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Your back yard

The super-wonks over at John Podesta's Center for American Progress have a nifty map on their site -- you can click on your state and find out statistics on environmental, health, and safety issues.  For instance, did you know that 1,160 people die every year due to power plant pollution in Texas?  Me neither!  Go check it out.

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I heart Corby Kummer

The Atlantic Monthly is my favorite magazine -- every month a thick, satisfying helping of high-minded policy-wonk goodness.  I read it cover to cover, which is the equivalent of a longish novella every month. Anyhoo, one of many reasons to subscribe -- or at least to subscribe to the website -- is the writing of Corby Kummer.He writes about foodie issues, with an emphasis on organic, sustainable food and its march of progress into the nooks and crannies of our culture.  There's this excellent look at organic yogurt, which doubles as a meditation on the effect of size on taste, …

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Nader haters

Speaking of former Nader allies jumping ship, a group of the advocates, actors, writers, and politicos who endorsed Ralph in 2000 will be unveiling an initiative on Friday called The Unity Campaign, which will urge Nader supporters to pull their heads out of their asses and "vote strategically, vote Kerry."  The group -- including enviros Wendell Berry, Ben Cohen, Paul Hawken, and Randy Hayes, well as other lefty luminaries like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Barbara Ehrenreich -- plans to run a series of ads in swing states where the Nader contingent could make a difference.  (Some personal Nader bile …

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So whatcha whatcha whatcha want?

In the U.S., as with many other places, the industrial era saw a massive exodus from rural areas into cities.  The "information era" (or whatever buzzword you like) has seen a massive exodus from cities to suburbs and exurbs, with long commutes to work, sprawling colonies of large homes, strip malls, and cars, cars, cars.  Now, the mere fact of such a large exodus would seem to indicate that Americans prefer such a lifestyle (despite the fact that it may be killing them.) But according to a new survey conducted by Smart Growth America in conjunction with the National Association …

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Whistle while you work

We've all seen the trickle of stories over the last few years about environmental officials in the Bush administration either quitting in protest or formally applying for whistle-blower status (we've also read about the Bush admin's unprecedented efforts to reduce protections for whistle-blowers). However, the latest edition of the Sierra Club's "RAW" email really brings the point home.  It offers a list of whistle-blowers, their agencies and complaints.  It's pretty stunning.

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For the defense: Connaughton

Following up on yesterday's live chat with LCV's Deb Callahan, today The Washington Post is hosting a live chat with James L. Connaughton, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman.  He will, presumably, be defending the Bush environmental record.  Stop by and ask him a question. UPDATE: It's over and it was, predictably, thoroughly unsatisfying. It sounded like it could have been written by a robot that trolled through Bush administration website pages and extracted boilerplate. Maybe it was.

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Questions = disloyalty

From Ron Suskind's new piece in New York Times Magazine: A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As [Christine Todd] Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!'' (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, …

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I heart Seth Borenstein

When it comes to the environment (and foreign policy, incidentally), scrappy little Knight Ridder kicks Reuters' and AP's ass.  How?  By telling it like it is, without a flabby layer of "balance" obscuring the truth.  The mainstream media is increasingly crippled by its own conventions.  No matter how outrageous the charge, or clear the facts, the media feels duty bound to present every issue as "he said, she said."  This practice, as many folks have suggested, benefits the people who lie.  Every lie is presented on equal footing with the truth.  It gives readers the impression that nothing is a …

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Live chat about the environment in election 2004

At 1pm ET on Monday, The Washington Post is hosting a live chat with Deb Callahan, president of the League of Conservation Voters.  Go submit a question and tune in when it gets underway.  If you feel you simply must mention Grist, well, who am I to stop you? UPDATE: It's underway. Head on over. UPDATE: It's over, but it's still on the site. It was mildly interesting -- as much as hasty replies in one hour can be. My efforts to submit a question subtly hyping Grist were for naught. Sigh.

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Ineffectual protest: it’s what minority parties do

Earlier this week we pointed to a story about the Bush administration going lightly on a practice called "hydraulic fracturing," a method of getting more oil and gas out of the ground that may or may not pollute groundwater and most definitely represents considerable profits for a lil' company called Halliburton.  An EPA official -- Weston Wilson, an environmental engineer -- involved into the agency's analysis of the practice is seeking formal whistle-blower protection, saying the study was flawed and biased.  (He is one of an unusual number of whistle-blowers popping up in the Bush administration, as this story makes …

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