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:

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

Petty Politics

My dad is an old school Cuban; born right before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, he witnessed enough crimes committed by the Castro Regime to despise anything that resembles communism. My great grandfather immigrated to Cuba from Catalonia, Spain in the late 1800s, my grandfather built on the work of his father, and my father was destined to do the same. But as a child, my dad had to watch as the Castro Regime took his family’s businesses, lands, and any surplus my grandparents and great grandparents had ever worked for and distributed it to people who hadn’t earned it. My dad had to watch as the Castro militia murdered by firing squad anyone who opposed the revolutionaries. As a result, my dad had nothing but grit to his name when he left Cuba in the early eighties (grit that you can still see today). When he arrived to America he saw the land of opportunity and the chance to rebuild a legacy the way my great grandfather did when he had arrived in Cuba from Spain. My dad, by all accounts, achieved the American Dream and he is the perfect example of what it means to be a hard-worker and to put family first.

Back when my dad emigrated from Cuba to the U.S., the U.S. president was Ronald Reagan. Reagan was an anti-communist roast master and a champion for amnesty and immigration; that combination was all it took to make my dad a loyal Republican for decades to come. In 2007, my dad voted for John McCain (in spite of his VP pick) who is one of the most stand-up, honorable republicans I’ve had the pleasure to watch; I’m a registered Independent, and while I don’t agree with everything the republicans (or democrats) believe, I know a decent human being when I see one.

John McCain was the last presidential nominee my dad voted for who was a republican.

If you ask my dad why he doesn’t vote republican anymore he’ll tell you it’s because there aren’t any decent republicans running against the democrats for the oval. My dad has an immeasurable amount of respect for the office of the president and he finds it impossible to stand behind any person or party that doesn’t hold the office of the president to the same high standard. While both parties can be “petty,” one party outdoes the other in pettiness (the republicans were staunch against helping the Obama administration make changes, and are now staunchly silent at the Trump administration’s serious faults).

I want to see a lot of changes in Washington, and if the next four years serve only to make the condition of Washington worse, then I have hope that within the next ten years we can see it get that much better. I know that our government can work, but we need to elect people who will fight for everyone and do so with integrity. And that starts with us, the voters. That means hearing each other out, that means compromise, that means meeting somewhere in the middle, that means respect, that means no name-calling. I really can’t wait to see a Reagan or McCain type of Republican run for president. Those are the kind of republicans who respect the oval and respect the American people. Until then, my dad and I are voting blue.