Stillwater Bridge Update

The Sierra Club's lawsuit against the US DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the US Department of Interior and the National Park Service is finally scheduled for oral arguments on August 28.

The Sieraa Club's primary contention of this lawsuit is that the National Park Service overturned their objection to the proposed bridge design without any substantive evidence. Their original NPS findings were that the bridge design will, in fact, cause significant impact to the riverway without any plans for mitigating those impacts.

It is important to again note - contrary to what has been voiced by some politicians - that the Sierra Club's lawsuit HAS NOT been the impediment to the bridge being constructed for the last few years. The real impediment is that there has been no funds provided by the Minnesota legislature to support this project.

The Minnesota portion of the proposed new bridge design is now estimated to approach $400 million. With the projected environmental impacts and the skyrocketing price tag, the Sierra Club has continued to believe the design of the bridge should be revisited to find alternative designs which would have less impact and a lower cost to taxpayers.

$400 million today = $295 M in 1999 = $217 M in 1989 = $169 M in 1979 = $188 M in 1969


GOP Future Looks To The Past: McCarthy & Gingrich

..."The elite media tried to ignore us. The government labeled us 'extremists.' But on April 15, more than one million Americans came together, spontaneously, to defend fairness and freedom. I know because Callista and I were there. Here is our story."

Thus began Newt Gingrich's heart-warming albeit rose-colored glasses-garbed assessment of the Tax Day Tea Parties held across the nation on April 15. However, it is probably less interesting to deconstruct Gingrich's optimistic views of Tea Party-ness, as expressed in "Will the Tea Parties Matter?" -- a disquisition on "the nature of the Tea Party movement" -- then it is to recognize that the former House Speaker, has more and more come to represent both what's left of the intellectual firepower of the post-Bush Republican Party and the critic/commentator/analyst/partisan politician that will take on just about any question that comes his way.

With the Republican Party seeming to settle into a state of beserkiness, what with their call for Democrats to rename itself the Democrat Socialist Party; with McCarthyite claims that there are a host of "socialists" in Congress; with a very strange Michael Steele heading up the RNC, while Rush Limbaugh assumes the Party's head-without-portfolio position, it is left to Gingrich to be in as many places as possible, to criticize the Obama Administration (with an occasional compliment tossed its way), to slash away at current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and to proclaim that the Party still has some guiding principles.

Gingrich's goal? To stitch together a coalition of disparate GOP forces that will back him for the Party's Presidential nomination in four years. Does it matter that the public has never liked the man? Apparently, not to the Newtster!..."

Bill Berkowitz
Gingrich's Gasps of Wrath


US Chamber Pot & Capitalsim Propaganda

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a $100 million campaign it describes as standing up for capitalism — an effort that could pit the group against the Obama administration and liberal activists on issues such as health care reform, energy, regulation of businesses and executive pay.

The chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise is a national and local effort opposing tax increases and government intrusion into the competitive marketplace.

MoveOn.org says the campaign will spearhead business opposition to the Obama administration’s health care reform and energy policies. The administration has sought business advice on the recession, credit crunch and housing crash, but has moved against some private sector wishes on issues such as credit card protections, health care reform, and CEO pay and bonuses.