Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

5/28/17 Week in Review

Well, Trump was out of the country this week, and even though he was doing some obnoxious garbage out and about in the world, it wasn't happening in our borders. I did my best to ignore him, give myself a week off from thinking about him. And it's Memorial Day weekend and I am enjoying the heck out of it, so this week is an "I care just enough to do the very least" week, and I am not sorry for that! No question of the week, just the highlights of what happened back here on the homefront. Take some time to check in with the big stories of the week and then go out there and enjoy the sun!

Russia

This week in the Russia investigation, including a strange-looking chart, and a timeline of events leading up to now.

Trump asked top members of the intelligence community to deny that there is any evidence between Russia and his campaign.

Some more information about the Russia investigations this week. Yes, that is plural. This is the America we live in now.

Jeff Sessions seriously just needs to go.

Miscellaneous

I know, I know, yes, it's Fox News. This person tells a first-person account of what happened with Gianforte body slamming the reporter earlier this week. I thought it was important that it was a story being told on Fox News, and therefore, I am sharing it.

This is why we can't have nice things. I'm sure Tillerson was very happy to have to make this apology.

More gerrymandering has been struck down by the Supreme Court. This time for the state of North Carolina.

This week in science, fossil evidence has challenged the long-held thought that all hominins(not to be confused with hominids)evolved in Africa. This new evidence would put them north of Africa, in the Mediterranean region of Europe. This evidence does not alter the still-held belief that Homo Sapiens started and evolved in Africa. It would just mean that at some point in time, another species traveled south, to Africa, and eventually evolved and/or bred into the species known as Homo Sapiens.

The FCC has finished their investigation into the Stephen Colbert Trump joke complaints, and have chosen not to do anything about it.

An investigation into an airstrike by the US in March shows that we killed about 140 civilians when we bombed a building in Mosul, Iraq.

Checking back in with the state of the Senate's work on the Affordable Care Act repeal. Spoiler alert: It's not going well...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

05/21/17 Week in Review

There is so much going on this week I can't really even keep it all straight. But all of it is making me wonder how much longer Trump will remain in power before the GOP members of Congress no longer want to deal with his drama. I don't understand why they stick with him when dumping him would allow them to get a lot more done. I think while their voting base remains standing behind Trump, they will too. As soon as the voters start turning on Trump, Congress will too. I've always said a Pence presidency makes a lot more sense for them, but that also means our fight gets harder. More skilled people, more stable people in power trying to pass their conservative agenda and liberals resting on their laurels, still high on their success of beating Trump, will need even more fight than they've been putting in so far. The real fight begins when Trump leaves office.

But, it is all so interesting and exciting right now that it's nice to just sit back and enjoy it all. Mueller's appointment to the investigation will bring stability, and the latest revelation that Trump called Comey a "nut job" and told the Russians that he hoped it would end the attention on the Russia investigation, is a game changer. I just don't see how he can come back from this one. It will take time, maybe a long time, but sit back, make some popcorn, and enjoy it like



Russia Russia Russia

Flynn is going to go down as the bane of Trump's existence, when all is said and done.

The dominoes of the new administration have always been teetering, but they began to fall in earnest this past Tuesday with news of leaking information to Russian officials during their visit to the White House.

Trump's reaction to the revelation of his leaking of classified information to the Russians.

Here's a good list of what happened when this week. It's getting harder and harder to keep track of it all.

Trump calling anybody else "nuts" is rich, but then again, he's allegedly a very rich man...

Really, it was either Robert Mueller or Captain America who could properly take over the investigation into all of this garbage going on. This is a nice opinion piece talking about Mueller's appointment this week.

Miscellaneous

Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Congressman from Utah is going to be stepping down from his job at the end of June.

Trump made a speech on Sunday about Islam. Apparently he managed to not insult the entire Islamic world.

A refugee camp in Jordan is the first refugee camp in the world to be run solely on solar power.

Scientists have successfully used a 3D printer to create an artificial ovary for a mouse that allowed it to reproduce successfully. They would like to use this for women have have had cancer and want to have children. What will they think of next?!

No question of the week this week, just make sure to keep paying attention to the news, and find opportunities to contact your representatives when the need arises. To quote from Harry Potter, "Constant Vigilance!"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

05/14/17 Week in Review

Well, this was one of the biggest news weeks since the election. I think we're all still reeling and trying to take it all in. Comey's firing, though not completely shocking, and not entirely undeserved, definitely threw all of us off our game this week. This is the time to really start paying attention to everything being reported, and questioning all of it. Also, ask yourself, Trump is good at doing something to distract us from other things. What things did we miss this week when we were all focusing on Comey? Was this a botched attempt to get our minds off of "the Russia thing" or was it worth it to him to deal with that so he could distract us from something else? Just something to keep in mind as we go into next week.

Comey's Firing*

These subpoenas were issued just hours before Trump fired Comey.

This is a good, straight-forward article about the Comey firing and how it all happened.

At least Senator McCain is fighting the good fight with the Democrats over Comey's firing.

If only Speaker Ryan would join the fight as well. Alas, he seems disinclined to.

The current administration has conflicting stories about how the Comey firing happened and why.

Trump met with the Russian Foreign Minister the day after firing Comey.

*-Though these articles have not necessarily been written in chronological order, I placed them in chronological order as the events unfolded, to give you a better sense of how the story went down last week.




The Koreas

South Korea has a new president.

With a new president in South Korea, North Korea is apparently testing the waters with a ballistic missile that landed close to Russian waters on Sunday morning, their time.

Dan Coats

The US Intel Chief spoke to a Senate panel this week and updated them on a laundry list of issues. Check them all out here.

More information the US Intel Chief shared with the Senate panel.

Miscellaneous

Due to the current accusations against him, Seattle's mayor, Ed Murray has decided not to run for re-election.

It wasn't all bad news. This week, the Senate passed on the chance to turn back the clock on greenhouse gas emissions.

Question of the Week

This confirms what I've been thinking for a while. Liberals have issues with tolerance and prejudice as well. And before you object and say, "But that's because 'they're' trying to oppress us!" remember that "they" think the same thing about "us".

"[T]hey see exactly what Donald Trump has taught them: that the entire media landscape loathes them, their values, their family, and their religion."

Are liberals contributing to the great divide in this country more than we think we are? Both of the articles here would suggest that we are in fact doing so. The more I think about late-night comedies and how they handle conservatives, two words keep popping into my head: Bullying, and Prejudice. Bullying doesn't always mean beating somebody up or harassing them on the internet. It comes in many forms. And prejudice doesn't always mean denying somebody a job. And it can happen between people with the same skin color.

