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Earth Day

  1. early and often
    On the First Earth Day, Environmentalism Wasn’t PartisanOver the past 53 years, Republicans have turned protecting the environment into a culture-war issue. It didn’t have to be this way.
  2. no swimming
    This Man Went for a Swim in the Gowanus CanalEverything except for his face and mouth were covered.
  3. NSA’s New Creepy Mascot Is Watching You and Knows If You Don’t RecycleMeet Dunk. 
  4. in other news
    Three Days Before Bloomberg, Spitzer Announces an Environmental Plan In the run-up to Earth Day — and, gosh, it’s beginning to feel like an actual holiday — the political talk in New York has turned an emerald shade of green. Mayor Bloomberg will unleash his vision of the city’s next 25 years on Sunday, so Governor Spitzer scooped him a bit yesterday. Spitzer outlined the centerpiece of his plan, lowering the state’s energy demand instead of spending money to meet it, to “1,100 business executives” at a Crain’s breakfast forum. (How much carbon was released by 1,100 limos idling outside?) Spitzer’s plan, “15 by 15” (as in a 15 percent cut in emissions by 2015) has the distinction of being the nation’s most aggressive, besting even California. What’s interesting is that the state’s energy use is projected to increase by the same 15 percent between now and then, which means the task is basically keeping it level while continuing to build. Early reactions indicate that the plan managed to please environmentalists without repulsing capitalists, a neat feat in itself; it also dovetails rather beautifully with Mayor Bloomberg’s central wish-list item — a 30 percent reduction by the year 2030. Emission-free by 2100, anyone? Spitzer Outlines Aggressive Energy Plan [Crain’s]
  5. the morning line
    Congestion Pricing, Coming Soon to a Midtown Near You! • The mayor will use Earth Day to unveil a barrage of housing, transit, and environmental proposals. In the spotlight today: a charge for drivers to enter midtown, a cabbies’ dream and car commuters’ nightmare. [NYT] • Governor Spitzer is requesting FEMA aid, including disaster unemployment relief, for twelve counties hit hard by the weekend’s nor’easter. New York City is in line for some federal funds as well. [WSTM] • Albany, meantime, is proposing the so-called Paw and Claw Tax (on pet food, natch), with the money going toward shelters. The tax would apply to “dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and birds.” Your ferret is now a bargain. [NYS] • Tom Cruise, whom the Post now dubs “the diminutive Scientologist,” hit Chelsea (an easy joke there) to raise funds for his questionable sauna-and-vitamins program for 9/11 emergency workers. Reporters were banned. [NYP] • And it took two fumbling attempts for the NYPD scuba team to tow the departed Sludgie the Whale from Gowanus to his final resting place in Jersey City. Deadpanned one detective by way of equivocation, “This was my first whale.” [WNBC]