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What does the Violence Against Women Act have to do with climate change?

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As the world heats up, it’s also becoming more violent. There’s been a lot of research linking climate change to war, violent crime, and even road rage. But you may not have heard that climate disasters like hurricanes Harvey and Michael were accompanied by a surge in intimate partner violence, or IPV. (The term is favored over “domestic violence” for encompassing different relationships and genders.)

Hurricanes often lead to displacement and isolation, which makes people more vulnerable to IPV. And climate change in general disproportionately impacts those who are already more likely to experience IPV: low-income women, women of color, and women experiencing homelessness.

To compound the problem, resources to address IPV are limited after climate disasters, when more people tend to need them. In the year following Hurricane Harvey, the number of women who sought help at a Houston-based crisis center doubled, as Yessenia Funes writes in Earther. Shelters are sometimes forced to close their doors in the wake of disasters. After Hurricane Florence, a domestic violence shelter in Wilmington with 19 beds was left in shambles.

The closely connected issues of climate change and IPV — both of which the federal government has a long history of ignoring — will only grow more pressing as time goes on. “This growing impact of climate change will continue to put more women at risk for experiencing violence,” says Jennifer First, program manager at the Disaster and Community Crisis Center at the University of Missouri. “We need effective mechanisms to be developed and evaluated to address this problem.”

Yet rather than developing more policies and services, Congress may be about to do the opposite. On Friday, the Violence Against Women Act, the most robust federal attempt to address intimate partner violence, is set to expire unless Congress renews it. Since its passage in 1994, the act has funded critical services for survivors, including legal assistance, rape crisis centers, domestic violence centers, and transitional housing. It has also helped survivors of IPV get green cards. These services are all crucial in the wake of climate disasters.

That said, the act has some notable flaws. While amendments have broadened the scope of who is protected under the act (including LGBTQ couples and undocumented immigrants), some advocates say it’s still not comprehensive enough in addressing the staggering rates of sexual violence against Native American women. A new reauthorization of the act, introduced by Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, would fill in some of these gaps, but would still fail to protect Native American tribes in Alaska and Maine.

Additionally, 85 percent of VAWA’s funding goes toward the criminal legal system. This reliance on criminalization can perpetuate abuse, as Leigh Goodmark, law professor at the University of Maryland, argues in the Conversation. Research shows that mandatory arrest laws, for instance, make abusers more likely to murder their partners.

IPV needs to be thought of as a broader structural issue rather than just a criminal justice issue, explains Samantha Majic, an associate professor of political science at John Jay College who researches and writes on sex work and gender. “Women are not subject to intimate partner violence just because men are bad, but also because they don’t have economic options that make it easier to leave the situation,” she says.

Despite its shortcomings, the act brings up an important conversation: how to equitably address the national epidemic of IPV in tangent with that other issue the government repeatedly fails to act on — climate change.

Jennifer First of the University of Missouri has developed a framework for social organizations and all layers of government to incorporate domestic violence in disaster recovery and preparedness efforts. One of the ideas behind the framework is cross-training. “Many emergency management first responders may not know what to do in a domestic violence situation,” she explains. And in turn, she says, “many domestic violence shelters may not think about environmental disasters.”

The framework is currently being implemented by the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence. First hopes this model will eventually spread around the country.

As VAWA sits in congressional purgatory, it’s becoming apparent that addressing IPV means more than renewing the act. It also means dealing with climate change and preparing for disasters with the most vulnerable people in mind.

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What does the Violence Against Women Act have to do with climate change?