I think our intentions are good. We need a bit of comic relief, and we need to showcase how silly some of this stuff out there is. But is humiliating somebody for their belief the right way to do that? Regardless of what we think about the rightness or wrongness of the other person's belief, has bullying a person ever, in the history of the world, successfully led to that person changing their belief to yours? By using mockery and shaming to showcase the rightness of our beliefs, don't we just push people in the opposite direction? Even if they were inclined to think about it a different way or have a glimmer of an open mind, they're not going to, just to spite us.

I know I have experienced this myself with various political beliefs I don't necessarily share with some of my fellow liberals. The bullying I have encountered didn't make me see or share their belief, it made me loathe it, as well as the people they were promoting. It made me want to have nothing to do with them whatsoever, and even though it was last year, I still resent it. Have you ever been made to feel like that by somebody else in your own political party? I would encourage you to recall those emotions, and ask yourself if doing this to other people makes us the better party. Like the Atlantic article mentions, Michelle Obama's quote last year about when others go low, we go high, are we really taking the high road? Or are we just lowering ourselves for the laugh? Are we hurting our party and our country in the long run? Would we like to be the subject of those comedy programs? If one existed on the conservative side that tore our beliefs apart and made us to look like buffoons, would it make us open our hearts and minds to them? Or would it make us want to destroy them at all costs? I think we know the answer to that...

I was going to share one of the SNL skits from last night on today's post. I thought it was pretty funny and I did share it last night on my FB page. But in light of this question of the week, I am going to skip it. I am going to think long and hard about my own role in all of this and how I can help our country get out of this hole it's dug itself into. I can't necessarily change the world or the country, but I can change my own actions. In the end, it's the only thing any of us can really do.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

05/06/17 Week in Review

Well, it was a whirlwind week of overwhelming bills and executive orders being passed. It's almost too much to think about, but we have to think about it. I would urge everybody to read all you can about the facts and figures of these issues, and contact your state representatives to let them know how you feel about them. They need to hear from us.

The Healthcare Bill
A well-written, non-hysterical article about the House voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week.

Another article explaining the health care bill passed this week.

This article describes the pre-existing conditions controversy from this week.

The healthcare bill now lies in the hands of the Senate. It will take time, but the final product is likely to look vastly different from what it looks like now. And that seems to be just fine with the House. For me, this is proof that this was just about getting a cheap victory to make them look less completely pathetic. This wasn't for the American people's benefit, it was for Congress's.

I normally don't share Washington Post articles because I know it's a limited site if you don't have a paid subscription to it, but if you haven't maxed out your free articles for the month yet, or have a subscription, please read this article very carefully. The healthcare bill that Congress passed this week is very upsetting, but the media, both social and news, are not helping very much to quell the hysteria and tell the truth. We need to fight this, but we need to know the facts and base our arguments on those and not our emotions built up from a meme we saw on Facebook or a news article designed to get you to read it and grow terrified so you'll make sure to keep checking back to the site.

Good News

82 of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 have been released.

It looks like PBS is safe for another year, in spite of all our worries!

Scientists have used technology to remove the HIV DNA code from mice, freeing mice from the disease. Could this work one day for humans? Only time and a lot of testing will tell.

LGBT Issues

Though this article veers from the original topic part way through, this is the first real "mainstream" news site talking about the alleged rounding up and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya, that I have seen.

And a follow-up article from the same news site explaining more about Chechnya.

This might not get passed, but at least some members of Congress are trying to do the right thing for our fellow LGBTQ American citizens.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an argument to try and dismantle the ban on gay conversion therapy in the state of California. The ban is being upheld.

Miscellaneous

After a rather raunchy commentary on an episode of Stephen Colbert's night show this week, the FCC will be looking into the complaints it has received to see if any laws were broken.

One of Trump's latest executive orders is aimed at loosening the rules around churches and political speech. The next time you're at church, if you hear your pastor talking politics, you'll know where your religious institution stands on this issue...

The state of Texas is just a governor's signature away from banning sanctuary cities in their state.

Trump can't seem to get anybody to become Secretary of the Army. It's like they don't want to work for him, or something.

Question of the Week

The facts behind the woman arrested after laughing at Jeff Sessions, including a video of the actual incident.

"The US Department of Justice is literally prosecuting a woman for laughing at Jeff Sessions"-This is an actual headline for an article. This is my opinion, but this is not balanced news.

An actually well-balanced, non-hysterical article about the woman arrested after laughing at Jeff Sessions.

Are the Democrats guilty of crying wolf? One of the big headlines I saw a lot this week, besides the healthcare bill, was this one: A woman was arrested and jailed for laughing at Jeff Sessions and has now been found guilty. What isn't told in those headlines, is the context behind all of it. And while I understand that it sounds like a dangerous precedent that Sessions himself is setting, the reality is, none of this appears to have anything to do with him at all. The headlines make it sound like a woman laughed at him, and he had her carted off. If you watch the video of what happened, it paints a very different picture.

My question is, is this good for us as a party to do? With people hurling accusations at us and the media for spreading fake news, are we really doing ourselves any favors by playing into their hands? If we overreact to things like this, when something actually vital happens, does that help spread the word or does it just dilute it because we've overreacted so many times before? The problem with these issues, and with the way the media portrays them, is that they play on our emotions. They're designed to make us terrified and/or outraged over the situation that none of us bothered to investigate beyond the meme we saw on Twitter or that headline we saw on HuffPo. This is irresponsible activism, if you can even call it activism. We must do better than this.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

04/30/17 Week in Review

It was definitely a busier week than last week. Congress is back in session and had to work on their economic plan in order to avoid a standoff and subsequent governmental shutdown. That was avoided, luckily. Because it all ended up being squared away, I didn't actually pay any attention to it and you won't find many articles about it here. We also saw the first 100 days come to pass yesterday. I don't know about you, but it's felt like a lot longer than that...!

Science

While the best solution is still to reduce our plastic consumption, this is very exciting and promising information to hopefully take care of the plastic problem we currently have. *Warning-If looking at maggot-like caterpillars would creep you out, don't open this article.

There is finally a malaria vaccine, and it's going to be rolled out in three African nations very soon.

The malaria vaccine is good, but there is a certain logic behind the idea of letting African scientists be the ones to develop the vaccines they need, and distribute them in the way that works best for their countries.

Scientists have developed an artificial womb to help premature lamb fetuses reach maturity. They would like to develop this technology for human use one day. However, that comes with a whole host of ethical issues that must be addressed first. *Warning-If looking at a lamb fetus would creep you out, don't open this article.

The First 100 Days

Being president of the United States is super hard work. Apparently.

100 days into the new administration, here is the world's take on Trump.

