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Many of the millions of people who shop on Amazon.com see it as if it were an American big-box store, a retailer with goods deemed safe enough for customers. In practice, Amazon has increasingly evolved like a flea market. It exercises limited oversight over items listed by millions of third-party sellers, many of them anonymous, many in China, some offering scant information. A Wall Street Journal investigation found 4,152 items for sale on Amazon.com Inc. ’s site that have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators—items that big-box retailers’ policies would bar from their shelves. Among those items, at least 2,000 listings for toys and medications lacked warnings about health risks to children. The Journal identified at least 157 items for sale that Amazon had said it banned, including sleeping mats the Food and Drug Administration warns can suffocate infants. The Journal commissioned tests of 10 children’s products it bought on Amazon, many promoted as “Amazon’s Choice.” Four failed tests based on federal safety standards, according to the testing company, including one with lead levels that exceeded federal limits. Of the 4,152 products the Journal identified, 46% were listed as shipping from Amazon warehouses.
With the right to control who calls them and when in flux, Americans are looking to Republican Roger Wicker and Democrat Maria Cantwell, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee respectively, to urge their Senate colleagues to keep key parts of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act in the House for the final consensus robocall fix. Sailing not one but two strong bills through Congress has certainly put robocallers on notice, but hanging up on them once and for all means strengthening and clarifying the rules to protect consumers and hold bad actors accountable. Allowing loopholes that Wall Street corporations are urging will not resolve the long running plague of unwanted robocalls.
Libertarians may oppose government regulation on principle, and to some extent that stance explains the Trump Administration’s environmental and energy policies. But the Trump Administration clearly views the fossil fuel sector as something more than another overly-regulated industry. Instead, expansion of this particular industry is seen as something good in itself. Thus, the Administration not only wants to ignore the issue of climate change. Rather, its persistent goal is to expand fossil fuels, filling the atmosphere with as much carbon as humanly possible. This explains its passion for pressing energy policy even beyond what industry wants, such as repealing methane regulations supported by the major oil companies, refusing to negotiate over car standards with California despite the unanimous desire of the car industry for a deal, threatening to open areas to oil exploration even where the industry has no immediate interest, and repudiating the Paris Agreement despite widespread pressure from leading American businesses to keep it.
Rivers were choked with industrial waste and caught fire. Americans coughed on thick, blackened air. While some may not remember what life was like before the Environmental Protection Agency's existence, it's impossible for many who experienced it firsthand to forget. Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman put it this way: "The country looked like a giant garbage dump." The air quality was so poor, particularly in cities, that the young and elderly were told to stay inside. "And so, that's what spurred (people) to finally say, 'We've got to stop this,'" said Whitman, a former New Jersey governor who led the EPA under President George W. Bush. At a time of massive change and in the midst of anti-war protests, women's movement marches and civil rights clashes, Americans came together to rally around the environment in the late 1960s. On April 22, 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and other organizers held a series of environmental teach-ins and demonstrations across the country in what would become the first Earth Day. Millions of people participated, according to the EPA. Later that same year, President Richard Nixon signed the executive order to create the EPA. From the beginning, the agency's singular mission has been "to protect human health and the environment." In the almost 50 years since the creation of the EPA, the agency's impact has been undeniable. By all accounts, the regulations put in place by the EPA have led to cleaner air, water and soil.
A group of attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., joined executives from 12 phone companies Thursday to announce a sweeping effort to combat the scourge of illegal robocalls dialing up millions of U.S. customers every year. The set of anti-robocall principles and practices, unveiled at a press conference in D.C., would require the phone companies to take steps towards preventing the spam calls and work in tandem with law enforcement to take down illegal robocalling operations.