Scandal, gridlock, high crimes and misdemeanors. In this season of journalistic outrage, political stalemate and record-shattering heat waves, it’s tough to keep your cool. Tougher still if you are in the hot seat – unless of course you’re fortunate enough to occupy a position of power and authority. In which case, you might just as well settle in for a bit of kabuki theater and go about your business.
Seems the more precarious vital social, political and economic institutions become, the less accountable they are to the general public. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any event, if you’re scoring at home, here’s the latest accountability index.
Indiana is the sixth worst state in the production of toxic industrial air pollution, surpassed by only Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky and Maryland.
The assessment was made by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Physicians for Social Responsibility and is based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which is available to the public. The data are reported in Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States, just published, which covers the top 20 states for toxic air pollution.
Most people who have studied the issue of "clean coal" easily understand that coal is not clean and really cannot be made so. But that does not keep those who make big money mining and burning the black mineral from making those dubious claims.
Mining coal destroys entire ecosystems, burning it alters our climate, makes people sick and cuts lives short while disposal of its huge volumes of waste contaminates land and water alike.
Editor's note: Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) Executive Director Grant Smith resigned on June 17 and sat down at his home just south of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis with Bloomington Alternative editor Steven Higgs for a conversation about a variety of topics. Smith started at CAC as a part-time canvasser in 1982. What follows are edited, extended excerpts from their 70-minute discussion.
A version of this story appears in the July 14 issue of NUVO in Indianapolis.
Higgs: Do I recall Chris (former CAC executive director Williams) hired you because you wore a suit and tie to the interview?
Smith: No, it was because I didn't. I was in the interview wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. Another guy was in a three-piece suit. Chris was talking to him and not to me. That was in February 1982. CAC was originally the Citizens Energy Coalition and formed in '74. The name was changed to CAC in about '76. The canvass operation began in '79.
A new study of California twins with autism strengthens the case that the epidemic that has swept the nation in the past three decades is related to environmental pollution. The damage, its authors suggest, occurs in the womb and during the earliest days of life.
"Increasingly, evidence is accumulating that overt symptoms of autism emerge around the end of the first year of life," say the authors of the study, which was released online July 4 in the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Because the prenatal environment and early postnatal environment are shared between twin individuals, we hypothesize that at least some of the environmental factors impacting susceptibility to autism exert their effect during this critical period of life."
I don’t Tweet. And I don’t plan to open a Twitter account anytime soon. The phrase “when hell freezes over” comes to mind.
Nevertheless, when President Barack Obama hosted a Twitter Town Hall this past week, I’ll admit I was a little curious. The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” comes to mind.
In a shocking reversal of position, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) has altered its support for the Duke Energy Edwardsport power plant fiasco.
Just last Nov. 3, OUCC head David Stippler gave the plant and ratepayer support for it a glowing endorsement during a "technical hearing" before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). On July 1, his office modified that endorsement and said ratepayers should no longer be on the hook for the massive cost overruns in the construction of the beleaguered plant, which is now said by Duke to cost more than $3 billion.
Thirteen Indiana citizens and two citizen groups have threated to sue state and federal officials over the proposed Interstate 69 extension unless they cease violating federal laws, including the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts.
Bloomington attorneys Rudy Savich and Mick Harrison filed a Notice of Intent to Sue on July 5 against Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Michael B. Cline, Federal Highway Division Administrator Robert F. Tally and four other federal officials.
PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI -- What if one of our notorious Hoosier storms violently destroyed your entire neighborhood, killing scores and leaving you and your neighbors homeless and penniless?
Imagine that the immediate reaction to this disaster was inspiring, with celebrity-packed telethons being broadcast, leaders of state pledging to rebuild, and rich and poor alike donating to your recovery.
But a year and a half later, you are still homeless. You live in a fetid squatter's camp made of plastic sheets, scraps of wood and open sewers. There is no clear plan for you to be relocated to permanent housing, yet you are now slated to be forcibly evicted from even these meager quarters.
You are Haiti.
There’s plenty of news these days -- gas prices are down, the Republican presidential field is shaping up, and U.S. troops will soon be leaving Afghanistan. But despite all the political and media spin to the contrary, there’s not much good news in any of this.
While we can all breathe a little easier now that Anthony Weiner has lost his texting privileges, every silver lining has a dark cloud. Here are a few stories behind the news stories making headlines this summer.