Greenpeace

It's Easier than Ever to Charge Someone with Piracy

It's Not Just Vladimir Putin: Governments Around the World Are Making it Easier to Jail Someone as a Pirate

It's not just Vladimir Putin who's arresting activists for piracy. In international law, the term has changed meanings.

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Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement By Brad R. Roth (Oxford University Press, 320 pp., $70) Sovereignty is back. Our debates about the global economic crisis keep returning to the problem of sovereign debt and the need for sovereign guarantees to reassure the markets. We keep hoping that somewhere, sometime, in the downward spiral of de-leveraging and disillusion there will be an authority—a sovereign—to take charge and put an end to our anxiety. This longing for an authority, after years of market follies, runs very deep. We want to know that someone is in control.

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Last month, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer published a long piece on how billionaires David and Charles Koch fund a variety of libertarian causes—from Tea Parties to the Cato Institute. Given that the brothers own Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held oil company in America, it's no surprise that the Kochs also like to wade into the carbon/climate debate. (The Koch-funded wing of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, for instance, has a... creative... exhibit on climate change.) But how important are the Kochs, in the grand climate-skeptic scheme of things? Pretty central.

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One depressing aspect of the economic crisis is that public outrage has been channeled into symbolic displays of populist outrage against CEOs rather than into intelligent public action to prevent the recurrence of disasters. The response to the Deepwater Horizon spill fits the pattern. The outrage du jour is that BP CEO Tony Hayward has taken a break from overseeing efforts to contain an oil spill to take in a yacht race. I fail to understand the controversy. Does anybody assert that Hayward needs to be working seven days a week, every week? I doubt his role is actually so indispensable.

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Reading through The New York Times every day, it can seem like the press has been covering the Gulf disaster obsessively. Indeed, some fishermen in Louisiana are now worried that the media is too focused on the oil spill—to the point where it could harm business even in unaffected areas. But how does all this coverage compare historically? I asked Drexel sociologist Robert Brulle for his thoughts, and he put together some fascinating data.

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Taking A Dive

From a distance, it might seem that environmentalists should be crestfallen that the 2008 Climate Security Act--shorthanded as Lieberman-Warner after its lead sponsors in the Senate--went down in flames on the Senate floor on Friday. The bill, which would cap fossil fuel emissions in the United States above a certain level and ask industry to pay more for any excesses, was easily the most aggressive and comprehensive environmental reform ever to hit Congress. But the bipartisan plan to cut U.S.

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James Ridgeway of Mother Jones has uncovered a wonderful spy story with a bonus environmental angle: A private security company organized and managed by former Secret Service officers spied on Greenpeace and other environmental organizations from the late 1990s through at least 2000, pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings.

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The Devil's Advocate

The sleazy lobbyist who might save the world.

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