FROM Ed Whitfield
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?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
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.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.