Tags: Condom | Ads | Suicide | Bombers | Kyoto | Protocol

Condom Ads, Suicide Bombers, Kyoto Protocol

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM

As Bob Dylan wrote in 1964, "The times, they are a-changin'."

I recalled that line as I read an article in the December 6 New York Times, which began on page one and jumped to page 17, filling the entire page. The article was an in-depth examination on India's highways, reporting, "In India the national highways are a conduit for the spread of HIV." According to The Times, "As many as 11% of truckers may be HIV positive." The current estimate of those infected with AIDS in India, according to the Internet, is "10-20 million."

The truck stops, which provide food and fuel, are adjacent to brothels. The prostitutes are both men and women, and many of the prostitutes and madams in the brothels are eunuchs. There was a very large picture, four columns wide (a Times page is five columns wide) of a group of men being shown how to use a condom. The caption describing the picture stated, "Truckers watching a demonstration of how to use a condom in Nelamangala, a major stopping point along the national highway."

The story reminded me of correspondence that I had had with Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The Times, back in January 1994, and his reply to my letter asking why The Times refused to take condom ads. His reply:

"If you can persuade some company or individual to sponsor an advertisement advocating the use of condoms to help stop the AIDS epidemic – and that ad stays within the bounds of good taste – then I would anticipate no problem in accepting the advertisement for publication. I would anticipate a problem, however, with an ad that demonstrates the use of these products. Quite frankly, I find it difficult to envision an ad that would be able to do this without violating good taste. So, as a guide, our answer is: yes to urging but no to demonstrating." I had gotten similar responses from most of the other newspapers in town.

But the story did not end with his reply. I contacted my friend, Jerry Della Femina, then and now one of the giants in the media, and asked if he would work with me in finding a condom manufacturer to take an ad. He agreed, offering his services pro bono to create an appropriate ad. He contacted some of the major condom suppliers and the answer was, they did not need to advertise for new business; they were already swamped. Not one took the opportunity to be the first to advertise their wares in The New York Times. But it is not too late.

Why is it not possible to stop suicide bombers in the following manner – or am I simply engaging in wishful thinking? Why not require all cars approaching security checkpoints to drive through a bombproof enclosure and stop. Then, by remote control, those manning the checkpoint would cause any bomb material to explode in that enclosure, killing only the car occupants.

In the case of individuals who might be suicide bombers, why not stop them, prod them with a robot to ascertain if they are carrying explosive material and pull the switch from a monitoring area a safe distance away and blow up the terrorists as you would a car carrying explosives? Is it possible to do this technologically? Let me know by e-mail.

I sent letters this week to Prime Minister Blair, Prime Minister Martin of Canada, Premier Jiabao of the People's Republic of China and Prime Minister Singh of India, asking why China and India have not been encouraged to sign the Kyoto Protocol. I reported that the nations which ratified the Kyoto Protocol have regularly conveyed their distress at the refusal of the U.S. to ratify the treaty.

The fears expressed by the opponents of Kyoto over the increasing pollution occurring in both China and India are rising. In 2003, The New York Times reported:

"The International Energy Agency in Paris predicts that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2030 in China alone will nearly equal the increase from the entire industrialized world. Another developing country exempt from the protocol, India, is also showing strong growth in emissions as its economy prospers. General Motors predicts that China will account for 18 percent of the world's growth in new car sales from 2002 through 2012; the United States will be responsible for 11 percent, and India 9 percent. China is now the world's largest coal consumer."

China is now the second-largest user of fossil fuels, having replaced Japan in that category. China is now licensed to manufacture General Motors Cadillacs. The New York Times reported, "By 2023, Boeing, which is based in Chicago, expects Chinese carriers to be flying more than 2,800 aircraft, making China the biggest commercial aviation market outside the United States."

The Indian middle class and its purchase of cars are discussed in a separate Times article dated December 5, 2005: "India's middle class has grown to an estimated 250 million in the past decade, and the number of super-rich has grown sharply as well. ... India has become one of the world's fastest-growing car markets, with about a million being sold each year."

Surely it makes common sense to now include both China and India as full participants in the reduction requirements of greenhouse gasses of the Kyoto Treaty. If that were to occur, the Bush administration might rethink its position. Certainly many American opponents of the Kyoto Protocol in Congress and the public, including myself, would urge the president to accept Kyoto.

To Prime Minister Martin of Canada, I added that The New York Times reported, "In an unusually direct rebuke, Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada singled out the United States at a news conference for not joining international efforts to require curbs on carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases. ‘To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience,' Mr. Martin said. ‘And now is the time to listen to it.'"

Shouldn't Prime Minister Martin be calling on both China and India – whose combined population aggregates 40 percent of the world's total population – to be subject to the greenhouse gas emissions limitations provided by the Kyoto Protocol?

Nobody wants to irritate China or India because of the huge potential markets those countries have. This reminds me of Lenin's comment, "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

The world doesn't really change, because people don't change. Not totally true. Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. did, to his credit.


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As Bob Dylan wrote in 1964, "The times, they are a-changin'." I recalled that line as I read an article in the December 6 New York Times, which began on page one and jumped to page 17, filling the entire page.The article was an in-depth examination on India's...
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM
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