California will soon become the second state (in addition to Hawaii) to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco or vaping products to 21. In a statement, state Sen. Ed Hernandez said, “The governor’s signature on Tobacco 21 is a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco. Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction.” According to the LA Times, the new measure has faced opposition from both the tobacco industry as well as the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, a group that represents companies that make and sell e-cigarettes.
Lawmakers hope that the bill will cut down on the number of people who start smoking in the first place. As the LA Times story notes, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that 90 percent of current smokers started before the age of 21. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is responsible for nearly 5 million deaths every single year. Discuss
Officials in North Carolina have until Monday to tell the federal government that they will “not comply with or implement” the state’s controversial “HB2” law, which, among other things, says that anyone using restrooms in public buildings, must only use the ones associated with the gender on their birth certificate.
According to the Justice Department’s ruling, HB2 violates both the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX, both on the grounds of anti-discrimination protection. If North Carolina refuses to adhere to the DOJ’s letter, there could be huge implications for the state. According toThe Charlotte Observer, North Carolina could lose more than $2 billion in federal education funding. Discuss
What if science could bring back someone from the dead? Here’s a news item that has interesting theological implications: Medical review boards in both the U.S. and India have granted permission to two biotech companies to experiment with new technology that they hope could bring back patients who are brain dead—something currently considered impossible. Bioquark and Revita Life Sciences plan on starting their research by testing to see if the brains of 20 patients can be stimulated to actually regenerate. The hope would be that one day, after techniques involving lasers, stem cells and special injections are refined, doctors will be able to help brain dead patients regrow parts of their brains that were damaged or destroyed.
What doctors don’t know is what effect it would have on the consciousness, memories or personalities of patients, that one day in the future, could possibly benefit from that type of procedure. Discuss
Then there was only Trump. Barely 12 hours since Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP presidential race, Ohio governor John Kasich has done the same, according to several sources. And that makes it official: Reality TV star and real estate mogul Donald J. Trump is running for the GOP nomination unopposed. The AP is reporting that Kasich will make an official announcement soon. Even though he lasted until what you could call a second-place finish, the governor never really caught on with voters. Even this morning's Kasich Star Wars Day video somehow couldn't help. Calling him “a conventional candidate in an unconventional race,” the The New York Timesreport suggests that Kasich's longevity was more of “a testament to his unbending refusal to drop out” than any momentum behind him as a candidate. Discuss
Last night, after losing yet another primary election to Donald J. Trump (this one in Indiana), GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz suspended his bid for the White House. In his concession speech, Cruz told his supporters: “Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got. But the voters chose another path.” His departure virtually eliminates any threat to Trump’s now-presumptive nomination. And even though Ohio governor John Kasich, as of now, remains in the race, the GOP side appears to be shifting already toward the general election. There, however, things aren’t as clear. Even though Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton still holds a large delegate lead over her opponent Bernie Sanders, last night she lost to him in yet another state primary. Discuss
Well, folks, we may have reached peak Trump. The Donald earlier today suggested that fellow-GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s father fraternized—conspired?—with Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassin killed President John F. Kennedy. Trump’s source appears to be a National Enquirer picture of Rafael Cruz passing out pro-Fidel Castro literature with Oswald. The gregarious candidate said on Fox News:
His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being—you know—shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.
I mean, what was he doing—what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.