Money Matters

A quick but thorough explanation of Trump's proposed budget:

Yeah, it's pretty bad.

John Oliver's take is less about the actual budget and more about what this says about the current administration:

John Oliver specifically calls out the cuts that will affect Tennessee - and other areas that overwhelmingly voted for Trump.

But if you want a really great article on the issue, try this one: Killing Science and Culture Doesn't Make the Nation Stronger
Science has an essential advantage of creating associated technologies that power the economic engines of modern society. But the essential value of science for the human condition is not different from that of art, music, and literature. All of these cause us to reflect upon, and sometimes change our perspective of our place in the cosmos, while at the same time inspiring awe and wonder about the world around us. I have recently described the story of our 2000 year long intellectual quest to explore the universe and unravel its mysteries as the greatest story ever told…so far, because it reflects the essential greatness of human civilization, along with the ever-changing nature of progress. In this journey, the arts and humanities are inextricably linked with science as we have bravely march together forward toward a future full of surprises that were previously unimagined.
To place our society’s priorities so blatantly in favor of military defense while abandoning central features of what it is that makes our country worth defending reflects a fundamental antipathy toward science, the arts, and those features of our country that truly help make it great.
Pretty picture time!


  • Library Land
    • What Donald Trump Doesn't Understand About Libraries "I wish I could say that Trump is attacking libraries because he knows that the information literacy we exist to create is exactly the skill our electorate needs to shut down his lying, cheating, hate-mongering administration. I wish I had confidence that he thought that hard, or strategically, about any of the terrible policies he’s spent the first 50 days of his presidency advancing. But I don’t. I think that instead, like many of the out-of-touch, wealthy Americans who voted for him, to whom the $17 to buy a picture book is an afterthought, who are likely among the 75 percent of Americans with in-home broadband internet, he thinks libraries are a luxury. And he thinks refusing the 0.00006 percent of support the federal government currently grants those libraries makes him look tough and fiscally conservative. But, in reality, they make him look callous and short-sighted. Americans need libraries, and libraries need the IMLS."
    • Best Free Reference Websites & Apps You're welcome.
  • Health, Science, & Technology
    • Sesame Street to Welcome First Autistic Muppet "A redhead who loves to sing and remembers the words to lots of songs, Julia will debut on the show for preschoolers on April 10 after a five-year outreach effort to families and experts on autism, Sesame Workshop said on Monday."
    • A Court Will Decide if a GIF Can Be Considered a ‘Deadly Weapon' "Eichenwald, who has been vocal about his epilepsy in the past, allegedly suffered an eight-minute seizure in December after opening a tweet containing the flashing GIF and a message that read: 'you deserve a seizure for your posts.' Eichenwald's wife found him and called 911. The FBI later arrested one John Rivello, who has been charged with cyberstalking and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon."
  • International
    • More than 625,000 affected by severe flooding in northern Peru "According to Peru’s National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI), 75 people have died and over 625,000 are affected, including more than 70,000 who have lost their homes. The flooding, which started four days ago, is the result of record downpours that have engorged rivers, triggered landslides and wiped away people, crops and buildings. Heavy rains are expected to continue until at least April."
    • US bans larger electronic devices on some flights from Middle East "US authorities have secretly required airlines from eight nations to forbid passengers from carrying any electronic or electrical device larger than a cellphone.... The affected airlines are Royal Jordainia, Egyptair, Turkish airlines, Saudia airlines, Kuwait airways, Royal Air Morocco, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.... The circular does not address electronic flight bags (EFBs), which allow flight crews to display diagrams mapping flight patterns, maps of airports and other digital documentation, usually on an iPad.  The lack of specificity leaves airlines in the dark as to whether their employees will be cited or otherwise punished for performing the vital functions of aircraft crew as usual."
  • Randomnesses
  • U.S. News
    • Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April  "Skipping the NATO meeting and visiting Moscow could risk feeding a perception that Trump may be putting U.S. dealings with big powers first, while leaving waiting those smaller nations that depend on Washington for security, two former U.S. officials said." I mean, when events conflict, you have to choose, right? "A former U.S. official and a former NATO diplomat, both speaking on condition of anonymity, said the alliance offered to change the meeting dates so Tillerson could attend it and the Xi Jinping talks but the State Department had rebuffed the idea." Oh, OK, then. Never mind.
    •  Coverage Losses by Congressional District Under the House ACA Repeal Bill Sometimes the big numbers are hard to imagine - but when you get down to the local level, it's easier to see the damage. Download the table to see how your district will be impacted.
      • What Republicans Don’t Understand About Health Care  "Lots of people will bail [on insurance] right there, because several hundred dollars a month is a major strain, one a lot more pressing than the worry that one illness or accident could turn catastrophic. Republicans will then call this a choice, made by free citizens. Later, in private, if they think at all about this choice, the one made by free citizens, they will spout the same sort of bullshit Chaffetz said. 'Guess they wanted iPhones more.' This erases moral culpability, and is a strategy not unlike removing all the lifeguards from a public beach.... When people opt out of health insurance, it is not because they don’t want health care. It’s because they don’t have enough to get by in their daily lives."
      • Even those who would vote against repeal are facing pressure from the White House: Trump to Republicans: Vote for Obamacare repeal or lose your seat "Trump even called out the bill's most vocal critic in the House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who's led the conservative opposition to the Republican health care plan. 'Mark, I'm gonna come after you' if he keeps it up, Trump said, according to multiple sources."
    • Ivanka Trump moves into West Wing office, acknowledges ‘no modern precedent’ for her role Will she receive classified information? Yep. Is she bound by government ethics? Nope. We'll just have to take her word that she'll be ethical. I am not reassured. 
      • Related: Ivanka Trump's Move To The White House Raises Questions About Ethics "Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St Louis and a specialist in government ethics, says the Trump administration's arguments that conflict-of-interest rules don't bind the president or his daughter are disheartening.  'My biggest concern is that this is yet another erosion of government ethics standards in this White House,' Clark said."
    • Interesting: Why Trump Can’t Let Go of His Bogus Wiretapping Claim "It’s enough to make this history buff wonder: Was Trump’s March 4 tweetstorm simply the impetuous act of man who reacted to the latest news he read, fake or not, or was Trump acting like Nixon in a deliberate way to distract attention from the growing concern about ties between his campaign and the election-tampering Russians?  Maybe there is no fire behind this smoke, but Professor Kahneman would tell us that people, especially those who really hate losing, tend to act in predictable ways when faced with scandal. Is that what’s happening here?
    • Although...Patience is a Finite Resource "Consider at this point the number of things our political system and government have had to devote time, money, and attention – all valuable and finite resources – to things Donald Trump insists are true that are not. Birtherism. Mass voter fraud. Having a record inaugural crowd. The size and historic nature of his victory in the election. And now this ridiculous two week long fiasco about being wiretapped." 

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