Press Briefings are a Breath of Fresh Air

Jen Psaki is soothing to my soul

It's been a long time since I actually watched a White House press briefing without it being a horrifying clip I caught on Twitter or Facebook, or a hilarious but unsettling recap on SNL. The briefings under the previous administration were nothing short of anxiety-inducing and seeing the press attacked like that made many of us wonder just how oppressive the regime might go. Honestly I'm not feeling safe yet, after years of chaos and uncertainty (not to mention knowing how history repeats itself), but this return to normalcy is soothing to my soul.

Jen Psaki is calm, cool and collected. She's funny and warm as well as no-nonsense. When people ask her stupid questions (and boy do they; I've watched every briefing since the inauguration and there have been doozies at almost every briefing) she's so patient that I have to wonder if she's even human. She has to have some kind of superpower. But just hearing her answer questions rationally, calmly and intelligently, without attacking anyone, almost makes me cry.

There are a lot of things to celebrate about the Biden-Harris Administration right now (as well as things to criticize; I'm particularly concerned about schools reopening without teachers being vaccinated), but I just wanted to acknowledge how nice these press briefings are.

What is something that reassures you about the new administration? What's something you're concerned about?

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Stronger Action Against Global Warming Is Needed

Studies show that the problem is dire

We all know that climate change presents a dire risk on our planet and civilization, right? Like my environmental science teacher in college always said, the earth with likely withstand anything we do to it, and eventually heal. But if we want to live here, we have to take care of it in order to keep it habitable for ourselves.

A study now says that the deep decline in bumblebee populations is "pointing to mass extinction," and that "the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given place has declined by 30% in the course of a single human generation." This is incredibly disturbing and we need to do everything we can to keep this place safe for future generations.

The Green New Deal is obviously necessary in the United States, but what else is needed? What do you think is the biggest thing needed to act against global warming?

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Celebrating And Getting To Work

We can do both!

Electing our first Black VP is such an incredible step forward. My entire family cried today watching Kamala Harris be sworn in and we laughed when President Biden said, "All right!" I know we were excited as well as nervous as we hoped today would go well. We were so relieved that it did. If you're celebrating today, I highly suggest checking out their official playlist!

That said, racism doesn't end with this day. On the contrary, it's stronger than ever in our nation, and there's so much we have to do to not only fix all of the previous administration's mess but to make the nation better as a whole. This administration has their work cut out for them. 

I hope you'll join me in celebrating AND doing the work! Today, we celebrate and sleep easier. If you'd like to start sharing your spoons in the chat, please do! Here's one to start with: ask our new president to sign the Workers First Agenda in supporting safety, jobs, racial justice and more.

Welcome to the Biden Harris Administration! Boy it feels good to say that.

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Politicians Should Live in The Areas They Represent

And they should be booted for inciting riots

In the Midwest, politicians, particularly those from the Right, have been scheming away the past few years, changing laws, re-zoning districts and otherwise making it a place where they can easily take control. It's not as red here as many people might believe, and it's frustrating for someone like me, who lives in a once-blue district, to see it go red over and over again after it's been re-zoned. My representative? She works for me, in my county, and one almost an hour away in another. My town has been cut from my county's representation in order to divide us up and you see it all over the state!

Then you have our governors and senators, people who don't even live here or who barely lived here, using their relatives' addresses to run for office. Josh Hawley uses his sister's address in Missouri, for example, while he lives in a Virginia mansion where he doesn't have to abide by the laws he passes in Missouri or even be among the people he supposedly represents! It's absolutely outrageous. Add his recent condemnation of our election and democracy itself and it's clear that he needs to go.

Does your state have ridiculous laws where people can run for office in this manner? How did you change them?

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Standing Against Fascism

How are you taking action?

Watching the terrorism in the capitol last week was incredibly disturbing for most of us, and the FBI's warning that further armed protests are planned in every state capitol is unsettling as well. We all want to do something in these uncertain times, but what can we do?

