Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:57:36 AM.

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daily link  Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Plutocrats with hands in the money jar:  "Conrad M. Black ran a "corporate kleptocracy" for his own benefit at Hollinger International, the publisher of The Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers, and the board of directors failed in its responsibilities to monitor what he was doing, a committee of that board concluded in a report filed on Monday in federal court in Chicago and made available today.  "Hollinger wasn't a company where isolated improper and abusive acts took place," said the report, largely written by Richard C. Breeden, a former chairman of the SEC. Rather, it said, Hollinger was "an entity in which ethical corruption was a defining characteristic." ..

The report lays out in devastating detail the ways in which it says Lord Black and his associates drained $400 million, or 95% of Hollinger's adjusted net income from 1997 through 2003. .. the report said Hollinger failed to disclose as much as 96 percent of the amounts it should have disclosed. ..

The report saved its harshest criticism for Richard Perle, the former Reagan administration official and current member of a Pentagon advisory board. It said it did not consider Mr. Perle to have been an independent director and called on him to return $5.4 million in pay he received after "putting his own interests above those of Hollinger's shareholders."

It said James R. Thompson, a former governor of Illinois and the chairman of Hollinger's audit committee ..  and two other members of the audit committee, Richard D. Burt, a former United States ambassador to Germany, and Marie-Josée Kravis, the wife of the financier Henry Kravis, "failed to respond critically to the repeated demands for [management] payments even though they should all have known these payments were highly unusual from the numerous boards on which they had served." ..

The committee said large Hollinger donations to "pet charities" of various directors, including Mr. Kissinger and Robert Strauss, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, "without the restraint of sound corporate governance controls, raises questions regarding the independence of those directors.""

  10:47:15 PM  permalink  

Foreign Affairs - What Went Wrong in Iraq - Larry Diamond: Long careful analysis of the failed Iraq reconstruction.  "The obsession with control was an overarching flaw in the U.S. occupation from start to finish. In any postconflict international intervention, there is always a certain tension between legitimacy and control. Yet for most of the first year of occupation, the U.S. administration opted for the latter whenever the tradeoff presented itself. ..

Because of the failures and shortcomings of the occupation-as well as the intrinsic difficulties that any occupation following Saddam's tyranny was bound to confront-it is going to take a number of years to rebuild the Iraqi state and to construct any kind of viable democratic and constitutional order in Iraq. The post-handover transition is going to be long, and initially very bloody. It is not clear that the country is going to be able to conduct reasonably credible elections by next January. And even if those elections are held in a minimally acceptable fashion, it is hard to imagine that the over-ambitious transition timetable for the remainder of 2005 will be kept. "

  10:00:40 PM  permalink  

Gary Hart warns us (twice):  June 6, 2004: "[Rice] was a supporter of mine when I ran for Senate in '80 and for president in '84, so I've known her a long time. We briefed her on the phone when our [commission] report came out in January [2001]. We had a personal briefing with Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld. We tried to see the president, and he refused. We tried to see the vice president. He refused. After our commission was disbanded, I tried to see Dr. Rice as a concerned American. I had no official authority or title. It took months. While I was waiting, I kept on giving speeches, including one to transportation officials in Canada. A Montreal newspaper, the Gazette, ran a story after my talk: "Terror Risk Real: Hart: Thousands in U.S. Will Die." I flew down to Washington to see Dr. Rice, and my hair was on fire (to use Richard Clarke's phrase). That was September 6, 2001. When I saw the second plane fly into the tower on television on Sept. 11, I thought, "I wish I had done more to try to warn the country." That was the frustration I felt. Later, I got angry. ..

If you want to make a million dollars, you should write the book on the unknown background of the Iraq War. It's a blockbuster. I think Tenet's in the middle of it. Chalabi's a player. Richard Perle, Wolfowitz. All these guys. I think we went to war for reasons that were not told to the American people. And it's all going to come out. There has been a conspiracy, a plot. It's a cesspool. Tenet knows a lot of stuff he's not telling. Why he did remain in his job after Sept. 11? Because of the White House. They couldn't fire him -- he knew too much. "

  5:08:24 PM  permalink  

Mini-Box.Com: "Mini-Box is a small, lightweight, yet powerful x86 system designed for embedded or general purpose PC computing applications. Consuming under 10 watts, the M-100 is an excellent candidate for low power, small form factor computing requirements. The M-100 is equipped with a backlit LCD, customizable 14 key keypad, front load Compact Flash, USB and audio."  Comes with Linux on a bootable CF.  Powered by 12v DC.  4:49:59 PM  permalink  

Cane waste into electricity: "Cogeneration from bagasse could supply 25% of power in cane-producing countries, according to a report from the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy.  The overall potential share in the world’s major developing country producers exceeds 7%, but no more than 15% of this potential has yet been realized, says the report, ‘Bagasse Cogeneration - Global Review & Potential.’ Bagasse cogeneration describes the use of fibrous sugarcane waste to cogenerate heat and electricity at high efficiency in sugar mills.

“The critical condition for the full exploitation of this major opportunity is that mill owners should be able to secure competitive rates for the electricity they supply to the grid or to other power consumers,” it explains. “Currently, these buyback rates only rarely reflect the fair value of the electricity to the system - disincentivising producers and preventing high efficiency cogeneration plants from being optimally sized to meet heat demand.”
The issue is being addressed in parts of India, where the introduction of biomass feed-in tariffs are ensuring that the external benefits of bagasse cogeneration are recognised by markets. The cost burden to India will be reduced by almost US$1 billion a year through a buyback rate of 7¢/kWh.. "  The Kyoto CDM is seen as a financing mechanism for these plants.  4:19:50 PM  permalink  

Darfur, Sudan:  A shocking map of the region as of August 2, 2004.  One red marker for each of 395 destroyed villages, another 121 orange markers for damaged villages, the locations of camps with over 100,000 refugees, the dirt tracks and airports used by relief workers to get there.  (The map is a poster-resolution PDF, 1.87mb, including satellite image details.)  11:10:21 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:57:36 AM.