Here is an article written by Pramila Jayapal, my Congressional representative, about her first 100 days in office. I might be biased because she's my rep, but she's pretty awesome!

The state of the Democrats 100 days into the new presidency.

Russia Investigation

The first 100 days of the Russian investigation.

The White House has refused to give documents about Michael Flynn to help with the Russian investigation.

Carl Bernstein seems to think there's an active cover-up going on with the Russia investigation. Somebody who helped uncover Watergate would probably know best.

Apparently there is a plan for the investigation's schedule, going forward.

Healthcare

The GOP healthcare plan just passed a huge hurdle towards being approved.

Here is a closer look at the amendments being proposed to the GOP healthcare bill that have won the approval of so many who had opposed the first bill.

Obama Wall Street Fee Controversy

In this week's example of irony, or possibly hypocrisy: Elizabeth Warren complaining about Obama giving a paid speech whilst promoting her own book, for which I am sure she is charging money to readers to purchase…Be careful Dems, we don't want to become the snake the swallows its own tail and destroys itself.

While I'm not sure I agree with this opinion piece, it does explain very well why some people are freaking out about Obama accepting a fee to give a speech for Wall Street. It's good to consider all sides of an argument.

Miscellaneous

New Orleans have begun taking down some offensive monuments from the Civil War era, with plans to take down more soon. They don't know where to put them, however. Might I make a suggestion? The Robert E. Lee or the Jefferson Davis statue, depending on size, might look wonderful in Fremont, across the street from the Lenin statue...

Gift Ngoepe has become the first African to play major league baseball in the United States.

All these judges are being so mean to Trump, shooting down his illegal, unethical, and unconstitutional executive orders...Here's the latest.

Here is an opinion piece about Trump's bullying of Canada that started this week.

This is a clear, well-written, non-hysterical article about net neutrality and the changes proposed this week.

Question(s) of the Week:


I'm not going to pretend to know the answers to these questions, so I am just going to pose them here for us to ponder over time. This whole "Obama fee" controversy feels like much ado about nothing, to me, but apparently it's a big deal? Why is it such a big deal? If the idea of receiving money from Wall Street for giving a speech is problematic, isn't giving the speech at all in the first place even more problematic? Why aren't people upset that Obama is giving the speech at all, instead of the fact that he'll be receiving money for it? And why are people upset at the idea of receiving money for giving a speech? Should all things done by a former president or politician be altruistic in nature? Why shouldn't they profit from doing work? Would you give a speech for free every time? It's not quite the same as being invited to talk at a high school graduation, after all. Why is ok for Elizabeth Warren to write and promote her books while in office but it's not ok for Obama to take money for giving a speech while out of office?

Like I said, I don't know the answers to these questions. They're more philosophical in nature than something with a firm yes or no answer. Each person has to answer them for themselves, really. I wish you luck with that!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

4/23/17 Week in Review

This week felt off, somehow, news-wise. Maybe because Congress was on break so there was no real news there, but I think most of it was the fact that the focus turned to North Korea and a ton of "what ifs" that the media focused on. And I did have some real life distractions of my own, I must admit. It's possible I missed some stories, but I did manage to find some good stuff, though not as much as a normal week. Check out what I found!

Trump and Co. Drama

The first 100 day mark is coming up and what has Trump done so far? This isn't a rhetorical question, I'm actually asking you this. What has he accomplished so far??

Another Trump top pick bites the dust...

As we have suspected all along, Susan Rice's unmasking of names as a part of her job duties was in fact, much ado about nothing as Trump continued to try and find somebody to blame for his idiotic wiretapping tweet.

Teen Vogue strikes again! Ivanka Trump met with the Chinese president and it went so smashingly, apparently, that she now has a whole new market to sell her goods to. Convenient too, since I think all her stuff is made there...

Russia

Apparently there is some Russia stuff that happened this week. Carter Page, remember that name.

Even Fox News is talking about Carter Page. And after the week they had with firing Bill O'Reilly, the fact that they're even acknowledging the Russia stuff is amazing. And telling.

Interesting turn of events here. Did Trump turn down this request in order to not look like he was playing favorites? I mean really, this would look bad if he'd OK'd this. Or does he truly think this deal was bad on its own merits? We may never know for sure...

Part two of the Russia probe begins May 2nd. Mark your calendar to see how this all works out.

Miscellaneous

The Florida senator who got into trouble last week for using a racial slur has been forced to resign. This is a good lesson, folks, in how keeping up with these fights, we can actually make a difference.

A person protected under DACA has been deported in spite of what the administration has promised to not deport them.

Bill O'Reilly's out of a job at Fox. Just don't forget that Fox news is culpable for all of this and only did what they had to do for the sake of advertising money, not for the sake of actually doing the right thing.

Question of the Week:
Why was the news so boring on one hand, and terrifying on the other hand? North Korea and the threat of nuclear war dominated most of the news feeds that I came across this week. I don't watch news on tv, so I can't say if it was the same for that or not, but if I had to guess, I would guess that it probably was. I'm not sure how things escalated so quickly with North Korea, but my assumption is that the current administration, in hopes of distracting people from Russia and Trump's stupid wiretapping tweet, decided to poke the hornet next that is North Korea, with a stick. Now they have something to fight and protect America from and the media is eating it up.

There were things that developed this week regarding the Russia investigation, but I had to actually search it out. I chose not to share any stories on North Korea because I didn't want to perpetuate what Trump wants, but also because nothing actually happened. It was a week full of "what ifs," "coulds," and "mights" and that is not news. That is speculation and one of the things I vowed to stay away from as much as possible as I started this news project.

Trump has always played a distraction game with the media. When something big comes up, you need to look in the opposite direction to see what he's trying to distract us from. Whatever wasn't dominating the news was probably a welcomed break for Trump, which is exactly why we need to keep the focus on what he doesn't like. Currently, that's Russia and his wiretapping tweet. Keep your eyes on the prize, people.

This upcoming week is bound to be a crazy news week. Congress is back in session, they have to settle on a budget or risk a government shutdown and Trump wants to put financing the Great Wall of Mexico into all of that. North Korea is now a thing and Trump's first 100 days will be this coming Saturday. This week is bound to more than make up for this week's news slump. Stay vigilant, readers, and keep your government reps on speed dial!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

04/16/17 Week in Review

Well, here it is, Easter Sunday! I've been a bit distracted this week with my own work drama issues, but I still managed to find some good reads this week. Happy reading!

College Tuition

New York state now offers tuition-free college!

But(there's always a but), there are some caveats...

If you pay student loans, you might need to know about this recent change by Betsy DeVos.

