Tuesday Reads: Another Sad Day in Trump’s AmericaPosted: February 28, 2017
Everyone talks about how great California is, but US News found that Massachusetts is the best state in the country for a number of reasons.
A sunset cruise along Boston’s Charles River unravels the story and strengths of this state which opened the first public park, the first colonial college and the first American subway. The spire of Harvard Memorial Church rises majestically near the columns of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Cambridge side of the river. On the other side, Boston’s skyline encompasses the old and the new, the state Capitol’s golden dome and the high-rise Prudential and John Hancock towers. The cruise runs past some of the world’s best universities – the first, founded as New College and later Harvard in 1636 — some of the nation’s best hospitals, a museum of science, innovation district and world-class research facilities.
Its vibrant academic environment, innovative and supportive health care policies and modernizing economy, measure for measure, make this small New England powerhouse with a population of 6.8 million the strongest state of all.
“Our economy is among the strongest in the nation,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at his second State of the Commonwealth address in January. “Over the past two years we’ve added 120,000 jobs. Today more people are working than at any time in the past 20 years. And our welfare caseload has dropped 25 percent. The companies of the future are moving to Massachusetts, bringing millions in private investment. While new companies are born here every day.”
These business births, low unemployment, several measures of educational achievement and successful health care have combined to drive the Bay State to the overall No. 1 place in U.S. News and World Report’s Best States rankings.
Several other listings have pushed Massachusetts to the top of livability lists, its unpredictable New England weather never really a deterrent. Many surveys have shown it as the best state for education, best for health care, and best in socio-economic living conditions. But this is a unique, comprehensive accolade.
There’s much more detail at the link if you’re interested.
I guess that should give me hope, because I’m having a terrible problem at the moment. My new living situation is becoming a nightmare.
There is a man down the hall from me who smokes constantly and the smoke fills my apartment all day long until late at night. My lungs are on fire, my eyes are bright red, and my chest is tight. I didn’t notice it at first–I don’t know if he was away for awhile or what. But lately it has become unbearable.
I’ve been complaining since last week with little success. This morning I learned that I’m not the only one complaining. The man has even received a warning letter. But he still smokes constantly and won’t go outside. This is a non-smoking building–I actually had to sign a long detailed addendum to the lease explaining why no one is allowed to smoke in the building or even on the sidewalk outside. The woman who is in charge of these housing issues told me this morning that “There’s nothing to get so upset about,” and “it is a process.” She said he will probably have to be evicted, but who knows how long that could take?
If anyone has any suggestions about how I can protect myself from the smoke, I’d greatly appreciate it. I have ordered a face mask that is supposed to come today, and I’ve been looking into air purifiers. Obviously, I can’t afford anything very expensive. To let you know how bad it is, I’m sitting in front of an open doorway to the outside with a fan blowing out. All of my windows are open. Yet I can still feel the smoke in my throat and lungs and taste it in my mouth. And I’m freezing cold.
Now some news.
As we discussed yesterday, tRump is going to give a speech to Congress tonight at 9PM Eastern. The speech will be all over TV. MSNBC is going to have a special report about it at midnight–I’ll be you can hardly wait. I will probably watch, because I just can’t stop myself, but I’ll keep checking in here in case people post something to cheer us all up. I’ll try to do that too.
Here’s some background on how other presidents handled their first addresses to Congress, from Susan Page at USA Today:
In their first speech to a joint session of Congress, newly elected presidents traditionally identify their legislative priorities and outline policy details beyond the soaring rhetoric of their inaugural address delivered a few weeks earlier.
So that’s already a big difference from tRump, since his inaugural speech was definitely not “soaring rhetoric.” Page lists each of the last five presidents and how they handled the speech.
Context: The United States was in the midst of a financial meltdown.
Message to Congress: “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before. The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.”
Domestic policy: Stimulus bill had just been enacted. Proposed rescue plans for big banks and the auto industry, and tax hikes for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. “Health care reform cannot wait; it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”
Foreign policy: “In words and deeds, we are showing the world that a new era of engagement has begun. For we know that America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America.”
Read the other four summaries at the link.
The attacks on Jewish facilities has reached shocking levels since tRump became president. Yesterday there were bomb threats in 11 states. NPR:
Bomb threats forced evacuations at Jewish schools and community centers in 11 states Monday, with the Jewish Community Center Association confirming threats in states ranging from Florida to Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Mich., police gave the all-clear after a Hebrew day school was threatened, forcing students to leave.
