Monday, March 29, 2004

Getting more than you Bargain for in that Tuna Sandwich?

Yep, it's the ol' mercury problem surfacing again (not that it ever went away!). Getting worse all the time. One of the big culprits? - coal-fired power plants - yep those babies pump the stuff out and it plops down nicely upon the sky-blue waters, the little "Chicken of the Seas" of the world's oceans suck it down and grow up to be big fat tunies with lots of Hg just waiting for our tummies. Of course, our leaders in Washington are doing everything in their power to get this under control. From Arriana Huffington's column - Without getting shrouded in a toxic cloud of technical mumbo-jumbo, the bottom line is that current technology offers a way to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent over the next four years — but the Bush administration has opted for a plan that would, at best, lower the noxious output by just 50 percent over the next 14 years, while setting no meaningful limits on the tons of mercury released by the chemical industry. All of which will save the power, coal and chemical industries billions.....Choke on that for a minute: Big Power gets a tasty multibillion-dollar treat, while everyone else is served up a Toxic Tuna Surprise

And make note of this. This is where the world of Washington lets off it's own noxious odors: It turns out that two of the key EPA regulators overseeing the development of the mercury guidelines, Jeff Holmstead and William Wehrum, used to represent utility industry clients before Bush tapped them for high-ranking posts in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. They were both attorneys at Latham and Watkins — a high-powered D.C. law firm that’s been lobbying the administration to adopt the less stringent mercury standards, and which authored one of the memos cribbed in the EPA proposal.

To write to the EPA and your congressman, please take a moment to fill out the form from It only takes a second and the more voices that speak up the more powerful the message. I would prefer to eat my wild salmon, knowing that it's chances of absorbing mercury, are diminishing, rather than increasing.

Want to get more involved? Check out Move On's "50 Ways to Love your Country"

Something to think about

From Al Gore: (from an introduction to the section entitled "Every Vote Counts" of the book 50 Ways to Love Your Country .

Woody Allen has famously said that 90 percent of success is showing up. That’s true of democracy too. I’d argue that the other 10 is making sure you’re registered beforehand.
It’s easy to be cynical about politics and to believe that one vote barely matters. But consider these facts: John F. Kennedy’s 1960 victory over Richard Nixon—a victory that ultimately led to sweeping changes in civil rights laws, the first great wave of space exploration, and the creation of Medicare—was decided by just 100,000 votes nationwide. In 1994, the year Republicans won both houses of Congress, the redistribution of about 10,000 votes nationally would have kept Congress in Democratic hands. One of my former House colleagues, Connecticut Democrat Sam Gejdenson, won reelection by twenty-one votes that year. (“All you need is one,” he remarked; “the rest are for your ego.”)

The democratic political process isn’t perfect. Winston Churchill once said it’s the worst system for governance “except for every other system that has ever been tried.” Often, you may find no candidate who completely reflects your views. But as voter participation has declined—from nearly two-thirds of eligible voters in 1960 to less than half in many national elections today—strong and decidedly undemocratic forces have stepped in to fill the void.

In a democracy, the future isn’t something that just happens; it’s something we shape for ourselves, together. Special-interest lobbyists get the government they pay for only when we stay home from the polls—only when we abdicate the electoral power that is mightier than any soft-money check, more decisive than any million-dollar ad blitz or corporate misinformation campaign.

Word of the Day
perfidy Deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust; treachery: The act or an instance of treachery. Usage: "Stories of Al Jazeera's perfidy now circulate among the troops with the tenacity of urban myths" ...... "And yet Gibson has seeded his film with images of Jewish guilt and perfidy that will fall on fertile anti-Semitic soil around the world"

Quote of the Day
"On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does."
Will Rogers (1879-1935)

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