Trump Troubles

Who knew Fox News would be the voice of reason with the Syrian strike issue?

This should be concerning to everybody, regardless of what "side" you're on politically. The president's children should not be able to have such a political influence on the president.

So, apparently this is why Paul Manafort is going to have to register as a foreign agent. I can't imagine this looks good for the Trump administration.

Here is a sound lawsuit against the Great Wall of Mexico. I hope this does what it's intended to do and stops the wall from being made.

British intelligence intercepted quite a bit of communication between Team Trump and Russia in the months leading up to the election. They passed this on to their American counterparts. It does make one wonder why this information was not made public long before now...Like, maybe 11 days before the election?

Trump wants to increase the amount of people patrolling the border for undocumented immigrants. The only problem is not many people seem to want that job. Gosh, if only there was a group of people here who are exploitable and do jobs that most Americans are unwilling to do...Hmm, that is a puzzlement.

African American Community Issues

Like last week's article about black women having to live with different standards for their hair, here is another example of double standards. In this piece, a young woman was told her prom dress was inappropriate because it wasn't "formal" enough. Not because it showed too much skin, but because the material was deemed inappropriate.This is not ok.

The man who killed nine people in a church in South Carolina doesn't deserve to have me type his name out, but he does deserve the nine life sentences he received in court this week.

Miscellaneous

The Texas voter ID law has been deemed a form of racial discrimination by a judge, for a second time. That must mean it really is discriminatory...

Good news for Washington state citizens who use birth control!

I waited for a while to share this story until I saw it come across a reputable news source. Even so, most of it is presented as allegation.

Video of the Week
Sean Spicer has a very special Easter and Passover message for America.


Question of the Week
My question, or thought, stems from this article.

While the thought of Trump's base of voters and supporters starting to turn on him might sound awesome at first, it does make me feel a bit concerned about the long-run. If his base is turning away from him because they feel he is no longer living up to his promises, they are not going to suddenly start supporting a Democrat nominee. They will continue to turn to more and more extremists. As the article says, a lot of them strongly support Steve Bannon and don't like the idea of his fall from Trump's graces. If Bannon leaves the White House in disgrace, and Trump's base begins to feel sympathy for him and sadness because his causes, which are their causes, are no longer being heard, what's the stop them from throwing their support behind Bannon down the road? If we think a Trump presidency is scary, imagine how terrifying a Bannon presidency would be? I don't know about you, but that sounds like the worst idea ever.

So, what can be done about this? These populist-leaning people are not going to change their ways any time soon, they will only continue to look for people who embody their beliefs. The only thing I can think of for how to combat this, is to actually listen to them and hear their concerns. I'm not saying we validate them or normalize them, but all of this is coming from fear, and fear makes people do dangerous things. There has to be a way to come together with these people and help them work through their fears. It's the only way they will be able to move on from these terrifying candidates who have no business being anywhere near the White House. I like to think of Trump as a one-off anomaly, but there is that little thought in the back of my mind, that he might be the first of many if we're not careful...






Sunday, April 9, 2017

04/09/17 Week in Review

What a week it's been. It feels like there's just more and more terrible news happening right now, but in spite of that, there was also some great things that happened this week too. Check it all out here!

This Week in "Trump Won't Give Up on His Wiretapping Tweet"

Susan Rice is this week's victim of Trump's desperation to prove his ridiculous wiretapping tweet right.

Susan Rice's response to being dragged into the drama.

Russia

David Nunes is stepping down from the Russia probe of the White House.

Things just aren't going well for Donald Trump's allies...

Twitter

The government is apparently trying to find out who's behind those rogue twitter accounts. Twitter is disinclined to acquiesce to their request. Keep an eye out for this one.

When the government decided not to pursue the matter any further, Twitter dropped their lawsuit against them. I still say to keep an eye out for this one. The government doesn't need to know who is behind these rogue accounts. If they keep this up, it will have to be sorted out in court.

White House Drama

Steve Bannon has apparently been removed from the National Security Council. This demotion can't be settling well with him.

And it seems that the Bannon drama is even more dramatic than first thought.

Good News

LGBT rights had a huge win this week. Workplace bias rules now protect against LGBT discrimination.

Here's an invention that would make saltwater drinkable. This could change the world!

Belated good news- This is from last week, but as it hasn't gotten a lot of attention, I am sharing it anyway. In spite of the climate rollback signed by Trump last week, it appears that a lot of businesses will not be taking him up on his offer.

The bids have come and gone for companies to build the Great Wall of Mexico. It appears, though, that there aren't as many takers as they had hoped there would be...

In spite of what feels like a lot of setbacks recently in the world of gender equality in the workplace, there are things being done. Use this article to find out what your state is doing to combat gender-based income inequality.

California's years-long drought is now over, but most of their conservation efforts will remain in effect.

Apparently, sexual harassment doesn't pay off, as Bill O'Reilly is finding out...


Bad News

Thursday night, Trump ordered military strikes against Syria in response to the chemical attack earlier in the week.

Is there a plus side for the Democrats to losing the filibuster? Unfortunately, these things swing both ways.

Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Miscellaneous

Black women in the United States have a different set of rules for what they can and can't do to their hair, than white women. This can affect their ability to get a job or a promotion. The double standard is disturbing.

Is there hope for Democrats and Republicans ever being able to work together in Congress? We can only keep our fingers crossed and hope so.

Civics 101:
Last week we finished up the Declaration of Independence. Because there are so many annotations and changes to the Constitution, it's not really conducive for me to copy and paste it in pieces here. I am going to include the link for the entire Constitution here for people to bookmark and read on their own time. And since I'm not sure how much people were taking away from this section, anyway, I might not continue it after this.

The Constitution of the United States


Book Recommendation:

I have had thoughts swirling around in my head since I started reading this, but now that I've finished it, I'm having trouble putting them together into something coherent. This was one of the most profound pieces I have ever had the privilege to read. What W.E.B DuBois has to say about white privilege and how the system is set up to work against black people feels ahead of its time, because it's like he's describing how things are today. But when you realize that it's actually not ahead of it's time, it's relevant because nothing has changed since his time, you're overcome with a sense of sadness and anger about it. If he was still alive today, he wouldn't probably notice much difference between the Reconstruction Era, and now.

