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Morning Reads: A Crucial Tipping Point in Antarctica

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: A Crucial Tipping Point in Antarctica

View of Gentoo penguins and seals at the Yankee Harbor in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, on March 06, 2016. Waddling over the rocks, legions of penguins hurl themselves into the icy waters of Antarctica, foraging to feed their young. Like seals and whales, they eat krill, an inch-long shrimp-like crustacean that forms the basis of the Southern Ocean food chain. But penguin-watchers say the krill are getting scarcer in the western Antarctic peninsula, under threat from climate change and fishing. (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Three feet underwater –> John Upton at Climate Central: “The world’s greatest reservoir of ice is verging on a breakdown that could push seas to heights not experienced since prehistoric times, drowning dense coastal neighborhoods during the decades ahead, new computer models have shown. A pair of researchers developed the models to help them understand high sea levels during previous eras of warmer temperatures. Then they ran simulations using those models and found that rising levels of greenhouse gases could trigger runaway Antarctic melting that alone could push sea levels up by more than three feet by century’s end. The same models showed that Antarctica’s ice sheet would remain largely intact if the most ambitious goals of last year’s Paris agreement on climate change are achieved.”

Mouth gets ahead of brain –> Josh Hafner and Kevin Johnson for USA Today: “Donald Trump drew a wave of immediate rebukes from abortion rights advocates and opponents Wednesday after saying that women should face ‘some form’ of punishment for abortion should the procedure be made illegal in the U.S. Trump later issued a statement clarifying his position, saying that, if abortion is banned, ‘the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.'”

But at MSNBC, Irin Carmon writes, “Even under the status quo, where Roe v. Wade technically hasn’t been overturned, women are already being prosecuted and even convicted on suspicion of having abortions.”

Trump’s comments followed a move by the FDA relaxing the requirements for a medication that induces abortion. This will make abortions safer and easier for women in states where politicians are effectively trying to ban the procedure with laws that reduce the number of clinics.

Rethinking the convention –> Companies like Apple, Google and Walmart aren’t sure whether or not they should fund the Republican National Convention if Trump is going to be the candidate. Coca Cola has announced its contribution will be a fraction of what it was last year. “These companies have a choice right now, a history-making choice,” Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change, told The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman. “Once they start writing checks, they are essentially making a commitment to support the platform of somebody who has threatened riots at the convention. Do they want riots brought to us by Coca-Cola?”

And, at New Republic, Brian Beutler ponders whether American democracy would survive a Trump presidency.

Meanwhile, the tempest over Trump’s outrageous abortion remarks obscured news that he has been endorsed by the largest border patrol union. Sarah Mimms at Vice: “The National Border Patrol Council, which represents 16,500 Border Patrol agents largely on the US-Mexico border, declared that it was breaking with a ‘longstanding practice’ of not endorsing candidates in presidential primaries because ‘the lives and security of the American people are at stake, and the National Border Patrol Council will not sit on the sidelines.'”

Outsourcing Oreos –> AFL-CIO head Rich Trumka and David B. Durkee, international president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers, write in the Chicago Tribune about a plan by Mondelez International to scale back operations at a factory where Nabisco makes Oreo cookies, shifting 600 jobs to Mexico. The two labor leaders argue that this is the result of trade deals like NAFTA, and declare their opposition to the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Michigan’s other environmental disaster –> Zoë Schlanger reports on River Rouge, Michigan, a small city on the edge of Detroit: “It’s dirty in River Rouge, and everybody here knows it. The way the air smells, and the gas flares, coal piles and smokestacks around every corner don’t let you forget. There are 52 sites of heavy industry within a 3-mile radius; 22 of these either produce over 25,000 pounds or handle more than 10,000 pounds of toxic chemical waste, putting them on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory Program.”

Meanwhile, new details continue to emerge about the Flint disaster. John Flesher reports for the AP that “an official with Flint’s water plant said Tuesday he had planned to treat the drinking water with anti-corrosive chemicals after the city began drawing from the Flint River but was overruled by a state environmental regulator.”

Ballot trouble –> Despite both Democratic candidates doing what was required to get their names on the ballot for the District of Columbia’s June 14 primary, one is on the ballot — Hillary Clinton — while another — Bernie Sanders — is not. Tom Sherwood at DC’s local NBC affiliate explains why.

Morning Reads was written by John Light and Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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