We’re all Capable of This

Jeff Lew is eliminating school lunch debt in the Seattle area one online fundraiser at a time. He called his son’s school and asked what the amount of school lunch debt was. It was less than $100. He quickly started an online fundraiser to cover the debt. When the initial goal was met he expanded to include all Seattle public schools. He’s expanding each time he reaches one goal to tackle another. At some point he may just completely wipe out all school lunch debt in the Seattle area.

There’s no reason we can’t all do something like this. He’s tackling school lunch debt. But there is no shortage of issues that need attention and resources. We have this idea that we’re not able to make any real change as one person in a sea of many. If Jeff Lew had the same mindset, then thousands of dollars of school lunch debt in Seattle would still be owed.

You know what you’re passionate about. Why not turn that passion into something positive?

Saturday Selects: What is Going on in the White House

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday to discuss a topic outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today, well I could talk about the White House everyday if I wanted to.

Guys, it doesn’t take a Democrat or Republican to see that the White House is in turmoil. Every time we think something may have passed or we’ve gotten through the worst of it something else takes its place. I know some would have you believe that it’s the media doing this, but really? Are we really supposed to believe the media is responsible for all of these things that are happening?

I mean, we can believe whatever we choose to, right?

Saturday Selects: No Better Time Than Now

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday to discuss topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today the topic is healthcare.

The House passed their healthcare bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week. Here’s some of what will change. Americans with preexisting conditions may not be able to afford coverage. Why not? Because the bill takes us back to the days in which insurers could discriminate against these people by charging them outrageous premiums. The bill allocates $8 billion dollars for these people in high risk pools. Every estimate by conservative, liberal, and non partisan groups agrees this number will fall short of what’s needed to keep these people covered. As in tens of billions of dollars short. Medicaid expansion will end. The individual mandate is gone. Essential services will no longer be included in every policy available. More people will die.

Except there’s one thing many don’t understand. Nothing is set in stone. The bill has been sent to the Senate where it will undergo change after change due to how it’s currently written. I believe that if Mitch McConnell were to call a vote on the bill as written with no changes that it would fail. The problem (again) is that the parties aren’t working together on this. I’ll admit I wasn’t happy with how the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, but there’s no denying the real positives that have come from it. And also the shortfalls. 

The American Healthcare Act just passed by the House is not the law of the land. And regardless of political affiliation, I hope you’ll join me in making sure it never reaches the president’s desk. Call your senators!

We deserve better. We deserve better from our elected officials. We deserve better when it comes to the healthcare in the supposed “greatest country on earth”.

Saturday Selects: America Strikes Syria

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday to discuss topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today I’m talking Syria.

If you live under a pineapple under the sea, then you’re likely unaware of the significant escalation that took place this week in the Syrian civil war. Earlier in the week the Syrian government once again used chemical weapons against its own people. Killing dozens. Until this week the international community had spoken a lot louder than they’d acted. That changed Thursday night. The US launched a targeted airstrike against a Syrian airbase where the planes that carried out the chemical weapons attack were believed to have originated.

The US has been active in Syria for a couple of years now. But never once did American armed forces attack Syrian government forces. Some have called for the grounding of the Syrian air force. I think there’s only one country capable of carrying out such an operation. Not Russia. Not Iran. The US. First, there has to be a desire to act. Second, there has to be the capability. Third, there has to be a willingness to stand up to TWO dictators.

I’ve seen people criticize the hypocrisy of Donald Trump bombing Syrian targets in the name of the same people he’s trying to keep out. I understand the criticism. But I won’t pretend to understand the complexities of the presidency. Donald Trump may be a flawed human being. But so am I and so are you. Everyone can talk up their own views and beliefs all they want, but 45 men have known what it means to be POTUS. I’d argue the modern presidency is far more burdensome than those of previous eras. Donald Trump is not who I wanted to be president. But I won’t sit back and hope he drives MY country into the ground and our allies away for four years.

Donald Trump is wrong on several things, but I think he got it right on Syria. It’s long past the time for action. The Syrian people deserve better than what the international community has offered. I will criticize Trump every time he signs anything resembling a travel ban based on religion, but there’s more to the presidency than one issue. One of President Obama’s major weaknesses was Syria. Does that mean I can’t criticize him for his inaction while also praising him for signing the repeal of Don’t ask, don’t tell? No. It doesn’t.

This Can’t be Real Life

SPOILERS AHEAD

I’ve written twice this week about Thirteen Reasons Why. In that book Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 audio recordings chronicling things that led her to suicide.

In the Houston news this week a veterinarian accused of murder DID THE SAME THING. She left behind nearly two hours of recordings with one of the local stations here to tell her story.

Guys, this is crazy. She committed suicide a week ago and now everyone is talking about this recording she left behind. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. 😂

Have you ever read something and then noticed a strange sequence of events that followed in real life? 

Also, no video today because I volunteered to work OT.

Saturday Selects: The Failure of AHCA

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday. This week I’m talking the AHCA.

The GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House. For seven years they’ve talked about repealing the Affordable Care Act, the landmark healthcare legislation signed into law by President Obama. The ACA has more Americans insured than at any other point in history. But no one says the law is perfect. Some have seen premium hikes in recent years. Some small, rural areas have only one insurer to choose from. Insurers claim that enrollees are sicker than they anticipated.

With the imperfections in mind one would think the GOP would have an easy path to repeal. Wrong. Not because they didn’t try but because the bill they put forth was such a disaster that members from every faction of the GOP came out against it. The final nail in the coffin of the AHCA was the removal of language in the bill that would require insurers to provide basic preventative services in all policies. Why someone would seek the removal of such language is simply beyond my comprehension.

The GOP quickly realized that the ACA is far from perfect, but their own attempt at healthcare reform turned out to be an historical dud.

I don’t see why legislators can’t look at the deficiencies of the ACA and set out to fix them rather than set out to repeal and replace a law that has helped more than 20 million people gain coverage.

New ‘Game Change’ Book, Miniseries to Document 2016 Presidential Election

Remember Game Change? The HBO movie adapted from the book about the 2008 election. I’ve probably seen that movie a few dozen times.

The authors wrote a second book in their series after the 2012 election. And now they’re continuing after the most recent election. HBO has already contracted the rights to adapt the forthcoming book into a miniseries.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie that followed the 2008 election. HBO typically does these types of projects quite well. My expectation is that the new miniseries will be no different. I anticipate several books, movies, and documentaries will come out in the years to come about what happened on election night and in the months leading up to the election.

Have any interest in the book or HBO miniseries?

Saturday Selects: The Media

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday to discuss topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog.

It’s 2017 and it seems like the only institution anyone wants to talk about is the media. Let me first acknowledge what I believe to be a simple fact. No President of The United States really likes the media. Why? Because the media holds the president accountable. No one enjoys being called out when things don’t go according to plan. But it’s part of the job and the freedom of the press is written into the Constitution.

YouTube is full of videos of former presidents acknowledging the importance of the press in American society. Presidents and lawmakers have acknowledged this since the dawn of this country.

But the current administration doesn’t buy into any of that. Its official stance is that every media outlet that criticizes the administration is fake news. I don’t have to tell you what happens when the press is constantly belittled by a person in power. We’ve seen it in our history books.

You know how every time a politician talks about new gun restrictions you get people all over the country saying, “2ND AMENDMENT! 2ND AMENDMENT!”? For some reason those same people are unwilling to stand up for the Amendment that comes right before it. So many people in this country don’t care about the freedom to practice any religion unless it’s Christianity. So many people in this country don’t care about the freedom of speech unless it’s in agreement with their beliefs. So many people in this country don’t care about the freedom to protest unless the protest is in line with their views. So many people in this country don’t care about the freedom of the press, especially when it’s criticizing their views.

But way too many people in this country believe the 2nd Amendment is holy. People will always pick and choose what to care about and defend, that’s not new. I find it frustrating that more people aren’t standing up for the media like they do for their guns or their religion.

Donald Trump and his administration can say whatever they want to say, but the media is not the enemy of the American people. The media has several responsibilities, but right at or near the top of that list is to hold the President of the United States accountable for his or her actions. And members of the media will continue to do so long after Donald Trump is out of office.

What Should President Trump be Reading?

I’m no presidential scholar, but I can’t think of any president who was more literary-minded than President Obama. It’s a bit of a far cry from Trump. President Obama quoted Atticus Finch in his farewell address. But it appears more likely with each passing day that Trump has no desire to be friendly toward the arts.

So I wanted to do something different today. Y’all know we can write letters to the president. I want book recommendations. I want y’all to tell me what you would recommend that President Trump read as he embarks on his journey as President. ANY book. I plan on sending a letter to the White House with every recommendation.

I’ll start. I’ll recommend Night by Elie Wiesel. To show him that nothing good comes from persecuting a group of people. What would you recommend to President Trump?

Saturday Selects: The Ban

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write that fall outside the general bookish theme of the blog.

Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday banning immigrants and refugees from seven countries. Syria. Iran. Iraq. Libya. Somalia. Yemen. Sudan. He’s done this under the guise of national security, claiming that this action is meant to protect us from terrorists. But it has been widely reported by multiple reputable news outlets that no attack carried out on US soil since 9/11 involved someone from any of the countries.

Makes you wonder what the hell is actually going on, right? If we’re banning people from our lands under a false pretense, then what’s the real reason for the ban? I’ll tell you, but I think you already know. One of Donald Trump’s major campaign promises was some form of a ban on Muslims entering the country. He’s making good on that promise.

The United States has failed all refugees. We have resources and the ability to take in many refugees, but we don’t. “The greatest country in the world” has all but refused to lend its hand to refugees all over the world. Refugees are escaping war, persecution, and tyrannical governments. Are these not the people we want to stand up for? Are we content just standing on the sidelines as the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe only worsens? Is this really the American way?

Donald Trump is not putting America first, as he likes to say. He’s putting America on an island while the rest of the world backs away from us.