New, Wacky Ideas From the Most Anti-Environment Congress in History

A quick look at the amendments and policy riders attached to the appropriations bills now pending in the House makes it crystal clear that the GOP is desperately trying to eliminate every single environmental law ever passed or decided by a court.

The radically anti-environmental antics of the Energy and Commerce Committee have not gone far enough for some representatives, so they have taken to sneaking major national policy decisions into what Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA, ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee) called today “truly wacky amendments to to the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.”

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Some of these are just kooky.

1. Preventing the use of funds for climate change research (Rep. Scott, R-GA)

2. Prohibiting agencies from agencies from buying compact fluorescent light bulbs (Rep. Rep. Blackburn, R-TN)

3. Eliminate funding for the Energy Star program, which identifies energy efficient appliances for consumers (Fleming, R-LA)

4. Eliminate funding to enforce the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Program (Rep. King, R-IA).

5. Bar funding to regulate stationary source greenhouse gases for two years (Rep. Stivers, R-OH)

(See Rep. Ed Markey’s post about 39 legislative riders at the Democrat’s Natural Resource Committee site, and Brad Johnson’s post today on ThinkProgress Green for more)

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Others raise serious public health concerns. Ranking Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush have written to Fred Upton (Letter to Chairman Upton) about 16 of these legislative riders.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Where do folks like Rep. Austin Scott come up with such wise and useful cost-cutting measures, like eliminating climate research? Here’s how:

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Advertisements

Herman Cain, the Self-Proclaimed “Koch Brothers’ Brother from Another Mother,” Drops Out of Race: Comedians and Democrats Praying for Newt

The Onion’s Rapid Response team immediately ran this headline: “Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons.”

Understated, not even mentioning the Libya interview. Oh, have the standards changed. To think that Gerald Ford’s mistake about Poland not being under Soviet influence was thought at the time to be a record-breaking foreign policy gaffe. How about Perry failing Government 101 by claiming the other night that he would use an executive order to repeal legislation passed by Congress and signed by a President?  Records are being shattered all over the place.

First, Cain’s lovefest with the Koch Brothers. The Brother from Another Planet declares, at his campaign’s pinacle, “I am the Koch Brothers’ brother from another mother.”

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Sing Off” fans, have a listen to Cain’s swan song:

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

So, he is at peace with himself, his wife, and God, but apparently not the Koch Brothers (in the last 30 seconds: “it’ll be hard to raise the necessary funding.”) And what’s with false and unproven allegations causing it? “False and unproven?” (“I didn’t do that. And you can’t prove it” is pretty funny.)

One of the things I find astonishing is that he had absolutely no field operation or ground organization whatsoever, and was the leading contender for the nomination so late in the game.  Like almost zero staff in the field.  This is new in presidential politics. It has never happened. And you can’t write this one off to the social networking and new media creating a virtual ground organization on the internet.

Sure, the Blue State Boys used new media to get Obama elected, but did so with a combination of grassroots and Chicago-style field operation. Cain being in the final group pretty close to the beginning of the primary season, let alone being the frontrunner for a good while there (until, um, he received a little scrutiny) could not have happened before Citizens United allowed (as in, actually made legal) the money laundering relationships between non-profits, wealthy and privately controlled special interest advocacy groups.

A quick look at the flow of money to candidates, especially in the case of a former frontrunner with no traditional campaign organization behind him, makes it crystal clear that Citizens United is what made Cain the Koch Brother from another mother.

And the new ways that money has been infused into politics in recent years also goes a long way in explaining the most anti-environmental congress in history, and what is beginning to undo the entire structure of  environmental law in the United States, including the very existence of the EPA. 

The only way to fight that much money is the way Obama’s election campaign did in 2008: voter turnout. But the GOP has thought of that. Actually, state governors and representatives had it spoon-fed to them by the Koch-funded AFP and ALEC. Besides gerrymandering districts to just those groups that turned out in force to elect President Obama, and doing so sometimes in ways so crude in its goals and execution, conservative courts have already overturned them, ALEC has additionally led a massive voter suppression movement to disenfranchise the very same groups from even voting. If you think this is paranoid, read the ALEC model legislation (It is attached, with notes from the Center for Media and Democracy), the Brennan Center Report, and the court case rulings that have blocked some of these moves in earlier Say What?” posts. The voter suppression stuff is serious and well-planned.

