Disasters

California’s Spiking Coronavirus Cases

Clearly, it’s not just increased testing. We have a real problem.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in California has risen dramatically.  What’s going on, and what should be done about it? The situation has changed so rapidly that I’ve had to rewrite this story repeatedly since I began work on it last week. Early Last Week When I started work on the story a week …

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Trump’s Latest Deregulatory Ploy: Emergency Waivers

Shaky legal authority, poor analysis, dubious benefits. What else is new?

In an Executive Order issued last Thursday, Trump told agencies to use emergency waivers to avoid environmental safeguards. The order is legally shaky and unlikely to accomplish much.  Still, it provided a nice photo op. Maybe he should have signed it in front of a church. I’ll talk later about the specifics, but first I’d …

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(Still More) Bad News on the Doorstep

New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends

While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment.  The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …

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Too Many Americans Think the Worst is Over

Alas, that light at the end of the tunnel is still very far away from us.

World War I lasted four years, with millions of deaths. At the start, however, many people thought the war would be quick and easy.  “Home by Christmas,” was what they said about their troops.  A frightening number of Americans now have similar illusions about the coronavirus pandemic. According to a CNN poll a released Tuesday, …

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Are the Coronavirus Models Too Pessimistic?

Unfortunately, if anything, reality has often turned out somewhat worse than predicted.

The White House thinks coronavirus models are too pessimistic. If anything, the evidence suggests the models aren’t pessimistic enough. Their projections of future deaths have often been too low.

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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Conservatives versus Lockdowns

Conservatives versus Lockdowns

Spurred on by conservative groups, protesters are demanding that their states go back to business as usual.  This sentiment isn’t limited to the kinds of hotheads who insist on congregating in public during an epidemic, or even to  conservatives like Betsy DeVos who  help to fund these groups and promote their protests. It also includes …

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Flint Five Years On

What has happened with Flint’s drinking water?

The history of environmental policy can well be told by place names. Love Canal – hazardous waste. Los Angeles – air quality. The Cuyahoga River – water quality. And, most recently, Flint – drinking water. The tragedy in Flint, Michigan, entered the 24/7 national news cycle five years ago, led President Obama to visit the …

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Who’s WHO?

Trump cut off funding to the WHO. What’s that? And also, why?

Most people probably hadn’t heard of the WHO until Trump announced he was cutting off funding.  Here’s what you should know about the organization and Trump’s complaints about it. The Organization. The World Health Organization, an agency of the UN, was established by a 1946 agreement, which went into effect two years later. It has …

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Federalism Is For Suckers

Donald Trump’s Assertion That He Can Order the States Around Is Unconstitutional: But Leave Federalism and the 10th Amendment Out of It

Five days is a lifetime in politics, and especially in the age of the internet. Donald Trump has – for now – given up on saying he can order governors to “reopen” their states, but the debate surrounding it has perverted our constitutional discussion. And that needs fixing. Wags from right to left – not …

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