Politics

Prez race '08: Jolie v. Pitt

Brangelina argue over politics

Ever wonder what Brangelina fight about? Turns out it’s Barack Obama. From a super credible news source: An insider close to the Pitt family said: “They got into a huge fight about politics (Brad supports Barack Obama, while Angie’s a John Edwards fan.) Brad ended up calling her immature. He says the next thing he knew, Angie was cursing at him and throwing a glass of wine in his face.” Brad, understandably, was speechless. “He was left standing there with wine dripping down his face onto his clothes, before storming off to wash up and change. He says he was …

For now, local politics is the way to effect ag-policy change

Over the past few years, grassroots support has swelled for new federal farm policies — ones that promote healthy, sustainably grown food, not the interests of a few agribusiness firms. Udder madness. Photo: iStockphoto The target of much of this organizing has been the 2007 farm bill. If past farm bill debates have been the concern of a small cadre of lobbyists and activists, this one has hit the mainstream. Informed farm bill discussions have turned up in newspapers’ food sections, general-interest magazines, and even the best-seller list, in the form of books like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and …

Dingell argues for a carbon tax

In a prominent op-ed

Today in the Washington Post, Rep. John Dingell has an op-ed arguing on behalf of a carbon tax: I apparently created a mini-storm last month when I observed publicly for at least the sixth time since February that some form of carbon emissions fee or tax (including a gasoline tax) would be the most effective way to curb carbon emissions and make alternatives economically viable. … A carbon tax or fee has been endorsed by President Bush’s former chief economic adviser, Greg Mankiw; Nobel Prize-winning conservative economist Gary Becker; the chief executive of the largest U.S. auto-dealer chain, Mike Jackson; …

Todd Willens and the Everglades

Pombo’s old hack buddy, still at it

At the behest of the U.S. delegation, the U.N. World Heritage Committee is taking Everglades National Park off its list of endangered sites, against the advice of the committee’s science advisors and the advice of the U.S. National Park Service. Who is the head of the U.S. delegation? Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Todd Willens. Who is Todd Willens? Former legislative director for Rep. Dick Pombo, former policy director of the House Resources Committee, and leader (with Pombo) of the fight to destroy the Endangered Species Act — a fight which is ongoing. (Also recipient of corrupt Abramoff money …

Where enviros can make a real difference

Learn to look down the ballot — waaaaaay down

Here's a story that's all too common: Right-wing dominated court; likes to pat itself on the back for being a "strict constructionalist" court that, regardless of its own justices' preferences, follows the commands of the legislature expressed in the plain words of the statutes. No "judge-made law" here, just the power of the people expressed through their elected representatives. Except not. Michigan's Environmental Policy Act gave "any person" the right to sue over environmental damages, allowing people to act as citizen attorneys-general because, as the pols in the 1970s recognized, elected AGs and appointed state bureaucrats often aren't actually all that interested in confronting contribution-wielding polluters. So, this year, the Michigan Supreme Court GOP majority took off its strict constructionalist hat and donned its liberal interpretation hat to decide that, well, "any person" doesn't mean what you might think it means.

Carbon- and nuclear-free America possible by 2050

Now that’s a 12-step program

A hopeful press release touting an even more hopeful (wishful?) report:

Democrats poised to wimp out on CAFE for now; Dingell pursues 'poison pill' strategy on climate

The latest from Congress

The Washington Post reports today: Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) claims to have rounded up about 200 votes for an amendment raising fuel economy standards, while the Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, John D. Dingell (Mich.) and 50 other Democrats have signed on to a weaker version ... But yesterday, Pelosi said the bill was not likely to address fuel economy at all, postponing the issue until a conference committee reconciles House and Senate energy bills in September ... Pelosi is eager to avoid a breach with the powerful Dingell, who opposes the Markey amendment and whose committee will handle many important pieces of legislation, including health care. The United Auto Workers union and automakers have also lobbied against the Markey measure. Unfortunately for the nation and the planet, Dingell is working to make fuel economy standards and serious action on climate as politically unpalatable as possible with a classic poison pill strategy:

An interview with Dennis Kucinich about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 25, 2008. Dennis Kucinich. Photo: SEIU via flickr He may be eating the front-runners’ dust in the polls, but among deep-green voters, Dennis Kucinich is considered a trailblazer. A Democratic U.S. rep from Cleveland, Ohio, Kucinich is calling for a radical overhaul of the U.S. government and economy — one that infuses every agency in the executive branch with a sustainability agenda, phases out coal and nuclear power entirely, and calls on …

Fencing Match

Mexico may file complaint over U.S. border fence plans Mexican environmental officials are the latest to get peeved over the U.S. government’s plan to build a 700-mile fence along the countries’ shared border. The barrier, intended to stem illegal immigration, would “place at risk the various ecosystems that we share,” says Environment Minister Juan Rafael Elvira — including the Sonora Desert. A report prepared for Mexican officials by experts in both countries said the fence could isolate animals including jaguars, black bears, and the Sonora pronghorn; it said the accompanying radar and lights could also harm nocturnal species. Mexican officials …

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