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A Book of Bees – Sue Hubbell


A Book of Bees
Sue Hubbell

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

A New York Times Notable Book: “A melodious mix of memoir, nature journal, and beekeeping manual” ( Kirkus Reviews ). Weaving a vivid portrait of her own life and her bees’ lives, author Sue Hubbell lovingly describes the ins and outs of beekeeping on her small Missouri farm, where the end of one honey season is the start of the next. With three hundred hives, Hubbell stays busy year-round tending to the bees and harvesting their honey, a process that is as personally demanding as it is rewarding.   Exploring the progression of both the author and the hive through the seasons, this is “a book about bees to be sure, but it is also about other things: the important difference between loneliness and solitude; the seasonal rhythms inherent in rural living; the achievement of independence; the accommodating of oneself to nature” ( The Philadelphia Inquirer ). Beautifully written and full of exquisitely rendered details, it is a tribute to Hubbell’s wild hilltop in the Ozarks and of the joys of living a complex life in a simple place. “The real masterwork that Sue Hubbell has created is her life.” — The New York Times   “Beautifully written.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer   “A latter-day Henry Thoreau with a sense of the absurd.” — Chicago Sun-Times   “Engaging . . . Satisfying . . . Ms. Hubbell’s piquant style is as enticing as blackberry blossoms to her bees.” — Winston-Salem Journal Sue Hubbell is the author of eight books, including A Country Year and New York Times Notable Book A Book of Bees . She has written for the New Yorker , the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , Smithsonian , and Time , and was a frequent contributor to the “Hers” column of the New York Times . Hubbell lives in Maine and Washington, DC.

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A Book of Bees – Sue Hubbell

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See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – Michael Zeiler


See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017

Your guide to the total solar eclipse

Michael Zeiler

Genre: Astronomy

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: May 1, 2016

Publisher: Great American Eclipse, LLC

Seller: Great American Eclipse, LLC

Nature’s grandest spectacle is a total eclipse of the Sun and for the first time in several decades, a total solar eclipse is coming to the United States in 2017. “See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017” is a richly illustrated and clearly written book that gives prospective eclipse viewers all the information needed to safely view the eclipse. The book is written in non-technical language that anyone can understand. Inside are sumptuous graphics that explain the essentials plus over 20 pages of detailed maps of the best places to go. The book includes a description and photos of the magnificent spectacle of a total solar eclipse, a summary of how eclipses occur, a short history of eclipses seen in America, scientific results from eclipses, strategies to successfully view the eclipse, and 18 pages of gorgeous and detailed maps for finding a perfect spot to view the eclipse.  This book is an essential planning resource as well as a memento for this celestial event. The book topics are: ✔︎ The Splendor of Totality ✔︎ How to safely view the eclipse ✔︎ Sun, Moon, Earth ✔︎ Types of solar eclipses ✔︎ Timeline of the eclipse ✔︎ Strategy for success on eclipse day ✔︎ Great places to view the eclipse ✔︎ Science from solar eclipses ✔︎ Historical solar eclipses across America ✔︎ How dim is sunshine on outer planets? ✔︎ Solar eclipse facts ✔︎ Totality across America ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Oregon  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Oregon & Idaho   ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Idaho & Wyoming  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Wyoming & Nebraska  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Nebraska, Kansas & Missouri ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Missouri & Illinois  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, & North Carolina  ✔︎ North American Eclipses Past and Future

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See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – Michael Zeiler

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Should Trump Eliminate These Beautiful National Monuments? Here’s Your Chance to Weigh In.

Mother Jones

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Up to 27 national monuments could be at risk as the Trump administration embarks on an unprecedented endeavor to roll back protections for public lands. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in late April asking the Department of Interior to give him recommendations for which monuments he should target. All of the monuments potentially on the chopping block are larger than 100,000 acres and were created after 1996—a date chosen to include the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument that’s unpopular among some Utah residents.

It’s unclear exactly what Trump intends to do with those recommendations, which are due in August. The 1906 Antiquities Act gives the president broad powers to create new national monuments, which typically protects the land or water from new mining leases. The law has never been used to roll back a predecessor’s monument. If Trump decides to eliminate or shrink any of these monuments via executive order, they would likely remain federal lands managed, but more acreage could be opened to activities such as logging, mining, and grazing. Any attempt by Trump to do this would certainly face legal challenges.

