Hurry, hurry, hurry. Enviros will have a once-in-a-lifetime (or at least in a while) opportunity today for a little payback for one of their greatest nemeses. For a few bucks, they'll be able to "dunk" Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark E. Rey and other officials as part of a fundraising effort for the Combined Federal Campaign.
The "Carnival Kick Off" for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is at 11 a.m. today at the Whitten Patio at the Agriculture Department's headquarters. "Take a shot," the invitation flier says. Cost is $2 for one ball, $5 for three or "press the target for $20."
Rey first agreed to the proposal to have a carnival, with hot dogs and ice cream, and then to a suggestion there be a dunking contest. Then he agreed to be dunked. Then came a suggestion it be open to the public. We hear there was a little hesitation there, but he agreed to that as well. (Maybe he figured the enviros couldn't get through the metal detectors and other security at the headquarters?)
Rey's participation alone may ensure a huge turnout from enviros, who have been at war with the former timber industry lobbyist over logging policies, roadless areas, protecting old-growth forests and pretty much everything else. NRCS chief Bruce Knight and agriculture chief of staff Dale Moore are among the "dunkees."
Early enviro reaction to news of the Rey-as-target was electric. "In the interest of charity, the Sierra Club would like to offer up $100 or whatever it would take if that means Mr. Rey and his colleagues, Messrs. Pillage and Plunder, will be kept under water for a full 30 minutes each," said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program. "We're game if they're game."
"I think it's a great deal," said Cindy Shogan of the Alaska Wilderness League. "Maybe it'll knock some sense into him on protecting the Tongass" and other forests.
They pledged to try to be there. So Rey's looking for his scuba gear.
Of course, this is something of a no-lose, recycling proposition for the enviros, because enviro groups are on the list of Combined Federal Campaign charities.
So Much for Reaching Out
The above light-heartedness hardly means enviros are feeling good these days. Au contraire, as Sen. John F. Kerry would say. "The president prevailed [in the election], despite his horrific environmental record," Natural Resources Defense Council President John Adams said in an e-mail Wednesday to NRDC activists.
"The look of distress on faces all around NRDC's offices is true alarm at what lies ahead," he said, predicting an administration "assault" on the environment beginning with rule changes "that would set off an invasion of chainsaws and drilling rigs into our last wild national forests" and happy days for polluters in general.
But the NRDC "has succeeded in stalling, blocking or sinking the worst of President Bush's attempts so far to dismantle our environmental laws" and will continue the fight.
Guess the administration hasn't "reached out" yet to its enviro opponents to see the error of their ways and hop on board the Bush juggernaut. . . .
This Just in for the Election
The Democrats, when not weeping and gnashing, are casting about for reasons that they lost yet another presidential election. There are doubtless many. One that's often overlooked is perhaps the uniquely Democratic sense of timing.
Here's an e-mail from a pro-Democratic public relations firm that was sent out last week. It's an announcement from Miami that an "award-winning independent filmmaker will try to influence voters in the battleground state of Florida" by releasing a DVD presenting the "strongest evidence documenting the Bush administration's mishandling of Iraq."
The date of the e-mail? Nov. 4. Perfect.
FDIC Feeling the Pain
The Democrats are not the only ones hearing bad news these days. Folks at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found out via an Oct. 26 e-mail that about 10 percent of them are about to be thrown overboard.
The e-mail from chief operating officer John F. Bovenzi could have been styled along the lines of Donald Trump's pithy "You're fired." He chose instead the more anodyne subject title: "Workforce Planning."
"The FDIC," he said, "will need to become a smaller agency." Most of the cuts will be RIFs (reductions in force), he said, but a few people will be able to take a buyout that includes half a year's pay. Those eligible must apply by Dec. 13 and be gone by Dec. 31.
"I recognize the anxiety and discomfort many of you may be experiencing while reading this message," he wrote. In Clinton-speak, this means "I feel your pain."
"The notion of undergoing another round of downsizing is troubling to everyone," Bovenzi added. Most troubling to those axed.
But the next day brought great news: an announcement that there's a "new automated system for recruiting and applying for positions within the FDIC," called "FDIC Careers." Of course, there may not be too many of those jobs, but even after you've been riffed, the e-mail says, you can access the site "from outside the FDIC."
Bet everyone feels better.
Joining the Aggies
At USDA, Elsa Murano, undersecretary for food safety, is leaving, having been named vice chancellor of agriculture for the Texas A&M University System, dean of the College of Agriculture at Texas A&M University in College Station and director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.