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How Does a Democrat Run for Re-election in a Trump State? Very Carefully

For Mr. Donnelly, his hold on office already perilous, supporting a Republican tax bill is only the latest possibility he must consider in the delicate dance of running for another term next year in a state Mr. Trump carried by nearly 20 points. He needs Republicans in great numbers to cross over and vote for him, so being on the wrong side of Mr. Trump carries great risk. At the same time, he must not alienate his Democratic base, many of whom distrust any kind of relationship with the president.After the president called him out, Mr. Donnelly tried to laugh it off in the moment, but did not find it funny. “This is something I have not experienced before,” he said in an interview in this suburb of Indianapolis.“I actually told his folks, ‘You have one of the most unusual sales tactics I have ever seen. I said, ‘In my experience when you are trying to have someone like your product or buy your product, you’re usually nice to your customer.’”More important, the ultimatum did little to get the president closer to winning Mr. Donnelly’s support […]

At Private Dinners, Pence Quietly Courts Big Donors and Corporate Executives

If nothing else, the assiduous donor maintenance by Mr. Pence and his team reflects his acceptance of a Washington reality that Mr. Trump sharply criticized during the campaign, when he assailed some of his party’s most generous donors as puppet masters who manipulated the political process to further their own interests at the expense of working people. Mr. Trump frequently said that because of his own real estate fortune, he didn’t need or want support from wealthy donors or the political groups known as “super PACs,” to which donors can give seven-figure donations and which Mr. Trump blasted as “very corrupt.”Continue reading the main storyMr. Pence’s aides point out that he also has dinners at the residence for groups other than donors, including members of Congress, world leaders, military families, civic leaders and friends. They cast the donor dinners as an effort to build support for the administration’s agenda, not for Mr. Pence personally.“Mike Pence is the ultimate team player and works every day to help the president succeed,” said Robert T. Grand, an Indianapolis lawyer who helped raise money for Mr. […]

Moms Exposed To Monsanto Weed Killer Means Bad Outcomes For Babies

Concerns about the world’s most widely used herbicide are taking a new twist as researchers unveil data that indicates pervasive use of Monsanto Co.’s weed killer could be linked to pregnancy problems. Researchers looking at exposure to the herbicide known as glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup-branded herbicides, said they tested and tracked 69 expectant mothers and found that the presence of glyphosate levels in their bodily fluids correlated with unfavorable birth outcomes. The research is still in preliminary stages and the sample size is small, but the team is scheduled to present their findings on Thursday at a conference put on by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) in Washington, D.C. “This is a huge issue,” said Paul Winchester, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Franciscan St. Francis Health system and professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. He said this is the first U.S. study to demonstrate glyphosate is present in pregnant women. “Everyone should be concerned about this.” Glyphosate is a popular agricultural pesticide, used widely in farming operations around the world […]

The (surprising) greenest city in the US is?

A new ranking lists the country’s most sustainable cities for 2015; number one might not be what you’d expect. […]

Great Lakes, Amazing Connections: The Power of Urban Parks

Shaking hands with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the ribbon cutting at Northerly Island. At any given point, cities along the Great Lakes are making investments in the waterways along the basin that more than 40 million people call home. Previously, we’ve discussed how recreation brings a sense of community to the region, and how cooperation in national and international policy making impacts the health of the Great Lakes. This month in our “Great Lakes, Amazing Connections” series, we’ll see how investments in parkland brings the important message of wildlife and water conservation to urban areas. Standing on Northerly Island just minutes from my office at Shedd Aquarium on Chicago’s Museum Campus on an early September day was like taking a step back in time. Rolling hills and native plants surrounded on three sides by the waters of Lake Michigan, it was easy to forget the 40-acres of land once served as a private airport. But as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelly shook hands after the ribbon cutting and tour of the newly established park and nature conservancy at Northerly Island, it was clear that while the restored land resembled the natural beauty of what the land once was, the continued vision for the future of urban parks was being realized. With six distinct ecosystems, a 5-acre lagoon and 150 different native plants, the newest green space in Chicago will become a haven for birds and insects to thrive, making their presence known to pedestrians taking advantage of the trail that circles the park. What the park represents is a prime opportunity for residents of the city to connect with the living world just minutes away from its urban center. Guided nature walks, camping and a chance for Chicago’s museums to use the area as a living classroom, the property that was once Meigs Field is now an ambassador for conservation to the Great Lakes region. Chicago isn’t alone as a city willing to foster a connection between its bustling downtowns and natural areas on the lake. In July, the city of Toronto announced plans to expand its first urban park, Rouge Park, by about 8 square miles. This represents a permanent preservation of the land by Parks Canada, and when realized, will make it one of the largest protected urban parks in North America. Stateside, the continued expansion by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy — which has dramatically transformed the river shore of the city with a system of natural areas and trails over the last decade — is another example of a large city committing to preservation and restoration. Investments like these ensure that even the most urban centers offer an opportunity for residents to connect with nature, make memories and learn how critical efforts are to preserve native plants and animals. My recent visit to Northerly Island reinforced this for me personally. Before the weather gets to cold, and autumn colors are in full display this fall, take some time to visit the many urban parks that dot the Great Lakes region. The City Parks Alliance features a great national map of member parks, most of which are minutes away from cities like Indianapolis, Ind., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Milwaukee, Wisc. You just might be surprised at the beautiful, native areas that have been preserved inside the major cities you call home. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

How Lincoln’s Final Journey Brought the Country Together

In the early morning of April 21, 1865, the soggy streets of downtown Baltimore were packed with swarms of people. By 8 o’clock, the roads surrounding the Camden station were impassable. Work stopped. Schools closed. Stores emptied. And, the people, waiting patiently for a train, wept. The train that chugged into the station at 10 o’clock contained the remains of Abraham Lincoln. He had died six days prior, on April 15, less than a week after the Civil War ended at Appomattox. Inside the train, dubbed the Lincoln Special, the late President’s body was dressed in the same suit from his second inauguration just six weeks earlier. The people’s outpouring of grief begged that his funeral services extend beyond Washington. In an age before television or radio, the only way for a person to participate was to leave her farm or close his store and physically go to a funeral procession where Lincoln lay in state. Lincoln’s funeral train allowed the nation to mourn in unison by bringing him to them in a way that neither telegraph nor newspapers could satisfy. Over the course of 20 days, the train sojourned from Washington to Baltimore to Harrisburg to Philadelphia to New York to Albany to Buffalo to Cleveland to Columbus to Indianapolis to Chicago, and finally to Springfield, Ill. Coordinating the transportation of Lincoln’s remains fell on the shoulders of the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. His was a temperament opposite to Lincoln’s, but he had kept a loyal vigil at Lincoln’s deathbed and took on the challenge of creating the biggest funeral that the country had ever seen. Stanton made this procession possible by designating the railroads as military domains, so the different railroad companies that ran the collection of lines were required to fully cooperate. Orchestrating the 15 railroad companies involved was a mammoth undertaking. For that reason, Stanton created the Committee of Arrangements. Its members were “authorized to arrange the time tables with the respective railroad companies, and do and regulate all things for safe and appropriate transportation.” Still, scheduling the train also required a wrangling of various time zones between cities and states, which were more numerous and less systematic than today. Before standardized time began in 1883, most towns told time by high noon. Clocks had to be increased one minute for every 12 eastward or westward miles to keep the correct time. Noon in D.C. was 12:12 in New York, 11:17 in Chicago and 12:07 in Philadelphia. As such, the country was composed of ununified pockets—splintered by both war and local time—and this train, with its precious cargo, briefly threaded them together. Lincoln’s funeral car was a magnificent carriage. The sides were painted a rich brownish-red, which was lovingly hand-polished to a shiny gloss with oil and rottenstone. The interior was decorated with plush green upholstered walls and black walnut molding. Pale green silk curtains cascaded along etched glass windows and three oil lamps beaconed from the car at night. With 16 wheels instead of the usual eight, it was a vehicle that paralleled those of European royalty. This special coach had three stately compartments and Lincoln’s casket sat in the end room. (The body of Lincoln’s departed son Willie, who had died in 1862 of typhoid fever, made the trip with Lincoln in the first room of this car.) As a presidential car, it had been originally designed to be Lincoln’s Air Force One. But here, festooned in black bunting and on its maiden voyage, it was now his mobile sarcophagus. At each destination along the route, the train stopped and the honor guards, dressed in robin’s-egg-blue uniforms, carried Lincoln’s body in huge formal processions to viewing areas. Crowds waited for hours and many watched from windows or rooftops or tree limbs. In the halls, thousands of mourners, sometimes packed 12 bodies deep, stood weeping and waiting for a glimpse of the open coffin. For many, this was the very first time they saw Lincoln’s face, since photographs in newspapers were still new. As Lincoln grew closer to his resting place, the emotions of the nation heightened. In some whistle-stops, the number of mourners was greater than the town’s population. Crowds who could not make it to the cities made their way to the train’s tracks. The locomotive engine, bearing a portrait of Lincoln in the front, chuffed at a cautious 20 mi. per hour and passed by train stations at a quarter of that speed. The engine was followed by nine cars: six passenger and baggage cars, a car for guards, a special car that carried the body and the last car for family and the honor guards. A pilot train ran about 30 min. ahead of the funeral train and announced Lincoln’s arrival by sounding a half-muffled bell, in which a leather pad was placed on half of the clapper to soften the strike. Those waiting trackside heard a rhythmic ringing of a clear tone followed by its muted echo and knew it was time to prepare. Bonfires were set along the route at night to push back the darkness, in an age before Edison, which made the evening air a curious mixture of smoke and lilacs in bloom. There was a solemn eagerness as people lined the tracks day and night, rain or shine. At the sight of the trains, they stood back–some waving small flags, some standing silently, some singing hymns. Fifteen minutes later, a third train followed. When the final train passed, the crowds stepped into the tracks and watched it fade into the distance. Then, the moment was over. Before Lincoln was set in his final resting place, his remains would be transported across the country on over 1,600 mi. of track. Millions of people participated. Nearly every American knew someone who attended memorial services or watched funeral processions or saw the train pass by. In these sad and dark days, the nation was stitched together in a way that it had never experienced before. Ainissa Ramirez is a scientist and the co-author of Newton’s Football and the author of Save Our Science. She co-hosts a science podcast called Science Underground. […]

