Bush's Polluted Photo-Op

The Raleigh News & Observer follows up on our post yesterday about President Bush's Earth Day photo-op at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park today:Spring wildflowers and dogwoods are just blooming in the Smokies. Yet nature guide Erik Plakanis already has warned hikers about exerting themselves at high elevations because of bad air.Three days of unhealthy air so far this month equals the number of ozone alert days in the Smokies for all of last year. And ozone season has just begun."It's discouraging, really discouraging," said Plakanis, who doesn't take hikers out on high ozone days because of the risk of respiratory harm. "It gives the lining of your lungs something akin to a sunburn."Famed for its natural bluish mists, the Smokies are gaining notoriety for an unnatural white haze that often reduces the famous 100-mile views to less than 20 miles in summer.The question is, will the cameras be able to get a good visual on Bush through all that haze, made worse by the adminisration's evisceration of the Clean Air Act?UPDATE: Our friend South Knox Bubba is on the case in Knoxville, closer to where the action is.