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Ben White's Posts

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Dammed If He Does, Dammed If He Doesn't

Last Wednesday's New York Times featured a full-page ad urging Vice Pres. Al Gore to take a stronger position on dam removal on the lower Snake River in Washington state, a step that enviros believe would improve the survival chances of several salmon species that call the river home. What happens to a decision deferred? Doesit dry up, like a salmon in the sun? The ad -- sponsored by a number of enviro groups, including American Rivers, Idaho Rivers United, and Save Our Wild Salmon -- essentially nationalizes what has up to now been a largely regional issue limited to …

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Black Helicopter Watch

Rarely do environmentalists find much common ground with the libertarian Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. But rarely do squabbles get as nasty as they did last week following the posting of an item on Cato adjunct scholar Steven Milloy's junkscience.com website concerning David Platt Rall, a noted environmental scientist who died tragically in a car accident in Europe recently. Milloy, who fancies himself the "Junk Man," a maverick debunker of environmental "junk science," celebrated Rall's death, writing in his news roundup under the header "Obituary of the Day": "Scratch one junk scientist who promoted the bankrupt idea that …

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Ad-ing Fuel to the Fire

Backed by a cash infusion from media mogul Ted Turner's foundation as well as several other major donors, National Environmental Trust, along with the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility, kicked off a splashy $8 million ad campaign on global warming this week with three TV spots slated to run on 220 stations nationwide. For hot heads -- a frame from the big deal ad campaign. The ads were produced by something of a political odd-couple, Clinton-Gore war room veteran Mandy Grunwald and Republican operative Bill Greener, whose past clients include the Republican National Committee, former Rep. …

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Warren Can Wait

It was a scene about as strange as they come in the perennially strange world of American millennial politics. Neoconservative uber-pundit Arianna Huffington speaking to the hardest of hard-core liberals, Americans for Democratic Action, introducing the strangest of strange celebrity presidential candidates, Warren Beatty. Beatty as Bulworth. Wednesday night, a packed house at the Beverly Hilton waited patiently (some journos had a hard time squeezing in, as we hear it) to listen to Beatty detail his plans for seeking the presidency as a liberal Democratic alternative to Vice Pres. Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley. Previously, Beatty had written …

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Come on, Rudy, Sign the Local Motion

Instant correction: Those of you who perused Muckraker early this morning or over the weekend may have read that New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) was prepared to sign a major letter from mayors and other local officials calling for the federal government to do more to combat global warming. Not so keen to be green? Well, forget it. After appearing ready to sign on the dotted line, thanks to some arm twisting from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (D), Giuliani's office backed out late last Friday night and will not be an official party to the declaration. Giuliani's reversal …

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Sweet Georgie green?

Dubya. Texas Gov. George W. Bush may not be about to sit down and pen a sequel to Al Gore's environmental manifesto Earth in the Balance, but he has done something several other GOP presidential candidates appear reluctant to do: acknowledge the existence of global warming. On May 12, Bush told a news conference in Austin: "I believe there is global warming." So, what brought Bush to this dramatic realization? Could it have been his sit-down with Environmental Defense Fund Executive Director Fred Krupp, first reported in National Journal? Perhaps. But Bush hasn't ventured far beyond saying he believes the …

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

Texas Gov. George W. Bush dodged one legal bullet this week when a judge ruled that he could not be subpoenaed in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by the state's former funeral commission director, who claims she was fired after attempting to investigate a funeral services company that has contributed large sums to Bush's gubernatorial campaigns. Bush was not quite as lucky Monday, when a group of environmentalists filed suit against him personally, as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety, for allegedly violating their first amendment rights by arresting them while they protested peacefully on the sidewalk outside the …

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A Godsend for Enviros?

It's all but official. Hollywood actor Warren Beatty may have hedged his bets somewhat in a New York Times op-ed last Sunday, but he already has a presidential campaign website, which is this column's fin de siècle measure of candidatehood, be it virtual or actual. Leaving aside the question of why certain individuals with no electoral experience (Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, et al.) feel qualified to begin their political careers by vaulting to the highest office in the land, we thought we would take a quick look at Jay Billington Bulworth's environmental record. If there is one. Warren, peaceful Presumably, …

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

August is prime R&R time for lawmakers, who are kicking back in their home states and pressing the all-important constituent flesh. No such vacation at the Sierra Club, however, where summer means it's time to drive lawmakers crazy by running ads against them. On the receiving end of the group's radio spots this time around are Reps. Chris John (D-La.), Anne Northup (R-Ky.), Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), and Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.). You can write off the little known John (who desperately needs a last name) as the token Democrat of the bunch. He ran unopposed last year and doesn't figure …

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Endless Summer?

It's August, Washington is on vacation, and your faithful columnist has just returned from four blissful days soaking up sweet rays and digging his toes into the soggy, welcoming sand of Rehoboth Beach, Del. In fact, slathered in sunscreen and buffeted by crisp breezes rippling off the Atlantic, we couldn't help but notice how much sand there was. Rehoboth, a beach that earlier in the decade suffered serious erosion after being battered by a series of wicked storms, appears to have made a comeback, once again providing a thick ribbon of sand to accommodate the hordes of sun-starved supplicants who …

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