W.E.B DuBois was one of two big players in what we would call the Civil Rights movement, though it didn't really have a title in those days. DuBois and Booker T. Washington had opposing ideas on how to approach civil rights. They were the Malcolm X and MLK Jr. of their time. And I can't say for Booker T. Washington, but W.E.B DuBois had issues with Washington. So much so, that one of the essays in this book is devoted entirely to what he thinks is wrong with Washington's approach. Washington apparently had a more "work with the system" attitude, whereas DuBois saw that the system wasn't set up for people of color(an actual phrase he uses in this book, well before it become a phrase we use today) and that maybe they needed to not be a part of the system if they ever wanted to have any sort of true freedom or equality. If these men were alive today, I think they'd be engaged in an active Twitter feud.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who is trying to get a better idea of how white privilege works, and how the system we live in today actually started a very long time ago. Go into it knowing that he was a product of his times, though. He didn't seem to have much use for women, and they tend to be side notes in his essays, if they show up at all. I think what he has to say about equality and how slavery still affects the world today, is important enough to overlook this issue. Be prepared to be emotionally moved by this, even to the point of tears, which was sort of embarrassing because I was on the bus when that happened. The version I read was a Bantam Classic edition from 1989, with a foreword written by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. The picture is of this version. If you can find that version, I recommend reading that intro too. Dr. Gates is a big-name voice today, and you can see how he too, was influenced by the words of this great author.

Question of the Week:
This isn't a question, so much as a thought I had this week. Hypocrisy and politics seem to go hand-in-hand so naturally. I am trying to train myself to spot hypocrisies in my own political thoughts and opinions and calling myself on them. If I am ok with something being supported by or undertaken by a Democrat, then I have to be ok with the same thing being done by a Republican. The opposite is also true. If I am not ok with a Republican doing something, then I must also not be ok with it when a Democrat does the same thing. The question is, do I support something because it's being done by a Democrat or do I support it because it's the right thing to do? If it's the right thing to do, then it doesn't matter who does it. It just matters that it's being done.

Do One Thing:
My goal this week was to get my apartment cleaned and under control. And of course that was a big fail, because cleaning sucks! I will get it done, eventually...Also, I am finding it difficult to remember these things and thinking of things to do, so I might discontinue this section as well. That's the good thing about this news blog project, it's something that can change over time depending on what works best.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

04/02/17 Week in Review

Well, here we are, another Sunday, a long day ahead of us to read the best-written, most interesting articles from the week. Once again, there was no lack of topics being written about this week. Pace yourself, and make sure to read the other items too. We finish out the Declaration of Independence today and I'm sure to upset a lot of you with the Question of the Week that I pose...Happy reading!

White House Issues

Ivanka Trump is going to have a more official unofficial role in the White House.

Another White House worker bites the dust...

LGBTQ Issues

The next census will not contain questions asking about sexual orientation or gender identity.

North Carolina has reached a "compromise" on their transgender bathroom bill, but the details of the compromise don't seem to change much of anything.

Sanctuary Cities

Cities are making preparations to band together against the administration as sanctuary cities.

The city of Seattle is suing the president over his attacks on sanctuary cities.

Russia

The state of things with Russia.

Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is currently offering to testify in the Russia investigation in exchange for legal immunity for any wrongdoing on his part.

The latest wrap-up of This Week in the Russia Investigation. This thing is playing out like a soap opera...

The Great Wall of Mexico

Here's an article about the White House's plan on how to pay for the Great Wall of Mexico.

The Great Wall of Mexico appears to have hit a few snags...

Miscellaneous

One of the anti-apartheid greats of South Africa has passed away...

Trump's wrath is currently falling on the Freedom Caucus as fallout from the failed healthcare bill last week continues to spread.

Tim Eyman is being sued by Washington state.

Wells Fargo has reached a deal on how much money they'll pay as punishment for fake accounts.

Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur species that might change how we look at the evolution of dinosaurs.

This article about the Democrat vote for or against Gorsuch really shows just how much politics is involved in politics. Strategy, give and take, and constituent wishes, among other things all go into how a Senator decides how they will vote. And then of course, there's the looming nuclear option that could change the rules for the worse...See my Question of the Week section of this blog to explore this topic in further depth.

Civics 101:

This week, we finally finish out the Declaration of Independence. It was a long journey, and a lot to take in, but then again, so was breaking away from Britain! Make sure to read the names of the signers. Some of the names should be familiar.

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton"

Question of the Week:

Should the Democrats vote to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court or should they fillibuster?

Chicago Tribune article

Fox News article

CNN article

The only consensus I can seem to find in all my research on this topic, is that, the nuclear option is something neither Democrats nor Republicans really want to see used. Democrats are hoping that they can push this issue and keep the Republicans from using it, and Republicans are detarmined to see Gorsuch confirmed, no matter what. Unfortunately, both parties are playing a game of chicken with this, and the American people and the functionality of the Senate are truly what's at stake here. What I am sure of, is that none of this is actually about confirming a person to the Supreme Court. And I am also sure, if the nuclear option is used, nothing good will come of it for the American people.

So, what is the "nuclear option"? In case you haven't been researching this issue, you might not be aware of it beyond it being a scary-sounding term. The Senate is the group of people who vote to confirm a person to the Supreme Court. Currently, the Senate needs 61 votes out of the 100 total Senators to confirm a person to the Supreme Court. However, changes can be proposed, voted on, and enacted quickly to change that rule from a total of 61 votes, to a simple majority of 51 votes. This is helpful when you need to push something through and can't get the votes you need from the other side of the political aisle. But it's also a double-edged sword, because it can be used by whichever party is currently in the majority and shuts out the minority party even more. This is not conducive to bipartisanship and generally leads to a larger amount of gridlock and people refusing to work with each other. One of the big issue items when America was being founded, was the concept of the tyranny of the majority over the minority. The nuclear option does not help this issue, whatsoever.

Here are some other terms you might have heard or seen a lot lately:
Filibuster: When the Senate cannot reach its necessary 61 votes, and the debate continues in hopes of swaying people to change their vote, this is known as a filibuster. This is what is expected to happen when the vote for Gorsuch takes place. This adds time to the process and can force the entire process to grind to a halt.
Cloture: This is a call to end a filibuster by taking an immediate vote in hopes of getting to the 61 votes. This is where the nuclear option comes in. Prior to this call, other calls can be made to change the majority from 61 to 51, and then the cloture vote is called on, and that's the end of the debate. The filibuster is over and the vote to confirm Gorsuch takes place where he is elected to the Supreme Court.

"We will never confirm anybody until we get a chance to vote for Merrick Garland!" "We won't pull our nominee, you'd better vote for him or we'll go nuclear!" This is pretty much what I have heard from both sides. Neither is a good or valid argument or form of combat.