But those lawsuits are still months away. In the meantime, the public can tell the administration how it really feels about these monuments during the Interior’s comment period, which opened Thursday and runs until July 10 (with the exception of comments for Utah’s Bears Ears, which runs through May 26).

Many early commenters have spelled out the economic, historic, and environmental importance of these monuments. A small fraction of the comments call on Trump to reverse one of President Barack Obama’s final monument designations: Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears protects sacred Native American land and was also one of Obama’s most controversial monuments, given Republican opposition in Utah (and the area’s oil and gas deposits). But Bears Ears has many supporters, too. “Bears Ears is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect,” one comment argues. “It is rich in cultural history which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation.”

Check out a few of the monuments below. (A full list of the land and marine monuments under review is available here.)

Bears Ears in Utah, designated in late 2016 at 1.4 million acres Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr

Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana, designated in 2001 at 377,000 acres Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr

Carrizo Plain in California, famous for its superbloom and designated in 2001, at 200,000 acres BLM/Flickr

Mojave Trails in California, designated in 2016 at 1.6 million acres Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr

Pacific Remote Islands, a marine monument designated in 2009 at 55.6 million acres USFWS-Pacific Region/Flickr

Papahanaumokuakea, a marine monument near Hawaii designated in 2006 and expanded in 2016, at 89.6 million acres Dan Polhemus, USFWS/Flickr

Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, designated in 2000 at 1 million acres T. Miller/NPS

Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, designated in 2013 at 243,000 acres Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr

Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, designated in 2000 at 280,000 acres Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr

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The State of Reproductive Health Legislation in 2017 Is Not Exactly What You Would Expect

Mother Jones

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At the beginning of 2017, reproductive rights advocates feared that the election of President Donald Trump and the Republican sweep in many statehouses would embolden anti-abortion legislators at the state level. By mid-January, four states had already introduced late-term abortion bans, while others—Missouri, for instance—had filed a significant number of anti-abortion-related legislation ahead of this year’s legislative session. As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, a new report released this week by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and advocacy think tank, finds that the policies introduced so far this year paint a more complicated picture.

The institute’s report finds that state legislatures across the country have introduced some 1,053 reproductive-health-related provisions since January, and that of those proposed measures, 431 would restrict access to abortion services, while 405 would expand access to reproductive health services—the report does not categorize the remaining measures.

Five states—Kentucky, Wyoming, Arizona, Arkansas, and Utah—have already passed at least one abortion restriction this year—with a total of 10 new restrictions becoming laws. In Kentucky, a ban on abortions 20 weeks post-fertilization was signed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin after a sprint through the state Legislature. Utah now requires doctors to tell women that medication abortions can be “reversed” after the first dose in the two-dose protocol, a claim that, as with many abortion counseling requirements in other states, is not supported by evidence. Arizona became one of the first states in the country to detail specific requirements for how doctors must work to preserve the life of the fetus after an abortion procedure, a law that some critics have challenged for possibly prolonging the pain of nonviable fetuses.

“There is this competition to the bottom that has been happening with state legislatures and abortion over the past six years,” says Elizabeth Nash, the state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute and the lead author on the report. But in 2017, she adds “the scale has changed.” She explained that compared with the same period from 2011 to 2016, “we haven’t been seeing as much activity on abortion as we have seen.” Rather than suggesting a diminished interest in abortion restrictions, Nash explains that given the onslaught of new abortion restrictions in the past six years, some states might simply be running out of measures to introduce. But beyond that, health care reform, state budgets, and the opioid crisis might have caused conservative state legislatures to focus their attention elsewhere at the beginning of their legislative sessions, suggesting that anti-abortion activity might pick up later in the year.

As a result of this reduced activity, Nash says, “we have been seeing less in the way of trends” when looking at the types of abortion restrictions introduced in 2017. There are still some commonalities among the various restrictions introduced in the states, particularly concerning “abortion bans” that prohibit abortions being sought for certain reasons—such as a genetic anomaly or the sex of the fetus—or after a specific point in the pregnancy.