As We Go Into Super Bowl, Spare a Thought for Brandon Bostick

In the social-media age, it’s all too easy to pick a scapegoat. Nearly three hours after the Green Bay Packers blew a 12-point lead, with over two minutes to play against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game, “Bostick” was still trending on Twitter. As in Brandon Bostick, the Green Bay backup tight end who couldn’t corral a Seattle onside kick with just over two minutes to play. The ball bounced off Bostick’s helmet, giving the Seahawks possession, and life. If Bostick makes the play, the Packers are pretty much on their way to the Super Bowl. But Seattle took advantage. After the gaffe, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 24-yard touchdown run to give the Seahawks a 20-19 lead: a two-point conversion put Seattle up three. Green Bay kicked a game-tying field goal to force overtime, but on the first possession of the extra session, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — who threw four interceptions on the day — hit Jermaine Kearse with a 35-yard touchdown pass that won the game. Seattle made a mind-boggling comeback. In a matter a minutes, Seattle’s offense — putrid all day — couldn’t be stopped. Bostick made the game’s most consequential mistake. He was the guy, a dozen paces ahead, who slipped near the finish line. So he’s a natural scapegoat. “Business Trip in Seattle!” Bostick tweeted before the game. Afterward, the replies to this comment were predictably noxious. People cursed him, and worse. They expressed their hatred. They delighted in telling him that this would be his last business trip. Clever. At least Bill Buckner didn’t have hate on his fingertips. Old media did Bostick no favors. Each time Seattle’s comeback looked more and more inevitable, the Fox TV cameras panned in on Bostick’s pain. But Bostick alone didn’t cost Green Bay the game. It was a true team effort. Seattle scored its first touchdown, trailing 16-0 in the third quarter, on a fake field goal: Why was Green Bay so thoroughly fooled? Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy could have tried to add more points in the first quarter, but he twice settled for field goals on fourth-and-goal, from the one. Green Bay’s defense broke down. On the late two-point conversion, Russell Wilson threw a hopeless Hail Mary under pressure: the ball was begging to be slapped away. But Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix seemed almost scared to break up the play. Seattle converted: a little defense there would have kept Seattle’s lead at one point, rather than putting the Seahawks up three. The Packers could have kicked a game-winning, rather than game-tying, field goal at the end of regulation. So it’s Seattle, rather than the Packers, who will face the New England Patriots — who trounced the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship game — in Super Bowl XLIX, on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz. One thing Bostick has going for him: in the 24/7, what’s-trending-now social-media cycle, people have short memories. But Bostick’s blunder, with so many millions watching, with a Super Bowl on the line, won’t be easy to forget. “I felt like I let everyone down,” he said afterward. If he can somehow shut out the online hounds, that’d be the best win of the NFL season. […]