Attack of the Congress and the Tweeters

March 6, 2011

Congress attacks the Clean Air Act…and that’s just for starters

As if it’s not bad enough that 80 years or more of collective bargaining rights in America are suddenly being trampled like so much turf at an outdoor rock concert, the quality of the very air we breathe is also in serious jeopardy. On Thursday, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Hey, and while we’re at it, why don’t we just legalize soot? All in favor…

It kind of feels like piling on, considering that the measure to fund the government through the
remainder of the fiscal year, known as the Continuing Resolution, is being calledthe
greatest legislative assault on the environment in decades by the League of Conservation Voters, which recently released its National Environmental Scorecard for the Second Session of the 111th Congress. However, given the extraordinary nature of the the proposed budget, the LCV put out an addendum, stating,

The introduced text of H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, contains numerous so-called “policy riders” that block enforcement of vital environmental and public health laws, which jeopardize the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the wildlife and wild places we hold dear. These include provisions undermining the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the federal “Wild Lands” policy that restores our ability to set aside backcountry lands for Congress to determine whether they merit the ultimate protection of Wilderness.

And that’s just the measure that would keep our country running for another few months. Isn’t politics fun, kids?

Another group that is keeping an eye on how well our elected officials are caring for our air and water is Environment Illinois. Director Max Muller returns to the program this morning to talk about the Illinois delegation scorecard. If you want to know whether or not your representative is interested in protecting you from environmental harm, tune in or catch the podcast.

Growing the good life, one vegetable at a time

[Update: Michele Owens' appearance on the show prompted a flurry of Tweets from listeners who thought that she gave out bad information after a caller wanted to know how to plant a vegetable garden in an area of his yard that had previously been occupied by his dogs. If you want to hear the entire conversation, log on to my podcast of the show. The conversation with Michele starts about halfway through the file. She also wrote about the incident a few days later on the Garden Rant Blogsite.]

I’m thinking about posting something on Garden Rant. I’ll get to that in a second. You might recall that Garden Rant is a blog site devoted to…um, ranting about all kinds of gardening things. You might also remember that the four protagonists (conspirators?) of Garden Rant were in town last year for the annual Independent Garden Center Show at Navy Pier, where I served them mimosas. I am nothing if not a gracious host.

One of the four, Michele Owens, is back in the city for the Chicago Flower & Gardens Show, mainly because she has come out with a book, Grow the Good Life: Why a Vegetable Garden Will Make You Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Now to my rant:

I hate it when people write the book I wish I had written! And do it with wit and ease and charm. She writes in complete, understandable and often memorable sentences. What’s up with that? Geez, she makes growing vegetables sound like something everybody should do. Who is she kidding? She tells you that cultivating your backyard might actually be good for you on many levels–contributing to the health of your body, your psyche, your wallet and even your taste buds. Tell it to the judge, girlie! And if that isn’t bad enough, this Owens dame is fomenting revolution. A lot of you are going to finish the book, march out the back door, grab a pitchfork and scratch some soil with it. Then you’re going to plant seeds! Outrageous! What’s next? Watering and caring for your seedlings and watching them grown and harvesting them and eating them? Quelle 19th Century! So go ahead. Buy the book. I mean it. Buy the darned thing. Make Michele Owens rich. See if I care. I’m going back to bed.

Good Growing: Who the heck is MOSES?

Actually, I should be asking “What the heck is MOSES.” Because the answer is Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service. Sheri Doyel, Program Director of the Farmer Training Initiative at Angelic Organics Learning Center, is just back from the 22nd Annual Moses Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It’s largest organic farming conference in the country, and this year set a new a new attendance record, as 3,000 attendees, mostly farmers, showed up. Sheri gives us the scoop on what she–and they–learned.

I’m speaking at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

As I mentioned earlier, this is the week to get all hot and bothered about spring in Chicago…even though you really won’t be doing anything for at least another month. However, that’s what the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier is all about–whipping gardeners into a frenzy, and then sending them home into the snow to sulk. Hey, it IS Chicago, after all. And it IS still March.

Anyway, I’m speaking there this Wednesday, March 9 at 11:30 a.m. My topic: Trowel, Spade and Google. Don’t be frightened, little ones. It’s just a talk that will help you maximize your Internet use for gardening purposes. I hope you can stop by. Meanwhile, here’s when some of my friends are speaking:

  • Sun, March 6, 12:15 p.m. – Melinda Myers Year Round Garden-tainment
  • Sun, March 6, 2:30 p.m. – Jeff Lowenfels No More Chemicals in the Garden
  • Sun, March 6, 2:45 p.m. – John Eskandari Nativars in the Landscape
  • Mon, March 7, 12:15 p.m. – Rich Eyre Captivating Conifers for the Landscape
  • Mon, March 7, 6:15 p.m. – Rich Eyre Inspirational Gardens
  • Tues, March 8, 6:15 p.m. – Beth Botts Start Here: Basic Steps for the New Gardener
  • Wed, March 9, 2:45 p.m. – Doris Taylor Shade Gardening: Planting Under Mature Trees
  • Wed, March 9, 6:15 p.m. – Nancy Clifton What’s Hot in Pots: Trends for 2011
  • Thur, March 10, 2:30 p.m. – Christy Webber Green Roofs in Chicago: Leading the Way
  • Thur, March 10, 6:15 p.m. – Ken Benson Winners for the Midwest
  • Fri, March 11, 2:45 p.m. – Jim DeHorn Become Your Own Tree Expert
  • Sat, March 12, 12:15 p.m. – Beth Botts Taming the Wild Ones: How to Welcome Native Plants into a Well-Behaved Garden
  • Sat, March 12, 2:30 p.m. – LaManda Joy Chicago Victory Gardens: Yesterday and Tomorrow
  • Sun, March 13, 11:00 a.m. – Ken Benson Designing with Hydrangeas
  • Sun, March 13, 1:30 p.m. – Nancy Clifton A What’s Hot in Pots: Trends for 2011
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