Washington couple dies in a murder-suicide over angst about medical expenses

USA Today

Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY       August 11, 2019

What you should and should not flush down your toilets!

NowThis Politics

August 9, 2019

From fatbergs to microplastics, here’s why what you flush down the toilet matters — and why you should NEVER flush wet wipes 🚽(via NowThis Future)

What You Should & Should Not Flush Down the Toilet

From fatbergs to microplastics, here’s why what you flush down the toilet matters — and why you should NEVER flush wet wipes 🚽(via NowThis Future)

Posted by NowThis Politics on Thursday, August 8, 2019

“Help us,” begs a doctor in a hospital that’s been bombed multiple times, “We’re human beings.”

CNN posted an episode of Go There.

August 7, 2019

Trying to stay alive in Syria’s last rebel-held city

“Help us,” begs a doctor in a hospital that’s been bombed multiple times, “We’re human beings.”

In Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, hospitals, markets and schools have been systematically targeted. CNN’s Arwa Damon takes us inside the besieged city to meet children, mothers, farmers and others who are struggling to stay alive.

Trying to stay alive in Syria’s last rebel-held city

“Help us,” begs a doctor in a hospital that’s been bombed multiple times, “We’re human beings.”In Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, hospitals, markets and schools have been systematically targeted. CNN’s Arwa Damon takes us inside the besieged city to meet children, mothers, farmers and others who are struggling to stay alive.

Posted by CNN on Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich slam ‘gutless’ lawmakers after mass shootings

Yahoo Sports

Ryan Young,Yahoo Sports        August 6, 2019

Moscow has 12 million people, and no system to recycle.

Vice News

August 3, 2019

Moscow has 12 million people, and no system to recycle.

That’s created a garbage crisis not just for the city, but the entire country.

Moscow has No System to Recycle and it's Starting to Poison People

Moscow has 12 million people, and no system to recycle.That’s created a garbage crisis not just for the city, but the entire country.

Posted by VICE News on Friday, August 2, 2019

What did Obama do for America? Obama v. trump; no contest

Occupy Democrats
One year ago:      July 22, 2018

Show this handy video to all of your conservative friends who claim that President Obama didn’t accomplish anything in his two terms. He makes President Trump look like a lazy amateur.

What did President Obama do for America?

Show this handy video to all of your conservative friends who claim that President Obama didn't accomplish anything in his two terms. He makes President Trump look like a lazy amateur.

Posted by Occupy Democrats on Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trump’s cuts to food stamps are economically and morally indefensible.

Opinion: Trump’s cuts to food stamps are indefensible, economically and morally

By Karen Dolan             July 31, 2019

SNAP program reduces poverty better than anything else, with very little fraud

Getty Images
A half a million kids will lose their school lunch assistance if the Trump administration changes the rules for food stamps.

Under new changes proposed by the Trump administration, over 3 million struggling parents, children, people living with disabilities, and older American may lose access to food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Children in families who are slated to lose their SNAP benefits will also lose critical school-lunch assistance.

The Trump administration wants to eliminate an eligibility criterion known as broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE), which enables states to expand access to those in need of food assistance based on other programs they qualify for.

By eliminating it, the administration is effectively creating a benefits cliff, where a parent’s small raise at work — or a modest amount of savings — could end up disqualifying a family from SNAP entirely. That leaves them poorer for getting a raise or saving money, or else puts them at risk of their food aid falling through the bureaucratic cracks.

Failed twice

Trump and the Republicans attempted to get this reduction in the nation’s most effective social safety-net program rammed through Congress last year — and failed. They also failed in their attempt to significantly defund the program. So now Trump is attempting to reduce food access to families in need via executive fiat.

SNAP reduces poverty more simply and directly than nearly any other program. Because it’s responsive to the overall economy, it expands during economic downturns and contracts when poverty levels fall. This enables people to weather temporary economic hardship, stay above the official poverty level, and gets money more quickly into the economy.

It also literally puts food into children’s mouths, while their parents work and save.

Why would the administration want to take critical food assistance away from children and families who need it? The administration has claimed ineligible people are using the program, perhaps fraudulently. But that’s unlikely.

Looking at figures through 2016, Forbes contributor Simon Constable calculated potentially fraudulent SNAP expenditures at under 1% of the cost of the program — a minuscule amount compared to behemoth agencies like the Pentagon, which can’t even pass an audit, and which nonetheless keeps getting budget increases.

Rigorous standards

SNAP, by contrast, “has some of the most rigorous program integrity standards and systems of any federal program,” adds Robert Greenstein of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, including for recipients who qualify by their participation in other programs.

According to the center, SNAP is one of the most effective economic stimulators per federal dollar spent of any program. During the economic downturn of 2009, for example, Moody’s Analytics estimated that for every dollar increase in SNAP benefits that year, $1.70 economic activity was generated.

Further, the administration has repeatedly claimed — also falsely — that poverty is all but solved.

That’s not remotely true.

According to research by the Poor People’s Campaign and the Institute for Policy Studies, 140 million Americans are either poor or low-income. In this wealthiest nation on the planet, even as more wealth concentrates at the top, some 43% of us struggle to make ends meet — a number that far outpaces the official poverty measure, not to mention Trump’s mis-characterization of it.

Our social safety net, which includes assistance for basic needs such as housing, health, and nutrition, is insufficient and under attack.

Neglecting children

The impact of this neglect on the health and well being of our children, in particular, reverberates through our entire economy.

Our report compiles reams of data on the enormous economic costs of child poverty, such as the Children’s Defense Fund’s estimation that the economic cost of lost productivity, worsened health, and increased crime rates that stem from child poverty total roughly $700 billion per year — 3.5% of GDP.

Strengthening SNAP is key to reducing this damage. So on economic grounds alone, the Trump proposed rule change to kick millions struggling children, families — and not to mention people living with disabilities and older people — off critical food assistance makes no sense. On moral grounds, it’s indefensible.

As the Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign often says, “Everybody’s got the right to live.” That right belongs to America’s 140 million poor and low-income people, including the 3.1 million children and families experiencing hardship that rely on the nutritional assistance provided by the SNAP program.

Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She’s a co-author of the IPS-Poor People’s Campaign Report, “A Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody Has the Right to Live.” The IPS is funded by private foundations and individual donors.

Ethiopia’s bid to plant four billion trees

AFP

Going green: Ethiopia’s bid to plant four billion trees

Robbie Corey – Boulet, AFP         July 30, 2019

California professors install seesaws along U.S.-Mexico border wall

California professors install seesaws along U.S.-Mexico border wall

By Minyvonne Burke      July 30, 2019

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello first came up with the idea of a “Teetertotter Wall” in 2009.

Trump administration appoints opponent of public land to oversee 250 million acres of government-owned wilderness