The Next Big Thing: An Open Letter to Bill McKibben and Joe Romm About Why Every Environmentalist Should Occupy a Voting Booth, with an update here

and

The 99% Movement and Environmentalists: Economic Justice, The Echo Chamber, and Really Old Problems With Democracy

and

Your Scorecard: The 110 Anti-Environment Votes in Congress This Year

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

The Next Big Thing: An Open Letter to Bill McKibben and Joe Romm About Why Every Environmentalist Should Occupy a Voting Booth

Last week, Joe Romm posted a call for suggestions about what the Next Big Thing should be after the surprising success in stopping, for now, the Keystone XL Pipeline, which really was a done deal until Bill McKibben and others mobilized a protest movement whose message was heard in the West Wing.

Bill, your writing has helped shape my thinking about environmental philosophy and policy ever since  The End of Nature, when we were both much younger and long before 350.org came on the scene; and Joe, I learn important things every single day, often several times a day, reading ClimateProgress. I mention this up front with some hope of disarming a quick dismissal of my chutzpah in offering you two, of all people, strongly worded advice.  Also, this post is also aimed at my readers, many of whom are my students, colleagues, and friends, so I want to explain some issues in a way that is clear enough to those whose reaction to the premises of the argument will be “Well, duh!” as well as those who will think I have become some kind of nutwing conspiracy theorist. No easy feat in a few words.

The quick version of the argument’s premises is this: As you both know very well, there is a direct set of lines connecting the following dots: corrupt money in politics, the Koch Brothers extraordinary influence in the congressional assault on the EPA and virtually everything that needs to be done by the government to even minimally protect our air, water, and global climate, and the Koch Brothers other extraordinary success in launching a voter suppression movement in dozens of states that will prevent millions of voters from having a voice in who will be in congress, in the White House, and on the Supreme Court.

So here is my suggestion.  No, my plea. We need to launch a massive voter registration movement to combat the voter suppression movement that is already succeeding in keeping the most dangerous group of elected officials in power, and, indeed, increasing their numbers and their success in ways whose consequences will be genuinely horrific.  There really is a difference, and a big one, between the GOP extremists now running congress, and the democrats whose views are so centrist that, a decade or two ago, they were held by conservative Republicans.  But it is worse: the voter suppression now taking place is a threat to democracy itself. This is not hyperbole, and neither is this: the survival of both the environmental movement and progressive politics more generally depend upon it.

So, by way of background for a wider audience, here are the dots and the lines connecting them, all by way of making a case that respected environmentalists in particular (but also the less environmentally focused 99%-ers) should be taking the lead in something they might consider distastefully “within the broken political system:” voter registration. The Next Big Thing should be a concerted effort aimed at occupying voting booths.

The Dots:
1. How Citizens United has helped Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and others create to the most anti-environmental congress in history.

2. How the changes in voter registration laws in dozens of states across the country that undeniably amount to an intentional, targeted, voter suppression movement intended to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests; and

3. How another Koch-funded organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has been remarkably successful at the state level in changing voter registration laws — in dozens of states these changes resemble some or all of the changes suggested in the model provided by ALEC.

4.  How this can actually work: Just (yes, “just”) by registering 5 or 10 million voters who would otherwise surrender to a plan by some of the <1% to disenfranchise us from participating in a democracy, so they can succeed in eliminating virtually all the environmental law that has been put in place since the 1960’s. Mobilize college students and others who have been recently drawn to protest how the system is not a functioning democracy that represents the will of the 99%.  Some of the ways that the system is broken can be fixed, or at least mitigated in ways that really do matter, by thinking about voting as active resistance to economic and environmental injustice: if corporations are people, don’t give up on reasserting that people are people, the representatives we elect will not be for sale, nor will we allow profiteering to eliminate clean air, clean water, or mitigation and adaptation of what is quickly becoming an inevitable global catastrophe. (For an earlier post about economic and environmental injustice and democracy, click here.)

