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It's a BUI!

Should bicycling drunk be illegal?

Some important bicycle-related debate has been going on in South Dakota for the last few weeks. That's right, South Dakota. Should cyclists and horseback riders be able to ride while intoxicated -- since it's usually a much safer alternative than drunken driving? The state Supreme Court just ruled that the current law says No: Bicycling can be considered "driving" because it qualifies as operating a vehicle. So cyclists still can be, and sometimes are, cited for DUIs in South Dakota. While this comes as bad news for imbibing anti-car velorutionaries (who needs a DD when you have your trusty cruiser? …

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Wait, We Thought He Was a C Student

Bush, Congress get D+ on ocean protection efforts Ocean advocates are urging the Bush administration to wake up and smell the marine decay. The Joint Ocean Commission -- a collaboration of two expert panels -- has given the U.S. a D+ for efforts to reverse the deterioration of the world's oceans, and warned that this failure of federal will is putting the American economy at serious risk. Former energy secretary and retired Adm. James Watkins, chair of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy created by President Bush, says the administration has failed to invest in vital marine science. And former …

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The Revolution Will Be Prefaced With a White Paper

New Mexico senators lay groundwork for federal global-warming bill Could the somnolent federal Leviathan finally be waking to the danger heralded so long by state and local Lilliputians? Could that metaphor be more baroque? New Mexico's senators say they will introduce a bill this spring in the Senate that would mandate action on global warming. Sens. Pete Domenici (R) and Jeff Bingaman (D) -- the chair of and top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, respectively -- jointly issued a white paper yesterday listing the outstanding questions they want to answer before drafting their legislation. The bill …

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SOTU: Coal execs confused, but pleased

The lede for this Wall Street Journal story is hilarious: Power-industry executives reacted with mild puzzlement to President Bush's proclamation that the nation needs to "invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants" to wean itself off foreign oil. That's because oil isn't used much to make power and no one has yet developed a way to burn coal that produces no emissions. They go on to say, of course, that they're delighted to be the recipient of a whole new bundle of subsidies. And who wouldn't be?

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Feds Say the Darnedest Things

Bush's quasi-bold pronouncements on oil prompt criticism, backpedaling In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Bush declared that "America is addicted to oil" and that he would "make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past." Within 24 hours, fiasco ensued. Saudi Arabia's ambassador said he would ask Bush, ahem, "what he exactly meant by that." Oil industry lobbyists squealed; libertarians nigh fainted. Energy experts (read: the literate) pointed out that most of the R&D programs mentioned in the speech -- "clean coal," nuclear, wind, solar, etc. -- are designed to generate electricity and …

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Might as Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Oil

In SOTU speech, Bush decries oil addiction, promises half-measures Those expecting bold, groundbreaking environmental policy from President Bush's fifth State of the Union address were, uh, deluded. The big "news" is Bush's stark declaration that "America is addicted to oil." Though he's made remarks about dependence on "foreign oil" in every SOTU he's delivered, this was his most blunt acknowledgement of America's energy dilemma. But Bush's policy response -- the "Advanced Energy Initiative," a set of relatively modest subsidies for "clean coal," nuclear, ethanol, solar, and wind -- feel short of historical, to say the least. Notably lacking in the …

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SOTU: Oil addiction

The cat is out of the bag

Despite the modesty -- not to say wimpiness -- the Bush's proposed energy initiative, the real news of the night will be this line: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. I don't know if this is Nixon-goes-to-China territory, but it's every bit as significant as Clinton acknowledging that "the era of big government is over." This kind of cat cannot be put back in the bag. Humorously, Bush tried to put it back in the bag with his very next line: The best way to break this addiction is through technology. …

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Billy-Come-Lately

Bill Clinton calls climate change public enemy No. 1 In a Saturday speech to the assembled corporate bigwigs and governmental muckety-mucks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former President Bill Clinton called global warming the single most pressing problem facing the world. "It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it," he said, "and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible." He called on the attendees to support "a serious global effort to develop a clean energy future." A voice …

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Take a Drink Every Time He Says “Nucular”

Bush will talk up nuclear, hydrogen, and ethanol in State of the Union "We've got to wean ourselves off hydrocarbons, oil," said President Bush on Friday. Yup, you read that right. In an interview aired on CBS, the president said he would use this Tuesday's State of the Union address to decry "foreign oil" and offer up initiatives on alternate energy sources and fuel-saving technologies. (Global warming? Didn't come up.) "I want to see different kinds of cars on our road that don't require upon crude oil from overseas," he said with his trademark folksy charm. He was quick to …

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Hush Hush, Keep It Down Now

Top NASA climate scientist says he's being censored by Bush admin If Bush administration officials were trying to keep NASA's chief climate scientist quiet, as he charges, they failed spectacularly. Instead they got a front-page story in The New York Times. In it, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, charges that since a lecture in early December in which he warned of dramatic changes from global warming and called for quick reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, NASA headquarters has instructed agency spokesflacks -- some of them political appointees -- to screen his upcoming lectures, papers, and postings …