In 28 states, legislators have introduced some 88 measures that would either ban abortion completely or prohibit it in specific circumstances. In Arkansas, for example, a law was recently passed that bars doctors from using a common second trimester abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” Similar restrictions have passed at least one chamber in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. The “20-week abortion ban” was passed in Kentucky and has cleared at least one legislative chamber in Iowa, Montana, and Pennsylvania. Six-week abortion bans, also known as “heartbeat bills,” are also being introduced in several states, possibly in response to Ohio legislators successfully presenting a version to Gov. John Kasich last year; he vetoed the bill but signed a 20-week abortion ban into law.

Nash notes that some of the legislative support of abortion bans may be motivated by an interest in getting a case before the Supreme Court in the next few years. “They are thinking about being the state that overturns Roe v. Wade and the way to do that is to adopt something like a 6-week abortion ban or a 20-week abortion ban and then send that up through the courts,” she says.

The Guttmacher report notes that abortion restrictions continue to be introduced at a relatively steady, if somewhat lessened, rate, but proactive reproductive health legislation has seen an increase, with 21 states and the District of Columbia considering measures that would expand reproductive health services. “The number of proactive measures grew from 221 in 2015 and 353 in 2016” to 405 in 2017, the report notes. The report suggests that this development is likely “in anticipation of the possible dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and loss of its contraceptive coverage guarantee.” So far Virginia is the only state to enact a proactive measure; the state will now require that insurance plans covering contraceptives allow enrollees to receive a year’s supply at once.

Proactive legislation on the state level is likely to become increasingly important as the Republican-controlled Congress and other conservative-led legislatures continue to use funding to target reproductive services providers such as Planned Parenthood. Last week, Trump signed into law a measure allowing states to withhold public funds used for family planning—also known as Title X funding—marked for contraception and other nonabortion services from groups that also provide abortions. The move nullifies an Obama-era rule protecting Planned Parenthood and other groups from losing federal family-planning funds.


The State of Reproductive Health Legislation in 2017 Is Not Exactly What You Would Expect

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Reuters: 3,000 Neighborhoods Have Higher Lead Levels Than Flint

Mother Jones

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Reuters reports on lead poisoning:

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri — On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth.

In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri.

Of course, it’s not just St. Joseph. Reuters got hold of neighborhood-level lead testing records and found thousands of high-lead communities across the country:

Reuters found nearly 3,000 areas with recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis. And more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher.

The poisoned places on this map stretch from Warren, Pennsylvania, a town on the Allegheny River where 36 percent of children tested had high lead levels, to a zip code on Goat Island, Texas, where a quarter of tests showed poisoning. In some pockets of Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia, where lead poisoning has spanned generations, the rate of elevated tests over the last decade was 40 to 50 percent.

Here’s a map of the worst hotspots in the country:

The whole piece is worth reading. My only disappointment is that the authors spent most of the article talking about the dangers of lead paint. That’s worth talking about, but lead-saturated soil is even more worth talking about. That’s why Lauranda Mignery doesn’t want her son digging in their front yard: there may not be any paint there, but there’s probably lots of old lead that settled in the soil decades ago when we were all burning leaded gasoline.

Sadly, there’s barely any money in the federal budget these days for testing, let alone remediation. It would cost tens of billions of dollars to clean up all the old lead, which is mostly a problem in poor communities populated by people of color. And though it’s not polite to say this, nobody cares enough about them to spend tens of billions of dollars.

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Reuters: 3,000 Neighborhoods Have Higher Lead Levels Than Flint

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Army Halts Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline—for Now

Mother Jones

On Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not allow completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) until there has been additional research into its possible environmental risks. This marks a temporary victory for the activists who have been encamped near the site of pipeline construction next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

Of particular concern is the pipeline’s proposed crossing under the Missouri River, which activists fear will threaten Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water supply. In a statement, Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy said that “in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands and the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux tribe will be consulted to help develop a timetable for future construction plans.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, denounced the Corps’ decision “as unjust and a reinforcement of the Obama Administration’s lack of interest in enforcing and abiding by the law.”

