‘Neck Deep in Toxic Gumbo’

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Over at AlterNet, Nicole Makris has an important piece on the environmental and health problems lurking in the wake of Katrina, including the adverse effects the toxic flooding will have on Louisiana’s already-polluted water supply. One EPA official she talks to brings up a good point: After 9/11, when the World Trade Center collapsed in New York, the White House ordered the EPA to be downplay concerns about air quality around the disaster site. Three years later, 88 percent of 9/11 first responders were found to have had respiratory problems from breathing in the asbestos and other particles released into the air. But science and health concerns took a backseat to the need to “reassure” people that everything was just fine.

So here’s the question: The White House quite obviously wants to rebuild and repopulate New Orleans as quickly as possible—President Bush, we are often told, loves “results.” In the rush, will the administration, and the EPA, pressure people to return before the health risks have been fully addressed? Will the workers who are now trying to clean out the city be given adequate equipment and protection? 9/11 doesn’t provide an encouraging precedent, and as Makris notes, that wasn’t half as bad as New Orleans. Meanwhile, it seems the administration is working overtime to demonize environmentalists and blame them for the New Orleans flood, so it doesn’t seem likely that concerns about the “toxic gumbo” swirling around in the city will get much attention.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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