I have been traveling (a week in NYC taking care of the eight-year-old known as The King). I have been sick. I'm writing a new book.
But I have not forgotten my plan to Be A Better Citizen.
And I remain baffled by the whole damn thing.
And what baffles most is this simple question: Why can't Republicans, who've had eight years to prepare, move forward with the Affordable Care Act stuff? It's one stall after another. Meantime: Where's the infrastructure investment we were promised?
Plus: We're stuck on the Trump-go-round: False accusations from DT, press scrambles to figure out the hell he's talking about. Another week passes. Repeat. While not much gets done.
THE WIRETAPS. OR NOT.
This week it's the alleged wire tap thing. I gotta tell you, people. This one has me stumped. Sort of. As with anything DT says, there's always something out there he can claim as evidence.
For example: The day before the election, a British/American website, Heat Street, published a story about US government requests for a "tap" of a server that appeared to be registered to Donald Trump (or his company). As near as I can tell, this is the root source for all the stories since.
But make it easy on yourself: Read this run-down of the who, what, how, why, if, then, etc.
HEALTH CARE REFORM:
As for "health care reform." The House, but not the Senate, has offered its plan. Everyone but the House hates it. So there's that.
This is a useful critique. My take is: Don't worry too much about what's in the bill and what's not. Because there are gonna be a bunch of versions before this is over with. And at this point, this citizen would prefer that Congress and DT simply repeal the goddamn thing. And move on to other matters: Like infrastructure.
BIG PICTURE STUFF:
On other matters, this is a fabulous discussion of the origins of our current two-party system (meaning Democratic Party, Republican Party). I've been irritated as shit that some historian or other hasn't come forward with this tale, written for a general audience.
(I didn't do it, because I assumed, silly me, that a historian with expertise would do the job. Silly, silly me.) (The guy who wrote this is a political scientist. Bless his heart!)
This is sort of related: Fascinating take on the apps and so forth that can help you get out of your political "bubble." I'm trying. I'm trying to watch at least 15 minutes a day of Fox News. I read Fox's online paper, The Daily Caller, for a couple of months. Or tried to. Mostly it's inane clickbait. I want to hear from "the other side," but -- give me some substance. Please.
This is deep geek territory, but: What if we don't believe the President's oath?
My entire body of work has been devoted to making sense of what it means to be an "American." Lots of talk about that these days. This is worth reading.
And this is a fascinating look at recent shifts in the "media" landscape. Makes me even more awestruck that any solid news organization can stay in business.
Finally: I couldn't agree more about this take on our current American awakening. He calls it a renaissance, but we Americans have had many such moments in our history, most of them rooted in Christian politics. (Another topic itching for an historian's take.)
And: Another plug for the glories of podcasts!
Wow. I am impressed at how efficiently I can get up to speed by listening to the right podcast.
Each focuses on a specific current topic; each relies on plain-speaking experts to provide the content. Good stuff. Five thumbs up. Both, as folks say, wherever you podcast. (I own an iPad and an El Cheapo Android device (that thing formerly known as The Phone).
For whatever reason, iTunes from Apple is easier to deal with.) (And I kind of hate to say that.) But if you use an Android device, go for it. I can't believe I waited so long to get on board the podcast train. Dummy!
Okay. That's it for now. Again, comrades: Onward.