The Democrats, while I understand their anger at what the Republicans did to Obama last year when he tried to put forth a Supreme Court nominee, are acting like children. This is a temper tantrum. Sometimes life sucks and rarely is it fair. Suck it up and deal with it. We cannot become the very thing we hated about the Republicans for the last six years: obstructionists. Obstruction for the sake of obstruction might make us feel powerful, but it doesn't help the country. Tit-for-tat isn't power, and it doesn't move people forward. All it does is create a vicious cycle of people getting revenge on each other for past wrongs. Working together to compromise on the things that can be compromised is always how this country moves forward. We have to decide if we are fighting this just to spite Trump or if we are truly fighting this to make the country a better place. When we see compromise as losing, we have already lost.

The Republicans, though, seem unwilling to turn Gorsuch down and tell Trump to pick somebody else. They want to be seen as winners. They want to be seen as able to do anything after six years of being obstructionists. They have to save face, especially after the horrible trouncing they just experienced over the healthcare fail. Perhaps there really are some major issues with Gorsuch that they refuse to entertain. It's their way, or the nuclear highway.

My personal gut feeling is this: Based on what I have researched, we could be a lot worse off than having to vote for Gorsuch. Gorsuch will not alter the outcome of the Supreme Court votes, for now, at least. It will merely restore it to the way it was when Scalia was still alive. Gorsuch isn't the nominee to fight. Sure he's conservative, but you know what? Any nominee in the next four years, is going to be conservative. But this guy isn't the devil people are making him out to be, he's just a conservative that Trump nominated and that eats away at us. Even if the GOP pulled Gorsuch, I suspect the Democrats would nitpick and disagree with every single nominee put before them. They'd say it was because they don't like the stance the person has, but it's really about Trump and sticking it to him in any possible way, regardless of the consequences. People need to put their feelings away for a minute and really look at the situation with their heads for a while. I would recommend this for both the Senate, and the American people. The nuclear option will always loom over our heads while it still exists, and it will be used by somebody, eventually. This isn't the time to force the GOP's hand. That time will be for the next nominee, or the one after that, or the one after that. This might not sound very "liberal" or "progressive" of me, but sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win a war.

What are  your thoughts on all of this? No matter what happens, this is a situation that will truly take the wisdom of Solomon to solve...

Do One Thing:
So, my one thing this week was to walk every day. I did this nearly so. I was out of work on Monday for a sick day, so I didn't walk that day, but I did manage to do some level of walking every day other than that. I definitely want to keep up with this.

For this week's one thing...I want to get my apartment cleaned up, in hopes of keeping it under control. Spring cleaning time!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

3/26/17 Week in Review

Well, what an exciting week it was for those of us who weren't fans of the proposed healthcare plan. It was cool to watch it all happen in real time as the vote failed to even happen twice before the bill was pulled entirely. Oddly enough, you will only find one article about that in this week's post. Why? Most of the ones I read this week were out of date by the end of the week, and I didn't come across a good one I really liked that summed it all up. I also figure that most of us were paying pretty close attention to this one and you probably don't need it summed up for you. Here are some articles I read about other things that happened this week. Happy reading!

Rules and Laws

In other, overlooked news this week, the Supreme Court made an interesting ruling that will affect special education students.

Not everything was a spectacular fail this week; the Senate passed this disturbing rule that allows internet privacy to be less private than it used to be.

Russia Issues

A good break down of what Comey said about wiretapping and Russia on Monday.

Nunes claimed he had information that the Trump team had indeed been monitored by people, but now he's saying that's not actually the case. I'm reminded of that random man Trump dug up who claimed to have all the information we needed to prove there had been millions of illegal votes for Hillary Clinton, only to have it come out that he himself was registered in several states to vote. That man disappeared once again into obscurity very soon afterwards...

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

Here is an article discussing why they think the Democrats should filibuster Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

And here is another explaining why a filibuster might not be the best option for the Democrats. *Personal opinion: Let this confirmation go without a filibuster. If the Dems fight this, the Reps will most likely revoke the filibuster option and that's something that can't be undone. Like the article says, this is the long game. This isn't about Gorsuch's confirmation, it's about the next one and the one after that. This isn't going to tip the balance, but the next ones will. Keep our power for when we really need to fight it tooth and nail. I know it *feels* wrong not to fight this, but as we've seen this week in other areas, we can still successfully fight things, regardless of who is on the Supreme Court.

Miscellaneous

Another incident of somebody being detained at an airport based on their name and ethnic background. This man just happened to be a former police officer...

The oldest Rockefeller has passed away. He was 101 years old. Read about his life here.

A science and medical breakthrough that would make Popeye proud. They say veggies are good for your health, but who knew that could be so literal?

The latest round of blaming for the failed healthcare bill. I don't think this is over and I'm pretty sure we'll see somebody lose their job for this. It's just a matter of who and when.

Civics 101:

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."

We are nearing the end of the Declaration of Independence. As you can see in this section, the writers are expressing how they have exhausted all of their legal means to appeal to the king and country for their needs and still aren't getting the respect or help they deserve. They are left with not many other options...

Question of the Week:

This article from the Atlantic magazine's March issue has opened my eyes to the rise of Putin and his many supporters around the world, including the United States. As you read it, you see that it isn't really about him, or Russia, it's about what he claims to stand for. We are seeing racism, Islamaphobia, and homophobia coming out of the woodwork right now in this country and people are no longer trying to disguise it. They are proudly sharing it with the world. Those of use who don't share those views are hoping that this is the last gasp of a dying movement, but do we have it completely wrong? Is it not the last gasp of a dying movement, but the first cry of a newly born and growing movement? I suspect we will see more of this as climate change continues to affect the world, and overpopulation continues to use up more resources than we can support.

Conflict in this world has always been a battle between the haves and the have nots. Perhaps this conflict is about people who have open minds versus people who have not open minds. People who are open to change versus people who are scared of change. The problem with people who rely on fear to guide their lives, is that they tend to act on it. Can we keep this contained? Can we work with these people to assuage their fears? When we approach them with the attitude that these people are worthless because of their viewpoint, and cut them out of the discussion like children who can't behave properly, is that really resolving the issue? Or is it just driving them closer to fighting back with violence against the perceived threat, which in this case, is us?

While it doesn't feel right to "reward" this fear- and hate-based attitude by giving it a voice or a seat at the table, maybe we have to do that anyway. I don't know about you, but when I'm upset or scared of something, being able to talk about it to somebody really helps me diffuse those negative emotions. It helps me to see it in a different perspective. When people who fear and hate others have no chance to talk those fears and hates out with others who might be able to help them overcome it, it festers inside them and all they're allowed to do is talk about it with people who share those thoughts and feelings, which fuels them. I suspect that while we have a good reason to try to shame people and cut them out of the conversation as a way of forcing them to conform to our world view, it's not actually changing any hearts and minds. It's just concentrating the hates and fears. It might actually backfire on us and have a horrible outcome.

