U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT | Leaders reject historic chance to act with urgency.
Barack Obama, conceding domestic politics are an obstacle to change, merely recites previous commitments. Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart, also refuses to set a target on CO2 emission reduction, unlike EU and Japan. China is eager to lead in exportable alternative-energy technologies. But, like U.S. and Canada, it's still obsessed with potential cost to GDP of meaningful action. Jim Prentice nervily chides Beijing on its weak global-warming goals, which actually surpass ours in some ways. For instance, Hu yesterday promised to plant a forest the size of Norway, one of his few tangible commitments. Harper, AWOL for the leaders' speeches, was instead at City Hall inviting Bloomberg to the Vancouver Olympics and whining (again) about "Buy America" trade policy. At the WH, Congress and now in New York, Harper's the special pleader with nothing to offer.
Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, the U.S. and Chinese presidents, respectively, address the U.N. General Assembly yesterday on climate change. Watching Obama is U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
MAJOR RETHINK OF AFGHAN WAR | Setbacks prompt WH debate on 180-degree shift to "Plan B."
Obama is having second thoughts about sending more troops. Mounting casualties, Afghan election fiasco, and McChrystal report Monday on potential for failure have triggered review of WH strategy laid out only six months ago. Biden and Clinton at loggerheads. Veep, whose advice was rejected in March, still wants "surgical-strike" focus on al-Qaeda and its Pakistani safe haven, forget about Taliban. Clinton still adamant Taliban must be flushed from Afghanistan or al-Qaeda will return. Obama's quandary: He campaigned on Bush's negligence in abandoning Afghanistan to fight in Iraq. Obama would now have to explain a volte-face in abandoning a failed eight-year counter-insurgency in favour of Biden's counter-terrorism strategy. "Plan B" (a.k.a. "cut and run") is described here and debated here and here. McChrystal's report appears to cite a Canadian counter-insurgency effort as model worth emulating.
TAXING SOFT DRINKS | An anti-tax movement that's tough to swallow, says ethicist Randy Cohen.
RIM'S NEXT BOOM | Updated BlackBerry line expected to goose sales.
GREED CONTROL | RBC sets new, more restrictive pay rules for "top producers." RBC is not the pacesetter here, but is following other Big Five examples.
HYPOCRISY | Gotta love Felix Salmon, who blogs at Reuters. Here, in toto, is a link he offers: "Man with two Jaguars, two Audis, a Range Rover and an Aston Martin rails against car culture." Like Felix, I will let you go to Telegraph to discover mystery man. You will not be surprised.
Delays in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner debut point to risks of outsourcing. Boeing ragged archrival Airbus for ages over stalled progress of its A380 super-jumbo. Seems Airbus will have last laugh.
FORD MOTOR | My favourite N.A. automaker posts third month of record Canadian sales. Gets a big lift from, of all things, an SUV - a hot-selling Escape. Recall that two Fords were only N.A. vehicles to make top-10 list of new vehicles purchased in "cash-for-clunkers" program.
GOLD-BUGGED | Globe financial analyst makes good case for shunning the yellow metal, which seems to have stalled at $1,000 (U.S.) per ounce. Gold primarily is a hedge against inflation. Deflation has lately been the primary concern of central bankers. Joe Weisenthal (chart) notices that absolutely everyone is long gold. What goes up...
SHOCKING IDEAS | Slums are efficient, argues founder of Whole Earth Catalogue (1968). They're an improvement over "ecologically devastating subsistence farming," says Stewart Brand. Slum moms have more power and fewer kids, on whom they can better dote. Slums should be spared bulldozing, and instead be rehabilitated with proper sanitation, safe water, electricity and effective policing. See all of Wired's "12 Shocking Ideas That Could Change the World" here.
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING | Nickel baron Mikhail Prokhorov bids for New Jersey Nets. Success would mean the first non-N.A.-owned N.B.A. franchise. Perhaps Balsillie should go after the Timberwolves.
BIRTH-RATE BONANZA | Canadian birthrate is rising. Mini baby-boom underway, particularly among women 30 to 34. Most industrial nations, U.S. excluded, are experiencing such low fertility rates that shrinking populations are a near-certainty for Japan, Russia, most of Europe.
WOMEN DOMINATE GILLERS LONG LIST | Women take 10 of 12 nominations. Some usual suspects appear (Margaret Atwood for The Year of the Flood and Anne Michaels for The Winter Vault), but also two first-time novelists, Jeanette Lynes (The Factory Voice) and Annabel Lyon (The Golden Mean).
Betrayed by husband, Jenny Sanford (right) signs memoir deal. Estranged wife of South Carolina governor Mark Stanford is not the type to suffer in silence - a departure, at long last, from the wronged-but-loyal political spouse. Literary agents are besieging Elizabeth Edwards, as you can imagine.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK | Lobster-fisher helpline turns out to be sex line. Feds still can't get it right, after aboriginal community seeking help with expected swine-flu outbreak was sent body bags.
QUOTE OF THE DAY | "Once in cabinet we had to deal with the fact that there had been an outbreak of assaults on women at night. One minister suggested a curfew: women should stay home after dark. I said, 'But it's the men who are attacking the women. If there's to be a curfew, let the men stay home, not the women'." -Golda Meir, Israeli prime minister, in 1974.
Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer.