On June 29, the Bush administration quietly approved a keystone of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy policy: furthering our addiction to oil through the 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The program governs the sale of all offshore oil and gas leases in federal waters over the next five years and anticipates the drilling of more than 10 billion barrels of oil and more than 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in some of our most pristine and sensitive marine habitats.
Five of the lease sales would be in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the coast of Alaska - industrializing and fouling prime polar bear habitat. Polar bears, already drowning and starving as global warming transforms the Arctic, can ill afford the additional stress of oil and gas development in their home.
Another lease sale proposed in Alaska's Bristol Bay would compromise critical habitat for the North Pacific right whale, the world's most endangered whale, while two other lease sales are proposed for Cook Inlet, home to imperiled beluga whales and sea otters.
- Matt Vespa, in the San Jose Mercury News
Show-business legend has it that the dying words of Sir Donald Wolfit (1902-1968), a celebrated Shakespearean actor, were: "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."
Tasteless though this epigram may be in the context of the Phil Spector trial, I couldn't keep it out of my mind as I watched a 30-minute audition video assembled by Lana Clarkson for casting agents in Hollywood. The video was introduced into evidence by the Spector defense, on the theory that anyone trying this hard to show casting agents that she could perform comedy, and failing this completely, had to be suicidal.
But if you've ever tuned in to American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance during their cattle-call auditions, you know that this great land is filled with tone-deaf singers and two-left-footed dancers whose capacity for self-delusion no British-accented panel judge can hope to penetrate.
- Timothy Noah, on Slate.com