The Lines Connecting These Dots:
(1) Since 2010 we have seen what is without any question the most anti-environmental congress in history, and there is a big, bold line connecting money in politics with the assault on the environment.  See this for a somewhat breath-taking summary of just the legislative record compiled by Henry Waxman’s staff.  A central concern of many 99%-ers is how much worse things have become since Citizens United.  The Occupy Wall Street movement is not just about Wall Street per se, but what it represents more broadly about how money in politics has made our representatives beholden to the interests of a small, rich, and powerful group and not anything remotely in touch the common good or, more modestly, what most people think. On the whole, our representatives are out of touch with their own constituencies, yet they continue to get elected. How is that possible? A big part of the answer: most people do not vote.

2)  The connection between (1) and what is going on at the state level is that the changes in voter registration laws in dozens of states across the country undeniably amounts to an intentional, targeted, voter suppression movement that is intended to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests by making sure the GOP congressmen and senators who are in their pocket remain in office. Targeted at making it very hard or impossible for at least 5 million people who voted in 2008 to vote in 2012.  Three of the main reasons people should be screaming about this a lot more, but also doing something about it.

(a) Of these 5 million voters, there is a very disproportionate effect on the poor, the disabled, and also, as it turns out, college students, the, elderly, blacks and Hispanics. Obviously these are traditionally Democratic voters, the ones who were mobilized to elect Obama in 2008.

(b) The pretense for passing these new registration requirements (which includes presenting documents that millions of people do not have, showing up at times and places that are very difficult for people who have jobs but do not have transportation, etc.) is to prevent voter fraud, which it turns out barely exists.  The numbers of contested votes is truly miniscule compared to the number who will be unable to provide documentation or stand in line or even get to where they need to register if they happen to work during the day.

(c) I have always found it deplorable and even frightening when people are called “un-American” by others holding different views. But the voter suppression movement that it is sweeping across the nation is an affront to the very idea of democracy. We are talking about a political party succeeding in an organized effort to make laws that keep citizens from their right to vote because those people are likely to vote against them.

(3) The line connecting the federal and state dots is that both efforts are being funded and organized by the Brothers Koch.  Yes, in addition to what Americans for Prosperity has been doing, their American Legislative Exchange Council has been drafting model legislation about a number of issues at the state level, and ALEC has been remarkably successful.  The changes in voter registration laws in dozens of states resemble some or all of the changes suggested in the model provided by ALEC.  It is attached, with notes from the Center for Media and Democracy.

(4) In an interview with Rachel Maddow the other night (11/16/11), former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich pointed out the Bizzaro World in which we now live, one in which “democratic” representation in government has been turned upside down: corporations are people, but people are not. (See the video here.)

But this is a battle that can be won. If there really is a plan to disenfranchise 5 million voters, and the evidence is looking pretty compelling that there is, then it can be defeated by just registering 5 or 10 million people not inclined to register and vote, to register and vote.  And help others do so who may not be reading this.  Mobilize college students and others who have been drawn into activism because some of the ways that the system is broken can be fixed by thinking about voting as active resistance: if corporations are people, don’t give up on reasserting that people are people and the representative we elect will not be for sale.

Anyone who has given political theory ten minutes of thought realizes how facile and even mistaken it is to claim that “voting doesn’t matter.”  Sure it does.  Not only does voting matter, but not voting matters.  The GOP realizes how much not voting matters, and they are doing something about it.

So, here is the message that needs to be trumpeted by 350.org, ClimateProgress, the NRDC, and every environmental organization worth its salt: You don’t have to do much to prevent a real harm. And if you don’t think it is real, you have not been following congress during the past couple of years. Both parties may suck, but one currently owned by a small, powerful, and wealthy group of activists that is encouraging it to eliminate the EPA, has an explicit campaign to de-fund it, repeal the clean air and clean water acts, and does not even “believe in” science.

First, register, and then, in November, occupy a voting booth. Or, instead, you could be complicitous in letting democracy be bought. Or think of it as active resistance, as a form of protest.  Might be an interesting test of that resignation about voting not mattering, in any case.

