The Washington Post
Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar

Partners:
 
THE IDEAS INDUSTRY

By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane
Tuesday, October 12, 1999; Page A17

Seems one person's "urban sprawl" could be another person's "rural rebound," or at least that's the suggestion from the Population Reference Bureau.

After declining in the '80s, America's rural population has bounced back in the '90s, according to a new Bureau report. More than 71 percent of the country's rural counties are growing, both because of an influx of urban escapees and because fewer rural residents are skipping town. Though much of the growth is taking place close to big cities (thus the urban sprawl rap), growth is also taking place in more isolated areas.

"The new arrivals are a mixed lot of retirees, blue-collar workers, lone-eagle professionals, and disenchanted city dwellers," writes study author Kenneth Johnson of Loyola University-Chicago. "All see a better way of life in rural areas."

TALK ABOUT BURYING A GRUDGE: Feel a chill in the air recently? Apparently it seeped out the door of Cato Institute adjunct scholar Steven Milloy, who managed to offend environmentalists and Cato President Edward Crane with an "obituary of the day" posted on his popular Web site, junkscience.com.

Milloy updates the site daily with "scares of the day" and "junk journalism of the day" on scientific topics.

But an early October posting included an "obituary of the day" for environmental scientist and former high-ranking NIH-er David Rall, 73, who had been fatally injured in a car accident. Milloy's commentary on the news of Rall's death began, "Scratch one junk scientist. . . . "

Folks at the Environmental Working Group scratched back. "Referring to Dr. Rall in this manner steps far over the line of acceptable policy discourse," Mike Casey, the group's vice president for public affairs, wrote yesterday in a letter to Cato. "We hope you will find a way to disassociate Cato from Mr. Milloy's depraved insult to the memory of this distinguished scientist and fine human being."

"You are quite right to be incensed over Steve Milloy's inexcusable lapse in judgment and civility," Cato head Crane wrote right back. "Certainly the Cato Institute disassociates itself from his appallingly offensive comments."

Meanwhile, Milloy is unrepentant. In regard to Casey's letter: "If they're looking for me to apologize I'm not going to," he said. "I'm sorry for [Rall's] family that he's dead. It's not intended as a slight to them. But he had a huge role to play in junk science and that's undeniable."

CLEANING UP OUR ACT: The environment may well take it on the chin in other parts of the world this next half-century, but the environmental future at home looks bright . . . green, of course.

This optimistic forecast comes from Resources for the Future head Paul Portney, who was recently given the task of identifying the environmental problems of the next 50 years. "It is all but inevitable that environmental quality will continue to improve in the United States and the Western industrial democracies," said Portney.

"There's a big 'but' to this," he told a forum organized by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Governance Institute. "The future is much less bright in the developing world." Portney named population growth, destruction of species, and global climate change as particular problems for countries just getting the hang of being energy hogs.

What should the United States do to prepare for the environmental challenges of the next millennium? Encourage economic growth, domestically and internationally. The think tank head said economic growth is "the best friend of the environment."

LONG CAREER, SHORT SPEECH: It hasn't been all work, work, work at the Woodrow Wilson Center lately. Last week the center threw a big bash for super-Sovietologist and former ambassador to the Soviet Union George F. Kennan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies (and to raise some cash).

The 95-year-old Kennan ended his brief remarks with a Russian fable about a fly who spent the day riding on the nose of an ox out working in the fields. At the end of the day, the two returned to the village, and from his perch on the ox's nose the fly bowed to the villagers on the right and left and said, "We've been plowing."

"That," said Kennan, "is what I have been doing with the Kennan Institute."

MOVES: Michael Cromartie, an expert on the religious right and former special assistant to Charles W. Colson at his Prison Fellowship Ministries, is the new vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Outgoing vice president Robert Royal is leaving to establish a new center on Catholicism and culture called the Faith and Reason Institute.

Edward Neilan, a columnist based in Tokyo and former media fellow at the Hoover Institution, has joined the Heritage Foundation as a senior fellow. John Hulsman is leaving a fellows job at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to be a senior policy analyst for European affairs at Heritage.

Amy Kauffman joins the Washington office of the Hudson Institute to direct the Project on Campaign and Election Laws. Kauffman was the director of Campaign for America, a local nonprofit focusing on campaign finance reform.

Have news about think tanks, policy-oriented foundations or nonprofits? E-mail it to ideas@washpost.com

© 1999 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top

Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar