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Ben White's Posts

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Greenslinging

The environment -- oh-so-neglected for much of the presidential campaign (as we noted in past columns) -- has bubbled up to the top of the issue mix in recent days. While the Republican battle royale between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain still steals most of the ink and gets the lion's share of airtime on the evening news, the Democrats have ratcheted up their battle for the hearts and minds of environmentalists. Things started heating up when former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley tore into Vice President Al Gore's environmental record during a speech in …

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Marching to a Different Beat

Enviros of different stripes disagree on a lot of issues, but many have lamented in unison the recent absence of a full-time environmental writer at the New York Times. Got a hot story in need of some serious national ink? Whom do you call? USA Today? The news mags? The networks? Sure -- you call them all. But everyone knows that the biggest impact comes when the Old Gray Lady springs into action. Word on the street is that the empty slot at the Times is about to get filled. Muckraker is told that the Times will slide Douglas Jehl, …

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On With the No-Show

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) may have said it best at a rally Sunday afternoon in the postcard-perfect New Hampshire town of Peterborough. Asked what he planned to do to improve the environment, McCain mused briefly about convening a panel of scientists to figure out once and for all whether global warming exists, and then he said, "You know, I think that might be one of the most important, and under-discussed, issues of this campaign." It was an understatement. On both the Republican and Democratic sides, the environment has played a very limited role in campaign discourse and in street …

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Bill's Bad Week

One of the headlines in the Des Moines Register's "Life" section on Saturday read: "Muckraker Comes to Town." Well, they got the headline right, anyway. The story referred to filmmaker Michael Moore, not this reporter, who is also in town following the presidential candidates around as they madly scour Iowa in search of votes in the state's caucuses, the first actual voting of 2000. We've been keeping a special eye turned toward the role environmental issues are playing in the campaign. By far the most visible presence here in this frigid, snow-covered state has been that of Ozone Action. The …

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Sierra Club Can't Take a Leak

A memo circulated recently around the Sierra Club's offices highlighted the "Top Ten" reasons the group should not endorse Vice Pres. Al Gore. The memo, written by Sierra Club board member Michael Dorsey and unearthed by the Washington Times last week, says: "Does Vice President Gore really care about nature? Does he care about protecting people from hazardous waste and toxic pollution? Does he care about human life and the future of the planet? The answers seem to be a resounding and deafening NO." The Sierra Club went into maximum spin mode after the memo leaked, criticizing the Washington Times …

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What's So Funny About Greenpeace, Love, and Understanding? Part II

Last week, we aired the ranting of a former Greenpeace USA staffer about the current state of the organization in the wake of the recent decision by the board of directors to resign en masse. This week, we offer a forum to Craig Culp, director of media affairs at Greenpeace, who, shall we say, was less than thrilled at the anonymous flame from the former staffer. Culp said the board simply came to a point where its disagreements over the future role of the direct action organization were hindering progress. "Boards aren't supposed to do that," Culp said. "They are …

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It's Miller Time in Cali

Bill Bradley has not been particularly competitive with Vice Pres. Gore in the world of endorsements and establishment support within the Democratic Party. In fact, he's been roundly trounced. Gore boasts scores of supporters in Congress and among various and sundry party potentates scattered across the country. Gore also leads in endorsements from labor unions and other traditional Democratic interest groups. (Readers know that greenie groups but for one have officially remained neutral.) But Bradley got a boost this week from three West Coast members of Congress who took to the podium at the National Press Club to endorse the …

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Bhopal — or RuPaul

Friday marks the 15th anniversary of a very unhappy occasion. On Dec. 3, 1984, a Union Carbide industrial plant in Bhopal, India, released a deadly cloud of the gas methyl isocyanate into the air, killing at least 6,500 people (and some say more) and injuring tens of thousands. Ever since, Union Carbide and Bhopal have been inextricably linked. But those who may not know a great deal about what happened in India won't find any enlightenment at Union Carbide's corporate website, http://www.unioncarbide.com, which makes no mention of the gas leak whatsoever. What Union Carbide does do is operate an entirely …

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The Dude's a Hazard

Officials at the Republican governors association have been talking a lot lately about Montana Gov. Marc Racicot (pronounced Roscoe, as in Rosco P. Coltrane of Dukes of Hazzard fame), touting him as a hot candidate for media interviews. Racicot is not exactly a household name and generally doesn't stir much excitement in the bellies of the national media, but when selling Racicot as a go-to guy, flaks quickly mention his relationship with Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race. This has led us, and others, to wonder whether Racicot might be in line for a …

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I Double Dare Ya

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank not known as a particular favorite of enviros, issued a debate challenge to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change last week. In a letter published as an ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, CEI Distinguished Fellow Jack Kemp, a one-time vice presidential candidate, congressman, football star, and all-around free-market guru, challenges the Pew Center to repudiate "alarmist ads" currently running about global warming and submit to a series of debates "to review the evidence for and against Kyoto in a more thoughtful fashion." Why the challenge? "The pro-Kyoto side …