Trump’s Playground – March 20-April 20

Executive Orders:

  • Revocation of Federal Contracting Executive Orders X
    • This order rescinds the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that requires companies that seek to work with the federal government to demonstrate that they comply with federal laws and executive orders. Source
  • Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth X
    • This order rescinds many strides made by the Obama Administration in combating climate change. This orders government agencies to identify plans that would help decelerate climate change so that these plans could be abandoned. Source ASource B
  • Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis X
    • This order establishes a commission that will be led by Governor Chris Christie to discuss how to deal with the current drug problem in the U.S. Source A, Source B
  • Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits X
    • This orders a review on the largest trade deficits in 2016 in order to combat and take action against rule-breakers. Source
  • Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice X
    • This order lays out the succession of attorney general in the event of Jeff Sessions’ death.
  • Buy American and Hire American X
    • Orders a review of the H1-B visa program and a plan to propose reforms. This order is intended to make it more favorable to hire Americans than skilled workers from abroad. Source A, Source B

In the news:

6 Reasons You Should Go To The March For Science This Saturday

CelesteByers_ScienceisUniversal

  1. If you care about the truth.
  2. If you think facts shouldn’t be a partisan issue. 
  3. If you are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent who understands the facts of climate change and consider it an obligation to protect the current and future generations from a flooded, polluted, unbreathable planet.
  4. If you are concerned with the regressive policies of the current administration concerning climate change.
  5. If you care about the United States keeping its commitment in the Paris Agreement.
  6. If you care about America progressing into a sustainable future rather than clinging onto a past that does us all more harm than good.

This march is happening on Earth Day, April 22nd, in Washington D.C. and satellite events around the world. If you’ve never been to a protest, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and take plenty of pictures (share them with me!). The marches/protests I’ve been to (a grand total of 2 haha) have been peaceful and well-organized. I encourage you to attend if this is an issue you care about.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.53.01 PM

As a side note: your faith does not have to hinder your acceptance of science. This is one of my favorite quotes on science and faith:

“My love for science doesn’t preclude my faith. For me, science is another language we use to talk about the same miracles faith talks about.” — Kala Dandekar 

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Caprice of the GOP

In the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice, Senate Republicans changed a 200-year-old rule that required a 60 vote majority to end any filibustering in order to confirm the Supreme Court nominee.

So, Conservatives changed a 200-year-old rule…when it was in their favor. When people were talking about changing the electoral college, these were the people whose voters/supporters/pundits complained that the electoral college should not be changed to popular rule in order to protect America from “rule by majority” because they believe that majority rule is tyrannical, yet they turn around and change the rules that allow filibustering until a significant percentage of the Senate agrees, to allow rule by slight majority (54-45) in a way that they have described to be tyrannical. 

Books, Trump, and the “inner city”

About three years ago, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenéz was looking to make room in the annual budget by closing down 22 public libraries; next thing you knew, town halls were packed with angry Miamians, the Miami New Times was writing about it, and WLRN (our local NPR station) was reporting on it. The public outrage was so strong that the mayor removed closing any libraries from the budget proposal altogether.

If you don’t go to libraries regularly, it’s easy to forget or be unaware of how imperative they are to the success of a community. Public libraries are known for their impact in improving children’s education, lowering crime rates, and reducing unemployment in their respective areas. The library I grew up going to was (and continues to be) filled with children, teenagers, college students, adults, and retirees. The Miami-Dade public library system has community enrichment classes and activities like resume writing, music lessons, computer and computer software lessons, chess tournaments, and tutoring. Imagine the enormous impact libraries like these could have on a child whose parents can’t afford a book, an instrument, a chess set, or a computer. A library has the potential to totally change the life of someone like that.

Something similar to what happened in Miami-Dade is happening now: President Trump’s federal budget proposal removes federal library funding from the budget. Trump wants to cut all funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services ($231 million), which provides money to the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, and he wants to cut funding from other sources of library funding like the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For a President who talks a lot about building up the “inner city,” he’s doing a lot of damage to it. How much harder will this make it for low-income communities to progress without the basic tools a library provides for an individual to succeed?

I’ve been going to the library since I can remember–from the Children’s floor, to the young adult fiction section, to the french audiobooks in the multimedia section, to the Neuroscience atlas on the non-fiction wall– the public library has shaped me in unique ways that the internet alone never could. Walking through rows of books, stumbling upon a title I liked, and flipping through the pages before deciding to check something out–that’s how I learned about myself and the world.

