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Kind of a slow news day here at the ranch (and by “ranch” I mean the unholy paper-, book-, and compact disc-strewn hovel that passes, at least after a few pints of fresh Vermont ale, for my “office”), but here are a couple of interesting items that fell out of the ether this morning. Got some good news (crucial rainforest saved for endangered orangutans. Huzzah!) and some bad news (orangutans in White House leave every child behind in an ICU. Boo hiss!)
A campaign to stop Indonesia from turning 7,000 square miles of irreplaceable tropical rainforest and priceless orangutan habitat (read: paradise) into a humungous oil palm plantation (read: wasteland) has succeeded. In the face of rapidly escalating international pressure, the Indonesian government has announced that only 10% of the original land area under consideration for development (read: destruction) is now considered suitable for the purpose. That’s still a lot of rainforest that we’ll never see again, but a 90% reduction is proposed area is pretty good for a day’s work. In an age when every acre counts, it's a huge victory for our team.
The second story isn’t nearly as pretty. In its neverending quest to divert what little remains of our country’s commonwealth to evermore weapons and war and wiretaps and wealthy white guys, the unnatural disasters in the walking American nightmare known as the Bush administration have, in the Handbook of Evil disguised as the 2007 White House Budget, zero funded the nascent National Children’s Study. The $2.7 billion project, which was to begin this summer, seeks to follow 100,000 kids from birth to age 21 in order to assess the impact of environmental factors on childhood health and figure out ways to cut childhood disease rates. Frankly, my screaming red hot outrage over this indefensible act of pure treason is at such a fevered boil that I just can’t summon the sarcasm needed to properly leer at it. Or at the rotting soulless Oval Office ghouls responsible. About all I can say is let the countdown to salvation continue.