FROM Darryl Fears
Are national monuments on the chopping block? Teddy Roosevelt's legacy of 400 national parks may be "America's best idea," but some two-dozen national monuments are another matter. Miners, loggers and some residents in Western States are angry that past presidents limited use of millions of acres of public land. President Trump says Clinton, Bush and Obama, abused their power, and he's reportedly ready to shrink the size of some protected areas — if he can. We hear about disputes including industrial and recreational interests, environmentalists and Native American tribes.
The National Park Service celebrates 100 years The National Parks have been called "America's best idea" but, on their hundredth anniversary, they're faced with troubling questions. Will Congress make up a $12 billion deficit for maintenance and repair? Are the parks serving just a fraction of a young and diverse population? Mt. Rainier Photo by Samuel Kerr The National Parks' official 100tth anniversary was yesterday, and the Park Service will be celebrating all through this coming weekend. Admission will be free to 400 sites on 85 million acres in the 50 states and territories. That includes 58 full-scale National Parks as well as monuments and other protected areas. But who are the visitors likely to be — now and in the future? And what will they find?
Nearly All Sales of Elephant Ivory Are a Crime Ivory is a beloved item, used since the start of the nation in pianos, knife handles and furniture. Now it's become a big enough business to threaten species extinction. So, the Obama Administration has declared a near-total ban on the sale of products containing African elephant ivory. As Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post , the ban may put an end to more than one kind of business.
Mandatory Sentencing in the War on Drugs Federal laws passed in the 1980's provided the same prison sentence for dealing in five grams of crack cocaine as for 500 grams of powder, a ratio of 100-to-1. But it turned out that the so-called "crack epidemic" never happened, and the Journal of the American Medical Association now says that crack is not more addictive than powder or more likely to lead to violence after all. But crack is used more often by African Americans, which means that federal prisons are crowded with black prisoners doing more time than whites for essentially the same crimes. Two weeks ago, the House and the Senate allowed new guidelines that make sentences for crack commensurate with those for powder cocaine. Should the change be made retroactive? Would 20,000 criminals be released all at once? We'll hear about the ongoing debate at the US Sentencing Commission.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.