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Posts Tagged ‘India

What Will it Take For Us to Get Serious About Global Warming? Serious Global Warming

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hope y'all like swimming

hope y'all like swimming

Let’s start with a little history of something totally unrelated. Cigarettes.

Smoking and global warming have very little in common, except this. They both show that human beings are not too great at getting a message. It was in the early sixties that a definitive link was made between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. And yet here we are forty-five years later with people dying in their droves the world over. Sure, communication is better than ever, as are the scare tactics, let alone the evidence, but cigarettes are still a very profitable business.

There’s only one reason for that, and it can be summed up in a few very simple words. “It ain’t gonna happen to me”.  Humans are eternal optimists. Half a million people a year are dying of smoking-related diseases each year. But it ain’t gonna happen to little old me. Right.

Now let’s take global warming. For years a vast preponderance of experts have been telling us that global warming is coming. Only a few days ago, the Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) said that they’d got it wrong in their earlier reports which they pretty much said were politically watered-down to make their recommendations even remotely workable. Turns out that they’d figured we’d be more energy efficient by now, and stop with our coal addiction. But efficiencies flattened out and coal is now the fossil fuel du jour for China and India. Their forecasts for serious global warming just got way more dire. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Brown Is Back!

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scotland the brave

It was British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson who coined the term “A week is a long time in politics”, and while Gordon Brown’s astonishing turnaround as British Prime Minister has taken a little longer than that, it has been truly remarkable.

When the British public turn on their leaders, they do it with a viciousness that’s positively medieval. A year ago, Gordon Brown was political poison. In the great tradition of British politics, his Labour Party was openly plotting his demise in the tea rooms and bars of Westminster. His demise was expected in a matter of weeks, and his stoic Scottish demanour combined with an almost uncanny lack of political savvy conspired to hasten it.

But then something happened. Gordon found his mojo. Starting with an unexpectedly stirring keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in September, Brown began to take on his critics in the best way a leader can, by being exactly that – a leader. The speech was a dignified mea culpa of his mistakes and failings, combined with a cogent vision for the future, and it stopped the bleeding.

The speech was followed by another masterstroke. Amid the flailing response by Hank Paulson, the Bush Administration and Congress to the galloping credit crisis and precipitous market collapse, it was Gordon Brown’s plan to buy stakes in the UK banks that, overnight, calmed the waters. First, the Euro-zone and then, unwillingly, the US, followed the Brown plan, and the immediate panic dissipated, virtually overnight. Brown’s status as British political whipping boy was replaced by a standard grudging acceptance by the grudging Brits that he did, well, okay. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mumbai Massacre – An Opportunity For Clarity

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peace will once again come to the taj

“Rogue Elements” is a big word du jour right now. The idea that within an organization there’s often a fifth column conjures up all sorts of conspiracy theories about CIA spooks with their own twisted agendas. Usually, this stuff is confined to fiction or the far reachs of the blogosphere. But what happens when the lunatics truly have taken over the asylum?

The strong suspicion that Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group of jihadists once nurtured by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, ISI, is behind the horrific massacre in Mumbai a few days ago has turned the simmering distrust between India and Pakistan into a potential supernova. Read the rest of this entry »