U-Haul’s anti-nicotine policy is creepy and inappropriate

It’s great that the Arizona-based U-Haul company cares about the well-being of its more than 30,000 employees. It’s commendable that it has adopted programs and offered benefits to promote their nutrition, fitness and overall health. But its newest “wellness” policy for employees goes way beyond the promotion of good health and into the land of creepy intrusion.

Trump’s proposed new environmental reviews rules are as bad as you’d expect

In what could be the administration’s broadest attack yet on federal environmental regulations, the Trump administration on Thursday proposed making it easier to approve major energy and infrastructure projects, including new highways and pipelines, without full consideration of their environmental impact or their effects on climate change. Billed as an effort to make the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act more efficient, the new rules would make it easier for many projects with significant detrimental environmental impacts to proceed without crucial reviews.

We can’t afford another war

A war with Iran would cost the United States and the world dearly. Experts say a full-blown conflict could easily kill hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Other costs are less obvious, but nonetheless devastating.

It’s war: Is the U.S. in it to win it?

Prior to Iran’s missile attacks on U.S. bases inside Iraq, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, “We are not seeking war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one.” Esper said the U.S. prefers a “diplomatic” solution to the escalation of tensions in the region.

Trump fails to follow through on a promised flavored liquid ban

Public health advocates were pleasantly shocked and more than a little skeptical when President Donald Trump this fall announced sweeping plans to end sales of flavored e-cigarettes, after research showed alarming numbers of teenagers getting hooked on vape devices serving up nicotine via kid-friendly sweet fluids flavored like mango or vanilla.

Beware the ‘Market Skeptic Republicans’

WASHINGTON — The sails of Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries, from addiction to loneliness — have been inflicted by America’s economy. Individualism, tendentiously defined, is the Missouri Republican’s named target. Inevitably, however, the culprit becomes capitalism, which is what individual freedom is in a market society’s spontaneous order.

Australia burns as the planet bakes

Australia is on fire. Not all of it — but so far, flames have engulfed some 12 million acres, more than the land mass of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Inhabitants of the hot, dry continent learned long ago that coping with wildfires is a part of life. But the conflagrations that have swept across large parts of Australia are unprecedented in their size and ferocity, with consequences that stagger the imagination.

We sure could use a credible president right about now

After a U.S. drone blew up a top Iranian general last week, my 13-year-old son asked me if it was true that President Donald Trump was reinstituting the draft. He’d heard that online, as had many of his friends; in fact, so many internet users sought to check out what was happening with the draft that they brought down the website for the Selective Service System.

Does Trump know what he’s doing?

The assassination Friday of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top security and intelligence commander in the Iranian military, raises significant questions, including whether the killing will achieve a discernible U.S. goal, and — even more troubling — whether it will push the U.S. and Iran closer to war. President Trump, in his fashion, took a victory lap, tweeting that Soleimani “should have been taken out many years ago,” the kind of bombast we’ve come to expect from this president. It’s also the kind of bombast that is more likely to make things worse than better.

Trump the intimidator fails again

International crises often lead, at least initially, to surging support for a country’s leadership. And that’s clearly happening now. Just weeks ago, the nation’s leader faced public discontent so intense that his grip on power seemed at risk. Now the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani has transformed the situation, generating a wave of patriotism that has greatly bolstered the people in charge.

Simplify the number for suicide prevention hotline

If someone battling suicidal thoughts is willing to ask for help, the phone line where counselors can be reached 24 hours a day should be as easy to remember and as speedy to dial as 911. Instead, the nation’s suicide hotline number is 10 digits — 800-273-TALK — which heightens the risk of a misdial or a search for the number. That puts up a hurdle at the absolute worst time possible between someone in crisis and potentially lifesaving assistance.

Cooling the schools: the reality

It wasn’t long ago that, in response to numerous complaints of students sweltering in their classrooms, Gov. David Ige proclaimed that he would commit $100 million to cool 1,000 classrooms.