Eviction happening at South Central farm

Word has it that people are being evicted from the South Central Community Farm as we speak. Darryl Hannah is still up in her tree, but they're talking about bringing bulldozers in. All you L.A. readers get down there. If you can't make it in, I'm told there's a sit-in in the mayor's office.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (and the Next Day)

Daily Grist takes a two-day break There will be no Daily Grist on Wednesday or Thursday this week. We Gristian editors are retreating to our …

Lightning in a Bottle

Bottled-water companies spur fights over water rights in Eastern states Water-rights battles, long the domain of Western states, are now being fought in the Eastern …

The Electric Tide

Tidal-energy project could come to Nantucket Sound Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod in Massachusetts are awash in alt-energy proposals: in addition to two offshore wind …

My problems with “energy security”

I have to say I'm uneasy at the fact that the most prominent voices in favour of plug-in hybrids have been men like Tom Friedman and James Woolsey. For men like these, "energy security" is part of the wider war on terror. As Friedman is wont to say, we're at war, and lessening our dependency on oil is a necessary part of that war. We'd like to believe that progressive causes can be made universal causes by trying to appropriate the language of national security. It would be great if we could sell the Republicans on the environment or clean energy by using their own language. But the history of this isn't great. As just one relevant example, the liberal red meat of humanitarian intervention went throught the meat grinder that is the Bush Administration, and came out Iraqi hamburger on the other end.

Inconvenient science

This is a pretty amazing story. A graduate student at Oregon State University does a little study and gets it published in Science. Good for him, right? Well, no, because his results are inconvenient for the thuggish cabal running Congress. You see, Daniel Donato's study showed that post-fire logging hurt forest regrowth, and Congress was busy considering legislation that would allow timber companies to salvage log after fires on federal land. This was always a sop to timber companies, but it was sold with a veneer of science: that salvage logging aided regrowth. So Donato's timing was unfortunate. Oregon State Forestry Dean Hal Salwasser, who supported the bill, started getting grumpy emails from his extraction buddies in industry and politics:

The Mustache and GM

A while back, Thomas Friedman wrote a column blasting GM for their plan to offer SUV purchasers rebates for gas money. In rather florid language, he compared GM to a crack dealer, said the company is supporting terrorists, and said he looked forward to Toyota taking over. GM was not happy about it, and in this blog post, Brian Akre of GM's corporate communications dept. recounts his attempts to get the NYT to publish a letter in response. Apparently the NYT was not very accommodating. Here's the original letter (PDF) GM's VP tried to get in NYT. What do you think?

The numbers game

Manatee classification downgraded

Last week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission downgraded the listing of manatees as "endangered" to "threatened." Don't get me wrong: it's great that their numbers have increased. Scientists have counted 3,116 manatees in Florida waters -- up from 1,267 in 1991. But they also say the state's manatee population is predicted to decrease 50 percent in the next five years because of habitat loss, boat collisions, and red tide blooms. So, just so we're all clear, the manatee is no longer on the brink of extinction -- but is expected to be on the brink again in 2011? At first I thought I was the only one who believed the manatee should be considered endangered until such time as scientists think it's likely that the population has recovered and can remain healthy. But then I saw that 17 environmental groups have already filed a petition with the state seeking to have the entire protection classification system revamped.

Gore links

Over on Salon, Katharine Mieszkowski takes a look at the science in An Inconvenient Truth, chats with some climate scientists, and concludes that Gore more or less got everything right. ThinkProgress dismantles the right-wing canard -- most recently passed along by George Will -- that there's wide scientific disagreement over humans' role in global warming. 'Winger Debra Saunders struggles mightily to revive the familiar media narrative of Al Gore as narcissist and serial exaggerator. Anonymous Liberal debunks some of the more egregious factual errors and ruminates on the narrative that seemingly won't die. Once the media has settled on a narrative, it is very hard to change it. Al Gore's recent re-emergence into the national spotlight has resulted in some uncharacteristically favorable press coverage. But Gore's conservative detractors, like Saunders and the National Review's Jonah Goldberg are trying very hard to reassert the old Gore narratives. And mainstream journalists (and even liberal commentators like Frank Rich) have demonstrated recently that the old Gore narratives still shape their views of the man. But I'm cautiously optimistic that this phenomenon can be more effectively combatted and contained in the future. The reason for my optimism is the emergence of the blogosphere as a factor in American politics. Let's hope. As AL points out, Daily Howler is the place to go for tireless debunking of these tired narratives.