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Readers talk back about art, our climate quiz, and how much they adore us

  Re: Imagine That Dear Editor: "Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas?" Bill McKibben is asking the right question, but looking in all the wrong places. The concern for subjects such as global warming and peak oil is not reflected in the corporate media or in corporate-funded arts institutions. McKibben will have to go to the grassroots to find the art and literature for these subjects -- and it may not be "high art" like operas and oil paintings in museums. It will most likely be grassroots art: comics, zines, etc. Ken Avidor Avidor Studios …

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Cloture invoked.

Early today, the Senate voted 61-37 for cloture and confirmed Stephen Johnson as head of the U.S. EPA.

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Environmental regulations are a tiny sliver of oil refinery costs.

As expected, one of Bush's complaints in last night's speech was that there haven't been new refineries coming online, thus creating a "bottleneck" in the system. There's some truth to that, but note that he contradicted himself when he said that jawboning other countries to boost supplies would lower the price of gas at the pump. [I should add: high gas prices are generally OK with me because they reduce long-run demand, though I'd prefer that extra money go to the U.S. government in the form of gas taxes rather than, say, into the opaque coffers of Ayatollah Khamenei, Hugo …

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Even Jimmy Carter was braver on energy issues.

This from an estranged Republican blogger: Conservatives love to ridicule Jimmy Carter for wearing a sweater, telling Americans to turn down their thermostats in the winter, and urging them to drive smaller cars. But can anyone imagine President Bush going out on that kind of a limb to set an example? That lack of leadership will be his legacy on this issue. Yeah. Shameful. It's worth noting that Jimmy Carter was absolutely right on the merits, even though his political approach was (metaphorically) suicidal. For all of his bragging about being willing to take on "tough challenges," Bush has been …

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More on Bush’s energy stuff

Alan pretty much covered the bases, but if you want more commentary on Bush's just-announced energy initiatives, Jeff has a roundup pointing to Ezra Klein and Mike Millikin. I'd also draw attention to John Carey and -- with delight -- James Wolcott. (I don't often get to link to Wolcott here, but trust me, you may find better insight other places, but you'll never find better prose.) Meanwhile, professional smirker Jonah Goldberg floats the idea of a gas tax on NRO's blog, is immediately pilloried by his arch-conservative readers, backs off, and then basks in the glory of the whole …

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It’s as bad as it looks.

Approaching the summer "driving season" when gas prices often spike, President Bush has pumped up a new set of energy proposals. Even the mainstream media regard them as window dressing. (Witness the Washington Post.) But I'll take the proposals as serious and comment. 1. The Bush administration proposes to allow oil refineries on abandoned military bases, claiming that limited refinery capacity is driving up gas prices and that it's hard to get permission to build new refineries. Military bases, as federal property, are exempt from most local regulations. The overwhelming cause of high motor fuel prices is high world oil …

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GOP to force Dems to release hold on Johnson?

Looks like the Senate GOPers may be looking to force a vote on Stephen Johnson's nomination to head the EPA. As all the hip bloggers say: Developing...

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Walking the halls

You know, people bitch a lot about the mainstream green groups, but how many other people could write a blog post about the ongoing battle over the Arctic Refuge that includes this sentence? So we are walking the halls, trying to strengthen the resolve of people like Congresswomen Nancy Johnson, and to find a way to persuade the few remaining leaners to come our way. Good luck, Carl. (See also Pope's longer post on Congressional shenanigans.)

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Our fearless leader is interviewed; the masses swoon.

Our fearless leader Chip Giller is profiled and interviewed in the latest issue of Evergreen Monthly. If you can get past the slightly bizarre photo (he fairly glows with eco-goodness! or was it raining light...?), it's a good read.

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DaimlerChrysler’s SMART division not doing well.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Daimler-Chrysler, which manufactures the very chic SMART cars, posted some dodgy 1q earnings today. The bad news is that the SMART division (smart GmbH) appears to be struggling. The press release doesn't say much: Stuttgart/Auburn Hills, 04/28/2005 - First-quarter unit sales decreased by 7% to 247,000 vehicles, while revenues were 11% lower at 10.4 billion euros. The operating loss of 954 million euros (Q1 2004: 639 million euros) was affected by expenses of 800 million euros relating to the realignment of the smart business unit. At smart there was an operating …

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