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?
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.
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.