Blogs

The Garbage Game

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 7:44 PM EST

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Treehugger posts notice of the Garbage Game produced by The Gotham Gazette. You get to play at garbage commissioner and dig into the stinky reality of New Yorkers throwing away 64,000 tons of garbage a week, 7 billion pounds a year, for a billion dollars a year. You get to decide what to do with your empty water bottles, frayed towels, apple cores, the 3.6 million tons of diapers Americans throw away yearly. Where are you going to send your city's garbage? Next door? Overseas? Learn the consequences of your decisions. Best of all, play the game with your kids and enjoy the light in their eyes when they realize the effects of the profligate lifestyle you're generating on their behalf.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge,and other writings, here.

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Timber! Katrina's Dead Trees Release as Much Carbon as Stored in US Forests Yearly

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 7:06 PM EST

051021_katrinatrees_hlg_10a.hlarge.jpg Scientists from Tulane and the University of New Hampshire using NASA satellite data calculate that Hurricane Katrina killed or severely damaged 320 million large trees in Gulf Coast forests. The damaged trees subsequently released large quantities of CO2 to the atmosphere—the equivalent of 60-100% of the net annual carbon sink in all US forest trees. Why? Because dead trees no longer photosynthesize and can't store carbon. Plus, dead wood is consumed by decomposers whose communities grow in keeping with the bumper crop, and who then "exhale" large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The August 2005 hurricane damaged or destroyed 5 million acres of forest across Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. "It is surprising to learn that one extreme event can release nearly as much carbon to the atmosphere as all U.S. forests can store in an average year," said Diane Wickland, manager of the Terrestrial Ecology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Climate change forecasts predict more larger and powerful storms like Katrina more frequently in the future.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge,and other writings, here.

Bombs Sneak Past Airport Security? Shocking!

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 6:51 PM EST

bag-xray.jpgA GAO report released today shows that current TSA restrictions on liquids and gels are just shy of completely ineffective in preventing a terrorist attack.

Really? You don't say.

Earlier this year undercover GAO agents (as opposed to those who run around wearing uniforms and nametags) tested 21 airports nationwide, and managed to get liquids and detonators that can be combined to create IEDs and (another acronym we don't all want to come to know), Improvised Incendiary Devices (IIDs), past airport screeners.

They were universally successful (and this frightening finding comes just before the busiest travel week of the year). In one case, a TSA agent didn't allow the GAO a "small, unlabeled bottle of medicated shampoo" because he said the bottle "could contain acid." The same TSAer permitted a prohibited, liquid IID component to sail through untouched.

L.A. Punk Has a Sense of Humor, Too

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 6:32 PM EST
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The New Yorker has a great piece this week about how punk rock is again flourishing in Los Angeles, which in the early 80s was home base for a slew of Southern California's influential punk and hardcore bands like Black Flag, X, and the Weirdos.

Sasha Frere-Jones describes a vibrant new scene that resides primarily in a small, dingy, downtown Los Angeles space called The Smell, where a close-knit group of friends hang out, play punk-influenced music, make T-shirts, and release one another's records. I know the space well. While living in L.A. in the early 2000s, I saw a handful of shows there, including some extremely noisy and exciting performances by Nels Cline, before he joined the ranks of Wilco.

But to truly expose L.A.'s current punk scene, I'd be remiss if we didn't also mention an equally important venue in the Highland Park area (sort of between Hollywood and Pasadena) called Mr. T's Bowl, a former bowling alley that is now home to a funny, dorky, and quirky L.A. punk contingent.

Coal Sponsors Tonight's Democratic Debate

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 6:17 PM EST

cnncoal.jpgThink Progress points to the full-page ad in today's New York Times stating that tonight's Democratic presidential debate on CNN is sponsored by the "clean coal" industry. Wow. Aren't euphemisms fun? Sort of the magical realism of the political world. According to Think Progress, the coal industry's "clean" agenda would have us:

• Expand coal production by using government-funded technology to convert coal to vehicle fuels, thereby producing twice as much global warming pollution as gas production, and consuming huge amounts of water to boot. • Crank out as many new power plants as possible before limits on greenhouse gas pollution take effect. Nearly 150 coal-fired power plants are already on the drawing board. • Delay and weaken any limits on CO2 pollution, even though scientists tell us we need a 20% reduction by 2020, and an 80% reduction in 2050 [actually, we need more than that and faster too]. • Convince Congress to give coalies free "allowances" to emit greenhouse gases rather than force coal-fired plants to buy them in cap-and-trade auctions.

