Drug Czar Nominee Tom Marino Protected Opioid Makers from Prosecution
No war on drugs. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar, was the chief advocate for a law that hobbled the Drug Enforcement Administration in taking action against large drug companies during our nation’s opioid crisis. Marino and other members of Congress got the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The law helped weaken DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that supplied corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics on the black market.
Puerto Rico. The Department of Homeland Security has been asked to investigate water in Puerto Rico after reports that people were drinking water taken from a Superfund site. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to investigate. CNN reported that workers from the Puerto Rican water utility Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados were distributing water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site. The Environmental Protection Agency said last year that the area was polluted with industrial chemicals including tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene which “can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer.”
Right to protest. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the National Football League, alleging that league owners colluded to keep him unsigned. The grievance says that Kaepernick isn’t working because of his social activism, including kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick is 29 and in the 2012 season led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. The league now appears to be about to try to manhandle players into standing after repeated criticism by Trump. The grievance will be heard by an arbitrator. The players’ collective bargaining agreement says no team can agree with any other team or the NFL “to restrict or limit Club decision-making” which includes “whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player.” Kaepernick hasn’t even been invited to try out for a team since becoming a free agent. Kaepernick could be entitled to damages if he wins the claim, and the teams found to have colluded could be fined.
Fire. The wildfires in California have now killed 40 people, a number that is expected to rise. Twenty-two people died in Sonoma County, eight in Mendocino County, four in Yuba County and six in Napa County. More than 10,000 firefighters from California and other states are fighting the fires in northern California. Two of the largest fires were more than 50% contained Sunday. The Santa Rosa neighborhood that burned down was exempt from fire regulations.
Featured Photo: Tom Marino (left) receiving an award from John M. Gray, CEO of the Health Distribution Management Association, for his support of a law limiting DEA efforts to staunch the flow of opioids (Facebook photo).