Note: To my very few viewers, I’m sorry all the news reported so far has been either sad, upsetting, or a combination of both. I’m working to find more happy, uplifting stories as well and hope that there will be more of those to come! For now, enjoy these long, but worthwhile, articles to start off the day

 

http://ideas.ted.com/will-universal-basic-income-end-inequality-maybe/

  • Universal Basic Income could help eliminate global poverty and income inequality but it’s challenged by numerous economic and ideological barriers. The article proposes three other methods to increase opportunity, prosperity and equality:
    • Matching the savings of lower-income workers when they invest in assets
      • We already do this for wealthier people (home mortgage interest deduction, etc)
    • Increasing the bargaining power of workers
      • Affirms value in human labor
      • Encourages workers to be more invested in their businesses
    • Better post-secondary education and training
      • Expanding options for people who are not privileged enough to be able to go to college

 

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/15/14506434/republicans-democrats-opioid-abuse-bipartisan

  • New Jersey just passed a comprehensive law to combat the growing opioid and heroin crisis
  • What the law does
    • Reduces the supply of drugs for the first prescription from 30 to 5 days’ worth
    • Requires doctors to talk to patients about the addictiveness of the drugs
    • Insurers must offer 180 days of coverage without preauthorization for addicts whose doctors have recommended treatment
  • The bill passed 33-0 and 64-1
  • America’s drug problem
    • Since 1999, 165,000 people have died from overdosing on prescription opioids 
    • As many as 40 die per day
    • Currently, only ten states limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days or less
      • (Arizona, Maine, NH, Vermont, PA, NY, NJ, RI, CT, Massachusetts)

A video at the bottom of the article provides a short explanation of the painkiller epidemic

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/logan-act-michael-flynn-trump-russia/516774/

  • The Logan Act of 1799
    • Bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the US
    • Calls for fining or imprisoning of violators
    • Has never been used to successfully prosecute any American citizen
  • History
    • Passed in 1799 in response to a Philadelphia Quaker named George Logan trying to directly negotiate with France in order to disrupt the Federalists’ policies
  • The bigger concerns
    • Did Flynn lie to the FBI and why did he mislead senior officials until caught

 

https://mic.com/articles/168690/who-is-robert-harward-5-things-to-know-about-the-possible-white-house-security-advisor#.UVk9HkK4h

  • Robert Harward, a favorite to take over for Michael Flynn
    • Grew up in the Middle East and graduated from the Tehran American High School
    • Former Navy SEAL
    • Served on the NSC as director of strategy and policy for the Office of Combating Terrorism under the Bush 2 administration
    • Wrote a notable op-ed in the Huffington Post in 2013 about the importance of girls’ education
    • Currently works for Lockheed Martin
      • CEO of the UAE division

 

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-legislative-frenzy-20170214-story.html

Republicans are working to dismantle regulations put in place by Obama at the end of his presidency

  • Heavily influenced by the Koch brothers
    • Koch-backed organizations and advisors have been working with Republicans on the agenda now being presented
    • Helped zero-in on a procedural tool called the Congressional Review Act
      • Allows Congress to disapprove of a new regulation if it was passed within the past 60 days without a threat of filibuster

Regulations Passed and in the Works

  • Rolling back mountaintop coal mining regulations updating 30-year-old rules on downstream pollution – Passed
  • Halting an effort to stem overseas corruption by requiring US companies to disclose payments to foreign governments – Passed
  • Halting new regulations on flares used to burn off methane gas – Passed House, but not Senate
  • Undoing regulations that eased drug testing requirements for recipients of unemployment benefits – On docket
  • Undoing regulations ensuring federal funds were not blocked for family planning clinics – On docket
  • Undoing regulation requiring the Social Security Administration to send in the names of beneficiaries with mental impairments who also have a third party manage their benefits – Passed

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/magazine/what-americans-wrote-to-obama.html

A long but very worthy read. I highly recommend working your way through this article. It’s important to remember this now that Trump is president and does not seem highly interested in reading letters from common citizens (but one can always hope)

Mental Healing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZGghmwUcbQ

I’m sure some of you have seen this before but it legit made me cry and feel good at the same time so 1. I’m sorry, have something to wipe your eyes with nearby and 2. I’m not actually sorry, expect more of these videos in the future

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