FROM Mitch Osborne
Getting Rid of America's Chemical Weapons VX is one of the most toxic substances ever made; as little as 200 micrograms are said to be fatal. The nerve agent is part of the arsenal of chemical weapons the US has agreed to destroy by 2012. More than 40% has been hydrolyzed, so diluted with water and other chemicals that the Army says it's effectively neutral. But that has created millions of gallons of waste to be disposed of. After officials in New Jersey and Ohio rejected plans to dump the waste in their rivers, it's being trucked out of Indiana 1000 miles through six other states to Port Arthur, Texas, where the toxic residue will be incinerated. What are the risks to public health? Why did other states turn down the money and jobs a government contract will bring? Was Port Arthur's largely black and Hispanic community notified in advance? How did September 11 accelerate the disposal process?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
"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."
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.