Four at Four

  1. The Chicago Tribune reports Obama-sponsored mercury-storage bill sent to President Bush. The legislation would ban export of mercury as of 2013.

    Stockpiles of toxic mercury kept by industry soon will be stored safely in the United States instead of ending up on the world market where it might pollute the environment.

    Under bipartisan legislation Congress sent to President George W. Bush Monday for his expected signature, mercury exports would be banned in 2013 and the Energy Department would be required to store the heavy metal permanently.

    The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Barack Obama, introduced the bill in response to a 2005 Tribune series about mercury contamination in fish.

  2. McClatchy Newspapers report Those who remember the Depression fear its return. “For those who lived it, the Great Depression has been seared into them like a scar or worn like a talisman they can touch any time they want… At the depths of the Depression, over one-quarter of the American workforce was out of work.”

    Geneva Spickard is pretty sure America today couldn’t do again what America did to live through its hardest economic times and reign as the financial power it has.

    Turner Hinkle agrees. We simply don’t know how.

    “I’m afraid if the next depression that hits is like the one in the ’30s, we would not long have a democracy,” says Turner Hinkle. “I don’t think the government can let it be. People are too used to having everything handed to them.”

    At 91, she is plagued by arthritis of the spine. She is proud of her two sons, one who became a stockbroker, one who became a doctor.

    But a woman who was never afraid during the Depression is afraid now. She is afraid for her great grandchildren and for the world they have been born into.

    She calls it “cruel.”

    Then adds, “God help them.”

Four at Four continues with young Chinese losing their religion and the Brazilian government facing criminal charges for Amazon deforestation.

  1. The Washington Post reports that Young Chinese Rethink U.S.-Style Capitalism.

    The gray waters around the port of Yantian are ominously empty. It’s supposed to be peak season here, a time when the docks are filled with exporters shoveling holiday goods onto freighters bound for the United States faster than the ships are able to receive them.

    Instead, irritated truck drivers, logistics coordinators and other workers stand idle, smoking and complaining that business is so slow that their income has dropped by two-thirds, because of the deteriorating U.S. economy, with which this region is so closely linked.

    The community that once bragged about its close ties to the United States now rues them…

    Stakeholders in China are watching the trials and tribulations of the massive U.S. economic rescue package, rejected Monday by the House of Representatives, as closely as Americans are.

    For better or for worse, economists say, China and the United States are like conjoined twins. “The two economies are mutually reliant and mutually influential,” explained Hua Min, director of Fudan University’s Institute of World Economy in Shanghai.

    Once the envy of the nation for its abundant jobs and high wages, Shenzhen — the birthplace of China’s experiment in capitalism — is experiencing an economic downturn in tandem with the United States.

    China’s GDP is expected to dip to single digit growth for the first time in 11 years. Anecdotal reports say shipping to the U.S. is down around 40 percent. Chinese leaders claim they plan to learn from America’s mistakes. Maybe lesson number one would be not force feed the golden goose? Maybe next time China will be slow to lend the U.S. money for wars and tax holidays? If there is a next time…

  2. The Guardian reports the Brazilian government faces criminal charges over Amazon deforestation. As Brazil’s soy farmers and cattle ranchers clear rainforest to put more land into agricultural usage, rainforest deforestation has surged to rate three times faster than last year. The illegal logging is being driven by rising global food prices. Now a Brazillian government agency faces criminal charges for encouraging the illegal logging.

    A study by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research found that destruction of the Amazon had increased 228% in August compared with the same month a year ago.

    Carlos Minc, the Brazilian environment minister, said the upcoming national elections were partly to blame, with mayors in the Amazon region ignoring illegal loggers in the hope of gaining votes locally…

    The minister released a list of the 100 worst individuals or companies responsible for most of the deforestation since 2005.

    The Brazilian government’s land and agrarian reform agency, Incra, was accused of being the worst.

    Minc said the environment ministry will bring criminal charges against all of them. The government will also create an environmental police force with 3,000 heavily armed and specially trained officers to help combat illegal deforestion…

    Minc said Incra was responsible for destroying 220,150 hectares (544,000 acres) of the world’s largest rainforest in the past three years.


    • Magnifico on September 30, 2008 at 22:09

    I have a little more on Obama’s legislation in my essay today, Obama’s mercury export ban legislation sent to Bush.

    • RiaD on October 1, 2008 at 05:20

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