Politics

Dear Nancy Pelosi: Deliver us a better Farm Bill

Now’s the time to speak up

Can an Armani-clad gal from the big city be the champion of the good farmer? After giving two thumbs up to the House Agriculture Committee's farm bill last Thursday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi's rise to rural populist hero-status seems as likely as old Bessie having twins. Said Pelosi: ... the bill represents a critical first step toward reform by eliminating payments to millionaires, closing loopholes that permit evasion of payment limits, and promoting our nation's family farmers. But Pelosi still has a chance to emerge as the defender of real farm bill reform. And why shouldn't she? After all, the farm bill is about food and taking care of the land. It impacts all of us whether you live in Schuyler, Nebraska or San Francisco.

Even more guidance

Resources for the Future has put together yet another comprehensive guide to current climate legislation, if the other guides aren’t working for you. This one comes in two forms: either a convenient comparison grid (PDF), …

Ring a ding Dingell

This profile of Dingell in the NYT doesn’t offer any new info, but it’s a nice summary of the state of play — between Dingell and Pelosi, and on energy legislation in the House.

Cleaning it up and taking it to the bank

New study reveals chlorine plants could actually make money by switching to mercury-free technology

Hot off the presses are new findings that show it's actually cheaper for chlorine plants to make their product using mercury-free technology. Oceana says so in the most extensive report to date focusing on the conversion of mercury-cell chlorine factories to more environmentally and economically sound mercury-free technology. What's more, the findings have prompted Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to reintroduce legislation that requires chlorine and caustic soda manufacturing plants to switch to mercury-free technology by 2012. It's good to see politicians recognizing the need for this type of legislation. Shifting not only benefits the environment and our health, it benefits the company pocketbooks, too -- and that's the bottom line.

All Kinds of Sickening

Congress grills FEMA on toxic post-hurricane trailers The media have reported for at least two months that the trailers used to house refugees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been giving off fumes that are …

Details on Dingell's carbon tax

It’s not optimal, but he says he’s serious about it at least

As you’ll recall, a few weeks ago Rep. John Dingell said in an interview that he plans to introduce a carbon tax bill, "to see how people really feel about this." He expressed doubt that …

Mystery ads

There’s a series of very strange political videos out recently on YouTube. They parody Republicans, but purport to be campaign ads for Rudy Giuliani. Nobody knows who’s making them, or why. So mysterious! This one’s …

To the rescue!

A new group called The Elders to solve globe’s problems

Singer Peter Gabriel and industry titan Richard Branson conceived, and have now convened and funded, a group called The Elders, a small collection of eminent global statesmenpersons who, it is hoped, will be able to …

The 'crime' of dialogue: Iran's disgraceful detention of Haleh Esfandiari

Environmental peacekeeping runs into authoritarianism

My friend and colleague is in jail. Unjustly. Her name is Haleh Esfandiari, and she is a grandmother. In early May, she was thrust into solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison with a single blanket. She hasn't been allowed to meet with her friends, family, or lawyers since then. This picture shows Evin Prison nestled within the leafy northern suburbs of Tehran at the foot of snowcapped mountains, but the prison has none of the bucolic qualities that the image suggests. "Notorious" is the ubiquitous descriptor. Haleh's "crime" is doing what we do every day here at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.: provide a safe space where scholars, policy-makers, and ordinary men and women can learn from one another through open, nonpartisan dialogue on today's most pressing issues. Or at least we thought it was safe.

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