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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Don't look now

By Tom Toles

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***

Friday rant: Far and away edition

“Throw away” is a fascinating expression. I love that word “away.” Where is “away”? It’s over there. Somewhere. Away. Not here. The gentle arc of the apple core gliding into the shrubbery. And that is what throwing away used to consist of. The term could be a soft-focus expression of benign vagueness because that’s what the activity was. Seriously, it’s hard to think of anything from the pre-industrial era being thrown anywhere that could have had much of an impact on anything. Okay, catapulting a plague-infested cow carcass over a castle wall would be an exception to that.

But the more things change, the more they change. When industrialization cranked up, things changed a lot. A company that was producing a lot of poison, rather than dealing with the cost of the toxins it produced, decided it was more profitable to put them in the river. Your river. The river your drinking water came from. Or into the air. Your air that you breathe. See how that saved them some money? They put THEIR costs on YOU. “Away” now meant “you.”

We spent a lot of time in the second half of the 20th century trying to fix that situation, but we never quite established in the public consciousness the idea that these dangerous “externalities” are just fundamentally costs generated by producers that those producers are responsible for, but which they are trying to pass off on the public whenever they can get away with it. We will try to resist the temptation of likening that to certain media outlets that are designed to generate their profits from toxic vitriol.

--Tom Toles

***

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By Tom Toles  | March 4, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chesapeake, Environment  
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Comments

Funny thing fate

I have been checking out AlJezeera since the link was posted, I am happy to not be in Libya today. Thank you e30m42

