Problem Solved? Australia Succeeds In Stripping All References To The Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change Report

BleachedcoralIn another disgraceful move related to environmental damage, the Australian government has stripped out any reference to the Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Territory’s glorious Kakadu national park and Tasmania’s forests in a report on climate change. Equally disgraceful was the willingness of Unesco to knuckle under to any country that objected to such references in the report entitled “Destinations at Risk: World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate.” The massive “bleaching” of the Great Barrier Reef has horrified people around the world as we watch the loss of this natural wonder to climate change and poor governmental policies, as we previously discussed.
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Rise of the Machines: Adidas Announces Move Back To Germany To Use Robots As New Labor Force

images-1150px-Adidas_Logo.svgAdidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, is moving back to Germany after shifting its operations to Asia for cheap labor. However, wages are increasing even in Asia so Adidas has found workers even cheaper: robots. Adidas will be making shoes again in Germany by 2017 but will employ relatively few actual Germans.

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Three Men Arrested For Trashing Death Valley Park Area and Killing Endangered Fish

la-1463144937-snap-photoWe have been discussing the scourge of graffiti and destruction by vandals in our national parks. The lack of deterrence was vividly shown by the laughable fine given to actress Vanessa Hudgens for defacing a rock wall. An exception to this dismal enforcement may be the case of three men who were caught on video drunkenly vandalizing Death Valley National Park and possibly causing the death of an endangered Devils Hole pupfish. Steven Schwinkendorf, Edgar Reyes and Trenton Sargent are all facing felony charges including killing of an endangered species, destruction of habitat, trespassing, and destruction of property. One is charged with the crime of an ex-felon possessing a firearm.

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The Flint Charges and The Murky Legal Waters Facing Prosecutors

220px-Water_droplet_blue_bg05Below is my column in USA Today on the prosecution of three state and local officials in the Flint, Michigan water scandal. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has promised more (and higher ranking) defendants in the coming weeks. However, as discussed in this column, these cases are not as straightforward as the pictures of bottles of Flint water juxtaposed against clean water. While there are strong elements to some of the charges, the prosecution is not nearly as easily or obvious as has been suggested in the media, in my view.

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British Minister Scuttles Boaty McBoatface

15583117-1458567987-640x360It appears that Americans are not the only voters aggrieved what is viewed as a rigged political system. We recently discussed the groundswell of support for the naming of Britain’s new $300 million research ship. The English voted overwhelmingly for “Boaty McBoatface,” which I also viewed as brilliant. The tee-shirt sales alone could fund another sister ship. However, those stodgy, killjoys in the English government have scuttled “Boaty McBoatface” — showing both a lack of democratic values as well as any cognizable sense of humor.

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New Law Allows Cancer Patients To Donate Unused Medicines To The Underinsured

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

220px-FlattenedRoundPillsIn a rarely seen demonstration of unity in an otherwise strongly divided political environment, the Washington State Legislature unanimously voted to allow cancer patients to donate expensive medications to other patients who are underinsured. As expected, the governor signed the measure into law.

It is a welcome first step in allowing access to drugs otherwise unaffordable and potentially economically bankrupting to patients and their families. In addition to its obvious health benefit, the law surely will provide reassurance and a small amount of respite during stressful times for those in need.
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