Have you ever been to a public library? How have libraries helped you become who you are today? Tell me about your experience!

Check out these beautiful libraries around the world.

Trump’s Playground: Feb 20-March 20

Executive Orders:

  • Second Muslim Banthis article clearly outlines the big differences between the first and second travel bans
  • Light initiative to improve historically black colleges – seemingly well-intentioned order that could’ve been better if year-round pell grants would’ve been granted for students, critics say. This order is more rhetoric than action.
  • Dismantling of Clean Water Rule – the Clean Water Rule was intended to identify bodies of water that could be drinking water for the people of the United States so that these waters could be protected by the Clean Water Act of 1972.

  • Reorganizing the Executive Branch – this orders cabinet secretaries to present a plan to the president on how to restructure the agency they lead.

In the news:

The Environmental Vegan

The world’s leading cause of climate change is animal agriculture, an industry contributing more than 51% of greenhouse gas emissions (a conservative estimate).

Beef is a huge product among consumers, and the love affair Americans have with the industry valued it at $60 billion (in the U.S. alone) in 2015. There is a financial incentive to perpetuate this environmental and health hazardous industry and discredit facts presented by its opposers to maintain the industry’s foothold at the nuclear family’s dinner table. Our consumption of these animals is continuing to enrich this $60 billion industry while we, the consumers, harm our health and our environment.

As you may know, many vegans and vegetarians choose their diets for different reasons, the environment being one of those reasons.  The environmental vegan refuses to accept and contribute to an industry that exists in the environmentally irresponsible way that the animal agriculture industry does. The facts below are some of the environmental reasons vegans and vegetarians choose to refrain from contributing to the animal agriculture industry, thereby “voting with their dollars” against it.

Quick facts about animal agriculture and climate change (Sources: Cowspiracy Documentary, this article):

  • The methane produced by cows in the animal agriculture industry is 86 times more destructive than CO2 in its contribution to climate change
  • Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day
  • Livestock contributes 65% of all nitrous oxide greenhouse gas emissions
  • Nitrous oxide is almost 300 times more destructive than CO2

What if we all changed our diets for the better? (Sources: this research paper, this article)

  • If everyone ate a vegetarian diet, emissions would fall by 44 percent ($973 billion savings in health costs)
  • If everyone ate a vegan diet, emissions would fall by 55 percent ($1 trillion savings in health costs)

So what could it mean for humans if we chose a diet that would be better for our health and our environment? We could live longer, healthier lives and we could have an environment capable of sustaining our extended lifetimes.

Climate change is no longer a problem of the future. The future is here and it’s us– it’s how you and me and everyone else decides to shape it. As soon as 2050, much of our land above sea-level is predicted to be below it. That means that there will be no Miami Beach for me to spend my retirement in (I don’t know about you but I don’t want to lose that view).

Two important documentaries on the subject of climate change and the animal agriculture industry’s contribution to it are Before the Flood and Cowspiracy. I recommend these to anyone who has an interest in knowing the scope of humanity’s impact on the health of the planet.

Informative, easy-to-read articles on this subject from Vegan and Conservation websites:

Can Veganism Save The Planet?

The World’s Leading Driver of Climate Change: Animal Agriculture

What If The Whole World Went Vegan?

 

Trump’s Playground: Jan 20-Feb 20

If you follow the news you know it’s been a hectic month in the United States. Trump’s presidency has been riddled with protests, controversies, and a cascade of executive orders. I’ll be writing one of these posts every month with links to the “news highlights” of that month that relate to the President, his cabinet, and his orders.

Executive Orders

Total of 11 executive orders (if you don’t count the Muslim ban since federal courts ruled against it).

Big Stories

Silencing the EPA

Sean Spicer scolds the media during his first press conference

Kellyanne Conway coins the term “alternative facts”

Federal appeals court rules against the Muslim Ban 

Kellyanne Conway cites Bowling Green Massacre that never happened

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns over conversations with Russian ambassador 

Trump advisor Stephen Miller turns hype-man

Trump tells Netanyahu to “hold off on settlements for a bit”  Trump says he can live with a one-state or two-state solution in Israeli-Palestinian deal

Trump scolds reporter for asking about claims that his campaign spurred anti-Semitism

Trump makes Sweden terror comment