I’ll let you off with a coupon this timePolice in Tempe, Ariz., have taken a different approach to law enforcement: In addition to ticketing people who break the law, they are rewarding those who follow it with coupons for free soft drinks or snacks. The program hasn’t been problem-free — there was an initial backlash from people who argued that getting approached by a cop can be a stressful experience, even if it turns out you’re being rewarded rather than punished — but the goal of positive policing is the right one.
Critics of a similar program in Halifax, Va., a few years ago pointed out that the mere act of pulling over drivers without cause, even it was to hand them ice cream cones, was a violation of the 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
To avoid that concern, the Tempe program doesn’t involve pulling over drivers. It’s focused instead on cops’ casual interactions with pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders. If the goal of the police-reform movement is to make policing more positive and community oriented, a free soft drink is a good start.
Seeds of hope in EthiopiaSchools and government offices closed throughout Ethiopia on Monday as citizens joined a record-breaking effort to plant 350 million trees in a 12-hour span. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is leading an impressive bid to replant the country, which has been steadily deforested by drought and an increasing demand for farmland and timber.
Ethiopia lost more than 10,000 square miles of forest from 1990 to 2015. Once covered by forests on a third of the country’s territory, only about 4% is now forested, according to United Nations assessments.
Ahmed’s admirable goal is to plant 4 billion seedlings by the fall. Ethiopia now appears to qualify for entry into Guinness World Records for besting the previous single-day planting record of 50 million trees.
Taking a holiday from plasticsHoliday Inn and its parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group, are taking a remarkable step to save the planet. Every year, the chain places 200 million little plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner in its 843,000 hotel rooms. The bottles get thrown out, and the plastic either fills up landfills or finds its way into rivers and oceans. Enough, says the chain.
“We collectively as an industry have to lead where governments are not necessarily giving the leadership to make a difference,” hotel group chief executive Keith Barr told the Financial Times.
A third of the company’s hotels have already shifted to stationary bulk dispensers, with the rest converting by late 2021. Competitor Marriott International has made a similar pledge.
Revising historyDid you know President Donald Trump was the first person to fly solo over the Atlantic? That he personally raised the flag at Iwo Jima? That he painted the Mona Lisa? These are just a few of the faux-historic assertions being made (tongue-in-cheek) on social media after Trump recently implied, ludicrously, that he had some first responder role after the 9/11 attacks.
Trump made the remarks while signing a bill extending the Sept. 11 victims’ compensation fund.
“Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers and other first responders. And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder,” he told actual first responders and others who gathered in the Rose Garden for the signing. “But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
No, he didn’t, according to all available evidence. Trump’s major contribution to the post-9/11 efforts was to brag to an interviewer (inaccurately) that with the twin towers gone, he now owned the tallest remaining building in New York.
– The St. Louis Post-Dispatch