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.

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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 🙂

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:

How CNN Can Re-Legitimize Its News Coverage In A Trump Presidency

EDIT: This post is meant to be constructive criticism for CNN. I enjoy watching CNN, I don’t believe they are “fake news,” and I am not a conservative, but I see how and why CNN’s coverage is being misconstrued by the right.  

The mainstream media has been under fire as a result of its 2016 election news coverage, with many viewing the media’s endorsements of presidential candidate Hilary Clinton as clouding the legitimacy of the news reported by those media outlets.

News organizations like Fox News and Breitbart have been mocked for years due to their blatantly biased news coverage, analyzing everything through the conservative, republican lens. Now, longstanding reputable media organizations, like CNN, that have previously been known to lean left are now demonstrating an explicit bias for the liberal, progressive agenda. Don’t get me wrong, they are preaching to the choir with me, but they are quickly becoming the Fox News of the left (leave that to MSNBC).

You don’t have to watch CNN for too long to know that Chris Cuomo, Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon and other CNN news anchors are Democrats; that’s a problem because CNN is a news organization not a late-night show. Interrupting a guest mid sentence — it doesn’t matter if they’re lying, if they’re sugar-coating something egregious, or if they say something you just don’t agree with –it severely affects the way the reporting is  perceived by the audience. While the anchors may think interrupting helps deter the narrative of the person they’re interrupting, it only makes the anchor/interrupter seem hot-headed and temperamental (the same way we see Fox News anchors when they become irately passionate as they preach their conservative agendas). Wait for the guest to finish speaking, then counter them with the facts. If I’m being fair, I have seen CNN news anchors attempt to combat lies with the truth but they go about it the wrong way. Instead of asking guests if they believe a fact is true, tell them what the facts are and proceed from there. What I’ve seen guests do is take advantage of the anchor presenting a fact as a question. For example, an anchor may ask their guest “Do you think the sun rises in the morning?” Then the guest answers by saying, “No, the sun does not rise in the morning.” This happens all the time on CNN. If the anchor begins the discussion by questioning the facts or presenting them as a matter of opinion, how are people expected to accept facts for what they are?

This Trump presidency gives an unprecedented challenge against the truth. The Trump presidency encourages fake news because the truth is inconvenient for them. CNN has to fight this by staying objective, by making their anchors as neutral as possible, by not only bringing in commentators from both sides but by giving equal speaking time to both sides (the right has some good ideas every now and then. Let’s encourage listening to each other and working together). The anchor shouldn’t frequently interrupt their guests, speak over them, or speak down to them, the anchor should present the facts and correct someone if they have said something that isn’t true.

Additionally, CNN news anchors need to stop showing elitism. If someone on CNN is making fun of a person’s conservative views, level of education, or lack of complexity in their speech, do you really think an audience member with the same conservative views, level of eduction, and uncomplicated speech as the person CNN is making fun of will sit there and listen to CNN when they could just change the channel to Fox News? I’ve seen CNN be smug only a handful of times, but that alone is enough to deter someone with opposing views to totally dismiss the news organization as a whole.