What is happening with the EPA

Posted by: dalyplanet | March 4, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

~~~Our military deserves better than this...it's not about the Constitution, law, or anything but shutting up people that need to shut up and let families grieve.
Posted by: pararanger22 ~~~

Not only the military ranger.
Right?

Posted by: bertzel | March 4, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet,
Concerning; Al Jazeera TV.
Coincidence of coincidences, and we know how I believe in those... I happened upon Al Jazeera TV this eve. To my surprise and coincidence on FREE SPEECH TV (I had no idea there was such a thing) I spotted Al Jazeera D.C. English…how weird is that? And not only that, I only happened across it because, I thought I’d check out C-SPAN and guess what I was watching on that??!!!! The House Appropriations Committee in talks with the EPA!!!
So much info.
So little time.
I do believe I hit the Mother Lode!!!
I love life : )

Posted by: bertzel | March 4, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

~~The 2012 elections will be a Conservative GOP cake-walk" will~~~

I wouldn't hold my breath there bud.

Posted by: bertzel | March 4, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

pararanger22:
"The 2012 elections will be a Conservative GOP cake-walk"

Except for the fact that job gains helps the party that holds the presidency. More jobs gains help Obama's party more.

I guess you shouldn't be cheering so hard for all of Boehner's amazing legislation to be signed by Obama.

Posted by: will12 | March 4, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The SCOTUS did not say that what the Westboro Baptists do is acceptable Christian behaviour, that's not for them to say. What they said is that hate-filled, ultra-conservative, bigoted, intolerant religious zealots in the U.S. are entitled to the same First Amendment rights as you and me and everyone else.


Posted by: jonroesler | March 4, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

If we tax the companies that pollute for the privilege of polluting, they will simply pass on the costs to the consumer. True.

The same consumer who demands that the goods be produced, and who is ultimately responsible for the pollution caused by production of the goods the consumer buys.

How, exactly, is this a bad thing?

Seems to me that, each of us can choose to buy goods that are on balance less toxic to produce, thereby lowering the costs to us as individual consumers... and ultimately pricing polluters out of business.

Again, how, exactly, is this a bad thing?

Posted by: jonroesler | March 4, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Throwing away" leads to another tempting deception, "all gone."

Posted by: dlowell63 | March 4, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I am well aware of that fact ranger and get it thrown in my face EVERY time I mention Freedom of Speech. However, as someone else mentioned, there was/is nothing said to cause or create physical harm or injury. Emotional harassment yes.
In which case I would think Restraining Orders would/could suffice. I would certainly check into that if I were being harassed by those religious fanatics.

Posted by: bertzel

------------------

Wasn't throwing it in your face. Just looking for loopholes.

Our military deserves better than this...it's not about the Constitution, law, or anything but shutting up people that need to shut up and let families grieve.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the 'job market', with the private sector getting hit more and more and now the public sector, I see no positive growth in the near future. No magic wand waving around from any party. Well, then again, I guess there are the disappearing acts.

Posted by: bertzel | March 4, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

~~We don't have complete freedom of speech. You're not allowed to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater or similar words when flying in an aircraft. That type of speech is restricted - you will go to jail for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
ranger~~~

I am well aware of that fact ranger and get it thrown in my face EVERY time I mention Freedom of Speech. However, as someone else mentioned, there was/is nothing said to cause or create physical harm or injury. Emotional harassment yes.
In which case I would think Restraining Orders would/could suffice. I would certainly check into that if I were being harassed by those religious fanatics.

Posted by: bertzel | March 4, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes Tom we no doubt live in a very TOXIC world today! There are those who are intentionally poisoning it also.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | March 4, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 9:51 AM

Even now, the GOP has NO jobs creation program. The GOP said that their first priority was jobs Now, their first priority is jobs...or deficits...or abortions...or unions...or repealing the PPACA...or congressioal investigations...or making sure Obama is a one term POTUS...or....

The admittedly slow increase in jobs is due to Obama and the Democrats acting like adults since Jan. 2009. They got NO help from the GOP. If we do get the spending cuts that the GOP is proposing, the recovery will likely be slowed or reversed.

Regardless. the GOP STILL has no job creation program. And they don't have a job creation program because there is no other action o be taken that is more effective than those already taken by Obama and the Congressional Democrats.

Posted by: ptgrunner

---------------------

You said "Hey, Boehner, where are the jobs?"

Boehner delivered, two months straight.

The mere fact that serious adults are back in power (read: Conservative GOP Congressman) has created confidence in the American business community to start hiring again. They see the GOP is serious about cutting federal spending, ensuring there are low taxes, and pounding away at the unconstitutional Obamacare. Business loves this environment which is leading to more jobs, more hiring, lower unemployment. It's just a fact dude.

Job creation? To Liberals, that means government programs hiring Federal workers = more taxes. It's the Liberal 'Dumb and Dumber' movie that gets a new sequel every time Liberals accidentally get into power.

Let's review today's job report again (since you STILL don't get it).

222K private jobs created by the GOP last month.

30K public jobs happily discarded.

You and Obama and a Democrat controlled Congress had 2 YEARS to create jobs (since Democrats had crushing majorities during this time it is immaterial what you say about GOP intransigence) and failed. Predicted 8.1%. Achieved 9.8%. Fact.

GOP Conservatives have had TWO MONTHS to create jobs (you didn't even give them a month) and they've delivered.

The 2012 elections will be a Conservative GOP cake-walk.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Freedom of speech is not absolute, in spite of what Justice Black thought. But, as vile and disgusting as what the Wackos of Westboro say is, hate speech is still speech. It does not cause an imminent danger of physical harm, it is not an incitement to violence (except maybe inciting those who want to pound the Wackos into the ground), and as such cannot be restricted. And a law such as you describe would be struck down by the courts, with the SCOTUS probably voting 8-1, Alito dissenting.

Posted by: luridone

------------------------

Nothing is certain. It would be worth the fight and the examination of the limitations of free speech.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 9:51 AM

Even now, the GOP has NO jobs creation program. The GOP said that their first priority was jobs Now, their first priority is jobs...or deficits...or abortions...or unions...or repealing the PPACA...or congressioal investigations...or making sure Obama is a one term POTUS...or....

