In Gray Lady Down, his recent expose on the exponentially steep decline of the New York Times, William McGowan printed this telling quote from the young “Pinch” Sulzberger, which originally appeared in a New Yorker profile of the publishing scion:
The tenuousness of his relationship with his father, combined with a certain measure of confusion over his mixed Jewish and Episcopalian heritage, has been said to have left young Arthur with the need “to prove himself to so many people,” as his stepmother later put it. Very much a child of the sixties, he was suspended from Manhattan’s Browning School for trying to organize a shutdown of classes in protest of the shootings at Kent State University. Following a number of his cousins to Tufts University in Boston, Arthur Jr. continued the antiwar activism and earned two arrests for civil disobedience.
Such attitudes did not endear him with his ex-Marine father. Walking across Boston Commons one day discussing the war, Punch asked Arthur Jr. which he would like to see get shot if an American soldier came across a North Vietnamese soldier in battle. Arthur Jr. defiantly answered that he would like the American to get shot because it was the other guy’s country. For Punch, the remark bordered on treason, and the two began shouting. Sulzberger Jr. later said that his father’s inquiry was the dumbest question he had ever heard in his life.
Of course, even at the Times, there are moments when religious faith trumps radical chic:
“They said if we hesitated they would shoot us,” said William Bakeshisha, adding that he hid in his coffee plantation, watching his house burn down. “Smoke and fire.”
But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.
The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.
The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC*.
In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.
But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.
“He was a policeman for King George,” Mr. Bakeshisha said of his father, who served with British forces during World War II in Egypt.
Via Anthony Watts, in a post titled, “They had to burn the village to save it from global warming.” It’s a comparison of the above article to the infamous — not to mention unsourced — Vietnam-era quote told by Peter Arnett that “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” (Hey, when Al Gore called one of his treatises on global warming The Assault on Reason, he wasn’t kidding about the first half of that equation.) Watts then goes on to note that the price of carbon in America has cratered much, much, much farther than even the Dow Jones. Call it yet another extraordinary popular delusion from the madness of Al’s crowd, to paraphrase a classic book on speculative bubbles.
* Last seen in these parts extolling the triumphs of Iran’s
legendary distaff cinematic auteurs.