Eating the Dead in the Everglades: How much land is society going to sacrifice?

April 20, 2010

(Counterpunch) In┬áJune 2002, Washington Post writer Michael Grunwald quoted one of the nation’s GOP power brokers, Al Hoffman:

“”You can’t stop it,” said (Hoffman), the most influential developer in a state crowded with influential developers. At the time he was the top money man for Gov. Jeb Bush and lead an exclusive council of CEOs who advised the governor on policy. He had been co-chair of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee’s finance chair. “There’s no power on earth that can stop it!” Hoffman, cried … “The unstoppable force Hoffman was talking about is the runaway development marching from southwest Florida toward the Everglades. The Naples area was the second-fastest-growing in America in the 1990s. The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is not far behind. And the gated golf course communities that have come to define this subtropical mecca are spreading east.” (Washington Post, June 25, 2002)

In the summer of 2002, Jeb Bush was on cruise control to a final term as Florida governor. State Democrats were nowhere. Hoffman knew what he was talking about. Bush’s opponent during that campaign was a Tampa based attorney, Bill McBride, whose wife, Alex Sink, is now the Democratic candidate for governor. Life was good in Bushland. Low interest rates triggered by 9/11 and concern for the economy provided fuel and political kindling for a housing boom of historic proportions. Jebco fully mechanized the process of harvesting campaign contributions; its baling wire looped around every water pipe, driller, engineer, farmer and land speculator from Miami to Jacksonville, from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. It was inconceivable, except to a few planners and environmentalists, that exuberance would turn to dust. Read the rest of this entry »


Why They Call It King Coal: A killer industry continues to call the shots

April 9, 2010

(Counterpunch) The mainstream media pushes West Virginia into the national spotlight either every four years, during a presidential election, or when coal miners are trapped, rescued or killed in their line of work. Network TV has a particular order when reporting coal mining disasters: it is about ordinary Americans scraping a living underground, hopeful then grieving families, the technologies used to rescue miners, the uncertainty and drama of time running out, and lastly, how environmental and public health and worker rules have failed to protect the workers. Somewhere and awkwardly, political corruption by King Coal fits in; a little unseemly to reporter and news anchor in times of such personal tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

No More Fish? Let Them Eat Cake: Oceans in the age of greed

April 2, 2010

(Counterpunch) A noteworthy report in The New York Times, “In Florida, the Seafood Becomes Less Local”, makes the case obvious to anyone with half a brain: the vision of the oceans to be the world’s future breadbasket is rapidly fading in the rear view mirror. I grew up with that vision. I can remember it in my fourth grade social studies because we were tested on it: where will our future food come from? From the oceans. Read the rest of this entry »