In Better News… Hotline for Reporting Crimes Committed by “Illegal Aliens” Gets Trolled

From Gizmodo

Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security launched a new hotline to “assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.” The resulting “fuck you!” from average Americans was swift and hilarious.

Less than a day into its pitiful existence, the VOICE hotline has been rendered unusable by tipsters claiming to have seen criminal aliens of the extraterrestrial kind. I called four times. Twice all operators were unavailable. The other two attempts resulted in a busy signal. Other concerned citizens seeking to report a mothership streaking across the sky were told the line was closed despite calling during normal business hours.

(I really need a video of excessive laughter to post here. Any suggestions?)

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The FCC Is Destroying Net Neutrality

From the Washington Post

Tech companies and Internet providers are poised for another dramatic showdown as the head of the Federal Communications Commission revealed a plan Wednesday for rolling back his predecessor’s rules mandating an open Internet.

The proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai marks the first step toward undoing a key decision of the Obama era, one that forced Internet providers to behave more like legacy telephone companies. The stricter rules for ISPs had made it illegal to block or slow down websites for consumers — and they paved the road for other policies, such as one governing online privacy, which was overturned in a separate controversial move by Congress and President Trump earlier this year.

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Keystone XL Pipeline a Go… Maybe…

Welp… this is bad news mixed with some spotty hope…

From Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration approved TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists even as further hurdles for the controversial project loom.

The approval reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama to reject the project, but the company still needs to win financing, acquire local permits, and fend off likely legal challenges for the pipeline to be built.

“TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed,” Trump said in the Oval Office before turning to ask TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling when construction would start.

“We’ve got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there,” Girling replied.

“Nebraska?” Trump said. “I’ll call Nebraska.”

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How the GOP Health Care Proposal Hurts Mental Health

Let’s get a little more specific, shall we? From the Pacific Standard

One of Congress’ rare bipartisan victories under the Obama administration was the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill hastily passed last December that, among other provisions, intended to allocate $6.8 million to mental-health services and expand access to services on both a federal and state level. Despite the bill’s financial pittance, as well as mounting complaints that other provisions within the bill adversely affect Medicare while aiding pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines, the 21st Century Cures Act was hailed as a symbolic, yet necessary, victory for a divided Congress. The message was clear: mental health matters.

But now, as the Trump administration’s contentious health-care bill comes to a vote on the House floor later today, Congress finds itself more divided than ever — even within the Republican Party itself. With less care at higher costs, constituents of all political leanings are worried about what a change could mean for their coverage: a group that includes the millions of people who rely on Obamacare for their mental-health treatment. Roughly 42.5 million Americans deal with mental illness each year; about one out of five adults. What would this change mean for them?

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Late GOP Proposal for Health Care is Sicker Than Imagined

From the New York Times

Why should a 60-year-old man have to buy a plan that includes maternity benefits he’ll never use? (This is an example that comes up a lot.) In contrast, the Affordable Care Act includes a list of benefits that have to be in every plan, a reality that makes insurance comprehensive, but often costly.

I mean…

At first glance, this may sound like a wonderful policy. Why should that 60-year-old man have to pay for maternity benefits he will never use? If 60-year-old men don’t need to pay for benefits they won’t use, the price of insurance will come down, and more people will be able to afford that coverage, the thinking goes. And people who want fancy coverage with extra benefits can just pay a little more for the plan that’s right for them.

Most Republicans in Congress prefer the type of health insurance market in which everyone could “choose the plan that’s right for them.”

Why should a 60-year-old man have to buy a plan that includes maternity benefits he’ll never use? (This is an example that comes up a lot.) In contrast, the Affordable Care Act includes a list of benefits that have to be in every plan, a reality that makes insurance comprehensive, but often costly.

Now, a group of conservative House members is trying to cut a deal to get those benefit requirements eliminated as part of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act moving through Congress. (The vote in the House is expected later today.)

At first glance, this may sound like a wonderful policy. Why should that 60-year-old man have to pay for maternity benefits he will never use? If 60-year-old men don’t need to pay for benefits they won’t use, the price of insurance will come down, and more people will be able to afford that coverage, the thinking goes. And people who want fancy coverage with extra benefits can just pay a little more for the plan that’s right for them.

But there are two main problems with stripping away minimum benefit rules. One is that the meaning of “health insurance” can start to become a little murky. The second is that, in a world in which no one has to offer maternity coverage, no insurance company wants to be the only one that offers it.

Below the fold is a list of all the things Rethugs are trying to cut…

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Resist Via Text

One thing about me people should know… I hate phone calls. I just don’t want to talk on the phone. Text, email, chat… all good.

But a phone call?

It’s the one thing I’ve avoided while doing my own acts of resistance. I’ve emailed, signed petitions, and the like. I’ve wanted to fax, but never had a way to do that.

And now I do, and you, can, too.

It’s resistbot.io, and Teen Vogue has a great write-up about it

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Neil Gorsuch’s First Hearing…

From Reuters

Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, on Monday emphasized the need for judicial independence even as Trump castigates jurists who have ruled against him, while Democrats questioned whether he would rule against abortion rights and gun control while favoring corporations.

With the ideological balance of the Supreme Court at stake, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened its confirmation hearing for Gorsuch, a conservative federal appeals court judge from Colorado. Republicans praised Gorsuch, 49, as highly qualified for a lifetime appointment as a justice.

“I think we’re off to a good start,” Republican Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, said afterward, with senators getting their first shot at questioning Gorsuch on Tuesday.

Committee Democrats noted Gorsuch has the chance to join the court only because Senate Republicans last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appellate judge Merrick Garland. Despite slim chances of blocking his nomination in the Republican-led Senate, Democrats raised questions about Gorsuch’s suitability for the job.

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Agent Orange Published List of Agencies That Refuse to Cooperate With Deportations

From the Washington Post:

Homeland Security officials on Monday unveiled the administration’s first list of law enforcement agencies that refused to detain jailed immigrants beyond their release dates so that the federal government could take them into custody and try to deport them.

Federal officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in a conference call with reporters, said local agencies, including some in Maryland and Virginia, failed to honor 206 detention requests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

On the plus side, at least most of will know who the “good guys” are in this…

But this bullying tactic cannot go unpunished.

The Entire Narrative Surrounding Mike Brown’s Murder Was a Lie

Remember Michael Brown? You really should.

The shooting of Michael Brown occurred on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer, after reportedly robbing a convenience store. The initially disputed circumstances of the shooting sparked existing tensions in the predominantly black city, where protests and civil unrest erupted. The events received considerable attention in the U.S. and elsewhere, attracting protesters from outside the region. They generated a vigorous national debate about the relationship between law enforcement and African Americans, and about police use-of-forcedoctrine in Missouri and nationwide. A St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, and he was exonerated of criminal wrongdoing by the United States Department of Justice.

On Wednesday, March 15th, Michael Harriot published an article at The Root meant to correct public misconceptions around what happened. I feel it is important to share this here…

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