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‘Eco-terrorism’: A new debate is born

Check out these letters to the editor in the Toronto Star. The first one is from the head of the U.S. Humane Society:The Star allowed the so-called "Center for Consumer Freedom" to cross the line when the group falsely accused the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) of supporting "the eco-terror problem." The suggestion that the HSUS supports any illegal action, or that it has ties to eco-terror groups which it has repeatedly denounced, is patently untrue and outrageous. The HSUS has repeatedly and publicly criticized individuals and groups who resort to intimidation, vandalism, or violence in the name of supposedly protecting animals. We believe harassment, violence and other illegal tactics are wholly unacceptable and inconsistent with a core ethic of promoting compassion and respect. This is exactly what CCF wants: For this to be the subject of conversation. It doesn't matter if the allegations against HSUS are absurd. It doesn't matter how convincingly HSUS demonstrates their absurdity. The point is that HSUS's "connection to terrorism" is now a "debate." And as any good mainstream media reporter knows, every debate has two sides, even if one side is full of shit. You can expect to see "he-said she-said" stories on this issue pop up more and more often in mainstream media outlets. The more the public sees mainstream groups tied to terrorism, the more those groups can expect to be marginalized. It's all going according to plan.

Ward Up

Houston kids living near a Superfund site tell their stories in pictures

Kids in Houston's Fifth Ward neighborhood are growing up surrounded by toxic waste, illegal dumps, and a Superfund site. Fortunately, they've also got Rhonda Adams in their midst, who's started a program through the Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston that encourages local youth to learn about the environment and their neighborhood and record what they see in photographs, drawings, and collages. Check out photos of the kids and their artwork. new in Main Dish: Ward Up see also, in Grist: Poverty & the Environment, a special series

Critical Mass

Massachusetts proposes tough standard for perchlorate in drinking water In a not-so-subtle jab at the Bush administration, Massachusetts has proposed a strict drinking-water standard for the toxic chemical perchlorate, which can disrupt metabolism, growth, and …

South Central Community Farm update

Over on Counterpunch.org, I've published an update on the situation at South Central Community Farm in Los Angeles. The piece is based partly on a Gristmill post from last week, with loads of new info on nefarious dealings by city officials. Check it out.

Spiritual activism conference

I had hoped to have my interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner up by now, but life has not cooperated. It should be up soon. I'd feel guilty, though, if I didn't mention one thing: Lerner's Spiritual Activism Conference runs in D.C. from March 17-20. Here's what it's about:

Oil and security

I was reading Atlantic Monthly on the bus this morning and noticed a pair of stories that inadvertently illustrated an interesting point: Western national-security experts are still wedded to the idea that "threat to our country" means "aggression toward our country," which seems woefully misguided to me in today's world. Let me illustrate. (Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to access the pieces online, so you'll have to take my word for it.) First we have a piece called "Worse Than Iraq?" It's about the horrific and deteriorating situation in Nigeria:

Poverty and race

This isn't strictly environmental, but no discussion of poverty in America makes sense outside of the context of race. Also, I think this op-ed deserves the widest possible exposure. It's easy, if you live in a cosmopolitan area, to think we're past stuff like this. Think again: I give you "Why do blacks continue to support Democrats?" [*see update] by conservative Washington state columnist Adele Fergusen: One of these days before I die, I hope to see a shift in the attitudes of so many of my black brothers and sisters in this great country we share, from perpetual victimhood, to pride in their achievements on the road from slave to American citizen. Remember Ronald Reagan's story about the kid who had to shovel a huge pile of manure? He went about it with such joy he was asked why and said, "With all that manure, there's got to be a pony in there somewhere." The pony hidden in slavery is the fact that it was the ticket to America for black people. I have long urged blacks to consider their presence here as the work of God, who wanted to bring them to this raw, new country and used slavery to achieve it. A harsh life, to be sure, but many immigrants suffered hardships and indignations as indentured servants. Their descendants rose above it. You don't hear them bemoaning their forebears' life the way some blacks can't rise above the fact theirs were slaves. Click on over and get a gander at Adele. (via TP) Update [2006-3-15 19:30:2 by David Roberts]: The Kitsap Business Journal, in a fit of what is either prudence or cowardice, seems to have taken down the column. I looked around for a cached version but couldn't find one. So you'll just have to trust me.

Bartlett on peak oil

Last Friday, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) appeared in a 90-minute documentary called Oil Crash. On March 18, he'll appear in We Were Warned, a CNN documentary on the same subject. At 4:30 EST today, CNN's "The Situation Room" (helmed by the execrable Wolf Blitzer) will air a story about Bartlett, in conjunction with the release of new poll about energy. Also, yesterday, Bartlett made a speech on the matter before the House. In it, he quotes heavily from this 2005 report by the Army Corps of Engineers (PDF). Anyway, Bartlett's raising the alarm. I've reprinted some excerpts from his speech below the fold. Update [2006-3-15 15:26:41 by David Roberts]: Hm. Looks like I basically replicated an Oil Drum post. That'll teach me to start writing before I visit the ol' RSS aggregator.

Breaking dog condom news!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Bloomington, IN - August 3, 2005 -- Dog Condoms, Inc. is announcing a voluntary recall of its Dog Condoms® canine prophylactics, due to an unacceptable failure rate reported during preliminary release in test markets. Use of these recalled condoms may result in unwanted canine pregnancies. Additionally, meat-scented Dog Condoms® may present a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. You can read the rest here. Update [2006-3-15 14:18:22 by David Roberts]: This is, of course, fake. Sigh.

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