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Wilson weighs in; corn withers

Kelpie Wilson, environmental editor of truthout.org, writes today on the possibility of corn as fuel. Fuhgeddaboutit, is the short answer. Citing the Patzek/Pimentel paper mentioned in the lively comments section of biodiversivist's "Bad idea" post, Wilson notes that the current energy bill (great resource on that here) is going to have some interesting results if it's passed -- it will both encourage ethanol production and demand that less fossil fuels be used. But increased ethanol production will actually lead to an increase in the amount of fossil fuels used: "We would use less fossil fuel and produce less greenhouse gas …

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Holmstead resigns

Jeff Holmstead, head of the Bush administration's EPA air department and all around promoter of the "Clear Skies" initiative, just announced his plans to leave the agency at the end of August. Next steps for him? Traveling the world with his family for a year. Best decision the guy ever made ...

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A walk on the slippery rocks

"Philosophy," you scoff. "What is it good for?" Not much, really. But I studied it for a long time and still enjoy seeing it pop up here and there. I was happy, for instance, to see my favorite philosopher make it to (a distant) No. 2 on the BBC poll of best philosophers evar, and also to see him given a 9 out of 10 on Sartwell's rather more idiosyncratic ranking. "Generally speaking," ol' Dave Hume said, "the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous." So true. Just to pretend this post is about the environment, here …

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Road privatization

Could it work?

Biopolitical anticipated this post with his comment -- in fact, my post on the gas tax started off on the topic of road privatization but then, well, veered off course. I like the idea of road privatization on the surface. The road system is similar to the mail system in that when it was instituted, there wasn't really a private company that had the necessary capital to take on such a project themselves. Now, however, we have FedEx and other shipping companies that do have that capital for shipping, and which would undoubtedly have branched into mail delivery were it …

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SCOTUS: Roberts

Notes on the new Supreme Court nominee.

Ha. Well, that whole post was sure pointless. Bush has nominated John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. More later. Update [2005-7-19 22:18:50 by Dave Roberts]: Well, I've read around a bit, and there doesn't seem to be much exciting to say about Roberts. He is by all accounts an extremely good lawyer, intelligent and thoughtful. He's known for his level, collegial temperament and ability to find consensus. Ideologically, he's extremely conservative, in the Scalia and Thomas mold, but not doctrinaire. His confirmation is inevitable, and while I'm sure Dems will kick up a little dust, they won't go to …

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Critiquing libertarian critique of the energy bill

Libertarians seem oddly silent on the subject of subsidies that benefit the oil and gas industries.

Warning: This post is just as wonky and boring as the title makes it sound. This essay by Jerry Taylor and Peter VanDoren of the Cato Institute perfectly captures a real confusion I have about libertarians. They discuss the two versions of the energy bill -- House and Senate -- and say pretty much what you'd expect libertarians to say: Every provision that has government giving money to a market actor, taking money from a market actor, or restricting the behavior of a market actor is bad, bad, bad. Okay, fine. But what's the motivation? Here are the two possible …

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More on Clement

Vague on social conservatism; hard right on federalism.

Below, Chris requests information on what appears to be the likely Bush SCOTUS candidate: Fifth Circuit Judge Edith "Joy" Clement. Ask and ye shall receive. Here's what I gather from my quick scan: Clement has a pretty thin record, so it's impossible to tell where she stands on many major issue. (She is, in other words, a "stealth nominee.") Reading the tea leaves, the scuttlebutt seems to be that her support of the social conservative agenda is subtle, but her support of the rightwing business and regulatory agenda ("constitution in exile") is overt and robust. This is more or less …

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No, Tuck YOU

Conservative talkshow host Tucker Carlson thinks bombing Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrio was just peachy

Twenty years ago, photographer Fernando Pereira was killed when the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior was bombed in Aukland Harbor by French secret service agents, in retaliation for Greenpeace protests of French nuclear testing. The plan to sink the boat was later traced to the very top levels of the French government. On June 22, on his MSNBC show The Situation, conservative talkshow host Tucker Carlson had this to say: CARLSON: Actually, I am objectively pro-France. You know, France blew up the Rainbow Warrior, that Greenpeace ship in Auckland Harbor in the '80s. And I've always respected them ... RACHEL MADDOW: …

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SCOTUS update

Bush will announce his Supreme Court nominee in a live, prime-time Tuesday night address. The fact that this will distract media attention from Karl Rove is, of course, entirely coincidental. Update [2005-7-19 11:27:7 by Dave Roberts]: Speaking of SCOTUS picks, the Center for American Progress has started a blog devoted to the topic. Check it out.

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Psst! How'd you like a nice whack upside the head?

Cooperation versus antagonism in environmental activism.

Perusing AlterNet's headlines today, I noticed the new EnviroHealth article expands on a subject covered in both Daily Grist and Gristmill. Zack Pelta-Heller discusses the the pros and cons of different approaches to environmental activism. Case in point: The Sierra Club uses positive reenforcement and collaboration to get Ford to alter its modus operandi, while the Rainforest Action Network is much more confrontational and antagonistic, running an ad in The New York Times comparing Ford CEO Bill Ford, Jr. to Dick Cheney and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. RAN justifies its methods with the following anecdote: There's a story …

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