In, “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” an interesting recent piece in the November 28 issue of The Nation, Naomi Klein argues that the environmental movement will not be rekindled unless it focuses more on economic justice.  The GOP is dismantling as much of our environmental law as it can on the pretext of it being economically beneficial.  Progressives need to take a page out of that book and combat it head-on. If the environmental movement is going to continue its comeback on the heels of the successful (so far, at least) Keystone XL protests, then environmental issues need to move to the front and center of of progressive politics by focusing more on precisely the economic that the Denialists have used to discredit it.  My point is that just cannot be done from the sidelines alone.

Klein’s essay is worth reading, but this paragraph is particularly striking:

“All of this means that the climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback. For this to happen, the left is going to have to learn from the right. Denialists gained traction by making climate about economics: action will destroy capitalism, they have claimed, killing jobs and sending prices soaring. But at a time when a growing number of people agree with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, many of whom argue that capitalism-as-usual is itself the cause of lost jobs and debt slavery, there is a unique opportunity to seize the economic terrain from the right. This would require making a persuasive case that the real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system—one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power. It would also require a shift away from the notion that climate action is just one issue on a laundry list of worthy causes vying for progressive attention. Just as climate denialism has become a core identity issue on the right, utterly entwined with defending current systems of power and wealth, the scientific reality of climate change must, for progressives, occupy a central place in a coherent narrative about the perils of unrestrained greed and the need for real alternatives.”

If there is any truth to what Klein is saying here or what I have been arguing, then the call to “Occupy a Voting Booth” cannot dismissed because “voting does not matter,” or because the message is too far afield from a focus on 350 ppm. It is at the heart of preventing a horrible situation from becoming far worse.

The 99% Movement and Environmentalists: Economic Justice, The Echo Chamber, and Really Old Problems With Democracy

As the gap between public opinion about climate change and the incontrovertible facts continues to be so much wider in America than in any other developed nation, I have been reading a lot of work in the relatively new field of “climate communication.” Roughly one out of two Americans is thoroughly disconnected from our impending global disaster. I wonder if they are the same folks who reject the basic tenets of biology, but I suspect there is less overlap than one would think. There is more than one science denial movement going on. In the case of climate change, it is as if scientists have been tracking a huge asteroid that will collide with the earth in a few decades, and most Americans refuse to believe it, or acknowledge that it will happen but are not particularly concerned. Very few find the news alarming.

Communication about facts is tough with the growth of ideological cocooning, where we all tune in to our choice of echo chambers to get reinforcement of what we already believe. Many on the Left think the Tea Party is an AstroTurf movement funded by billionaires to advance their own interests. Wingnuts on the extreme Right have been claiming that Obama’s campaign staff, George Soros and MoveOn.org have puppeteered the 99%-ers occupying Wall Street. This even as Eric Cantor and the Tea Party caucus are dialing back their disdain for the occupiers, at least in what they say publicly, which means that the sheer number of voters involved are getting their attention enough to warrant a counter-spin. Americans are increasingly living in two realities, and there is little if any communication between these parallel universes.

The refrain of criticism coming from both universes against the growing 99%-er/#occupy protests is that they do not have a clear focus, agenda or set of demands. Mainstream media outlets and the blogosphere are still trying to figure out what the new movement represents. Even NPR has been asking what would count as success for the protesters.

As someone who has always believed that writers and artists and even philosophers are the canaries in the coalmine, I have been wondering if the current resurgence of progressive activism provides any reason for hope that the environmental movement might catch on with a group wider than the aging population that has been sustaining it. Demographic information about most environmental organizations makes it pretty clear that us baby boomers haven’t exactly passed along the torch.

Might we see an end to the trend that has led to the most anti-environmental congress in history? The Tea Party certainly had a significant impact in creating it, and they began, ostensibly at least, with a focus on something else. Anti-government libertarianism spread (even, incoherently, to Big Government intervention in personal choice about reproduction and preventive health care for women that is barely supported by the government). Likewise, if the #occupy protests (which moved last weekend beyond Wall Street to nearly 1,000 cities in 82 countries) continue to gather steam and manage to find at least some focus –two big ifs– it might revive the environmental activism that saw some sparks of resurgence in the Keystone XL Pipeline protests. That depends on a third if: whether something resonates in a bigger way between environmentalists and a much larger portion of the self-identifying 99%. Much larger.

