FROM Matt Wasson
Is West Virginia's Water Crisis a Wake-up Call? Last Thursday, water from West Virginia's Elk River began to smell like licorice. The trouble was traced to a leak of methylcyclohexylmethanol from a one-inch hole in a storage tank just upstream from the plant treating water for 300,000 people, including those living in Charleston, the capital city. For five days, West Virginians were told, “don't drink the water — cook with it, shower, bathe the baby or wash your clothes." Levels of MCHM are finally being reduced, but nobody yet knows how much danger it's posing to public health. One of thousands of chemicals never tested for safety, MCHM is used in the coal industry, the driver of West Virginia's economy. The industry and its supporters attack EPA regulations as a “war against coal." Could regulatory enforcement have prevented the spill?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.