Pollution From Ecological Conference

And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

Pollution From Ecological Conference

A British company has concluded that delegates to the Earth Summit in South Africa this coming September will generate the same amount of greenhouse gases as 500,000 ordinary Africans would in one year.

The London Telegraph reports that the firm Future Forests estimates that the 60,000 summit delegates — through air flights, ground transportation and hotel pollution — will produce nearly 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The summit's organizers are trying to raise money to pay for programs that would offset that pollution.

Watch What You Say About the President...

An Air Force colonel has been suspended from duty and may be court-martialed after accusing President Bush of allowing the 9/11 attacks. Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler, an official at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., made the allegation in the letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

It said Mr. Bush "did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism... His daddy had Saddam and he needed Usama. His presidency was going nowhere. This guy is a joke."

Military law bars "contemptuous words against the President." At least four officers were disciplined under that law for disrespectful comments about President Clinton.

French Fry Suit Settled

McDonald's has now apologized and agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups to end the lawsuit over the labeling of its French fries. Twelve years ago, the company announced it would no longer use animal fat to cook its fries, only vegetable oil.

It turns out that some beef essence continued to be used for flavoring. That led to the lawsuit by Hindus, vegetarians and others. There have also been protests against the company in India, where there are now 28 McDonald's restaurants. Hindus are 85 percent of India's population and most are vegetarians. Hindus also believe cows are sacred. So wait until they hear what the California Highway Patrol did this week in a field near the town of Santa Maria…

Cops Who Kill Cows

A half-dozen cows had wandered away from a ranch and were grazing in the field alongside the busy California Highway 1.

Police said they tried to reach the owner of the cattle for three hours, but failed. So they shot the cattle dead. A safety precaution, they said, so the animals would not wander onto the highway and cause accidents.