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Conservation

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  • Beck echoes absurd claim that Obama wants to ban fishing

    ››› ››› KATE CONWAY

    Seizing on an absurd claim spread by right-wing blogs that President Obama wants to ban sport fishing, Glenn Beck stated on his Fox News program that Obama is attempting to prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing on some of the nation's oceans, coastal areas, and great lakes "by executive order." In fact, there is no evidence of any such order, but rather a task force which seeks to "better manage" -- not ban -- recreational fishing alongside other uses of ocean, coasts, and lakes.

  • Beck flunks Dickens in latest conspiracy theory failure

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    In yet another effort at conspiracy theorizing, Glenn Beck placed his target squarely on environmental cultists who are sterilizing your drinking water and limiting your energy use though secret control of your thermostat. No, really -- he even complained that pro-choice activists have not protested non-existent laws prohibiting more than "one child per family." But his real victim was Victorian literature.

    It all began when Beck realized that these enviro-cultists were taking over government to establish a utopia with fewer humans, more polar bears, and government control of a woman's uterus. But the real fun began when Beck decided to cite Dickens to emphasize his point:

    BECK: We don't know what this ultimate utopia will be, but as we approach Christmas this year, the climate cult, to me, is looking more and more like Scrooge. I believe it was Scrooge -- you know, before the change and the Tiny Tim, "I'd like more please" -- I think it was before all of that, when Charles Dickens wrote the words for Scrooge's mouth, "Well, if we all are going to die anyway, perhaps we had better do it and decrease the surplus population." I, for one, don't believe there's a surplus population. How about you?

    Now, it's possible that Beck owns a Charles Dickens anthology that contains both Tiny Tim and the phrase "I'd like more please." Actually, that's technically not possible. But an anthology might have both Tiny Tim and the phrase, "Please, sir, I want some more." Those words would, of course, be spoken by Oliver Twist, the epyonymous orphan in Dickens' novel, not Tiny Tim, perhaps best recalled for appending his father's Christmas toast by exclaiming, "God bless us every one."

    See, contrary to Beck's mistelling of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge did not change after Tiny Tim's brave call for more in the face of want; it was Tiny Tim's expression of being blessed despite his family's obvious want that moved Scrooge.

    But having proved allergic to the rules of spelling and children's games, I suppose we can't expect Beck to stay within the universe of a single piece of literature to make his point.

  • Ridiculous complaint of the day*

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Slate's managing editor is angry. "Fuming," in her words. What has Jill Hunter Pellettieri so upset?

    When she was a child, she used to enjoy staying in hotels, which she found "a world that suspended the realities of life at home."

    But now hotels are harshing her buzz by letting her decide whether her bath towels need to be washed or can be re-used.

    No, really: that is why she's "fuming." She explains:

    [O]n entering a hotel room, I still immediately review the room-service menu, bask in the prospect of fresh, silky sheets, and inspect the bathroom to ensure I have fluffy, clean towels for every possible need. Then I spy one of those little placards, nestled among the tiny soaps or hanging from the towel rack, asking me to reuse my linens: "Save Our Planet ... Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once ... Please decide for yourself." And, like that, my hotel buzz fizzles.

    I'll admit that I sometimes choose not to participate in this program and request fresh towels and sheets every day. Before you write in scolding me for being a wasteful person, let me qualify that by saying it's not the program, in theory, I'm against. I'm all for saving the environment. But I don't want to be guilt-tripped into going green. It's the two-facedness of it that gets me-save our planet! Conserve our resources! It's up to you, hotel guest. Forsake that washcloth (or two!), or those crisp sheets that are your right when you pay for the room, and to what end-so the hotel can save money on laundry? How many natural resources are wasted printing all of these little signs? Here's an idea: Instead of printing out a placard for every room in the hotel, wash my towel.

    Now, let's reiterate: the hotels in question aren't requiring Jill Hunter Pellettieri to re-use bath towels. They're offering her the option to do so. And she's upset because while exercising this option conserves water and energy, it also saves the hotel a few pennies. Pennies that, as far as she knows, keep the price of her hotel room lower than it might otherwise be.

    I can't imagine that most Best Western guests are so delicate as to have their weekend stays ruined by a two-inch sign offering guests the option of reusing bath towels. And I can't imagine most readers of Slate's "Green Room" department share Pellettieri's annoyance at being offered the option to voluntarily and at no cost help reduce energy and water consumption.

    UPDATE: * By "of the day," of course, I mean "of six days ago," when the Slate piece was posted. Gristmill's Kate Sheppard dealt with this nonsense on Friday:

    Yet another climate finger goes to Slate and its managing editor, Jill Hunter Pellettieri, for publishing this asinine piece equating green efforts at hotels and other businesses with being "cheap." At first, we thought the article was a parody, lampooning Slate's love of vapid, self-important contrarianism. If only that were true. We're so sorry you feel like it's a tremendous act of "self-sacrifice" to sleep in the same sheets two nights in a row, Jill. We'll cry you a river while the ice caps melt.

  • Wash. Post car columnist falsely claimed "no gasoline" has been "saved" as a result of CAFE standards

    ››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

    In a Washington Post column, Warren Brown claimed that "there has been no gasoline saved in response to ... the various iterations of federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] rules." However, a 2007 Government Accountability Office report stated: "According to estimates by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and other experts we consulted, the CAFE program has helped save billions of barrels of oil and could continue to do so in the future."

  • Limbaugh: "Nature cleaned up itself" after Exxon Valdez oil spill

    ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said of the environmental effects following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, "[N]ature cleaned it up faster than we ever could." However, an NOAA research chemist reportedly said "very little of the oil actually disappeared," while scientists employed by the state and federal governments recently reported that the effects of the oil spill remain.

  • Media report GOP attacks on Obama's energy comments without noting that EPA, McCain surrogates agree with Obama

    ››› ››› TOM ALLISON

    The New York Times and The Washington Times uncritically reported that the McCain campaign "ridiculed" Sen. Barack Obama for encouraging people to properly inflate their tires to increase fuel efficiency without noting that the practice has been to shown to reduce fuel consumption or that two Republican governors and McCain surrogates have referred to the fuel economy benefits of properly inflated tires.

  • Hannity compared carbon offsets to "cheat[ing] on your wife," ignored Murdoch's efforts to make News Corp. carbon neutral

    ››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

    On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's "carbon footprint," asserting, "Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world. ... You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, 'Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset.' Good luck." Hannity has yet to address the pledge by News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch "to be carbon neutral, across all our businesses" -- which includes Fox News -- "by 2010."

  • Hume claimed Gore's "energy use has surged more than 10 percent," ignored Gore's response that it's all "green power"

    ››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

    On Special Report, citing purported findings by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, Brit Hume claimed that Al Gore's "energy use has surged more than 10 percent" since environmentally friendly renovations were completed on his home. Hume offered no response from Gore. Responding to the charge, a Gore spokeswoman stated that "[w]hen [the Gores] do use power, it's green power." According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, green power "create[s] less waste and pollution" than standard electricity.