So, like everyone else, I have some advice. And like everyone else’s advice, it is not likely to help

What is moving so many to join in can be captured in a simple but rich phrase: economic injustice. The economy is shaped by energy consumption, so environmental justice is a huge part of that. Not justice to the environment, as the ecocentric or biocentric theorists are concerned with. Biodiversity may be valuable for its own sake, and nature, beyond its instrumental value for our resource needs, deserves attention and appreciation that would require rethinking some of the central conceptual lenses through which we see the world. But right now, this is a time to focus more on the value to humanity, including Americans who are trying to make a living, of clean air and water, the ecomonic and security costs of our military adventurism to secure our petroleum interests overseas, the economic promise of investing in a new energy economy, where China has been so far ahead of us in putting capitalism to work, or the effects to humans of the Canadian tar sands project and the rush to frack shale for natural gas. Oh, and that asteroid heading toward earth.

For philosophers, this is not justice to the environment, but instead justice to other people that involves the environment: how the economy and the regulatory structures sustaining it are violating obligations we have to other people — 99% of us, our children, and so on.

Bill McKibben has been trying to point out the connection between environmental justice and the broader issues of economic justice by saying things like “Let’s occupy Wall Street. They have been occupying the atmosphere for 100 years.” Catchy, and there is surely a connection between Wall Street and the forces that have resisted serious changes to our fossil fuel based economy. But I don’t find a lot of hope in a movement that would remain anti-business and anti-captialist. Specific abuses and particular bad policies are the cause of economic injustice. The market should not be the enemy; those who have been abusing it and the policies supporting those abuses are. And bad energy policy is near the heart of this.

In a nutshell, wouldn’t it be nice if this drum was beaten more clearly and in unison by the #occupy movement and environmentalists: Unfair distribution of wealth has gotten worse in large part because of a vast machine committed to perpetuating the current energy economy.

The Machiavelli passage in Andrew Revkin’s recent post is a sober reminder that this is a long shot, and that the prospects for significant changes to the energy economy are interwoven with solving perennial problems about democracy and capitalism.

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.” (The Prince)

Plato thought democracy was doomed to failure because its freedom would result in a war among “appetites,” an irrational and self-destructive pursuit of “false needs” created by market forces that profit from unbridled consumption. 2,400 years later, John Dewey was more optimistic that something like what John Rawls called “public reason” would emerge in democratic political arrangements, providing the means for individual flourishing and happiness that real communities who behave like grown-ups can provide. Ultimately, a lot of the answers to these questions will come down to whether Plato or Dewey was right about democracy. The jury is still out.

When powerful forces like the Bros. Koch, PAC-Man Rove, and Rupert Murdoch have so much at stake in preserving the massively self-destructive current energy economy, and their money wields ever greater power in politics, and when formal education (and informal education, a role once played by journalism) is failing to produce the public rationality needed for democracy to function, we are all up shit’s creek. The canaries have been keeling over and far too few of us are inclined to notice or care.

Should that be surprising when the conversation in congressional committees and on the campaign trail has not been about the range of policy solutions to very major problems that 99% of the experts in highly reliable fields of knowledge believe on the basis of very strong evidence, but instead about whether we should reject the very facts about the problem that scientists know to be true? Hard to be optimistic when we need yet another 99%-er movement with a precise message: If 99% of the experts in well-established fields have overwhelming evidence that a proposition is true, then trust them and believe it. But such an #OccupyReality movement is not going anywhere in a country whose occupants inhabit different universes about what counts as knowledge, and who we should trust for even the basic facts.

Must See TV: Bill Moyers is Back

A great new television series began this weekend. And it won’t just be of interest to those of us already following the broader story behind the damage done by the most anti-environmental Congress in history. Moyers & Company probes a range of the deeper issues about democracy in America by presenting riveting interviews with fascinating thinkers not usually seen on television.