“Today, bomb threats were called into schools and/or JCCs in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia,” the JCC Association of North America says. “Many affected institutions have already been declared clear and have returned to regular operations. All previous bomb threats to JCCs this year were determined to be hoaxes.”
In Ann Arbor, police are working with the FBI after receiving an “unusually specific” threat about a bomb in a backpack, Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports. After detection dogs were brought in, police allowed students to return to school — but Wells calls the scene “surreal,” with news crews and police still hovering around the school.
More at the link.
Here’s a specific report from KOMO News in Washington state: Mercer Island Jewish community center evacuated due to bomb threat.
The Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island was evacuated after a bomb threat was called in Monday evening, according to Mercer Island Police.
Police were called to the community center around 4:45 p.m. after a staff member received the threat over the phone.
“I just came to pick up my daughter and it was very scary, and this is uncalled for,” said Cecilia Yeung, who still appeared shaken as she walked her child to their car.
Staff members immediately began evacuating the building. Officers said about 250 people were inside at the time, many of them children.
“We were just told, hey, it’s time to evacuate, we got to get all the kids out,” said Kristin Mannari, a teacher at the community center.
Of course, tRump has had nothing to say about these threats or the vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. He doesn’t seem to care about the attacks on muslims and on immigrants generally either. In Kansas, people are beginning to ask questions about this creepy attitude.
The Kansas City Star editorializes: Trump’s silence on deadly Olathe shooting is disquieting.
At some point, embarrassingly late begins to verge on something more disquieting.
President Donald Trump has silently planted himself in that space.
Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners….
Trump has offered no words of condolence for the grieving widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died from his gunshot wounds.
The president has expressed no sympathy for Kuchibhotla’s best friend, Alok Madasani, who continues to recover from bullet wounds and the trauma.
Trump usually loves to celebrate all-American heroes. But he’s passed on commending Ian Grillot, a bystander who leapt to take the gunman down before anyone else was harmed. Grillot was shot, too.
Surely the White House team could have cobbled together a statement of some sort, a response to at least address growing fears that the U.S. is unwelcoming of immigrants, or worse, that the foreign-born need to fear for their lives here. The deadly incident in Olathe has resonated across the country and even around the globe.
The widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla wants answers (also from The Kansas City Star):
Two days after her husband was shot to death in an Olathe bar, the widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla on Friday publicly sought answers to what she perceived was a spread in American hate crimes.
“I have a question in my mind: Do we belong?” said Sunayana Dumala, who like her husband traveled from India to attend a U.S. college.
“We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” she said at a news conference at the headquarters of Garmin, where Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation systems engineer. “And we always wondered, how safe?”
Of the two of them, she said, she was most concerned, asking her reassuring husband: “Are we doing the right thing of staying in the United States of America?”
Dumala is returning to India for Kuchibhotla’s funeral. She said she wanted to come back to their home in south Olathe, fulfilling her husband’s wishes for an American life and “me being successful in any field I choose.
But before making that decision, “I need an answer,” she said. “I need an answer from the government. …What are they going to do to stop this hate crime?”
Sadly, she’s not likely to get any answers from tRump. He is incapable of such empathy.
And of course many other immigrants are living in fear now. Here’s an article at The Washington Post about the family of the woman who was deported from Arizona after she showed up for a routine immigration meeting. Her husband is also undocumented and fears being deported too.
Her kids returned to their Phoenix home, but it suddenly felt different, empty. People like their mother apparently weren’t welcome here. As a country reevaluated its position on undocumented immigrants, they would have to reevaluate a life without the one who mattered most to them.
Their father — who allowed himself to be photographed but asked not to be identified by name because he, too, fears being deported — looked to his right at the dinner table, where his wife, “Lupita,” would usually sit, sharing a glass of Coca-Cola with him.
Her lunchbox sat on the kitchen counter where she left it after returning from her custodial job two days before she was detained. The Christmas tree stood in the corner, adorned with a snowflake ornament Angel made in the second grade, “Mom” scribbled on one side. Hanging next to it was a three-foot painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
It’s heartbreaking, but please read the story anyway.
Take care of yourselves today, Sky Dancers!