The Wind Business
March 02, 2007

If you don't think that "alternative energy" has arrived, you are wrong. I remember when some folks put sun panes on their roofs to trap solar energy. And I still recall when wood stoves were thought to be conservation devices. Well, it turned out to be more complicated than that. But the wind business is clearly good for business and terrific for the environment.

Another Inconvenient Truth
February 26, 2007

Up until the 1970s, most economists would have accepted Marx's description of capitalism as "the subjection of nature to man," but we have learned over the last three decades that nature is capable of fighting back. Oil, once thought to be limitless in supply, is steadily running out; and the consumption of fossil fuels has led to acid rain and global warming. And then there is water, which, next to the air we breathe, is the most important of all natural resources. Unlike oil, it is not running out, but it is not as plentiful in some places as in others.

Caption Contest!
February 22, 2007

According to this AP story, today George W. Bush promoted energy independence by visiting a North Carolina biotech company that resarches ways of creating "cellulosic" ethanol made from wood chips, switch grass, and other feedstocks. But this photo (click to enlarge) seemed so mesmerizingly weird that we decided to invite you to re-imagine the scene! Post your own one-line caption in Talkback by noon Monday and we'll choose a winner. Naturally, the caption needn't--and perhaps shouldn't--have anything to do with the actual event.

Pipe Dream
January 08, 2007

Rome, Italy As winter sets over Europe, England, Italy, Germany, and other powers continue investigating the alleged murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. From the initial radiation poisoning of Litvinenko, police have found traces of polonium in the British embassy in Moscow and in Hamburg, Germany, possibly from businessman Dmitri V. Kovtun, who met Litvinenko in London before he died. Italian agents have detained a close Litvinenko associate, Mario Scaramella.

Gas Admissions
October 11, 2004

We all think other people ought to lose weight and drive more carefully; we all think other people should do something about global warming. That seems to be the state of the greenhouse debate. Everyone you ask about global warming professes to be concerned, but by their behavior, hardly anyone is willing to do anything. Americans keep buying mega-SUVs and pickup trucks, these gas-guzzlers being the single worst Western factor in greenhouse gas accumulation.

Spare the Rod?
December 15, 2003

In the first half of his presidency, George W. Bush was masterful at co-opting enough Democrats in Congress to advance his agenda on education and tax cuts. But the president didn't repay the favor. In the 2002 congressional elections, the White House savaged many of the very same Democrats who'd voted with the president on his top legislation. So Democrats licked their wounds, chalked up the midterm debacle to experience, and vowed that their days of helping Bush were over.

The Operator
September 22, 2003

On May 28, George Tenet delivered for the Bush administration. Nearly two months had passed since the fall of Baghdad. U.S. forces had turned up no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, raising the specter of gross misjudgment on the part of the U.S. intelligence community and allegations of presidential dishonesty. But, that day, the CIA announced that two trailers found in northern Iraq the previous month were actually mobile biological-agent production facilities.

May 19, 2003

Few have ever accused Morgan Stanley, the white-shoe investment bank formed in 1935 by partners of the imperial J.P. Morgan & Co., of being solicitous toward the investing masses. And that hauteur was on full display last week. On April 29, appearing at the UBS Warburg Global Financial Services Conference, at Manhattan's gilded Pierre Hotel, Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell was asked about the $1.4 billion "global settlement" that Morgan Stanley and nine other firms had just inked with state and federal regulators.

The 9/10 President
March 10, 2003

It disappeared so quickly that it is easy to forget the bipartisan patriotism and common purpose that existed in Washington immediately after September 11, 2001. Perhaps the most memorable event from that period was the gathering of members of Congress from both parties on the steps of the Capitol to sing "God Bless America." Another such episode--little-noticed, but actually more remarkable--occurred the following month.

Ambassador Feelgood
November 27, 1997

Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.