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Dad I love you so much. I will see you on the other side. Pour me a glass of wine and put on the Brandenburg Concertos. Lets talk in a room surrounded by your father's paintings.
Consider the fact that the average Western European uses half as much energy as the average American (and hence produces half as much CO2). Half is a big proportion, especially when you consider that it comes not from any new technology but instead from somewhat different social arrangements. Europeans have decided to, say, invest in building cities that draw people in instead of flinging them out to sprawling suburbs, and invest in mass transit that people then actually take. This kind of investment may produce quicker returns than high-tech R&D; at the very least, it's urgently important that these kinds of societies (where reported rates of human satisfaction are sharply higher than in the US) be held up to China, India, and the rest of the developing world, in place of our careening model. In addition, given that we will certainly be facing a disrupted planet, tighter human communities are probably a better bet for "surviving and thriving" than bioengineering to achieve different kinds of bodies.
FRANKFURT, Sept. 17 — Playmobil of Germany has long promoted its colorful plastic pirates, firefighters and farm animals as better-than-your-average plaything — toys to be handed down rather than chewed up. Now it can add another selling point: they are made in Europe, not China.
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Hans Rudolf Oeser for The New York Times
Attila Britting building models at Brandstätter in Bavaria. The company, maker of Playmobil toys, has passed on a move to China.
The same goes for Lego, the Danish maker of toy bricks, and for Ravensburger, a German puzzle and game manufacturer, though it does produce small quantities of nonpaper toys in Chinese factories.
With Mattel and the American toy industry reeling from recalls of millions of Chinese-made toys, most because of lead paint, some of Europe’s best-known toy makers find themselves in the fortuitous position of having bucked an industrywide trend of moving production to China.
“Looking back, it feels like it was right to make that decision,” said Andrea Schauer, managing director of Geobra Brandstätter, which makes Playmobil toys. “At the level of quality we need,” she said, “we didn’t have enough manpower to inspect factories in China.”
As I was writing this closing section an old friend from the Nixon White House called. Now retired, he is a lifelong Republican who told me that he voted for Bush and Cheney twice, because he knows them both personally. He asked how my new book was coming, and when I told him the title, he remarked, "I'll say the government's broken." After we discussed it, he asked how I planned to end the book, since the election was still a good distance away. I told him I was contemplating ending midsentence and immediately fading to black -- the way HBO did in the final episode of the Sopranos, but that I would settle for a nice quote from him, on the record. He explained that he constantly has to bite his tongue, and the reason he does not speak out more is because one of his sons is in an important (nonpolitical) government post, and we both know that Republicans will seek revenge wherever they can find it. How about an off-the-record comment? I asked. That he agreed to.
"Just tell your readers that you have a source who knows a lot about the Republican party from long experience, that he knows all the key movers and shakers, and he has a bit of advice: People should not vote for any Republican, because they're dangerous, dishonest and self-serving. While I once believed that Governor George Wallace had it right, that there was not a dime's worth of difference in the parties; that is not longer true. I have come to realize the Democrats really do care about people who most need help from government; Republicans care most about those who will only get richer because of government help. The government is truly broken, particularly in dealing with national security, and another four years, and heaven forbid not eight years, under the Republicans, and our grandchildren will have to build a new government, because the one we have will be unrecognizable and unworkable."