The admittedly slow increase in jobs is due to Obama and the Democrats acting like adults since Jan. 2009. They got NO help from the GOP. If we do get the spending cuts that the GOP is proposing, the recovery will likely be slowed or reversed.

Regardless. the GOP STILL has no job creation program. And they don't have a job creation program because there is no other action o be taken that is more effective than those already taken by Obama and the Congressional Democrats.

Posted by: ptgrunner | March 4, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Ecology, when translated from the Greek roots, means "the study of one's house". I always try to encourage people to think of Earth as a big house...a VERY big house, with rooms galor; some that you'll never even visit in your lifetime; but a house none the less.

How would you care for that house if you knew it had to last you, your kids, your grandkids, forever and ever? Oh, and the catch is, you can't go outside. There is no "outside". The house is all you have. If you leave, you die. So, what do you do?

Recycle, reduce, reuse. Don't foul up any of the rooms because someone will eventually need them (the number of people who live in the house is constantly growing). And the capacity of the house for raw materials, as well as garbage dumps, is certainly not infinite. If you're not careful, some rooms will run out of supplies, and others will fill up with garbage to the point of being useless and destroyed.

Think about it. What are you doing today to help take care of our house?

Posted by: PrairieDog60

------------------------

If the house was full of Liberals, they would all do the rational thing: sterilize themselves. Liberals care more about the planet than God anyway so why not? Face it, far left Libs advocate this very act to save the planet (the theory goes less mouths to feed/use up valuable resources, the better), thus, in this PrairieDog60's example, it's the best solution.

I support this Liberal decision.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

We don't have complete freedom of speech. You're not allowed to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater or similar words when flying in an aircraft. That type of speech is restricted - you will go to jail for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rewind the tape to the actions of the disgusting, immoral, Westboro Baptist Church. They did everything they were legally constrained to do: permits, 1000 feet away from the funeral, etc. Yet I am not convinced that what they were saying should not be restricted too. Hate speech is hate speech.

The Supreme Court was bound to make this legal decision. Congress should take up the action and pass a law outlawing this type of protest against dead servicemen/women. Yes, that will see another date with the Supreme Court but it is worth the effort.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 10:08 AM
_________________________
Freedom of speech is not absolute, in spite of what Justice Black thought. But, as vile and disgusting as what the Wackos of Westboro say is, hate speech is still speech. It does not cause an imminent danger of physical harm, it is not an incitement to violence (except maybe inciting those who want to pound the Wackos into the ground), and as such cannot be restricted. And a law such as you describe would be struck down by the courts, with the SCOTUS probably voting 8-1, Alito dissenting.

Posted by: luridone | March 4, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and -- as it did here -- inflict great pain," Roberts wrote. "On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course -- to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

This decision has dealt a blow to politically correct speech and other limitations to open discourse that has been creeping into our institutions over the last 40 years.

Posted by: dalyplanet | March 4, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Ecology, when translated from the Greek roots, means "the study of one's house". I always try to encourage people to think of Earth as a big house...a VERY big house, with rooms galor; some that you'll never even visit in your lifetime; but a house none the less.

How would you care for that house if you knew it had to last you, your kids, your grandkids, forever and ever? Oh, and the catch is, you can't go outside. There is no "outside". The house is all you have. If you leave, you die. So, what do you do?

Recycle, reduce, reuse. Don't foul up any of the rooms because someone will eventually need them (the number of people who live in the house is constantly growing). And the capacity of the house for raw materials, as well as garbage dumps, is certainly not infinite. If you're not careful, some rooms will run out of supplies, and others will fill up with garbage to the point of being useless and destroyed.

Think about it. What are you doing today to help take care of our house?

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | March 4, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

planet...welcome back.
We do have a thing in this country called freedom of speech. I agree with the decision...no matter how painful the circumstance.
I would not blame our freedom of speech but instead blame the bias of religion.
God has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: bertzel

---------------------

We don't have complete freedom of speech. You're not allowed to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater or similar words when flying in an aircraft. That type of speech is restricted - you will go to jail for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rewind the tape to the actions of the disgusting, immoral, Westboro Baptist Church. They did everything they were legally constrained to do: permits, 1000 feet away from the funeral, etc. Yet I am not convinced that what they were saying should not be restricted too. Hate speech is hate speech.

The Supreme Court was bound to make this legal decision. Congress should take up the action and pass a law outlawing this type of protest against dead servicemen/women. Yes, that will see another date with the Supreme Court but it is worth the effort.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Guys,

It seems that this a juvenile argument site. I come to this site to read some succinct comments and then move on, but I get screeds from the extreme sides of the aisle. It also seems that each poster is waiting to see how the other poster will respond. Hey, guys, get a life.

Thank you for listening,

R. H. Tharp, Petoskey MI

Posted by: tvanalog

------------------------

If you can't handle the heat, get out of the fire cupcake - we didn't ask you in here anyway.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

jonroesler wrote: "In a closed system such as ours, there is no 'away.'"

Oh, really?

Why don't you move to West Virginia, where the entire state has been defined as "away?"

Our land, economy and citizens are being ruined by bearing the cost of "externalities" that other states are perfectly happy to dump on us - in other words, they aren't external to US. But as long as everyone else can crank their air conditioning in the summer, leave every light on in their houses, and buy every plug-in gadget on the market, that's okay with them.

Posted by: blondie3 | March 4, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

**Another ptgrunner ‘talented & gifted Liberal’ moment!!**

Remember what ptgrunner told us about Conservatives & Jobs on February 4, 2011? I do! – read as follows from the immortal ptgrunner, wizard of Liberal Job Logic:

“Oh...the minds of children! They want simple, immediate answers to the difficult problems of life.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." --? Well TPers, reality is not going away.
