a hodgepodge of issues

My current favorite legislative tracking site, Countable.  It explains bills, past and current, in layman’s terms, bipartisan pros and cons, allows me to weigh in, allows me to send my representative and senators a message on whether I am for or against, and gives me my representatives’ voting record in real time.  Hopefully this is more handy than petitions.  (also an app, for those so inclined)

I guess, for no particular reason, starting off very divisively…

Abortion:

The climate surrounding this feels like they’re saying, “It’s legal, but exploit every loophole you can so it might as well not be…”
H.R.7 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017
and summarized in layman’s terms, pros and cons, on countable, here

and/or, “This is beyond abortion, this is about tanking Planned Parenthood’s other services as well…”

I suppose it’s ultimately about shoring up the evangelical Christian base to secure votes.

Should a Regulation Preventing States From Defunding Abortion Providers be Overturned?
conclusion: yes.  passed house (230/188), passed senate (50-50), president signed into law 4/12/17

Congress passed and now enacted an overturning of a law that would have protected federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Bear in mind that federal funding already can’t go towards abortion due to the Hyde Amendment.  So this legislation will make it legal to deny funding for other services Planned Parenthood provides (contraception, pap smears, etc.).
[see their website for a long non-abortion list of services, including cancer screening, trans health, STD testing, help with body image dysphoria, etc. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/]

moving on to the topic of:

Congress

Those things don’t count because the President was in his last year and/or days of office…because, why again?

This (above) is one example of legislation under Obama being swiftly overturned, more easily than usual, by implementing the Congressional Review Act.  (and yes, this act was signed into law by Bill Clinton, but while it was only used once prior to 2017, it has currently been used 13 times by the current administration)  My hunch is that this act was originally meant as part of a check and balance review process, to keep a check on legislation after it’s been passed, to “review” it.  But that now this act is being intentionally exploited as a tool to undo what the Obama administration did.

Given making it easier to reverse legislation from the past 60 days (which could be up to a year as they only count the days in which Congress is in session), and given the Republicans not even holding a hearing for Merrick Garland, because he was nominated by Obama when Obama had one year left in his presidency, it makes me think that the opposition party believes that the last year or so of a president’s tenure don’t count, for some reason.

I say, whether a party platform I like or dislike, that the president’s entire tenure – presuming they are not impeached – counts.  Decisions made in the 11th hour should be just as valid as decisions made within the first 100 days.  Now, granted, say this means Trump’s administration passes something atrocious two days before he’s out of office.  and these loopholes could mean that maybe if the Dems win the next presidency, they could more easily undo that than earlier policies.  even still, it doesn’t make much sense to me.  I say all days of the president’s term count.  So I think that (a) we should overturn the Congressional Review Act, since it is being exploited for this purpose, and (b) enact legislation that says that Congress must hold congressional hearings for Supreme Court nominees – as is their job – no matter when in the term the presidential nomination is made.

Next up: Climate Change (links and stuff)

 

 

Information about climate change has been removed from the EPA website to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”  This a day before the climate march.

National Geographic:
their climate change hub

National Geographic’s 7 things to know about climate change (a little simplistic, but maybe that was the point – i.e. “it’s here, stupid.”)

6 major indicators of climate change, Popular Science

an NPR radio hour/podcast on the “anthropocene” – mankind’s changing the earth so much geologists argue it could be a new geological era

Hance, J. (4/5/17). Climate change impacting ‘most’ species on Earth, even down to their genome. The Guardian, MSN, (msn.com)

Some data from NASA, so it looks like we’re not quite at the 440ppm or 2 degree thresholds, but at 405.6 and 1.7 respectively.
https://climate.nasa.gov/

How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies…

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, New York Times, more detailed than Nat Geo’s starter bit
————————————————-
peer reviewed journal articles:

marine life is declining with climate change as predicted:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n10/abs/nclimate1958.html

climate change will make water more scarce, (I presume potable drinking water for human population):
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3245.short

increased extinction rates:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/abs/nclimate2113.html
————————————————–

on the upside:
technology:

stalling strategies:
geoengineering, Popular Science

robots scrub carbon, Popular Science

bacteria that can eat plastic, Science Alert

 

 

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