BAILOUT FAILOUT: Negotiations on the federal bailout of U.S. automakers broke down in the Senate Thursday night, meaning bankruptcy is still a possibility for the Big Three, namely GM and Chrysler. But the White House could also still tap into some of the billions in bailout money already reserved for financial institutions, a move the administration has expressed reluctance about prior to the failed vote. (Source:The Washington Post)

A CZAR IS BORN: Soon-to-be-named "energy czar" Carol Browner is clearly an environmental heavyweight, having served the longest term as EPA administrator in the agency's history. But what powers her new position will have in the Obama administration are unclear. And, as Eoin O'Carroll at The CS Monitor's Bright Green Blog wonders, what's all this czar talk? (Source: The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor)

SCIENTISTS SCHMIENTISTS: Realizing how much more important bureaucratic efficiency is than America's native wildlife, the Bush administration changed rules in the Endangered Species Act Thursday, allowing government agencies to continue projects without having to consult scientists about effects on endangered species. (Source: CNN

PACHYDERM ABRASION: The stresses of zoo life substantially shorten elephants' lives, according to a study published today in the journal Science. The median lifespan of captive elephants is just 16.9 years, nearly 40 years less than that of wild elephants. (Source: The Los Angeles Times)

LOW-CARBON DIET: California's Air Resources Board passed the nation's toughest regulations on carbon dioxide emissions Thursday, requiring cuts down to 1990 levels by 2020. (Source: The Los Angeles Times)

EARLY XMAS IN TROPICS: Britain will give $100 million to tropical countries such as Brazil and Papua New Guinea to help them salvage their rainforests and thus mitigate climate change, part of the growing new global model the U.N. hopes to birth at next year's Copenhagen climate summit. (Source: The Guardian)

Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.