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Bush's Polluted Photo-Op

April 22, 2005 - 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.

Bush Does Earth Day

April 21, 2005 - The White House has announced that President Bush will be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow with a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a location no doubt chosen for its perceived seclusion from environmental activists who may call into question the administration's

The Pope, Catholics and Southern Politics

April 20, 2005 - The blogosphere quickly erupted over yesterday's news that the Vatican had tapped conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to be the next shepherd of the global Catholic flock.

Workers' Earnings Continue Decline

April 20, 2005 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that real average weekly earnings dropped 0.3 percent in March. This was the second month of decline -- real earnings dropped .3% in February as well -- putting the annual rate of decline at 3.6%. As the BLS notes, "A 0.3 percent increase in average hourly earnings was more than offset by a 0.6 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index."