Ben White

Ben White is a contributing reporter at the Washington Post and assistant to columnist David Broder. Previously, he was a writer for the Hotline and editor of the Hotline Weekly.

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, www.unioncarbide.com, which makes no mention of the gas leak whatsoever. What Union Carbide does do is operate an entirely …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …