More CGI

Yesterday Colin Powell was riding around the halls of the Manhattan Sheraton on a scooter. I swear this is true. Sometime yesterday I stepped on an elevator and, just before the doors closed, Mr. Powell himself scooted in on a scooter. He scooted out on the next floor. Weird.

In spite of the fact that I spent a big chunk of the morning venting about how the book publishing industry got screwed up, I am still at the CGI conference, which should wrap up early this afternoon. You can tell we’re coming down to the wire, because this morning the breakfast spread put out next to the press room, which yesterday featured a generous selection of baked goods, was down to three bran muffins. And I got here early. Too bad about everybody else.

The big news yesterday was Richard Branson’s pledge of $3 billion to combat global warming. As of the most recent press release total commitments for this week’s conference totals $5.7 billion. This money doesn’t go to the Clinton Global Initiative organization but directly to the projects and people doing the good work.

Right now, Mr. Clinton is announcing that Jim Zogby is committed to a project in the Middle East. It seems to be a youth outreach project, but don’t quote me. Eventually the details will show up on the CGI web site, I trust.

Also just announced: Wal-Mart is committing $1 million this first year to repackage products in a way to save oil, trees, and whatever else goes into packaging. (Speaking of Wal-Mart, Ezra is right about Item #2.)

There really is a lot of good work coming out of this conference, and the best part is that it isn’t all talk. My frustration with the Take Back America conference last summer was that it was all talk. Panels would convene and say, this is a problem, and somebody ought to do something. And everybody would say yep, and that would be it.

Now Barbara Streisand is on stage committing to something. I’m watching on a screen from the press room, btw; I’m not seeing La Streisand in person. Oh, well. This morning some of us bloggers got a how d’you do and handshake from Senator Hillary Clinton, who was very warm and gracious and friendly. She looks great, too.

I saw the real rock star yesterday, though — Al Gore. He took part in a panel called “Building a Sustainable Future,” at which I took notes, but my notes are at home now. The gist of it was about sustainable use of resources and business practices for both the public and private sector.

I’m about to pack up my laptop and head home. See ya later.

3 thoughts on “More CGI

  1. Colin Powell on a scooter, that is weird. Old injury from moral contortions?

    It does sound like the CGI conference has been amazing, but when the participants come up for air they’re going to have to deal with the latest worry: that Bush is readying to attack Iran sometime in the next 4 weeks. Longterm solutions are wonderful, but they tend to get lost in the shortterm lunacy of our present government.

  2. There really is a lot of good work coming out of this conference, and the best part is that it isn’t all talk.

    That’s great. Sounds like some really positive, creative, meaningful initiatives coming out of this.

    All of which, of course, is an implicit rebuke to Chimpy McLipservice and his fatuous platitudes.

    Speaking of people making a real difference, I thought the coolest MacArthur grantee this year was Victoria Hale, who started a non-profit pharmaceutical company to develop and distribute orphaned drugs that are effective against diseases endemic in the third world (leishmaniasis, dysentery, Chagas’ disease, and so on). It’s an elegant idea with the potential to save millions of lives, and it’s filling a gap left by the complete failure of the profit-based pharmaceutical companies. Very cool.

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