias of our pro-neocon, pro-"balance" media right now.
says the headline over an article by Leonard Doyle in today's edition of the fine UK newspaper The Independent. Here are some pertinent extracts:
An American power company with close financial links to President George Bush has been named as one of the world's top producers of global warming pollution.
. . . it is the enormous carbon footprint of Southern Company – among the largest financiers of Republican Party politicians – which has raised eyebrows. Southern's employees handed George Bush $217,047 to help him get elected, and they and the company have contributed an extraordinary $6.2m to Republican campaigns since 1990.
A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually than Brazil's entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America's dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.
Apart from vague promises by the Democratic presidential hopefuls, there is no pressure on this or any other power company to clean up their act and cut back on CO2 emissions.
Politicians from both parties fear the influence of Southern, which spends huge sums both on lobbying and on political campaigns and is among the biggest power players in Washington. It has seen off numerous attempts to impose controls on the amounts of pollution it pumps out.
The link between massive cash contributions by America's power companies and political arm-twisting in Washington has rarely been put into such sharp relief. Environmentalists have long suspected that President Bush's dogged refusal to sign up to international agreements to control global warming was linked to campaign contributions.
Yesterday's report has finally identified the impact these power companies are having on global warming. Southern, which earned $14.4bn in revenues in 2006, is using its influence to block the introduction of wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy sources on the grounds that it would eat into its profits.
Haley Barbour, one of the main lobbyists for Southern Co when President Bush took office, played a crucial role in persuading him to back away from his original campaign promise to reduce CO2 emissions when he first ran for president in 2000. Mr Barbour is a former chairman of the Republican Party, and was reelected governor of Mississippi last week.
According to Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch, after Mr Bush became president, "he was got at by Haley Barbour, who said, 'Hey, Mr President we didn't elect you to have high energy costs'".
Mr O'Donnell said: "Southern Company Lobbyists treated the president as if he was someone to give orders to and he took them. The upshot is that America's biggest polluters used their chequebooks effectively to block actions to stop global warming." . . .
Since these bozoes are aggressively putting their own fat profits before the welfare of future generations of the human species, they are in effect prepared, solely in order to line their own pockets, to commit mass murder on a scale beyond the wildest imaginings of mere amateurs like Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot. How many people, all over the world, have already died so these turds can add a few extra holiday homes? Sahel, anyone? These criminals should be treated as the murderous scum they are and thrown into prison for a very long time before they have the opportunity to extinguish any more human lives.
Just my sense of it, you understand.