It's like what Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." It feels like we are light and love by cutting those people off and not giving them a voice, but I think that might actually be wrong of us to do. There must be a way to balance letting these people express their fears while not condoning what they do and say. This is on us to figure out. What do you all think?

Do One Thing:

So, for weeks now I have forgotten to do my one thing. That thing? Find out if my cell phone can call long distance without having any issues. So, I called my dad and he said there should be no issue, and I googled the website, and all they talked about was international long distance, which isn't what I need anyway. So, I guess it's not an issue and I could go ahead and try it out the next time I am called on to contact my representatives. I'll definitely use my cell phone and not my landline for that!

Ok, so now I need a new thing to do...What to do, what to do...For this week, my thing will be to make sure I do my walking every day. I am trying to get back into it. After spraining my ankle last year and also dealing with some other health issues like my acid reflux, there wasn't much motivation for me to keep walking. But now that those issues are better, there aren't many excuses left for me to not get out there and exercise. My body is definitely out of shape again, but I sleep better at night, and my mind always feels so much better after getting more exercise, so it's time to get back into it. That starts now!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

03/19/17 Week in Review

Healthcare plans, budget cuts, and wiretap story denials, oh my! What a busy week for the current administration as they try to foist irresponsible cuts to the federal government on us, start nuclear wars, and insult other world leaders in the never-ending quest to prove that one is right. Here is the best of the best of what I read. Happy reading!

Trumpcare

Trump's epic response to the outpouring of anger against the GOP's healthcare plan. While his response is brilliant, read between the lines at what he isn't saying. I might be reading too much into this, but I think this is his fallback plan.

Trumpcare will most likely be front and center in the midterm elections in 2018. Read here to find out what the Democrats plan to do with it.

I know this generally breaks my rule about speculative articles, but it's just such a glorious read, I can't help but share it here. Trumpcare/Ryancare could be what takes out the GOP...If only...

Africa

Kofi Annan has some big energy plans for the continent of Africa. Can he make them come to pass? Let us hope so!

An update on the statue found in Egypt last week. It turns out it's not Ramses II, but it was still an important person in Egyptian history.

Trump

Monday brought with it the passing of another executive order, calling for the researching of federal government departments and their necessity. Money-saving is the stated motive behind this. According to this article, however, it will take the help of Congress to get any of this to work, however. Keep an eye out for this one, but I would advise not panicking just yet.

Here is the actual executive order passed on Monday.

A sad, insightful, and interesting look into the minds of some Trump supporters. This is worth a read, if only to see where they're coming from.


Trump definitely seems unwilling to admit he was wrong or that he lied when it comes to his wiretapping claims, and I think we should continue to act as though he is completely serious in all of this.

Trump's tax return explained. While I don't think the taxes are that important overall, for those who like reading about taxes, this is a good article about it.

Miscellaneous

There is a push for Scotland to hold another referendum to break away from England. It didn't work last time they tried, but with Brexit looming over their heads, and the fact that Scotland doesn't want to exit the EU, it might stick this time. Keep your eye out for this one, folks.

The city of Seattle is considering privatizing some of its community centers and pools.

American citizens, at least those who are Muslims or are of Middle Eastern descent, are having their cellphones searched upon return to the United States.

 This blog post about non-GMO foods might make you rethink the foods you eat, and the foods you don't eat. It's definitely made me rethink my stance on the topic.

A disturbing, though not surprising piece about Monsanto and it's quest to get rid of a study showing the cancer risk of one of their top-selling chemicals.

Civics 101:
In this week's section of the Declaration of Independence, we finish out the long, very long list of wrongs that King George is being accused of:

"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

Ahhh, those sad and disturbing times before we stopped thinking of Native Americans as "savages"...If I was to rewrite the Declaration of Independence, that part would definitely get some heavy editing!

Question of the Week:
This came to me after two separate things I read this week. The first was the list of budget cuts in Trump's budget proposal. So many things, including the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts(NEA). The other thing I read was an article in the Seattle Times regarding the famine in four African and Middle Eastern nations right now. The article also mentioned the fact that we currently have 20 million school-age children in the United States who rely on school lunches to guarantee that they get at least one meal a day. This also made me think of Flint, Michigan, which has been without potable water for years, with very little, if no, intervention from the federal government. All of these ideas whirled around my head, and I became very angry at all of it. The question that I thought of, might be shocking or controversial, but I feel I have to pose it anyway.

Do we, as a society, deserve things like the arts, when we do not take care of the people in our country? If we let 20 million children starve, what right do we have to enjoy art? If we look at this from the perspective of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the first, largest bottom level is that of our basic needs. The things every human needs to survive, which includes food and water. Art, viewing it and creating it, would fall under the the highest category, Self-Actualization. We like the arts, we enjoy them, we get satisfaction and fulfillment from them, but in the end, they're extras. Things we can partake in and view, when all our other needs have been met. Do we not have a moral and ethical obligation to make sure that at the very least, all our fellow citizens of this country, have met their basic level of needs before we indulge in our highest?

Of course, this is not why Trump is proposing to cut funding to the NEA, nor is he using those funds to help feed the poor in this country. They're getting cuts too, tragically. And I don't suppose this has to be an either/or situation, really. We can fund both. We have funded both. But even when we did fund both, we still had 20 million school age children relying on school lunches for food. So clearly, it wasn't enough, was it?

Do One Thing:
So, I have been forgetting to do my one thing for a few weeks now, and I am happy to say that this week, I actually achieved half of the thing! I figured out how texting works on my cellphone. It turns out it's not as complicated as I expected, so that's good! Now I just need to figure out how long distance works on it to achieve the second half of my do one thing. That'll be for this week, hopefully. Maybe I should write myself a note so I don't forget again!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

03/12/17 Week in Review

Well, it was another busy, ongoing week for the news. There are a lot of issues that are still in the midst of unfolding, but I did find a few good articles for most of the big topics that popped up this week. Have fun catching up!

Local Issues

Some of Seattle's homeless population are about to get housing!

If you've been following this story closely, like I have, you might have had a moment of panic a couple weeks ago when Wells Fargo announced that they would release Seattle from its contract early with no penalties. The only problem? We're not set up yet to put our money anywhere else. If Wells Fargo cancels our contract, we're royally messed up. As much as I would love to take our money away today, this has to be done properly or it'll be an epic disaster for our city. This can't be put off for too long, Seattle needs to find a new bank or work with the state to create a state-run bank to house this money. The problem of course, is big-banking lobbyists who keep shooting down the idea of a state bank. Are you looking for a local issue to get into? This is a good one. Research state banks, research bank lobbyists, and start writing and calling your local representatives!

