From Tim Iacono, some delightful on-the-ground investigative blogging about a Hummer dealership in Southern California trying to hide massive amounts of overstock. Tim and his pals got a tip about a nervous dealer who "had begun storing his Hummer inventory at an undisclosed location, far from the dealer showroom so as not to spook jittery, prospective buyers with the mounting number of unsold H2s and H3s." They started snooping around and ended up snapping photos of row upon row upon row of unwanted gas-guzzling Dweeb-mobiles. Quite amusing.
Plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were dropped from the House budget reconcilation bill tonight. Credit goes to GOP Rep. Charles Bass of New Hampshire and 24 fellow Republicans who threatened to vote against the bill unless the drilling provisions was dropped. It's not the end of the battle -- efforts are surely underway already to get the language back in -- but it's a surprising show of strength by refuge defenders. And yet another blow to poor, beleaguered Bush.
Or so argues a new book by Stephenie Hendricks -- Divine Destruction: Wise Use, Dominion Theology, and the Making of American Environmental Policy, excerpted in the latest Seattle Weekly. Nut 'graph from the excerpt: [T]he widespread acceptance of anti-environmental thinking in the guise of Wise Use is made more troubling in that there are increasingly close ties between those who subscribe to the ideas of Wise Use and members of fundamentalist Christian churches and organizations. The Wise Use movement's influence over religious conservatives thus mirrors the traditional relationship between religious and political conservatives in that Wise Use advocates are increasingly adapting their own agenda to include the concerns of religious voters. In so doing, they have gained an army of God to promote their own agenda.
The Senate today voted to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Yes, yes, we know you've heard that before, but this vote means drilling really is closer to reality than ever before. Really.) Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state led the fight to protect the refuge, offering an amendment that would have stripped from a budget bill a provision that calls for drilling. Her amendment was voted down, 48 to 51. See how your senator voted. (A "Yea" vote is a vote to protect the Arctic Refuge.)
Power players in the U.S. are finally sitting up and taking note of climate change. But don't get hopeful just yet. They're not leaping to figure out how to retool our industrial system and stave off disaster. Rather, they're calculating which islands will make the best vacation getaways for the rich and famous in a globally warmed world. Yes, The Wall Street Journal has helpfully published "The Global Climate-Change Island Guide" [subscribers only, alas], informed by the new "Dow Jones Island Index" [PDF; should work even for non-subscribers], which analyzes "12 factors that reflect a range of environmental risks that islands and island tourists face." Of 40 islands examined, the top ranked for your continued vacation pleasure is Prince Edward Island off Canada's east coast. Of course, the average temperature in December is 24 degrees Fahrenheit, but maybe a little more warming will nudge that number up to a more comfortable range. Elites will be more happy to see that Martha's Vineyard ranks second on the list. Also scoring reasonably well: the Florida Keys, Grand Cayman Island, and Crete. Steer clear of Sri Lanka, though, which bottoms out the list. Other islands you might want to avoid: the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Fiji. Book those plane tickets and buy those third homes now, folks, before the plebs get ahold of this valuable data!
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has gone one better than those governors who've been feeling so smug about giving up their SUVs. He's tooling around town on a Vespa.
Speaking of rebuilding New Orleans, NPR's Living on Earth this week talks to a cross-section of city denizens -- including an artist, a bar owner, an environmental-justice activist, and a co-chair of Gov. Blanco's Louisiana Recovery Authority -- to get their opinions on what should come next for the Big Easy. Listen, or check out text and photos, on the LOE website.
Kudos to The Seattle Times and reporter Sandi Doughton for an extensive report on climate change that cuts through the bullshit. Dominating the front page of the Sunday paper, this headline and subhead: The truth about global warming Scientists overwhelmingly agree: The Earth is getting warmer at an alarming pace, and humans are the cause -- no matter what the skeptics say.
Or at least you good ones. You might want to get your name in the running for a new annual prize for top-notch environmental reportage; the winner(s) of the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment will take home $75,000. Info here.