And let's not ignore the fact---yes, the fact--that January saw very weak job creation performance. This occurred with the GOP/conservatives/TPers taking over (infesting?) the House on Jan. 5, 2011. There is a obvious and clear connection--the GOP destroys jobs. But I'm sure conservatives/TPers will have plenty of excuses. Hey, Boehner. Where are the jobs? Where is your program for creating jobs? Why the focus on repealing PPACA when people need and want (unless you're a TPer) jobs. And let's go back to the glory days of our founding fathers, most of whom owned slaves and when life expectancy was about 35 years (1776).”
Posted by: ptgrunner | February 4, 2011 1:34 PM


FEB 6, pararanger 22 wrote:

“We noted with interest your mental-midget, blog post, childishly blasting the GOP for not doing anything about jobs in the first 25 days of their new-found leadership of the House and increased numbers in the Senate.
Let's fast-forward to FEB 5, 2011, when the monthly unemployment report was posted, to whit:
["Jeannine Aversa and Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writers, On Friday February 4, 2011, 5:11 pm EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The unemployment rate is suddenly sinking at the fastest pace in a half-century, falling to 9 percent from 9.8 percent in just two months -- the most encouraging sign for the job market since the recession ended."]”


Today, 4 MAR 2011/Headline from the Washington Post:

Unemployment dips to nearly 2-year low
Jobless rate falls to 8.9 percent; economy adds 192K jobs in Feb.
Employers hired at the fastest pace in almost a year….

The US gained 222K private sector jobs and shed 30K public sector jobs.

Ptrgrunner blamed the GOP for losing jobs in January. Wrong on the facts as the 4 FEB jobs report cemented.
Ptrgrunner childishly gave the GOP less than three weeks to create jobs. GOP delivered reducing the unemployment rate by nearly a full per cent.
Ptrgrunner asked the GOP ‘where are the jobs?’ GOP delivered – best jobs report in 3 years as reported today by DOL.

Where are the jobs ptrgrunner? Just follow the Conservative leadership – they know how to deliver jobs. YOU held the GOP responsible for job creation (pass/fail) and the Conservative GOP team delivered. No excuses required.

Feel free to congratulate Conservatives in Congress for a job well done.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 4, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, you have just described what conservatives love about "free market". You privatize the profits and socialize the costs of creating those profits.

Posted by: JCD1978 | March 4, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

A stepford wives quality seems to be emerging except for Tom's rant.

Posted by: jornolibist | March 4, 2011 5:37 AM | Report abuse


We will try to resist the temptation of likening that to certain media outlets that are designed to generate their profits from toxic vitriol.
--Tom Toles

Wow; Toxic Vitriol. Isn’t that the stuff you put on your hair to keep it out of your eyes?

I went to the dentist last month and he used bleach to clean out my root canal. He got the stuff down my throat, up my nose and on my dark eye protection glasses. He had to stop working three times because I was chocking so bad on the chemicals. As a result, I got a sinus infection, a soar throat and damage to a nerve in my cheek.
I am still chocking up vile phlegm. I checked on the net and sure enough it is a legal dental procedure. That procedure has got to be the ultimate "buyers beware".
O'well, the cow is on the roof and the rats are in the larder but all is well with the world.
Dave


Posted by: OchamsRazor | March 4, 2011 2:21 AM | Report abuse

It goes like this: Never make a mess you don't want in your own lap, well that's hipocracy from the start isn't it?

No, maybe, we are all of the same thing and what hurts- hurts all. Hmm.

Ok then. So this money thing is simply a language to make things better?

Whoops.

Time to learn a better language of real commerce.

Time to grow and know that a brick in the sky is an education too.

Time to readjust the rules to get the real results most would want for themselves if truly knew the impacts.

C'mon! Time to think about the kids and the beautiful creatures round here (and out thar'.)

Posted by: Phyvyn | March 4, 2011 1:28 AM | Report abuse

planet...welcome back.
We do have a thing in this country called freedom of speech. I agree with the decision...no matter how painful the circumstance.
I would not blame our freedom of speech but instead blame the bias of religion.
God has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: bertzel | March 3, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeez Guys,

It seems that this a juvenile argument site. I come to this site to read some succinct comments and then move on, but I get screeds from the extreme sides of the aisle. It also seems that each poster is waiting to see how the other poster will respond. Hey, guys, get a life.

Thank you for listening,

R. H. Tharp, Petoskey MI

Posted by: tvanalog | March 3, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Such a poetic rant Toles…is there such a thing?
You have captured a certain “softness”. I don’t know what I’m fishing for, perhaps, romanticism, humor ( the catapulting cow carcass:), realism, and the possible metaphor : )
It is all so true, as well.
Perhaps too well which, could also be a reason why a lot of our industries decided to ‘flourish’ overseas (other than cheap labor of course).
You can’t have your cake and eat it too, comes to mind.
Should we, therefore, be thankful the majority of our industrialized nation has chosen to move elsewhere (AKA away)? Let other countries be responsible for the pollution of our waters and air. Granted we all share this planet, yet, perhaps we still have the, “not in my back yard” mentality here in the U.S.A. The industries we have left are very few. They are a dying breed. And most still pollute.
No matter…we will pay one way or the other. Won’t we?

Posted by: bertzel | March 3, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

GOD HATES FAGS

Interesting sign in your sketch there Toles. The SCOTUS just affirmed your right to put that sign in your cartoon 8 to 1. Probably a good decision as both the right and left don't much care for it.

When you consider your audience here, those that do not believe in God and demand nothing but evolution for our youth and no prayer in school and love your mother earth; the words have no real meaning rendering the courts decision not that important.

Unless you believe in God.

Posted by: dalyplanet | March 3, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post big newspaper and private education business corporation has been a contributor of pollution to the land, air and water around Washington DC during the last century.

Now the Washington Post, abbreviated WPO on the New York Stock Exchange, which has been polluting a bit less these days, due to decreased business, wraps its home delivery paper in two plastic bags and passes those plastic bag taxes onto the consumer.

The federal government is in the process of enacting regulations to curb abuses and waste of taxpayers' money in private education and of course WPO just like any other corporation has been lobbying against these pending regulations.

WPO's last trade was up $1.16 to $431.56 a share.

Corporations are corporations.

Thank You WPO!!!!

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | March 3, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

When people finally do realize that we must clean up the whole mess, the cost MAY very well be beyond what we can possibly afford. That's the conservative strategy isn't it? Create a debt crisis so we can't deal with our problems, or delay dealing with relatively simple environmental problems until they become unmanageable.

Posted by: ptgrunner | March 3, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Defund the EPA! We can no longer afford not to be poisoned!

Posted by: EthelredtheUnready | March 3, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

