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Remember the John Birch Society? The virulent right-wing McCarthyist outfit born in Indianapolis in 1958? I hadn't heard of it for years, would have guessed it had passed quietly back into the fourteenth century, but low and behold it's still alive, kicking, screaming, and denying the fact of global warming and climate change.

I just received notice that Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, has put a hold on the nominations of John Holdren  to be Science Advisor in the White House and Jane Lubchenko, who is slated to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to anonymous sources quoted by the Washington Post, the senator has no objection to these individuals but wants to force senators to focus their attention on some matter having to do with Cuba.

I have no opinion one way or another about Sen. Menendez, but I have a very strong feeling that both these individuals should be confirmed instantly. There’s an endless amount of work to do, and both are supremely qualified to do it.

If you go to the senator's website, there’s a form to fill out for comments. Give him a piece of your mind.

Lots of eyes rolled two years ago when San Francisco banned plastic grocery bags, but milllions of saved bags later, the experiment has swept across America, into many foreign countries and may soon take root in the nation's capital.

A Washington, D.C. councilmember has proposed legislation aimed at reducing the amount of trash that falls into the city’s Anacostia River, where an estimated 40 percent of trash pulled out of the river is plastic bags. The San Francisco bag-ban has translated to 5 million fewer bags a month. The bags are now outlawed in South Africa and Bangladesh. Ireland imposed a tax on plastic bags in 2003, leading the public to almost entirely use cloth totes.

I never know whether to dignify irrational wing-nut attacks on environmentalists in general and specific organizations in particular by mentioning them in print, but the latest is so over the top that I can't resist.

Something called the Capital Research Center recently published a screed titled, "EarthJustice [sic] Legal Defense Fund [sic]: How Environmentalism Weakens U.S. National Security."

I joined Tuesday's huge crowd in Washington to witness the inauguration of our 44th President. The people who traveled from all over the country had worked to elect Barack Obama and create a community of hope, optimism, and readiness to tackle the challenges, and that spirit pervaded the Mall.

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen is blogging from the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

There is just a huge amount of joy and tears in this crowd. I am in an area jampacked with people from all around the country who had been working on the Obama campaign. They had waited since the crack of dawn in really cold weather. We all thought we wouldn't get in. But despite all that, people are totally happy and cooperative with each other.

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen is blogging from Washington, D.C., where he is attending the inauguration of Barack Obama and events surrounding the inauguration.

Since 1969, I've been on the Washington Mall as a citizen expressing my political beliefs—demonstrating against the wars on Vietnam and Iraq, joining the March for Women's Lives. I've been on the Mall as a citizen awed by the power of the memorials, felt the place as a temple of much that is great in this country.

I've never been here as a citizen for an outright, unabashed celebration. People all acknowledge the hard times we are in and the challenges we face, but want to celebrate right now.

The celebration is also fueled by our joy at finally coming to the end of the Bush/Cheney years; the end of an administration that has run roughshod over our rights as citizens, trampled our standing in the world, wrecked our economy, and put deregulation and fossil fuel production at the top of their "environmental" agenda.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.