We killed Zarqawi.

We turned back a discriminatory amendment to the Constitution.

We nixed the Republican plan to go deeper into debt in order to eliminate the estate tax on multi-millionaires, centi-millionaires, billionaires and deci-millionaires. (Mere millionaires pay no estate tax.)

It was a good couple of days for America.

The broader picture is cloudier and a jittery stock market seems to reflect that.

We have a good new Secretary of the Treasury, but his main role, as some see it, is to manage an orderly – as opposed to a disorderly – decline in the dollar.

Many of us feel flush because our homes have appreciated so nicely. But they’re no bigger than they were when we bought them, and Paul Krugman has written that ‘[we have become] a nation in which people make a living by selling one another houses, and they pay for the houses with money borrowed from China. Now that game seems to be coming to an end.’

We have a great system of higher education, but some of the foreign talent we used to attract we no longer allow in the country, and other foreign talent that used to stay here upon graduation now goes back to Bangalore.

We have terrific kids graduating from high school this month – but so many others dropping out early or graduating with below-par skills or civically challenged. (We need to be able more readily to fire low-performing teachers and principals – humanely, and helping them find other work – both for the kids’ sake and, selfishly, our own.)

We borrow huge sums from abroad to buy gasoline that we convert to carbon dioxide at the rate of 19 pounds per gallon. Slowly, we are impoverishing our nation, even as we lurch toward environmental catastrophe. (Katrina as a foretaste, but what was that dust storm that enveloped Phoenix Wednesday? Did you see that? Is this regular occurrence and I just missed the memo?)

All of this can be fixed – as Al Gore says, ‘political will is a renewable resource’ – but it won’t fix itself. Cutting taxes for the rich turns out not to solve every problem. In fact, it’s only seemed to make the rich richer, which the median American family gets squeezed tighter and tighter.


Speaking of which:

In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to. – Roger Ebert

☞ Asked whether he’d see the movie (about a planetary emergency), you may recall that George Bush half-laughed, ‘Nah, probably not.’ That quote’s from memory, but pretty close.


“Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law … The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” – George W. Bush, June 26, 2003


And so, like Bulgarian newlyweds in Casablanca in quest of exit visas, we wait.  And wait.  And wait.

The latest, from Borealis subsidiary Roche Bay:

8 June 2006

Roche Bay plc (US OTC: RCHBF), (“Roche Bay” or “the Company”), owner of one of the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore deposits, located in Nunavut, Canada, today announces three key executive appointments with immediate effect, two of which will join the company’s Board of Directors.  Each individual brings considerable and valuable experience to the Roche Bay project, having held senior positions elsewhere in the mining and steel industries. Their appointment comes as the company moves towards the next phase of the project’s development.

Daniel M. Botes joins the Company as Chief Operating Officer and will have day-to-day responsibility for mine engineering, construction, ore processing and all other on-site operations.  He also joins the Board.

Daniel has wide experience in mine engineering and product quality, as well as ore marketing and business strategy.  Having completed a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1997 at the University of Pretoria, Daniel was employed by Iscor Ltd in the Mining Division in South Africa, which later became Kumba Resources. During his employment, he held the positions of Senior Industrial Engineer, Head of Quality Assurance, Technical Manager (Kumba Hong Kong), Marketing Manager and Manger, Strategic Projects.

Melinda K. Moore joins Roche Bay as Chief Financial Officer and will also join the Board. As well as having responsibility for financial management of the project, Melinda will lead Roche Bay’s fund-raising initiatives.  She joins Roche Bay from Steel Business Briefing, a widely-read industry information provider, where she was Chief Representative for China, based in Shanghai.  This role provided her with an enviable understanding of the industry and the Asia-Pacific market in particular.  As well as being a Post-Graduate Finance lecturer at the Securities Institute of Australia, she held a number of advisory roles at Truegrip Corporation, Intersuisse, Bell Securities and Hambros Equities in Australia.

Dirk P. Swartz joins Roche Bay as Vice President of Engineering. Dirk has gained wide experience in coal & iron ore metallurgy, as well as other minerals processing, particularly crushing, screening & dense medium separation in South Africa  Most recently, he has been an engineering project manager on behalf of South African mine engineering firm, LSL Consulting. Apart from project managing various feasibilities studies for coal and iron ore projects, he also acted as Project Engineer for Kumba’s 9 million tonne a year iron ore project, Sishen South. Previously, he held roles at Joest Ltd as Senior Process Engineer, at Schenckas Sales Manager for process equipment and at Kumba’s Sishen Iron Ore mine in senior operational management roles.

Benjamin Cox, Chief Executive of Roche Bay, said: “Each one of these appointments is very exciting for Roche Bay and I am thrilled that we have attracted such high calibre and well regarded individuals to the Company.  Equally, their confidence in joining Roche Bay is a testament to the attractiveness of our assets and the huge potential of this whole project. “We have delivered considerable progress over recent months, not least evidenced by our agreement announced last month with Corus Group plc, one of the world’s largest metal producers.  I look forward to delivering further positive news as we move forward and the new team gets to work.”

Who knows?  With Borealis currently selling for less than $60 million (there are two houses in the Hamptons currently on the market for more), I continue to think of it as a lottery ticket where, two chances out of three, perhaps, you will ultimately lose your money; but where, if you don’t lose your money, you might make 10 or 50 times your bet.  I will a admit to being surprised and disappointed to have seen no visible progress since “the plane moved” a year ago.  But the plane did move, and there really is a steel company called Corus (I checked), so I wait.  And wait.  And wait.

(In the meantime, go see the movie.)


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