Life in the Box: News Roundup


Life is changing quickly, so here’s a collection of updates on current topics. Links to related columns and articles are included below the “author” paragraph.

Itching for a Fight:
So in recent weeks, our President has presided in:  dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on Afghanistan, stirring up North Korea and Iran, and complimenting Turkey on their new autocracy (the end of Democracy and many freedoms, especially freedom of speech in that nation.) If this administration isn’t itching for a fight, I don’t know who is.

Abortion in Iowa:
The Iowa Governor is going to sign a bill into law about abortion prevention: no abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. No exceptions, not even if the baby is not developing into a viable body (like, if it has no brain, you still have to carry it through term). My opinion? I’m still thinking women are being held hostage by laws like this.

Pulitzer Editorialist in Small Iowa Town:
The Cullen family in Storm Lake, Iowa, takes the newspaper business seriously, and writes some seriously researched, well-written and pointed editorials. Editor Art Cullen has been honored with a Pulitzer Prize. Way to go! There are still Americans who believe a free press and freedom of speech are worthwhile.

Water Quality:
If you want clean water, don’t come to Iowa. This week, the most-lauded agencies that promote water quality practices have been cut from the state’s budget. And, the scientific reports will now be generated by agencies that are against water quality standards: so, we can’t even get a reliable measure how bad our water is. The state will no longer offer Agriculture the answers they need to poison us less, and we won’t measure the damage they do when they stop mitigation strips and over-fertilizing.  Our legislature’s new slogan must be “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Really?? Ask Flint, Michigan. And ask the many Iowans suffering from water-pollution-related cancers. Oh, and ask Iowans what they did to create the dead zone in the Gulf. Who, us?

President Trump – Forever?
Ever since the election, people have been worried that Trump won’t ever give up being President. I can see him going the way of Turkey—creating so much dissention that there will be a constant use of force and militias and “states of emergencies” inside the U.S. as well as outside—making him claim that it’s just not “safe” to have an election. I just read an editorial that tells how that “President Forever” could be done, technically. Let’s hope there is enough anti-Trump voter sentiment that our legislators will protect us from any moves to keep him in office.

Why Trump Won
By the way, I just found Michael Moore’s pre-election article (July 2016) about the five top reasons “Why Trump Will Win,” and found it pretty insightful. I don’t know about the numbers he was predicting, but the last reason, “To Shake Things Up,” sounds like a dirty little secret that might be true. Basically he thinks people just voted for Trump to see “what would happen.” They were bored.

And now we know what is happening: Willy-Nilly Dropping of Bombs, a Lot of Blatant Lying, Chopping Away Federal Government Restraints on Businesses, and Dissolution of all the “Publics” including Public Education, Public Lands (National Parks), Public Arts, Public Television & Radio, Museums, Health Care, Social Security and more.

It’s like those Russian dolls that keep opening up layer after layer. Where will the revelations end? I hope the entertainment value of getting tweets from the President is making those bored voters happy. Many of us are posting frowning-face emoticons.

Note: I heard recently that there is a huge amount of spending in the military budget for military bands. I was relieved that the government is spending some money on the arts. At least some American musicians are getting salaries with benefits!

April 19, 2017 Excerpt from interview with Chris Hayes, MSNBC:
Avoiding the “doom loop” even though the world is on fire and nothing is true anymore
I tend to think of it in terms of my own behavior. Like, what am I going to do? How am I going to avoid the doom loop? My whole approach to the Trump era is to act as if reality matters, facts matter, the basic political gravity of whether you make people’s lives better or worse matters, rigorous thinking, non-conspiratorial thinking, logical skepticism — all of these things, these principles I hold as a journalist, as a thinker, as a writer, as a citizen, they all matter. Act as if that’s the case, even with the knowledge they may not.

“I don’t know if in the end they will matter, but I can’t figure out how to conduct myself in my life or in my work if they don’t. I don’t have an alternative to that. I don’t know how to live in some sort of Hobbesian world of a war of all against all in which there are no rules and nothing matters and you can say whatever you want, whether it’s true or not, and be this sort of vengeful and petty person. I don’t know how to conduct myself in that world. The world I know how to conduct myself in is the world in which the values I believe in and hold and try to live by and work by win out in the end.”

To Chris Hayes, I say, “Amen. And so mote it be!”

Spiders on the Web
And for comic relief, I’ve completed the photo essay (video) I mentioned months ago, using close-ups of spiders and special effects filters. It’s up on Youtube; link to it below!

 

Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site. 

My column about how to start a war (or two)
Report about Turkey’s government eliminating free speech
“Mother of All Bombs” dropped on Afghanistan  

My column about extreme abortion law vs. religious beliefs
Des Moines Register reports on final Iowa abortion bill 

Pulitzer Prize for Storm Lake Editorialist 

Controlling what we know about Iowa water. Des Moines Register Editorial

President Trump-Forever?
How President Trump can end Social Security – Forbes

Spending on Military Bands is 3 times greater than budget for National Endowment for the Arts (2016)

Michael Moore on the 5 reasons Trump will win (2016)

Chris Hayes Comments on Vox.com

My Spider Effects “Escape Into Life” Column
My Spider Effects Photo Essay