Goodbye to 'Eco-Nightmare' Dick Pombo

Rep. Richard 'Dick' Pombo is a Rep. no more.

We bring you a special Grist tribute to the man who dreamt at night of shoving oil drills down the throats of endangered species.

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Ah, Dick. Remember when you tried to sell off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fund transportation pork? That was insane funny. You always did have a sense of humor.

Who could forget your Ahabian quest to gut the Endangered Species Act? You were like the bad guy from a cheap horror movie, springing to life again and again. Points for persistence!

Then there was the time you put out a report saying mercury's not really so bad for you after all. Again, batshit insane completely hilarious. You cracked us up, Dick.

You also found your Will to Drill unduly restrained by NEPA, the nation's cornerstone environmental law, so you tried to gut that too. That was when you convened those Potemkin, hand-picked "task forces" -- no greens allowed! Good times, good times.

Speaking of drilling: when you couldn't get your tumescent drill into the Arctic Refuge, you turned to the nation's sloppy seconds -- offshore coastal areas. You were like some horny middle-aged businessman, drunk in a bar on a business trip -- you just couldn't keep your hands to yourself.

We always had to keep an eye on you, you scamp! Remember when you snuck in that provision altering some obscure mining provision? Oopsie -- there go tens of millions of acres of public lands!

From the beginning, you never really believed that anyone would seriously challenge you for your seat in the House. A good ol' boy like you? Look at those boots! Why, it was unthinkable. You laughed it off, and barely deigned to campaign or speak to the press for the past year. Even when Jerry McNerney -- a guy you thought you could steamroll without breaking a sweat -- started nipping at your heels, you refused to engage. Woops.

You embodied the cozy corruption, utter fealty to big industry, and mendacious faux conservatism of the 109th Congress. And now? Now you're gone.

Bye, Dick. You won't be missed.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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