SaM Blog Update (May 31, 2017)

blog update, survey

Hello, readers! It’s time for another update. I have some things in store for June 2017 and beyond.

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The World’s Water Crisis

water crisis, Flint, drought, farming, desalination
A water crisis is developing across the globe because we are using water at a faster pace than it is being replenished.

Some months ago, I talked about the Flint Water Crisis. As it turns out, it was just the tip of the iceberg, as there were thousands more contaminated water systems in the United States. Also, there is a bigger crisis around the world.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a total of 1,386,000,000 km3 of water on Earth a 71% of the planet is water. Over 96% of that water is saline-based (oceans, seas, and bays) and less than one percent of our water is drinkable. Fresh water is contained in sources like aquifers, rivers, and glaciers (where the water is unavailable).

Water is a vital resource for life. We are 60% water and water is needed for bathing, cooking, to support plant life, and for producing food.

The lack of a reliable water source in countries could lead to a huge geopolitical crisis in years to come. So moving forward, we need to come up with solutions to preserve water and ensure everyone has access to it.

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I Would Like to Have a Word with Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria, CNN, liberals, conservatives, hypocrisy, violence, intolerance,
By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the weekend, I came across a tweet from CNN. The tweet in question contains a video from Fareed Zakaria’s show.

Zakaria was criticized on Twitter, and rightfully so.

While Zakaria raised a few valid points, he ultimately discredited his own message.

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An Overview of Republican Bills in 2017

Republican bills, legislation, environment, immigration, anti-abortion, 2017

Much attention has been paid to Trump’s antics and the latest attempt to take health care away from over 20 million Americans, but there a many harmful Republican bills currently being considered. A few have already by signed into law and many more are still in committee.

Now, I can’t go over them all in this post (or can I?) but I would at least like to highlight a bunch of that I have already read about. Let this be a simple guide to the horrible laws we might live under.

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What’s Going on in Venezuela?


Venezuela is considered the “richest” country on earth, primarily since it has the largest oil reserves in the world. However, the country has been beset by mismanagement, which was exposed when its popular president, Hugo Chavez, died in 2013.

Chavez rose to power in 1998 and once in power, capitalized in surging oil prices. He instituted popular social programs fueled by oil money. But when he died in 2013, Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver and foreign minister, took power.

Not even three years into his presidency, Maduro was best by protests due to the economic woes of his country. Since Venezuela was so dependent upon the oil boom, the fall in oil prices around the world set the country into an economic tailspin.

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Famous Sayings: #63 — ‘[As] Strong As an Ox’

May 26, 2017

He’s as strong as an ox.

strong as an ox, ox, famous sayings

I decided to sit on this famous saying for a few weeks because it was hard to track down the origin, but I might have found something in my research that I would like to share.

Of course, many of us know the term “strong as an ox” usually refers to a male. Oxen are strong animals, so it is understood that a man who is “as strong as an ox” has massive strength — or in rare cases, the person speaking about him is being facetious.

Also, this phrase made me brush up on my grammar. As I suspected, the term “[As] strong as an ox” is a simile because it uses the terms “as” or “like” to make a comparison between two dissimilar things (“Simile”). If this was a metaphor, which also makes a comparison between two things, the man would be called an ox and that might be followed by drawn out imagery to reinforce that comparison.

But when did this idiom originate? You might have an idea, but it might be older than you think.

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We Need to Talk About the Rift on the Left

the rift on the left, Democratic Party, DNC
The rift on the left was made more apparent during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Photograph by A. Shaker/VOA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
The 2016 election was one of the ugliest in recent memory. I know many will agree with me on that, but for different reasons. Regardless, one thing that cannot be ignored is how this past election — and the primary alone — exposed the chasms that already existed within the Democratic Party and deepened the rift on the left overall.

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Democrats Face Their Angry Constituents

angry constituents, Democrats, Congress, Affordable Care Act, campaign finance, Syria, town halls, protesters
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse reads a list provided by his constituents outside a middle school in Providence, Rhode Island. (Image taken from a screencap.)

Since January, angry constituents have met with their lawmakers at town halls and other meetings. In addition, some lawmakers have faced pressure via phone calls and social media. Many of these communications were contentious and most had the same theme: health care. Other topics ranged from Trump’s cabinet picks to money in politics.

Two days ago, I shared some information from Republican town halls. Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn.

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Republicans Face Their Angry Constituents

angry constituents, Republicans, Congress, lawmakers, town halls, Affordable Care Act, travel ban
The health care debate leads the day. Original photo (which was cropped) by Ted Eytan via Flickr. (Some Rights Reserved.)

Since January, large groups of activists have confronted lawmakers at town halls and outside their offices. Many are concerned that Republicans will repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats are facing a backlash for voting for Trump’s awful cabinet picks (but they at least all voted against Betsy DeVos, who is absolutely horrible as Education Secretary) and they were being lobbied to filibuster (obstruct) Neil Gorsuch (but we all know how that turned out).

By February, the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation, was climbing in popularity. Despite the polls, Republicans were taken advantage of Trump’s (limited) presence in the White House and rushing to repeal the health care law.

Notable Democrats have faced their crowds, but some Republicans are running scared. Some have cancelled town halls. Others have cut theirs short and used the police to escort them from the scary protesters.

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Why Trump’s Tax Plan Is a Disaster and a Betrayal

tax plan, Gary Cohn

On the campaign trail, Trump released a tax plan I felt was hideous and disastrous. Not only would it punish middle and lower income families by getting rid of the “head of household” deduction, but the sheer number of tax cuts for the wealthy would only add to the growing federal deficit.

But was his newer tax plan any better?

The principles of Trump’s amended tax plan were presented in a one-page document on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. The plan was discussed by former Goldman Sachs executive and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve “Foreclosure King” Mnuchin.

The plan was expected to cost trillions of dollars in what would be the largest “tax reform” in over 30 years.

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