FROM Robert Howarth
Does 'Fracking' Have a Future? In the past ten years, gas trapped in shale rock deep under Earth's surface has leaped from two percent to 30 percent of America's natural gas production. The reason is development of hydraulic fracturing, a horizontal drilling technique that allows rock to be broken up so the gas can be extracted. Advocates of "fracking" claim it could make the US energy independent in five or ten years. American technology is so advanced that foreign companies are investing in US projects in order to learn it. Small landholders have become instant millionaires. But there are tradeoffs: water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and even earthquakes. We hear what it's like to live near a "fracking" project. How does it work? Is it time for Congress to weigh the risks and the benefits of a technology so new that it's almost unregulated?
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.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
"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."
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.