Tea Cup Reads: it’s already next week edition

The New York Times has been just on fire this last week with solid, pertinent stories, so I finally broke down and got a subscription. Well, actually, I split the cost of two subscriptions with a friend because the paper of record is expensive!

With that cost in mind, I decided to focus this week on news from in state papers and some of the blogs I frequent – free, pertinent news and opinions from around Alaska and the U.S.A. Read on for the highlights of my week’s reading.

State news
Rep. Kito’s Faceboook page announced a Fiscal Policy Forum coming up this Tuesday, Feb. 28th from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM at the Red Dog Saloon.

Rep. Justin Parish really outdid himself this week with yesterday’s Capitol Update: he’s got information about state jobs, school districts, and even a list of interesting events!

Don’t miss Alaska Dispatch NewsPolitics page: big things are happening in this year’s legislature – things that’ll shape the state for decades. I cherry picked some good ones, while simultaneously feeling like I could have linked to everything they have.

Here is a sample: Nathaniel Herz’ Alaska Senate’s GOP-led majority unveils new Permanent Fund bill, with spending cap. From this piece, I learned that Republicans have presented a budget proposal in the Alaska Senate that draws from the Permanent Fund each year:

The legislation would annually withdraw 5.25 percent of the $57 billion fund’s value each year, with one-fourth of the cash going to dividends and the rest going to help pay for state services.

I realize that personal and government finances are different, and that the generally accepted Trinity Study’s 4% rule is based on a very specific criteria, but personally – and this is just my opinion – a fixed 5.25% seems worryingly high. Here’s a blog post from personal finance/early retirement site Root of Good with a pretty good explanation of what I’m talking about right at the beginning, and a lot of detail further down.

While I’m at it, here is the Politics page for the Fairbanks News-Miner, and a link to the Nome Nugget (no politics page that I found, but politics aren’t the only reason to see what other papers are saying). We’re a big state, and it’s worth reading these other papers to understand what’s happening up north.

Big national stories
Republican lawmakers around the country are trying to pass legislation to curb protests, according to this piece from the Washington Post: Republican lawmakers introduce bills to curb protesting in at least 18 states. The proposed bill in Arizona would allow seizure of private assets of protesters, as reported by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Next up, we have the New York Times piece on Trump’s Russia Motives.

President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia. He has surrounded himself with aides who have Russian ties. Those aides were talking to Russian agents during the campaign, and some are now pushing a dubious peace deal in Ukraine. Trump recently went so far as to equate the United States and Vladimir Putin’s murderous regime.

But why?

And then there was this opinion piece about the Republican plan for healthcare, Ryancare: You Can Pay More for Less!

Republican leaders in the House and Mr. Trump’s secretary of health and human services released a plan last week that would provide insurance that is far inferior, shift more medical costs onto families and cover far fewer people.

And food to fuel the fight is the topic of Home is Where the Resistance Is.

In the months since the election, millions of Americans have taken to the streets to protest President Trump’s agenda, most notably at the Women’s March on Jan. 21 and at airports after the president signed an executive order restricting immigration. While the public demonstrations have caught the nation’s attention, a quieter movement is also happening in living rooms and at dining room tables in the city and around the country.

Blogs are knocking it out of the park
Here’s an interesting piece I read this week at the blog Banker’s Anonymous, pointing us to experiments in poverty elimination that take a direct approach. There are groups asking the question: what if we just give people cash? There are actually some good arguments and research in favor of this approach.

I keep coming back to Ali Abbas’ piece on The Diversity Deal, which tells us to want for others the same freedoms we want for ourselves – especially if we disagree.

Violent Metaphors asks whether Donald Trump’s business acumen – his Art of the Deal schtick – is really true in a post called Is Donald Trump Really a Great Negotiator? She has doubts.

Reminder: real life doesn’t have to suck
Every week, I try to bring you some links to non-political items that caught my attention. I provide these every week to honor all of us as complete human beings who deserve the freedom to enjoy our diverse lives. Here are the three I selected this week, and I hope you enjoy them.

  • Today is Sunday, which means that PostSecret – the largest ad-free blog in the world – has updated.
  • I’m lucky, because my job is a way for me to express creatively my love of civilization and my fellow man. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still work. I sometimes pop over to the New Escapologist to read about the idea that one’s life should not be defined by one’s work.
  • Donna Freedman is a wonderful writer who lives in Anchorage. Her blog tag line caught my attention years ago, and it still inspires me: “Life is short. But it’s also wide.” She recently wrote Dying is easy. Cursive is hard. about writing thank you notes, and Vinegar is magic about visiting her adult daughter to help out during a tough time.

And that’s a wrap for today – have a great week! Maybe I’ll see you at the first meeting of Juneau Indivisible on Wednesday or the Tongass Democrats meeting on Thursday.

– Mary

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