The company has deep ties to the incoming Trump administration and many anti-pipeline activists fear that it will reverse or undermine the Corps’ decision. In an earnings call last Thursday, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren said he is very “enthusiastic” about the election of Donald Trump. His remarks suggested that despite the environmental concerns raised by the Corps, the Department of Justice, and the Standing Rock Sioux, he believes President-elect Trump may help the company complete the pipeline. “We find ourselves in, I believe, a really good position,” he said. “Overall,” he continued, “I’m very, very enthusiastic about what’s going to happen with our country.”

Trump has invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, according to financial disclosure forms. Warren donated more than $100,000 to help elect Trump. Trump also owns stock worth between $500,000 and $1 million in Phillips 66, which will own a 25 percent share of the finished pipeline. One of Trump’s key energy advisers is North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, who has encouraged him to dismantle key aspects of the Clean Water Act, which gives the Army Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate the nation’s waterways and wetlands.

Energy Transfer Partners’ stock price rose from $33.37 to $38.68 in the week after the election. However, the conflict over the pipeline has caused investors to express doubt about its financial viability. Last week, Norwegian bank DNB said it was “concerned” about the situation and might withdraw its $342 million loan to Energy Transfer Partners, about 10 percent of the entire project’s funding. A spokesman said the bank would “encourage a more constructive process to find solutions to the conflict that has arisen.” Citigroup also announced last week that it had urged Energy Transfer Partners to reach a peaceful resolution with opponents of the project. Warren has not made any public statements since the Army Corps’ decision Monday.

The Standing Rock Sioux and hundreds of “water protectors” have been protesting against the pipeline for several months. The pipeline is planned to continue under the Missouri River, coming within 1,500 feet of Lake Oahe. The protesters have sought to block construction as long as possible, either forcing Dakota Access to reapply for a federal construction permit or to reroute the pipeline. On Tuesday, thousands of their supporters are engaging in nationwide protests targeting the pipeline and its financial backers in cities, including New York and Washington, DC.

The company currently lacks permits to tunnel beneath the Missouri River, but its employees have been working full time and have completed construction on both sides of the river. The construction site is surrounded by protective barricades in preparation for drilling under the water. “Starting construction under the Missouri River without permits would be beyond the pale, even for Dakota Access,” says Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The Obama administration has repeatedly asked Dakota Access, an Energy Transfer Partners subsidiary, to postpone the project pending additional review of its potential impact. On November 6, the Army Corps of Engineers requested that Dakota Access halt construction to consider concerns that the pipeline would endanger the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply and could destroy Native cultural sites. That same day, on a hill overlooking the Missouri, protesters gathered to pray at a sacred burial ground along the pipeline’s path. Dozens were teargassed by police and shot with rubber bullets while construction continued under the protection of sheriff’s deputies.

The next day, a Corps spokesman told Bloomberg News that the company had agreed to a slowdown. But on Election Day, Dakota Access denied agreeing to the slowdown and vowed to continue construction. “To be clear, Dakota Access Pipeline has not voluntarily agreed to halt construction of the pipeline in North Dakota,” it said in a press release. “Dakota Access has now completed construction of the pipeline on each side of Lake Oahe and is currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site in preparation for the tunneling under Lake Oahe.”

According to the press release, Dakota Access promised it would complete construction of the pipeline within two weeks and would then begin drilling under the Missouri River, despite lacking the necessary permits or easement from the Army Corps of Engineers. A DAPL spokeswoman told the Guardian that the company was confident that it would receive the easement. On November 9, Colonel John W. Henderson, head of the Army Corps of Engineers for the region, released another letter criticizing Dakota Access’ refusal to pause construction.

Yet in the past week, Dakota Access set up HESCO barriers—bulwarks used by the US military to defend its bases in Iraq and Afghanistan—around their construction site. “I don’t know why the government just kept asking DAPL to stop,” says LaDonna Allard, a local Sioux woman who is hosting protesters on her land near the Missouri River. “Clearly they’re not going to stop unless we make them.”

