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?

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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”.

Reading Books You Don’t Agree With

This may seem to go against the thought that we’re limited in how much time we have to read, and thus we want to read books we know we’ll enjoy as much as possible. But every rule has an exception.

A recent report released detailed the ways in which Americans interact with people they agree with and live in areas of the country in wguvh their views dominate. We already know Americans consume news from more partisan news sources than ever before.

I think it would be easy to treat books in much the same manner. Read what we agree with and stick to what we like. Easy, right? Doing this just reinforces our own worldview and gives zero insight into any other viewpoint. We criticize politicians all the time for surrounding themselves with people who agree with them on everything, but then it’s exactly what we do in our day-to-day lives.

I challenge you to buck the trend. Pick up a book you know goes against your personal viewpoint.

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.

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.