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Ouch

It’s uncomfortable having to level criticism at a man who has suffered severe burns. But what other response is there when someone gets drunk, illegally leaves the marked path in a national park and stumbles into the world’s most famous geyser?

Cade Edmond Siemers was walking near the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming late Sunday night when (he would later tell park rangers) he left the boardwalk that park visitors aren’t supposed to leave. He tripped into the heated groundwater near the geyser, according to a National Park Service statement.

The statement said rangers suspected Siemers had been drinking and found a beer can near the scene.

Old Faithful and the surrounding surface water tops 200 degrees. Others have been seriously burned, and in some cases killed, generally after ignoring park rules about staying on the marked boardwalks and paths.

Siemers was in critical condition. Rangers were investigating whether he caused any damage to the area, which could mean federal charges.

Nothing Says ‘Green’ Like Plastic

When your entire political party is founded on eco-righteousness, almost inevitably there will come a time when militancy for the cause conflicts with doing what’s ethical. Just ask Canada’s Green Party, which is competing in national elections on Oct. 21. Leader Elizabeth May posed smiling for a photo while holding what is, environmentally speaking, a perfectly eco-responsible, compostable, disposable cup.

But environmentally speaking, earnest party activists apparently wondered, does the cup really send the right message? Disposable, compostable paper cups are great and all, but if the cup in her hand doesn’t display the Green Party logo, what good does it serve?

So someone, somewhere in the bowels of the Green Party’s communication offices decided simply to alter the image, substituting the disposable cup for a plastic one (reusable, sure, but it’s still plastic). They even arranged it so May’s index finger appeared to be steadying an eco-friendly metal straw. Even better, they made sure the plastic cup contained the Green Party logo.

People noticed and called the party on its lie. And they really let the party have it for making it appear that May preferred plastic to paper. May apologized and made clear: “My personal daily practice is to avoid single use plastic items 100 percent of the time.”

Leading From Behind ... the Sales Counter

Schnucks announced it will stop selling tobacco products at its 115 stores in the St. Louis region. For a grocery chain that relies on the profitability of every product on its shelves (and Schnucks is, after all, in business to make profits), the bottom-line sacrifice will be significant. But sometimes, more important considerations have to take priority.

“I’m sure that we will disappoint some customers by discontinuing the sale of some product,” Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck told the Post-Dispatch’s Jacob Barker. “But when we look at the grand scheme of things, well, what’s the right thing to do? And we believe discontinuing the sale of tobacco products is the right thing to do.”

The new ban will take place on Jan. 1. Starting Oct. 15, all stores will offer double shopper-reward points on over-the-counter products to help smokers quit.

Actually, this is a smart business decision. Cigarettes are deadly. When customers stay alive longer, they shop longer.

Life-Saving Dugout Drama

Kudos to Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold, who took time out from his stellar reporting on the Cardinals this week to help save a heart-attack victim’s life at Busch Stadium.

As fellow Post-Dispatch sportswriter Rick Hummel reported, Goold was at Busch Sunday prior to the Cardinals-Cubs game when St. Louis-based videographer Mike Flanary, 64, collapsed in the Cubs’ dugout. He’d suffered what would later be diagnosed as a heart attack followed by a stroke. He was briefly without a pulse.

According to witnesses, someone asked if anyone knew CPR. Goold, an Eagle Scout and former lifeguard with CPR training, stepped up and performed it on Flanary until emergency medical personnel got to the scene. Flanary was later listed in “critical but stable” condition at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The stadium doctor on duty Sunday, Dr. David Tan of Washington University, called Goold’s actions “the first link in that chain of survival.”

“It was the early CPR by Derrick Goold that probably saved his life,” he said.

Oh, and the Cardinals later beat the Cubs 9-0 to win the National League Central Division.

Missouri Compromise

After Missouri voters last fall overwhelmingly approved legalized marijuana for medical use, some complications ensued regarding the implementation of the new system. Among them: What to do about a 2011 state law that penalizes recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families if they test positive for pot.

Under that law, the state is required to ask TANF recipients about illegal drug use and can request a drug test. If the recipients refuse or fail the test, they lose benefits for three years.

Missouri’s Department of Social Services has come up with a compromise that avoids penalizing TANF recipients for legal use of medical marijuana and takes a less-punitive approach to still-illegal recreational marijuana (which, after all, is now legal right next door in Illinois).

TANF recipients with a doctor-issued medical cannabis card won’t see their benefits affected for testing positive for marijuana. And those who don’t have cards, and either test positive or decline to be tested, can keep their benefits by agreeing to enter a substance-abuse program.

Missouri officials are right to rule that welfare recipients won’t lose their benefits for testing positive for pot if they have a prescription for medical marijuana.

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