“The company seems emboldened by Trump’s victory,” says Harry Beauchamp, an Assiniboine Indian from Montana who came to Standing Rock in September to protest the pipeline. “They’re plowing ahead and ignoring the citizens here who oppose this pipeline with greater force than ever. They know Trump is one of them—they just care about money, not about democracy or justice or the environment or the local citizens.”

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Army Halts Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline—for Now

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Dakota Access pipeline’s private security unleashed attack dogs and sprayed mace on protesters.

This weekend, tensions over the pipeline in North Dakota escalated into violence for the first time since protesters camped next to the western banks of the Missouri River weeks ago.

Anti-pipeline activists stormed a private construction site less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Saturday morning, chanting “water is life.”

Nataanii Means, a Navajo-Lakota-Omaha rapper from New Mexico, captured video of the scene.

All told, more than 30 protesters and bystanders were sprayed and six people were bitten by dogs, the Associated Press reports. Four private security guards and two attack dogs were also injured.

The clash came less than a day after Standing Rock filed a federal court request for an emergency restraining order to halt construction.

Researchers brought in to survey the construction site found “significant cultural and historical value,” in the ancient artifacts and burials in the area. One of those sites ended up destroyed before the standoff Saturday.

Standing Rock’s pending lawsuit against Army Corps of Engineers, which supervised Dakota Access’s permitting process, claims that the tribe wasn’t given time to determine whether construction would violate the National Historic Preservation Act.

If the tribe gets its injunction in court, it would delay the pipeline’s construction to allow for more thorough environmental reviews.

But there are dozens of constructions sites for the pipeline, and work hasn’t stopped yet. Neither have the protesters, who chained themselves to two sites on Tuesday.

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Dakota Access pipeline’s private security unleashed attack dogs and sprayed mace on protesters.

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We Actually Know a Lot About How Trump Would Handle Policing and Race

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump has been routinely criticized for sharing scant details about the policies he hopes to implement as president. But although he’s drawn little attention for it, there is one area where Trump has gotten pretty specific: policing.

In an interview with the Guardian US last October, Trump said he supported federal funding for body camera programs at local police departments. And in a Facebook post following the mass shooting of police officers in Dallas and the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, he made appeals to both sides of the debate. He called for the restoration of “law and order” while acknowledging that “the senseless and tragic deaths of two people in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.” At a rally in Indiana, he pondered whether police officers had shot Sterling and Castile because of poor training.

Still, Trump has called the Black Lives Matter movement “divisive.” And of course there’s the time he threatened to fight members of the movement if they tried to disrupt his rallies. After a Black Lives Matter protester who did just that was assaulted by several Trump supporters last November, the Republican candidate condoned the attack. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said. (He has been endorsed by the New England Police Benevolent Association and by conservatives with a range of views on criminal justice reform.)

So what does Trump actually think about the state of policing in America? In fact, he answered in his own words in response to a 33-question survey sent to him by the Fraternal Order of Police earlier this year. The self-proclaimed “law and order” candidate also met with the FOP earlier this month to seek its endorsement. (The FOP also sent the survey to Hillary Clinton, who did not respond.)

Here’s what Trump’s answers to the survey revealed:

Police militarization: Trump said he would repeal President Barack Obama’s executive order banning local police departments from receiving certain kinds of equipment through a federal program that transfers surplus military equipment to local and state police forces. Obama signed the order in May 2015 after public outcry over law enforcement’s aggressive response to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in late 2014. (Obama recently said he will review each item on the “controlled equipment list” after law enforcement officials said they needed some of it in the wake of targeted attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.) Trump also said he believes police should receive federal grants with no strings attached. Currently, departments can lose funding if they don’t meet incident reporting requirements or other mandates.

