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Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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    Take Out the Papers and the Trash

    Tuesday September 3, 2002

                            Click here for an Easy Print Version

    • While journalists in Johannesburg cover the Professional Kvetching Class (PKCs) spending long days and longer nights complaining about President Bush and the United States, here are a few things they may have missed.

    • First, according to Mike Cohen's reporting in the Associated Press, the "10-day summit ... is expected to generate between 300 and 400 TONS of trash."

    • And, while the delegates march around the caviar-and-blini tables demanding that the United States do more to protect the environment, "Recycling bins have been put in conference halls, but they've ended up as replacements for garbage cans, filled with all sorts of non-recyclable waste."

    • But, as they say on TV, wait! There's more! According to Cohen, "The conference's 45,000 delegates are also plowing through other resources:
    • "On average each of them is using 53 gallons of water a day [2.4 MILLION gallons per day], and the city's electricity consumption has soared.
    • "[It is] estimated that flying delegates to Johannesburg and transporting them around the city will generate nearly 300,000 TONS of carbon dioxide.
    • "Organizers estimate 5 MILLION sheets of paper will be consumed during the gathering."
    • According to the Association for Progressive Communications (not, on its face, a Conservative front group) "50% of all the trees cut down in the United States are used to make paper."

    • What's Afrikaans for: "Do as I say, not as I do?"

    • Second: The BBC reported that, while the delegates were in the Hilton complaining about the length of time it took get an elevator from the lobby bar to their hotel rooms with televisions, full bathrooms, beds and clean linens every day, in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa,
      "[B]ulldozers began moving into [an] area, near Ethiopia's International Airport, on Thursday morning and began demolishing the houses of more than 10,000 people.

    • Ethiopia which, when we last looked was not one of the world's strongest economies, has turned 10,000 of its citizens who had some form of shelter into HOMELESS PEOPLE!

    • What's Afrikaans for "Don't bother me now. I heard there's Krispy Kremes at the Toyota booth!"

    • Ok. Ethiopia is about 2,600 miles north of Johannesburg so this might have escaped the attention of many of the members of the Professional Kvetching Class. But, here's yet another.

    • While the PKCs in Johannesburg roamed from luncheon buffets to sit-down-dinners; next door in Zimbabwe (I looked this up for you. Zimbabwe shares a border with South Africa.) according to the AP:
      "More than half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people face severe food shortages, blamed on drought and the government's program to seize thousands of white-owned farms."

    • 10,000 tons of food was shipped in this past Saturday, but "24 hours later Zimbabwean customs officials had still not released it," having demanded a government import permit.

    • What's Afrikaans for "Don't worry your pretty little head about it?"

    • Finally, a US-based story. This, by H. Josef Herbert of the AP:

    • It seems that California, according to a group called the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, had twice as many "smog days" as any other state. California has the worst air quality - by a factor of TWO - in the nation.

    • If, four years ago, data were released showing Texas - with George W. as governor - had the worst air quality: The poster painters in Johannesburg would be working overtime; People would be marching on the statehouse in Austin in gas masks, and ; The New York Times and the Washington Post would be aquiver with stories about how this rotten air is especially dangerous to the poor and elderly.

    • But, California is a state which has a Democratic Governor, with Democrats in control of both State House and the State Senate, as well as Democratic Mayors of its two major cities: Los Angeles and San Francisco. So, you probably didn't see that story in your local paper.

    • What's Afrikaans for "I'm shocked?"

    • While the Professional Kvetching Class does all that damage to the environment of the Johannesburg area, they remain blissfully unaware of real issues, involving real people, in real places, right now.

    • On the < a href = "//">Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all the stories noted here, a list of corporations attending Johannesburg, the definition of "Afrikaans," and a map of Africa so you can see what's where.

      --END --
      Copyright © 2002 Richard A. Galen

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