By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
At 11:30 a.m. on January 31, a small group assembled in the snow across from a line of cops who milled in front of Gore HQ. But nothing happened. It turned out that Greenpeace wasn't really going to hold a demo. Instead, they were negotiating the controversy, holding the threat of a demo in the air. Greenpeace was asking for a public hearing by an EPA ombudsman with a promise that the administration would abide by the findings. The government agreed to a study, but no binding action. Though the environmentalists huddling in the snow all explained that Clinton-Gore were far from meeting their demands, they inexplicably capitulated. People held frayed copies of Gore's book Earth in the Balance like it was the Bible, reading sections aloud to a small group of reporters who soon lost interest and wandered off.
The WTI incineratorthe nation's largest commercial facilitywas built 1100 feet from an elementary school with 400 pupils in the flood plain along the Ohio River 30 miles west of Pittsburgh. It began operations in April 1993. Its hazardous waste permit expired in 1995, and it has been operating on "interim" status since, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In July 1992, while campaigning in nearby Weirton, West Virginia, Gore declared, "The very idea of putting it in a flood plain, you know, it's just unbelievable to me," and he promised opponents, "We'll be on your side for a change." However, after the election, Gore announced that the incinerator's permit couldn't be revoked unless it violated health and safety standards. Since then, at least two reviews have found no violations, according to spokesmen for the vice president. Gore has refused to meet with incinerator opponents.
The incinerator is owned by Von Roll America, which was fined $126,000 by the EPA in 1997 for problems with its continuous-emission air-monitoring system, which had not worked properly since the facility's trial burn in 1992.
Last week, in an interview with Roger Ebert, President Clinton raised the possibility that he might someday replace Jack Valenti as Hollywood film czar. But there are other possibilities out there. A tantalizing clue to one comes in an ad for the new Clinton Entertainment Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand, unearthed recently by Sam Smith's Progressive Review:
"This new Plaza . . . has six floors with themes, so that if you know the type of entertainment you want, then you can go directly there:
"The first floorentrance hall with live music, Charlie's Bar, and some shops.
"The second floorpubs, restaurants, and pool rooms.
"The third floorhostess clubs.
"The fourth floora'go-go bars.
"The fifth floorprivate club, conference centre, and offices.
"The sixth floorarts and crafts stalls, Internet access, general stalls and cafes."
The promoters add, "Enjoy a beer at 'Popeye's,' or on the way to the 'White House' call in at 'Monica's' for a beer with good head."
Already a mecca for white supremacists seeking Aryan women to propagate the race, Iceland has awarded a contract to a U.S.-funded corporation to study the medical records, family trees, and genetic information of every one of the country's 270,000 citizens.
The information is to be culled into a single database. Iceland is the world's most homogeneous society, with little immigration since the Vikings arrived. No other nation has ever collected and sold its genetic information.
Additional reporting: Kate Cortesi