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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Archive for January, 2009

Get Congress on Track to Stimulate Mass Transit

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

“For every $1 billion we spend on transportation infrastructure, we get a 6-times multiplier effect and between 25,000 and 30,000 jobs created. . . . The Chinese are spending $600 billion over the next two years on infrastructure—while we are told we can only spend $40 billion?”

—Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to the House of Representatives

LNW_GCT.midQ: Why are Democrats bowing to Republican demands for tax cuts ($300 billions’ worth in a $825 billion package)—and cutting badly needed appropriations for the Army Corps of Engineers / infrastructure / mass transit projects to win unobtainable “bipartisan” support for the stimulus bill?

Elana Schor at TalkingPointsMemo.com reports that the economic recovery package being considered in the House of Representatives gives “only $10 billion for rail and other public transportation projects, compared with $30 billion for roads.” The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering even less for mass transit projects: $9.5 billion. In a package projected to cost $825 billion, in a nation where public transit has been shortchanged for over a decade, that just ain’t enough. The U.S. spends about $12 billion each month in Iraq. Ten billion is as much as has been given to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (each) in the $700 billion bailout for banks and insurers—and only one-fifth of what Citigroup is getting.

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Penguins Are Melting

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

“. . . each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy
strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. . . . With old
friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to . . . roll back the
specter of a warming planet.”
—President Barack Obama, Inaugural Address

LNW_AntarcticaHow is the hurricane picture to the right related to the picture of Antarctica? Global warming has been found to increase the intensity of hurricanes (though a definite link to causing more hurricanes has not been established). As Katrina showed, fiercer intensity is bad enough.

A new report published in Nature suggests that overall, Antarctica is warming, and at about the same rate as the rest of the planet. The study, by Eric J. Steig of the University of Washington and colleagues, analyzes temperature data over a fifty-year span. On average, Antarctica warmed by 0.5°C between 1957 and 2006—especially on the western side near the peninsula—while on average the earth has warmed 0.6°C. (See also NASA accounts here and here.)

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President Obama.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Ms. Jossie Redmond of Mississippi at Obama Inauguration, Jan. 20, 2009.  (Reuters)

Ms. Jossie Redmond of Mississippi at Obama Inauguration, Jan. 20, 2009. (Reuters)

First, the happiest part of all: Seeing on the screen, and hearing in the announcers’ voices the words “President Obama.” It’s real. Really real.

On the warmest cold day in recent memory, we joined about 200 fellow rejoicers to watch the Inauguration at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street in the lower East Village in Manhattan. (Landmark and sunshine indeed!) If we couldn’t be in Washington—obviously the place to be on Inauguration Day—then we wanted to be in a public place with fellow citizens rejoicing to see the passing of the torch. And so, with some of the same campaign volunteers with whom we drove from Brooklyn to Philadelphia in October, we sat in a warmly crowded theater to watch on the big screen CNN’s coverage of the fulfillment of our campaign efforts. (See ‘Yes We Can Get Out the Vote’ [10/29/08] below.)

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Coastal Restoration Geeks Unite!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

LNW_ChenierIf our travel budget were not already AWOL, we would be landing in Lake Charles right about now for the Chenier Plain Symposium Jan. 8–9 hosted by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Many of the major people in coastal restoration will be there, talking about some technical but very important topics, such as the function of wetlands in damping down hurricane storm surges and about how Louisiana needs multiple lines of defense.

Those who can get over to Lake Charles should definitely make the trip. Bloggers who can help spread the word are encouraged to write it up—and celebrate the CR heroes such as Steven Peyronnin, John Lopez, Carlton Dufrechou, and Paul Kemp, among others. Click here for the symposium agenda.

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