Supporting our local leaders on the Left with donations and calling on elected officials to condemn these actions and impeach leaders who were involved are a given. Caring for ourselves by not watching the news on loop (which I did) is important as well. It's also helpful to contact and boycott the companies that fund the leaders responsible for the insurrection. Many have already stopped supporting these politicians, and Hallmark even asked for theirs to be returned! Disney just recently joined in, too.

What are you doing while we wait for impeachment hearings to proceed? How else can we help and get the leaders responsible out of office? Share your links in the chat.

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Defying Our Constitution

The ironic sedition of the Republican Party

How is it possible that the same people who routinely chant "Lock her up!" years after an election is over are truly the criminals who defy the Constitution and other precedents left and right, from holding rallies at the White House to taking down a president's portrait, calling election officials to demand ballots be "found" to filing dozens of lawsuits against a U.S. election... Seriously, how are these people still in office, let alone not arrested for treason?

There are elected officials contesting the very elections that got THEM elected! We can't make this stuff up! How is it that they think people's votes shouldn't count toward Biden but they should toward themselves? It's like watching toddlers try to have an election. Even representatives I've disagreed with for years are calling them out on this ridiculousness.

Where do we even go from here? What do you think should happen to all of these seditious people trying to overthrow democracy as we know it?

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Stimulus Checks Begin Arriving This Week

Sanders continues to push for more

Remember how long it took for Congress to enact a stimulus, not only when the pandemic first began, but recently? Payments for the approved $600 appear to be making their way to checking accounts much more quickly this time around, with some people already receiving them in their bank accounts. Many people will continue to receive them into next week while others wait for checks to arrive.

In the meantime, Bernie Sanders is pushing to delay Congress's holiday until they approve more aid for Americans. It's still mind-boggling how the country that is supposed to be the richest of them all, and that has had the most Covid-19 deaths this year, still hasn't given much aid to the people while so many other nations have given not only larger amounts but monthly payments in order to keep people home and safe--and to stop the spread.

Do you think Congress will approve more aid? Do you think it should be retroactive like some representatives are saying? Share your thoughts in the chat.

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Termaine Hicks Exonerated

Hicks Paid 19 Years Of Life For Crimes He Didn't Commit

While celebrating Termaine Hick's exoneration after he's spent 19 years in jail for crimes he didn't commit is important, it's even more important to stop this from happening in the first place. I read about two more incidents of police officers shooting Black men today. When is enough going to be enough? 

Hicks had been trying to help someone when police officers shot him, then blamed him to cover up their own mistakes. There's a long string of incidents like these in this country that have to stop. To get involved in the Innocence Project, click here.

Have any other actions for us to take this week? Share them in the chat.

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Devos Gives Chilling Parting Words

As if her entire career as secretary of education hasn't been scary enough

Representative Pascrell's call for 126 members of the Republican party to be denied membership in Congress due to the 14th amendment came to mind when I read words that Betsy Devos, one of the most grossly mis-appointed people by Trump, stated to her department.

"Let me leave you with this plea: Resist. Be the resistance against forces that will derail you from doing what’s right for students. In everything you do, please put students first — always," she said. We're really not sure to laugh or cry between the seditious phrasing and the irony of the whole thing. Devos has been a joke for our education system at best, and she's harmed so many students with her policies and complete inexperience with public schools. ALL of the people I know who work in education find her akin to one Dolores Umbridge.

What other ironic statements have you read this week? Share them in the chat.

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Student Loan Borrowers Get Extension

It's only for a month, for now

The U.S. Department of Education is extending the payment and interest pause that's currently on loans for student borrowers until the end of January, which is great news for the millions of Americans struggling right now. The extension is only until the end of January, and hopefully President Biden will have more relief in progress by then to continue to help citizens.

Many are hoping Biden's promises to forgive student loans will come to fruition by next year. Plenty of citizens are also hoping for more stimulus aid, perhaps in the same vein as other nations who've paid citizens to stay home through the pandemic. It won't be long before we find out.

What kind of changes are you hoping for within the next few months? Share your hopes in the chat.

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