Brisbane, Australia (CNN)"This is the climate election," declared Queensland Greens Sen. Larissa Waters at a Brisbane forum, weeks before the Australian election this month. It's unsurprising that Waters would say this: The environment is always at the heart of the Greens' policy. But a series of natural disasters has forced many other Australians to take notice. Fires, floods and the worst drought in living memory have ravaged Australia in the past year, laying waste to thousands of homes, devastating the livelihoods of farmers and wreaking millions of dollars' worth of damage. In January, record-breaking temperatures soared so high, for so long that asphalt roads started to melt. "When I was first elected in 2010, scientists were telling us it was the critical decade," Waters told the audience. "It's nearly the end of that decade and we've bloody wasted it." The electorate is aware. Concern about climate change is now at a 10-year high among Australians, with 64% believing it … [Read more...] about Australia is being devastated by climate change. So will it swing the election?
By Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio (via Kaiser Health News) In 1998, major tobacco companies reached a historic legal settlement with states that had sued them over the health care costs of smoking-related illnesses. But individual smokers have continued to sue, and to this day the tobacco industry remains tied up in hundreds of court fights with sickened smokers, or with family members who lost a loved one to cancer, heart disease or other smoking-related illness. These days, tobacco companies no longer try to claim that cigarettes aren't harmful — in fact, in an ironic reversal, a favorite legal defense in current cases is the argument that nearly everyone was aware of the dangers, even back in the 1950s. To shore up this controversial claim, known as the "common knowledge" defense, tobacco companies often enlist academics as expert witnesses. These professors are frequently historians or political scientists who tend to keep these lucrative side gigs walled off from the … [Read more...] about Tobacco Companies Enlist Academics To Defend “Common Knowledge” Claim
Kamala Harris plans to greet supporters at a historic Long Beach gay bar Friday, and Bernie Sanders will get backing from the East L.A. punk-funk band Ozomatli at a local rally Saturday. Amy Klobuchar met voters at a Bay Area brewery Thursday, and Joe Biden pitched his candidacy to young voters at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. A dozen presidential candidates are visiting California this week — an unusual amount of activity in a state that has been viewed primarily as a source of campaign dollars. Most of the top Democrats in the race are congregating this weekend to woo party leaders and activists at a state convention in Long Beach. Two front-runners, however — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Biden — are skipping the event. Californians probably won’t see brightly painted campaign buses crisscrossing the state anytime soon. That’s a factor of the timing of other contests and how difficult it is to meet many of the … [Read more...] about Gay bar and beer joint appearances: 2020 candidates woo Californians before Democrats convene in Long Beach