The coal industry's sponsorship of tonight's CNN debate in Las Vegas appears to be an attempt to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has stood firmly against the construction of three proposed major coal-fired power plants in his home state: REID: "I want to help Nevada become the national leader in renewable energy and energy independence. We have vast wind, solar and geothermal resources and we're wasting energy every day we're not tapping into those free, clean, and reliable power sources… As proposed, these coal plants are old news, the way of the increasingly distant past."

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

Coal Sponsors Tonight's Democratic Debate

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 6:11 PM EST

cnncoal.jpgThink Progress points to the full-page ad in today's New York Times stating that tonight's Democratic presidential debate on CNN is sponsored by the "clean coal" industry. Wow. Aren't euphemisms fun? Sort of the magical realism of the political world. According to Think Progress, the coal industry's "clean" agenda would have us:

• Expand coal production by using government-funded technology to convert coal to vehicle fuels, thereby producing twice as much global warming pollution as gas production, and consuming huge amounts of water to boot. • Crank out as many new power plants as possible before limits on greenhouse gas pollution take effect. Nearly 150 coal-fired power plants are already on the drawing board. • Delay and weaken any limits on CO2 pollution, even though scientists tell us we need a 20% reduction by 2020, and an 80% reduction in 2050 [actually, we need more than that and faster too]. • Convince Congress to give coalies free "allowances" to emit greenhouse gases rather than force coal-fired plants to buy them in cap-and-trade auctions.

The coal industry's sponsorship of tonight's CNN debate in Las Vegas appears to be an attempt to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has stood firmly against the construction of three proposed major coal-fired power plants in his home state: REID: "I want to help Nevada become the national leader in renewable energy and energy independence. We have vast wind, solar and geothermal resources and we're wasting energy every day we're not tapping into those free, clean, and reliable power sources… As proposed, these coal plants are old news, the way of the increasingly distant past."

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Ron Paul: The Only Candidate that Won't Land Catholics in a Pit of Eternal Fire. ... Or Is He?

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 4:09 PM EST

The nation's bishops held a press conference yesterday to warn that the choices Roman Catholic voters make at the ballot box may put their eternal salvation at risk. In large part, they appeared to be talking about the candidates' stances on abortion. The take-home message: Vote for a Democrat, go to Hell. (more after the jump)

Edwards Announces "Plants for Hillary"

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 2:29 PM EST

plants_for_hillary.jpg Earlier, David asked how nasty tonight's Democratic debate is going to get. Judging from the Edwards campaign's actions this afternoon, reeeeeally nasty.

Via an email to reporters, Edwards just announced the group "Plants for Hillary," parodying groups like Veterans for Hillary and African-American Women for Hillary and taking the frontrunner to task for the planted question scandal that isn't really a scandal.

There's even a website, plantsforhillary.com, which the campaign calls the "one-stop shop for all Americans interested in growing the Hillary plant movement." It's pretty crude, kind of mean, and a just a little bit funny.

The campaign calls it a "grassroots" website. I think it puts a new spin on slinging mud.

What is 'Sexy,' Anyway?

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 2:21 PM EST
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Ira Glass' voice? Jeffrey Wright's widow's peak? And Owen Wilson's nose? I would argue that none of none of those features are inherently sexy, But the folks over at Salon, who have just released their second annual list of the sexiest men alive, disagree.

Salon's list is surely a welcome reprieve from those annoying sexy lists put out by the likes of People, FHM magazine, and who knows who else. Why? Because it's full of random choices like the cartoon character Strong Bad, novelist Javier Marías, and Cate Blanchett in her portrayal of Bob Dylan, and there are no signs of the likes of Justin Timberlake or Matt Damon anywhere on the list. Hey, there's nothing wrong with being sexy, but who's to say, as Salon demonstrates, that lantern jaws, bulging biceps, and Seacrest hair are prerequisites? So who's got nominees for a more creative, sexiest female alive list?

No One Wants to Blog for Bush Anymore

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 11:42 AM EST

blogsforbush.jpg Once upon a time, writing a right-wing website called Blogs for Bush must have been easy. But now, when the president has lost the confidence of the American people, alienated even his far-right base over the issue of immigration, shepherded a war in disastrous fashion, and failed to achieve a single significant and lasting domestic policy victory... what to do?

Bail on Bush, of course. Blogs for Bush is changing their name to Blogs for Victory. They're saying that it is in anticipation of Bush's departure from the White House, but let's not miss the PR aspect. Check out this very suspicious correlation:

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