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june 19, 2000

Hot enough for you? With exquisite timing, a federal report  predicting the effects of global warming was released on the eve of San Francisco’s own mini-heat wave. Nothing is carved in stone, mind you, but those of the forewarned-forearmed school might take heed. The assessment, which will incorporate public comments until August 11, derives its content from three years of intensive consultations and complex computer analyses. The scope is national, but in its sections pertaining to West, it’s a model of the interconnections that make the region work: water, agriculture, ranching, recreational areas, urban populations. To think that people used to dismiss BANA (Bioregional Association of the Northern Americas) as hippie nonsense. <> Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, China is reeling from its worst drought in nearly 20 years, reports the June 12 Planet Ark (Reuters Daily World Environment News). Faced with a mere 300 cubic meters of water per capita (that’s 3.3 percent of the world’s average), Beijing residents can expect "strict and obligatory" controls on their water use. The northern plains are parched, giving rise to estimates of an 8 percent drop in wheat production. And the litany of anguish continues: the BBC reported on June 15 that "massive infestations" of drought-loving locusts are chewing their way across the farmlands of seven provinces. Daiyenu!

Care packages from the Castro. Summer in San Francisco means the International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, running this year until June 25. Turns out that the sponsoring organization also offers a unique service called "Send It Home." "Remember high school? asks Frameline. "Bullies? Taunting? Spending lots of time alone in the library? Don't you wish you had some resources back then that affirmed your young gay identity? Something that would have connected you to the wider world of queer folks?" The solution: send an award-winning video — titles include "Homoteens" and "Surviving Friendly Fire" — to your hometown library or school to ease other kids’ painful adolescence.

Help for the weary. Are you bothered by telemarketers? A recent email offers the following suggestion:

Every time you get a call you consider junk, just ask the questions in this script. If they answer no, you may be able to sue them. You can print copies of it to keep by every phone at home. If everyone follows it, the junk calls will slowly but surely drop off.

"Are you calling to sell something?" (or "Is this a telemarketing call?")

"Could you tell me your full name, please?"

"And a phone number, area code first?"

"What's the name of the organization you're calling for?"

"Does that organization keep a list of numbers it's been asked not to call?"

"I would like my number(s) put on that list. Can you take care of that now?"

"And does the company you work for also make telemarketing calls for any other organizations?" (If they answer no, skip the next question.)

(If yes) "Can you make sure your company won't call me for any other organization?"

You may need to ask to speak with a supervisor if they sound lost. When you're ready to let them off, you might close with "Is it clear that I never want telemarketing calls from anyone?" and just say goodbye. If you feel like making them pay, keep going:

"Will your company keep my number on its do-not-call list for at least ten years?"

"And does your company have a written policy that says that on paper?"

"Can you send me a copy of it?"

"What's your supervisor's first and last name?"

"What's your employer's business name, address, and main telephone number?"

"Are you calling for a tax-exempt nonprofit organization?"

"Is this call based on a previously established business relationship?"

Before hanging up, check you have all their answers written down; then say goodbye. Add the date and time to your record. (Is it between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.? )

For further information, consult Junkbusters.