What on earth are they thinking?
The day after the San Bernardino shootings, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would forbid gun sales to people on the nation’s no-fly list. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan defended this move, saying, “I think it’s very important to remember people have due process rights in this country, and we can’t have some government official just arbitrarily put them on a list.” Republican defense of the rights of suspected terrorists is, to say the least, startling.
Lock him up
Finally, an executive responsible for mine safety is held to account, even if only a little. Donald L. Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, was convicted last week of conspiring to violate federal safety standards in the wake of the 2010 deaths of 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia. The conviction carries a sentence of up to one year; he will be sentenced in spring. He was acquitted of other charges that might have put him in prison for up to 30 years.
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Fishers — furry little animals similar to otters — disappeared from Washington forests 70 years ago because they were trapped for their fur. Several fishers trapped in British Columbia were released into the Gifford Pinchot forest near Randle last week, and it’s hoped they will be as successful as those recently released in the Olympics. More will be released in Mount Rainier National Park and in the North Cascades in years to come. Live long and prosper, fishers!
The Marshall Islands are in danger
Tony A. deBrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, has a tough challenge at the Paris climate conference: convincing world leaders — especially U.S. leaders — that the 70,000 residents of the low-lying Marshall Islands need immediate help as a rising sea threatens to obliterate their home. The Marshall Islands came under U.S. jurisdiction following World War II. Some islands were used to test nuclear weapons, and health effects from those tests linger. Though the Marshall Islands are now an independent country, its citizens have immigration rights to the U.S.
Save the date
The Olympia Police Department and the Black Alliance of Thurston County invite you to join them in a “Courageous Conversation Cafe for a Caring Community” on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at South Sound Manor in Tumwater. This is the place to bring all the questions about race and justice you may have been hesitant to ask, and to have an open, safe dialogue about how we can build trust and promote fair and impartial policing.