Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Recent news on the presidential campaign front:

• Barack Obama held an “Economic Competitiveness” summit today with leaders from the business, labor, education, and philanthropy, in which he touted his plan to invest $150 billion in the green energy sector and create five million new jobs. “This can be the moment when we make a truly national effort to end our addiction to oil,” Obama said. “Just as Roosevelt invested in an Arsenal of Democracy and Kennedy took us to the moon, we can be the generation that achieves energy security, grows our economy, and saves our planet.” Other participants included G. Richard Wagoner Jr., CEO of General Motors; Jim Jones, president of the Institute for 21st Century Technology (who made an appearance with John McCain just last week); and SEIU president Andy Stern.

• In an interview with Rocky Mountain News, Ralph Nadar ripped on Barack Obama for a variety of reasons, and claimed that the Democratic candidate is too closely aligned with corporate interests and not being aggressive enough on environmental issues. Nader, who is once again making an independent run for the presidency, also pledged to travel to Denver during this summer’s Democratic National Convention to offer an “alternative agenda.”

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The Wall Street Journal reports (fairly snarkily) on some of the challenges that organizers of the Democratic National Convention are facing in their attempts to go green this year. The organizers plan to reuse, recycle, or compost at least 85 percent of all the waste from the convention, to issue organic-cotton fanny-packs to volunteers, and to use mostly local and/or organic foods. Among the most contentious issues: Coors Brewing Co. has agreed to donate biofuel made from beer waste to power the convention’s flex-fuel vehicles. The problem? The Coors family is very active in Republican politics, and in the past have been accused of hiring practices that discriminate against blacks, Latinos, women, and gays.