~~~I agree with Mr. Toles.

In no way should we compare toxic pollution to the Satanic offerings of MSNBC.

No, no, no - won't do that. No sir.
Posted by: pararanger22~~~

Ha, Ha, Ha!

Posted by: bertzel | March 3, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

sold2u:
Even if you tax the companies for these externalities, they will simply pass them on to the consumer. That is why cap and tax is DOA.

Ah, but there's the beauty of a capitalist system. Absorb the cost or face competition in the global market when the costs are passed to the consumer. And there's the flip side. If those competitors don't play by the same rules, the planet gets mucked up from the other side.
So between the deregulators and the deniers, teh planet doesn't stand a chance.
I'm just sayin'

Posted by: Rudesan | March 3, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

We will try to resist the temptation of likening that to certain media outlets that are designed to generate their profits from toxic vitriol.
--Tom Toles

-------------------------

I agree with Mr. Toles.

In no way should we compare toxic pollution to the Satanic offerings of MSNBC.

No, no, no - won't do that. No sir.

Posted by: pararanger22 | March 3, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, fouling the common is so . . . common. Perhaps readers would enjoy a song about pollution, by Tom Lehrer. A snipet can be heard on iTunes from the album That Was The Year That Was (track#7).

Here's a clip from the lyrics:

Pollution, pollution,
You can use the latest toothpaste,
And then rinse your mouth with industrial waste.

Each time you brush, think on the fact that Republicans want to defund the EPA. Taste good?

~eric.

Posted by: 2ericc | March 3, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"the invisible hand never picks up the check."

Externalizing environmental costs (passing them on to the public at large and future generations) is a big part of capitalism's success.

Communists love it, too. Even pre-industrial societies abuse it.

aka "tragedy of the commons."

Posted by: e30m42 | March 3, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Even if you tax the companies for these externalities, they will simply pass them on to the consumer. That is why cap and tax is DOA.

Try and convince the typical voter that they should pay $6.00 a gallon for gas, that their electric bill should double, and that the price of durable goods should increase as well. Good luck selling that one....

Posted by: sold2u | March 3, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Right On!

Please add those folks that dump their used car oil onto the ground or in a stream, and residents who dump all sorts of Lawn and Crop fertilizers AND pesticides everywhere!

And Especially !!!! those whoo dump plastics into the OCEAN and wetlands, etc.!

Posted by: lufrank1 | March 3, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

In a closed system such as ours, there is no "away."

Posted by: jonroesler | March 3, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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