Two orders of business before I get to a (belated) Monday post:
1. Reminder that I will be turning over all donations that I receive through Tuesday, February 28th, to Trans Lifeline. You can avoid a double processing fee being taken out by donating directly at https://www.translifeline.org/
2. I've been reading No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan because, despite being half Middle Eastern, I have not felt like I had a strong enough understanding of the differences in various branches of Islam in order to argue with people who believe (and promoted) things like "their beliefs are incompatible with our way of life" or "Muslims oppress [enter any vulnerable group of people we also oppress in the US]" as a matter of religious belief and not that certain countries have political rather than religious restrictions on freedoms by women and LGBT, for example. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, even though I'm just half way through it. You can get the audiobook on iBooks for less than anywhere else I checked, and it's been a great listen while I'm working.
And now, the list:
- On February 25th, 2017, members of the Industrial Workers of the World and a group of neo-Nazis clashed at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Of course, their stories differ, but the IWW members say that they were provoked by members of Alt Right MN who were yelling neo-Nazi slogans.
- On February 27th, 2017, the Idaho state Senate and House Education Committees agreed to temporarily delete education standards "regarding the human impact on climate change in new science standards they approved" in order to present what they call "more balance in standards and looking [at] all side[s] of climate change." Welcome to the new "Scopes Monkey Trial."
- On February 27th, 2017, Buzzfeed published an extremely important report on how hyperpartisan websites (you know, the ones with names like, for instance, Liberal Society and Conservative 101) are actually owned by and probably written by the exact same people. Sadly, the liberal articles (which present the same news with a "liberal" slant as the conservative articles) seem to be shared more often, while the Facebook pages for the conservative news have more "fans." Please make sure before you share this stuff that it comes from a legitimate source-- these places are making money by capitalizing on our division and unhappiness with each other.
- On February 27th, 2017, Newsweek published an excellent piece on how DT's islamophobia has actually made our country less safe and more likely to suffer terrorist attacks from radical islamicists. I'm normally wary of Kurt Eichenwald's writing, but this piece is well researched and worth sending to any friends or family who will actually read a full article.
- On February 27th, 2017, The Arizona Republic released police body cam footage that shows a police officer pushing an 86-year-old woman about half his size to the ground at an immigration protest in Tucson on February 16th. In the video, after throwing her to the asphalt, the officer stands over her and he and his colleagues pepper spray those who attempt to help her. TRIGGER WARNING: Police violence, violence against women, violence against the elderly
- Source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2017/02/27/body-cam-video-officer-pushing-86-year-old-woman-ground-tucson-immigration-protest/98494002/?hootPostID=0c94cc96980d13bbc69053ff9eeffcd1
- Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/27/video-shows-tucson-police-shoving-86-year-old-woman-to-pavement/?utm_term=.e7c86add2a8f
- On February 27th, 2017, a local ABC affiliate reported that a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized over the weekend, with between 100 and 500 headstones vandalized. Quaker, Muslim, and Jewish communities have gone to help repair the vandalized graves. It is the second Jewish cemetery to be vandalized in a few days, in the same way.
- Source: http://6abc.com/1774127/
- On February 27th, 2017, reports revealed that Sean Spicer himself had arranged calls to news outlets by officials and lawmakers, particularly CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr, in order to dismiss leaks about DT's and his aides connection to Russian government officials.
- On February 27th, 2017, twenty-nine Jewish Community Centers across the US received a fifth wave of bomb threats, causing evacuations from the centers, most of which act as preschools during weekdays. DT has yet to actually do anything to discourage, disavow, or find the people who are coordinating these threats.
- On February 27th, 2017, DT announced that he would cut spending to multiple federal agencies in order to increase military spending by 10% or $54B (fifty-four billion dollars). Part of the cuts would be to foreign aid, which military officials say will decrease global stability and create more opportunities for war.
- Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trump-to-propose-10-percent-spike-in-defense-spending-massive-cuts-to-other-agencies/2017/02/27/867f9690-fcf2-11e6-99b4-9e613afeb09f_story.html?utm_term=.7f37d0dac67c
- Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/us/politics/trump-foreign-military-spending-cuts-criticism.html
- On February 27th, 2017, DT met with the current presidents of several Historically Black Colleges and University to discuss increasing funding for their schools. At the meeting, Kellyanne Conway showed she was, in fact, raised in a barn by wolves, by sitting on her knees on an oval office couch, her high heels tucked between the back and seat cushions, in order to take a phone picture of the meeting. More substantially infuriating was ignorant and unqualified Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos follow up statement praising the schools founded during Jim Crow to give Black Americans options for higher education saying, "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish." Apparently, she wasn't aware that only being able to choose a Black college or no college wasn't actually "school choice." Also, the photo op apparently greatly reduced the amount of time that HBCU leaders were able to speak with the president, leading some to criticize the meeting as merely an excuse for the White House to get a picture of DT surrounded by multiple Black leaders.
- Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/devos-slammed-totally-nuts-calling-hbcus-pioneers-school-choice-n726856?cid=public-rss_20170228
- Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/02/28/devos-called-hbcus-pioneers-of-school-choice-it-didnt-go-over-well/?utm_term=.6bf4b2c79f2a
- Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/02/28/the-conway-picture-is-only-a-small-error-in-trumps-swing-and-a-miss-black-college-event/?utm_term=.283504083ac3
- On February 27th, 2017, DT said "nobody knew that health care could be so complicated" while once again saying that the Affordable Care Act was a "failed disaster" and that his new plan will be "great" for "the patients, for the people and hopefully for the companies." Rolling back from his previous assertion that people are going to "love it," he now says, "I think people are gonna like it a lot."
- On February 27th, 2017, Senator Bernie Sanders straight up cackled at the idea that "nobody knew that health care could be so complicated" on Anderson Cooper 360º.
- On February 27th, 2017, pro-DT rallies across the nation had hilariously tiny turnouts.