Travel Ban 2.0

A good article with more information about travel ban 2.0.

Hawaii is the first state to challenge the new and "improved" travel ban.

While this is technically an opinion piece, it also explains really well what the new travel ban will and won't do, assuming it is allowed to be enacted.

Washington state is once again challenging the ban, with an interesting argument. Other states are pledging to join in the fight, as well.

The resistance to this new attempt at a travel ban has begun.

Trumpcare

Say it with me people: Trumpcare, Trumpcare, Trumpcare! Other acceptable forms include GOPCare and RepubliCare. (I made those up, but I like them!)

Trump's back-up plan for when Trumpcare inevitably fails.

A good article about the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

A list of the current critics of Trumpcare.

Or maybe we should call it RyanCare?

Miscellaneous

A really interesting article about when girls start to lose interest in STEM-related topics and what can be done to help combat that.

Here's a good article explaining the latest Wikileaks information "dump" regarding the CIA and what they may or may not be doing with electronics in this country.

The Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on the transgender bathroom rights issue. For now, at least. Keep an eye out on this topic.

I may not agree with Lindsay Graham on many things, but I never tire of seeing him drag Trump through the mud...

A new statue has been unearthed in Egypt. It's thought to be Ramses II.

In 2017, starvation is still very much a thing on this planet.

Now it's Texas's turn to have their gerrymandering and voter laws called into question.

Civics 101:
In this week's continuation of King George's wrongs, as listed in the Declaration of Independence:

"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies"

Question of the Week:

Is Ben Carson dumb/stupid/an idiot for saying enslaved people who came to America during the Transatlantic Slave Trade era were immigrants who had to work really hard for less?

This opinion piece speaks to his latest gaffe, as well as some done by other people recently.

I have formed an opinion that I have yet to hear anybody else express or agree with when I mention it, but I stand by it. I will present it as my take on this issue. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. He went to and graduated from medical school and then worked his way up through the ranks to become a surgeon and then specialized in a very complex type of surgery. That is not the mark of a "stupid" or unintelligent man. But think about it, the medical world, is largely an old (white) boy's club, right? So he had to work his way into this world and find a way to be accepted into it. That probably meant leaving his community and his heritage behind. Have you ever noticed that Ben Carson always looks uncomfortable with everything? Like, painfully so. I think that deep down, Ben Carson hates himself. He hates the color of his skin, his heritage, his community's past, all of it. It reminds him of what he isn't, and what he had to go through to be accepted into the world he loves most. So, he ignores the past, or changes the narrative to be a little less painful. He takes out the victimization element of the history of enslaved people in the United States. It's sad when you really think about it. It's tragic, actually. White people have set up the system in such a way that a person of color has to detach themselves from their past, their heritage, in order to be accepted. It's easier for us that way, we don't have to deal with the messiness of white guilt when the person of color doesn't feel like a victim, right? It's a perfect system...for white people. I think it's an important aspect to remember when you hear him say something like he did this past week.

But what about you? What are your thoughts about this? Maybe I'm reading way too much into it and the man really is just an idiot...

Do One Thing:

Did I do the thing that I hadn't done the week before? Of course not! I had a crazy busy week at work and continued to help my sister after her surgery. I didn't even think about it once. So, once again, it becomes the one thing to do this week instead. Maybe I'll finally do it!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

03/15/17 Week in Review

I feel like I have less articles this week than I have had in past weeks. I read a lot, I just wasn't pleased with the quality of the writing for a lot of it. Also, a lot of the big issues this week are still ongoing, so a lot of the articles feel like they're already out of date, or soon to be. I did manage to find plenty to read, though, so enjoy your Sunday news reading today!

Trump's Nominations

Another Trump nominee has withdrawn his name from consideration.

We have a new Secretary for the Department of the Interior.

Russia

Two more Trump advisors are known to have had contact with the Russian envoy.

Where things stand on what the Trump administration's connections to Russia are, and what we still need to find out.

The Tuesday Speech

Information about VOICE, talked about during Trump's speech on Tuesday.

Fact-checking Trump's speech on Tuesday night.

Travel Issues

Information on what customs can and cannot ask you when you are leaving a domestic flight.

Something to keep in mind if you plan on traveling to Europe over the next few years.

Immigration Issues

What Seattle churches are planning to do to support the city's sanctuary status to help immigrants.

I hesitated to add this, because at this point it's more speculation than news, and there isn't a clear source for where this information is coming from, but I felt it was important enough for people to read about sooner, rather than later. I don't know how this particular issue is best combated, contacting your representatives, maybe? But this is definitely not an ok policy to enact, and my personal take is that this should never see the light of day to be retracted at a later date. It should be dead on arrival before it can even take effect.

Voting Issues

Voting rights are under attack, yet again. This time from the Department of Justice...This does not bode well for the people in states that enjoy suppressing voters from using their right to vote.

It looks like the days of gerrymandering districts in the state of Virginia may be numbered...

Miscellaneous

Former President George W. Bush has some strong opinions on the current administration.

Warren Buffett's opinion on the current and future state of the economy.

Where things currently stand on the ACA repeal and its chances of getting past all the hurdles.

Trump has blamed the US military for the death of a serviceman during a raid in Yemen. This was the morning before his speech that night in which he praised the serviceman's widow for the sacrifice her husband had made to his country.

Due to the mix-up during the Oscars last Sunday, the director of Moonlight never had a chance to give the speech he had planned to give, if they'd won. Read it here!

Four transgender women of color have been killed in one week in this country, bringing the annual total to seven so far in less than three months into 2017. This is not ok.

Terrifyingly, the cartoon, Daria, a very important piece of my 90's youth, has turned 20 this week.

Opinion Pieces

Trump is not a conservative, and apparently, neither is the GOP...


Sexism and its role in the Clinton email controversy. Pence will not likely receive the same vitriol Clinton did.

Civics 101:
I'm going to include a longer section of the Declaration of Independence this week, since the list of articles is a little shorter than it has been so far. Remember, we're in the middle of the long laundry list of things King George is guilty of doing to the Colonies, at least in their opinion.

"He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."

Question of the Week:
I can't think of anything good this week. I feel like the news stories this week all ended in cliffhangers and I don't really know where to go with them yet. They're still very much ongoing. So, I'll leave it up to the readers. Do you have a question we could explore as a group of readers? Comment on the blog or the post on Facebook and let's see what we come up with!

Do One Thing: 
Did I do my assigned thing from last week? Of course not! I spent the second half of this week taking care of my sister after she had surgery on both legs, so I was a little distracted from all of that. I think I'm out of my routine and a bit out of sorts because of that. I will try to do my assignment next week!