Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

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I am back this morning after my glorious hiking trip out West and three days of trekking around Zion National Forest. I finished my time in Zion with a couple of mountain hikes and the Narrows, a long hike in the river through the spectacular rock formations of the park.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

The Obama Administration has been pressuring members of Congress to pass the bill that will give President Obama the “fast track”  authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) agreement without any debate in Congress.  Fast track authority would not allow for any amendments and the bill would remain secret until just before it is voted on.

“President Obama is currently pressing members of Congress to pass Fast-Track authority for a trade and investment agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If Fast Track passes, it means that Congress must approve or deny the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments. Astonishingly, our lawmakers have not seen the agreement they are being asked to expedite.” Nation of Change (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

215px-NypdpatchThe 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City continues to affect the lives of many, especially those first responders who dared the situation and served with courage and Honor.

The tragedy manifests in manners that are beyond the emotional scars that might remain with individuals. The health effects to the body may persist for many more years. Inhaling of and exposure to toxins and carcinogens in their various forms continue to haunt the New York Police Department and other agencies more than a decade later.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website devoted to memorializing the line-of-duty deaths of all law enforcement officers serving in the United States and its territories, 9/11 related illnesses are the second leading cause of death among officers of the New York Police Department. This encompasses over two hundred years of records for each of the various single categories.

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IMG_2056I am speaking today at the Utah Bar Association conference in St. George, Utah. The close proximity to one of my favorite places on Earth, Zion National Park. Yesterday, I drove from Bryce National Park in the snow to hiking in shorts and a tee-shirt in Zion National Park. Few states have such an amazing climate change within just a couple of hours by car. I went from snow showers in Bryce in the morning to 70 degrees in Zion. I had the opportunity to drive through Dixie National Park, which was a bit daunting with the snow flurries but absolutely gorgeous. I then made it to Zion to climb Angel’s Landing and three other trails.

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Yesterday I spent the day hiking in Bryce National Park in Utah — an experience that was physically taxing and spiritually rejuvenating. Utah is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and this is the gem of Utah. What I did not expect was the heaving snow levels — three feet of snow in many places. I was not exactly prepared for a snow hikes but there was no way that I was going to stay off the trails. I tried various trails and completely two. I made a few miles on two other trails before they became impassable with deep snow. I came back to the hotel wet and cold and wiped out but blissfully happy.

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I am in Utah this week for a speech before the Utah Bar Association at their annual conference in St. George. As many of our readers already know, I love Utah which is a breathtakingly beautiful state. As an avid hiker, this area of Utah has some of my favorite hiking spots and I came a couple days early as an early birthday gift to myself. Today I am in Bryce Canyon where I will be hiking and climbing tomorrow.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government. (more…)

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