FROM Mark Palmer
Sea World Can't Win for Losing Hundreds of supporters and critics of SeaWorld of San Diego made for a long meeting last week of the California Coastal Commission. It ended with approval for spending $100 million to build bigger tanks to house 11 killer whales, but that's not the end of the story, as we hear from Hugo Martin, who was there for the Los Angeles Times .
Americans' Evolving Attitude toward Animals in Captivity Scientists now believe that all mammals and birds — even the octopus — are conscious beings, capable of thinking, feeling emotion and suffering. That's creating a sea change in attitudes toward the use of wild animals for popular entertainment. Sea World is still reeling from the documentary 'Blackfish' and now faces three lawsuits alleging mistreatment of killer whales. Baylor, the Baptist University, has cancelled its annual visit out of respect for "God's creatures." Meantime, Ringling Brothers is retiring elephants from the circus. But, while there may be a "mood shift" against keeping wild animals in captivity, zoos and aquariums are still more popular than sporting events. Are there better ways to introduce kids to the Animal Kingdom, keep species from going extinct and make discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
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.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?