It’s very good news that Bill Moyers has come out of retirement to explore the connection between money in politics (and Big Oil money is central), our failing democracy, and the rise of plutocracy in America. His one-line summary of the series, which he picked up from a tee shirt a protester was wearing at an Occupy rally: “The system is not broken; it is fixed.”

If you want to cut to the chase instead of reading my commentary and watching some short introductory clips, the first episode is the first video posted below. It provides an overture of many themes to be taken up in future shows by interviewing Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.  This is one of the more important books about American democracy in recent years. Instead of offering mere partisan polemics, it is a trenchant, impeccably researched and beautifully written analysis of how “America’s vast inequality is no accident, but in fact has been politically engineered.”

OK, an old guy talking to college professors from Yale and Berkeley may not sound like fast paced entertainment, but remember, Moyers is the guy who brought us Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, one of the most popular shows ever broadcast on public television. Millions of people loved what Moyers recently described as a show whose plot-line was “Two guys in ties discussing mythology.” Here is the entire first show of the new series:

Moyers & Comapany 101: On Winner Take All Politics

Finding the show on television may be a little more difficult than it should be because, as reported by NPR last week, Moyers & Company is “not televised in a nationally standardized PBS time slot — in fact, it’s not even televised by PBS. Instead, it’s distributed by American Public Television and offered to local PBS member stations on an individual basis. And even though PBS doesn’t seem to put a high value on the return of Bill Moyers, the local stations do. Moyers & Company is being shown in 93 percent of all TV markets, including 27 out of the Top 30 — a very impressive number.”  You can find out when it airs in your neighborhood by entering your zip code into the PBS station finder widget. Or download the audio podcast here. (My own workaround: I was surprised at the high quality when I streamed the HD vimeos posted here from my ipad and iphone to the big screen in my den via AirPlay with AppleTV.)

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

The series begins precisely where his last series, Bill Moyers’ Journal, ended. In his editorial sign-off in 2010, Moyers warns of the dangers of money in politics, wealth inequality, and the rise of plutocracy in America. As Joe Romm noted when he posted this clip back in November, Moyers delivered these remarks long before the Occupy Movement began.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

And Moyers is still funny and quick on his feet. Have a look at this exchange with Stephen Colbert last week.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Also in conjunction with the beginning of the new series, Arianna Huffington sat down with Moyers for an interview (the audience consists of Huffington Post editors). It’s a great conversation about politics and spiritualty in which Arianna and Bill bring out the best in each other. See it here.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I also like this interview he conducted with Jon Stewart in 2007 on Bill Moyers’ Journal about “fake news:”

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Back to the specifically environmental side of things and Moyers’ ability to probe deeply and widely into pressing issues.  In talking with students and my own college-age children recently, I was aghast at how many of them did not know Bill Moyers’ work. A few of them to whom I showed some of these clips did recognize him from something he produced with Public Affairs Television in 1991 that I still use in environmental philosophy classes for high school and college students.  A gathering he and Laurence Rockefeller organized at Middlebury College (where Rockefeller taught religious studies) was made into an excellent documentary, Spirit and Nature. Among those featured in the discussion: The Dalai Lama; Native American Elder Audrey Shenandoah; Islamic Studies professor Sevyed Hossein Nasr; Protestant theologian Sallie McFague; Rabbi Ishmar Schorsch. And the music provided by the Paul Winter Consort is a nice touch.

Although it is not Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, many young people find Spirit and Nature engaging and thought-provoking 20 years later, as do some atheist philosophy professors.  (Watch a clip of the Dalai Lama here.) It’s too early to tell where the new series, Moyers & Company, will go during the next year or two, but it’s off to an excellent start.

Your Scorecard: The 110 Anti-Environment Votes in Congress This Year

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

As the House of Representatives debates this weekend H.R. 2584, the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which some have called “the worst assault on clean air and water in history,” Reps. Waxman and Markey have released a scorecard of the other 110 anti-environmental bills voted on this year. The 39 policy riders attached to the appropriations bill are not included.

Visit the Democrat’s separate Energy and Commerce website for a complete list, and download a PDF summarizing each bill, its sponsor, and the outcome of the vote.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

%d bloggers like this: