Good News/Bad News October 10, 2002

Finally! Some Good News! Our foes have retreated, taken three, maybe four steps back, and the light shines brightly on us! Let's enjoy it while we can, why not?

Striking a killing blow for clearheadedness, Los Angeles of all places has firmly rejected a plan to take water from the Colorado River (which, thanks to long-lasting drought conditions, doesn't run too deep these days to begin with) and store it in the desert! The CEO of the private company that was scheduled to profit from, er, take charge of the project, pouted and whined about the decision, but those are just the breaks, Mr. Forces-of-Evil.

Florida may not be able to run an election to save its skin, but its enviro-cred is on the rise: some Florida cops are going to drive hybrid patrol cars. The manager of Marion County's vehicle fleet is named Wyatt Earp, too.

More folks are choosing sides in the GM food battle: Brazil's left-wing presidential front-runner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has placed a "GM-Free Brazil" agenda on his platform. Brazil is currently GM-free, but facing pressure from Monsanto and other biotech companies to change its ways.

Meanwhile, Swiss farmers and environmentalists are fighting for a GM-food ban after the Swiss parliament turned down a five-year moratorium on biotech crops.

Will you permit us to be snarky for a moment? Thanks. After a land donation from the Richard King Mellon foundation, there are now 34,000 more acres of the ANWR to drill for oil in. Seriously though: that's good news. We're going to need that land once global warming turns the rest of the planet into a disease-infested desert.

Sorry, sorry. We're gonna need to be snarky for just one more moment. Thanks to lobbying from big-time health food producers, the USDA has introduced certification standards for organic products. While this will move Clairol's "Herbal Essences" back to the cesspool of industrial chemicals where it belongs, it's also going to open the door for the corporatization of organic foods. Huzzah, capitalism!

Moving on to your regularly scheduled Bad News snarkiness:

This is the WTF edition of GN/BN. There's lots of head-scratching Bad-News weirdness here. By WTF, we mean "Well, that's funny...". Of course. What else?

WTF #1: "Some consider it quackery." A Libertarian Senate candidate from Montana has turned blue from drinking colloidal silver as an immune booster. At least he's not gonna pass any laws preventing the marketing of just such quackery....

WTF #2: Meatpackers to FDA: "Can you just say 'differently molecularized' instead of 'irradiated' on the foods that you bombard with radioactive particles? Thanks."

WTF #3: "Super Cabbage fights pollution." Some enterprising young biotechnicians have developed a plant ("Super Cabbage," if you will) that will remove arsenic from soil. These plants thrive on arsenic actually. So where does it go? Super Cabbage stores arsenic in its leaves. Oh, wait. I guess that means it's not really gone? And Super Cabbage won't be for sale in your produce section anytime soon, either. God bless the First Law of Thermodynamics.

And since we're speaking of arsenic, a series of lawsuits is trying to make lumber companies accountable for pressure-treating wood with arsenic, which causes countless poisonings and deaths. Can anyone else say "splinter checks?"

Bush declares war on reducing auto emissions! Fresh off his success getting war powers for Iraq, Bush has sided with the auto industry against California's proposed zero-emission vehicle quota. Let's all just keep chanting "bad for business, bad for business" until global warming goes away...

This is not the first time, not the second time, but the seventh time Navy sonar tests have been linked to killing whales! Now the chant is "homeland security, homeland security..."

WTF #4: You gotta kill fish to save fish. A celebrity chef in the U.K. has proposed an interesting tactic to save fish: eat more "unusual" kinds of fish! Let the cod and haddock increase in numbers, and we'll go back to eating them soon enough....

Watch the spin in action: as Oregon's landmark GMO-labeling bill draws nearer a vote, we get to hear Monsanto spokespeople call it "meaningless information," among other gems.

And we'll just wrap this up with some very scary bad news. Not only will drilling in Alaska remain on Bush's hitlist, Evil Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham made what we took as quite a cryptic comment: Referring to next year's Congress and its potential willingness to drill in Alaska: "If it takes more than one bite at the apple to get the rest, that's the way we will proceed." Sounds to us like the fix is in, once again.

Matt Wheeland is an AlterNet Fellow, and a rather nice fellow, too.


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