Racial profiling: “Current law and judicial precedent provide a great deal of civil rights protection,” Trump wrote. But he also noted that he would sign anti-racial-profiling legislation like the proposed End Racial Profiling Act “if there is a clear need for edification for certain civil rights that are being violated.” Trump responded to the FOP questionnaire months before the Department of Justice’s damning new report on racist policing in Baltimore. But there were already similarly outrageous DOJ reports on police departments in Cleveland, Ferguson, and Newark, New Jersey, the products of more than a dozen reviews and investigations into local police departments launched by the DOJ under the Obama administration.

Demographic data collection: Trump said he believes police departments “should be aware of the circumstances” of encounters between their officers and the public. If keeping information on the races of people interacting with police “is determined to improve policing,” Trump said, “then that should be part of the protocols officers use.” A major issue raised by police reform advocates in recent years has been the lack of reliable federal data on police shootings and the races of people killed by law enforcement. But the determination of whether to collect such data should be left to department administrators and local elected officials, Trump said.

“Blue lives matter”: Trump said he would push for harsher penalties for crimes against federal law enforcement officers and that he would consider signing bipartisan legislation to make any crime against a police officer a hate crime. (I reported on why that’s a bad idea earlier this year.) But he said he would not sign legislation to label murders or attempted murders a federal offense if the victim is a law enforcement official employed by an agency that receives federal funding. Doing so, Trump said, would effectively make state and local law enforcement agencies—which receive funding from the feds—an extension of the federal government, “which was not intended at the founding” of the nation.

Asked whether he would support legislation to limit the damages a plaintiff could win in compensation for injuries sustained as the result of an arrest after the commission of a felony or violent crime, Trump responded in a fashion more typical of his general lack of specificity. He stated that he would “sign any legislation that is in the best interest of America and Americans.”

The FOP announced that it will vote on which candidate to endorse later this fall.

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We Actually Know a Lot About How Trump Would Handle Policing and Race

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Obama: Americans Are Not as Divided as Some Suggest

Mother Jones

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President Barack Obama said on Saturday that America “is not as divided as some have suggested,” after a week marked by violence that included two police shootings of unarmed black men and a mass shooting that claimed the lives of five police officers and injured seven more in Dallas on Thursday night.

“This has been a tough week,” Obama told reporters during a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, where he attended his last NATO summit. “First and foremost for the families who have been killed, but also for the entire American family.”

“There is sorrow, there is anger, there is confusion about next steps, but there is unity in recognizing that this is not how we want our communities to operate,” he continued. “This is not who we want to be as Americans.”

He also spoke about the US commitment to the NATO alliance, NATO’s importance for international security, the possible impact of Brexit on trade, and global concerns about terrorism.

“In this challenging moment I want to take this opportunity to state clearly what will never change, and that is the unwavering commitment of the United States to the security and defense of Europe, to our transatlantic relationship, to our commitment to our common defense,” he said.

Asked about his reactions to the announcement from FBI Director James Comey that the agency would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton in the criminal investigation looking into alleged misconduct over her use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state, Obama replied, “I will continue to be scrupulous about not commenting on it.”

Obama’s remarks were dominated by the events of the past week and the problems of violence and race relations in the United States. “I’ve said this before: We are unique among advanced countries in the scale of violence that we experience. And I’m not just talking about mass shootings, I’m talking about the hundreds of people who have already been shot this year in my hometown of Chicago,” he said.

Calling the attacker in Dallas a “demented individual,” the president emphasized that his actions do not define the American people. “They don’t speak for us,” he said. “That’s not who we are.”

Obama noted that the troubled history of racial bias in America’s criminal justice system still lingers, and said he will reconvene a task force created following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to come up with practical solutions that can make a difference.

When reflecting on his legacy, especially regarding race relations, he said he hoped his daughters and their children would live in a more equal and just society.

“You know we plant seeds,” he said. “And somebody else maybe sits under the shade of the tree that we planted. And I’d like to think that as best as I could, I have been true in speaking about these issues.”

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Obama: Americans Are Not as Divided as Some Suggest

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