Muckraker: Grist on Politics


• The New Republic looks at Sarah Palin’s record as governor of Alaska, focusing on toxic waste and the health of the state’s residents. The state has a rate of birth-defects twice the national average, and many believe it’s because of the “toxic stew” from the byproducts of mining and energy development like arsenic, mercury, and lead. Like other political leaders in the state, Palin has prioritized industry over environmental protection for years, resisting measures to protect the health of state residents.

• Want to know about coal-shilling the moment it happens on the campaign trail? Sierra Club now has a mobile alert system that will send you a text whenever there are new “bogus coal moments,” whether in ads or in debates. Sign up here or text DIRTY to 69866.

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• Defenders of Wildlife is expanding the reach of their advertising campaign decrying Palin’s support of aerial wolf hunting. Defenders of Wildlife says the ad has been a great fundraising tool, helping to raise $600,000 in the six hours after it was released last month, and nearly $1 million total so far.

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• The Rural Blog says that McCain’s stance on ethanol weakens his support in rural areas, where voters tend to lean Republican. Democrats may be able to use this as a wedge issue on the campaign trail.

• Fisherman and environmentalists continue to call attention to the threat that the proposed Pebble Mine would pose to Alaska’s natural resources. A ballot initiative to make it harder to open the mine failed in August, and Gov. Palin was on the record opposing the measure. Three days after voters rejected the measure, Palin was tapped to be the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, drawing attention away from what may be the “most consequential” action in Palin’s time as governor.